There are many frustrating things about the hiring process for wildland firefighting. Each agency has its own byzantine process, and their own, equally byzantine, timelines. And if you’re new to this world, it can be a little bit overwhelming. So in the interest in helping everyone out, this page is intended to collect, organize, and track the dates for key hiring events. The table below focuses on the hiring timelines for the different regions within the US Forest Service. As you can see, the dates differ across regions. Why is this? Geography and different fire regimes. You’ll notice that the Southeast (Region 8) has the earliest process. If you’re hired on, you might start as as early as December or January. The next region to on-board new hires is Region 3 (Arizona & New Mexico). Crews in the Southeast could start as early as March. And then most crews in the Pacific states and Rocky Mountain states on-board in May.
While we’ve done our best to collect as much data as possible, there are a few key dates missing. Use the contact form to send us any info and we’ll be sure to update this page.
Note: Dates in red indicate our best guess based on historical effective dates for that region.
Note 2: If you want more information about how the Forest Service breaks down regions, we have it for you here.
Oh, and before you send over an email saying, “You forgot about Region 7, you idiot”, it’s not included because it doesn’t exist. Why? Well, you can read the history here, but here’s the TL;DR version: Region 7 was the original “Eastern Region”, and over the years, through various restructurings, the lands associated with R7 were re-assigned to R8 and R9. And R7 ceased to exist.