Wildfire Crews

Wildfire crew members in smoke filled clearing running towards helicopter with door open

Fighting forest fires is a demanding but rewarding experience. Only people who believe in teamwork, safety and a dedication for fitness will be considered for positions.

Because employees' safety is the utmost concern, intense training programs must be successfully completed prior to applicants' being hired.

There are several types of wildland firefighting positions, and all interested candidates must successful pass a medical screening and physical fitness test.

Salary Range: $21.08 - $25.95 per hour
Deadline for application: November 30, 2016

Wildfire Crews

Unit Crew (UNIT)

Unit crew group in front of wildfire helicopter

Employment Opportunity

The Unit Crew (UNIT) program provides the right individual with a unique opportunity to work as a team member on a 20 person unit crew. It offers the chance to travel and work in different locations and remote areas of the Province, while assisting in preserving Alberta's natural resources.

Unit Crews are considered sustained action crews, who are specifically utilized to contain and completely extinguish fires. The position is both physically and mentally challenging, bringing with it a feeling of personal satisfaction and accomplishment.

Members must maintain a state of good health and physical fitness to endure the rigorous training and, at times, arduous working conditions.

Prior to training camp, all candidates must have, and be able to provide proof of, a valid Standard First Aid certificate with CPR, a driver's license, a defensive driving certificate and a valid high school diploma or equivalent.

Salary Range: $21.08 - $25.95 per hour
Deadline for application: November 30, 2016

Read more about the program from:

Updated: Aug 9, 2016

Helitack (HAC)

Helitack crew members with axes in long grass

Employment Opportunity

The Helitack (HAC) program provides the right individual with a unique opportunity to work as a team member alongside people with similar interests. It offers the chance to see different and remote areas of the province and to assist in preserving Alberta's natural resources.

The position is a challenging one, bringing with it a feeling of personal satisfaction and accomplishment.

Members must maintain a state of good health and physical fitness to endure the rigorous training and at times arduous working conditions. The fitness standard reflects the very real dangers that accompany firefighting. On a fire, a high-energy output over extended periods is normal, and good physical conditioning helps mitigate the risk of fatigue related accidents.

Prior to training camp, all candidates must have, and be able to show proof of, a valid standard first aid certificate with CPR, a driver's license, a defensive driving certificate, and a valid high school diploma or equivalent.

Salary Range: $21.08 - $25.95 per hour
Deadline for application: November 30, 2016

Read more about the program from:

Updated: Aug 9, 2016

Rappel (RAP)

Rappel crew members with parachutes sitting onboard plane waiting for jump

Employment Opportunity

The Helitack-Rappel (RAP) program presents the right individual with a unique opportunity to work as a team member alongside people with similar interests. It offers the chance to see different and remote areas of the province and to assist in preserving Alberta's natural resources.

The position is a challenging one, bringing with it a feeling of personal satisfaction and accomplishment.

Medium-weight helicopters carry particular weight and safety requirements. For this reason, individuals accepted into the program can weigh no more than 180 pounds (82 kg). Members must maintain a state of good health and physical fitness in order to endure the rigorous training and at times arduous working conditions. The fitness standard reflects the very real dangers that accompany both rappelling and firefighting. On a fire, a high-energy output over extended periods is normal, and good physical conditioning helps mitigate the risk of fatigue-related accidents.

Prior to training camp, all candidates must have, and be able to show proof of, a valid standard first aid certificate with CPR, a driver's license, a defensive driving certificate, and a valid high school diploma or equivalent.

Salary Range: $21.08 - $25.95 per hour
Deadline for application: November 30, 2016

Read more about the program from:

Updated: Aug 9, 2016

Firetack (FTAC)

Firetack crew in front of chopped trees

Employment Opportunity

The Firetack (FTAC) Program is a great opportunity for First Nation or Métis firefighters to further their wild land firefighting experience.

It offers members the chance to work and see the different areas of the province. Members must always maintain a good state of health and physical fitness to endure the rigorous training, and at times, arduous working conditions.

Recruitment and selection

Selection is done by a contractor in consultation with the local communities/settlements. Contact your local Wildfire Management Area Office to receive contact information for local contractors in your area. Contractors will provide their criteria for selecting candidates.

Each candidate must go through the medical screening and physical fitness test.

Fitness Training

Physical training is recommended four to six weeks prior to attempting the fitness test. For guidelines for training, see:

Who do I contact?

For more information on Firetack recruiting, please contact your closest area office:

Calgary 403-297-8800
Edson 780-723-8506
Fort McMurray 780-743-7125
Grande Prairie 780-538-5560
High Level 780-926-5400
Hinton 780-865-8200
Lac La Biche 780-623-5388
Peace River 780-624-6190
Rocky Mountain House 403-845-8266
Slave Lake 780-849-7429
Whitecourt 780-778-7265
Provincial Forest Fire Centre (Edmonton) 780-427-6807

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How much money will I make per hour?

    Respective employers determine rates of pay.

  2. Who is responsible for training firefighters?

    The contractor is responsible for the training of all crew members.

  3. What type of training is offered?

    • Crew members receive a two-week firefighting course from an approved training institution.
    • Crew leaders and sub-leaders receive an additional 10 days at the Hinton Training Centre
  4. What is the minimum grade required to pass the training?

    A minimum grade of 65 percent is needed to pass.

  5. When is the required training held?

    Courses are carried out at various times throughout the year.

  6. What do I need to bring to the training courses?

    Members are to bring their own sleeping bag, CSA-approved footwear, rain gear, running shoes, exercise clothing, adequate work clothing and personal items. Gear cannot weigh more than 45 pounds (20.4 kilograms).

  7. What do I need to bring on the job?

    Members are to bring their own sleeping bag, CSA-approved footwear, rain gear, running shoes, exercise clothing, adequate work clothing and personal items. Gear cannot weigh more than 45 pounds (20.4 kilograms).

  8. Will my duties only consist of firefighting?

    Firetack members are to be capable of performing work on other projects.

Updated: Sep 4, 2015

Application Process

Critical Dates

  • Application deadline – November 30, 2016
  • Fitness testing at Edmonton Expo Centre – January 7-8, 2017
  • Interview dates in Edmonton at the Provincial Forest Fire Centre– January 23-27, 2017

Updated: Aug 9, 2016

Crew Applications

Applications can be obtained from any provincial government office and must be postmarked no later than November 30, 2016. Indicate on your application which crew you are applying to. Please provide your top three (3) Wildfire Management Area (WMA) locations on your application form.

In case of a postal strike, your application, with or without a resume, can be dropped off at the nearest government office. Please ensure you have the appropriate address.

NOTE: Only successful candidates will be contacted (initially by email and then by phone) to schedule fitness testing/interview time slots.

We thank all applicants for their interest; however, only individuals selected to proceed to the next hiring stage will be contacted. Due to the large volume of applicants, we regret that we cannot confirm that our office has received resumes. Applicants who apply online will receive an email acknowledging receipt of their application.

If you apply by fax or by email, please DO NOT send a duplicate by regular mail.

Your application or resume can be mailed, emailed, faxed, or dropped off. Please quote Competition Number RAP, HAC or UNIT.

Mail and drop off address:
Rappel Program / Helitack Program / Unit Crew Program
c/o Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
Forestry Division
9th floor, 9920 – 108 Street
Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2M4

Phone: (780) 427-6807
Fax: (780) 415-1509
Email: ESRD.WildfireEmployment@gov.ab.ca

Updated: Aug 9, 2016

Medical Screening

Before any physical fitness testing is conducted, all candidates must complete a Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q+) and sign an Informed Consent. Forestry Division reserves the right to request a medical examination based on the information provided in the PAR-Q+.

Updated: Sep 2, 2015

Physical Fitness Test

It is recommended that candidates train for four to six weeks prior to attempting the fitness test. Candidates may want to check:

Physical fitness is an integral part of the training, and certain levels of fitness must be maintained throughout the contract period. To ensure minimum fitness levels are being maintained, crews are tested throughout the season.

  • Fitness testing at Edmonton Expo Centre – January 7-8, 2017
  • Interview dates in Edmonton at the Provincial Forest Fire Centre – JJanuary 23-27, 2017

Updated: Aug 9, 2016

Wildland Firefighting Training

  • Member Session 1: March 30 – April 8, 2016
  • Rappel Session: April 7 – April 21, 2016
  • Member Session 2: April 25 – May 4, 2016
  • Member Session 3: April 26 – May 5, 2016
  • Member Session 4: April 29 – May 8, 2016

The wildfire crew member training course is held each year at the Hinton Training Centre in Hinton, Alberta. Job offers are extended upon successful completion of the training.

  • Instructors conduct continuous assessments of each candidate's attitude, competence, suitability, job knowledge, fitness level and ability to follow instructions
  • Training includes both theory and practical in subjects such as:
    • radio
    • equipment use and maintenance
    • map and compass reading
    • firefighting methods
    • fire weather/behaviour
    • helicopter safety
    • pump and power saw training
    • Workplace Hazardous Material Information System (WHMIS)
    • Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG)
    • bear safety
  • Candidates are subjected to stressful conditions with morning fitness classes at 0600 hours each day, seven days a week. There will be occasional evening lectures, written exams on fire theory, practical application and the use of firefighting equipment.
  • The candidate will gain basic knowledge, such as proper care and usage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and helicopter operations.
  • Safety is of the utmost importance. Anyone failing to display a safety-conscious attitude will not be accepted. The training is strenuous, and candidates will be assessed and selected in accordance to the above guidelines and to their suitability for the program.

Pending training completion, crew members will report to their respective Wildfire Management Area, where they will live and work together in strategically placed fire bases.

During a typical season, members may experience varied periods of fire action, which may include long days of sustained action on larger fire complexes. The remainder may include project work, proficiency training or deployment to other regions to assist with fire suppression.

Crews will usually have trailer/bunkhouse accommodations. In some cases, members may be expected to cook for themselves. Members can also be based in tent camps in remote locations and overnight on the fire line for up to 15 days in order to extinguish the fire. This may happen several times throughout a season.

Members are expected to supply sleeping bags, CSA-approved safety footwear, rain gear, adequate work clothing, running shoes, exercise clothing and personal items.

The employment period will vary depending on the location. The approximate period may be from April 1 to October 31 and may be extended depending on the fire hazard.

Due to the helicopter payload limitations, there may be a weight restriction for individuals accepted into the program.

Crews may be required to work a 15-day shift with six days off or a 10-day shift with four days off.

Crews will be expected to move and work throughout the province. Due to aircraft transportation limits, members are limited to 50 pounds (22.7 kg) of personal gear. This should consist of good leather work boots with 8-inch (20-centimetre) tops, safety toes, vibram style non-slip soles, work gloves and clothing, sleeping bag, rain gear, running shoes, exercise clothing and personal items.

Updated: Sep 3, 2015

 

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Updated: Aug 16, 2016