When you think of California, what comes to mind? For people living elsewhere in the country, they think of Hollywood, sunny beaches, orange groves, and the largest amount of theme parks any state could hope to offer. What residents think of is something totally different. Having just lived through the worst fire season on record with five of the top 25 record-setting fires in history taking place in 2017, Californians only see fire.

Record-Setting Fires a Growing Concern

They worry about whether they will wake up one morning amidst a massive evacuation, they worry about losing everything they own, and most of all, they worry for the safety of their loved ones. With no part of the state being immune to those huge infernos, Californians know that if this year is anything like the last few, what the state needs most are firefighters. This could be the year that sees more young men and women seeking a fire science degree that will prepare them to be much-needed team leaders and managers on the front.

Widespread Destruction

If you can imagine for just one moment a state where almost 9,000 wildfires ravaged the state, destroying more than 1.2 million acres of land – some inhabited, some forest lands – you will understand why Californians aren’t as worried about things like illegal aliens and a Republican president as they were a year ago. This year, the focus is on the climatic changes, which may prove to be yet another devastating year with a huge loss of life and property.

Almost 11,000 structures were burnt to the ground last year and the latest death toll stands at 46. The Thomas fire alone was the largest ever recorded in the state and burned an area larger than metropolitan Washington, D.C. You can compare this fire to any city or state to see how large it really was, and then you’ll understand why all eyes are on fire season 2018.

Quick Response Saved Lives

The only reason that more lives weren’t lost was the quick response time in evacuations, and for that, the state has firefighters to thank, many of whom came from other states around the nation. With this in mind, it’s time to raise up a new generation of leaders with a degree in fire sciences. These graduates would all but be assured of jobs around the state. It is also noteworthy to mention the fact that many of the more rural areas are served by volunteer firefighters because there are simply not enough professionals to fill the void.

While the Fire Predictive Services of the National Interagency Fire Center released a statement in early March stating that spring may be a bit below historic levels, the summer in the southwest will be of major concern. With the severe drought expected to continue through the forecast period, underbrush will almost certainly catch fire, causing another devastating wildfire season. If you had to predict any occupation which would readily find employment in California, wouldn’t you guess firefighters? You’d probably be right on the money.