Forest firefighters battle blazes in forests and rangelands. These fires can grow to the size of a small country, threatening wildlife as well as homes and businesses in their path. As soon as flames are spotted, forest firefighting crews mobilize. They drive or fly to the fire scene with hand tools ...
, chainsaws, pumps and hoses, and heavy earth-moving machinery.
A basic principle in fighting forest fires is to create a gap, or firebreak, to stop the spread of the flames. Another technique is to fight fire with fire - using a method called backlighting. Small fires are strategically set to burn away the fire's fuel and stop it in its tracks.
In deep wilderness, firefighters can't always drive in with bulldozers and other equipment. To reach these inaccessible areas, elite firefighters called smokejumpers, parachute from airplanes. Despite the extreme hazards of the job, competition to become a smokejumper is especially fierce.
Most forest firefighters are employed by the government, and openings can be dictated by available funding. A high school diploma may be required. Applicants need to pass written and physical tests. Like their city and suburban counterparts, forest firefighters must be able to push themselves to the absolute maximum. The danger is extreme. An unexpected shift in the wind can change the direction of a forest fire, leaving few if any, escape routes.
This is a career that demands physical fitness, the ability to work as part of a team and tremendous courage. Firefighters must be willing to travel to distant fires. Often it is the bravery, dedication and sacrifice of these men and women that save wildlife and people from tremendous destruction.
Control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.
Critical decision making
Level of responsibilities
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
Dealing and handling conflict
Competition for this position
Communication with others
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
Comfort of the work setting
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
Exposure to job hazards
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Take action to contain any hazardous chemicals that could catch fire, leak, or spill.
Rescue fire victims, and administer emergency medical aid.
Orient self in relation to fire, using compass and map, and collect supplies and equipment dropped by parachute.
Participate in fire prevention and inspection programs.
Organize fire caches, positioning equipment for the most effective response.
Maintain fire equipment and firehouse living quarters.
Fell trees, cut and clear brush, and dig trenches to create firelines, using axes, chainsaws or shovels.
Inform and educate the public about fire prevention.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
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.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
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.
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.
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.
Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
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.
The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
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.
The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
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.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Actively looking for ways to help people.
Managing one's own time and the time of others.
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
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