2024 USFS Wildland Fire Academy Leader HP (PO-00736238)

The US Forest Service (USFS) Fire Corps is an intense Fuels Reduction Training program designed to introduce members to the rigors of the Fire & Fuels Program at the USFS.  During the program, leaders will train, live, and work as a pair of interns to start, and transition into a leader of a team to work on fuels mitigation and fuels reduction projects.  Leaders will be assigned to one of twenty-one priority landscapes in the wildland urban interface footprint to learn how different National Forests handle the challenges of wildfire mitigation in their respective ecosystems.  
Leaders will be expected to travel long distances between project sites, and live without electricity, running water, and/or cell phone reception for significant lengths of time.  This is an entry-level position with no previous experience required. The internship begins with 2 1/2 weeks of training that includes an orientation, Wilderness First Aid (WFA), and several certification courses in route to obtain a federally recognized fire qualifications card with the USFS. Members will also receive rigorous training in chainsaw operations to certify as basic fellers. The internship period will last roughly 11 weeks once complete with initial training period.

A second training period will be conducted at the start of your fuels crew period, after a unpaid time off period of 10 days, and will include SCA leader foundations to build and maintain healthy cultures on your team along with SCA Specific training towards self-care and personal wellness strategies. The fuels work period may be located at a different location than your internship period, and will last roughly 13 weeks.
Each leader is expected to engage in daily tasks to achieve mission and project goals as assigned by USFS personnel and SCA Staff. Communication is key to success and each member has their own responsibility to continually develop themselves in positive communication strategies.

Compensation Details:

  • One-time Travel Allowance: $1100 once (paid with first pay check)
  • Weekly living allowance: $600 / week during internship, with additional leader pay increased to $850/week once in fuels crew phase.
  • Housing provided at a USFS Bunk house or equivilant.
  • Meals provided or covered in living stipend.
  • Professional Development Opportunities: Wilderness First Aid, CPR, Chainsaw Certification, Firefighter Type II qualifications and federally recognized fire "Red Card"..

Arrival Airport:
TBD based on training location in California.

Training Location:
TBD in California

Program Dates:

Program Orientation – 03/04/2024 to 03/20/2024
Internship Period – 03/21/24 to 06/07/24

Break/Unpaid Leave – 06/08/24 to 06/16/24
Fuels Crew Period – 06/17/24 to 09/20/24

Project Locations:
There are multiple project locations.  Project placements will be determined upon arrival at SCA Corps Member Training. 

Potential Project Locations: (Please note: Project assignments will depend on partner priorities and other factors like weather.  Members will receive their project line up upon arrival at training.)

  • Various location across the Western US.
    • Please note that your internship and fuels crew locations may differ based on availability of host forests.

Fire Work:

This is not a firefighting position!  Members are not expected to take part in fire suppression activities (such as initial attack or mop up duties on an active fire) as an SCA member. Prescribed fire engagement can be expected during tenure.
Workdays can vary and may require long days and weekends. Fuels Reduction Projects demands a high level of fitness to work in difficult environmental conditions, including steep terrain, extreme temperatures, and altitude.

Training Provided

  • USFS Basic 40/Guard School
    • S-130 – Basic Wildlad Firefighting-Type 2
    • S-190 – Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior
    • L-180 – Basic Fireline Leadership
    • Pack Test
  • Basic Chainsaw Operation Training – S-212
    • A-Felling or opportunity to recert/upgrade a current Saw Certification
  • Wilderness First Aid
  • SCA Corps Member Training

Leader Responsibilities

  • Monitoring completion of project tasks as assigned; whether it is using a chainsaw, piling brush into burn piles, working with your team to move a large rock, or doing dishes.  Full engagement is expected in all work projects and community activities.  
  • Assist the team with meal planning, developing emergency response plans, and completing logistical tasks.  
  • Recording work totals and creating reports for agency partners.  
  • Interfacing with general public and partner organizations in a manner that reflects positively upon the crew, organization, and agency.  
  • Participating in daily workflow, group physical fitness activities, and arduous daily tasks, speaking up when something is not right, and maintaining a solution-focused mindset to achieve crew objectives. 

Leader Qualifications

  • Commitment to living and working within an intensive crew environment.  
  • Desire to do manual labor in all weather conditions, including wind, rain, extreme heat, extreme cold, and extremely pleasant days.  
  • Passion for the outdoors  
  • Eligibility to operate an SCA vehicle 
    • Be a minimum of 21 years old 
    • Possess a current and valid driver’s license, 
    • Have a minimum of 3 years of State authorized driving experience 
    • Pass a comprehensive motor vehicle record check 


  • Backpacking experience
  • Community service experience
  • Experience with operating a chainsaw safely
  • Valid driver’s license and clean motor vehicle record
  • Ability to live in a multi-gendered living space, sharing common spaces and communal meal settings.

*For SCA's COVID-19 guidance, please refer to www.thesca.org/covid  

For Members who have accepted this position (Please click on the links below to review the steps you need to take to prepare for your position)
Preparing for your Corps Team Position
Onboarding for Your Corps Team Position
Fire Corps Team Gear List

SCA: Since 1957

Position ID: PO-00736238

Expected Dates: March 4, 2024 - September 15, 2024

Various Locations/Western US
, CA

Training Provided: Red Card (S-130, S-190, L-180, Pack Test) and S-212 Chainsaw Training provided by USFS SCA Corps Member training provided by SCA Wilderness FIrst Aid provided by SCA contracted Medical training Provider

Educational/Recreational Opportunities: Members will have the ability to interact and network within the USFS where assigned. Exploring the vast resources wthin commuting distance during off-time is encouraged to appreciate the vastness of conservation in your given assignment area.

Main Area of Focus: Natural Resources Mgmt

Further Details

AmeriCorps Eligible: Not Eligible

Driving Logistics: Recommended

For personal / off time during internship period.

Housing or Stipend Provided?
A. Partner will provide suitable housing for the member

Indoor/Outdoor: Outside

Student Conservation Association