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  • CAL Fire or Other Seasonal Fire Jobs

    Seems pretty tough to get onto CAL Fire these days. Anybody have any tips on how to get on as a seasonal FF this year? Or any other seasonal FF jobs in California that people recommend? Thanks everybody

    -John

  • #2
    See below....
    Last edited by Boxman; 10-16-2010, 11:45 AM.

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    • #3
      It's definitely tough right now. Guys/girls that would normally be getting picked up as career firefighters for other city or county departments are either staying seasonals or trying to become one. I've heard up north is easier than the southern units. BDU, RRU and MVU are next to impossible unless you go play politics at every B ride house in each county. People applying for seasonal last year were wayyyyyy over qualified, but it's just the way it is right now. If the economy was rolling again and departments had money, seasonal jobs wouldn't be this hard to obtain.

      Anyway.....can't hurt to keep applying man. Never know when it could be your year and maybe you'll be just what a certain unit is looking for. Stay positive.

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      • #4
        If I were you, I'd try BLM, Forest Service or try getting into the Road Runner program through Rio Hondo. Or......out of state. Best of luck

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        • #5
          Thank you for the help. I'll work any where. I'm in San Francisco and will work any where in northern California. Which CAL Fire units do you suggest I visit? Do I just had in my app at each station and try and talk with them to increase my chances? How's the BLM or US Forest Service? Tough to get into? How's the pay/schedule? I'll basically work any where in northern California. Thanks again

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          • #6
            The basic answer to your first question is....ALL OF THEM. For Cal Fire, you can mail in your resume/application for each Northern Unit. That's a huge help because if you were interested in applying for the Southern Units, you'd be driving to each individual unit to hand turn in your apps. If I were you I'd stay away from San Mateo and Napa/Sonoma. Last year those units were slammed with applicants. (Or so I heard.) Keep in mind that you don't apply to each station, you apply to the headquarters of each unit. However, with that said, you should still go politic your name, qualifications, experience, crest white strip smile, your general love of helping third world countries, the fact that your an amazing cook, that you clean toilets with a smile, and the fact that you were actually pre-med before you somehow stumbled upon being a firefighter. You know....all the insanely ridiculous things you need now days to even get a sniff or scraps off the table by a paid department.

            I've heard good things about both BLM and USFS, but remember that any brush experience may or may not pay off toward a city job.....if that's what your ultimate goal is. To be perfectly honest, now days, you'd be smarter to hop on a box and slave yourself to a $10 BLS job than heading for the bushes. But that's up to you.

            USFS uses a site called Avue Digital Services for applying & hiring. It's confusing, so take some time to look it over. Not too sure how the application process works for BLM, as I've never applied with them. Also not sure on pay or schedule for either agency. But with the way things are these days you can pretty much expect to be overworked and under payed. Not trying to sound negative, but it's just the way it is. Everything out there right now is basically a hose job, unless you're apart of the 1% that somehow squeezes into a department because they're some clone robot from space that just so happens to double as the perfect firefighter candidate.

            Hope this info helps. Maybe I'll see ya at an interview.

            Didn't you post on another forum site? You took SF's test right?

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            • #7
              Thanks again Boxman. Yah, I took SF's test, my dream dept (I'm 4th generation San Franciscan). It looks damn near impossible to get a FD job these days. Plus I'm not too keen on being a paramedic. I'm in medic school right now, and struggling. I have a tutor and am still not doing well. I feel like I'm going through a mid-life crisis for christ's sake. I really don't know what other job I could do. All my buddy's that got their p-card's hate it. I know there are some jobs out of state but I'm a Bay Area boy. Maybe I'll start my own private FD and beat the SFFD to all the fires, ha. Just a thought, I think I'm losing my mind, and I like it, haha. How's your FD hunt going Boxman?

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              • #8
                Boxman, I got a real kick out of your last post. I'm glad to see I'm not alone with getting a bit sarcastic with this whole situation.
                Last edited by Coastalwarvet; 10-18-2010, 09:10 PM.

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                • #9
                  (Coastalwarvet) Seriously, it's the only way I'm getting by these days. The direction that the hiring process is going in basically creates 2 scenarios: laugh or cry. I'm going with the first one.

                  Well.....for now anyway.


                  (JohnnySF) You and I sound a lot alike. I just want to be a fireman, a word that seems to represent a dying breed. Like you, medic is a last resort (plan z if you will) for when I reach 10 years with no fire job. And I hear ya about the mid life crisis.....although for most of us it's more like a quarter life crisis. Most guys I know going for this job are so stressed out, that they've become hopeless. Also, most are so heavily invested in this career choice i.e. academies, emt, p-card, technical classes, etc. that to turn back now seems impossible. No easy answers. As for my hunt, not so good. I've made it to interviews, backgrounds, physical abilities, but have always hit roadblocks. When I was younger it was an age issue, then it was qualifications, then experience and now it's something far beyond my level of understanding. Hope things get better for all of us.

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                  • #10
                    I feel ya, Boxman. Keep your head up brother. I'd be happy as hell just with a volunteer/reserve gig. Put an axe in my hand and send me up that aerial baby. I was downtown the other day and the SFFD had a huge fire goin; people were crying and running out saying it's horrible, etc. I couldn't help but smile and think, "I'd do that job for free."

                    Well, it is what it is... for now. I'm currently working in construction. Lucky I got a job because there are a lot of guys at the union hall looking for work daily. I don't know. Maybe I'll fall into something else and be happy... ehh, f*** that, I want to be a fireman

                    -Johnny Boy

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                    • #11
                      My cousin has been full-time with Cal Fire for about 5 years, they still run 4 person engines. They may be experiencing some budget shortfalls, and if so they'll be reducing to 3 person crews and my not hire any seasonal ff's. Also you MUST take Cal Fires 67 hour academy. "They won't even look at you if you don't have it." His words.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hey guys, I am considering applying with Cal Fire for next season. But from reading this thread and some others, it sounds like I wouldn't stand a chance if I don't have the Cal Fire 67 hour wildland academy certificate. I am from Reno, NV and was wondering what is the closest place that offers this academy and is it to late to enroll. By the way, I have a number of wildland certifications from completing the Northern Nevada Fire & Rescue Academy at my local community college. So even with that training, Cal Fire wouldn't even bother looking at me?

                        Thank you,

                        Robert

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                        • #13
                          (nnfra200302) I wouldn't go as far as to say they won't even bother looking at you, but it's a disadvantage. What guys/gals get in the standard Fire 1 academy is essentially the same thing, with a few additions throw in that are specifically tailored to what Cal Fire does. Judging by the seasonal testing process last year, it definitely seemed that Cal Fire was far more impressed by a Fire 1 academy, then by any piece of paper with a 67 on it. Also, if we are getting technical here, a Cal Fire "Firefighter 1," which is the seasonal position, is an 18 and breathing type job. If you've got a pulse and a drivers license, in theory, you should be able to put in your app and have just as good of chance at getting hired as the next schmuck. Although of course we all know that's far far from the truth. At the end of the day you're best bet is to toss your app into the mix and see what happens. Worst that can happen is they don't call you back and in that case you're no worse off then you were before you applied. If you happen to get an interview, that's experience towards the future and after that getting hired is a real possibility. You never know......

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by cpsuhulk View Post
                            My cousin has been full-time with Cal Fire for about 5 years, they still run 4 person engines. They may be experiencing some budget shortfalls, and if so they'll be reducing to 3 person crews and my not hire any seasonal ff's. Also you MUST take Cal Fires 67 hour academy. "They won't even look at you if you don't have it." His words.
                            I work for Cal Fire as a 4th-year seasonal. In my unit, if you get hired as a new firefighter, we put you through a 69-hour wildland course, even if you already have had one. My buddy paid for and took a 69-hour wildland class before starting work here, and they made him do theirs.

                            Basically, our policy is that all new hires, no matter what their background, have to take our 69-hour wildland course no matter what. Getting hired has nothing to do with having that class.

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                            • #15
                              Job Huntin'

                              Johnny Sf and Box don't worry there are plenty of guys just like you. I have 4 seasons with CAL FIRE, almsot done with medic school, have technical rec ue classes, and alot of state fire marshall classes and I feel your pain. CAL FIRE recently flew the engineer's exam and the firefighter II exam will be flying next month. Hopefully these exams will open up some seasonal spots for you. I have been working my *** off to get where I'm at and I'm only going to work harder. I get alot of people asking me what they need to do to get a job (alot of cops ) and I will give you the same advice. Firefighter 1 academy, EMT certification, volunteer/explorer time as a firefighter(get your name associated with some department and meet some guys in the business), time on the box (I know it sucks but that is what would be helping me out right now). Need advice with cal fire just PM me.

                              Good luck brotha

                              firstdue52

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