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How to Earn an FFT2 Red Card to Fight Wildfires

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Matt Smith

Before a wildland firefighter can assume duty, he must earn a Red Card. Red Cards offer information about the firefighter and his/her level of training.

Before a wildland firefighter can even being to train for a red card, they must first have an agency or supporting unit. These units can be defined as local fire departments or state and federal governments. The US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, US Fish & Wildlife Service, and National Park Service all have wildland firefighter divisions.

Complete your class work. To obtain a red card for an FFT2 position you must complete and pass classes on Basic Firefighting, Basic Fire Behavior, Introduction to Incident Command System and Human Factors on the Fireline. many of these classes can be completed through local community colleges. The supporting agency or unit will advise where the classes should be taken.

Complete the Task Book. During your classroom training, there will be a day when you complete field exercises. A task book provided by the supporting agency or unit will have tasks signed off by an instructor during the exercises. For the tasks that are not completed during class, the firefighter must initiate training with the agency.

Take the Pack Test. The "pack test" is the name given to the physical agility test administered by the supporting agency or unit. This tests consists of walking with 45 pounds on your back for three miles in under 45 minutes.


Physical strength and stamina is needed to complete the pack test.


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