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Details for Forest Fire Fighters


Control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Extinguish flames and embers to suppress fires, using shovels, or engine- or hand-driven water or chemical pumps.
  • 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.
  • Operate pumps connected to high-pressure hoses.
  • Participate in physical training to maintain high levels of physical fitness.
  • Establish water supplies, connect hoses, and direct water onto fires.
  • Maintain fire equipment and firehouse living quarters.
  • Inform and educate the public about fire prevention.
  • Take action to contain any hazardous chemicals that could catch fire, leak, or spill.
  • Organize fire caches, positioning equipment for the most effective response.
  • Transport personnel and cargo to and from fire areas.
  • Participate in fire prevention and inspection programs.
  • Perform forest maintenance and improvement tasks such as cutting brush, planting trees, building trails and marking timber.
  • Test and maintain tools, equipment, jump gear and parachutes to ensure readiness for fire suppression activities.
  • Observe forest areas from fire lookout towers to spot potential problems.
  • Orient self in relation to fire, using compass and map, and collect supplies and equipment dropped by parachute.
  • Serve as fully trained lead helicopter crewmember and as helispot manager.
  • Drop weighted paper streamers from aircraft to determine the speed and direction of the wind at fire sites.


  • 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.


  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • 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.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Transportation - Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • 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.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.

Related Careers

  • Fallers
  • Fire Inspectors
  • Municipal Fire Fighters
  • Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operators
  • Riggers
  • Sailors and Marine Oilers
  • Security Guards
  • Transit and Railroad Police
  • Transportation Vehicle, Equipment and Systems Inspectors, Except Aviation
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