Wildland firefighters work in crews to suppress fires in remote locations.
Wildland firefighters work in crews to suppress fires in remote locations.
Forest Fire Fighter
In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.
The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used.
Here is how this occupation has been classified over time.
There are several different types of wildland firefighting crews in Alberta:
Duties and responsibilities vary from one type of crew to another but, in general, wildland firefighters:
Crews may be flown into remote locations to fight fires that are difficult to reach by other means.
Wildland firefighters work outdoors in all weather conditions, usually in isolated areas. Their work is dangerous and physically demanding. Occupational hazards include smoke, intense heat, falling trees and branches, wildlife and strong winds. Wind can quickly turn a small wildfire into a large, more complex wildfire.
Wildland firefighters are required to bend, stoop and crouch while wearing protective gear and carrying heavy equipment. They also must work quickly on steep and uneven terrain. They carry and use equipment such as hand tools, chain saws, water pumps and hoses, often for long periods.
Wildland firefighters may be required to work up to 24-day shifts and may be relocated anywhere in the province as needed.
In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.
Interest in driving - operating skidders, bulldozers and other prime movers to pull scarification and site preparation equipment over areas to be regenerated; and in operating power thinning saws to thin and space trees in reforestation areas and chain saws to thin young forest stands
Interest in copying information to control weeds and undergrowth using manual tools and chemicals; in performing silvicultural duties such as collecting seed cones, pruning trees and marking trees for subsequent operations; and in maintaining firefighting equipment
Interest in assisting in planting surveys; and in fighting forest fires under the direction of fire suppression officers and forestry technicians
To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.
The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation.
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.
Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.
A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.
A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.
To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.
A Quick Guide
You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.
The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.
The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.
Wildland firefighters need:
All candidates for wildland firefighter must maintain good health and physical fitness. For example, they must have the strength and agility to climb and balance when moving over rough terrain.
They should enjoy having routine, organized work punctuated by periods of intense activity, and technical activities such as operating 2-way radios and meteorological instruments.
In Alberta, wildland firefighters must successfully complete a training program at the Hinton Training Centre. For information about training and employment, see the Government of Alberta website.
Candidates will undergo medical screening and physical testing to ensure their health and physical fitness for the job.
The following qualifications are assets when seeking employment as a wildland firefighter:
To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.
Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.
There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.
Wildland firefighters are employed by Government of Alberta and contractors. Most are employed on a seasonal basis from April through late October.
The province of Alberta maintains a complement of about 3,000 certified firefighters. Many move on to full-time work in other fields, so employment turnover is high in this occupation.
This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.
In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.
In the 8422: Silviculture and forestry workers occupational group, 80.3% of people work in:
Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:
In Alberta, the 8422: Silviculture and forestry workers occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 0% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 0 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.
Rates of pay for certified wildland firefighters range from $21.83 to $26.87 an hour (Source: Government of Alberta, 2021 estimates).
In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.
Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.
All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.
To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.
Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.
High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.
|Wages*||Low (5th percentile)||High (95th percentile)||Average||Median|
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* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.
Pay brackets for hourly wages
Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre website: www.ciffc.ca
Canadian Wildland Fire Information System website: cwfis.cfs.nrcan.gc.ca
Government of Alberta website, wildfire information and recruitment: wildfire.alberta.ca
International Association of Wildland Fire website: www.iawfonline.org
Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.
Updated Mar 05, 2021. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.