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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Firefighters in San Bernardino, California

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for forest firefighters in the San Bernardino, California area. There are currently 26,700 working forest firefighters in California; this should grow 18% to about 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. Forest firefighters generally control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.

The income of a forest firefighter is about $29 per hour or $61,880 annually on average in California. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $21 hourly or $44,260 annually on average. 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. Jobs in this field include: smoke chaser, fire technician, and smoke eater.

The San Bernardino area is home to fifty-one schools of higher education, including seven within twenty-five miles of San Bernardino where you can get a degree as a forest firefighter. Given that the most common education level for forest firefighters is a high school diploma or GED, it will take only a short time to learn to be 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 San Bernardino 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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Crafton Hills College - Yucaipa, CA

Crafton Hills College, 11711 Sand Canyon Road, Yucaipa, CA 92399-1799. Crafton Hills College is a medium sized college located in Yucaipa, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,964 students. Crafton Hills College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated sixty-four, eighteen, 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.

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: San Bernardino, California

San Bernardino, California
San Bernardino, California photo by Ie909

San Bernardino is situated in San Bernardino County, California. It has a population of over 198,580, which has grown by 7.1% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in San Bernardino, 125, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in San Bernardino cost $182,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, twenty-one new homes were constructed in San Bernardino, down from one hundred fifty-nine the previous year.

The three big industries for women in San Bernardino are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, educational services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 28 minutes. More than 11.6% of San Bernardino residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 3.9%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in San Bernardino is 18.6%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of San Bernardino residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 42.0%, is less than both the national and state average. Golden Avenue Church, Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church and Kingdom Hall of Jehovahs Witnesses are among the churches located in San Bernardino. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the LDS (Mormon) Church.

San Bernardino is home to the Warm Creek Golf Course and the San Bernardino Public Golf Course as well as Plaza Park and Palm Field Park. Shopping malls in the area include Wildwood Plaza Shopping Center, Highland Avenue Plaza Shopping Center and Mountain Shadows Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to San Bernardino can choose from American Inn, Best Western Hospitality Lane and American Tex-Chem Corporation for temporary stays in the area.