New law allows temporary federal firefighters to apply for permanent jobs

One of the many challenges federal land management agencies face when recruiting to fill wildland firefighter positions, in addition to low pay, is the difficulty in filling seasonal or “temporary” positions. A law recently signed by President Obama, the Land Management Workforce Flexibility Act, P.L. 114-47, puts a different perspective on that issue. Temporary firefighters can now apply for permanent positions if a few conditions are met:

1)   the employee was initially appointed under competitive procedures;
2)   the employee has served under one or more time-limited appointments in a land management agency for a period or periods totaling more than 24 months without a break of 2 or more years;
3)   the employee’s performance was at an acceptable level throughout the service period/s; and
4)   the employee’s most recent separation was for reasons other than misconduct or performance.

While the law is official, it can’t be implemented until new rules are issued by the Office of Personnel Management and the six agencies — Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Bureau of Reclamation.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

One thought on “New law allows temporary federal firefighters to apply for permanent jobs”

  1. While it is true that there historically have been no benefits for seasonal employees, this is slowly changing. As of the 2013 fire season, temporary fire fighters for the USFS can get health coverage while they are employed. I believe thy can keep it while laid off but have to pay full price as opposed to the government paying a decent percentage while in pay status. Not sure if this applies to other agencies (I hope it does). It is no where near full benefits, but it is something.


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