The Butte Fire Center
The Butte Fire Center’s first fire crew graduated the fire academy on May 13, 2016.
The Butte Fire Center located in Magalia, California had previously served as a CCC/Cal Fire Center from 1978 to 2003. It reopened in May 2016 in partnership with Cal Fire. The center has the capacity for 60 residential corpsmembers who are trained to provide fire prevention and protection and work on natural resource projects in the surrounding community.
Young men and women are assigned to the Butte Fire Center from all over California. For most corpsmembers it’s the first time they have lived near mountains, operated a chain saw, or worked in a commercial kitchen. Corpsmembers can choose between the Butte Fire Center’s Wildland Firefighting Program or culinary program. No previous experience is necessary for either program.
Wildland Firefighting Program
Corpsmembers train with and work directly with CCC and Cal Fire personnel as Type I fire crews that work on "hot" lines on the fire's edge. Experience as a Butte Fire Center firefighter can lead to career opportunities in wildland firefighting.
A corpsmember after a tool demonstration.
Requirements: While no previous experience is required, joining the CCC at the Butte Fire Center requires determination, mental toughness, and physical fitness along with the requirements below:
- High School Diploma , GED or HS Equivalent
- Physical Fitness Test
- 25 push-ups in 2 minutes
- 25 sit-ups in 1 minute or hold plank for 1 minute
- 2-mile run in 20 minutes or less
- 5 pull-ups in 1 minute or hold onto bar for 1 minute
- Complete a 2-mile hike uphill (an 800-foot elevation rise) in 30 minutes wearing full fire-protective gear (boots, hardhat, gloves, and fire-protective clothing over uniform) and carrying a 40-pound backpack and a chain saw, shovel, or other hand tool.
- Written Test: After completing the classroom portion of the Cal Fire/CCC fire training, all applicants are required to pass a Firefighter written exam to remain at Butte Fire Center. Corpsmembers who do not pass can transfer to another residential CCC center.
- Physical Exam: Corpsmembers must have a CCC pre-employment physical exam once they arrive at Butte Fire Center. The must be cleared by the CCC’s physician to perform the duties of a wildland firefighter, including working long hours over multiple days in heat, dust and smoke.
- Background Check: California residents between the ages of 18-25 can not be on parole or formal/supervised probation or have convictions for violent crimes or serious drug offenses.
Course Description: The Cal Fire Fire Crew Firefighter Training course at the Butte Fire Center provides physically fit CCC corpsmembers with the basic skills in wildland fire suppression.
- There will be 20 quizzes. The cumulative score must be 80% or higher. No retakes are allowed.
- There will be a comprehensive 50 question FINAL corpsmembers must pass with an 80% or higher. No retakes are allowed.
- Corpsmembers will write on paper or recite the “10 Standard Firefighter Orders” and pass with an 80% or higher. Two retakes are allowed.
- Corpsmembers will write on paper or recite the “18 Watch-out Situations” and pass with an 80% or higher. Two retakes are allowed.
- Corpsmembers must recite the shelter deployment statement, clear an area 4 feet by 8 feet down to the soil, and get into the fire shelter in 30 seconds or less in full wildland Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Program Schedule: The work schedule is Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. When crews are dispatched to a fire, the typical schedule is 24 hours on, with little or no rest, often cutting fire line for hours at a time. This is followed by 24 hours off. Corpsmembers should be prepared to be out on assignment for 14-21 days at a time, with only one day off before returning to an emergency.
Corpsmembers continue training and work on trails, fire breaks, and other outdoor projects in nearby forests and parks when they aren’t responding to a fire or an emergency. They also take career, leadership, or personal development classes in the evenings. On weekends and days off, there are often volunteer opportunities and recreational trips.
Corpsmember cutting line in a fire emergency. Culinary Program
In addition to the Wildland Firefighting Program, the Butte Fire Center offers corpsmembers training and on-the-job work experience in a commercial kitchen. Corpsmembers prepare meals for 60 or more people each day under the supervision of professional culinary staff. During fire season, kitchen staff may have to cook for 100 or more people on very short notice and be required to work extra shifts when the Butte Fire Center is used as a base of operation for visiting fire crews deployed on nearby fires.
Corpsmembers in the culinary program participate in all other aspects of the CCC program but are not required to meet the fitness standards for fire training.
Please email a CCC Recruiter about a corpsmember position in the Culinary Program. firstname.lastname@example.org
Butte Fire Center corpsmembers in hookline for a tool demonstration. Center Location
The center is located on a heavily forested property that is a 5-minute drive from the town of Magalia (population 20,000), and fifteen minutes of the town of Paradise (population 50,000). The city of Chico (population 100,000) is about 45 minutes away.
Residential Living Quarters
Living quarters consist of dorm-style residence halls with separate housing for men and women. Rooms are designed for two or more corpsmembers. Everyone eats breakfast and dinner in the dining hall.
Personal vehicles are allowed at the center, and there is plenty of parking.
There is a computer lab and Wi-Fi access at the center. There's also a recreation room with pool tables and TVs for gaming, movies, etc. There is an outdoor basketball court and a gym with cross-fit racks, weights, a treadmill, and several other exercise machines.
The CCC Program Expectations
The CCC sets a high standard for attendance and participation. The CCC requires the completion of COMET (Corpsmember Orientation Motivation Education and Training) during the first two weeks at the Butte Fire Center. Corpsmembers who successfully complete the required training will participate in evening classes and workshops, corpsmember community meetings and volunteering in the community. There are also courses in Conservation Awareness, Career Development and preparation for life after the CCC.
Leadership and promotional opportunities are available for corpsmembers who demonstrate motivation and eagerness to assume new responsibility. Forty eight hours of volunteer service is required for promotions and to qualify for the CCC and AmeriCorps scholarships. The CCC scholarships are available for those who successfully complete a year in the CCC.
To apply for the Butte Fire Center Wildland Firefighting Program or culinary program: Please complete the California Conservation Corps online application. Your local recruiter will contact you to schedule an information session and an interview!