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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Firefighters in Colorado Springs, Colorado

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for forest firefighters in the Colorado Springs, 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. Forest firefighters generally control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.

Income for forest firefighters is about $24 hourly or $49,960 annually on average in Colorado. Nationally, their income is about $21 per hour or $44,260 yearly. 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. People working as forest firefighters can fill a number of jobs, such as: forest ranger technician, rescue worker, and smoke chaser.

The Colorado Springs area is home to nineteen schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Colorado Springs 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 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 Colorado Springs 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Forest Firefighter Training

Pikes Peak Community College - Colorado Springs, CO

Pikes Peak Community College, 5675 S Academy Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80906-5498. Pikes Peak Community College is a large college located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 11,701 students. Pikes Peak Community College has a less than one year program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated nineteen students 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: Colorado Springs, Colorado

Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado Springs, Colorado photo by FlickreviewR

Colorado Springs is located in El Paso County, Colorado. It has a population of over 380,307, which has grown by 5.4% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Colorado Springs, 86, is well below the national average.

The three most popular industries for women in Colorado Springs are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 21 minutes. More than 33.6% of Colorado Springs residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 12.2%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Colorado Springs is 7.0%, which is greater than Colorado's average of 6.6%.

The percentage of Colorado Springs residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.1%, is less than both the national and state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the Charismatic Churches Independent.

Colorado Springs is home to the Wilsons Ranch and the Flying W Ranch as well as Garden of the Gods and Acacia Park. Shopping malls in the area include Academy Center Shopping Center, Academy Place Shopping Center and Academy Place Shopping Center. Visitors to Colorado Springs can choose from Days Inn, Antlers Hilton Colorado Springs and Apache Court for temporary stays in the area.