Each year the Alaska Fire Service Smokejumpers will receive hundreds of applications. A Human Resource Specialist surveys all applications for the first time to ensure that the minimum requirements have been met.
Applications are then surveyed to pick out information on criteria that will be used for selection. The next step is to contact the applicant by phone for an interview. In the interview, the applicant’s experience level, physical fitness, and their reasons for applying are discussed in detail. Phone interviews with the applicant’s supervisors are also conducted to find out about work attitude, work performance, ability to effectively work with others, and ability to deal with a variety of stress factors. Applications are then rated on the following criteria:
- Length of Experience
- Quality of Experience
- Personal Interview
- Supervisor’s Recommendations
The above list is not in order of weight or priority. Any of the criteria may add or detract from the overall rating. Offers of employment to selected applicants are made by using the criteria above. All applicants will receive notification of their hiring status as early as February 1st, or as late as the middle of April.Requirements
Smokejumper positions are not entry-level firefighting positions.
Rookie candidates are expected to have basic firefighting skills and working knowledge of fireline tactics before they are hired. Previous parachute training is neither required nor advantageous. If you lack the required fire experience, you may want to consider applying for a position on an Interagency Hotshot crew, fuels crew, district helicopter or engine crew. These crews receive valuable experience in fire suppression work. There are numerous crews located throughout the United States with the majority being in the West. For specific information, contact your local Job Service, BLM or Forest Service office, or browse for seasonal jobs online at www.usajobs.opm.gov .
Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and U.S. citizens. To qualify for a GS-05, applicants must meet at least one of the following:
- 12 months of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-04 level duties: OR
- A 4-year course of study above high school leading to a bachelor's degree with either:
- a major study in forestry, range management or agriculture, OR
- a major in a subject-matter field directly related to the position; OR At least 24 semester hours in any combination of the following courses: forestry, agriculture, crop or plant science, range management, watershed management, soil science, natural resources (except marine biology and oceanography), outdoor recreation management, civil or forest engineering, or wildland fire science. No more than 6 semester hours of mathematics is creditable; OR
- A combination of education and experience that is directly related to the work of the position.
The Office of Personnel’s Management’s Qualification Standards Handbook (which lists the qualifications for this position and all other U.S. government positions and series) can be found in any Federal government personnel office or on the web at http://www.opm.gov/qualifications/index.htm .Personal Attributes Required
- Service Oriented: The Alaska Smokejumpers is a service organization dedicated to performing with excellence every time we are called.
- Self-reliance, Cooperation, teamwork: Smokejum ping demands both self-reliance, when the mission calls for largely independent action, and teamwork. Smokejumpers must be able to cooperate with firefighters and others from a multitude of agencies and backgrounds.
- Adaptability: Smokejumper candidates should realize that change, frequent travel, and uncertainty are part of the smokejumper job. Smokejumpers must adapt well to rapidly changing environments and situations, prolonged periods of intense fire activity, and periods of no fire activity.
- Attitude: A positive, “can do” attitude is essential.
- Physical Fitness: Smokejumper specific duties demand exemplary physical conditioning. Smokejumpers are required to maintain peak fitness due to the extreme physical demands of the job, all jumpers must be in excellent condition. It is not uncommon to construct fireline for 14 to 16 hours per day on a regular basis. Both strength and endurance are of the utmost importance. A medical examination is required for all first year smokejumpers.
The physical training (PT) test is administered on the first day of rookie training. The OPM Physical Fitness Standards for smokejumping are as follows:
- Run 1.5 miles in 11:00 minutes or less
- 7 pull-ups
- >45 sit-ups
- 25 push-ups
- Pack 110 pounds on level terrain in 90 minutes or less
- There is a maximum of five minutes rest between exercises.
In addition to the OPM Standards, the BLM Smokejumpers have established their own standards:
- Run 1.5 miles in 9:30 or run 3 miles in 22:30
- 10 pull-ups
- 60 sit-ups
- 35 pushups
- Pack 110 pounds on level terrain for 3 miles in 90 minutes or less.
The BLM Smokejumpers feel that these higher standards are better predictors of an individual’s potential for successful completion of rookie training. If you fail to complete the above tests you will be dropped from the program. For more information please see Smokejumper Training.
For more information please see: 2013 Rookie Smokejumper Application Information.