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Forest Firefighters

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What Does it Take to Be a Forest Firefighter?

Position Description Control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.

Daily Life Of a Forest Firefighter

  • Organize fire caches, positioning equipment for the most effective response.
  • Maintain fire equipment and firehouse living quarters.
  • Transport personnel and cargo to and from fire areas.
  • Participate in physical training to maintain high levels of physical fitness.
  • Inform and educate the public about fire prevention.
  • Observe forest areas from fire lookout towers to spot potential problems.

Skills Needed to be a Forest Firefighter

Forest Firefighters state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Operation Monitoring: Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.

  • Forest Fire Suppression Specialist
  • Smoke Chaser
  • Fire Technician
  • Smoke Eater
  • Forest Firefighter

Are There Job Opportunities for Forest Firefighters?

In the United States, there were 327,300 jobs for Firefighters in 2016.

New jobs are being produced at a rate of 7.2% which is lower than average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 23,500 new jobs for Forest Firefighters by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 24,300 job openings in this field each year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Forest Firefighters in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Firefighters are Texas, Florida, and California.

Watch out if you plan on working in New Jersey, Vermont, or Maryland. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

How Much Does a Forest Firefighter Make?

The typical yearly salary for Firefighters is somewhere between $25,170 and $88,920. The median salary for this occupation is $49,620.

Salary Ranges for Forest Firefighters

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for jobs of this type in different U.S. states.

Annual Mean Salary by State
State Annual Mean Salary

California

$81,580

New Jersey

$76,530

Washington

$73,850

New York

$73,710

Nevada

$66,830

Oregon

$66,330

Connecticut

$63,630

Hawaii

$62,670

Maryland

$61,780

Colorado

$61,160

Massachusetts

$60,080

Illinois

$56,710

Pennsylvania

$56,090

Rhode Island

$55,240

Florida

$53,340

Texas

$52,520

Virginia

$51,510

Alaska

$51,110

Missouri

$51,100

Indiana

$49,460

Montana

$49,230

Delaware

$48,800

New Hampshire

$48,640

Nebraska

$47,880

Ohio

$46,310

Michigan

$45,440

Arizona

$45,150

South Dakota

$44,710

Iowa

$43,970

Wyoming

$43,810

Oklahoma

$43,450

North Dakota

$42,980

Alabama

$41,740

Idaho

$40,490

Wisconsin

$40,310

Tennessee

$40,280

Georgia

$38,060

Utah

$37,960

Kansas

$37,930

Arkansas

$37,800

Minnesota

$37,690

Vermont

$37,070

West Virginia

$36,820

Maine

$36,750

New Mexico

$36,590

South Carolina

$36,300

North Carolina

$35,500

Kentucky

$33,520

Louisiana

$30,600

Mississippi

$30,370

What Tools do Forest Firefighters Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Forest Firefighters:

  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Access
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel

How to Become a Forest Firefighter

What kind of Forest Firefighter requirements are there?

Forest Firefighter Degree Level

How many years of work experience do I need?

Forest Firefighter Work Experience

Who Employs Forest Firefighters?

Forest Firefighter Sectors

You May Also Be Interested In…

Career changers with experience as a Forest Firefighter sometimes find work in one of the following fields:

  • Aircraft Cargo Handling Supervisors

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics

College Factual

O*NET Online

Image Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons

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