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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Firefighters in Rancho Cucamonga, California

Forest firefighters can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Rancho Cucamonga, California area. Currently, 26,700 people work as forest firefighters in California. This is expected to grow by 18% to 31,600 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for forest firefighters are expected to grow by about 18.5%. 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 per hour or $61,880 per year on average in California and about $21 hourly or $44,260 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Incomes for forest firefighters are not quite as good as in the overall category of Fire Control in California, and not quite as good as the overall Fire Control category nationally. Forest firefighters work in a variety of jobs, including: forest ranger, hot shot, and forestry technician .

The Rancho Cucamonga area is home to twenty-seven schools of higher education, including three within twenty-five miles of Rancho Cucamonga where you can get a degree as a forest firefighter. Forest firefighters usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so 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 Rancho Cucamonga 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.
  • Security Guard. Guard, patrol, or monitor premises to prevent theft, violence, or infractions of rules.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Forest Firefighter Training

Chaffey College - Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Chaffey College, 5885 Haven Ave, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91737-3002. Chaffey College is a large college located in Rancho Cucamonga, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 20,486 students. Chaffey College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated two, one, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Copper Mountain Community College - Joshua Tree, CA

Copper Mountain Community College, 6162 Rotary Way, Joshua Tree, CA 92252. Copper Mountain Community College is a small college located in Joshua Tree, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,178 students. Copper Mountain Community College has an associate's degree and a two to four year program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated two and zero students respectively in 2008.

Barstow Community College - Barstow, CA

Barstow Community College, 2700 Barstow Road, Barstow, CA 92311. Barstow Community College is a small college located in Barstow, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,318 students. Barstow Community College has an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated one student in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Rancho Cucamonga, California

Rancho Cucamonga, California
Rancho Cucamonga, California photo by Sfan00_IMG

Rancho Cucamonga is situated in San Bernardino County, California. It has a population of over 171,176, which has grown by 34.0% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Rancho Cucamonga, 128, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Rancho Cucamonga are valued at $207,800 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, one hundred fifty-nine new homes were built in Rancho Cucamonga, down from five hundred eighty-three the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Rancho Cucamonga are educational services, health care, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, public administration, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 32 minutes. More than 23.3% of Rancho Cucamonga residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.3%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Rancho Cucamonga is 9.2%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Rancho Cucamonga residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 42.0%, is less than both the national and state average. Alta Loma Christian Church, Grace Fellowship Church and The Lords House are all churches located in Rancho Cucamonga. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the LDS (Mormon) Church.

Rancho Cucamonga is home to the Etiwanda Fire Station and the John Rains House as well as Victoria Groves Park and Hermosa Park. Shopping malls in the area include Alta Loma Plaza Shopping Center, Alta Loma Square Shopping Center and AltaLoma Country Village Shopping Center.