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's New Recruit Boot Camp.


Becoming a BC Wildfire Service firefighter

Applications to become a firefighter with the BC Wildfire Service during the 2021 wildfire season are now being accepted. The deadline to apply is January 10, 2021.

 

2021 Application Process

BC Wildfire Service Statement on Recruiting Process Changes for 2021 Season:

Please ensure that you read through this page completely for all updates that are new to the 2021 BC Wildfire Service crew member application process.

The BC Wildfire Service continues to adapt to the changing conditions presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through public health authority guidance, the organization has implemented appropriate measures to protect employees and prospective employees, while ensuring emergency response preparedness. The goals of the BC Wildfire Service related to COVID-19 include keeping staff members and prospective staff members informed, reducing the risk of staff and applicant exposure to COVID-19, maintaining a supportive, healthy and resilient workforce, and adapting our operations and response to risk as necessary.

The BCWS Recruiting Team remains committed to developing a safe and effective application process for all staff and prospective staff involved. In order to achieve these goals related to COVID-19, the BCWS will be making some changes to the application and interview processes for the upcoming 2021 recruiting season. These changes are aimed at providing an inclusive, safe, and effective environment for our organization to complete the hiring process.

As the COVID-19 situation in our province continues to change, so does our application process with the aim of providing the opportunity for all potential applicants to participate in the process. What does remain the same is the online application process. If you are interested in a position with the BC Wildfire Service, please continue with your online application between the dates of November 15, 2020 and January 10, 2021. The BC Wildfire Service has made changes to the interview process. For further information please read the “Interview Process Changes for the 2021 Season” section below.

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.

Once you have submitted your online application, check this page for further updates on the interview and New Recruit Boot Camp (NRBC) process. Further updates will be posted by January 10, 2021.

The BC Wildfire Service Recruitment Team appreciates your patience and flexibility in the face of changing circumstance.

If you have any further questions, please email: FORWMBP.WMBRecruiting@gov.bc.ca

Access online application form

What you need to know before you apply

Are you eligible to apply?

Before you apply for a position, make sure you meet the eligibility requirements. All positions in the BC Public Service require that applicants are eligible to work in Canada. 

To be eligible to work in Canada, you must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada or authorized in writing to work in Canada under the federal Immigration Act. Eligibility to work in Canada is granted through citizenship, permanent resident status or a work permit.

You must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to accept a permanent job offer (unless stated otherwise in the posting).

If you have a valid temporary work permit, you may be eligible for temporary (auxiliary) work but only until your work permit expires or is renewed. For information on temporary work permit requirements, go to Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

First aid requirement

All applicants must possess a first aid certificate recognized in the B.C. workplace. The minimum certification options include:

  • an acceptable Level 1 or Level 2 first aid certificate and 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. You will be asked to show proof of acceptable first aid or proof of enrollment in a recognized first aid course at the interview.

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.

Driver’s license requirement

A valid Canadian driver’s license (equivalent to BC Class 7, 5) or a license that enables you to legally drive in Canada, is required for Initial Attack, Rappel, and Parattack.  A driver’s license is not required to apply for a fire crew position; however a valid Canadian driver’s license (Class 7, 5) is preferred for all crews.

Preferred qualifications

It is the responsibility of candidates to clearly identify on both their resume and application how they meet the preferred qualifications. Meeting all the preferred qualifications is not required, but an applicant should clearly demonstrate how they meet as many of the qualifications as they can. Generally, an applicant would be required to show strong examples in two or three of the preferred qualifications to be considered for an interview. The BC Wildfire Service is looking for applicants who have a well-rounded set of skills and experiences that show their ability to work well on a team, an ability to solve problems, comfort in the outdoors for extended periods of time, a willingness to work hard, and physical fitness and resilience.

The following qualifications may be considered (not in order of preference):

  • Previous experience on a BCWS fire crew (clearly outline dates, location and supervisor)
     
  • Post secondary forestry or resource management education (in progress or completed). This includes Canadian Forestry Accreditation Board (CFAB) accredited degree programs and Association of BC Forest Professionals (ABCFP) recognized diploma programs.
    • E.g. “Completed Vancouver Island University Forest Resources Technology Diploma” or “In third year of University of British Columbia Forest Resource Management Degree”
       
  • Other Resource Management education as recognized by the ABCFP Allied Science Forester in Training (ASFIT) Program (in progress or completed)
    • E.g. “Completed Thompson Rivers University Bachelor in Natural Resource Science degree” or “Currently in second year of University of Northern British Columbia Bachelor of Natural Resource Management program”
       
  • High level of fitness or sports achievements. The applicant is expected to demonstrate how their experience is above and beyond fitness or sports achievements obtained by the average applicant
    • E.g. Member of university team or higher, high-level hockey, soccer, baseball, football, or other sport pursuits
    • E.g. Awards for fitness or sport achievement
    • High school sports teams or university intramurals would not be considered a preferred qualification
  • High level academic achievements. The applicant is expected to demonstrate how their experience is above and beyond the level of academic achievements obtained by the average applicant
    • E.g. Full academic scholarship, major academic awards.
       
  • Previous wildland fire fighting experience with a government agency
    • Describe date(s) and location(s)
       
  • Previous contract crew wildland fire fighting experience
    • Describe company, dates, and number of days deployed
       
  • Forestry work experience
    • E.g. Logging, planting, fall and burn, silviculture, layout and probing
    • Be sure to include company, date(s), and location(s)
       
  • Other resource-based work and experience
    • E.g. Includes oil and gas work, mining, and farming
    • Clearly outline the scope, location(s), and date(s)
       
  • Extensive outdoor or wildness experience
    • Paid experience might include guiding ski patrol or outfitting/guiding, guardianship or stewardship roles
    • Unpaid experience should demonstrate an extensive background in outdoor exploits, understanding the environment, and local cultures
      •  Extensive experience on the land base through trapping, fishing, back country activities
  • Junior Fire Crew training or employment
    • Taken in some BC high schools as part of an endorsed work experience program
       
  • WorkSafe BC recognized OFA Level 3 valid through to September of the year of application
    • Please see above for mandatory first aid requirement
       
  • Valid British Columbia Forest Safety Council BC Faller Certification or ENFORM Oil & Gas Faller Certification
     
  • Volunteer Fire Department experience
    • Show number of years and relevant specific details, especially experience with wildfires
    • NFPA training alone would not be considered a preferred qualification
       
  • Mechanical aptitude or trades experience
    • E.g. Experience or training with small engine repairs

Interview Process Changes for the 2021 Season

As stated above, the first phase of the application process will remain the same. Potential applicants will submit an online application through the link “Access online application form” provided at the top of this page in order to be considered.

Applicants who successfully pass the screening phase will be invited to an interview. In order to provide a safe environment that reduces COVID-19 exposure through travel and in-person meetings, the BC Wildfire Service will be holding virtual Interviews for the 2021 recruiting cycle. The interview process will only involve a virtual interview and will not include a fitness assessment at the time of the interview. The BC Wildfire Service, through public health officials’ guidance, aims to develop a process that is safe, inclusive, and effective for both employees and applicants.

The interview consist of a series of behavioral competencies, situational and technical questions related to firefighting in B.C. Virtual interviews will be held during the following dates:

  • January 25 - 29, 2021
  • February 1 - 5, 2021

With moving our interview process to a virtual format, we will not be holding our initial fitness assessment that is completed during the interview process. Typically, this fitness assessment is added to your interview score to complete your final score. This assessment gives the BCWS and yourself an idea of your fitness level. Fitness is one of many skills involved in this type of work, and it is imperative candidates stay in good physical condition. If you are successful in the interview phase, you will be asked to complete the WFX-Fit test when you arrive at New Recruit Boot Camp. The test is a pass/fail assessment, and you will have one opportunity to pass this test. Failing to pass the test will result in you being removed from our recruitment process, and you will have to try again the following year. We stress that if you are invited to New Recruit Boot Camp after interviews that you come prepared both physically and mentally. We understand the application process is long and we want to ensure that candidates understand the fitness component so they can be prepared and successful.

New Recruit Boot Camp (NRBC) and WFX-Fit Test

Based on the crew member vacancy, top scoring applicants from the interview and fitness assessments will be invited to New Recruit Boot Camp (NRBC). In order to fulfil our direction of providing a safe recruiting process for all involved, the BCWS Recruiting Team will be delivering the NRBC experience in a new format. This format is in development and further information will be provided to successful applicants at a later date. The BCWS is assessing all aspects of the recruiting process in the face of the changing COVID-19 situation and Public Health Authority guidelines.

Although there will be changes to the NRBC format, what remains the same is that candidates must meet the pre-employment fitness standard, which consists of the nationally recognized WFX-Fit test. This test is a pass or fail test, and unsuccessful candidates will not be allowed to continue with the NRBC. Please review the WFX-Fit test overview linked above to ensure your understanding of the test, requirements, and programs available.

In order to participate in the WFX-Fit test, candidates must bring a completed Physician Release Form (PDF) and present it to the fit test appraiser. 

At NRBC the following courses are taught:

  • Wildfire Service Overview
  • Fundamentals of Firefighting
  • 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 firefighter 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.

General timeline for the recruiting process:

  • Mid-November – online applications open
  • Mid-January – application deadline
  • January-February – interviews at various locations in B.C.
  • Mid-March – invitations to New Recruit Boot Camp
  • May – job offers

Indigenous Applicant Advisory Service

The Indigenous Applicant Advisory Service is a new service available to Indigenous applicants (First Nations [status or non-status], Métis, or Inuit) seeking to work in the BC Public Service.

Indigenous applicants interested in BC Public Service positions, including temporary assignments, auxiliary appointments, permanent part-time, permanent full-time, and expression of interest can receive high level advice and guidance on the hiring system and process.

At the link below, Indigenous applicants can find more information about how to access the advisory services:

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/careers-myhr/job-seekers/indigenous-applicant-advisory-service

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: Historically, yes. Due to the large number of interviews and short timelines, both portions have been attended in person at one of the designated locations during scheduled times.

For the 2021 recruiting process, the BC Wildfire Service is assessing various options to complete the interview and fitness assessment in a safe and efficient manner. Due to the changing circumstance COVID-19 presents, the interview process will be hosted in a virtual format, so you will not be required to attend an in-person interview or fitness assessment. 

The WFX-Fit test remains a pre-employment standard. Although you will not participate in a fitness assessment as part of the interview process, successful applicants will be required to pass the WFX-Fit test at NRBC to be eligible to continue with the training and further employment. You will be removed from the competition if you are unsuccessful after one attempt and will have to re-apply the next year. It is recommended that you review the WFX-Fit test standard to gain a better idea of the test, fitness requirements, and training programs available.

The BC Wildfire service continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation and will provide further updates on this page in regard to our interview and fitness assessment process and dates. Please check this page on January 10, 2021, for further updates.

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 recognized 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 recognized 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 recognized 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 low 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 include: Alexis Creek (Unit Crew), Chetwynd (Initial Attack), Fort Nelson (Initial Attack), and Salmon Arm (Rapattack).

Q. How do I apply for Parattack?

A. Parattack applicants must have at least 1 season of wildland fire fighting experience to be considered. Apply by emailing them your cover letter and resume: BCWS.PGFCParattackRecruiting@gov.bc.ca  We recommend that you also apply on the Fire Crew Member application, but this is not mandatory. On the application, be sure to select ‘yes’ to the question asking if you are also applying to Parattack. Further questions can be directed to the Parattack Recruiting email.

 


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:

Find approved contract companies