Caring for the land and serving people...

With a Helicopter

About us

Our Services


We'll get there fast, manage our own logistics, and let you know when you can take this fire off your board.


Personnel transport, recon flights, cargo delivery, helispot installation, and helibase management.


When resources are scarce, our spotters can provide real-time visual intel during multiple-start scenarios to help you make informed decisions in compressed-time environments.


Our firefighters know that wilderness areas have unique requirements and they understand the philosophy and implementation of MIST.

Here's the deal

The Crew:

The Siskiyou Rappel Crew is a 24-person USFS initial attack crew based out of Grants Pass, OR. We have one national rappel aircraft and one national large fire support Type 1 aircraft, but routinely host additional helicopters on site as the season dictates that can be staffed as needed with the support of boosters and qualified district personnel. The crew consists of a Rappel Airbase Manager, Helicopter Program Manager, Assistant Helicopter Managers, Squad Leaders, Senior Firefighters and temporary seasonal employees. We also have the ability to retain positions for detailers and Wildland Firefighter Apprentices to support the needs of the local units. 

The Job:

The crew's primary duty is to respond to Initial Attack incidents throughout the Nation. Initial Attack, logistical support, mapping, LEO flights, SAR missions, Medevac and prescribed fire duties are commonplace in addition to off-forest assignments for qualified personnel. The crew is very busy from late June to mid September while the helicopter is on contract, and personnel can supplement adjoining districts assisting in fire suppression and fuels projects to extend their duties later in the year. 

Physical Fitness:

A great deal of emphasis is placed on physical fitness. It should go without saying that the work we perform is extremely physically demanding and requires a high level of physical conditioning. Applicants must pass the Work Capacity Test (WCT) at the arduous level consisting of a three mile pack carrying 45 pounds in 45 minutes or less. Failure to pass the WCT in the specified time will lead to dismissal. 

 The desired physical fitness goals for the crew are as follows:

  • 1.5 Mile Run 11:00 Minutes or less
  • 25 Push-ups 1 minute
  • 45 Sit-ups 1 minute
  • 7 Pull-ups
  • 110lb pack 3 Miles 90 minutes

Physical training during the course of the season will include running, hiking and cross training to increase cardiovascular endurance; strength and muscle conditioning through weightlifting, circuit training and core exercises. We cannot stress enough the need to engage in a physical fitness program throughout the off season, and to show up to work in good shape to reduce the risk of injury and increase your chances of successfully completing the training phase of the program. 


The first five weeks of the season, starting in early May, will be dedicated to extensive physical fitness, classroom, field training and the National Rappel Academy. This training will include mandatory annual training and refreshers, S-271 and Interagency Helicopter Training as well as becoming certified as a rookie rappeller. There is no down time during the training and trainees must demonstrate competency and proficiency in all aspects of the training or they will be removed from the program. During the course of the season, other training courses may be offered to further the qualifications and career development of each individual which will be outlined on an Individual Development Plan (IDP).

Only a small group of people are selected each year to become rappellers. It is a credit to those individuals to have been chosen for this position in terms of their abilities, character and proven performance. It is an opportunity that very few people get.

Interested? Canidate Questionnaire.   

The rookie training program is designed to train you to be a confident, safe and effective rappeller. Rookie training is designed to prepare rookie rappeller candidates with the necessary mental fortitude, logic and reasoning skills, and physical capacity to succeed in highly dynamic and arduous work environments. The Forest Service spends a lot of time, effort, and money to train rookie rappellers. Success will require you to put forth your best effort. 

Government housing may be available for crewmembers and is on a first come first served basis. The average local rent is $500.00 to $700.00 per month in the Grants Pass area and options are limited. Temporary crewmembers have also gone in together to rent a house for the season which can offset individual costs and facilitate carpooling. 

Work Dates:
Work usually starts in early May and ends in late September or early October. Crewmembers are hired on a Not-to-Exceed (NTE) 1039 hours in 1 year basis as a GS-0462-4 or 5. Students (STEP's) are under a NTE 1 Year appointment. Wildland Firefighter Apprentice/Detail employees do not have imposed limitations which allows the base manager to coordinate time frames with their host unit. 

The Mission:
To be effective, efficient and safe aerial-delivered firefighters, highly trained and motivated to be self-sufficient in our efforts to manage wildland fires and care for the land. 

The Vision:
We will strive to be a preferred and highly trusted resource, known for our excellence and professionalism in the workplace, the field and the community. Together we will be humble, while taking pride in our ability to provide leadership and technical expertise to those around us.