One of the effects of global warming has been that the summer months are becoming hotter and dryer. When you add in the fact that the heat and windy conditions are lasting longer than in previous years, you now have a recipe for fire. In areas like California, these weather conditions mean that more firefighters are needed to combat larger, more frequent fires.
Bark beetles have infested areas of Southern California and are contributing to the problem of increased fires in that part of the world. The beetles feed on coniferous trees and there is no way to stop them from boring through the bark and causing enough damage to kill all the trees of this type in an area. Once the available food source has been exhausted, the bark beetles will die off.
The trees killed by bark beetles remain standing but are robbed of their moisture. Dry trees provide excellent fuel for wildfires. If living trees are located close by, they will also become fuel for fires that ravage the area every year.
If working as a seasonal firefighter appeals to you, there is no one place to apply for available positions. Applying through the state employment office is one way to get work. The National Forest Service may hire directly or through the state employment office. The key to finding a position is to do your homework and contact the agencies you are interested in working for to find out what their hiring practices are. Keep in mind that they may not know early in the year what their needs will be for the fire season, so you may need to be patient about finding out what positions will become available.
It doesn't hurt to brush up on the skills you will need on the job before you start looking for work. Having First Aid and CPR training is essential; if you don't have current certification for both of them, then you need to sign up for a course right away.
A good knowledge of outdoor skills is also needed if you want to be a seasonal firefighter. You will need to know how to pitch a tent and cook over a fire. Being able to tie a variety of knots will come in hand, along with the ability to drive large vehicles. You will want to show the prospective employer that you have the skills necessary to look after yourself out in the forest and that fellow team members won't be distracted from their duties to take care of you.
Invest in a good pair of hiking boots and wear them enough so that they are well broken in before you actually start working. Being in excellent physical condition is also a necessity for seasonal firefighters. You need to be able to lift heavy objects and hike over uneven terrain while carrying a well-loaded backpack (at least 45 pounds). For some jobs, you will be expected to carry your gear with you and live outside, possibly for several weeks, while other opportunities mean that you will be staying at a camp for some time. Either way, the comforts that most of us take for granted, like showering on a regular basis, will not be available to you until you come back to civilization.
A seasonal firefighter can be assigned a number of duties as part of their job description. You may be asked to build a fire-line or help with slash burning. Cleaning and maintaining equipment and tools is also part of the job.
If you are attracted to a summer job opportunity where you will work hard and spend time out of doors in all kinds of conditions, then becoming a seasonal firefighter may be the right choice for you.
With the rising temperatures during the summer months and Bark Beetles devastating forest trees, forest fires have become a growing threat with each passing season. Firefighter jobs are available as more people are need to battle wildfires in national parks and forests. If you're interested in outdoor jobs during the summer this would be a great opportunity, as long as you're fit and have outdoor living experience. Lisa Jenkins, a freelance writer for JobMonkey, has done research regarding Forest Service jobs and offers insightful information to adventurous outdoor job seekers.