Wildland firefighters are gearing up for what is projected to be another active wildfire season throughout the state. The Bureau of Land Management's North Central District fire program held an aviation training the week of June 13th. Firefighters can become helicopter crew members upon completion of the training.
Bjorn Burgeson, the helitack superintendent of the Lewistown BLM, led the week's training. He explains, "We do the initial attack on the fire before it makes the nightly news or causes too much damage." The BLM assists other local and federal agencies, such as the National Park Service, during both training and fire season.
Almost 950,000 acres of land were burned throughout the state in 2021. Burgeson estimates the state's fire season has increased around a month in the last 20 years, "The expanding fire season is happening due to a variety of reasons, including dry fuels and climate change." As expected, the increase in fires has also increased the demand for firefighters.
BLM has several firefighting positions open. The qualifications required include a basic firefighter, or firefighter type 2, qualification and the helicopter crew member qualification. Bjorn looks for those with a positive, resilient attitude as well as those who can think on their feet. Click here to view job openings.