Plumas National Forest offers training for on-call firefighters; sign-ups this Saturday in Oroville

The Plumas National Forest will be holding training for on-call firefighters for the 2023 season in Oroville.  Training will be held during weekends in April and May.

Sign-ups to apply for the on-call crews and training will be Saturday, April 1 starting at 10 a.m. at the Feather River Ranger District office located at 875 Mitchell Ave. in Oroville.

Applicants can get information on what is needed for sign-up and what to expect by calling (530) 532-7438.

While the training is occurring in Oroville, on-call crew members are welcome from any of the communities in and around the Plumas National Forest.

The program offers flexibility for those who would like to try wildland firefighting and possibly start a career in the field.

“This is a great opportunity for students and others who have availability during fire season to go out on fire assignments as part of a 20-person crew,” said Plumas National Forest Deputy Fire Management Officer Marty Senter.

Applicants will need to be able to complete the arduous pack test, walking three miles on level terrain in 45 minutes or less with a 45-pound pack.  They must also participate in the full training which will be held Saturdays and Sundays in Oroville.

After successfully completing the training, applicants will be added to a roster and could be called on during the 2023 fire season.

On-call fire assignments may provide support locally or be dispatched on assignments outside of California, depending on the wildfire season.  Assignments are typically two weeks.

“The on-call crews help us increase our capacity and ability to provide wildland firefighters during incidents,” Senter said.

The program also provides the opportunity to gain experience for those who are interested in starting a career in wildland firefighting.

“This is great for training, experience and building relationships in the wildland fire community while trying out the job without a long-term, full season commitment,” Senter said.  “Crew members can get a feel of what the job would be like if they want to work on an engine or a handcrew and see if they would like to pursue a temporary or permanent seasonal position in the future.”

Each 20-person on-call crew is dispatched with up to five Forest Service firefighters who serve as bosses and mentors for the on-call crew members.  The Plumas National Forest can usually support two on-call crews at a time.

“While last season was less eventful, our communities have been affected by wildfire over the past several years,” Senter said.  “The on-call crews are an important resource for us, providing additional firefighters when we need them.”

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