Wildland Fire: Types of Jobs

A person in a flight helmet leans out of a helicopter looking at fire burning on the ground below.

Looking for a job and/or a career which combines love of the land, science and technology skills, leadership and people skills? Then you may be the right person for a job or career in wildland fire management in the National Park Service.

The National Park Service Wildland Fire Program requires talented people working safely together to be successful. A large number of people work together for the common goal of fire management, fire prevention, and fire suppression.

The National Park Service’s fire program includes nearly 400 permanent employees and 600 seasonal employees. The service both assists and receives assistance from our partners to manage fires and to enhance resources and safety through fuels reduction projects. Whether directly managing fires on a fire crew or providing support on an Incident Management Team (IMT), NPS employees spend thousands of hours supporting the nation’s firefighting efforts.

There are many different specializations in the NPS Wildland Fire Management Program, some of which require special skills and training, and all of which require enthusiasm and dedication. This is a competitive arena which places physical and mental demands on employees.

Employees are hired for temporary and permanent jobs, year round depending upon the area of the country. As an employee’s competencies and skills develop, their opportunities to advance in fire management increases.

Three firefighters use handtools to dig fireline on a slope covered in dried grasses.
Firefighters use a variety of tools to manage fires.




A firefighter pulls a hose down from an engine while another firefighter on top of the engine leans over.
Engine crewmembers get ready to respond on a prescribed fire.


Engine Crewmember


Top: group of men and women that make up the Alpine Hotshots; bottom: group of men that make up the Arrowhead Hotshots.
Alpine and Arrowhead Hotshots are based in Rocky Mountain National Park and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, respectively. They respond to both NPS incidents as well as interagency incidents.




A smokejumper under a red, white, and blue rectangular canopy floats down from sunny skies.
The National Park Service does not host any smokejumper crews, but Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service smokejumpers do respond to fires in national parks.




A view from below looking up in the sky at a person leaning out of a helicopter.
Helitack crewmembers rappel from helicopters to reach remote fires.




A firefighter leans over with a cup in her hand in a sagebrush flat while a wildfire burns in the forest in the distance.
A member of the Yellowstone wildland fire module collects seeds as the Maple Fire burns.


Wildland Fire Module


A woman sits in front of and looks at one of three computer screens.
A dispatcher serves as a vital link for resources for wildland fire management.

Image courtesy of Joe Ritz, Bureau of Land Management



A man sits in front of three computer monitors looking at an online map.
GIS specialists analyze data to ensure firefighters are making the most informed decisions using the best available data.


Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist


Two people with neon green rain jackets hold paperwork and a measuring stick.
Fire effects monitors collect data in Denali National Park.


Fire Effects Monitor


A woman writes on a piece of paper while a person in the background holds a measuring tool.
A fire ecologists collects data in the field at Lake Clark National Park & Preserve.


Fire Ecologist


Further information regarding types of appointments and other benefits may be found on the Wildland Firefighter Applicant Information page.

Last updated: February 16, 2024