Summary Report for:
33-2011.02 - Forest Firefighters
Control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.
Sample of reported job titles: Engine Boss, Fire Fighter, Fire Technician, Firefighter, Forest Fire Warden, Forest Ranger, Forest Ranger Technician, Forestry Technician (Fire), Squad Boss, Wildland Firefighter
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- 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.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Agricultural tractors — Farm tractors
- All terrain vehicles tracked or wheeled — All terrain vehicles ATV; Marsh rigs
- Anemometers — Wind gauges
- Binoculars — Surveillance binoculars
- Emergency medical services first aid kits — First aid kits
- Fire escape equipment — Fire shelters
- Fire extinguishers — Multipurpose fire extinguishers
- Fire hoses or nozzles — Fire hose nozzles; Fire hoses; High pressure fire hoses; Synthetic fire hoses
- Fire or rescue trucks — Wildland fire engines
- Fire pump sets — Backpack pumps; Foam pumps; Power pumps
- Fire retardant apparel — Fire resistant clothing
- Fire retardant footwear — Firefighting boots
- Fire suppression hand tools — Fire axes; McLeod tools; Pulaski tools; Single-bit axes
- Flares — Pyrotechnic flares
- Forestry saws — Tree saws
- Geological compasses
- Global positioning system GPS receiver — Global positioning system GPS receivers
- Goggles — Safety goggles
- Hand pumps — Hand-operated pumps
- Hard hats
- Hold down clamps — Fire hose clamps
- Ladders — Aluminum ladders
- Lighters — Backfiring fusees; Drip torches
- Mowers — Tractor-mounted mowers
- Notebook computers — Laptop computers
- Personal computers
- Picks — Mattocks
- Power saws — Chain saws; Falling saws
- Protective gloves — Fire resistant gloves
- Safety glasses
- Safety helmets
- Shovels — Forest fire shovels
- Spanner wrenches
- Track bulldozers — Tracked bulldozers
- Two way radios
- Water pumps — Truck-mounted water pumps
- Weather stations — Portable meteorological stations
Technology used in this occupation:
- Data base user interface and query software — Fire incident reporting systems; Microsoft Access
- Electronic mail software — Email software
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office software
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Corel WordPerfect software; Microsoft Word
- Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- 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.
- 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.
- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Transportation — Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
- 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.
- Personnel and Human Resources — Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
- Telecommunications — Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
- Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
- 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.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Equipment Maintenance — Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Management of Personnel Resources — Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
- Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Stamina — The ability to exert yourself physically over long periods of time without getting winded or out of breath.
- Static Strength — The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
- Trunk Strength — The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without 'giving out' or fatiguing.
- Depth Perception — The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Response Orientation — The ability to choose quickly between two or more movements in response to two or more different signals (lights, sounds, pictures). It includes the speed with which the correct response is started with the hand, foot, or other body part.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Dynamic Strength — The ability to exert muscle force repeatedly or continuously over time. This involves muscular endurance and resistance to muscle fatigue.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Rate Control — The ability to time your movements or the movement of a piece of equipment in anticipation of changes in the speed and/or direction of a moving object or scene.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Time Sharing — The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).
- Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Gross Body Equilibrium — The ability to keep or regain your body balance or stay upright when in an unstable position.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Spatial Orientation — The ability to know your location in relation to the environment or to know where other objects are in relation to you.
- Speed of Limb Movement — The ability to quickly move the arms and legs.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Extent Flexibility — The ability to bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
- Gross Body Coordination — The ability to coordinate the movement of your arms, legs, and torso together when the whole body is in motion.
- Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment — Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
- Staffing Organizational Units — Recruiting, interviewing, selecting, hiring, and promoting employees in an organization.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
Detailed Work Activities
- Administer first aid.
- Request emergency personnel.
- Rescue people from hazardous situations.
- Patrol natural areas to ensure safety or enforce regulations.
- Maintain professional knowledge or certifications.
- Inspect equipment to ensure safety or proper functioning.
- Inspect facilities to ensure compliance with fire regulations.
- Operate firefighting equipment.
- Locate fires or fire danger areas.
- Direct fire fighting or prevention activities.
- Prepare hoses or water supplies to fight fires.
- Maintain fire fighting tools or equipment.
- Drive vehicles to transport individuals or equipment.
- Educate the public about fire safety or prevention.
- Protect property from fire or water damage.
- Monitor environmental conditions to detect hazards.
- Attend training to learn new skills or update knowledge.
- Participate in physical training to maintain fitness.
- Record information about environmental conditions.
- Work With Work Group or Team — 85% responded “Extremely important.”
- In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 74% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 75% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 82% responded “Every day.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 74% responded “Every day.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 71% responded “Every day.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 55% responded “Very important results.”
- Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 64% responded “Every day.”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 62% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Deal With External Customers — 47% responded “Extremely important.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 47% responded “Every day.”
- Time Pressure — 48% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 49% responded “Some freedom.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 41% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Consequence of Error — 52% responded “Extremely serious.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 37% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 42% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 38% responded “Every day.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 41% responded “Extremely important.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 61% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 41% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 37% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 46% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 42% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 36% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 45% responded “Important.”
- Physical Proximity — 46% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
- Spend Time Standing — 35% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 31% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Work Schedules — 47% responded “Irregular (changes with weather conditions, production demands, or contract duration).”
- Spend Time Walking and Running — 34% responded “About half the time.”
- Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — 30% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 41% responded “Less than half the time.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 33% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 30% responded “Every day.”
- Public Speaking — 29% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 31% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Wear Specialized Protective or Safety Equipment such as Breathing Apparatus, Safety Harness, Full Protection Suits, or Radiation Protection — 31% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Level of Competition — 28% responded “Extremely competitive.”
- In an Open Vehicle or Equipment — 27% responded “Every day.”
- Letters and Memos — 26% responded “Never.”
|Title||Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed|
|Education||These occupations usually require a high school diploma.|
|Related 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.|
|Job 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.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include sheet metal workers, forest fire fighters, customer service representatives, physical therapist aides, salespersons (retail), and tellers.|
|SVP Range||(4.0 to < 6.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|63||High school diploma or equivalent|
Interest code: RS
- 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.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- 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.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- 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.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- 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.
Wages & Employment Trends
Median wages data collected from Firefighters.
Employment data collected from Firefighters.
Industry data collected from Firefighters.
|Median wages (2014)||$22.10 hourly, $45,970 annual|
|Employment (2014)||327,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2014-2024)||Average (5% to 8%)|
|Projected job openings (2014-2024)||112,300|
|Top industries (2014)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data and 2014-2024 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Firefighters . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition.