Wildfire Fighters

The BC Wildfire Service employs approximately 1,000 wildfire fighters each year. In order to become a wildfire fighter with the BC Wildfire Service applicants must show motivation, have a relevant skill set, complete two fitness tests and attend the BC Wildfire Service new recruit boot camp.


Becoming a BC Wildfire Service firefighter

Applications to become a wildfire fighter with the BC Wildfire Service during the 2017 wildfire season are no longer being accepted. The deadline to apply was January 15, 2017. 

Prospective applicants for the 2018 wildfire season may wish to review what the application process entailed for this year's intake of firefighters. Alternatively, numerous contract companies may still be hiring firefighters for this fire season, so you may wish to consider approaching one of the companies approved to provide firefighting services to B.C.

Application

Applications must be completed and submitted online, through the link below. Paper applications will not be accepted. The online application consists of a questionnaire with space for the applicant to paste a copy of their cover letter and resume.

First aid requirement

All applicants must possess a first aid certificate recognized in the B.C. workplace. The minimum requirement is an acceptable Level 1 or Level 2 first aid certificate and a Transportation Endorsement, or an acceptable Level 3 certificate, or Paramedic in Industry certification. First aid certificates must be valid until September 30th of the fire season for which the applicant has applied.

For more information on accepted first aid tickets in the British Columbia workplace please see WorkSafe BC Accepted First Aid Certificates.

Applications without appropriate first aid documentation will not be considered.

Preferred qualifications

The following qualifications will be considered:

  • Resource or wilderness work experience
  • Resource training; post-secondary training in Forestry, Resource Management, Earth Sciences etc.
  • High level academic or fitness achievements
  • WorkSafe BC recognized OFA Level 3 valid through to September of the year of application
  • Valid British Columbia Forest Safety Council BC Faller Certification or ENFORM Oil & Gas Faller Certification
  • Class 5 (or higher) driver’s license

It is the responsibility of candidates to clearly identify how they meet the preferred qualifications. The recruiting team may also screen applications on criteria not listed above.

Interview and Fitness Assessment

Applicants who successfully pass the screening phase will be invited to an interview and fitness assessment. The interviews and fitness assessments are held at selected locations throughout the province in February of each year. Actual interview dates and locations will be listed on the application.

The interview consists of a series of behavioural competencies (PDF) and situational and technical questions relation to fire fighting. The fitness consists of the Leger 20 metre shuttle run test and the score from this is added to the applicant’s interview score.

Both the interview and fitness assessment must be attended in person in order to be considered for New Recruit Boot Camp.

New Recruit Boot Camp

Applicants who score well in the interview and fitness assessment will be invited to New Recruit Boot Camp (NRBC). Typically three, one week-long boot camps are held in Merritt starting in mid-April. Annually between 150 and 200 candidates are invited to boot camp depending on the number of vacancies on BC Wildfire Service fire crews across the province.

During NRBC candidates must meet the pre-employment fitness standard which consists of the nationally recognised WFX-Fit test. This test is a pass or fail test and unsuccessful candidates will not be allowed to continue with the NRBC. In order to be part of this test candidates must bring a completed Physicians Release Form (PDF) and present it to the fit test appraiser. 

At NRBC the following courses are taught:

  • Wildfire Service Overview
  • Fundamentals of Fire fighting
  • Portable Pumps and Water Deliver Systems
  • Burning Off and Backfiring
  • Heavy Equipment
  • Chainsaw Operations
  • Wilderness Survival
  • Human Factors
  • Fireline Communications
  • Helicopter Safety
  • Fire Weather
  • Incident Command System
  • Safety and Wildfire Entrapment
  • Navigation

After NRBC, successful candidates will be offered a position on one of the fire crews in the province. A first year fire fighter can expect to work until the end of August with the chance of being offered an extension depending on the fire conditions and activity.

Timeline

The recruiting process can be quite lengthy, running from the application deadline in January, to a possible boot camp invite in April and job offer by mid-May. The BC Wildfire Service makes every effort to keep candidates informed on their status during this time, by email and phone, but it is an applicant’s responsibility to ensure that their contact information is current throughout the process. If an applicant is no longer being considered the BC Wildfire Service will advise the applicant directly, as soon as possible.

The general timeline for the recruiting process is:

  • Mid-November – online applications open
  • Mid-January – application deadline
  • February – interviews at various locations in B.C.
  • Mid-March – invitations to new recruit boot camp
  • Mid-May – job offers

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is the online application the only way to apply?

A: Yes, all applications are received on behalf of the BC Wildfire Service by the BC Public Service Agency. The application process consists of creating a profile, filling out a questionnaire and uploading text versions of your cover letter and resume. To apply please look for the link posted in mid-November. Paper or faxed copies will not be accepted.

Q: Must I attend the interview and/ or fitness assessment in person?

A: Yes. Due to the large number of interviews and short timelines, both portions must be attended in person, at one of the designated locations during scheduled times.

Q: How do I know if my first aid ticket is accepted in B.C.?

A: The first aid tickets accepted in the British Columbia workplace can be found on the WorkSafe BC website.

Q: What if I cannot find my first aid ticket on the WorkSafeBC site?

A: It is likely that your ticket is not recognised by WorkSafeBC. To be employed by the BC Wildfire Service you must have a valid first aid ticket and transportation endorsement (or Level 3 first aid) which are recognised by WorkSafeBC. The BC Wildfire Service cannot consider your application without a valid first aid ticket(s). You will be asked to show proof of acceptable first aid or proof of enrollment in a recognised first aid course at the interview. Candidates must have successfully completed the first aid course prior to attendance at boot camp.

Q: How can I get feedback on my application or interview?

A: Due to the large volume of applications we are unable to provide individual feedback for applications. A candidate must clearly detail in their resume and cover letter any preferred qualifications they meet.

The interview panel may be able to provide general feedback from your interview when it is conducted but will not be able to tell you how well you did in relation to other interviewees.

Q: How can I update my contact information?

A: Please refer to the instructions on the application site to update your contact information.

Q: How many applications do you receive and how many jobs are there?

A: On average the BC Wildfire Service receives 1000-1500 applications each year. The number of jobs changes from year to year, ranging from 100 for a slow year, to over 200 for a high turnover year.

Q: Do I get to choose where I want to work?

A: Recruitment and crew allocation is a provincial process and applicants should expect to be placed on a fire crew anywhere in the Province when they apply. An applicant’s preferred work location is considered but there are often limited openings. Individuals can be asked to go another location or crew type that may not be their preference.

Q: Will accommodations be provided for me?

A: In most cases staff are responsible for finding their own accommodations near their work locations; local and returning staff and crew members may be able to assist you in finding accommodations. In a few locations staff housing is provided as an option either at no fee or a nominal cost these locations are: Alexis Creek (Unit Crew), Chetwynd (Initial Attack), Fort Nelson (Initial Attack) and Salmon Arm (Rapattack).

Q: I’ve missed the cut off for applying to BC Wildfire Service this season. Are there any other ways to become a wildfire fighter?

A: In addition to its own crews the BC Wildfire Service regularly calls on the services of contract crews to support the delivery of wildfire management in British Columbia. If you have missed the deadline for applying to be a wildfire fighter with BC Wildfire Service you may wish to consider approaching one of the contract companies approved to provide firefighting services to the province.

 


Becoming a contract wildfire fighter

In addition to its own crews, the BC Wildfire Service regularly calls on the services of contract crews to support the delivery of wildfire management in British Columbia. If you have missed the deadline for applying to be a wildfire fighter with BC Wildfire Service, you may wish to consider approaching one of the contract companies approved to provide firefighting services to the province: