On first glance you might be tempted to think that these guys and gals are just plain insane, but the fact of the matter is that if someone didn’t fight these forest fires, hundreds of thousands of additional acres of precious national treasures could be lost each and every year. If you have placed wildland firefighter on your career planning or job search list, realize that it is a demanding job that comes with a good deal of risk.
If the idea of working as a wildland firefighter isn’t enough to get your heart pumping, then consider being a smokejumper. A smokejumper is sort of the insane commando of the firefighting world! These rough and tough souls are actually parachuted into remote areas to fight fires. You did indeed read that correctly, smokejumpers do jump out of airplanes so that they can fight fires.
Career Opportunities and Job Outlook-Average:
The job outlook for firefighters in general is about average with a twelve percent increase expected by 2016. However, the odds that the job growth for firefighters and wildland firefighters may actually exceed this number, as there have been record numbers of forest fires in recent years. Many expert firefighters say that they have never seen anything like it and attribute the rise in forest fires to global warming and other factors.
A Day in The Life:
Wildland firefighters are likely to find that they are in a remote forested area working with teams of firefighters in an attempt to contain, redirect or hopefully, control a wildfire in a forest. The work is often very intense physically and mentally. Wildland firefighters find themselves in situations where they may be attempting to save entire small communities or even small towns or cities.
The average firefighter earns about $41,000 annually. However, wildland firefighters are often employed seasonally and sometimes paid by the hour.
Career Training and Qualifications:
A firefighter is expected to have a high school diploma. Many firefighters often have an associate’s degree. The job requires extensive on the job training and is physically demanding.