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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Firefighters in Oxnard, California

Forest firefighter career and educational opportunities abound in Oxnard, California. There are currently 26,700 working forest firefighters in California; this should grow by 18% to 31,600 working forest firefighters in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for forest firefighters, which sees this job pool growing by about 18.5% over the next eight years. In general, forest firefighters control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.

A person working as a forest firefighter can expect to earn about $29 hourly or $61,880 yearly on average in California and about $21 per hour or $44,260 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for forest firefighters 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. Forest firefighters work in a variety of jobs, including: hot shot, forestry crew chief, and wildland firefighter.

There are sixteen schools of higher education in the Oxnard area, including one within twenty-five miles of Oxnard where you can get a degree to start your career as a forest firefighter. Given that the most common education level for forest firefighters is a high school diploma or GED, you can expect to spend only a short time training to become a forest firefighter if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Forest Firefighter

Forest Firefighter video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, forest firefighters control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.

Forest firefighters patrol burned areas after fires to identify and eliminate hot spots that may restart fires. They also extinguish flames and embers to suppress fires, using shovels, or engine- or hand-driven water or chemical pumps. Equally important, forest firefighters have to manage knowledge of current firefighting practices by participating in drills and by attending seminars and conferences. They are often called upon to fell trees, cut and clear brush, and dig trenches to generate firelines, using axes, chainsaws or shovels. They are expected to manage fire equipment and firehouse living quarters. Finally, forest firefighters manage contact with fire dispatchers at all times to notify them of the need for additional firefighters and supplies, or to detail any difficulties encountered.

Every day, forest firefighters are expected to be able to lift, push and move large and heavy objects. They need to evaluate problems as they arise. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for forest firefighters to perform forest maintenance and improvement tasks such as cutting brush, planting trees, building trails and marking timber. They are often called upon to inform and educate the public about fire prevention. They also operate pumps connected to high-pressure hoses. They are sometimes expected to transport staff and cargo to and from fire areas. Somewhat less frequently, forest firefighters are also expected to participate in physical training to maintain high levels of physical fitness.

Forest firefighters sometimes are asked to serve as fully trained lead helicopter crewmember and as helispot manager. They also have to be able to observe forest areas from fire lookout towers to spot potential problems and test and maintain tools, equipment, jump gear and parachutes to insure readiness for fire suppression efforts. And finally, they sometimes have to manage fire equipment and firehouse living quarters.

Like many other jobs, forest firefighters must be reliable and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Oxnard include:

  • 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 Fire Lookout. Enforce fire regulations and inspect for forest fire hazards. Report forest fires and weather conditions.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Forest Firefighter Training

Oxnard College - Oxnard, CA

Oxnard College, 4000 S Rose Ave, Oxnard, CA 93033-6699. Oxnard College is a medium sized college located in Oxnard, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,639 students. Oxnard 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 one, twenty-four, forty-one, and zero students respectively in 2008.


Oxygen Administration: Prepares laypersons and professional rescuers with the knowledge and skills needed to know when and how to use supplemental oxygen and breathing devices.

For more information, see the American Red Cross website.

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.

Health & Safety Officer Certification: Standard on Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Programs.

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.


Oxnard, California
Oxnard, California photo by Lan56

Oxnard is situated in Ventura County, California. It has a population of over 185,717, which has grown by 9.0% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Oxnard, 132, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Oxnard are valued at $247,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, seventy-four new homes were built in Oxnard, down from two hundred five the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Oxnard are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, construction, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 13.7% of Oxnard residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 4.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Oxnard is 15.0%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Oxnard residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 44.6%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. All Saints Episcopal Church, Park Avenue Church of Christ and Good Shepherd Baptist Church are all churches located in Oxnard. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Oxnard is home to the Silver K Golf Course and the Saint Johns Regional Medical Center Health Sciences Library as well as Plaza Park and Mandalay County Park. Shopping malls in the area include Esplanade Mall Shopping Center, Rose Shopping Center and Fremont Square Shopping Center. Visitors to Oxnard can choose from Best Western Oxnard Inn and Ambassador Motel for temporary stays in the area.