Between the long shifts, physical hazards, and psychological stress, being a firefighter is one of the most demanding jobs there is. You might assume that a career as hard and as important as that one comes with a big paycheck, but that's not always the case. As the map below shows, a firefighter's salary varies greatly depending upon the home state of their department.
The home security company Frontpoint put together this map of how much firefighters make, on average, in each state based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. After adjusting the numbers to account for cost of living, they determined that California is the state where firefighters get paid the most, with an average annual salary of $71,063. The median income for the state overall, not adjusted for cost of living, is $63,783, while the median for the country is just slightly less at $63,179.
On the other end of the scale, Louisiana came in as the state that pays its firefighters the least. The average firefighter there makes just $33,962. People fighting fires out West (which is also where the biggest blazes tend to occur) tend to receive better pay, with Washington, Nevada, and Oregon making it into the top five along with California. Firefighters in the South are worse off: At the bottom of the list, Mississippi follows Louisiana with an adjusted average salary of $35,438.
To find the average firefighter salary in your state, check out the map above. And to learn more about what the job entails, check out these behind-the-scenes secrets of firefighters.