Forest Fire Prevention Specialists
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Visit https://smokeybear.com to learn more about wildland fires and fire science.
Ask your teacher or counselor to arrange a presentation by a forest fire prevention specialist, or try to set up an in-person or telephone information interview with a specialist. Questions to ask include:
- What do you like most and least about your career?
- What are the most important skills for specialists?
- How did you train for this career?
- As a student, what can I do now to prepare for this occupation?
As a teen, participate in fire summer camps to obtain experience. These programs are offered by fire academies, government agencies, colleges and universities, and organizations. Visit https://i-women.org/firefighters/fire-camps for a list of fire camps for young women.
Forest fire prevention specialists have a wide range of duties depending on where they work and their employer. Here are some common responsibilities of specialists:
- Inspect forest tracts and logging areas for fire hazards—accumulated wastes (dead trees, leaves, etc.), downed or damaged electrical wires, or mishandling of combustibles—and suggest appropriate fire prevention measures (e.g., prescribed fires, mechanical treatments, etc.)
- Patrolling residential areas that border or are located in wildland areas to look for conditions that could encourage wildfires and devise strategies to minimize or eliminate these issues
- Issue citations to individuals or companies that have violated building codes, fire safety rules, or related laws and follow up to ensure that they have addressed the issue
- Oversee fire safety and prevention patrols
- Educate the public in wildland areas about fire safety and prevention via one-on-one meetings and group presentations, and through brochures and social media posts
- Inspect camping sites in local, state, and national forests and other natural areas to ensure that campers are in compliance with fire safety regulations; write citations to campers who have violated the rules
- Search for the presence of wildfires while in the field; if a fire is detected, report the location, size, and characteristics of the fire and weather conditions
- Inspect fire warning alarm systems to ensure that they are functioning correctly
- Maintain firefighting equipment and vehicles
- Write reports that summarize their findings and suggest ways to reduce fire risk
Some forest fire prevention specialists work with wildland firefighters to fight fires, while others may train firefighters.