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

Forest fire lookouts can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Waco, 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. Jobs in this field include: resource protection specialist, fire control officer, and fire apparatus engineer.

The Waco area is home to seven schools of higher education, including three within twenty-five miles of Waco 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 training to become 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 Waco 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 Firefighter. Control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.
  • Security Guard. Guard, patrol, or monitor premises to prevent theft, violence, or infractions of rules.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Forest Fire Lookout Training

Temple College - Temple, TX

Temple College, 2600 S 1st St, Temple, TX 76504-7435. Temple College is a medium sized college located in Temple, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,182 students. Temple College has a less than one year program in Fire Science/Firefighting.

McLennan Community College - Waco, TX

McLennan Community College, 1400 College Dr, Waco, TX 76708. McLennan Community College is a medium sized college located in Waco, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,887 students. McLennan Community College has a one to two year program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated twenty-two students in 2008.

Hill College - Hillsboro, TX

Hill College, 112 Lamar Dr, Hillsboro, TX 76645. Hill College is a small college located in Hillsboro, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,718 students. Hill College has a less than one year program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated twenty-eight 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: Waco, Texas

Waco, Texas
Waco, Texas photo by Aboxorocks

Waco is situated in Mclennan County, Texas. It has a population of over 124,009, which has grown by 9.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Waco, 82, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Waco are valued at $144,900 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-eight new homes were built in Waco, down from five hundred fifty the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Waco are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, educational services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 18 minutes. More than 18.6% of Waco residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.4%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Waco is 7.4%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Waco residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.5%, is more than both the national and state average. El Calvario Presbyterian Church, Abundant New Life Assembly of God Church and Adams Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church are among the churches located in Waco. The most prominent religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Waco is home to the Helen Marie Taylor Museum and the Potts Interchange as well as Heart O Texas Coliseum and Kathy Ball Park. Shopping malls in the area include Lake Air Shopping Center and Richland Shopping Center. Visitors to Waco can choose from Budget Inn, America's Best Inns and Best Western Old Main Lodge for temporary stays in the area.