Forest Firefighters
SOC: 33-2011.02


Control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.

National Salary Information:

Hourly Statistics:

Annual Statistics:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data.

Employment Projections:

Employment (2014):
327,300 employed

Projected (2024):
344,700 employed

Projected growth (2014-2024)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 2014-2024 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

Alternate Titles:

  • Crew Boss
  • Engine Boss
  • Fire Boss
  • Fire Crew Specialist
  • Fire Fighter
  • Fire Technician
  • Firefighter
  • Forest Fire Warden
  • Forest Firefighter
  • Forest Ranger
  • Forest Ranger Technician
  • Forestry Crew Chief
  • Forestry Fire Aid
  • Forestry Technician (Fire)
  • Handcrew Foreman
  • Hot Shot
  • Ranger
  • Rescue Worker
  • Smoke Chaser
  • Smoke Eater
  • Smoke Jumper
  • Squad Boss
  • Water and Fire Technician
  • Wildland Fire Fighter
  • Wildland Fire Fighter Specialist
  • Wildland Firefighter

  • Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed


    Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.


    These occupations usually require a high school diploma.

    Job Training:

    Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.

    Required Skills:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Mathematics
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Learning
  • Learning Strategies
  • Monitoring
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Coordination
  • Persuasion
  • Negotiation
  • Instructing
  • Service Orientation
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Technology Design
  • Equipment Selection
  • Operation Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
  • Equipment Maintenance
  • Troubleshooting
  • Repairing
  • Quality Control Analysis
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Systems Analysis
  • Systems Evaluation
  • Time Management
  • Management of Financial Resources
  • Management of Material Resources
  • Management of Personnel Resources

  • Knowledge Used:

  • Administration and Management
  • Clerical
  • Economics and Accounting
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Personnel and Human Resources
  • Production and Processing
  • Food Production
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Design
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Psychology
  • Sociology and Anthropology
  • Geography
  • Medicine and Dentistry
  • Therapy and Counseling
  • Education and Training
  • English Language
  • Foreign Language
  • History and Archeology
  • Philosophy and Theology
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Law and Government
  • Telecommunications
  • Communications and Media
  • Transportation

  • Tasks:

  • Maintain contact with fire dispatchers at all times to notify them of the need for additional firefighters and supplies, or to detail any difficulties encountered.
  • Rescue fire victims, and administer emergency medical aid.
  • Collaborate with other firefighters as a member of a firefighting crew.
  • Patrol burned areas after fires to locate and eliminate hot spots that may restart fires.
  • Extinguish flames and embers to suppress fires, using shovels or engine- or hand-driven water or chemical pumps.
  • Fell trees, cut and clear brush, and dig trenches to create firelines, using axes, chainsaws or shovels.
  • Maintain knowledge of current firefighting practices by participating in drills and by attending seminars, conventions, and conferences.
  • Operate pumps connected to high-pressure hoses.
  • Participate in physical training to maintain high levels of physical fitness.
  • Establish water supplies, connect hoses, and direct water onto fires.
  • Maintain fire equipment and firehouse living quarters.
  • Inform and educate the public about fire prevention.
  • Take action to contain any hazardous chemicals that could catch fire, leak, or spill.
  • Organize fire caches, positioning equipment for the most effective response.
  • Transport personnel and cargo to and from fire areas.
  • Participate in fire prevention and inspection programs.
  • Perform forest maintenance and improvement tasks such as cutting brush, planting trees, building trails and marking timber.
  • Test and maintain tools, equipment, jump gear, and parachutes to ensure readiness for fire suppression activities.
  • Observe forest areas from fire lookout towers to spot potential problems.
  • Orient self in relation to fire, using compass and map, and collect supplies and equipment dropped by parachute.
  • Serve as fully trained lead helicopter crewmember and as helispot manager.
  • Drop weighted paper streamers from aircraft to determine the speed and direction of the wind at fire sites.

  • Tools & Technology:

  • All terrain vehicles ATV
  • Aluminum ladders
  • Backfiring fusees
  • Backpack pumps
  • Chain saws
  • Drip torches
  • Falling saws
  • Farm tractors
  • Fire axes
  • Fire hose clamps
  • Fire hose nozzles
  • Fire hoses
  • Fire resistant clothing
  • Fire resistant gloves
  • Fire shelters
  • Firefighting boots
  • First aid kits
  • Foam pumps
  • Forest fire shovels
  • Geological compasses
  • Global positioning system GPS receivers
  • Hand-operated pumps
  • Hard hats
  • High pressure fire hoses
  • Laptop computers
  • Machetes
  • Marsh rigs
  • Mattocks
  • McLeod tools
  • Multipurpose fire extinguishers
  • Parachutes
  • Personal computers
  • Picks
  • Portable meteorological stations
  • Power pumps
  • Psychrometers
  • Pulaski tools
  • Pyrotechnic flares
  • Safety glasses
  • Safety goggles
  • Safety helmets
  • Shovels
  • Single-bit axes
  • Spanner wrenches
  • Surveillance binoculars
  • Synthetic fire hoses
  • Tracked bulldozers
  • Tractor-mounted mowers
  • Tree saws
  • Truck-mounted water pumps
  • Two way radios
  • Wildland fire engines
  • Wind gauges
  • Corel WordPerfect software
  • Email software
  • Fire incident reporting systems
  • Microsoft Access
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Microsoft Word
  • Web browser software

  • protective service

    industry stats

    SOC: 33-0000

    Total Employed: 3,351,620

    Average Annual Salary: $44,610