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Forest Fire Inspector/Prevention Specialist  What They Do

Just the Facts

Enforces fire regulations, inspects forest for fire hazards and recommends forest fire prevention or control measures. May report forest fires and weather conditions.

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

A person in this career:

  • Relays messages about emergencies, accidents, locations of crew and personnel, and fire hazard conditions.
  • Directs crews working on firelines during forest fires.
  • Estimates sizes and characteristics of fires, and reports findings to base camps by radio or telephone.
  • Administers regulations regarding sanitation, fire prevention, violation corrections, and related forest regulations.
  • Extinguishes smaller fires with portable extinguishers, shovels, and axes.
  • Locates forest fires on area maps, using azimuth sighters and known landmarks.
  • Maintains records and logbooks.
  • Examines and inventories firefighting equipment, such as axes, fire hoses, shovels, pumps, buckets, and fire extinguishers, to determine amount and condition.
  • Directs maintenance and repair of firefighting equipment, or requisitions new equipment.
  • Restricts public access and recreational use of forest lands during critical fire seasons.

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 use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • 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
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Judging how far away an object is, or which of several objects is closer or farther away
  • 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

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Fire Apparatus Engineer -- Drives and operates heavy fire apparatus, including trucks and engines and also partakes in traditional firefighting duties, such as suppression and training.
  • Fire Lookout --
  • Fire Operations Forester --
  • Forest Fire Lookout --
  • Forest Officer --
  • Forest Patrolman --
  • Forest Ranger -- Responsible for the care and conservation of designated wild areas and parks that are held both nationally and locally.
  • Forest Technician --
  • Forester --
  • Ranger -- Duties include basic paperwork, educating the public about natural areas and protecting the park and visitors.