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Career profile Forest Fire Inspector

Also known as Fire Management Officer, Fire Operations Forester, Fire Prevention Officer, Fire Prevention Technician, Fire Technician, Forest Officer, Forest Patrolman, Forestry Patrolman, Wildfire Mitigation Specialist, Wildfire Prevention Specialist

Forest Fire Inspector

Also known as Fire Management Officer, Fire Operations Forester, Fire Prevention Officer

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Enterprising
Pay Range
$29,660 - $86,270 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Critical Thinking
  • Speaking
  • Coordination
Knowledge Areas
  • Administration and Management
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Education and Training
Core tasks
  • Relay messages about emergencies, accidents, locations of crew and personnel, and fire hazard conditions.
  • Conduct wildland firefighting training.
  • Estimate sizes and characteristics of fires, and report findings to base camps by radio or telephone.
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What does a Forest Fire Inspector do?

Forest Fire Inspectors enforce fire regulations, inspect forest for fire hazards, and recommend forest fire prevention or control measures.

In addition, Forest Fire Inspectors may report forest fires and weather conditions.

What kind of tasks does a Forest Fire Inspector perform regularly?

Forest Fire Inspectors are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Relay messages about emergencies, accidents, locations of crew and personnel, and fire hazard conditions.
  • Conduct wildland firefighting training.
  • Estimate sizes and characteristics of fires, and report findings to base camps by radio or telephone.
  • Direct crews working on firelines during forest fires.
  • Locate forest fires on area maps, using azimuth sighters and known landmarks.
  • Extinguish smaller fires with portable extinguishers, shovels, and axes.
  • Patrol assigned areas, looking for forest fires, hazardous conditions, and weather phenomena.
  • Compile and report meteorological data, such as temperature, relative humidity, wind direction and velocity, and types of cloud formations.
  • Examine and inventory firefighting equipment, such as axes, fire hoses, shovels, pumps, buckets, and fire extinguishers, to determine amount and condition.
  • Educate the public about fire safety and prevention.
  • Direct maintenance and repair of firefighting equipment, or requisition new equipment.
  • Maintain records and logbooks.
  • Administer regulations regarding sanitation, fire prevention, violation corrections, and related forest regulations.
  • Restrict public access and recreational use of forest lands during critical fire seasons.
  • Inspect camp sites to ensure that campers are in compliance with forest use regulations.
  • Inspect forest tracts and logging areas for fire hazards such as accumulated wastes or mishandling of combustibles, and recommend appropriate fire prevention measures.

The above responsibilities are specific to Forest Fire Inspectors. More generally, Forest Fire Inspectors are involved in several broader types of activities:

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Performing General Physical Activities
Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment
Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

What is a Forest Fire Inspector salary?

The median salary for a Forest Fire Inspector is $42,150, and the average salary is $52,130. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Forest Fire Inspector salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Forest Fire Inspectors earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Forest Fire Inspectors earn less than $29,660 per year, 25% earn less than $33,380, 75% earn less than $66,370, and 90% earn less than $86,270.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Forest Fire Inspectors is expected to change by 23.3%, and there should be roughly 400 open positions for Forest Fire Inspectors every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$29,660 - $86,270
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Forest Fire Inspectors?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Forest Fire Inspector are usually higher in their Realistic, Conventional, and Enterprising interests.

Forest Fire Inspectors typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Also, Forest Fire Inspectors typically have strong Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Lastly, Forest Fire Inspectors typically have moderate Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Forest Fire Inspector tend to value Achievement, Relationships, and Independence.

Most importantly, Forest Fire Inspectors strongly value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Second, Forest Fire Inspectors strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Lastly, Forest Fire Inspectors strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Forest Fire Inspectors must consistently demonstrate qualities such as stress tolerance, dependability, and leadership.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Forest Fire Inspectors, ranked by importance:

Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

What education and training do Forest Fire Inspectors need?

Forest Fire Inspectors often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Forest Fire Inspectors usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Forest Fire Inspectors

  • 4.0% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 20.7% completed high school or secondary school
  • 30.1% completed some college coursework
  • 16.7% earned a Associate's degree
  • 22.2% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 5.0% earned a Master's degree
  • 1.3% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Forest Fire Inspectors

Forest Fire Inspectors may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as administration and management, customer and personal service, or education and training knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Forest Fire Inspectors might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Personnel and Human Resources
Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.

Important Abilities needed by Forest Fire Inspectors

Forest Fire Inspectors must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Forest Fire Inspectors need abilities such as oral expression, problem sensitivity, and oral comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Forest Fire Inspectors, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Deductive Reasoning
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

Critical Skills needed by Forest Fire Inspectors

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Forest Fire Inspectors frequently use skills like critical thinking, speaking, and coordination to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Forest Fire Inspectors, ranked by their relative importance.

Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Judgment and Decision Making
Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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