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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Fire Lookouts in El Monte, California

If you want to be a forest fire lookout, the El Monte, California area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. The national trend for forest fire lookouts sees this job pool growing by about 8.4% over the next eight years. Forest fire lookouts generally enforce fire regulations and inspect for forest fire hazards.

A person working as a forest fire lookout can expect to earn about $33 hourly or $70,330 per year on average in California and about $15 per hour or $31,380 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Fire Control, people working as forest fire lookouts in California earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Fire Control nationally. Forest fire lookouts work in a variety of jobs, including: forest patrolman, tower watchman, and ranger.

There are eleven schools within twenty-five miles of El Monte where you can study to be a forest fire lookout, among 210 schools of higher education total in the El Monte area. The most common level of education for forest fire lookouts is a Bachelor's degree. You can expect to spend about four years studying to be a forest fire lookout if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Forest Fire Lookout

In general, forest fire lookouts enforce fire regulations and inspect for forest fire hazards. They also report forest fires and weather conditions.

Forest fire lookouts relay messages about emergencies, accidents, locations of crew and staff, and fire hazard conditions. They also direct crews working on firelines during forest fires. Equally important, forest fire lookouts have to manage records and logbooks. They are often called upon to estimate sizes and characteristics of fires, and report findings to base camps by radio or telephone. They are expected to direct maintenance and up keep firefighting equipment, or requisition new equipment. Finally, forest fire lookouts examine and inventory firefighting equipment such as axes and fire extinguishers in order to establish  their condition.

Every day, forest fire lookouts are expected to be able to evaluate problems as they arise. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for forest fire lookouts to administer rules regarding sanitation and related forest rules. They are often called upon to locate forest fires on area maps, using azimuth sighters and known landmarks. They also patrol assigned areas, looking for forest fires and weather phenomena. They are sometimes expected to examine forest tracts and logging areas for fire hazards such as accumulated wastes or mishandling of combustibles, and recommend appropriate fire prevention measures. Somewhat less frequently, forest fire lookouts are also expected to restrict public access and recreational use of forest lands during critical fire seasons.

They also have to be able to restrict public access and recreational use of forest lands during critical fire seasons and examine and inventory firefighting equipment such as axes and fire extinguishers in order to establish  their condition. And finally, they sometimes have to examine forest tracts and logging areas for fire hazards such as accumulated wastes or mishandling of combustibles, and recommend appropriate fire prevention measures.

Like many other jobs, forest fire lookouts must want to innovate to meet new challenges and believe in cooperation and coordination.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in El Monte include:

  • Criminal Investigator. Investigate alleged or suspected criminal violations of Federal, state, or local laws to determine if evidence is sufficient to recommend prosecution.
  • Customs Inspector. Investigate and inspect persons, common carriers, and merchandise, arriving in or departing from the United States or between states to detect violations of immigration and customs laws and regulations.
  • Fire Code Inspector. Inspect buildings and equipment to detect fire hazards and enforce state and local regulations.
  • Fire Fighter. Control and extinguish municipal fires, protect life and property and conduct rescue efforts.
  • Fire Inspector. Conduct investigations to determine causes of fires and explosions.
  • Fish and Game Warden. Patrol assigned areas to prevent fish and game law violations. Investigate reports of damage to crops or property by wildlife. Compile biological data.
  • Forest Firefighter. Control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.
  • Policeman. Patrol assigned areas to enforce laws and ordinances, regulate traffic, and arrest violators.
  • Security Guard. Guard, patrol, or monitor premises to prevent theft, violence, or infractions of rules.
  • Sheriff. Enforce law and order in rural or unincorporated districts or serve legal processes of courts. May patrol courthouse, guard court or grand jury, or escort defendants.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Forest Fire Lookout Training

East Los Angeles College - Monterey Park, CA

East Los Angeles College, 1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez, Monterey Park, CA 91754-6099. East Los Angeles College is a large college located in Monterey Park, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 25,475 students. East Los Angeles College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated two and two students respectively in 2008.

College of the Canyons - Santa Clarita, CA

College of the Canyons, 26455 Rockwell Canyon Rd, Santa Clarita, CA 91355-1899. College of the Canyons is a large college located in Santa Clarita, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 20,474 students. College of the Canyons has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated one, twenty-six, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Antelope Valley College - Lancaster, CA

Antelope Valley College, 3041 West Ave K, Lancaster, CA 93536-5426. Antelope Valley College is a large college located in Lancaster, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,800 students. Antelope Valley College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated twenty-eight, sixteen, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Mt San Antonio College - Walnut, CA

Mt San Antonio College, 1100 N Grand Ave, Walnut, CA 91789-1399. Mt San Antonio College is a large college located in Walnut, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 30,439 students. Mt San Antonio College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated thirty-eight, thirty-six, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Long Beach City College - Long Beach, CA

Long Beach City College, 4901 E. Carson St., Long Beach, CA 90808-1706. Long Beach City College is a large college located in Long Beach, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 26,097 students. Long Beach City College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated fifteen, twenty-two, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Pasadena City College - Pasadena, CA

Pasadena City College, 1570 E Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91106-2003. Pasadena City College is a large college located in Pasadena, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 26,453 students. Pasadena City College has one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated two, zero, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Glendale Community College - Glendale, CA

Glendale Community College, 1500 N Verdugo Rd, Glendale, CA 91208-2894. Glendale Community College is a large college located in Glendale, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,993 students. Glendale Community College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated five, one, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Los Angeles Harbor College - Wilmington, CA

Los Angeles Harbor College, 1111 Figueroa Place, Wilmington, CA 90744-2397. Los Angeles Harbor College is a large college located in Wilmington, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,694 students. Los Angeles Harbor College has an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated three students in 2008.

El Camino Community College District - Torrance, CA

El Camino Community College District, 16007 Crenshaw Blvd, Torrance, CA 90506. El Camino Community College District is a large college located in Torrance, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 26,825 students. El Camino Community College District has less than one year, one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated thirty, five, twenty-one, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Rio Hondo College - Whittier, CA

Rio Hondo College, 3600 Workman Mill Rd, Whittier, CA 90601-1616. Rio Hondo College is a large college located in Whittier, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 17,505 students. Rio Hondo College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated 157, seventy-one, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Los Angeles Valley College - Valley Glen, CA

Los Angeles Valley College, 5800 Fulton Avenue, Valley Glen, CA 91401-4096. Los Angeles Valley College is a large college located in Valley Glen, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 18,550 students. Los Angeles Valley College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated one and thirteen students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Incident Safety Officer - Fire Suppression Certification: A fire department incident safety officer's mission is to promote safety standards and practices in the fire, rescue and emergency services community.

For more information, see the Fire Department Safety Officers Association website.

Special Hazards Suppression Systems: This certification program is designed for engineering technicians engaged in the detailing and layout and/or installation and maintenance related to special hazards suppression systems.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: El Monte, California

El Monte, California
El Monte, California photo by Bobak

El Monte is located in Los Angeles County, California. It has a population of over 121,791, which has grown by 5.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in El Monte, 150, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in El Monte are valued at $172,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, thirty-three new homes were built in El Monte, down from ninety-nine the previous year.

The three big industries for women in El Monte are apparel, health care, and educational services. For men, it is construction, administrative and support and waste management services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 27 minutes. More than 7.1% of El Monte residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 2.0%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in El Monte is 15.5%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of El Monte residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 58.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Trinity Reformed Church, Immanuel Episcopal Church and El Monte Spanish Seventh Day Adventist Church are some of the churches located in El Monte. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the LDS (Mormon) Church.

El Monte is home to the El Monte Branch County of Los Angeles Public Library and the Norwood Branch County of Los Angeles Public Library as well as Arceo Park and Pioneer Park. Shopping centers in the area include Five Points Plaza Shopping Center and El Monte Shopping Center.