In 1946, the Department of the Interior formed the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) when it merged two separate government agencies. At the time, thousands of confusing and obscure laws existed for overseeing public land in the United States. The BLM received legal authority to manage these lands when Congress enacted the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA). The majority of these lands are located in 12 western states, including Alaska.
The BLM’s main goal is to preserve, maintain, and protect public lands so that people may enjoy them for many years. BLM employees are responsible for more than 262 million acres of land within the United States. This includes wildfire control and suppression. Much of the wildfire control is handled by air dropping fire suppressant or air lifting in fire fighters to the location. What makes these jobs especially challenging and sometimes dangerous is that the fires may be in areas of dense timber, difficult terrain, and occur under windy conditions. Sometimes these areas are of value for historical or archaeological reasons, and the BLM must protect them from fire or other dangers. In many cases, aircraft are used for this purpose, whether for firefighting, surveillance, or law enforcement.
Population growth in areas controlled by the BLM have required the agency to increase its staffing. This means a steady supply of jobs throughout the BLM, including tasks that involve the use of aircraft and ground support of those aircraft.
Visit the BLM’s website at for the latest information about the agency.
Applying for BLM Jobs
The BLM has an annual budget of $1.8 billion. The agency currently employs more than 10,000 people in addition to its 20,000 non-paid volunteers. To apply to BLM directly for a job, you must have federal employment status. The exception to this is those applicants who qualify for special hiring, such as Peace Corps workers, the disabled, and certain others. All others must apply online through the USAJobs. The website lists detailed information about each job, including hiring requirements.
Wildland fire jobs with the BLM are also handled through the Department of Interior (DOI). The DOI often coordinates fire fighting among several government agencies, including the BLM. Jobs for aviation ground support, fixed-wing and helicopter pilots will be listed on their website. You can post your resume and apply online for jobs as well as request automatic email notification of jobs as they become available.
General BLM job information and employment announcements are located on their website jobs page.
The BLM bases much of their hiring requirements on experience. Whether you obtain relevant job experience somewhere else or within the BLM, you have a better chance of getting hired or promoted when you have more experience than others applying for the same job. The main advantage to this for those applying from outside the BLM is that if you have more experience than someone already working for the BLM, you have a great chance to get the job. This is especially true for BLM aviation jobs. They want to hire pilots with the most hours logged on a particular type of plane, and not necessarily pilots who already work for the agency. If you have experience with bush flying, your chances of being hired improve even more. The same holds true for ground support positions. If you’re an aviation mechanic familiar with and certified for working on engines used by BLM aircraft, you stand an excellent chance of getting the job over somebody else with less experience.
Consider taking a seasonal job with the BLM. These may last anywhere from six to twelve months long. Seasonal jobs include all the benefits that permanent employees enjoy, plus it gives you the opportunity to gain work experience and job contacts. These in turn can create future permanent status job opportunities with the BLM. Click the link to find information about current seasonal job listings