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

If you want to be a forest fire lookout, the Riverside, California area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. 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 per year on average in California and about $15 hourly or $31,380 annually 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: fire control officer, look out tower fire watcher, and scout.

The Riverside area is home to twenty-three schools of higher education, including four within twenty-five miles of Riverside where you can get a degree 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 Riverside 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.
  • 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

Mt. San Jacinto Community College District - San Jacinto, CA

Mt. San Jacinto Community College District, 1499 N State St, San Jacinto, CA 92583-2399. Mt. San Jacinto Community College District is a large college located in San Jacinto, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 18,162 students. Mt. San Jacinto Community College District has an associate's degree and a two to four year program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated eight and zero students respectively in 2008.

Palo Verde College - Blythe, CA

Palo Verde College, One College Drive, Blythe, CA 92225. Palo Verde College is a small college located in Blythe, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,100 students. Palo Verde College has a less than one year and a two to four year program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated one and zero students respectively in 2008.

College of the Desert - Palm Desert, CA

College of the Desert, 43-500 Monterey Ave, Palm Desert, CA 92260. College of the Desert is a medium sized college located in Palm Desert, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,632 students. College of the Desert 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.

Riverside Community College - Riverside, CA

Riverside Community College, 4800 Magnolia Ave, Riverside, CA 92506. Riverside Community College is a large college located in Riverside, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 34,058 students. Riverside Community 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 sixty-nine, zero, twenty, 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: Riverside, California

Riverside, California
Riverside, California photo by SoCal L.A.

Riverside is located in Riverside County, California. It has a population of over 295,357, which has grown by 15.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Riverside, 123, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Riverside cost $328,500 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, sixty-nine new homes were built in Riverside, down from three hundred forty-two the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Riverside are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, educational services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 29 minutes. More than 19.1% of Riverside residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.9%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Riverside is 15.2%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Riverside residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 43.0%, is less than both the national and state average. All Saints Episcopal Church, All Souls Universalist Church and Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church are all churches located in Riverside. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Riverside is home to the Riverside Art Museum and the Riverside Municipal Auditorium and Soldiers Memorial Building as well as Evans Park and Fairmount Park. Shopping malls in the area include Adams Plaza Shopping Center, Jurupa Grand Center Shopping Center and Five Points Shopping Center. Visitors to Riverside can choose from Airport-Inn, Arlington Motor Inn and Best Western of Riverside for temporary stays in the area.