The Sawtooth Interagency Hotshot Crew is a fully equipped, response ready, twenty-person team with a primary purpose of wild land fire suppression. Hotshot crews are also available for other disaster assistance work if required. Regardless of the specific assignment, work consists of extended periods of physically demanding labor under difficult environmental conditions. Because of their high level organization, training and capabilities, hotshot crews find themselves assigned to the most demanding tasks.
Assignments to emergency incidents require extensive travel. Hotshot crews can and do travel to all regions of the United States and are available for international requests for assistance.
Living conditions while on assignments are primitive. Hot meals, soft beds, and bathing are not high priorities. Field assignments away from home base can extend beyond a month. Daily work shifts can be 16 hours in length and in some instances much longer. Routine sleep deprivation is probable. When not assigned to an emergency incident, the crew will undertake various work projects in support of natural resource management programs. Unassigned time may be dedicated to training.
The Sawtooth IHC strives to build on a reputation and image of competent, professional organization. While not militarily rigid, this organization is at times too confining for some individuals. Conduct, uniform and grooming policies are part of our tradition and success. The crew is generally a tight-knit group and an atmosphere of honesty and free expression prevails. Crewmembers are selected from all regions of the country and represent a diverse range of thought, beliefs and background.
The Sawtooth Hotshots place a great deal of emphasis on physical conditioning; the job demands it. Personal safety may depend on an ability to effectively respond to rapidly changing situations while under extreme physical and emotional stress. A high level of physical fitness is required before the start of fire season. A medical examination may be required prior to employment. Physical fitness assessment takes place on the first day of hotshot training.
The Sawtooth IHC provides 80 hours of training prior to assignment availability. This initial required training includes classroom and field exercises that ensure safety awareness and effective crew operations. In addition to what is often refresher or repeat training, the Sawtooth crew usually attempts to provide National Wildfire Coordination Group certified S & I-200 level courses in an effort to build the skills base of the crew and the credentials of individual crewmembers. The ability to complete this additional training is dependent on the workload of the season.
Physical conditioning is another element of training that the Sawtooth IHC considers essential to safe and effective operations. Crewmembers can expect from one to two hours of physical conditioning daily. This training will include aerobic activity in the form of running, hiking, swimming and team competition. Strength and muscle endurance conditioning will be addressed through weight training, calisthenics, stretching and job specific exercises.