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Forest Fire Fighting/Prevention Supervisor  What They Do

Just the Facts


Supervises fire fighters who control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.

This career is part of the Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security cluster Emergency and Fire Management Services pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Communicates fire details to superiors, subordinates, or interagency dispatch centers, using two-way radios.
  • Evaluates size, location, and condition of forest fires.
  • Serves as a working leader of an engine, hand, helicopter, or prescribed fire crew of three or more firefighters.
  • Maintains fire suppression equipment in good condition, checking equipment periodically to ensure that it is ready for use.
  • Trains workers in skills such as parachute jumping, fire suppression, aerial observation, or radio communication, in the classroom or on the job.
  • Requests and dispatches crews and position equipment so fires can be contained safely and effectively.
  • Operates wildland fire engines or hoselays.
  • Recruits or hires forest firefighting personnel.
  • Maintains knowledge of forest fire laws and fire prevention techniques and tactics.
  • Monitors prescribed burns to ensure that they are conducted safely and effectively.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Work in this occupation involves keeping or regaining your balance more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Requires getting into awkward positions
  • Lighting is either extremely bright or inadequate
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to conditions such as high voltage electricity, combustibles, explosives, and chemicals more than once a month
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves kneeling, crouching, stooping, and/or crawling more than one-third of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of special protective items such as a breathing apparatus, safety harness, full protection suit, or radiation protection
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Whole body vibrations, such as when operating a jackhammer
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time
  • Work at heights above 8 feet more than once a month on structures such as ladders, poles, scaffolding, and catwalks

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Using muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring
  • Bending, stretching, twisting, or reaching
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person
  • Exerting oneself physically over long periods of time without getting out of breath
  • Lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying objects
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Assistant Unit Forester --
  • Crew Boss --
  • District Fire Management Officer --
  • Engine Boss --
  • Fire Captain --
  • Fire Management Officer --
  • Firefighter Type One (FFT1) --
  • Forest Fire Specialist Supervisor --
  • Section Forest Fire Warden --
  • Squad Boss --