Training starts for hot summer jobs |

Training starts for hot summer jobs

Gregory Crofton, Tahoe Daily Tribune

Want to earn money fighting forest fires? Read on.

The U.S. Forest Service and Lake Tahoe Community College will conduct four wildland firefighting courses, two at night and two during the day, this month and in June.

People who take the course–only one of the four is required–can apply to work on the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit’s seasonal on-call wildland fire handcrew.

“Last year we had two crews called out,” said Dave Marlow, vegetation and fuels manager at Lake Tahoe Basin. “We were working them on fires and on standby for several weeks during the course of the summer.”

To get hired on the handcrew, applicants must pass a physical examination (not paid for by the Forest Service) and be able to hike 3 miles on flat land carrying a 45-pound pack in under 46 minutes.

Those hired earn about $10 an hour with potential to make $4,000 to $6,000 a summer depending on the severity of the fire season.

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“It really does hinge on how many days they are out,” said Dave Easton, the Forest Service fighter who is in charge of the on-call handcrew. “When you’re on fires you can do a 40-hour week in two and half days.”

The first nighttime class runs 5 to 10 p.m. this Monday through Friday at the Forest Service Fire Station in Meyers. The second class at night runs June 2 to 6, also at the Meyers fire station from 5 to 10 p.m. Each course can accommodate 25 people. To register call, (530) 573-2777 or (530) 573-2600.

The daytime classes require registration at the community college with classes at the Lake Valley Fire Protection District station in Meyers. The first class runs May 19 to 23. The second class is scheduled June 22 to 27.

Members of last season’s handcrew are required to attend a refresher class on May 21 and 22 from 5 to 9 p.m. or on June 7 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Both classes will be at Forest Service Fire Station in Meyers and the dates subject to change. Registration is on a first-come first-served basis and requires a Social Security card and driver’s license or a birth certificate and passport.

— Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at