Engineering Equipment Operator

Cambridge, Maryland
Sep 23, 2021
Oct 01, 2021
Engineer, IT, QA Engineer
Full Time


This position will be filled under the Office of Personnel Management's Direct Hire Authority and is open to all United States citizens and U.S. nationals. Veteran's preference and traditional rating and ranking of applications do not apply. All qualified applicants will be referred to the hiring manager for consideration for this position. To learn more about Direct-Hire authority, go to: OPM.GOV Hiring Information: Direct Hire Fact Sheet
Learn more about this agency


The purpose of the position is to serve as a trained experienced primary firefighter (wildland firefighter) performing the following duties:

Operates diesel power tractors and small to medium size dozers (up to Cat D6 or equivalent) in performing a variety of operations in support of the fuels (vegetation) management and wildfire suppression duties to include rough clearing and piling of surface vegetation and debris. Operates front end loader, back hoes or tractors and attachments during construction or maintenance of fire access roads and firebreaks for proper fuel removal and grading slopes or spreading materials.

Operates equipment that typically requires multiple connections to the tractor and adjustments, such as setting the depth of plow blades or the height of mower blades. Equipment operated includes mowers, cutter bars, augers, plows, harrows, sprayers, discs, front-end scoops and backhoes.

Operates tractors and equipment on terrain which may be swampy, sloping, rolling or rugged with a number of obstacles such as trees, fences, ravines, holes, ditches, roads and various structures in adverse fireline conditions including smoke and heat. Careful and exact maneuvering is required.

Services, checks, and fuels equipment before operation. Performs operator daily preventive maintenance and makes minor repairs and adjustments to equipment and attachments. This includes but is not limited to replacing chains, belts, cables, lubricants, oils and filter changes, battery checks, changing dozer blades and safety inspections. Maintains equipment in a fire-ready status. Frequently performs maintenance on equipment in the field due to fireline conditions and the additional wear and tear on equipment during operation.

Incumbent will serve as a member of a wildfire suppression team. Incumbent is responsible to prepare for this activity by familiarization of the station fire plans, equipment and knowing the proper procedures to use during fire sequence. Safety of oneself, fellow workers and equipment is to the utmost importance and will take precedent over all firefighting activities.

Participates in fire management through the use of prescribed fire and/or the control of wildfires. Participation will include operation of fire equipment, operation of multi-agency communications gear, aerial observation, and management of assigned portions of the fire operation. Incumbent may serve in other fireline positions as qualified.

Performs fire suppression and pre-suppression tasks and other refuge maintenance as directed. Uses a variety of gasoline or diesel-powered fire and maintenance equipment with wheeled or crawler traction, attachments, pumps and chainsaws. May use specialized hand tools such as flaps, fire rakes, shovels, backpack pumps and cutting tools to suppress wildfires or to maintain firebreaks and fire access roads.

Receives training, passes course and physical requirements of the Incident Qualifications Certification System for all functional assignments fulfilled.

Operates specialized crawler (GeoBoy, Gyrotrac) or wheeled equipment/vehicles (hydraulic brush cutters) or bulldozers with attachments, i.e., drum choppers, to conduct hazardous fuel reduction activities on refuge lands within the wildland urban interface.

Operates motor vehicles including 4x4 vehicles, three-axle and tractor/trailer transports to move heavy equipment between refuges. Equipment hauling trucks are operated over commercial highways and through city streets; a Class A driver license is required.

Adjust attachments for proper positioning arid working order usually without stopping the power unit or the equipment. Services, checks, and fuels equipment before operation. Checks and services attachments to be used.

Performs daily preventive maintenance and makes repairs and adjustments to equipment and attachments. This includes but is not limited to replacing chains, belts, cables, lubricants, oils and filter changes, battery checks, changing dozer blades and safety inspections. Maintains equipment in a fire ready status.

In addition, may be called upon to perform tasks involved with biological census work, building maintenance, and other miscellaneous duties not requiring any special skill, training, or experience. (Not to exceed more than 20% of the time during a normal fire season).

Keeps written maintenance records for all equipment operated. Keeps equipment logbooks up-to-date at all times.

Travel Required

50% or less - You may be expected to travel 50% for this position.

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • Must be a U.S. Citizen or National
  • Males born after 12-31-59 must be registered for Selective Service
  • Resume and supporting documents (See How To Apply)
  • Suitability for employment, as determined by Non-Sensitive Low background investigation
  • Drug testing position
  • Medical Requirements
  • Official U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service uniform required
  • May be required to successfully complete a probationary period
  • Must meet the minimum/maximum age requirement
  • Direct Hire Authority will be used to fill this position
  • Driver?s License: Selectees must possess and maintain a valid State driver's license at all times during their tenure.
  • Commercial Driver's License (CDL): must possess or be obtained within 6 months and maintain throughout tenure
  • Must obtain and continuously meet requirements for a National Interagency Incident Management System Wildland and Prescribed Fire Qualification System Guide (PMS 310-1) rating of firefighter
  • Must attain the prerequisite physical stamina and strength needed to perform arduous duties and must demonstrate abilities at the prescribed level annually.


The maximum age is 37 (except for veterans preference eligibles). Individuals must be selected for these positions prior to their 37th birthday. Qualified preference eligibles may apply and be considered for vacancies regardless of whether they meet the maximum age requirements identified at 5 U.S.C. 3307, unless the hiring agency has determined age is essential to the duties of the job.

By the closing date of this announcement, you must meet the requirements of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Handbook X118C, Job Qualification System for Trades and Labor Occupation.

Although no specific amount of experience, education or training is required, applicants must meet a minimum level of ability in relation to the position and the Assessment Questionnaire in order to be rated qualified for consideration. To be qualified candidates must meet any screen out element(s) listed at an "acceptable" level, and must achieve an average rating of at least "acceptable" on all of the elements. Only education, training, or experience acquired before the closing date will be considered.

Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

This position is covered by the special retirement provisions of 5 U.S.C. 8336 (c) and 5 U.S.C. 8412 (d) as a Primary/Rigorous Firefighter. Applicants must be 18 years of age, but not have reached their 37th birthday by the closing date of this announcement. These positions are covered by the special enhanced annuity retirement provisions for Federal Firefighters and Law Enforcement officers and have a mandatory retirement age of 57. Two exceptions are allowed: 1) an applicant has prior Federal service in documented special retirement covered position(s) sufficient to count toward 20 years of covered service on or before the mandatory retirement age of 57; or 2) an applicant is a qualified veterans' preference eligible, in which case the MEA is waived and their corresponding retirement age may be higher than 57 after completing 20 years of service. Applicants must submit proof of their previous and/or current status in the Fire Fighter or Law Enforcement special enhanced annuity retirement system.

Prior to appointment, you must be determined physically fit by an authorized government physician to perform strenuous and physically demanding duties; and also pass a medical examination (which includes vision, hearing, cardiovascular, and mobility of extremities)?given by an authorized government physician. You will also be required to periodic medical examinations throughout employment.
The Work Capacity Test (WCT-Pack Test) as a method for assessing an employee's fitness levels for fire qualifications in the positions covered by this recruitment notice. Arduous fitness (WCT-Pack Test) will consist of completing a three-mile hike, within 45 minutes, while carrying a 45 pound pack. NOTE: Arduous Work Capacity Test


There is no substitution of education for experience for Wage Grade (WG) positions.

Additional information

FWS has determined that the duties of this position are suitable for telework only during an emergency or natural disaster.

More than one position may be filled from this announcement.

A PCS Move is authorized as follows: travel and relocation expenses including reimbursable real estate expenses will be authorized in accordance with the Federal travel regulations excluding contractor-provided home sale. All moving expenses are taxable.
TESTING DESIGNATED POSITION: All applicants tentatively selected for this position will be required to submit to urinalysis to screen for illegal drug use prior to appointment.
MEDICAL REQUIREMENTS: You must pass a pre-employment medical examination. Also, you may be subject to post-employment medical examinations to determine if you are maintaining the fitness standards for this position.
DRIVER'S LICENSE: You must possess and maintain a valid State driver's license at all times during your tenure.

Physical Effort/Working Conditions
This is an arduous duty position requiring prolonged standing, driving/walking over uneven, rocky or swampy ground, recurrent bending, reaching, lifting, and carrying items weighing up to 50 pounds; and other strenuous activities requiring good agility and dexterity. Incumbent must be able to exert significant and sustained physical effort when conditions dictate.
As a line firefighter, this position requires that the incumbent meet and maintain physical requirements at the arduous level, i.e. Pack Test - Arduous.
Work is accomplished both in an office setting (5%) and outdoors (95%). Work performed outside is in a variety of settings where steep terrain, extremely uneven, rocky and slippery footing is normal. Temperature extremes are common, both from weather and fire factors. Smoke and dust conditions are frequently severe. Work demands conformance to safety requirements including the use of a variety of personal protective equipment such as hardhats, goggles, Nomex clothing, gloves, heavy leather boots, respirator and other items.

If you are unable to apply online or need to fax a document you do not have in electronic form, view the following link for information regarding an Alternate Application: .

How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

All applicants who submit a complete and legible application by the closing date of this vacancy announcement {or cut-off} will have their qualifications reviewed to determine if they possess the following knowledge, skills and abilities required to successfully perform the work of this position.

Your qualifications will be evaluated on the following competencies (knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics):
  • Skill and ability to operate one or more types of heavy equipment.
  • Basic knowledge of the nature of the soil and features of the terrain to determine the proper approaches according to the conditions of surface and subsurface.
  • Ability to move the equipment about in confined areas.
  • Basic knowledge and use of computers in order to input maintenance data into the Service databases.
  • Knowledge of firefighting techniques, tactics, and safety policy.
  • Knowledge of the uses of different sets of controls for operation of the equipment and attachments and skill in handling these controls to perform the work, e.g., good hand, foot, and eye coordination is required to operate various controls simultaneously.
  • Knowledge of safety rules and regulations to ensure safe use of the equipment and prevent injury to self, coworkers, or property.
    Skill in welding and cutting practices (as required).
All applications that are verified to meet the basic qualifications will be referred to the selecting official.

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance
Not Required

Drug test required

Position sensitivity and risk
Non-sensitive (NS)/Low Risk

Trust determination process

Required Documents

To apply for this position, you must submit a complete Application Package which includes:
  • Resume or Application. At a minimum, your resume MUST contain job title (include job series and grade, if federal), duties, starting and ending dates (month and year), hours worked per week, and salary. USAJOBS has a template to ensure a complete resume.
  • Other supporting documents:
    • Cover Letter, optional
    • Incident Qualification and Certification System Responder Master Record/Incident Qualification Card (if applicable)
    • If applicable, documentation/proof that you are eligible Career Transition Assistance Program/Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program documentation, if applicable (e.g., Certification of Expected Separation, Reduction-In-Force Separation Notice, or Notice of Proposed Removal; SF-50 that documents the RIF separation action; and most recent performance appraisal.)

    If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

    Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .

    Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

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