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U.S. Department of the Interior - Office of Wildland Fire
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Deployments to Major Incidents



Integrate imageHow, when, and how often are wildland firefighters deployed on major incidents? 


Although most wildland firefighters are hired for duty in a local area, once you are trained, you could be sent to a wildfire anywhere in the country.  When you start your job, you will be part of a crew or a module.  When a major wildfire begins to develop, numerous resources are ordered to respond to the emergency.  Your crew may be mobilized through the interagency resource dispatching system to respond to that incident.

Your supervisor will train you in mobilization procedures.  Generally, this means being prepared to be away from home for up to 16 days.  You will be expected to maintain a gear bag with your clothing, toiletries and other kinds of clothing and accessories needed for a stay in fire camp.  While you are on an assignment, your crew will have meals, transportation, and locations for sleeping.

How often you are sent on wildfire assignments or mobilized to other emergencies varies year to year and can also depend on the kind of crew you are assigned to.  Hotshot crews, for example, are assigned to fires more frequently than engine crews.  However, being dispatched to large fires outside of your home area is more the rule than the exception.  Many wildland firefighters enjoy the traveling they do as part of the job.