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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Fire Lookouts in Salem, Oregon

Forest fire lookouts can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Salem, Oregon 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.

Forest fire lookouts earn approximately $16 hourly or $34,760 annually on average in Oregon. Nationally they average about $15 per hour or $31,380 yearly. Forest fire lookouts earn less than people working in the category of Fire Control generally in Oregon and less than people in the Fire Control category nationally. Jobs in this field include: wildfire prevention specialist, warden, and forester.

The Salem area is home to seventeen schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Salem where you can get a degree 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 Salem 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.
  • 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

Clackamas Community College - Oregon City, OR

Clackamas Community College, 19600 Molalla Ave, Oregon City, OR 97045-8980. Clackamas Community College is a medium sized college located in Oregon City, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,701 students. Clackamas Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated one and three students respectively in 2008.

Chemeketa Community College - Salem, OR

Chemeketa Community College, 4000 Lancaster Dr NE, Salem, OR 97305. Chemeketa Community College is a large college located in Salem, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,000 students. Chemeketa Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated one and forty-five 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: Salem, Oregon

Salem, Oregon
Salem, Oregon photo by Aboutmovies

Salem is located in Marion County, Oregon. It has a population of over 153,435, which has grown by 12.1% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Salem, 97, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Salem are valued at $215,800 on average, which is above the state average. In 2008, two hundred sixty-nine new homes were constructed in Salem, down from five hundred forty-three the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Salem are health care, public administration, and educational services. For men, it is construction, public administration, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 22 minutes. More than 24.1% of Salem residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.8%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Salem is 10.2%, which is less than Oregon's average of 10.6%.

The percentage of Salem residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.6%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Salem is home to the Oregon Women's Correctional Center and the Oregon State Penitentiary as well as Waldo Park and Olinger Pool Park. Visitors to Salem can choose from Red Lion Hotel-Salem Reservations, Shilo Inn Salem and Econo Lodge Salem for temporary stays in the area.