The primary job of a hotshot fire fighter is to fight wild fires. A hotshot fire fighter may be employed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management or the National Park Service.
Interagency Hotshot Crews are made up of elite temporary and career fire fighters tasked with fighting wild fires. Operation procedures, training requirements and physical fitness standards are consistent nationwide. Other jobs that hot shot fire fighters may be assigned include disaster response assistance and search and rescue. Hotshots who are not actively fighting wild fires work in their home units through habitat improvement, prescribed fire implementation, thinning and trail construction projects to meet resource goals.
The hotshots program includes instruction on fire fighter safety, risk management, communications, fire behavior and job hazard analysis. Prospective hotshot fire fighters must past the Arduous level Work Capacity Test and participate in specialized physical conditioning and fitness programs. A typical crew includes a superintendent, two assistant superintendents, two module or squad leaders and 15 specially trained fire fighters. The Interagency Hotshot Operations Guide outlines the qualifications required for each position.
Hotshot personnel are required to be available round-the-clock during the fire season. Crews typically get to fire locations using planes, trucks or vans but may be flown in by helicopter or hike to get to more remote fire sites.