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The Watershed Research and Training Center

Hayfork, CA

Community Prescribed Fire Capacity Building and Ecosystem Resilience

Desired Skills/Traits:

  • A Bachelor's degree in a Natural Resources or Social Justice related field and familiarity with Northern California ecology.

    • We encourage all those interested in our work to apply even if they may not have all the desired skills listed below, as there will be opportunities for mentorship and the ability to grow into the position.

  • Primary Skills

    • Ability to work with diverse groups, build and maintain strong working relationships; interest in learning about decolonizing prescribed fire, and open to participating in DEIJ trainings and discussions.

    • Ability to be dynamic and fluid - as schedules and priorities are constantly reacting to environmental conditions for prescribed fire.

    • Valid driver's license

  • Secondary Skills

    • Ability to develop and follow a prioritized plan of work, set and keep deadlines and work on multiple projects concurrently; take initiative and work independently

    • Ability to contribute to a high-functioning, collaborative team environment; strong communication skills with the ability to listen well, and write and speak effectively.

    • Experience or an interest in public outreach, media storytelling, and community engagement

  • Optional skills

    • Bilingual in Spanish (optional, opens up additional training opportunities)

    • Ability to pass arduous work capacity test (optional, opens up additional training opportunities)

    • Knowledge of Google Drive and/or proficient mapping skills - GIS, ArcGIS, also iNaturalist, Google Earth and/or CalTopo for coordinating community-based efforts and fire management plan (can also receive training in this from WRTC fire staff, but background knowledge is strongly preferred)

  • Wilderness First Responder (WFR) or equivalent would be excellent.

Openings: 1 of 1

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Focus Area: Forestry/Fire

 Climate Mitigation & Adaptation, Education & Outreach, Fire Preparedness & Management, Volunteer Engagement, Community Resilience, Prescribed Fire

project breakdown







Education & Outreach


Goals & Needs


What started in the early 1990s as a local project to re-train displaced loggers and millworkers is now a vibrant nonprofit organization that serves the local community and leads statewide and national initiatives. The Watershed Research and Training Center (WRTC) builds partnerships with communities, organizations, and public agencies in order to steward landscapes, create & sustain quality jobs, and connect people to the land and each other. The Watershed Center’s Fire Management Program is summarized in this brochure.


A day in the life of a Fellow will be diverse. One week, the Fellow might be actively engaged in developing a Fire Management Plan for the Trinity Headwaters. The next week, they might be traveling with our Prescribed Fire Training Specialists to a community in Northern California to assist with/attend a NWCG fire training, workshop, or prescribed fire. WRTC has a total of 8 prescribed fire team members, all of whom possess a variety of skill sets and are excited to mentor, learn from, and work with the Fellow.


The Fellowship position will address the need to rapidly build community and practitioner capacity to reintroduce good fire in critical locations (ie. the WUI, culturally important landscapes, etc). Fire as an ecological process and management tool has, for over 100 years, been primarily in the hands of agencies. Agencies often cannot operate across all jurisdictions, do not have the workforce to address the scale of the need, and often lack the experience to burn for ecological or community objectives. WRTC’s fire team leverages partnerships to increase access to training and reduce barriers to burning by providing technical, administrative, and financial support. These efforts bring fire back into the hands of practitioners who are able to share resources, skills, and time to enhance the number of burned acres and improve the outcomes of those burns. (An example of the positive outcome of the work that WRTC supports is highlighted in this Smithsonian article.)


This project primarily addresses GrizzlyCorps’ goal to promote fire resilience and to build local capacity. The Fellow’s work will directly support development of initiatives (plans, burns, training) prioritized by rural communities, which ensures that local capacity is being enhanced sustainably. Ultimately, these initiatives contribute to increased carbon sequestration by reducing greenhouse gas impacts and soil degradation from catastrophic wildfire. Additionally the use of good fire shifts forest stands to more fire resilient species and sizes, which have long-term sequestration potential.

Capacity Building Projects

Statewide Community Prescribed Fire Workforce Capacity Development

The Fellow will provide support and assistance to promote fire resilience and to build local capacity in rural communities across the state. The Fellow will help coordinate NWCG trainings, workshops, and burns, including building rosters, communicating with partners, providing logistical support, fire cache management, day-of-operations support, etc. Outcomes of this work include developing local, sustained prescribed fire capacity at the community level, which will result in community and ecosystem resilience.


Trinity River Headwaters Forest Fire Management Plan

The headwaters for the Trinity River provide cold, clean water to the lower basin, including eventual use below Trinity Lake by both anadromous fish and downstream water users. Approximately 11,000 acres of the 30,000 acre headwaters is owned by the Watershed Center, and is cooperatively managed by the Watershed Center, Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Pacific Forest Trust, Trinity County Resource Conservation District, Nor Rel Muk Wintu Nation, and Trinity County. The headwaters has mostly avoided recent ‘mega-fires’ that have burned large swaths of Trinity County, but is within the designated ‘Trinity Forest Health and Fire-Resilient Rural Communities’ Wildfire Crisis Strategy Landscape, signaling high risk for future catastrophic wildfire.


A Fire Management Plan will establish a fire management strategy for this important ecological area. The Fellow will work closely with the Fire Team to write the Fire Management Plan for the Trinity headwaters. Work will include researching and reviewing other Fire Management, Restoration and Monitoring Plans within the geographic region. The Fellow will also work with team members and partners to compile information about the area’s ecology, vegetation types and fuel conditions, fire history, goals and objectives, indigenous uses, fire management strategy and management actions, values at risk, and desired future conditions. 


CalPBA Geodatabase and Mapping Dashboard for Trainings and Burns

Since Prescribed Burn Associations were brought to California in 2017, over 25 PBAs have been established across the state. These community-led burn groups are hosting trainings and implementing prescribed fires in their communities, but there is currently no system in place to track the amazing work happening on the ground. The Watershed Center’s Fire Team is working on establishing a system to collect training and burn data from these groups.


The Fellow will be working directly with our Prescribed Fire Training Specialist, Andrea Bustos, who is also a GIS specialist and geographer. Work will include continuing to improve and streamline the data collection process, analyzing the data, visually displaying the results, and storytelling. There will also be opportunity to work directly with these community-led groups, providing assistance with setting up user-friendly systems to track the data. It is important to spatially represent the work happening, not only to continue to build momentum and get more community members involved, but to show funders, agencies and legislators the amount of workforce capacity being built throughout the state.

Organizational & Community Highlights

A Fellowship with the Watershed Center’s fire team will provide the Fellow with opportunities to participate in NWCG courses, receive certificates, and progress in formal fire qualifications. It will also provide the Fellow with the opportunity to learn about prescribed fire planning and operations in a supportive environment that encourages questions. The Fellow will participate in burns led by federal, private, and tribal leadership, exposing them to different methods and objectives for reintroducing good fire. The position has the potential to develop long-term initiatives and relationships that can serve the Fellow into the future.


Although Hayfork, California is extremely rural, many of the folks who work for the Watershed Center are young and enthusiastic about the work they do. Meet the entire WRTC team here. Some of the Watershed Center staff work from remote offices across the Country. The WRTC team also has an amazing fire family, throughout the state of California, nationally, and internationally. The WRTC fire team travels across the state, tying in with over 100 partner organizations to train, mentor and learn and we often have visiting fire practitioners from all over the world.


The Watershed Center’s fire team is made up of 8 individuals who all come from amazingly diverse backgrounds. The whole team is excited to mentor, learn from, and work with a Grizzly Corps Fellow. Our team’s experience includes, but is not limited to, prescribed fire operations, fire ecology, GIS and data analysis, communications and community engagement, building equitable partnerships, hosting hands-on trainings, and building sustained local prescribed fire capacity across the state of California.


Since it was founded, WRTC has recognized that a model of local stewardship is powerful and impactful, and we’ve learned a great deal from over thirty years of successes and failures. Local stewardship jobs remain a core focus of WRTC’s work, and every year we employ Trinity County residents to conduct the full array of natural resource management services. WRTC’s statewide and national work is aimed at sharing what we’ve learned, building the capacity of other communities, and spreading the ethics of community-based land management across the country.

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