BLM hiring for wildland firefighting positions

Smoky the Bear wants you for the wildland firefighting team, that is.

That's basically the message the Bureau of Land Management is broadcasting as it searches for qualified individuals to fill a variety of firefighting jobs, with a majority of the positions being located on the Western Slope. The BLM needs to fill positions for dispatchers, fire mitigation specialists, fire engine foremen and crew, ground crew members, and the Hot Shot personnel soon to be stationed in Moffat County.

"These hirings are to expand the program," said Lynn Barclay, public affairs specialist and fire information officer for the Little Snake Resource Office of the BLM. "We found out last summer, when we experience fires of that scale, fires of that intensity, we found out we needed more bodies."

The Department of Interior allocated $1.8 billion to add firefighting personnel and equipment. A portion of the money will be used for the expansion of the firefighting personnel and the purchase of new equipment in Moffat County.

"We are looking to hire locally as much as possible. The BLM is very interested in hiring from the local communities, including entry-level positions on the Hot Shot crew," Barclay said.

As for the coming fire season, the picture will be clearer after meetings this weekend and next week, but Barclay said crews are already active in Florida on fire assignments.

New positions will be advertised every two weeks on the Internet at: http://www. usajobs.opm.gov/a9blm.htm.

Any BLM office should have a computer to allow for public access to the Internet, and there will also be job announcements and applications at BLM offices, according to Barclay.

The staggered release of announcements and applications to the BLM offices will coincide with the electronic announcements.

Most positions will include health and life insurance, vacation benefits and a retirement plan. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, 18 years or older, and may have to pass a physical fitness and/or a drug test.

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