Career summary

Details for Forest Fire Fighters


Description

Control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.

Tasks

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

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.
  • 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.
  • Social - Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Education, training, experience

  • Education - These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
  • Experience - Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.

Knowledge

  • Geography - Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Physics - Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
  • Transportation - Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Chemistry - Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
  • Building and Construction - Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.

Skills

  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • 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.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

Related careers

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  • Fire Inspectors
  • Municipal Fire Fighters
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  • Security Guards
  • Transit and Railroad Police
  • Transportation Vehicle, Equipment and Systems Inspectors, Except Aviation