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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Firefighters in Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky

For those living in the Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky area, there are many career and education opportunities for forest firefighters. There are currently 3,940 jobs for forest firefighters in Kentucky and this is projected to grow 23% to 4,830 jobs 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.

Forest firefighters earn about $14 per hour or $29,600 annually on average in Kentucky and about $21 per hour or $44,260 per year on average nationally. Earnings for forest firefighters are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Fire Control in Kentucky 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: fire fighter, firefighter, and smoke jumper.

There are twenty-two schools of higher education in the Lexington-Fayette area, including one within twenty-five miles of Lexington-Fayette where you can get a degree to start your career as a forest firefighter. Given that the most common education level for forest firefighters is a high school diploma or GED, 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 Lexington-Fayette 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

Bluegrass Community and Technical College - Lexington, KY

Bluegrass Community and Technical College, 470 Cooper Drive, Lexington, KY 40506. Bluegrass Community and Technical College is a large college located in Lexington, Kentucky. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 12,200 students. Bluegrass Community and Technical College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated three and one 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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky

Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky
Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky photo by Jonesey

Lexington-Fayette is located in Fayette County, Kentucky. It has a population of over 282,114, which has grown by 8.3% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Lexington-Fayette, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Lexington-Fayette are valued at $167,600 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, seven hundred seventy-one new homes were built in Lexington-Fayette, down from 1,227 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Lexington-Fayette are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, construction, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 19 minutes. More than 35.6% of Lexington-Fayette residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 14.5%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Lexington-Fayette residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 47.3%, is less than both the national and state average. Victory Baptist Church, Aldersgate Church and Trinity Hill United Methodist Church are all churches located in Lexington-Fayette. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Lexington-Fayette is home to the Tates Creek Country Club and the Home of Henry Clay as well as Kentucky State Horse Park and Duncan Park. Shopping centers in the area include Fayette Mall, Turfland Mall and Lexington Mall.