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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Firefighters in Riverside, California

For those living in the Riverside, California area, there are many career and education opportunities for forest firefighters. There are currently 26,700 jobs for forest firefighters in California and this is projected to grow 18% to 31,600 jobs 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. Forest firefighters generally control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.

Income for forest firefighters is about $29 hourly or $61,880 yearly on average in California. Nationally, their income is about $21 hourly or $44,260 annually. Compared with people working in the overall category of Fire Control, people working as forest firefighters in California earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Fire Control nationally. Forest firefighters work in a variety of jobs, including: fire fighter, handcrew foreman, and ranger.

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 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 Riverside 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

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

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: 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.