BP44: Congratulations on passing your EMT-B. You didn't mention if you were placed on a 20 person Organized Crew (OC) or on a US Forest Service Crew, but either way, you should try to start looking at getting a part time ambulance job and working to perfect your patient assessments. While 911 experience would prove invaluable, the fact of the matter is that many of these jobs, at least here (West) are somewhat hard to come by (AMR). Many of the smaller private ambulance companies offer more flexibility to work around your schedule, whether that be family, college, or taking firefighter exams. People are always getting hired by fire agencies from such companies, meaning that though turnover may be high, it would afford you an opportunity to be hired. While I was employed by the USFS on an engine crew, I was offered an opportunity to serve as a line EMT on a large complex fire for a few days, and it was a great experience, but I knew that municipal/structural firefighting was what I wanted to do. Just remember that over 75%, perhaps as high as 85% of our calls are MEDICAL, and that's the reality. You will use your skills DAILY!
As far as obtaining your fire science degree, go for it. Work the wildland season, and apply as soon as you can into a community college in your area that offers AA/AS degrees in Fire. Attend, and successfully pass a state-approved community college fire academy as well. Some colleges offer "weekend" academies, though they take much longer. If you have a busy season, you should be able to save enough for a few month's rent (unless you live at home) and tuition/books for the academy. Mine was about 15 weeks in duration.
If you have direct FIRE experience, an EMT-B or "P", ambulance experience, an Associate's degree (preferably in fire) AND an academy under your belt you will be way ahead of the crowd. You also need to start looking into "taking a fire department interview". Here are a couple of links, books, etc. to get you headed in the right direction:
Captain Bob Smith's website is www.eatstress.com
and look into Long Beach Batt.Chief Paul Lepore's two books..."Smoke Your Firefighter Interview, and "The Aspiring Firefighter's Two Year Plan". Let me know what you think. Have a safe season. -gloxter