July 22, 2014       

North Star Fire Crew

The Bureau of Land Management-Alaska Fire Service (BLM-AFS), is recruiting interested individuals for participation in the North Star Fire Crew Program for the upcoming fire season which runs from mid-May through mid-August.

The North Star Fire Crew is designed to achieve the following goals: provide an experienced pool of potential recruits for the Alaska Fire Service Hotshot crews; provide entry level positions into the Alaska Fire Service for individuals with limited or no fire experience; provide Alaska Fire Service with an additional quick response hand crew; and provide Alaska natural resource agencies a low cost, labor intensive crew for project work.


Applicants will be selected on the basis of those who best meet the objectives and needs of the North Star Fire Crew and of the BLM Volunteer Program. The attributes that the program emphasizes are positive attitude, strong work ethic,and willingness to learn. Fire experience is not required to be considered for the North Star Fire Crew.

Housing and meals will be provided at no cost to crew members from commencement until the crew is disbanded. While in Fairbanks, housing will be in barracks rooms and meals will be in the BLM Dining Hall. While in the field, housing will consist of a tent, meals will be field rations. Crew members can expect to be living under primitive field conditions for weeks at time.

Crew members should be in top physical condition. Work on wildfires will be of a hard, physical nature; 16 hour shifts for weeks at a time is the standard. Work will be outdoors in conditions of heat, cold, wet, wind, dust, and smoke.

Crew members will be trained and utilized as wildland firefighters. While on fires, crew members will be paid AD-C Emergency Firefighter wages (approximately $17.40 per hour). Throughout the fire season time spent on wildfire will vary according to each particular season. Time on fire can range from 2 to 11 weeks. The amount of paid/fire time is not guaranteed.

When not on fires, project work will be performed on a volunteer/non-paid basis.

Project work will consist of a variety of conservation and resource enhancement projects such as trail construction and rehabilitation, pre-commercial thinning, slash disposal, and building maintenance or construction. While on project work, work hours may be up to 16 hours per day, 7 days a week.

The crew will consist of 16 crew members under the supervision of one crew boss, two squad bosses, and one saw boss. The supervisors will be regular AFS employees with experience in firefighting and crew supervision.

An initial 2 week training session will commence a week prior to Memorial Day each season at the AFS facilities on Fort Wainwright. A pool of candidates (approximately 28) will be instructed in basic fire fighting skills and techniques; use and maintenance of chain saws, hand tools, and portable pumps; basic air operations; and safety. Upon completion of the initial training a performance based selection will identify the 16 regular crew members. The remaining candidates will be utilized as alternates to facilitate crew needs.

On the first day of training the North Star Fire Crew candidates will take the physical training test. The North Star P.T. test conforms with The BLM Fitness Challenge standards which can be found at http://www.blm.gov/nifc/st/en/prog/fire/fireops/fitness challenge.html

The Hotshot and North Star crews strive for the gold standard (300 total points for the 4 exercises). The North Star Fire Crew will run the 1.5 mile run for the P.T. test.

The pack test will also be administered on the first day of training- 45LB PACK FOR 3 MILES IN LESS THAN 45 MINUTES. Passing this test is a mandatory condition of hire.

When not on fire assignment crew members are required to participate in an organized daily physical training program (about an hour each day). The following is a sample daily P.T. schedule:

1) 5 MINUTES OF FREE STRETCHING
2) 3 SETS OF 50 PUSH-UPS
3) 3 SETS OF 30 FLUTTER KICKS
4) 3 SETS OF 7 PULL-UPS OR 1-6 PYRAMID PULL-UPS
5) 3 SETS OF 7 BAR-DIPS OR 1-6 PYRAMID BAR-DIPS
6) 2 SETS OF 100 SIT-UPS
7) 3 SETS OF DOLLIES
8) 100 ABDOMINAL CRUNCHES OR BICYCLES
9) 3.0-7.0 MILE RUN (7-8 MINUTE/MILE PACE) OR 1 HOUR LONG HIKE (MINIMUM 15 MINUTE/MILE PACE)

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 hrs/day, 7 days/week.

A full season on the North Star Fire Crew will count as experience towards qualifying as a regular seasonal employee of AFS or other agencies.

All firefighting gear and equipment will be provided.

Crew members will be expected to provide their own personal clothing. The minimum clothing items required are listed below:

  8 inch top (minimum), lace-up, all-leather boots with Vibram soles (no nylon/ Gore-tex uppers or steel toes)
  Rain gear
  Warm jacket
  Space blanket (heavy duty type)
  Pants
  Shirts
  Extra socks (4-10 pr. cotton or wool work socks)
  Extra underwear
  Running shoes
  Physical training clothing
  Knit cap
  Watch

Transportation from home to Fairbanks and return to home must be provided by crew members. Transportation from Fairbanks to work sites and return to Fairbanks will be provided by the agency.

Who may apply? Any person, 18 years of age or older by commencement.
When to apply? Applications must be postmarked no later than April 1 each season.
How to apply? Applications may be printed out and sent to the address below (click on the link below to display/print the application).

  North Star Fire Crew - Application    

    BLM-Alaska Fire Service
    Alaska Hotshots-North Stars
    PO Box 35005
    Ft. wainwright, AK 99703-0005

  Ethnicity Letter    
  SF-181 Form    

Applications may also be obtained by contacting the following:

  E-mail the North Star Fire Crew Program or call 907.356.5665
(note: you may need to copy and paste   blm_afs_northstars@blm.gov   into your e-mail system if the above "mailto:" link does not work)


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