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

Forest fire lookouts can find many career and educational opportunities in the Modesto, California area. 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.

Income for forest fire lookouts is about $33 hourly or $70,330 annually on average in California. Nationally, their income is about $15 per hour or $31,380 per year. 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. Jobs in this field include: fire operations forester, look out tower fire watcher, and fire inspector.

There are twenty-one schools of higher education in the Modesto area, including three within twenty-five miles of Modesto where you can get a degree to start your career as a forest fire lookout. Forest fire lookouts usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so 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 Modesto 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

Modesto Junior College - Modesto, CA

Modesto Junior College, 435 College Ave, Modesto, CA 95350-5800. Modesto Junior College is a large college located in Modesto, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 20,000 students. Modesto Junior College has one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated eight, twenty, and zero students respectively in 2008.

San Joaquin Delta College - Stockton, CA

San Joaquin Delta College, 5151 Pacific Ave, Stockton, CA 95207. San Joaquin Delta College is a large college located in Stockton, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 20,480 students. San Joaquin Delta College has one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated one, three, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Merced College - Merced, CA

Merced College, 3600 M St, Merced, CA 95348-2898. Merced College is a large college located in Merced, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,028 students. Merced College has one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated two, five, 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: Modesto, California

Modesto, California
Modesto, California photo by Foolishfish

Modesto is located in Stanislaus County, California. It has a population of over 202,967, which has grown by 7.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Modesto, 91, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Modesto cost $208,400 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, one hundred thirteen new homes were constructed in Modesto, down from two hundred eighty-five the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Modesto are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 26 minutes. More than 16.5% of Modesto residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 5.3%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Modesto is 14.4%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Modesto residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 43.7%, is less than both the national and state average. Livingway Tabernacle, Seventh Day Adventist Church and Bethel Pentecostal Church are all churches located in Modesto. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Salvation Army and the Assemblies of God.

Modesto is home to the King-Kennedy Center and the McClure Historical Country House as well as Muncy Park and John Muir Park. Shopping malls in the area include Roosevelt Shopping Center, Gregory Gardens Shopping Center and Western Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Modesto can choose from Best Western Town House Lodge, Apex Inn and Arrow Inn for temporary stays in the area.