Learn more about working with Grayback Forestry.
Q: What kind of work does Grayback do?
A: Grayback is primarily a forest restoration, wildfire suppression company. Other services include prescribed fire operations, reforestation, mechanical thinning, mobile gel mixing plants, fire camp support and disaster relief. Grayback contracts with federal and state agencies as well as private landowners.
A: Specific wildland firefighting experience is not necessary. Prior experiences such as camping, hiking, scouts, or organized sports can be helpful.
Q: Do I need prior experience to become a wildland firefighter?
Q: What training will I need?
A: You will need to have certification of passing a 40- hour “Basic Firefighting Course” from a certified training provider such as Community Colleges, agencies, NWSA certified instructors, or attend the basic class free of charge with Grayback Forestry.
You must provide documentation you have passed the required physical fitness test -- 3 miles walking with 45-pound vest within 45 minutes. Grayback provides this test at no charge.
Q: Is there a physical fitness requirement?
Q: What can I do to get prepared for fire season?
A: Physical fitness and breaking in of boots are the two areas that are underestimated the most by rookie firefighters. You must be in top physical condition to come out on day one of fire season. Below is a resource to assist you in your physical preparation.
Fitness and Work Capacity 2009 Edition
Some of the most physically fit individuals go down within the first few days of a fire assignment from not having properly broke in boots.
Q: Once I've been certified, How do I get hired?
A: Apply for a position. Grayback interviews candidates from the pool of applicants and selects new hires from those interviews.
Q: Do you provide housing?
A: The Seneca Work Center has housing opportunities. Seneca is a sub-base of our John Day operation.
Q: When will fire season start? How long will it last?
A:We can only provide a general start date based on history and for any given year that can vary. We provide crews and other resources all over the country, so it can be snowing where you live but you could be dispatched to a fire in Arizona. Grayback has been dispatched to fire assignments all twelve months of the year.
That said, for the West, fire season is typically mid-June through early October.
Q: What if I attend college? Can I still apply?
A: Some of our best firefighters are students who fight fire every summer while working their way through college. However, some schools start in the fall right in the middle of fire season. Each base will have a different protocol for students that have an early return date.
Q: What is the starting pay?
A: As a seasonal firefighter with no prior experience, your starting wage would be no less than Oregon minimum wage. Due to different contracts that we work on, that pay could be more depending on the wage determination.
Q: Will I be working full-Time or Seasonal?
A: Grayback typically will start all new employees at seasonal status. Generally, after fire season ends full time positions become available. Performance during fire season weighs heavily on selection of full time candidates.
Q: Will I need to provide my own Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
A: No. Grayback will provide you with all required PPE. You will need to provide personal effects such as sleeping bag and toiletries.
Q: How far from a base can I live?
A: Grayback has five bases of operations across the west. You will be assigned to one of these bases. In order to be available for wildfire suppression dispatching or assigned work, you need to respond to a dispatch in less than an hour.