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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Fire Lookouts in Omaha, Nebraska

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for forest fire lookouts in the Omaha, Nebraska area. 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 $28 per hour or $57,950 per year in Nebraska, 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 control officer, fire inspector, and ranger.

The Omaha area is home to thirty-one schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Omaha where you can get a degree as a forest fire lookout. Forest fire lookouts usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so 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 Omaha 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

Southeast Community College Area - Lincoln, NE

Southeast Community College Area, 301south 68th Street Place, Lincoln, NE 68510-2449. Southeast Community College Area is a large college located in Lincoln, Nebraska. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,557 students. Southeast Community College Area has an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated thirty-four students in 2008.

Metropolitan Community College Area - Omaha, NE

Metropolitan Community College Area, 30 & Fort Street, Omaha, NE 68111-1610. Metropolitan Community College Area is a large college located in Omaha, Nebraska. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,055 students. Metropolitan Community College Area has an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated one student 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: Omaha, Nebraska

Omaha, Nebraska
Omaha, Nebraska photo by Yassie

Omaha is located in Douglas County, Nebraska. It has a population of over 438,646, which has grown by 12.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Omaha, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Omaha are valued at $105,100 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, 1,576 new homes were built in Omaha, down from 1,905 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Omaha are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average commute to work is about 18 minutes. More than 28.7% of Omaha residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Omaha is 4.7%, which is greater than Nebraska's average of 4.5%.

The percentage of Omaha residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 54.5%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Calvary Baptist Church, Calvary Chapel of Omaha and Calvary Foursquare Gospel Church are all churches located in Omaha. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church.

Omaha is home to the Gibson and the Cedar Hills Golf Course as well as Al Caniglia Field and Adams Park. Shopping malls in the area include Frederick Square Shopping Center, North Park Shopping Center and Oak View Mall. Visitors to Omaha can choose from Countryside Suites, Hampton Inn Omaha-Central and Townhouse Inn for temporary stays in the area.