The Student Conservation Association (SCA) is the largest provider of hands-on environmental conservation programs for youth and young adults. This year, the SCA is teaming up with the U.S. Forest Service to confront the current climate-driven wildfire crisis by launching the inaugural SCA Wildland Fire Academy coming Fall 2023.
By joining forces, both the SCA and the Forest Service want to increase the number of women and people of color entering the field while also increasing the overall amount of trained wildland firefighters and fuels staff entering the profession. Those who are Black, Alaskan Native, American Indian, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic or any other racial minority are highly encouraged to apply.
The pilot program will include three Wildland Hazardous Fuels Reduction Crews made up of four crew members who will work alongside members of the Forest Service in California. The crews are responsible for vegetation management, including hazardous fuels reduction and restoration.
Fuels crews are crucial for preventing a wildland fire since varying plant materials can act as fuel, including grasses, shrubs, trees, dead leaves and fallen pine needles. As these burnable materials pile up, so do the chances of catastrophic wildland fires. In the right conditions, excess fuel allows fires to burn hotter, larger, longer and faster, making them more difficult and dangerous to manage, making it essential to have trained wildland firefighters and fuels staff at the ready.
The Forest Service has been managing wildland fires on National Forests and Grasslands for more than 100 years. As the wildland fire management environment has changed, there are now longer fire seasons, bigger fires, extreme fire behavior and more fires closer to residential areas.
The Wildland Hazardous Fuels Reduction Crews will work throughout the Pacific Southwest Region where the U.S. Forest Service manages 20 million acres of National Forest land in California and assists the State and Private forest landowners in California, Hawaii and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands. There are 18 national forests located in this region. The Pacific Southwest Region is commonly referred to as Region 5.
Find Your Adventure – Join The Crew.
Fall 2023 Western Wildland Hazardous Fuels Reduction Team Project Leader (California)
The SCA is seeking Project Leaders (age 21+) to supervise and train our Hazardous Fuels Reduction Team alongside the U.S. Forest Service across California. The team consists of crew members (age 18+) who are responsible for prescribed burning, fuels reduction or forest thinning projects. Project Leaders coordinate with agency partners (ex. U.S. Forest Service to plan and implement projects and with SCA staff to manage crew safety, performance, and logistics in the field. Project Leaders live and work with their crew for the duration of the season at remote locations, on diﬃcult and hazardous terrain, in varying weather conditions and under physically demanding circumstances. This is not a firefighting position, and crew members are not expected to take part in fire suppression activities. Field life is rugged, and members should expect to live without electricity, running water and cell phone reception. This is an alcohol and substance-free program.
Expected Dates: Aug. 28 – Nov. 23. Pay: $750-$850/wk.
Fall 2023 Western Wildland Hazardous Fuels Reduction Team Crew Members (California)
The SCA is seeking crew members (age 18+) for its Hazardous Fuels Reduction Team alongside the U.S. Forest Service across California. Crew members will participate in the Forest Service’s Region 5 Fire Corps Fuels Reduction Training program. This intense program is designed to introduce crew members to the rigors of the Fire & Fuels Program at the Forest Service. During the program, crew members will train, live and work with a team to work on fuels mitigation and fuels reduction projects. The team will be assigned to one of several National Forests across California to learn how professional Foresters handle the challenges of wildfire mitigation in varying ecosystems. This is not a firefighting position, and crew members are not expected to take part in fire suppression activities. Field life is rugged, and members should expect to live without electricity, running water and cell phone reception. This is an alcohol and substance-free program.
Expected Dates: Sept. 18 – Nov. 18. Pay: $600/wk.