Planning Operations Specialist

  • Full-time

Company Description

The Ember Alliance is a national organization of wildland fire practitioners, researchers, analysts, and instructors dedicated to increasing the pace and scale of prescribed fire. The Ember Alliance is dedicated to supporting fire as a natural process in fire-adapted ecosystems on a landscape scale to improve ecosystem function and health and increase wildfire resilience.  

The Ember Alliance provides an open, transparent, and just organization and workplace. We strive for clear, open, and kind communication and are committed to centering, recruiting, hiring, mentoring, and supporting fire practitioners from traditionally underserved and underrepresented communities. We are dedicated to building a better way to do fire management, that recognizes the inherent value of our employees, that supports work / life balance, and provides an environment that supports growth.    

Job Description

The Ember Alliance is hiring for a permanent, full time prescribed fire position in Colorado! The Planning Operations Specialist position will provide integral support for day-to-day prescribed fire planning activities to the Planning Operations branch of The Ember Alliance’s Fire Operations program. This position focuses on prescribed fire planning and development, assists with prescribed fire coordination and implementation, and assists with providing wildland fire training classes for the integrated fire management program. The position has both field and office responsibilities, including but not limited to, performing field assessments across a multi-state region, developing prescribed fire plans, assisting with burn planning and implementation, filling leadership roles on prescribed fires and wildfires as qualified, and young adult mentorship. Candidates should have a passion for increasing the pace and scale of prescribed fire, increasing diversity and inclusion in the fire practitioner community, and creating operational excellence.

A successful candidate will have experience with burn plan writing and prescribed fire planning and implementation. The Planning Operations Specialist (PLOPS) is responsible for prescribed fire planning and development and supports the overall Fire Operations program. Our program provides support to many partners (local, state, federal and private) in meeting their prescribed fire planning, implementation and coordination needs. This position will work independently and as a project manager under the Planning AFMO. Potential candidate must be able to work from office when required. Preferred location would be the greater Fort Collins, CO area; remote work may be a consideration.


  • Perform field assessments for burn planning, including scouting burn units, to assess fuels loading, unit hazards, values at risk and other pertinent information.
  • Perform field mapping for burn planning purposes, using Avenza Maps, ArcGIS or other platforms.
  • Analyze field data and apply it to develop NWCG PMS 484 Prescribed Fire Plans
  • Develop and author NWCG burn plans, in coordination with an RXB2, as an additional preparer.
  • Assist with fire behavior and smoke modeling.
  • Assist with ArcGIS map production in support of prescribed fire operations.
  • Assist with coordinating prescribed fire planning and implementation activities as part of a larger planning team or independently.
  • Engage in prescribed fire and wildfire operations and support a prescribed fire IMT.
  • Assist lead instructor with teaching and implementing S130/190 or other NWCG courses, as needed.
  • Work in variable weather conditions, at remote locations, on difficult and hazardous terrain and under physically demanding circumstances.
  • Demonstrate a strong work ethic, including a commitment to principles of Duty, Integrity and Respect.
  • Actively participates in creating a kind, safe and healthy work environment which encourages the diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice of all people. 
  • 25-50% travel required for planning and operational implementation required of this position.
  • Breakdown of duties: 75% planning (15-25% field work/travel + 50-60% office) and 25% operations (field work/travel).


Minimum Qualifications:

  • Passion for TEA’s ecological and social missions 
  • Clear written and verbal communications skills 
  • Experience authoring pile and broadcast burn plans
  • Strong project management skills and ability to effectively multitask 
  • Firefighter Type 1 (FFT1) and Master’s degree natural resource management, forestry, fire ecology, or other related fields OR Single Resource Boss (ENGB, CRWB, FIRB) Experience with and commitment to collaboration and partnership building/ management with nonprofits, community groups and/or state/ government agencies.  
  • Basic knowledge of Behave 6.0 software
  • Experience with ArcGIS for map production and basic analyses
  • Effective knowledge of common software applications (e.g. Microsoft Office Suite, Google Suite) 

Desired Qualifications:

  • Experience authoring programmatic broadcast burn plans Extensive project management skills 
  • Double Single Resource (FIRB + additional), ICT4 or Type 2 Burn Boss (RXB2) 
  • Fire Effects Monitor (FEMO) or Field Observer (FOBS) 
  • Experience working with partner organizations to organize and implement collaborative prescribed fire events 
  • Strong knowledge of Behave 6.0 software 
  • Knowledge of BlueSky smoke modeling programs 
  • Strong knowledge of ArcGIS 
  • M-410 certification or experience assisting with teaching NWCG 100 and 200-level courses (e.g. S130/190). 

Candidates meeting 75% of the requirements are encouraged to apply.

Additional Information

All your information will be kept confidential according to EEO guidelines. 

Fitness and Red Card Requirements: You must pass the arduous pack test annually and maintain a Red Card with currency as a FFT1 and progress fire qualifications to the target positions of Single Resource Boss (ENGB, CRWB or FIRB). 

Projects may require remote work outdoors in adverse conditions on steep and rugged terrain and/or in inclement and variable weather conditions.  

Employees must abide by The Ember Alliance’s current Covid policies, which as of date of posting of this position is proof of vaccination.  

Schedule Requirements: The average work week is 40 hours, but the schedule may vary depending on operational needs. Projects may require working 10-12-hour days and/or outside of normal business hours, working during weekends and/or up to 14 days continuously, and travel for extended periods of time. 

Flexible work schedules will be considered to accommodate family or other commitments.  

Pay and Benefits: Pay: $25/hr. Overtime is expected and will be based on operational needs. Paid leave and paid holiday benefits are provided. Employer-sponsored health and dental care coverage is available as soon as employment begins. Employer-matched retirement plan is available after 3 months of employment as employment begins, with no vesting period required.

The Ember Alliance is an equal opportunity employer. 

Location: The Ember Alliance is headquartered in Fort Collins, CO with an office in Loveland, CO. Our team works nationally on training assignments, suppression and prescribed fire, and fuels treatment projects.

The possibility of working from a home office on administrative projects will be assessed on a case-by-case basis for people with proven independent remote work records.

How to Apply: Interested applicants should submit a one-page cover letter, a writing sample, three professional references, resume, and fire master record as attachments. Copies of all NWCG certificates and all pages of completed task books must be provided prior to employment. Application is rolling until filled. Please specify your earliest available start date.