TUCSON, Ariz. – The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Gila District announced today that the Aravaipa Veterans Fire Crew has achieved certification as an Interagency Hotshot Crew (IHC). Of the 13 BLM IHCs nationwide, the Aravaipa Veterans Interagency Hotshot Crew is the only BLM-funded hotshot crew in Arizona, and only one of two BLM IHCs in the nation focused on recruiting and developing veterans.
“We’re proud of the Aravaipa Crew’s accomplishments and the continued efforts to develop a workforce of Veterans,” said Gila District Manager Scott Feldhausen. “This hard working and highly skilled crew is now a part of the elite fire resources available to fight fires not only in Arizona, but nationally and abroad.”
Interagency Hotshot Crews are the most highly trained and experienced type of hand crews and they must meet and maintain stringent requirements to achieve the IHC status. Their primary mission is to provide a safe, professional, mobile response to all phases of fire management and incident operations. IHCs are staffed, conditioned, equipped and qualified to meet a variety of strategic and tactical wildland fire assignments, and they are typically relied upon for the most challenging fire assignments. When not committed to fire assignments, IHCs provide a workforce to accomplish a variety of resource management objectives while maintaining availability for incident mobilization.
In 2016, the BLM Arizona fire organization requested that the Aravaipa Veterans Crew begin the process to be certified as an IHC. Over the subsequent two years, the Aravaipa Veterans Crew took steps, including multiple fire deployments across the West, to meet the IHC requirements before being formally certified at the national level.
The Aravaipa Veterans IHC will provide an opportunity for veterans to work in a team environment and build skills and experience. Team members will also learn about opportunities to work for and become competitive for employment with the Federal Government in other natural resource arenas.
Information and Photos of Aravaipa Veterans IHC are available at: https://www.blm.gov/arizona/fire/aravaipa-crew.