Aerial Firefighter

Douse fires with water from an airplane.
picture of Aerial Firefighter

Quick Stats


Outlook
Good

Salary Range
$23,000 – $75,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Aerial Firefighters do?

Fires are sneaky, crafty adversaries that like to take over pristine forests and reduce them to charred, blackened wastelands. These fires often take up residence in rocky areas, far from roads and water sources. Aerial Firefighters take on these tricky enemies, dropping from the sky to engage in hand-to-hand combat with them.

An Aerial Firefighter keeps a pack of equipment nearby at all times and is always on alert, ready to spring into action at the first sign of a fire. When a fire does break out, you — the Aerial Firefighter — grab your pack, jump into a waiting helicopter, and fly close to the scene. You then strap on your parachute and jump from the helicopter.

As you hurtle through the sky, you keep an eye on the fire and orient yourself to the landscape, looking for a safe, clear spot to land. When your feet touch the ground, you whip out your map and compass, figuring out where you are and where the fire is located.

Using your handy axe, you chop down trees close to the fire, and make a pile of debris to slow it down. You may also spray chemicals on the ground or flames, or dig deep trenches to contain the fire. To stay safe, you pay close attention to the direction of the wind and the land around you.

You may drive specialized airplanes as well, dumping chemicals and water on the flames. Before you dump your load, you talk with the crew on the ground via walkie-talkie to make sure you’re not dousing your friends instead of your enemy.


Should I be an Aerial Firefighter?

You should have a certificate degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • How to become an Aerial Firefighter

    Aerial Firefighters often have a Certificate or higher. Chart?chd=s:o9mcda&chl=bachelor%27s+%2815%25%29|no+college+%2865%25%29|certificate+%2813%25%29|associate%27s+%283%25%29|master%27s+%284%25%29|&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,15,65
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