Wildland Firefighter/Fire Tower Watchman
Wildland firefighters combat and prevent forest or prairie fires. Fire tower watchmen reside in fire towers to observe a particular area for fires and then notify the proper authorities. A wildland firefighter’s role is to monitor for signs of fires, dispatch and relay information to emergency personnel, and serve as a firefighter and/or engine operator during wildfire suppression.
What Responsibilities Will I Have?
- Serve as a firefighter or engine operator during wildfire suppression
- Contact appropriate emergency personnel to control and extinguish fires, if serving as a fire tower watchman or in a dispatch role
- Provide rescue and alert emergency medical assistance regarding persons or animals injured in a fire
- Conduct maintenance on fire engines, tractors, mowers, chain saws and other tools
- Participate in fire break preparation, which includes removing rocks, trimming trees and mowing to make it easier to stop the spread of wildfire
- Keep gear and equipment prepared throughout fire season
- Process and interpret weather information to determine fire risk
- Assist with fire training, orientation and educational programs
- Record and maintain logs of fire information
- Perform fire station housekeeping as needed
- Maintain industry knowledge and understand technology used within the field
Recommended High School Courses:
- agricultural education
- natural resources
- environmental science
- physical education
The wildland firefighter field is competitive. While a high school diploma will suffice, it is recommended that you pursue an associate or bachelor’s degree in fire science or natural resources. Then, many states require a specific fire training program before becoming employed. Possessing a physical training regimen is also preferable, as wildland firefighters should be in top physical condition to lift heavy equipment and be on their feet for long periods.