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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Fire Lookouts in Mesquite, Texas

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for forest fire lookouts in the Mesquite, Texas area. The national trend for forest fire lookouts sees this job pool growing by about 8.4% over the next eight years. In general, forest fire lookouts enforce fire regulations and inspect for forest fire hazards.

Forest fire lookouts earn about $21 hourly or $45,390 per year on average in Texas and about $15 per hour or $31,380 annually on average nationally. Compared with people working in the overall category of Fire Control, people working as forest fire lookouts in Texas earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Fire Control nationally. Forest fire lookouts work in a variety of jobs, including: fire control officer, fire behavior analyst, and forest ranger.

There are seventy-six schools of higher education in the Mesquite area, including one within twenty-five miles of Mesquite where you can get a degree to start your career as a forest fire lookout. Given that the most common education level for forest fire lookouts is a Bachelor's degree, 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 Mesquite 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

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

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: Mesquite, Texas

Mesquite, Texas
Mesquite, Texas photo by Justin Cozart

Mesquite is situated in Dallas County, Texas. It has a population of over 132,123, which has grown by 6.1% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Mesquite, 89, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Mesquite cost $155,500 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, sixty-four new homes were constructed in Mesquite, down from one hundred thirty-two the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Mesquite are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average travel time to work is about 29 minutes. More than 18.5% of Mesquite residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 5.5%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Mesquite is 8.2%, which is greater than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Mesquite residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 55.1%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Pentecostal Church of God Christian Assembly, Central Assembly of God Church and Prairie Creek Bible Baptist Church are among the churches located in Mesquite. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Mesquite is home to the Light Crust Doughboys Hall of Fame Museum and the Town East Centre as well as Mesquite Memorial Stadium and Tosch Park. Visitors to Mesquite can choose from Chet' s Electronic Lock & Repair, Big Town Inn and Classic Inn for temporary stays in the area.