Career Pathways

Pathways to Career Growth in Fire Planning

No matter what stage you’re at in your career, development and self-improvement in key areas is vital to progression. The Interagency Fire Planning Committee has identified several Core Competencies they feel are important in successfully performing planning duties.

Data/GIS-Proficiencies that demonstrate the ability to effectively organize and display data logically to solve technical issues.
Analysis-Proficiencies that demonstrate the ability to gather and synthesize necessary information to develop planning documents and utilize current models.
Business-Proficiencies that demonstrate the ability to interpret and apply NEPA, in addition to other laws and agency/interagency policy.
Human Dimensions-Proficiencies that demonstrate the ability to carry out successful program management and team facilitation.

Each competency is categorized into three levels, according to position and experience. Please click on the following position descriptions to learn more about each level:

Working: Unit Level
Journey: Unit/Regional Level
Advanced: Complex Unit/Region/National Level

Fire planners and other positions having planning responsibilities, no matter how limited, can use the competencies listed to identify gaps between existing and desired knowledge, skills, and abilities. It is not necessary to achieve each competency at the next lower level to meet the criteria of your current level - sometimes its more important to know who to ask rather than try to learn every applicable skill.

To identify the skills you may want to develop, click on any of the competency areas to identify the competencies you’re interested in.  You can use this information with your supervisor to develop and prioritize your Individual Development and Training Plan (IDP). These competencies can be used to identify training gaps and to guide development and delivery of training courses specifically designed to bridge these gaps.

Pathways to Career Growth in Fuels Management

No matter what stage you’re at in your career, development and self-improvement in key areas is vital to progression. The Interagency Fire Program Management (IFPM) has identified Minimum Qualification Standards that are required to successfully function, or progress in, the fuels management track. In addition, they have identified competencies for these positions that vary according to experience and program complexity level. These competencies have been grouped into four elements:

•Program Management

--develop, implement, and evaluate program goals and objectives
--develop, implement, and evaluate fire management budget
--supervise and develop employees
--develop and maintain agency/bureau and interagency partnerships
--identify research needs and apply new technologies 

•Planning

--develop plans compliant with environmental laws, regulations, and policies
--participate in agency and interagency planning processes
--prepare and review plans and/or plan components covering operations, training, prescribed fire/fuels, safety, fire effects, smoke, etc.


•Operations

--manage fuels and prescribed fire program projects, activities, coordination, logistics, and reporting
--manage wildland fire program components, strategy and tactics, incident management, and appropriate management response
--manage unit fire and aviation program/operations as appropriate


•Safety and Welfare

--conduct prescribed fire/fuels operations in accordance with safety-related laws, policies and guidelines
--conduct safety education programs
--prepare hazard, risk, and trend analysis
--identify hazards and risks with appropriate mitigation actions

Fuels specialists and other positions having fuels management related responsibilities, no matter how limited, can use the competencies listed to identify gaps between existing and desired knowledge, skills, and abilities. You can use this information with your supervisor to develop and prioritize your Individual Development and Training Plan (IDP). These competencies can be used to identify training gaps and to guide development and delivery of training courses specifically designed to bridge these gaps.

To view suggested developmental activities, including standard training, to achieve the required competencies for Prescribed Fire and Fuels Specialist Positions, take a look at the Planning Tool developed through IFPM.

Additionally, take a look at the Training and Education pages on this site. There are a number of resources  you may find useful to help you develop your desired skill set, from improving negotiation skills to learning which monitoring methods are best to use in your fuel type.

 

Agency Specific  Information

USFS 

The Forest Service has identified several key positions that are required to meet  FS-IFPM standards. It’s a good idea to become familiar with these requirements if you’re considering entering or progressing in fuels & fire related fields within the Forest Service. The Forest Service Standard Position Description Crosswalk identifies the Forest Service Fire and Aviation Management (FAM) positions that are included in IFPM.

In addition, the Forest Service has recently developed  the Fire and Aviation Career Advancement Tool (FAMCAT). This tool is designed to help both employees and supervisors map out career options, and mindfully develop strategies to build the skills and attributes needed to successfully compete for fire jobs. The site is still under construction  but currently has some functionality and useful information available.