Forest Firefighters

Description

Control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.

Tasks

  • Collaborate with other firefighters as a member of a firefighting crew.
  • Extinguish flames and embers to suppress fires, using shovels, or engine- or hand-driven water or chemical pumps.
  • Test and maintain tools, equipment, jump gear and parachutes to ensure readiness for fire suppression activities.
  • Maintain contact with fire dispatchers at all times to notify them of the need for additional firefighters and supplies, or to detail any difficulties encountered.
  • Rescue fire victims, and administer emergency medical aid.
  • Establish water supplies, connect hoses, and direct water onto fires.
  • Patrol burned areas after fires to locate and eliminate hot spots that may restart fires.
  • Inform and educate the public about fire prevention.
  • Participate in physical training to maintain high levels of physical fitness.
  • Orient self in relation to fire, using compass and map, and collect supplies and equipment dropped by parachute.
  • Fell trees, cut and clear brush, and dig trenches to create firelines, using axes, chainsaws or shovels.
  • Maintain knowledge of current firefighting practices by participating in drills and by attending seminars, conventions, and conferences.
  • Maintain fire equipment and firehouse living quarters.
  • Operate pumps connected to high-pressure hoses.
  • Transport personnel and cargo to and from fire areas.
  • Take action to contain any hazardous chemicals that could catch fire, leak, or spill.
  • Organize fire caches, positioning equipment for the most effective response.
  • Participate in fire prevention and inspection programs.
  • Perform forest maintenance and improvement tasks such as cutting brush, planting trees, building trails and marking timber.
  • Serve as fully trained lead helicopter crewmember and as helispot manager.
  • Observe forest areas from fire lookout towers to spot potential problems.
  • Drop weighted paper streamers from aircraft to determine the speed and direction of the wind at fire sites.

Skills

Science
Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Operations Analysis
Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
Programming
Writing computer programs for various purposes.
Installation
Installing equipment, machines, wiring, or programs to meet specifications.

Interests

Realistic
Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Social
Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
Investigative
Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
Enterprising
Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
Conventional
Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
Artistic
Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Work Style

Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Leadership
Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
Self Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Adaptability/Flexibility
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.

Work Values

Achievement
Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Relationships
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
Support
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Recognition
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
Working Conditions
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Independence
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

Lay Titles

Engine Boss
Fire Fighter
Fire Technician
Firefighter
Forest Firefighter
Forest Ranger
Forest Ranger Technician
Forestry Crew Chief
Forestry Technician (Fire)
Handcrew Foreman
Hot Shot
Ranger
Rescue Worker
Smoke Chaser
Smoke Eater
Smoke Jumper
Wildland Fire Fighter Specialist
Wildland Firefighter

National Wages and Employment Info

Median Wages (2008):
$21.75 hourly, $45,250 annual.
Employment (2008):
297,700 employees