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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Firefighters in Denton, Texas

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for forest firefighters in the Denton, Texas area. Currently, 26,260 people work as forest firefighters in Texas. This is expected to grow by 21% to 31,770 people 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. In general, forest firefighters control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.

A person working as a forest firefighter can expect to earn about $21 per hour or $45,300 yearly on average in Texas and about $21 per hour or $44,260 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Fire Control, people working as forest firefighters in Texas earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Fire Control nationally. Jobs in this field include: smoke eater, wildland firefighter, and ranger.

There are twenty-seven schools of higher education in the Denton area, including one within twenty-five miles of Denton where you can get a degree to start your career as a forest firefighter. The most common level of education 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 Denton 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Forest Firefighter Training

Collin County Community College District - Plano, TX

Collin County Community College District, 4800 Preston Park Blvd., Plano, TX 75093. Collin County Community College District is a large college located in Plano, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 21,000 students. Collin County Community College District has a less than one year program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated fifty students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

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: Denton, Texas

Denton, Texas
Denton, Texas photo by Nv8200p

Denton is located in Denton County, Texas. It has a population of over 119,454, which has grown by 48.3% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Denton, 92, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Denton are priced at $265,400 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, five hundred seventy-eight new homes were constructed in Denton, down from seven hundred eighty-seven the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Denton are educational services, health care, 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 23 minutes. More than 35.5% of Denton residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 13.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Denton is 6.0%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Denton residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 34.5%, is less than both the national and state average. Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, Pleasant Grove Church and Central Baptist Church are among the churches located in Denton. The most prominent religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Denton is home to the Denton County Courthouse and the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum as well as Phoenix Park and Evers Park. Visitors to Denton can choose from Best Western Denton Inn and Clayton House Motel for temporary stays in the area.