The best Government Job Source

Forestry Technicians
Significant Points

This series includes all positions that primarily require a practical knowledge of the methods and techniques of forestry and other biologically based resource management fields. Forestry technicians provide practical technical support in forestry research efforts; in the marketing of forest resources; or in the scientific management, protection, and development of forest resources.

Nature of the Work

The primary focus of the forestry technician's work in the Federal sector is to support an organization's resource management efforts from intensive, multiple-use natural resource management to such specialties as that of marketing timber or applying tax laws to forest properties. The basic objectives of programs for the intensive management, protection, and development of forest lands and forest resources are (1) to apply sound utilization and conservation practices to the natural resources of publicly managed lands and (2) promote such practices among all forest landowners through example, cooperation, research, and interpretation and dissemination of information.

Intelligence Officer, GS-0462-05

The position is responsible for gathering, preparing reports and ,draft narrative information, and disseminating current fire status and related fire intelligence information on an interagency basis for the unit. OPM has determined that prior wildfire firefighting experience is required to satisfactorily carry out the duties of the position.


Receives Daily Fire Situation Reports from other offices and consolidates reports into a unit report. Transmits copies of final report to other offices for their information. Obtains updated fire intelligence and consolidates information into a fire update report on fire activity to keep the fire staff up-to-date. Notifies management when events of extreme importance occur such as: loss of life, threat to or loss of dwellings, a major blow-up or fire storm, non-fire emergency involving extensive property loss or loss of life.

Assists with fire briefings. Provides maps depicting areas of fire occurrence. Assists in providing input information for fire behavior forecasts and resource reports indicating crews, equipment, aircraft and supplies committed to fire activity from information obtained from unit reports.

Plots the location of fires on maps. Compiles from identified sources and posts statistical data to existing reports/computer programs. Operates various communications equipment. Inputs information into fire computer systems for use in computerized reports.

Aviation Dispatcher, GS-0462-05

This position is located in an initial attack fire suppression organization where the employee performs a variety of staff and administrative duties relating to fire suppression activities and the support of fire management programs. The primary purpose of this position is to serve as a dispatcher in support of an initial attack suppression program. As time permits, the employee may be assigned to support other resource programs in a dispatch capacity. It has been determined that the employee must have prior line fire fighting experience and training in order to anticipate needs, determine priorities, and select alternative resources.


Receives fire reports, determines location, land status, and current fire information, and dispatches personnel, equipment, aircraft, and/or supplies according to pre-defined plans or in response to resource orders from the field. Based upon prior fire fighting experience and training, anticipates needs based upon the status of fire suppression activities and makes recommendations regarding orders/anticipated orders.

Completes resource orders, maintains fire resource tracking systems, inputs and retrieves fire weather data, operates fire telecommunications and radio systems, and processes and collates fire information from the field.

Completes daily, weekly, monthly, and year-end required records, reports, and summaries using established procedures.

Provides information and coordinates with local law enforcement, other agency, and media personnel on both fire and non-fire emergency situations. May be temporarily assigned as the lead/supervisory dispatcher and be responsible for monitoring the operation of the dispatch office for short periods of time.

Logistics Coordinator, GS-0462-07

This position is located in a centralized fire suppression organization which is primarily responsible for supporting fires going beyond the initial attack stages. The primary purpose of this position is to serve as a logistics coordinator in support of requests for manpower, equipment, or aircraft received from sub-units within the organization or other agencies. It has been determined that the employee must have prior firefighting experience and training to anticipate needs, fill requests with appropriate resources, and determine priorities and possible alternatives.

Positions led vary from 1-5 dependent upon fire suppression activity within the area covered (state, zone, and bureau-wide). The positions led may increase in emergency situations by details, and intermittent employees.


A. Is responsible for overseeing the processing of resource order requests for personnel, equipment, and/or aircraft within the logistics unit. Monitors completion of these requests in a timely, efficient manner by lower level logistics personnel. Coordinates with ordering units on resource order timeframes, changes caused by scarcity of resources, and possible future needs if emergency continues. Provides assistance on novel and unusual problems encountered by lower level logistics personnel.

B. On a daily basis, determines availability and status of resources both within and outside the unit and ensures this information is posted in a timely manner by other logistics personnel. Monitors and analyzes information concerning current and forecasted state or zone fire weather and lightning data. Makes recommendations concerning additional or extended manning and prepositioning of resources. Makes recommendations and develops internal office operating plans and state/zone mobilization guides.

C. Operates and/or directs the operation of various logistics telecommunications systems including the Administrative Fire Fighting Information Retrieval System (AFFIRMS), Initial Attack Management System (lAMS), Automated Lightning Detection System (ALDS), electronic mail, and other computer systems.

D. Ensures the completion of daily, weekly, monthly, and season-end reports, records, and summar ies as required.

E. Directs the processing of requests from units for prescribed fire or nonfire resources if resources are not needed for wildfire suppression operations.

F. Trains others in logistics office operations. Serves as the lead for the assigned logistics functions. Assists in developing performance standards, assists in explaining standards to employees, and inputs information into performance ratings. Discusses grievances with employees and attempts to resolve them informally. Provides information to supervisor on formal grievances. May approve leave for short time periods in the absence of the supervisor. Monitors and makes reconunendations for additional manning during high fire activity periods; rearranges office schedules to meet specific needs. Recommends overtime for specific situations.

Forestry Technician (Smokejumper), GS-0462-05

The primary purpose of this position is to receive extensive training and parachute into inaccessible areas for the purpose of suppressing wildfires.


Receives extensive training in the use of parachutes in jumping over forest and mountainous terrain landing in timber, open, or on rough ground. Learns the use of smokejumper parachute equipment, parachute deployment, emergency procedures, and techniques of parachuting into rugged timber terrain. Also receives additional training in methods used in initial attack and mop-up of wildland fires which includes experience in the use of chain saws, portable pumps, and hand tools as well as training in helicopter use and the proper use of retardant delivered by bombers.

Parachutes over forest and mountainous terrain or other areas landing in timber, open, or on rough ground. Upon landing, acts as "smokechaser" in the suppression of forest fires. Uses a variety of hand tools,chain saws, portable pumps and other equipment in suppressing fires. Participates in extinguishing hot spots, building fire line, and other actions to suppress fires.

May be assigned as a firefighting crewmember on large fires in positions redcarded for. Performs other duties as assigned (Not to exceed 20% of the time during normal fire years).

Forestry Technician (Smokejumper), GS-0462-06

The primary function of this position is to parachute into inaccessible areas and suppress wildfires.


1. Serves as a highly trained and skilled member of a parachuting fire suppression squad which jumps over forest and mountainous terrain landing in timber, open, or on rough ground. As a fire crewmember of Initial Attack Incident Commander, suppresses and controls small fires by applying an understanding of power tools, operating pumps, building fire lines, burning out, mopping up,and patrolling lines. May supervise one or more firefighters who accompany him on fires. At the fire, anticipates fire behavior, determines suppression tactics, extinguishes hot spots, builds fire lines, and takes action to control fire. Determines need for and orders additional firefighters and equipment. Designates safe air cargo drop zones where tools and supplies can be delivered by plane. Determines probable cause of fires and prepares required fire reports. If man-caused, gathers and preserves evidence for possible use in prosecuting offenders.

Completes forms connected with parachute jumps, lost or damaged articles, and property control. May be assigned to various red-carded positions in large fire organizations.

2. When not involved in fire line activities, participates in a wide range of fire support activities including parachute rigging and repair, paracargo rigging, and construction and repair of assorted smokejumper equipment.

3. Receives training in basic smokejumper skills including aircraft exits, parachute manipulation, landing techniques, and tree letdown procedures. Participatea in a daily phyaical conditioning program maintaining a physical condition necessary to perform the duties of the position. Receives training in fire line tactics, fire behavior and organization of extended attack fires. May receive advanced training in various specialties which include paracargo, fire line explosives, emergency medical technician, and parachute 10ft.

4. Performs a variety of miscellaneous firefighting assignments such as performing bull cook chores or camp site construction or non-fire related project work as assigned (not to exceed 10-20% of the time in a normal fire season).

Lead Forestry Technician (Smokejumper Squat Leader), GS-0462-07

This position is located in a Smokejumper organization. The primary purpose of the position is to serve as a team leader in carrying out fireflghting and other fire support operations relating to smokejumper operations. Support operations include: paracargo, loft, smokejumper training, Emergency Medical Technician, and Fire Line Explosives activities.



Serves as an Initial Attack Fire Boss responsible for parachuting to, controlling, and suppressing wild fires by building fire lines, backfiring, and mopping up. Leads three to seven smokejumpers in the suppression of wildfires. As fire boss, anticipates fire behavior, determines strategy and tactics, and directs on-line activities such as: hot spot extinguishment, fire line construction; air tanker drops, paracargo drops of tools and equipment. Protects point-of-origin for suspected man-caused fires.

Coordinates with smokejumper aircraft for additional jumpers, crews, or equipment. Directs helicopters for aerial reconnaissance of fires. Directs the selection and construction of landing spots for helicopters and helicopter maneuvers.

Serves as an overhead fire team member or on prescribed burn projects as redcarded and assigned. Receives firefighting/smokejumping training and participates in practice exercises. Maintains assigned smokejumper and firefighting equipment, tools, and supplies.

Work Leader-Smokejumper Operations

As specifically qualified and trained, serves as a work leader for one of the following smokejumper operations when not assigned to the fireline:

As an FAA certified Senior parachute Rigger and Repairman, performs the repairs, packing, and maintenance of parachutes and related gear. Assists in the design and construction of a variety of fabric products.

As a Paracargo Specialist, rigs cargo, loads aircraft, and paradrops supplies. Serves as a loadmaster in charge of paracargo and point-to-point cargo flights.

As a certified Emergency Medical Technician, maintains rescue equipment and makes rescue jumps to render initial aid, sustain life, and transport the sick or injured. May act as a medic on project fires. Maintains specialized training requirements for certification.

As an assistant "spotter" on smokejumper missions, ensures that smokejumpers are properly prepared to jump; retrieves parachute static lines; and records property numbers and action times on the request forms.

Assists in the individual and group training of smokejumpers in parachuting to fires and in firefighting methods, tactics and procedures. Plans physical conditioning programs, assists with safety and first aid training.

Work leading duties including scheduling work, reviewing quantity and quality of work performed, explaining changes in administrative policies and procedures, resolving informal complaints, making suggestions on ways to improve the work and moral, and providing input into employee performance ratings.

Supervisory Range/Forestry Technician (Fire), GS-0462-11

This position description is appropriate for positions supervising 6 to 11 employees. At least 25% of the employees supervised must be at the GS4 or above. These employees may be separated into two or more crews, e.g., engine crew, helitack crew, hand crew, and/or prescribed fire crew. These agency or interagency crews perform work directly related to wildland fire suppression and control activities including suppression, preparedness, prevention, prescribed burning, monitoring, and hazardous fuel reduction.

This position also assists in writing and executing fire management plans and burn plans and is responsible for longterm planning for use of crews.

Major Duties (60% or more of the time)

Performs and supervises employees in fire prevention, preparedness, detection, wildland fire suppression, resource rehabilitation, mobilization (stepup), prescribed fire, aviation operations and training programs.

Ensures readiness of wildland fire suppression equipment and personnel. Organizes fire caches, maintains inventory and accountable property, positions equipment and personnel for the most efficient response, evaluates equipment and personnel needs and develops and prioritizes equipment and personnel funding requests.

Directs and performs wildland fire suppression efforts in initial attack and in followup actions to safely and effectively control wildland fires in accordance with the identified appropriate management response.

May serve as a multi-resource Incident Commander during extended attack fires, directing the fire line activities and tactics of firefighters, resources, equipment, and aircraft.

Coordinates with the dispatch office regarding fire behavior, fire conditions, support needs, and problems. Protects fire origin and makes preliminary fire investigation of cause.

Conducts field reconnaissance of proposed prescribed burn units, makes recommendations on appropriate treatment techniques for meeting management objectives, drafts prescribed burn plans to meet those objectives and implements approved prescribed burn plans. Serves as Burn Boss, Ignition Specialist or other designated position to insure the safe and effective conduct of the prescribed burn.

Performs postburn evaluation and completes documentation, including costs, fire behavior and smoke management.

Assists the Fire Management Officer in developing and revising annual operating plans, annual budget requests, the fire management plan and operating procedures pertaining to wildland fire suppression and prescribed fire.

Drafts wildland fire situation analyses for wildland fires and prescribed fires. Proposes alternative strategies using technical knowledge of the impact of various types of strategies and tactics on social, economic, biological, and other considerations.

Deals with a variety of technical problems relating to fire weather, smoke management, fire behavior, and computer modeling. Identifies areas of wildland fire management that require monitoring, researching, and recommends studies that address those areas.

Incorporates the data and information obtained into wildland fire suppression and prescribed fire operations. Coordinates and serves as an instructor for a variety of fire and aviation related training courses at the local, regional and interagency levels.

Supervisory Duties (25% or more of the time)

Provides technical and administrative supervision to 6 to 11 employees, at least 25% of whom are at GS4 or above. Plans work to be accomplished by the crews, prepares schedule adjusting to changes in priorities, and approves leave. Assigns work based. on priorities and the capabilities and grade levels of employees and reviews completed work. Develops performance standards and evaluates work performance of subordinates. Provides instructions and advice to employees on both work and administrative matters and resolves complaints from employees, referring group grievances and more serious unresolved complaints to a higher level supervisor.

Interviews candidates, makes or recommends selection of seasonal employees, and recommends appointment, promotion, or reassignment for permanent positions. Identifies and recommends fire qualifications and training needs of employees and manages computerized fire qualification and experience records.

Organizes and maintains equipment, vehicles, and supplies. Maintains property and asset accountability. Serves as designated property custodial officer for the crews. Ensures equal opportunity for employees supervised in the selections for training, promotions, awards and recognition, and other career development opportunities. Ensures fair, lawful, and unbiased employment practices in recruitment and selection. Supports programs for training and advancement of employees.

Provides for crew safety and welfare and implements a training program in compliance with applicable requirements. Ensures work conditions conform to agency safety programs. Identifies and corrects job safety and health hazards, instructs employees on safety requirements of assignments, reviews and reports loss incidents in accordance with the Agency and OWCP regulations. Identifies corrective measures for violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act standards in the workplace.

Supervises a workforce engaged in duties that have changing priorities due to the nature of the work. Supervision is accomplished by telephone contacts, radio, computer, or meeting at a common location.

May assist the Fire Management Officer in planning, implementing and coordinating all aspects of the fire management program. Provides assistance in program direction, short and longrange planning, budgeting, identifying research needs, and collecting and analyzing scientific data.

Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement

Specialized Experience (for positions at GS-4 and above):

In addition to the experience requirements described in the group coverage standard, seasonal experience may also be creditable. A season of experience is considered to be a period of no less than 3 months of continuous employment on a seasonal basis. Shorter periods may be combined to make a season, provided a total of at least 3 months' experience is shown. For any period where the work exceeded 3 months, the excess work is credited towards an additional season of experience. One season of experience is qualifying for GS-2; 2 seasons of experience qualify for GS-3; and 4 seasons of experience qualify for GS-4. Examples of qualifying specialized experience include:

  • Forestry aid or technician work.
  • Engineering, range, or soil conservation technician work that involved the application of cultural, resource conservation, or land management practices on nonforest or ranch lands when combined with knowledge of forestry operations and equipment.
  • Farming or ranching work that involved application of cultural and soil and water conservation practices, including safety and use of equipment, and that provided a basic understanding of land use.
  • Forest or range fire control, prevention, or suppression work.


Education and Training:

For GS-3: Successful completion of 1 year of study that included at least 6 semester hours in a combination of courses such as range management or conservation, agriculture, forestry, wildlife management, engineering, biology, mathematics, or other natural or physical sciences.
For GS-4: Successful completion of 2 years of study that included at least 12 semester hours in any combination of courses such as forestry, agriculture, crop or plant science, range management or conservation, wildlife management, watershed management, soil science, natural resources (except marine fisheries and oceanography), outdoor recreation management, civil or forest engineering, or wildland fire science. No more than 3 semester hours in mathematics is creditable.
For GS-5: Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study leading to a bachelor's degree (a) with major study in forestry, range management, agriculture, or a subject-matter field directly related to the position, or (b) that included at least 24 semester hours in any combination of courses such as those shown above for GS-4. No more than 6 semester hours in mathematics is creditable.


Applicants must:

  • Possess a current FAA Commercial Airman Certificate with ratings appropriate for the duties performed;
  • Possess an instrument rating;
  • Have completed a minimum of 500 hours of flight time as Pilot-in-Command and 25 hours of flight time as Pilot-in-Command at night; and
  • Possess a current Class II Medical Certificate.


The duties of these positions require sustained, arduous physical exertion under rigorous and unusual conditions. Persons appointed will be potentially subject to extreme physical danger and to irregular and protracted hours or work. The health of individuals must be such that they have the capacity to meet demands for performance in the position and for human reliability. Before entrance on duty and periodic-ally during employment, individuals must undergo a medical examination. Failure to meet any of the required medical qualifications will usually be considered disqualifying for employment or a basis for termination, except when substantial evidence is presented that the individuals can perform the essential functions of the job efficiently and without hazard to themselves or others, with or without reasonable accommodation.

The following medical conditions must be met:

Eyes: Individuals must be free from acute or chronic eye disease. Corrected distant vision must test at least 20/20 (Snellen) in one eye and at least 20/30 (Snellen) in the other. Individuals must be able to read printed material the size of typewritten characters, correction permitted.

Ears: Individuals must not have acute or chronic disease of the external, middle, or internal ear. Using an audiometer for measurement, there should be no loss of 25 or more decibels in each ear at the speech frequency range. A hearing aid is not permitted.

Nose, Mouth, and Throat: Individuals must be free from acute or chronic sinus disease or other nasopharyngeal conditions that interfere with distinct speech or with free breathing.

Teeth: Individuals must be free from any mouth or dental defect that interferes with proper incision and mastication of food.

Lungs: Individuals must not have any acute or chronic disease of the lungs that impairs pulmonary function.

Heart and Blood Vessels: Individuals must not have organic heart disease, compensated or not; valvular diseases; coronary heart disease; cardiac enlargement; angina pectoris; cardiac arrhythmia or irregularity other than sinus arrhythmia; arteriosclerosis; blood pressure readings that consistently exceed 150 systolic or 90 diastolic. High blood pressure that is regulated without side effects to no more than the above systolic and diastolic readings may be qualifying.

Abdomen: Individuals cannot have acute or chronic disease of the abdomen; significant enlargement of the liver or spleen; or hernia that interferes with lifting, stretching, bending, or working with tools.

Genitourinary/metabolic: Individuals cannot have acute or chronic genitourinary disease; acute or chronic prostatitis; large and/or painful varicocele or hydrocele with functional impairment; or unreconciled abnormal finding on urinalysis, including drug use. Diabetes mellitus may be disqualifying if means or extent of treatment and control are incompatible with working conditions.

Spine, Pelvis, Sacroiliac, and Lumbosacral Joints: Individuals must not have restricted mobility of the spine and pelvic joints that interfere with normal function. Individuals cannot have any significant abnormal curvature of the spine or deformity or malformation of the parts, spondylolisthesis, or a history of herniated nucleus pulposus, with or without surgery, that may be reinjured on impact landing.

Extremities: Individuals cannot have anomalies in the number, form, proportion, and movement of the extremities that interfere with function. This includes non-united fractures; nonreducible dislocations; united fractures and reduced dislocations with incomplete restoration of function; amputation of arm, hand, leg, or foot; loss of any skeletal portion of the thumb of either hand; loss of more than the two distal phalanges of the ring or little fingers of either hand; ankylosed joints; pes cavus, weakfoot, or clubfoot; flatfoot with symptoms unresponsive to orthotics; loss or deformity of great toe or any two toes on the same foot; torn cartilage or loose foreign bodies within the knee joint; instability of the knee joint; or inadequately healed surgical procedure.

Nervous System: Individuals must not have mental, nervous, organic, or functional neuro-psychiatric disorders likely to interfere with performance; medical history or clinical diagnosis or a seizure disorder showing systems that are likely to recur or disturbance of consciousness without satisfactory explanation of the cause; paralysis or paresis; muscular atrophies or dystrophies that would interfere with proper functioning in the position.

Skin: Individuals cannot have debilitating acute or chronic skin disease or extensive scarring that interferes with function.

Other conditions: Conditions or other diseases not included herein will not exclude an individual from consideration providing the condition is satisfactorily corrected.

Height: Height without shoes must not exceed 77 inches or be less than 60 inches.

Weight: Individuals must weigh no less than 120 pounds and no more than 200 pounds without clothes.

Immunization: A tetanus immunization or tetanus booster within the last 10 years is required.

Sources of Additional Information

Information on obtaining Forestry Technician Series positions with the Federal Government is available from the Office of Personnel Management through USAJOBS, the Federal Government's official employment information system. This resource for locating and applying for job opportunities can be accessed through the Internet at or through an interactive voice response telephone system at (703) 724–1850 or  (703) 724–1850  or TDD (978) 461–8404 and   (978) 461–8404. These numbers are not toll free, and charges may result. For advice on how to find and apply for Federal jobs, download the Insider's Guide to the Federal Hiring Process” online here.


  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition; and
  • Office of Personnel Management, Position Classification Standards.

Download Today!

Do Your Homework

The competition is fierce when it comes to finding a government job today, but the best informed job seekers are sure to come out on top. Insider's Guide to the Federal Hiring Process, shows you step-by-step what you need to do in order to be considered for government employment.


We are here to help you and answer your questions.