Magalia Fire Center

corpsmember in protective fire gear using chain saw to cut plant in foreground

Magalia Fire Center Corpsmember Joaquin Arroyo cuts brush with a chain saw during his crew’s annual readiness exercise in May 2021.

The Magalia Fire Center opened in 1978 as a CCC/CAL FIRE Center. The center closed in 2003, then reopened in May 2016 housing more than 70 residential Corpsmembers who provide fire prevention and protection, and work on natural resource projects in the surrounding community.

Young adults are assigned to the Magalia Fire Center, located in Butte County, 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 to participate in the Magalia Fire Center’s Wildland Firefighting Program or its Culinary Program. No previous experience is necessary.

The center is located on a heavily forested property in Magalia, about fifteen minutes from the town of Paradise and 45 minutes away from Chico.

6640 Steiffer Road
Magalia, CA 95954

CCC Magalia Fire Center

Magalia Fire Center Video Tour

Life at the Magalia Fire Center

female corpsmember profile as fire burns in the background

Magalia Fire Center Corpsmembers regularly work 24-hour shifts on large campaign fires. The work of cutting hand line can often last for hours and take place right next to live fire. 

Living quarters at the Magalia Fire Center consist of dorm-style residence halls with separate housing. 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 is 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.


corpsmember in safety equipment uses chain saw to cut brush on a hillside

When not fighting wildfires, Magalia Corpsmembers work with CAL FIRE to reduce the threat of wildfire in Butte County by completing fuel reduction projects. 

Corpsmembers at the Magalia Fire Center specialize in providing fire prevention and protection with CAL FIRE. In addition, crews may work on natural resource projects in the surrounding community as well as respond to emergencies throughout California.

Education and Training

female culinary coprsmember uses rolling pin in kitchen

Corpsmembers in the culinary program are trained in a variety of cooking techniques and styles, including baking.

All Corpsmembers at the Magalia Fire Center complete Corpsmember Orientation, Motivation, Education, and Training (COMET) and core training courses. Specialized trainings and certifications available at the center include:

  • First Aid & CPR
  • Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Certificate
  • Chain Saw Training and Certification
  • Chipper Safety & Training
  • Ladder Safety
  • Leave No Trace
  • Safety Stand Down
  • Power Tools Safety and Operation

In addition, the center offers two programs to Corpsmembers: the Wildland Firefighting Program and the Culinary Program.

Wildland Firefighting Program

Corpsmembers train with and work directly with CCC and CAL FIRE personnel as Type 1 fire crews that work on “hot” lines on the fire’s edge. Experience as a Magalia Fire Center firefighter can lead to career opportunities in wildland firefighting.

Requirements: Previous experience is not required to join the Wildland Firefighting Program at the Magalia Fire Center. However, the program requires determination, mental toughness, and physical fitness including:

  • High School Diploma, GED, or high school equivalent
  • Corpsmembers must successful complete pack test to begin fire training, which consists of a three mile hike carrying 45 pounds completed in less than 45 minutes
  • Physical Fitness Test:
    • 25 push-ups in two minutes
    • 25 sit-ups in one minute or hold plank for one minute
    • 5 pull-ups in one minute or hold onto bar for one minute
    • Complete a two-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 Magalia 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 Magalia 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.

Course Description: The CAL FIRE Fire Crew Firefighter Training course at the Magalia 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. One retake allowed.
  • There will be a comprehensive 50 question final exam that Corpsmembers must pass with an 80% or higher. One retake allowed.
  • Corpsmembers will write on paper or recite the “10 Standard Firefighter Orders” with 100% accuracy. One retake allowed.
  • Corpsmembers will write on paper or recite the “18 Watch-out Situations” with 100% accuracy. One retake allowed.
  • Corpsmembers must be able to deploy and get into a fire shelter in 30 seconds or less in full wildland Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Program Schedule: In the winter, days of operation are Monday through Friday. During fire season, the Magalia Fire Center operates seven days a week and is able to respond to fires 24 hours a day. 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 to 21 days at a time, with only one day off before returning to an emergency.

Corpsmembers continue training and work on fuel reduction projects 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.

Culinary Program

The Culinary Program at the Magalia Fire Center provides Corpsmembers with training and on-the-job work experience in a commercial kitchen. Corpsmembers also have the opportunity to earn a ServSafe Food Protection Manager certificate.

Under the supervision of professional culinary staff, Corpsmembers daily prepare meals for 60 or more people.

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 Magalia Fire Center is designated a base of operation for visiting fire crews deployed on nearby fires.

Experience gained through the Culinary Program positions Corpsmembers for careers in commercial and institutional food preparation.

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.