Your success in our program begins with being thorough. This website was designed to answer many questions applicants have about Lolo IHC, our history, and supporting information. The manner in which you respond and provide supporting documentation is our first glimpse into your thoroughness. READ the following pages and respond appropriately.
With over 200 temporary applicants seeking 1-3 temporary positions it is imperative you communicate with the senior staff at Lolo IHC. Communication goes beyond sending an email with a recruitment form. We typically start conducting interviews at the conclusion of the season (mid-to-late October).
Applicants often ask what experience/qualities we seek for first year crewmembers? We begin our tiering process with experience in wildland fire. Experience includes district or park (crew, engine, fuels) or aviation (helitack, rappel) time that will greatly benefit you and your transition into hotshot life. We look at the quality and length (number of seasons) of experience and if the applicant operated chainsaws during fireline and/or project work. Being a hotshots places a considerable demand both mentally and physically. You must be able to understand the basic fundamentals of wildland fire operations to succeed as a hotshot. To get that understanding you need experience before arriving. Motivation is a top quality, but it only takes you so far in understanding operations. The Standards for Interagency Hotshot Crew Operations guide states all IHC's must have "at least 80% of the crew members with at least one previous season of fire experience." The majority of applicants have between 3-5 seasons of experience before arriving. Entry level qualifications vary across the board, but we do not hire based on qualifications alone. However, supplementary qualifications (EMT, HECM, FALB, FALC) and non-fireline (sewing, construction work, mechanical skills, welding) are useful skills in our day-to-day operations and will be taken into consideration during the selection process. If you have these skill sets please describe your proficiency in our recruitment form.
Applicant selection is based on the 'best fit for the team' and filling any experience gaps our crew needs for a particular season. Bringing an array of experiences (military, student athlete, work skills) contribute to your application. Adherence to the core values of duty, respect, and integrity weigh heavy on selection. Wanting to be a part of Lolo IHC and the unique set of our working principles is paramount.
In an attempt to gauge applicants and give you the opportunity to share your experiences, we generated a recruitment form that you will find below. Completed recruitment forms should be sent to Shawn Faiella, Superintendent (email@example.com) and Cody Forgea, Assistant Superintendent (firstname.lastname@example.org). When submitting the recruitment form please rename the file in the following format (your last name.24recruitment) e.g. smith.24recruitment. If you applied to both permanent and temporary positions please state on your recruitment form. Understand that permanent GS-5 applicants must meet minimum qualifications (FFT1 and S-290) at the time of hire.
After you send the recruitment form, await contact from Lolo IHC to set up a time and date that best fits our schedule for an interview (if needed). Please be considerate of our day-to-day workload and do not stop by unannounced. Given the applicant contact load post fire season it may take us several weeks to get a hold of you so be patient! We will not conduct an interview without a recruitment form.
2024 Lolo IHC Applicant Recruitment Form
Temporary and permanent applications will be submitted through USA Jobs (www.usajobs.gov). Vacancy announcement numbers are typically open from August to mid-October. Check our homepage "news" section for hiring developments, vacancy announcement numbers/outreaches, timelines, and general applicant information. Applicant selections for both permanent and temporary positions are typically finalized in December/January.
We cannot stress the importance of filling out our recruitment form (geared more for temporary applicants). When you submit your recruitment form you will be placed on an email roster. As information (dates, vacancy announcement numbers, hiring process, etc.) comes available we will get in contact with you via email.
The crew starts in mid-April and becomes available nationally after completing critical training (>40 hours) and a preparedness review. Subject to the severity of the fire season, the crew usually concludes its season in early October. We provide a service to the agency and taxpayers - when that service is complete our season will conclude. If project/district work is available (per funding) we will provide opportunities for temporary employees to remain on-board for additional work. There is no guarantee that this will be available.
Many applicants ask about being a student and how that may play into a season? First and foremost, new team members must attend critical training. It is imperative to our success that you be exposed to our SOP's, structure, and required training evolutions set forth in the Standards for Interagency Hotshot Crew Operations guide.
There is NO government housing available for Lolo IHC employees in Missoula. All employees are responsible for their own housing during the fire season. There might be shared rooms available at the Smokejumper base (about 15-minutes) away from the clubhouse. Arrangements in town and at the jump base are the responsibility of the employee. We can help furnish information regarding housing but it is up to the employee to find housing. During availability, we are required to mobilize within 2-hours of a resource order so take that into consideration when choosing a place to live (distance and cell phone coverage).
District Fire Experience
The Lolo Interagency Hotshots are housed in the Missoula Ranger District of the Lolo NF. Lolo IHC and district fire staff (Missoula, 9-Mile, Superior, Seeley, and Plains-Thompson Falls) closely work with another. We have developed a strong working relationship and many of the district supervisors were a part of Lolo IHC at some point in their career. Their input into our program is respected. On the district you can gain valuable, quality baseline experience in wildland and prescribed fire, mentoring, communication, and sawyer skills. Lolo IHC highly encourages applicants to reach out to the districts for employment as well.
Lolo IHC Alternate Program
The Lolo IHC has a strong alternate program where district fire staff (all 5 Lolo NF districts) selects an individual (s) to merge with the crew for a 2-week assignment. Alternates attend critical training at the beginning of the season to become acquainted with crew staff, operational tempo, expectations and SOP’s. Generally, alternates have worked a couple of seasons with the districts and have expressed interest in joining a hotshot crew. They show a commitment to shared core values, hard work, and safety on the fireline. Acquiring an alternate position is not a guarantee. It is granted through dedication to the district programs and development.