WV Vet Fire Crew Member - Winter 2023
Title: Veterans Fire Crew Member
Location: Based out of Beckley, WV
Expected Start Date: January 23, 2023
Estimated End Date: April 28, 2023
Status: This is a full-time, seasonal 450 hour AmeriCorps National Service position.
Questions? Contact ACCrecruiting@conservationlegacy.org
Appalachian Conservation Corps:
Appalachian Conservation Corps (ACC) works to connect young people to critical conservation service work across Appalachia and neighboring communities in Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, DC, and Pennsylvania. As a corps program, ACC partners with public land managers to identify, plan, and complete projects that improve public access, habitat quality, and economic development. ACC is a program of Conservation Legacy, a nationwide network of conservation service organizations. Our programs focus on service, place-based learning, life skills development, appreciation of diversity, civic responsibility, and career development. ACC also provides an opportunity for members to learn about the local environment and issues affecting it and introduces individuals to recreation and resource management careers. ACC welcomes national applicants, but also emphasizes the engagement of local individuals who represent the communities in which they serve.
The Veterans Fire Corps (VFC) program provides training and on-the-job experience for post-9/11 era veterans ages 18-35 who are interested in entering careers and gaining experience in wildland firefighting and natural resource management. The program engages participants in a cohort environment in which a crew of recent-era Veterans work together to train and complete projects related primarily to fuels management, which will include prescribed burning and wildland firefighting.
Wildland firefighting demands a high level of fitness to work in difficult environmental conditions, including steep terrain, extreme temperatures, altitude, and smoke. This program will provide practical, hands-on training and certifications related to natural resource management and wildland firefighting. The program is comprehensive and intentionally structured to prepare Veterans to transition into civilian careers focused on wildland firefighting. Additional opportunities such as repeated networking with Federal employees and training on the federal land management application process are also included in this program.
Projects take place across the Appalachian Region, including work with the US Forest Service, the National Park Service, and other land managers. During their time in the field, Crew Members camp overnight and work outdoors in all types of weather conditions, performing heavy manual labor related to wildland fire and natural resource projects. Members should expect work and schedule to vary depending on region and season. In addition to fire, the crew should be prepared to assist on a variety of projects including trail maintenance, invasive species removal, and habitat management.
The schedule for this crew is heavily dependent on weather, partner schedules, and varying workload at any given time in the season. We ask members to be flexible and open to changing needs throughout the season.
The typical hitch schedule is 4 days on and 3 days off. While in the field, Crew Members work 10 hours a day. The day starts with a stretch circle and safety meeting and includes two fifteen-minute breaks and a half hour break for lunch.
Prior to their start date, selected Crew Members must begin their background check process and complete an online enrollment process which includes completing e-forms, uploading IDs, and enrolling with AmeriCorps. For those with limited access to online platforms, accommodations may be available and can be discussed during the interview process.
VFC Members with ACC serve on a crew with 4-6 other Crew Members and 2 Crew Leaders who provide project expertise, mentorship, training, and support for the success of all participants. Food is provided while in the field. Crews work together to plan meals and complete all necessary chores (cooking, washing dishes, etc). Most dietary restrictions can be accommodated if known ahead of time. Many evenings include group discussions on conservation topics.
When living on site, members will camp, travel, work, and eat as a crew. No drug or alcohol consumption is allowed during work related travel at any time.
ACC supports a culture of feedback and growth. Crew Members will set goals at the beginning of the season and review their performance through both self-evaluation and a review with their Crew Leader in the middle and at the end of their season. Evaluations will cover areas such as professionalism, responsibility and leadership, communication, engagement, productivity, safety, and equipment use. Crew Members will also be asked to evaluate their Crew Leaders’ performance, the overall program, and their experience at the end of their term.
ACC is an independent, non-residential program. Crew Members are responsible for their own housing, food, and transportation when not in the field. While members will be asked to supply as much of their personal equipment as possible, loaner gear will be available if needed, especially for more expensive items such as tents and sleeping bags. A gear list is provided upon acceptance into the program. Please ask immediately if there is loaner gear you require. In addition to providing food while in the field, ACC will provide group camp equipment, tools, protective gear, and transportation between ACC Offices and project sites.
Crew Members are asked to work hard, stay positive, and be flexible with changing schedules, weather conditions, and project needs. This is a seasonal position; Crew Members are expected to fully commit to the experience, expectations, and timeline.
- $550/week living stipend, paid bi-weekly
- AmeriCorps Segal Education Award upon successful completion of service term (award amount varies based on length of commitment and can be used for paying off federal student loans or paying tuition for a Title IV accredited college)
- Possible student loan forbearance
- Member Assistance Program – 3 free sessions of support with a counseling or work-life balance specialist
- Uniform shirts, helmet, work gloves, eye protection, and other necessary safety equipment provided
- On-the-job training and certification opportunities including Wildland Fire Red Card, S212 Chainsaw Certification, and First Aid/CPR
- Additional subject-specific certifications may be offered
- Depending upon the academic institution and program, Crew Member positions may fulfill internship requirements
- Professional development opportunities (mentorship, resume support, alumni listserv, etc.) and exposure to natural resource career paths
- Be a military Veteran able to provide a DD214 or NGB-22 upon interview
- Be between the ages of 18 and 35
- Able to pass the USFS arduous level pack test (3-mile hike with 45-pound pack within 45 minutes)
- US Citizenship or Legal Permanent Residency status
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Fully vaccinated for COVID-19 (Federal Partner requirement)
- Pass background checks: all offers of positions are conditional upon completion of an acceptable check of the National Sex Offender Public Registry and Federal and/or State criminal background check
- Must be eligible to receive an AmeriCorps Education Award (individuals are eligible if they have not already completed 2 full years of AmeriCorps service, or 4 AmeriCorps service terms, whichever comes first – please contact us if you are unsure of your eligibility)
- No previous experience is required, but a general comfort and previous knowledge of working/living in an outdoor setting is helpful.