A group of 20 determined firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit completed a demanding and extensive certification process to become the first Interagency Hotshot Crew from Lake Tahoe. Formerly the Tallac Hand Crew, the Tallac Hotshots join an exclusive group of roughly 2,000 firefighters across the country.
“The certification of the Tallac Hotshots is a significant event for the Lake Tahoe Basin,” said Forest Supervisor Nancy Gibson. “Fire suppression in the Basin is vital to our communities and it’s reassuring, particularly in light of the anticipated active fire season, to have such a key resource of well-trained and experienced firefighters in our area.”
The Tallac Hand Crew was established in 2001 and the original intent of the crew was to perform fuels management projects and to be available for wildland fire response. The crew evolved through extensive training, recruitment, and leadership retention to become a highly skilled 20-person crew. The primary mission of an Interagency Hotshot Crew is to provide a safe, professional, mobile and highly-skilled hand crew for all phases of fire management and incident operations.
“Hotshots are a unique group of individuals,” said Tallac Hotshot Casey Hoffman. “They have to be tough physically and mentally to be able to do the work they do.”
The Tallac Hotshots are a valuable resource to the Lake Tahoe community by carrying out initial attack for wildfires that occur in and around the Lake Tahoe Basin. They also provide training for the Forest Service Wildland Firefighter Apprentice Academy and the Lake Tahoe Community College Fire Academy.
Hotshot crews consist of 20 firefighters specifically trained in wildfire suppression tactics. Hotshots, who are on call 24/7, provide initial attack response for fast-moving fires in remote regions and are trained to meet the most stringent physical requirements. Within two hours of receiving orders, Hotshots can be ready to travel anywhere in the country and are often flown in by helicopter to steep terrain where they fight fires using only the equipment they can carry. Hotshots can respond to all types of national emergencies including hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes and other disasters.
The U.S. Forest Service seeks qualified applicants for positions year-round. Find out more on the Jobs Page.