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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Firefighters in Grand Prairie, Texas

Forest firefighter career and educational opportunities abound in Grand Prairie, Texas. There are currently 26,260 working forest firefighters in Texas; this should grow 21% to about 31,770 working forest firefighters in the state 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%. Forest firefighters generally control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.

Income for forest firefighters is about $21 hourly or $45,300 per year on average in Texas. Nationally, their income is about $21 per hour or $44,260 annually. Forest firefighters earn less than people working in the category of Fire Control generally in Texas and less than people in the Fire Control category nationally. People working as forest firefighters can fill a number of jobs, such as: forestry crew chief, smoke chaser, and forest ranger technician.

The Grand Prairie area is home to seventy-four schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Grand Prairie where you can get a degree as a forest firefighter. Forest firefighters usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so you can expect to spend only a short time training to become 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 Grand Prairie 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.


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.


Grand Prairie, Texas
Grand Prairie, Texas photo by Lothar1976

Grand Prairie is situated in Dallas County, Texas. It has a population of over 160,641, which has grown by 26.1% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Grand Prairie, 90, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Grand Prairie are priced at $174,200 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, five hundred forty-four new homes were built in Grand Prairie, down from 1,058 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Grand Prairie are educational services, health care, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, transportation equipment, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average commute to work is about 27 minutes. More than 19.3% of Grand Prairie residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 5.0%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Grand Prairie is 8.7%, which is greater than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Grand Prairie residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 55.1%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Abundant Life Assembly of God Church, Celestial Church of Christ and Saint Andrew Church are some of the churches located in Grand Prairie. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Grand Prairie is home to Kennedy Middle School Football Stadium and Hendrix Park. Visitors to Grand Prairie can choose from Blue Sky Hospitality, Amerisuites and Comfort Inn for temporary stays in the area.