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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Fire Lookouts in Jacksonville, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for forest fire lookouts. 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.

The average wage in the general category of Fire Control jobs is $27 per hour or $57,013 per year in Florida, and an average of $25 per hour or $51,548 per year nationwide. Jobs in this field include: forest patrolman, wildland fire operations specialist, and fire ranger.

There are three schools within twenty-five miles of Jacksonville where you can study to be a forest fire lookout, among thirty-three schools of higher education total in the Jacksonville area. Given that the most common education level for forest fire lookouts is a Bachelor's degree, it will take about four years to learn to be 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 Jacksonville 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.
  • Fish and Game Warden. Patrol assigned areas to prevent fish and game law violations. Investigate reports of damage to crops or property by wildlife. Compile biological data.
  • 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.
  • Security Guard. Guard, patrol, or monitor premises to prevent theft, violence, or infractions of rules.
  • 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

University of Florida - Gainesville, FL

University of Florida, 355 Tigert Hall, Gainesville, FL 32611-3115. University of Florida is a large university located in Gainesville, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 51,475 students and an admission rate of 41%. University of Florida has a bachelor's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated seven students in 2008.

Florida Community College at Jacksonville - Jacksonville, FL

Florida Community College at Jacksonville, 501 W State St, Jacksonville, FL 32202. Florida Community College at Jacksonville is a large college located in Jacksonville, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 25,686 students. Florida Community College at Jacksonville has a less than one year program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated fifty-eight students in 2008.

First Coast Technical College - Saint Augustine, FL

First Coast Technical College, 2980 Collins Ave, Saint Augustine, FL 32084-1919. First Coast Technical College is a small college located in Saint Augustine, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 657 students. First Coast Technical College has a one to two year program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated 269 students 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: Jacksonville, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida photo by Digon3

Jacksonville is located in Duval County, Florida. It has a population of over 807,815, which has grown by 9.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Jacksonville, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Jacksonville are valued at $173,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, 2,592 new homes were built in Jacksonville, down from 3,449 the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Jacksonville are health care, finance and insurance, and educational services. For men, it is construction, finance and insurance, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 21.1% of Jacksonville residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.5%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Jacksonville is 10.9%, which is less than Florida's average of 11.3%.

The percentage of Jacksonville residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 44.2%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Church of God-West Jacksonville, Church of Good Shepherd and Church of Our Savior are among the churches located in Jacksonville. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Jacksonville is home to the Pearl Plaza and the Lane Center as well as Memorial Park and James Park. Shopping centers in the area include 5 Points West Shopping Center, Lone Star Road Shopping Center and Normandy Mall. Visitors to Jacksonville can choose from Civista Inn, Best Western Baldwin Inn and City Center Motel for temporary stays in the area.