Wildland Firefighter setting fireline on dry grass

Wildland Firefighter

GS-0456

Position Overview

The Department of the Interior has a critical job to do helping to protect lives, property, and resources from destructive fires. The individuals who support DOI’s wildland fire management efforts serve in a wide variety of roles, including understanding and monitoring fire conditions and behavior; pre-attack planning; preventing and suppressing damaging fires; controlling smoke; loading helicopters; and managing movement of people, equipment, and resources to support firefighting. 

This position is represented at the following bureaus

Bureau of Indian Affairs
Bureau of Land Management
National Park Service
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Candidate Description

The ideal candidate has a strong interest in protecting public lands and resources from the devastating effects of fire, whether on the ground monitoring weather patterns, cutting firebreaks or supervising firefighting team operations. Teamwork is extremely important. Front line firefighting requires being adaptable to all varieties of weather, dust and smoke, long hours, uncomfortable living conditions, and unpredictable situations, so endurance, attention to detail, problem solving skills and superior physical conditioning are absolutely necessary. 

Specialty Areas

  • Aviation 
  • Fire Engine Operation 
  • Fire Management Officer 
  • Fire Management Planning 
  • Fuels Management 
  • Helitack 
  • Hotshot Crews
  • Prevention 
  • Smokejumper 

Work Environment

You could spend a great deal of time in forests and other remote environments with rocky and/or steep terrain covered with vegetation where temperatures can vary from above 100 degrees F to below freezing. 

Minimum Education Requirements

Please see the National Interagency Fire Center position-specific standards. 

Please see the GS-0456 Qualification Standard. 

Career Level Requirements

Responsibilities by Level

  • Entry:

    • Construct firelines 
    • Chop brush 
    • Fight fires as a member of a firefighting unit 
    • Load helicopters 
     

  • Mid:

    • Lead wildland firefighters and implement firefighting tactics
    • Gather and analyze weather and fire data 
    • Plan and carry out prescribed burns to protect the landscape 
    • Train staff 
     

  • Journey:

    • Implement wildland fire strategies to meet resource goals
    • Develop action items and recommendations on fire management issues 
    • Assess and coordinate onsite activities and react to changing conditions 
    • Train staff 
     

  • Senior:

    • Supervise fire management staff 
    • Plan and approve actions for fire management issues 
    • Assess and coordinate onsite activities and react to changing conditions 
    • Evaluate staff 

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Strengths by Level

Entry 3-5
Mid 6-7
Journey 8-10
Senior 11-14
  • Accountability
    Holds self and others accountable for measurable high-quality, timely, and cost-effective results. Determines objectives, sets priorities, and delegates work. Accepts responsibility for mistakes. Complies with established control systems and rules.
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    Entry 3-5
    Mid 6-7
    Journey 8-10
    Senior 11-14
  • Conflict Management
    Manages and resolves conflicts, grievances, confrontations, or disagreements in a constructive manner to minimize negative personal impact.
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    Entry 3-5
    Mid 6-7
    Journey 8-10
    Senior 11-14
  • Decision Making
    Makes sound, well-informed, and objective decisions; perceives the impact and implications of decisions; commits to action, even in uncertain situations, to accomplish organizational goals; causes change.
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    Entry 3-5
    Mid 6-7
    Journey 8-10
    Senior 11-14
  • Oral Communication
    Expresses information (for example, ideas or facts) to individuals or groups effectively, taking into account the audience and nature of the information (for example, technical, sensitive, controversial); makes clear and convincing oral presentations; listens to others, attends to nonverbal cues, and responds appropriately.
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    Entry 3-5
    Mid 6-7
    Journey 8-10
    Senior 11-14
  • Organizational Awareness
    Knows the organization's mission and functions, and how its social, political, and technological systems work and operates effectively within them; this includes the programs, policies, procedures, rules, and regulations of the organization.
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    Entry 3-5
    Mid 6-7
    Journey 8-10
    Senior 11-14
  • Physical Strength and Agility
    Ability to bend, lift, climb, stand, and walk for long periods of time; ability to perform moderately heavy laboring work.
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    Entry 3-5
    Mid 6-7
    Journey 8-10
    Senior 11-14
  • Planning and Evaluating
    Organizes work, sets priorities, and determines resource requirements; determines short- or long-term goals and strategies to achieve them; coordinates with other organizations or parts of the organization to accomplish goals; monitors progress and evaluates outcomes.
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    Entry 3-5
    Mid 6-7
    Journey 8-10
    Senior 11-14
  • Problem Solving
    Identifies problems; determines accuracy and relevance of information; uses sound judgment to generate and evaluate alternatives, and to make recommendations.
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    Entry 3-5
    Mid 6-7
    Journey 8-10
    Senior 11-14
  • Resilience
    Deals effectively with pressure; remains optimistic and persistent, even under adversity. Recovers quickly from setbacks.
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    Entry 3-5
    Mid 6-7
    Journey 8-10
    Senior 11-14
  • Stamina
    Exerts oneself physically over long periods of time without tiring (which may include performing repetitive tasks such as data entry or coding).
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    Entry 3-5
    Mid 6-7
    Journey 8-10
    Senior 11-14
  • Teamwork
    Encourages and facilitates cooperation, pride, trust, and group identity; fosters commitment and team spirit; works with others to achieve goals.
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    Entry 3-5
    Mid 6-7
    Journey 8-10
    Senior 11-14
  • Technical Competence
    Uses knowledge that is acquired through formal training or extensive on-the-job experience to perform one's job; works with, understands, and evaluates technical information related to the job; advises others on technical issues.
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    Entry 3-5
    Mid 6-7
    Journey 8-10
    Senior 11-14
  • Writing
    Recognizes or uses correct English grammar, punctuation, and spelling; communicates information (for example, facts, ideas, or messages) in a succinct and organized manner; produces written information, which may include technical material, that is appropriate for the intended audience.
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    Entry 3-5
    Mid 6-7
    Journey 8-10
    Senior 11-14