The Bureau of Land Management Alaska Fire Service (BLM AFS) is now accepting applications for the 2021 North Star Fire Crew.
Based at BLM AFS headquarters on Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks, the North Star Crew is a Type 2 training crew that provides fire suppression, hazardous fuel reduction, and project work services to the BLM and the interagency fire community in Alaska. It provides a pathway to become an Alaska Fire Service Hotshot.
Following two weeks of paid training, crew members will be issued Red Cards and become fire available. During the wildfire season crew members will learn the basic skills of wildland suppression.
The BLM AFS is looking for motivated individuals with a strong work ethic and willingness to learn. Prior wildland firefighting experience is not required but candidates must meet specific fitness requirements to be eligible. Although an entry level crew, overhead positions are held by current Alaska Fire Service hotshots and the program maintains high standards. Crew members who excel may have the opportunity become an Alaska Fire Service Hotshot during the fire season.
An initial two-week training session will commence approximately a week prior to Memorial Day at the BLM AFS campus on Fort Wainwright. A pool of approximately 25 candidates will be instructed in basic firefighting skills and techniques; use and maintenance of chain saws, hand tools, and portable pumps; basic air operations; and safety. Throughout this two-week training period physical raining will occur daily. Upon completion of the initial training, a performance-based selection will identify the 16-18 regular crew members. The remaining candidates will be utilized as alternates to facilitate crew needs. Both alternates and crew members receive free housing and meals at BLM AFS on Fort Wainwright.
Crew members must be able to work the entire season (mid-May through mid-August) and will be expected to be ready and available for fire calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Crew members are paid while on fire assignments but serve as volunteers when not on assignment. Volunteer work may consist of conservation and resource enhancement projects such as fuels reduction work and construction of shaded fuel breaks.
The application deadline is April 1. More information about the crew and application process can be found on the BLM AFS website at http://afs.ak.blm.gov/fireops/fire-operations/north-stars.php