Cal fire FF1 salary

Just collecting information, if someone know what the starting salary for a seasonal FF1 engine or hand crew salary will be ? Do they get paid by the hourly , monthly ? & does location matter?

$3,273.00 - $4,137.00 is the current FF1 salary range which is issued on the 1st of the month.
You also receive an overtime check roughly every 28 days, planned OT (Extended Duty Week) is I believe between 1-2 K, any extra OT will be on that check.
The range doesn’t change based on location.
You also start in CALPERS plus other benefits (medical, dental, vision), time off allowances, and a uniform allowance, although I forget how the uniform allowance works for FF1. Also your portal to portal, always getting paid.

Planned OT is based on our 72 hour work week.

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The paid time off ( vacation and S/L ) won’t kick in for the 1st 6 months and it will get put in at once and they will earn holidays and PLP days.They will also ask them if they want annual or Vacation/ sick, don’t take annual because at the end of the season it’s all cashed out and you start out at zero next season, Vacation/Sick stays deposited ( sick only) with only vacation being cashed out.

They will also be subject to the pay cut as the rest of department, uniform is paid out when the season ends based on # of months unless the employee takes the advance at which point they won’t get anything at the end of the season.

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Great information collected I appreciate it now just waiting for my call can’t wait super exited ,

Keep in mind like 1/3 of your check goes to taxes and other fees such as union dues

Keep in mind that accumulating sick leave initially is more important than annual leave. If you plan to retire with CalFire, then accumulating up to 2012 hours of sick leave, the equivalent of one year of service, can be used toward retirement credits. For instance, after working 29 years you can use that 2012 hours of sick leave to retire with 30 years of service. Anything less than 2012 hours is then use as a faction of a year of service. Do not continue with sick leave credits if you have 2012 hours but instead switch to Annual Leave.


Exactly, I hated to see the newbies sign up for annual and not ask the senior guys. I hated seeing them start each year with zero in their banks.

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In the past PLPs didnt get cashed out, if you carried 3 PLP days you could get direct deposit immediately. Annual leave has its benefits, if you get injured off duty and are on annual leave you only have to burn 20 hours per week for full salary with IDL.

Pretty sure you should know what the salary for the job you are applying for is. If not, do you even have a clue what the job entails? You gonna be the one who balks at cleaning toilets, or taps out on the first hose lay (that won’t be on flat ground for sure)? Know how to turn on a mower? Paint a wall? COOK?
Just wait till yer first staffing pattern or out of county assignment covering a station for 2-3 weeks. How about instead of using the easy button (this) you look at the application you put in or do a little work and use this thing called the internet. Here is a starter (like 0.0046 seconds on Google):

  • $3,273.00 - $4,137.00
  • $14.26 - $18.03 HR

And straight off the seasonal hiring page the new and improved ranks. (I admit, this verbiage is new to me. I remember ranks were based on interview/resume scores)

All applications received will be reviewed and applicants will be placed in the appropriate category as follows:

  • Category 0: The applicant has returnee rights to a CAL FIRE Unit.
  • Category 1: The applicant is considered “fully trained” and has provided an acceptable document showing completion of ALL of the required trainings listed above AND either: Public Safety First Aid, EMT, or Paramedic.
  • Category 2: The applicant is considered “partially trained” and has provided an acceptable document showing completion of at least one of the required trainings listed above, or one EMS qualification listed above, or one of the desirable trainings listed above.
  • Category 3: The applicant has not provided acceptable documentation for any of the required trainings or desirable trainings listed above.

Good luck, you’ll need it.

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Hey man, maybe considering the CAL Fire retention issues you should take a little time out of your day to mentor someone who’s interested in working for the agency. I’m sure that having someone talk down to them for asking a question is really making them want to come work for the bear over other agencies who are more than happy to help people apply.

Also, are the salary numbers really accurate? Last I checked the job postings still don’t include EDWIC pay sooooo his questions seem fairly valid.

Just my thoughts.


The salary range is accurate according to the CAL HR website, ( FIRE FIGHTER I $3,273.00 - $4,137.00) but they don’t include the Extended duty or overtime . I spent 15 seasons with the bear before moving up the branch , best 15 seasons ever. Fast pace but the bonds are the best. Whenever I see a new seasonal come in I see the future for the department.


Yeah, I really wanna work days on end with a slap-dick who doesn’t wanna read the application, know what they are applying for (maybe get some experience first? Volunteer, explorer program, Feds?) or have to baby-sit in the middle of a fire fight. I guess cooking, lawn care/maintenance and general housekeeping is a lost art now with the current hires. Again, show some competence and do the digging. Can’t even figure out salary for a state job that has everything in duty statement and app? Good luck even trying to get anywhere with local gov. Rather have someone who knows the deal get a job than a tourist. The days of breathing and having a pulse gets you a job are long gone, way too many people in line who have their eyes on the prize. I know CDF is just a stepping stone, but do work while here.

Admittedly, the EDWC can be confusing (19 hrs of planned OT built into your 72 (that’s 3 days) shift, X four (4) weeks = planned OT check you get when your personnel department gets around to cutting it). Salary come on the first of the month, unless you’re with a credit union (like G1, Schools) who deposits salary a couple days before.

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I’m sorry that leadership is so exhausting. It’s not for everyone.


I’d prefer to have a company officer that doesn’t refer to his subordinates as slap dicks when they are asking questions. Or a company officer who prefers to teach and educate his firemen on their job opposed to worrying about trivial things such as lawn care. We are firemen not gardeners. That’s the problem with your old forestry mind set. Let’s do nothing to improve our employees just treat them as the seasonal help. When we should as supervisors be preparing them for the next level. But you know what raking the sand north to south in the AM and east to west in the PM is better than competency.


Agreed. Most people don’t quit jobs they quit bosses. As a member of this organization I am so fed up with the terrible leadership that I see out of many of the company officers. The idea of ownership is completely lost on them. They all talk and act like when they were new their captains didn’t have to teach them anything.

“There are no bad teams, only bad leaders.”

To anyone who is thinking of working for CAL Fire please understand. The mentality that was shown here by another member is a dying mentality. Darii, please don’t let this deter you from seeking employment with us. I have no doubt that your six seasons with the Feds have served you well and would bring valuable experience to CAL Fire.

We all need to be the change we want to see.


I am with the other two, blacks attitude towards the inexperienced is old and needs to go. I have no problem bringing new guys off the street up to speed. It isnt that hard, and if they truely arent cut out for the job you can take the appropriate action at that point. Nobody is awesome their forst season, and they arent raised the same anymore, its is going to take time to get the young ones up to speed.


How soon we forget that we all started at this point of asking questions and feeling our way through to begin our firefighting careers. I was always taught to not forget where you came from. Today’s recruits are not the same and most of them need a little more hand holding. It’s the age of the non-motivated in our young people coming up. But, if you take the time to mentor them I bet their are many hidden gems to be found and you get to train them in your own mindset. Don’t forget where you came from!


How many new candidates know or can understand a PLP day or any other out of the box names for state pay? I get doing research first as that is certainty a problem with the younger generation but so is lack of leadership and educating the new guys. We were all there at one time. Take time to mentor.


Mod Note: Let’s try to keep the discussion on a positive tone, please. It’s far too early in the year to be getting too cheeky. We were all eager as hell waiting for our 1st CF call too.

Carry on, everybody!


I can see both sides of this coin. However, I error on the side of the “Newbee” in this case with the exception of not doing 100% of their homework before asking questions that are easily answered from the Cal-Hr website and the KSA’s and Duty Statement. But the way Matt black handled it was completely unprofessional in 2021. The response SHOULD have been more encouraging & informational. Especially when dealing with someone that has FED experience and a general baseline knowledge of wildland firefighting. Taking the time to explain it would’ve been great. But taking the extra effort to do it in such a condescending way shows someone who is bitter, intelligent, and close to retirement. In other words LACKS LEADERSHIP. Today’s generation (Gen Z, Millennial whatever) come to this job with completely different skills, background, experience, and expectations. A person with Darii fed experience was born in the 90’s, doesnt know the history of CDF/Calfire, the 96hr work week, “The Nickle” and probably minimal experience with “Gardening Equipment”. This person is an opportunity, a virtual blank canvas to teach, train, and mentor. The amount of effort Matt Black put into such a Negative response is nothing short of a #@*& move(fill in the blank) Like it or not, WE ALL work for the Government. The Governor of California just authorized the hiring of 1,400 additional personal. If we don’t Teach, Train, THE BASICS, (starting with treating people the right way) 2021 will be longer than 2020. Finally, something that took me a LOOOOOOOONNNNNNGGGGGGG time to learn, but I finally did is this “Don’t come to me with problems, come to me with solutions”
Happy Easter and everyone have a SAFE 2021 fireseason