Fire Lookout

Stand watch over forests for signs of fire.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$21,000 – $68,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Fire Lookouts do?

A Fire Lookout performs an incredibly important job: looking for fires when they’re small, and reporting its location to people who can put it out. This may sound like a stressful job, but that’s not always the case. As a Fire Lookout, you’ll have many hours of solitude.

Fire Lookouts typically work several days, or weeks, in a row. You perch in your high tree house, connected to the base via radio. These lookout positions are typically located deep in the forest, far away from other buildings.

You look for smoke and wisps of flame, and report anything you see back to the base camp. Your report includes information about the size of the fire, how it began (if you know), and precisely where it’s located. You’ll be very, very busy during lightning storms.

You also keep track of the weather conditions at the station, recording the temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, and the amount and size of clouds. Sometimes, your report will appear in weather forecasts, so you must be accurate.

While you must always stay alert and document your work, you’ll have many hours to yourself. You’ll have time to read the novel you keep picking up and putting down. Maybe you’ll write a novel yourself. And while you pursue these activities, you’ll float above some of the most beautiful sceneries in the world.

When tourists come to the forest, they may ask about your work, and request a tour of the lookout. This provides you with the opportunity to educate them on forest fire prevention.


Should I be a Fire Lookout?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.
  • Helpful: You always keep an eye out for what other people need.

  • Also known as: Forest Fire Lookout, Look Out Tower Fire Watcher, Watcher, Lookout Tower

    How to become a Fire Lookout

    Most Fire Lookouts have a Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:ccc9aa&chl=no+college+%283%25%29|certificate+%283%25%29|associate%27s+%284%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2889%25%29||doctorate+%281%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,3,89
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