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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Fire Lookouts in Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland 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. In general, forest fire lookouts enforce fire regulations and inspect for forest fire hazards.

The average wage in the general category of Fire Control jobs is $28 per hour or $57,536 per year in Maryland, and an average of $25 per hour or $51,548 per year nationwide. People working as forest fire lookouts can fill a number of jobs, such as: fire ranger, ranger, and resource protection specialist.

There are 102 schools of higher education in the Baltimore area, including one within twenty-five miles of Baltimore where you can get a degree to start your career as a forest fire lookout. Given that the most common education level for forest fire lookouts is a Bachelor's degree, you can expect to spend about four years studying 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 Baltimore 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 the District of Columbia - Washington, DC

University of the District of Columbia, 4200 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008. University of the District of Columbia is a medium sized university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 5,339 students. University of the District of Columbia has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated four and three students respectively 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: Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland
Baltimore, Maryland photo by Nfutvol

Baltimore is located in Baltimore City County, Maryland. It has a population of over 636,919, which has shrunk by 2.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Baltimore, 96, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Baltimore cost $139,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, one hundred fifty-three new homes were built in Baltimore, down from two hundred four the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Baltimore are health care, educational services, and public administration. For men, it is construction, educational services, and public administration. The average travel time to work is about 31 minutes. More than 19.1% of Baltimore residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.7%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Baltimore is 10.8%, which is greater than Maryland's average of 7.2%.

A W Wilson Memorial United Methodist Church, Abbott Memorial Presbyterian Church and Rogers Avenue Synagogue are all churches located in Baltimore.

Baltimore is home to the Governors Yacht Club and the Oriole Park at Camden Yards as well as Venable Park and Eutaw-Madison Apartment House Historic District. Shopping centers in the area include Alameda Shopping Center, Village Square of Cross Keys Shopping Center and Waverly Tower Shopping Center. Visitors to Baltimore can choose from Four Seasons Complete Camper Care Center, Knights Inn and Hilton & Towers for temporary stays in the area.