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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Fire Lookouts in Santa Rosa, California

Forest fire lookout career and educational opportunities abound in Santa Rosa, California. The national trend for forest fire lookouts sees this job pool growing by about 8.4% over the next eight years. Forest fire lookouts generally enforce fire regulations and inspect for forest fire hazards.

Forest fire lookouts earn approximately $33 per hour or $70,330 annually on average in California. Nationally they average about $15 per hour or $31,380 yearly. Compared with people working in the overall category of Fire Control, people working as forest fire lookouts in California earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Fire Control nationally. Forest fire lookouts work in a variety of jobs, including: fire information officer, fire observer, and fire lookout.

There are seven schools of higher education in the Santa Rosa area, including one within twenty-five miles of Santa Rosa where you can get a degree to start your career as a forest fire lookout. Given that the most common education level for forest fire lookouts is a Bachelor's degree, you can expect to spend about four years training to become 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 Santa Rosa 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.
  • 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

Santa Rosa Junior College - Santa Rosa, CA

Santa Rosa Junior College, 1501 Mendocino Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95401-4395. Santa Rosa Junior College is a large college located in Santa Rosa, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 26,350 students. Santa Rosa Junior 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 286, seventeen, thirty-one, 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: Santa Rosa, California

Santa Rosa, California
Santa Rosa, California photo by Njaelkies Lea

Santa Rosa is situated in Sonoma County, California. It has a population of over 155,796, which has grown by 5.6% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Santa Rosa, 159, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Santa Rosa are priced at $193,300 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, one hundred fifty new homes were built in Santa Rosa, down from three hundred sixty-eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Santa Rosa are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 27.6% of Santa Rosa residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.1%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Santa Rosa is 10.1%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Santa Rosa residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 32.1%, is less than both the national and state average. United Pentecostal Church, Bethlehem Lutheran Church and Bennett Valley Baptist Church are among the churches located in Santa Rosa. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Santa Rosa is home to the Sonoma County Administration Center and the Quarry Picnic Area as well as Live Oak Park and Coffey Park. Shopping malls in the area include Montgomery Village Shopping Center, Saint Francis Shopping Center and Flamingo One Stop Shopping Center. Visitors to Santa Rosa can choose from Amansi, Astro Motel and Beautiful Weddings & Events for temporary stays in the area.