BLM hiring 1,700 fire employees

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About 1,700 employees will be hired by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for firefighting and fire management positions over the next few months.

Roughly half the positions will be permanent, year-round jobs or career-seasonal jobs. The other half will be temporary seasonal, lasting up to six months.

"There will be many opportunities for current temporary seasonal employees to hold permanent full-time or career seasonal positions," said Larry Hamilton, director of BLM's Office of Fire and Aviation. "That will mean better benefits and more job security for them."

Individuals may apply for the temporary season positions via the Internet, at www.blm.gov. Those without Internet access can obtain application materials by calling the BLM's seasonal job line at (303)-236-6706. Temporary seasonal positions include fire crew members, engine operators and biology technicians. Beginning pay rates typically start at $8.71 per hour.

Permanent full-time and career seasonal positions are advertised on the Internet at www.usajobs.opm.gov. The BLM has already begun recruiting for some of the vacancies.

A sampling of the new permanent jobs include fire ecologists, archaeologists, fuel operations specialists and geographic information systems specialists. Pay varies according to the requirements of the position, and the experience and education of the individual.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens, 18 years of age or older, and may have to pass a physical fitness and/or drug test.

Legislation supported by President Clinton and passed by Congress increased budgets for the agencies with fire-management programs - BLM, the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service.

"We just finished one of the most difficult fire seasons in the last 50 years," Hamilton said. "The increased funding doesn't guarantee we'll be exempt from tough seasons in the future, but it does allow us to be as prepared as possible for whatever nature sends our way."

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