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2020 Helitack Firefighter (HECM)

at State of Washington

Posted: 11/15/2019
Job Status: Seasonal
Job Reference #: 2624807

Job Description

Overall Job Objective


 Seasonal Helitack Firefighter (HECM) Positions
Base of Operations –Wildfire Division (Tumwater, Yakima)
Exempt/Non-Represented. Seasonal (4-6 months)
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is currently recruiting for Helitack Firefighters to become members of Washington state's Helitack crew. Helitack personnel are based out of Yakima and Tumwater while providing state-wide aviation support for fires throughout the season. Helitack personnel primarily perform initial attack firefighting often in remote locations (accessed by helicopter) and support DNR's firefighting helicopter fleet. 
This is an excellent opportunity for motivated individuals who desire a career in natural resource management and wish to gain fundamental forestry experience through fire crew employment. Individuals must be willing and capable of acting responsibly, accepting direction, and performing strenuous outdoor work safely and productively, often in very hot environments. The experience and training gained as a Helitack Firefighter can form the foundation for a successful career in forestry and other natural resource professions. Hired applicants will receive S-271 (Helicopter Crew Member) and A-219 (Helicopter Longline Remote Specialist) trainings and will perform duties as such on and off the fire line under the direction of the Helitack Squad Boss. The duration of these positions is typically 4-6 months. 

The Location
One of the world's most scenic places, Washington State offers breathtaking discoveries for people who love natural beauty and outdoor recreation, from the Pacific Coast shores to the rugged Cascade Mountains to the rolling hills of the Palouse. Base of operations will be in Yakima or Tumwater Washington. Other possible locations thru fire suppression season could be Omak, Colville, Wenatchee, Mount Vernon and Vancouver area.
Crew housing is not available at either site, but rental options are available. Check out: or


SALARY RANGE:              
$2,572– $2,977 per month  ($14.78 to $17.11 per hour) 

  • Overtime is paid at the rate of time and one-half in excess of 40 worked hours per work week. For purposes of overtime administration, the agency work week begins at 0001 Monday morning and ends at 2400 Sunday night.
  • For all hours worked under the Incident Command System, $2.00 is added to an employee's regular hourly rate of pay.
  • Position is eligible for dental insurance.
Under the direction of a Helitack Squad Boss, the Helitack Firefighter is responsible for performing pre-suppression, fire prevention, and wildland fire suppression activities for the DNR and interagency partners. In addition they are expected to
  • Participate in statewide fire suppression activities for initial attack, extended attack, mop-up, patrol, and fire-line rehabilitation under the direction of the Helicopter Squad Boss. 
  • Perform Helicopter Crew Member (HECM) duties including Helispot and Helibase support.
  • Maintain accurate maintenance record books for support vehicles.
  • Operate agency vehicles in a safe manner throughout the state.
  • Ensure accurate Time and Activity Report (TAR), mid-month and end of the month as requested by supervisors.
  • Adhere to all crew and agency policies and follow the chain of command.
  • Take responsibility for the maintenance and upkeep of Helitack utilized facilities.
  • Perform general facility and compound duties.
  • Take responsibility for crew and equipment readiness to the expectations set forth by the DNR Helitack Program on a daily basis.
Many of the duties performed on these jobs require considerable physical exertion; working outdoors in all terrain and weather conditions, working long hours, and extended periods of time away from home. Duties include but may not be limited to the ability to carry up to 60 pounds, run, bend, twist, walk and/or climb. A work capacity test or "pack" test that measures the physical fitness of candidates is administered as part of the selection process. Candidates are required to pass at the "arduous" level for a firefighter crew member or natural resource worker position. Below is a chart describing what the work of a wildland firefighter may include:

Time/Work Volume:
  • long hours (minimum of 12 hour shifts or more)
  • irregular hours
  • shift work
  • multiple and consecutive assignments
  • pace of work typically set by emergency situations
  • living out of a backpack for 2 or more weeks
Physical Requirements:
  • using combi, Pulaskis, chain saws, and other hand tools to construct fire lines
  • lifting and loading boxes and equipment
  • driving/riding for long hours
  • flying in helicopters/fixed wing airplanes
  • working both independently and in teams
  • wearing PPE (hard hat, boots, eyewear, ear plugs, fire shelter, etc.)
  • extensive walking, climbing, hiking, kneeling, stopping
  • deploying and pulling fire hoses
  • providing rescue or evacuation assistance
  • very steep terrain
  • rocky, loose, or muddy ground surfaces
  • thick vegetation
  • down/standing trees
  • wet leaves/grass
  • varied climates (cold, hot, wet, dry, humid, snow, rain)
  • high elevations
  • heights
  • holes and drop offs
  • very rough roads
  • open bodies of water
  • isolated/remote sites
Physical Exposures:
  • light (bright sunshine, UV)
  • burning materials
  • extreme heat
  • airborne particles
  • smoke, fumes, gases
  • falling rocks and trees
  • allergens
  • loud noises
  • snakes, insects, poisonous plants
  • trucks and other large equipment
  • close quarters, same people, limited/disrupted sleep
  • hunger, irregular meals, dehydration
DNR provides fire crewmembers with required safety clothing and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Crew members are required to wear lace-up boots with Vibram soles and constructed entirely of heavy leather that extends a minimum of 8 inches above the heel cup (inside of boot). DNR will reimburse (as approved) up to $350 (with original receipt) for the cost of pre-approved boots. Other clothing, such as rain-gear, coats, hats etc., must be provided by the individual.
Job training will be provided for all firefighter positions at DNR.  This training will take place at on of the agency's fire academy.  The academy provides meals and lodging for all participants and has a duration of 7-14 days.


Required Qualifications:

  • Must be age 18 and possess a high school diploma or equivalent at the time of hire.
  • Must possess a valid driver's license and 2 years of driving experience. 
  • Acceptable driving record free of serious traffic violations (see application form below).
  • The ability to act promptly and use good judgment in emergencies, and interact with the public in a tactful manner.
  • Must pass the DNR work capacity test or "pack" test at the arduous level during the selection process and prior to starting work.
  • Fire Fighter 2 qualified.
Desirable Qualifications:

  • One or more seasons as a Helitack Fire Fighter or equivalent.
  • NWCG Fire Fighter 1 rated
  • Certified as Air Base Radio Operator (ABRO), Deck Coordinator (DECK), and/or Helicopter Crew Member (HECM)

For applicants meeting position qualifications and who may be considered for an interview, you will be required to provide a current Employment/Commercial driving record issued from every state you possessed a driver's license in during the last three years. Details on how to obtain this record from Washington State can be found on the Department of Licensing website at:  You will have two weeks (14 days) from the request date to provide the driving records. If you do not provide a copy of all driving records for the last three years within that two week period, your application will not be considered.  You may attach a current, 3 year (3 years from date of submission of the application, may not be an older copy) driving abstract to this application. 
  • A copy of your driver's license
  • Certificate of course completion for IS-700.b and ICS-100. General information about these courses is included in this announcement.
  • Completed Waiver and Release Form.
  • Completed Health Screening Questionnaire (HSQ). 
  • Employees must furnish proof of eligibility to work in the United States.
Firefighter Crew Member and Engine Leader candidates (regardless of work experience with DNR) who receive a contingent employment offer, must provide copies of their certificates of completion for these two courses prior to or on the day of the work capacity testing. Failure to do so will disqualify candidates for employment in these positions. If you have previously taken and received credit by DNR for these courses, you will not have to retake the courses or submit a certificate of completion.
During the DNR Work Capacity Testing for wildland Firefighters and Engine Leader, safety is of primary importance and concern. An element of safety is personal physical fitness and is important for co-worker safety, personal safety and health and for efficient fire line operations. The "Pack Test" is a work capacity test that measures aerobic capacity, muscular strength, and muscular endurance. Firefighters, strike team leaders, line scouts, and others assigned arduous duty must be prepared to work in steep terrain; and in extreme temperatures, altitude, and smoke-while maintaining reserve work capacity to meet unforeseen emergencies.
Firefighter and Engine Leader candidates must pass the arduous fitness level by completing a 3-mile walk with a 45lb pack in 45 minutes. The test is Pass/Fail only. Failure to pass will disqualify candidates for employment in these positions.
Prior to reporting for work, applicants are strongly encouraged to train for arduous level work capacity.  However, before you begin to train for testing or before substantially increasing your level of activity please review the health screening questionnaire (HSQ) and consult your health care provider if necessary.  You may contact DNR Recruiting at  for a copy of the HSQ.  

Supplemental Information


  • To be considered you must apply online at (Click on the APPLY button above)
  • You must attach the following:
    • A resume including the names of three to five professional references.
    • If available, a current Red Card
  • Carefully review your application materials before submitting. If you fail to submit the required documents, you may no longer be considered for the position by the supervisor.

Application Status – once you submit your online application, you can check your status by logging into your account.  Finalists for the position will be contacted by the hiring managers directly. 
Note: Finalists and/or interview candidates will be asked to provide a driving record issued from all states in which they have held a license during the past 3 years
Questions?  Please contact Callan Wilkins at (509) 607-3761/ or Will Dickinson at (509) 899-0767/ or e-mail us at

By submitting the application materials you are indicating that all information is true and correct to the best of your knowledge.  You understand that the state may verify information and that untruthful or misleading information is cause for removal from applicant pool or dismissal if employed. This announcement is published by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR). 
Washington State Department of Natural Resources is an Equal Opportunity Employer and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any kind.  We are committed to providing equal employment opportunities in a fair and impartial manner for all persons without regard to age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, creed, color, national origin, religion, genetic information, military status, or the presence of any sensory, mental or physical disability or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability.  Persons with a disability who need assistance during the screening process or those needing this announcement in an alternative format may contact DNR Recruiting staff (360) 902-1350 or (360) 902-1128.  DNR may be contacted using the Washington State Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) by dialing 711.
For more specific information about DNR Uplands Regions and how to contact those regions,
please visit