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

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for forest fire lookouts in the Orange, California area. 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 per hour or $70,330 per year on average in California and about $15 hourly or $31,380 annually 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: fire apparatus engineer, fire control officer, and tower watchman.

There are ninety-two schools of higher education in the Orange area, including two within twenty-five miles of Orange 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. You can expect to spend about four years training to become 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 Orange 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: Orange, California

Orange, California
Orange, California photo by File Upload Bot

Orange is located in Orange County, California. It has a population of over 136,392, which has grown by 5.9% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Orange, 134, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Orange are priced at $136,300 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, ninety-nine new homes were built in Orange, down from two hundred sixty-two the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Orange are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 28.0% of Orange residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Orange is 8.9%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.

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

Orange is home to the El Modena Branch Orange Public Library and the Santiago Golf Course as well as Plaza Historic District and Santiago Oaks Regional Park. Shopping malls in the area include Village Plaza Shopping Center, Villa Park Town Center Shopping Center and Mall of Orange Shopping Center. Visitors to Orange can choose from Anaheim-Days Inn Orange, 7 Crowns Motel and American Inn & Suites for temporary stays in the area.