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
  • biology
  • chemistry
  • physical education
  • mathematics

Education/Training Required:

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.

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