Frequently Asked Questions


Recruiting

Where do I apply?
– You must complete the official BCWS online application. It usually gets posted mid-November and closed by mid-January (see BCWS-Employment page). At the same time, email the Parattack recruiters with your resume and cover letter (contact details).

How do I email the recruiters?
– please ask for their address via our contact page information (email/phone)

I have submitted my application but received no response. Why?
– Interview notifications are sent out at the end of February. If you have not received any response by March, please call our base.

Do you recruit only Type 1 fire fighters from British Columbia?
– No. Plenty of jumpers came from other provinces or contract crews. It helps to have the knowledge and understanding of how the BC Wildfire Service operates, but is by no means a requirement.

How many people do you hire?
–  That varies from year to year. Usually there are between 4 -10 open spots

What are the minimum requirements to join the Parattack program?
– at least one season of (preferably) Type 1 wildfire experience
– WorksafeBC recognized first aid ticket (OFA 1+TE, OFA3,PII)
– move to Fort St John or Mackenzie for the season
– ability to pass the WFX Fit test
– being able to stay under 200lbs with boots

Will my previous parachute experience be of value?
– yes, if you jumped round parachutes (usually military)
– not as much, if you jumped “squares” (sport jumping)

Do you work year-around? 
–  No. In BCWS terms, the job is described as seasonal auxiliary position. That means contracts range from March until October, with various lengths in between for people with other commitments (school, other jobs). For the term of the contract however, expect to work a regular 35 hour week plus any overtime and on-call standby. 

Do you provide accommodations during the training phase?
– No.

When is the training camp? 
– Usually first year jumpers show up the first or second week of April
– 2 weeks of ground school after snow is cleared from training facility
– once completed, another 2 weeks of jump school will happen as wind and weather permits 

Do you recruit only Canadians?
– No. However, foreign applicants are required to have a valid work permit before starting bootcamp. Parattack is unable to support the administrative side of visa/work permit applications.   

I am already a member of BCWS. How do I join Parattack?
– Contact the Fort St John base and let them know you would like to transfer to Parattack
– contact your base and inform your supervisor that you would like to apply for a voluntary transfer BEFORE the first Friday in Februar
y
– for more procedural information, search the BCWS intranet for “Standard Operating Guideline For Auxiliary Voluntary Transfer”

I am starting from scratch. How do I become a Smokejumper?
– There is no particular “step-by-step” path. Everyone has a different background in life and brings something uniquely valuable to the table. However, what unites them all is previous wildfire experience. Most people that apply and get in have at least 3-4 years of experience fighting forest fires.
– Start with that. Get hired with any of the contract or government crews, then spend a couple of years and gain the important knowledge to fight fires.  

– On top of the fire skills, aquiring first-aid experience and saw skills will set any applicant ahead of the rest. The OFA 3 ticket and any WorkSafeBC approved faller certification can improve your odds of getting a spot.
– If you have time and resources, take a road trip up to Fort St John and come for a base tour. Meet our crews and see how we operate.