The Minneapolis Fire Department is poised to start adding new firefighters to its ranks for the first time in several years.

The department said it is ready for thousands to seek jobs when it takes firefighter applications next month for the first time since 2006. That year, the city received about 1,800 applications from prospective firefighters.

Fire officials said they are anticipating retirements among many longtime firefighters in coming years. In particular, the department added, one of its goals is to create a diverse pool of possible new hires.

More details about the application process were released Monday during a news conference by Mayor R.T. Rybak, Council Member Don Samuels and Fire Department officials at the fire station on E. 15th Street near the Minneapolis Convention Center.

At a minimum, firefighters must be 18 or older at the time of application, have a valid driver's license, the ability to read at a 10th-grade level and hold a high school diploma or equivalent.

Applications will be accepted only in person and only on these three days: Jan. 31 and Feb. 1-2, at the Northeast Armory, 1025 Broadway NE. Applications will be available at any Minneapolis fire station or at the Minneapolis Human Resources office, 250 S. 4th St., Room 100, beginning Jan. 24.