Fire Ecology Crew Lead and Technicians

UC Davis

Live your passion for botany and forest health while assisting to monitor prescribed fire throughout the Sierra Nevada! The Safford Lab seeks to hire 1 crew lead and 3 field assistants for the summer of 2020 to collect ecological data related to the effects of prescribed fire on plant communities and forest structure throughout the Sierras in California. Crew will collect data on forest stand structure, tree mortality, plant species diversity, vegetation regeneration, forest fuels, fire severity, and on-site fire behavior. Data collection will occur before, during, and after prescribed burning. The crew leader will be responsible for leading the field sampling, ensuring that equipment and data are managed properly, coordinating logistics and communicating with supervisor.

Field sites will be throughout the Sierra Nevada and northern California, but additional locations are possible. During work tour crews will usually be car camping either in designated or dispersed campsites adjacent to remote roads. These sites may lack running water and restrooms. Crew will be provided with a vehicle, but crew members are responsible for their own transportation to and from the duty station at the beginning and end of the work tour. Field driving will be on remote and rugged roads.

We are seeking at least one person with botany skills capable of accurately and efficiently identifying all plant species within plots and at least one person with an active red card with Firefighter Type 2 certification and completion of the arduous pack test. Neither of these qualifications are required to be considered for the position!


-Crew lead: Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience in ecology, forestry, range science, or related natural science

-Crew member: upper division college coursework or equivalent experience in ecology, forestry, range science, or related natural science

-Crew lead field experience: A minimum of two seasons of related field work-Crew member field experience: A minimum of one season of related field work or multiple relevant coursework field experiences

-Experience in conifer forest vegetation data collection methods

-Experience in identifying trees and shrubs

-Experience in backcountry camping

-Experience in use of map, compass, and GPS units for location and travel

-Knowledge of and experience with Microsoft Excel for data entry purposes

-CPR and Wilderness First Aid certified

-Ability to maintain a positive attitude in physically demanding and/or uncomfortable conditions


-Experience conducting forestry or ecological field work, preferably in the Sierra Nevada

-Ability to identify California plants to the species level using a dichotomous key (not required for all positions)

-Possession of an active red card, certifying Firefighter Type 2 and arduous pack test

-Excellent organizational skills and detail oriented for data management, equipment management, crew management (crew leader only), and planning (crew leader only)

-Ability to take a leadership role and make decisions without input from supervisor when needed (crew leader only)

-Experience in a variety of vegetation sampling techniques

-Experience working with complex data recording equipment

-Enthusiasm for the type of work to be conducted

-Experience operating a vehicle on rough roads

HOW TO APPLYSend a cover letter, CV/resume (2 pages maximum), and three references (including name, organization, phone, email, and relationship to you) to Ashley Grupenhoff at, no later than March 1, 2020. Your cover letter must clearly state whether you are applying for crew lead or crew member. Combine all application materials into a single pdf with your last name at the beginning of the file name and include the exact subject line “2020 prescribed fire monitoring crew, UC Davis” in your email.

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