Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Firefighters in Victorville, California
Forest firefighters can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Victorville, California area. There are currently 26,700 jobs for forest firefighters in California and this is projected to grow by 18% to 31,600 jobs 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 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. 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. People working as forest firefighters can fill a number of jobs, such as: forest ranger, forest ranger technician, and rescue worker.
There are three schools within twenty-five miles of Victorville where you can study to be a forest firefighter, among twenty-four schools of higher education total in the Victorville area. The most common level of education 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
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 Victorville 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.
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: Victorville, California
Victorville is located in San Bernardino County, California. It has a population of over 110,318, which has grown by 72.3% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Victorville, 117, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Victorville are priced at $185,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, one hundred ninety-six new homes were constructed in Victorville, down from 1,090 the previous year.
The top three industries for women in Victorville are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, public administration, and truck transportation. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 10.6% of Victorville residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 3.7%, is lower than the state average.
The unemployment rate in Victorville is 16.8%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.
The percentage of Victorville residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 42.0%, is less than both the national and state average. United Pentecostal Church, Holy Faith Baptist Mission and Victor Valley Baptist Church are among the churches located in Victorville. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the LDS (Mormon) Church.
Victorville is home to the West Wind Golf Course and the Victorville Branch San Bernardino County Library as well as Eva Dell Park and Hesp Crest Desert Ecological Study Area. Shopping centers in the area include Hi Desert Plaza Shopping Center, Bear Valley Plaza Shopping Center and Victor Valley Town Center Shopping Center. Visitors to Victorville can choose from Best Western Green Tree Inn and Budget Inn of Victorville for temporary stays in the area.