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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Fire Lookouts in Fullerton, California

Fullerton, California provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for forest fire lookouts. The national trend for forest fire lookouts sees this job pool growing by about 8.4% over the next eight years. In general, forest fire lookouts 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 annually on average in California and about $15 per hour or $31,380 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for forest fire lookouts are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Fire Control in California and not quite as good as general Fire Control category earnings nationally. People working as forest fire lookouts can fill a number of jobs, such as: forester, fire ranger, and forest officer.

There are ninety-two schools of higher education in the Fullerton area, including two within twenty-five miles of Fullerton where you can get a degree to start your career as a forest fire lookout. The most common level of education for forest fire lookouts is a Bachelor's degree. It will take about four years to learn 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 Fullerton 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

Santa Ana College - Santa Ana, CA

Santa Ana College, 1530 W. 17th Street, Santa Ana, CA 92706-3398. Santa Ana College is a large college located in Santa Ana, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 26,464 students. Santa Ana College 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-six, 174, 114, 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.

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: Fullerton, California

Fullerton, California
Fullerton, California photo by Geographer

Fullerton is located in Orange County, California. It has a population of over 131,868, which has grown by 4.7% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Fullerton, 140, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Fullerton are valued at $177,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, thirty-one new homes were built in Fullerton, down from thirty-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Fullerton are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average commute to work is about 27 minutes. More than 31.3% of Fullerton residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.8%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Fullerton is 10.8%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Fullerton residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 44.8%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Charismatic Churches Independent.

Fullerton is home to the Fullerton Public Library and the Muckenthaler Cultural Center as well as Hermosa School Park and Woodcrest Park. Shopping centers in the area include Fullerton Town Center Shopping Center, Fullerton University Shopping Center and West Fullerton Shopping Center. Visitors to Fullerton can choose from AKUA Motor Inn, Ambassador Inn and Anaheim Park Hotel for temporary stays in the area.