Experience, Opportunities Await on CCC Fire Crews

female in fire gear using a mcleod in high grass

Camarillo Corpsmember Andrea Chavez uses a McLeod to scrape down to bare mineral soil during a practice fire line cut at the Camarillo Center in Ventura County.

The super bloom across California, thanks to winter rains, will soon become super fuel. The young adults of the California Conservation Corps are ready to protect communities from potential wildfires, as they take the first steps in their fire careers.

“I really just wanted to be a firefighter,” said Corpsmember Alex Wilson. “I was going to school for it, but I found out the CCC could give me the certifications and give me the experience I need. I was like, ‘sounds like the right choice for me.’”

Each year hundreds of young adults, 18-to-25-year-olds and military veterans up to 29, enroll in the CCC to tackle the challenge of wildland firefighting, get paid to train, and launch their careers.

“I was researching how you become a firefighter, and my only option was to either spend a lot of money or find somewhere that’s going to assist me,” said Corpsmember Deshawn Mercadel. “I came across the CCC and didn’t think it was true at first. It’s been a blessing to be here because I get everything I need. They prepare me.”

Preparation includes the industry-recognized certifications required to work as a wildland firefighter. Plus, Corpsmembers get the hands-on experience of working the fire lines with the CCC’s partners. To top it off, Corpsmembers earn a monthly stipend that can total more than $32,000 in their first year.

female firefighter smiles while carrying hand tool on hike

Placer Center Corpsmember Alyssa Dominguez smiles at the conclusion of her crew’s readiness exercise hike in Nevada County.

“The CCC is the perfect place to get that experience,” said Corpsmember Andrea Chavez. “I am very, very thankful for all the opportunities that I am given. If you join the CCC you’re going to get a great experience and you’re going to become very successful in whatever you want to accomplish.”

The work of being a wildland firefighter is by no means easy. It requires lots of physical conditioning and stamina, plus learning the knowledge that will keep you safe on the fire line. But, knowing you’re making a difference and growing yourself makes all the challenges worth it.

“It’s pretty intense,” Wilson said. “But, it’s fun for me in pushing myself and doing great work.”

You can do great work too as a CCC wildland firefighter by enrolling today. This summer you can find yourself making a difference across California protecting people and property from wildfire. Click on the links below to learn more or to fill out our online application.