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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Firefighters in Reno, Nevada

For those living in the Reno, Nevada area, there are many career and education opportunities for forest firefighters. There are currently 1,760 jobs for forest firefighters in Nevada and this is projected to grow 51% to 2,660 jobs by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for forest firefighters are expected to grow by about 18.5%. In general, forest firefighters control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.

Forest firefighters earn approximately $24 per hour or $51,870 per year on average in Nevada. Nationally they average about $21 hourly or $44,260 per year. Earnings for forest firefighters are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Fire Control in Nevada and not quite as good as general Fire Control category earnings nationally. Forest firefighters work in a variety of jobs, including: wildland fire fighter specialist, ranger, and fire technician.

The Reno area is home to eleven schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Reno where you can get a degree 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 Reno 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

Truckee Meadows Community College - Reno, NV

Truckee Meadows Community College, 7000 Dandini Blvd, Reno, NV 89512-3999. Truckee Meadows Community College is a large college located in Reno, Nevada. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 12,277 students. Truckee Meadows Community College has an associate's degree and a two to four year program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated zero and thirteen 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.


Reno, Nevada
Reno, Nevada photo by Smooth_O

Reno is situated in Washoe County, Nevada. It has a population of over 217,016, which has grown by 20.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Reno, 93, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Reno are priced at $202,100 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, six hundred thirty-seven new homes were built in Reno, down from nine hundred ninety-seven the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Reno are arts, entertainment, and recreation, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is arts, entertainment, and recreation, construction, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 18 minutes. More than 25.0% of Reno residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.4%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Reno is 11.8%, which is less than Nevada's average of 12.6%.

The percentage of Reno residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 27.9%, is less than both the national and state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Reno is home to the Short Ranch and the Keystone Square as well as Wilkinson Park and Paradise Park. Shopping centers in the area include Miraloma Park Shopping Center, Village Shopping Center and University Village East Shopping Center. Visitors to Reno can choose from Oxford Motel, Atlantis Casino Resort and Wayside Motel & Apartments for temporary stays in the area.