US Forest Service
3.6 of 5 40 reviews
www.fs.fed.us Washington, DC

US Forest Service Reviews

Updated Jul 2, 2014
US Forest Service – Hungry Horse – “Smokey at the Hungry Horse fire cache”

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3.6 40 reviews

                             
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    It was a wonderful experience in which i help customers daily resolve issues and problems related to their operating sys

    Technical Support Advisor (Current Employee)
    Sandy, UT

    ProsThe through training. Positive feedback. Hours of operation. Potential for overtime. The opportunity for advancement within the company was very appealing.

    ConsNone really. I mean your just have to make sure that you are on time. Sometimes you might be on a call at the end of your shift and that call may go an hour over.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Agency Bogged Down by Politics

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
    Bishop, CA

    ProsYou can occasionally get outside!

    ConsDated processes that are always changing, making administrative tasks take forever!

    Advice to Senior ManagementListen to your people on the front lines

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    Great opportunity. Exposure to large projects.

    Civil Engineer (Current Employee)
    Sacramento, CA

    ProsCentral project role ion all phases,

    ConsRemote location and extreme weather

    Advice to Senior ManagementOffer advice to improve advancement chances.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    "Forestry Technician/Aid"

    Forestry Technician (Former Employee)
    Chester, CA

    ProsYou get to be a part of a team and see a lot of cool places. This job is great for young people who aren't married. You go on fires for weeks and come back with a bank account full of money.

    ConsThere are a lot of people in positions that they shouldn't be. Make sure you find a good captain who is knowledgable. Bad decisions can get you in life threatening situations. Also, it can be tough in the summer if you have a significant other at home.

    Advice to Senior ManagementDon't promote people by sending them off to a different district. Felt like there were a lot of people who had no idea what they are doing in high positions. Feels weird when a captain is asking questions the a first year employee would ask or when your bosses boss calls you an idiot for going to college.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Not the professional organization I thought it was.

    Recreation Technician (Former Employee)

    ProsI got tot work in some of the most beautiful countryside imaginable.

    ConsVery Veteran unfriendly despite what the official publications say. Your co-workers and supervisors generally (with exceptions) fall into two categories. petty bureaucrats, drunk with the power they hold of their minute slice of of the Federal pie. The second folks who started out with good intentions, but have had their will broken by the system but are caught up in it because they have a substantial amount of time in or it provides benefits.
     Very top down. You cant even write an letter on FS letterhead without a 3 week process of back and forth to the Supervisors office.
    Poor, poor, leadership They are just there for their paycheck. If you have problems its all self-service.
     I could go on but I'll stop.
    If you want to work for a Federal land management agency, try the NPS I've heard they are better. BLM is just as bad as is NWS. Better yet go with a State agency.

    Advice to Senior ManagementPut the Service back into the Forest. Let the Districts run themselves. Get rid of dead weight, which is most anybody above the grade of GS-9

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    Great work but horrible pay and treatment by HR

    Wildland Firefighter (Former Employee)

    ProsYour co-workers will become your best friends, your supervisors are (for the most part) outstanding, you will be rewarded in measure for how hard and effectively you work, you will see the entire western US and all the great outdoors it has to offer. Getting the winter off is a huge plus if you view it that way.

    ConsYou make less than half of what city firefighters make for working a much more demanding schedule and more fires in one season than a typical city firefighter sees in a whole career, and if you are temporary (like most guys) you get no benefits either. During fire season, you will be gone from home pretty much the entire time. It makes it hard to have a personal life. Additionally, the work actually is pretty dangerous, and very difficult physically. Especially if you are taller, you can end up with some pretty messed up joints (knees, ankles) if you stick with it long enough. The big ones are that there is no work during the winter, and your seasonal pay is dependant entirely on how many fires there are...which can make it hard financially, especially if you have a family. Of course, satisfied firefighters view these cons favorably in terms of the excitement and adventure they provide.

    The only real complaint is the way the Forest Service HR, admin and Washington Office folks treat firefighters. There is a big dichotomy between those folks and various "relics" of the old-school FS, such as firefighters. As a gung-ho, hardworking individual who believes in getting stuff done, you will be crucified (along with all of your co-workers) by admin every chance they get... don't mean to gripe, but it's hard not to after all the absolute **** that got flung at us. The BLM is a better agency to work for in this regard.

    Advice to Senior ManagementRe-institute the expectation that district rangers and all other admin start out as temporary firefighters (or a similar grunt level position) and work their way up through the ranks. It is hard to make the argument that in an agency that does work as unique as the USFS, that someone who has never done any of it can effectively manage it. The USFS certainly is not being run anywhere near as well under this system as it was back in the day, despite the fact that we do far less as an agency now. You are losing many of your best employees due to this.

    Don't treat firefighters like pawns in some Affirmative Action chess game. If you want more diversity in the ranks, do the real work of outreach and recruitment. Under the current system, you've created a situation where any time someone sees a "diversity candidate" on the fireline, the immediate thought is that that person probably isn't qualified for the job (basically, a watch out situation if you are in that person's chain of command)...definitely not a good situation, nor the way it should be and not the way it needs to be, but unfortunately the way it now is. I should add that I had the pleasure to work with very well qualified and capable "diversity candidates" so I know there are more out there if you would just recruit them.

    Increase pay, provide benefits to everyone, give control over hiring exclusively to supts., with no input from HR or admin (i.e. district ranger, forest supervisor, etc. even FMOs). Control overhead costs on large fires. Plan your budgets multiple years ahead of time and you will save a ton by purchasing higher quality equipment that will last longer. Don't require gloves for chainsaw PPE (leather gloves have no traction, so the saw slipping out of my hands was always a bigger concern than scratching my hands on thorns was. It's always possible to put gloves on before handling the chain).

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Forestry Technician IHC TEMP

    Forestry Technician (Former Employee)
    Foresthill, CA

    ProsExtremely rewarding to be on a Hotshot crew. Great training opportunity, Tons of overtime, PT every day, compared to other agencies it seamed like we did not take as many risks

    ConsMoving up can be very difficult depending on your area(Northern California)
    Not much summer recreation time available, compared to state agency, poor medical plans and equipment available.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Civil Engineer

    Civil Engineer (Current Employee)
    Ogden, UT

    ProsBenefits are better than benefits in smaller companies. The ability to have a maxi flex schedule, management is fairly relax and allows you to come and go as needed as long as you get your work accomplished in a timely manner.

    ConsLike most large organizations people tend to create empires in thier respective departments and don't get along well with others. There is a sense of entitlement among some employees who feel the Federal Government owes them more than their current salary.

    Advice to Senior ManagementGrow a spine.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    The Most Fun and Adventurous Job I Have Ever Had (I've Had a Lot of Jobs).

    Engineering Equipment Operator (Former Employee)
    Sparks, NV

    ProsOutdoors in America's most beautiful places.

    ConsHard to become permanent employee. Need to be a qualified Armed Forces Veteran or have a Bachelor's Degree, sometimes both or more.

    Advice to Senior ManagementTrain your employees to take over permanent positions. You will retain loyal, quality people.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Hard Work, Incredible Rewards

    Forestry Technician (Former Employee)
    Salt Lake City, UT

    ProsWork outside
    Guaranteed Hours
    Potential for future permanent positions
    Can travel the country

    If you love working in the outdoors, hiking, construction, manual labor, and representing the government while interacting with the public, this could be the career for you.

    ConsSeasonal labor-no benefits
    Strenuous manual labor
    Can be difficult to secure permanent positions
    May have to move around to find openings
    Difficult hiring process

    If you are looking for permanent employment, it can take a while. Many people spend multiple seasons as a seasonal employee before they move up.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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