Interagency Hotshot Crews (IHCs) are the most highly trained, skilled, and experienced type of handcrews. Hotshot crews were first established in Southern California in the late 1940s on the Cleveland and Angeles National Forests. They were called “Hotshot” crews because they worked on the hottest part of wildfires.

The U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, state and county agencies sponsor more than 100 Interagency Hotshots Crews, with most located in the western United States. Visit the IHC contact list website for more information. 

The primary mission of IHCs is to provide a safe, professional, mobile and highly skilled hand crew for 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. The organizational structure allows IHCs to form into small modules or squads and accomplish independent assignments. IHCs may be prepositioned for initial attack or perform ready reserve duties as required by national planning level requirements.

Within the limits of their experience and qualifications, IHCs are capable of providing a disciplined,

self-contained and adaptable workforce to meet the needs of incident managers in a variety of situations and during all hazard assignments.

When not committed to fire assignments, IHCs can provide a workforce to accomplish a variety of resource management objectives while maintaining availability for incident mobilization.

IHCs can provide a high quality cadre for fire management training at local, geographic area and national levels.

All IHCs must meet the same stringent standards for physical fitness, training, leadership, qualifications, and operational procedures, as outlined in the Standards for Interagency Hotshot Crew Operations.

Most hotshot crew positions are seasonal. Employment is occasionally available during the pre- and post-season depending on weather and funding.

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