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Idaho State News

Idaho Department of Lands Area Office in Boise Needs Wildland Firefighters

BOISE – The nationwide shortage of qualified wildland fire engine bosses poses a significant impact on Idaho.

Each engine boss leads a single fire engine and attached personnel and is responsible for the crew’s safety in wildland and prescribed fire incidents. Without sufficient engine bosses, IDL cannot hire and deploy entry-level firefighters.

Without enough engine bosses, IDL will be unable to staff two critical fire guard stations: one in Centerville near Idaho City and one in High Valley near Smith’s Ferry. That means the only two IDL wildland fire crews will operate out of Boise if additional engine bosses cannot be hired.

This shortage of fire personnel puts Idaho’s valuable natural resources at risk and poses threats to people who live in the wildland-urban fire interface. Fortunately, Idaho has taken steps to improve its firefighter recruitment and retention.

“Thanks to the new $15 starting wage and hazard pay, both of which Governor Little recently signed into law, and the potential to earn substantial overtime, we have a steady stream of first-year or inexperienced firefighters,” said Southwest Forest Protection District Fire Warden Casper Urbanek.“ Finding experienced people to lead our fire crews has become more challenging, given the prevalence of fire across the west. Surrounding states and our federal firefighting partners all face this challenge, but we can now compete on compensation and offer our folks so much more, as access to training and an incredible work culture.”

IDL’s engine bosses start at $18 per hour and are classified as seasonal positions that work up to 8 months of the year. They receive benefits, too, including health, vision, and dental insurance, PERSI retirement, optional PERSI Choice 401k, life, and disability insurance, paid sick and annual leave, and 6 paid holidays. To be hired, applicants must meet National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) requirements.

More details about positions, requirements, and applications can be found at https://loom.ly/q-pg4zY.