Guest Commentary: National Wildland Fire Management Policy and Firefighter Deaths…more rhetoric, no solutions

This is a version of an Op-Ed by Kenn & Susan McCarty that appeared in the Lake County Record-Bee.

Susan is a 16-year wildland firefighter veteran and a former United States Forest Service Hotshot Firefighter. Kenn is a 33-year fire service veteran and is presently a fire hand crew supervisor for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire). Continue reading

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CAL Fire seasonal firefighter applications (2011)

The filing period for the 2011 season is November 1, 2010 through January 31, 2011.

Fire Fighter I is a seasonal, temporary classification used by CAL FIRE. The Fire Fighter I application period usually occurs between November and January and hiring usually occurs between April and June, depending upon the year’s fire and weather conditions.

Fire Fighters I participate in wildland, rural, and structural fire suppression. Fire Fighters I work as members of a fire crew to fight fires, repair equipment, assist with general station housekeeping, and respond to emergency situations, such as medical aid calls.


  • 18 years at the time of appointment.
  • Are able to follow oral and written directions
  • Are able to do heavy physical work
  • Are able to exercise good judgment in hazardous fire suppression activity
  • Are able to accept and benefit from training in fire suppression work and techniques
  • Are able to work safely with others
  • Are able to live in a (often rural) fire station compatibly with others
  • Are able to respond quickly to oral commands and/or signals in emergency situations.
  • You have a willingness to live and work in remote areas and on weekends and holidays and remain on duty 24 hours a day, as required
  • You possess at least the minimum visual acuity, color vision, hearing, physical strength, dexterity and agility.
  • Possession of a valid California driver license of the appropriate class issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles is desirable.

You must file a Fire Fighter I Application at each CAL FIRE Unit in which you wish to be considered for appointment.

Applications will be accepted by mail OR in person for the units in the Northern Region. (Southern Region is in-person filing only)

Northern Region Units:

Amador-El Dorado Unit
2840 Mt. Danaher Road
Camino, CA 95709
(530) 644-2345

Butte Unit
176 Nelson Avenue
Oroville, CA 95965
(530) 538-7111

Humboldt-Del Norte Unit
118 Fortuna Blvd.
Fortuna, CA 95540
(707) 725-4413

Lassen-Modoc Unit
697-345 Highway 36
Susanville, CA 96130
(530) 257-4171

Mendocino Unit
17501 N. Highway 101
Willits, CA 95490
(707) 459-7414

Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit
13760 Lincoln Way
Auburn, CA 95603
(530) 889-0111

San Mateo-Santa Cruz Unit
6059 Highway 9/P.O. Drawer F-2
Felton, CA 95018
(831) 335-5355

Santa Clara Unit
15670 Monterey Street
Morgan Hill, CA 95037
(408) 779-2121

Shasta-Trinity Unit
875 Cypress Avenue
Redding, CA 96001
(530) 225-2418

Siskiyou Unit
1809 Fairlane Road
Yreka, CA 96097
(530) 842-3516

Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit
1199 Big Tree Road
St. Helena, CA 94574
(707) 967-1400

Tehama-Glenn Unit
604 Antelope Blvd.
Red Bluff, CA 96080
(530) 529-8548

Applications will be accepted on a file-in-person basis ONLY for the units in the Southern Region.

Southern Region Units:

Fresno-Kings Unit
210 S. Academy Avenue
Sanger, CA 93657
(559) 485-7500

Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit
5366 Highway 49 North
Mariposa, CA 95338
(209) 966-3622

Riverside Unit
210 W. San Jacinto
Perris, CA 92570
(951) 940-6900

San Benito-Monterey Unit
2221 Garden Road
Monterey, CA 93940-5385
(831) 333-2600

San Bernardino Unit
3800 N. Sierra Way
San Bernardino, CA 92405
(909) 881-6900

San Diego Unit
2249 Jamacha Road
El Cajon, CA 92019
(619) 590-3100

San Luis Obispo Unit
635 N. Santa Rosa
San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
(805) 543-4244

Tulare Unit
1968 S. Lovers Lane
Visalia, CA 93277
(559) 732-5954

Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit
785 Mountain Ranch Road
San Andreas, CA 95249
(209) 754-3831
Applications will not be accepted at Sacramento Headquarters, Region Offices, or Conservation Camps.

For more information regarding seasonal firefighting and how to apply download the “Fire Fighter I Fact Sheet.”

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Veterans Becoming Firefighters

I found this story on the US Dept of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service’s Southern Research Station website.

David Carrera, USFS firefighter on the Angeles National Forest, served as a Marine Corps staff sergeant 1998-2006.
David Carrera, USFS firefighter on the Angeles National Forest, served as a Marine Corps staff sergeant 1998-2006.

Ted Willis, a Southern Research Station program manager based at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, wants USDA Forest Service managers around the country hire more veterans to fight wildland fires.

“With so many soldiers coming back, I thought we had to find a way to employ them,” said Willis. “Unfortunately, many of the veterans were unqualified for journeymen firefighter and other resource positions, so we had to determine how they could receive training.”

Willis has worked his way through the bureaucracy to have veterans hired at an entry-level GS-03 level (or GS-04 with experience). Upon completion of their 18-month  Wildland Fire Apprenticeship Program (WFAP) in McClellan, CA, these former soldiers can be hired in other resource and administrative entry level positions. Veterans enrolled in WFAP are eligible to receive Veterans Administration (VA) educational benefits.

Willis is already seeing his seemingly simple idea make a difference in the lives of some former servicemen and women.

“The Wildland Firefighter Apprenticeship program made it easy for me to transition from the military to the civilian side,” said David Carrera, a firefighter on the Angeles National Forest in California and former Marine Corps staff sergeant. “I feel this is one of the best on-the-job training programs to be in.”

Managers who would like to know more about the program can contact Ted by e-mail at and by phone at 850-412-7383.

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