What do Forest Firefighters do?
Control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.
- Collaborate with other firefighters as a member of a firefighting crew.
- Extinguish flames and embers to suppress fires, using shovels, or engine- or hand-driven water or chemical pumps.
- Test and maintain tools, equipment, jump gear and parachutes to ensure readiness for fire suppression activities.
- Maintain contact with fire dispatchers at all times to notify them of the need for additional firefighters and supplies, or to detail any difficulties encountered.
- Rescue fire victims, and administer emergency medical aid.
- Establish water supplies, connect hoses, and direct water onto fires.
- Patrol burned areas after fires to locate and eliminate hot spots that may restart fires.
- Inform and educate the public about fire prevention.
- Participate in physical training to maintain high levels of physical fitness.
- Orient self in relation to fire, using compass and map, and collect supplies and equipment dropped by parachute.
- Fell trees, cut and clear brush, and dig trenches to create firelines, using axes, chainsaws or shovels.
- Maintain knowledge of current firefighting practices by participating in drills and by attending seminars, conventions, and conferences.
- Maintain fire equipment and firehouse living quarters.
- Operate pumps connected to high-pressure hoses.
- Transport personnel and cargo to and from fire areas.
- Take action to contain any hazardous chemicals that could catch fire, leak, or spill.
- Organize fire caches, positioning equipment for the most effective response.
- Participate in fire prevention and inspection programs.
- Perform forest maintenance and improvement tasks such as cutting brush, planting trees, building trails and marking timber.
- Serve as fully trained lead helicopter crewmember and as helispot manager.
- Observe forest areas from fire lookout towers to spot potential problems.
- Drop weighted paper streamers from aircraft to determine the speed and direction of the wind at fire sites.
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