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  • 01/26/2016
  • Newbie

Hello Experienced Firefighters,

I will be earning my red card in May  and recieving my engine boss training in July.

I had one question about this, I was told that I would be getting close to $9000.00 per day of being a engine boss. I want to know how true this is, and I cant find any information about fire fighter pay scales online. I’m thinking it’s more like $9,000 a month.

Also, is it legal to carry a handgun in the forest? I will be working in New Mexico.

Thank you for your help in advance.



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  1. Firefish
    January 27, 2016 Reply

    Uh, I think you need to do some research about pay rates. I am a Fire Captain with CalFire with full longevity and JAC bonus pay and even if I worked everyday of a month during fire season(we get 24 hour portal to portal pay) I wouldn’t see 900 a day. What RockStar forest are you working at? I may move!

  2. Fireguy
    January 27, 2016 Reply

    How does a self-proclaimed “newbie” land a job as an Engine Boss? I have (6) seasons in fire and am only working on my engine boss qual. Something seems strange about this post……………

  3. fireguyPART2
    January 27, 2016 Reply

    ******ALSO****** Are there really people out there who think they can land a job—in which they have ZERO experience—and it pays $9,000 a month—-let alone $9,000 a day?!?!? Thants insanity!!!! A very busy seasonal wildland firefighter at the entry level would be lucky to crack 40K a year. Thats hotshot status, close to or breaking the 1k OT mark. Now, if your an experienced guy with quals and the job, then maybe after a lot of hard work and a lot of luck you can make close to the 100k a year mark. If only I could sign up for that 100k a year entry level engine boss position…………..

  4. DZ
    January 27, 2016 Reply

    Its called contracting.
    Lets face it, every contractor at fire camp is earning more than agency folks per hour, even the blue room attendant (no disrespect of course as they are honestly my favorite folks to see in camp). Of course I like the smell of smoke over blue water so I guess it’s an even trade.

    Handguns – Don’t, just don’t. Its against fire camp rules, is illegal on many federal properties, and is just a hassle for everyone. I would kick you off my division quicker than you can lock and load.
    Relax, you will not be eaten by a bear while on a fire and if you are, you will be the famous first and go down in history like ed pulaski…another even trade!

  5. FireguyPART3
    January 28, 2016 Reply

    DZ, more like Its called misleading. 9k a month? Sure, if your on a fire everyday, working 16s, and never taking a day off. Just for arguments sake, lets assume you have the CRAZIEST fire season the southwest has ever seen. Well, ok great, so the best you can possibly do is make bank in April, May, June, and then the season starts to wrap down there come mid July or so. As a contractor your not leaving your region much—if at all. Thus when the fires end in your area, so does your income. With all the facts in mind you may make 30 k in a year—if your lucky and VERY BUSY during your fire season. IMO Better off getting an agency job with a national crew. Guaranteed 40 hour work weeks, fire or not. Bounce from fire to fire all over the country and of course make more money. No 9k a month—unless your a crew sup or division or something, but much more steady and consistent. Not to mention the diverse fire experience you get. There is a reason the VAST majority of wildland fire professionals are “agency”. Contract work is a major gamble and only pays when on an actual fire, thats why a lot of them do it as a secondary source of income, and not as a full-time profession. Correct me if I am wrong but I dont know of any contract groups that work 40 hour work weeks when not on a wildfire incident. THings to think about going forward. THanks and good luck!!!

  6. Helinerd
    February 2, 2016 Reply

    the $9000 a month mark isint impossible most mid-level folks like my self typically see that in the summer months and depending on the season it could be more not to brag but for arguments sake my July cleared 15,500 gross before uncle sam took his fair share. im on a helitack crew and dont often see 16hr shifts but 2 assignments of 14’s add up. Im a Fed gs 7 and work in So-cal so i do get paid a lil more. The Fed side has been good to me and as far as my counter parts from the state side go i think we make close to the same

  7. Firefish
    February 4, 2016 Reply

    OK, so, I did a little math to see and here is what I come up with based on my current position- Engine Boss/Fire Captain with CalFire with max pay Captain “A” with full longevity bonus pay with 32 Fire Seasons under my belt. If I black out the ‘moth, which is a 28 day pay period, I will make $19,710.91. And that is no days off, we don’t have the 14/2 requirement for CalFire. So, while it is ‘good money’. it is still no where near $9k a day or even a week and many city guys will kill that if they work a straight month. Oh, and that is portal to portal, we don’t do 16 on 8 off each day. Even if working for a contractor making 16s on a 14 day cycle X2, I don’t think you even get close.

  8. in2smk
    February 17, 2016 Reply

    TROLL ?

  9. reddgroom
    February 17, 2016 Reply

    Whats the contract rate for a private engine, hired wet, complete with crew, per day? No one person makes that much, but all together (with salaries) it might cost that much!

  10. Wildman
    February 24, 2016 Reply

    I think someone is trolling you here…..awful lot of red flags being thrown.

  11. WindSock14
    March 4, 2016 Reply

    Reddgroom, I’ve been out of contracting since 2013. But at the time, a Type 3, 4, or 6 engine daily rate ( Up to 16 hours) was about $2400. a day

  12. woodsy
    April 6, 2016 Reply

    uhhh 9k a day is out of question, I don’t care if your working for San Fran FD, you wont be making anywhere close to that. 9k a month, for wildlanders like myself, is damn near out of the question as well. I am a new hire in R5 (engine), and I was fortunate enough to get hired as a GS4. my hourly rate is going to be 13.84/hr. so you can add in hazard pay (time+1/4), and even overtime pay (time + 1/2), and work every day of the month on a wildland incident and if you add it all up it comes out to 4152 a month, if I work every day of the month on a fire, and somehow never go back to straight time pay (impossible). Now if you a working for a municipal career department, you can easily make 9k a month or more, but for us wildland dudes its a pretty far fetched figure. PS: don’t do it for the money, do it for the views.

  13. woodsy
    April 6, 2016 Reply

    also, unless you are also an undercover fed LEO, don’t bring a damn gun. I love guns as much as the next guy, but bringing a gun in your engine, and into a campaign fire is a good way to piss your career out the window.

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