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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Firefighters in Aurora, Colorado

There are many career and education opportunities for forest firefighters in the Aurora, Colorado area. Currently, 4,300 people work as forest firefighters in Colorado. This is expected to grow 21% to 5,190 people by 2016. This is better than the national trend for forest firefighters, which sees this job pool growing by about 18.5% over the next eight years. In general, forest firefighters control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.

Income for forest firefighters is about $24 per hour or $49,960 per year on average in Colorado. Nationally, their income is about $21 hourly or $44,260 annually. Earnings for forest firefighters are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Fire Control in Colorado and not quite as good as general Fire Control category earnings nationally. Forest firefighters work in a variety of jobs, including: hot shot, handcrew foreman, and smoke chaser.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Aurora where you can study to be a forest firefighter, among sixty-two schools of higher education total in the Aurora area. Forest firefighters usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so you can expect to spend only a short time studying 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 Aurora 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.
  • Lifeguard. Monitor recreational areas, such as pools, beaches, or ski slopes to provide assistance and protection to participants.
  • Security Guard. Guard, patrol, or monitor premises to prevent theft, violence, or infractions of rules.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Forest Firefighter Training

Community College of Aurora - Aurora, CO

Community College of Aurora, 16000 E CentreTech Pky, Aurora, CO 80011-9036. Community College of Aurora is a medium sized college located in Aurora, Colorado. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,217 students. Community College of Aurora has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated thirty-four and two students respectively 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.


Aurora, Colorado
Aurora, Colorado photo by Tom

Aurora is located in Adams County, Colorado. It has a population of over 319,057, which has grown by 15.4% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Aurora, 97, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Aurora are priced at $238,200 on average, which is above the state average. In 2008, five hundred ten new homes were built in Aurora, down from 1,202 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Aurora are health care, finance and insurance, and educational services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average commute to work is about 27 minutes. More than 24.6% of Aurora residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Aurora is 8.2%, which is greater than Colorado's average of 6.6%.

The percentage of Aurora residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 30.4%, is less than both the national and state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Lutheran Church.

Aurora is home to the Victory Grange and the Magee as well as Montview Park and Del Mar Park. Visitors to Aurora can choose from Corporate Housing Solutions, Comfort Inn-Airport and Denver Airport Marriott at Gateway Park for temporary stays in the area.