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Forest Firefighter

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What Does it Take to Be a Forest Firefighter?

Job Description: Control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.

Life As a Forest Firefighter

  • Inform and educate the public about fire prevention.
  • Establish water supplies, connect hoses, and direct water onto fires.
  • Participate in physical training to maintain high levels of physical fitness.
  • Patrol burned areas after fires to locate and eliminate hot spots that may restart fires.
  • Maintain fire equipment and firehouse living quarters.
  • Drop weighted paper streamers from aircraft to determine the speed and direction of the wind at fire sites.

Forest Firefighter Skills

Forest Firefighters state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.

Operation Monitoring: Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Types of Forest Firefighter

  • Rescue Worker
  • Water and Fire Technician
  • Smoke Jumper
  • Wildland Firefighter
  • Forest Firefighter

Forest Firefighter Job Outlook

In the United States, there were 327,300 jobs for Forest Firefighter in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 7.2% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 23,600 new jobs for Forest Firefighter by 2026. There will be an estimated 24,300 positions for Forest Firefighter per year.


The states with the most job growth for Forest Firefighter are Utah, Texas, and Nevada. Watch out if you plan on working in New Jersey, Maryland, or Alaska. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

How Much Does a Forest Firefighter Make?

The salary for Forest Firefighters ranges between about $25,170 and $88,920 a year.


Forest Firefighters who work in New York, New Jersey, or Washington, make the highest salaries.

How much do Forest Firefighters make in different U.S. states?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $41,740
Alaska $51,110
Arizona $45,150
Arkansas $37,800
California $81,580
Colorado $61,160
Connecticut $63,630
Delaware $48,800
Florida $53,340
Georgia $38,060
Hawaii $62,670
Idaho $40,490
Illinois $56,710
Indiana $49,460
Iowa $43,970
Kansas $37,930
Kentucky $33,520
Louisiana $30,600
Maine $36,750
Maryland $61,780
Massachusetts $60,080
Michigan $45,440
Minnesota $37,690
Mississippi $30,370
Missouri $51,100
Montana $49,230
Nebraska $47,880
Nevada $66,830
New Hampshire $48,640
New Jersey $76,530
New Mexico $36,590
New York $73,710
North Carolina $35,500
North Dakota $42,980
Ohio $46,310
Oklahoma $43,450
Oregon $66,330
Pennsylvania $56,090
Rhode Island $55,240
South Carolina $36,300
South Dakota $44,710
Tennessee $40,280
Texas $52,520
Utah $37,960
Vermont $37,070
Virginia $51,510
Washington $73,850
West Virginia $36,820
Wisconsin $40,310
Wyoming $43,810

What Tools & Technology do Forest Firefighters Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Forest Firefighters may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Web browser software
  • Microsoft Access
  • Email software
  • Corel WordPerfect
  • Fire incident reporting systems

How to Become a Forest Firefighter

Individuals working as a Forest Firefighter have obtained the following education levels:


How Long Does it Take to Become a Forest Firefighter?


Where Forest Firefighters Are Employed


The table below shows the approximate number of Forest Firefighters employed by various industries.


Similar Careers

Career changers with experience as a Forest Firefighter sometimes find work in one of the following fields:


Image Credit: Airman 1st Class Sergio A. Gamboa via Public domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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