Wildland Firefighter Foundation
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
  • 04/18/2014
  • Klancy


I’ve called the local Interagency Dispatch, the BLM, and all the other organizations that scream for firefighters but when I ask them how to become one, they have all been completely inept to answer my question.

“So, I need a redcard, but where and how do I get one?”

They have absolutely no idea, but are happy to give me lots of numbers of state employment agencies that will give me other numbers and do anything but answer my simple question.

I’ve hunted online, but the net isn’t more helpful.

Do you have any recommendations for me?

The views expressed are not those of this site, this blog or its affiliated companies. By posting your comments you agree to accept our terms of use.

  1. Waverly
    June 6, 2014 Reply

    Sounds quite typical in this day and age. “We need help and we need it now!”, yet they won’t hire you because of all of the bureaucratic bullshit that not even they know how to get through. Good luck, the whole god damned country is like this.

  2. Ryan
    July 2, 2014 Reply

    Try searching for a wildland fire academy in your area. If you can get into one, that’s a great way to get the necessary courses to start you off, and get a red card. Unfortunately without a fire employer you’d have to pay for it yourself, but you’d get great networking there.

  3. Nathan
    July 13, 2014 Reply

    I’m going through the same thing. The best answer I got for “who can sponsor me for a red card and what do I need to do?” Was “You need to get a red card.” Useless. I’m working on an associates degree now in fire protection and hoping that will help. I really want in this field but I’m having to take curses because no one seems to be capable of helping.

  4. Chris
    August 31, 2014 Reply

    Most Junior colleges offer some sort of Fire Technology or Forestry program. I got my ” Basic 32 ” this way. Good Luck!

  5. dani
    September 14, 2014 Reply

    you could go threw your local fire district as well. where I live we have a combined career and volunteer department. we have special teams like a wildland team, that’s where I got my red card. in the spring and early summer DNR and the national parks all put on Guard school or Red Card class. try getting into that. go online and find out who is the fire manager in your area for DNR, BLM, or NP; call them about openings in upcoming classes next year. there is also schools in Alaska, Colorado, Arizona, and Montana specifically for wildland firefighting, you can go for just a red card and be stuck as a fft2 forever or you can get a degree in forestry and have any job you want in wildland. Good Luck, hope this was a help.

  6. MLJ
    December 9, 2014 Reply

    You will need certain classes, known as ‘basic 32″ fire training. There are colleges with WILDLAND fire programs, like Shasta college, in Redding, Ca that offer them there, or you can sign up with an organized Crew (OC) program, (Contact the Mendocino NF in Willows, CA), or get the training through a local HROP program, or join the California conservation Corps, or find a Local VFD that has Wildland Fire response and take the classes there, or call the closest USFS WILDLAND fire station, (Not Dispatch), and ask if they are putting on basic 32 in the spring. Lots of ways to get the redcard, if you look around. Fire agencies that only do structure fire may not know how to help you with this, so call the USFS somewhere, but not a Dispatch center. To apply, go to http://www.usajobs.gov, and if hired, you will be given the training.

  7. Jason H
    February 20, 2015 Reply

    I went thru a fire tech coarse at Los Angeles valley college and once you pass you are out on a list for an on call crew, monarchs crew 70.Ive been on mop ups, initial attacks, and forest coverage when the hot shots are off duty.

  8. Kevin McGregor
    December 10, 2015 Reply


    short and long of it the red card is obtained by completing a physical fitness test referred to as a pack test. There are three levels that pack tests fall under, but the one you need is the Arduous level. That is carrying a 45 pound pack for three miles in 45 minutes or less. Different state agencies and federal agencies will host these tests at various times. Best way I know of is to volunteer with an agency that does burns and will coordinate getting your pack test completed as you normally can not be on the fire line without having passed at least the moderate for many state agencies and Arduous for federal.

  9. Eric Olsen
    September 29, 2016 Reply

    Back in the day, i walked in a USFS station, applied and was sent to another district and forest whereas a position was to be filled. I worked two seasons and left fire work for a back injury.
    I took the basic 32 course at a fire house, trained at a fire academy live fire a must. I volunteered for fire medical and went to school for fire science and EMT1A.
    Foot in the door jobs, check usajobs.gov and walk into a Fire Station chat about fire service career. Friend or family of fire service a good source.
    If leaving the military use your education benefits funds in fire science courses or the like in Official State Local Federal govt jobs.

    Good Luck

Leave a comment