1 minute read

WILDLAND FIRE MANAGER - Education/training

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesCool Careers Without CollegeWILDLAND FIRE MANAGER - Description, Education/training, Fighting Fires From The Sky, Outlook, Firestarters, Web Sites - FOR MORE INFORMATION


You must be knowledgeable in basic first aid and CPR before you even inquire about one of these high-risk positions.

Entry-level positions can be difficult to snare in this field. One method is to start out as a forestry aide or technician; consider these lower-rung positions as a kind of internship. These jobs can consist of backbreaking work but are an excellent apprenticeship to the world of wildland firefighting and may even open the door to timber, recreation, range, fisheries, wildlife, or surveying positions with the National Park Service. Firefighters who are employed by the state and national parks are not required to have college degrees, but a high school diploma is a prerequisite. And each progressive level of the job requires additional work-related training. Below are two of the academies that offer such hands-on coursework:

Fighting Fires from the Sky

Smoke jumpers are firefighters who parachute into burning forests in order to fight blazes. They are flown into the remote areas that hotshot crews and other firefighters cannot reach. They jump in groups of two to ten people, with each person carrying 100 pounds of equipment on his or her back, and they fight the fire for three to five days. When finished, they gather up their equipment and hike to the nearest access road, which is often many miles away. Smoke jumpers are drawn from the ranks of experienced firefighters from the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, or state forest fire departments. They often also have experience as farmers, park rangers, or ranchers. Would-be smoke jumpers must be physically fit and must successfully complete a boot camp–style training session. Smoke jumpers say the pay is good, but it is the scenery, adventure, and strong sense of camaraderie that keeps them coming back year after year.

Colorado Wildfire Academy

National Interagency Fire Center—National Course Development (NIFC)

Additional topics