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New Blue Goose Fire Crew Offers Training Opportunities

The Blue Goose Crew is a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wildland fire crew established in partnership with the Columbia Basin Job Corp Center in Moses Lake, Washington. The 20-person crew will have 11 temporary appointments available for FWS fire personnel, in addition to the full-time superintendent position. The other 8 positions will be filled by JCC students.

This new program is designed to target the development of FWS employees at the squad leader and crew boss levels. Students from the Job Corp Center will serve as part of their training in wildland fire operations. The crew, based near 30,000-acre Columbia National Wildlife Refuge and other FWS-managed lands, will be available for national dispatch to suppression assignments, as well as for prescribed fire and project work.

The crew is being established and supported by the Pacific Region to provide more required training for Crew Boss, Firefighter Type 1 and Incident Commander Type 4 or 5 positions within the interagency Incident Command System. Priority for crew member selection will be given to those needing these assignments to complete their qualifications.

“We are excited to provide fire leadership and development opportunities at the squad boss and crew boss levels for FWS wildland firefighters and Job Corp students, “ said Regional Fire Management Coordinator Pam Ensley. “Our goal is to build this program into one of the prides of the FWS fire program."

The Service’s national Fire Management Branch at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, previously sponsored a JCC Blue Goose Crew. This student crew was based in nearby Nampa, Idaho, home of Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge. The crew operated through the 2003 fire season. Equipment and vehicles used by that original crew have now been transferred to the new crew in Washington.

“While the major objective of the newly formed crew is the professional development of personnel, delivering a quality product to the fire community in a safe and efficient manner will be a priority.” said new crew Superintendent Jason Riggins. “Honest communication, integrity, and a strong commitment to the success of the crew will be expected of each individual. Safety and performance of the crew are also directly related to the physical fitness of each member; daily physical training will be required.”

In order to build a cohesive crew and provide the best training experience possible, season-long details are encouraged. Shorter details of no less than 40 days will also be considered. Prospective detailers will be evaluated based on qualifications, training needs, application, and references.  Applications should be submitted by March 15, 2007.

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