News and Updates

East Texas Hosts 17TH Annual Wildfire Academy

Jun2014_TFS_Academy

In the Lone Star State, 80 percent of wildfires occur within two miles of a community, and volunteer firefighters are considered the first line of defense for almost all of them.

Those statistics underline the need for additional wildland firefighter training, and nearly 200 emergency responders from nine states will get just that at the East Texas Interagency Wildfire and Incident Management Academy.

Firefighters will converge on Angelina College in Lufkin over the next two weeks to learn about wildland firefighting, dozer operations, chainsaw use, incident command, tactical decision-making and fire behavior.

“Through these classes students learn how to achieve objectives, through Interagency cooperation,” said TFS Fire Training Coordinator Charles “Boo” Walker. “By working together in a controlled classroom environment students build a spirit of interdependence and cooperation that transcends into working on incidents, whether they be wildfire, flood, or tornado damage.”

The academy is a joint effort coordinated by Texas A&M Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service.

Courses offered are part of a standardized, national training curriculum developed by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group for career and volunteer firefighters.

Training expenses are reimbursed to the students or departments through a grant program administered by TFS.

Classes begin Wednesday, May 28, and run through Friday, June 6.

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Media Visits
Various courses have designated field days during which students are working outside with equipment, rather than in the classroom. Journalists interested in covering field exercises should call one of the public information officers listed below to schedule a visit and inquire about protective gear to wear in the field.

The most visual field day likely will be Friday, June 6, when the beginner firefighting class puts on wildland protective gear and dig handlines in preparation for a prescribed burn – weather permitting.

The field day schedule is listed below. Dates are subject to change.

Friday, May 30

Basic Engine & Suppression Tactics: Introduces students to basic wildland engine suppression tactics in both rural and wildland urban interface settings. Students will also be introduced to basic engine terminology, structure triage, hose operations and foam and water use practices to optimize the water available.

Followership to Leadership: Self-assessment opportunity for individuals preparing to step into a leadership role. Students engage in team-building exercises.

Portable Pumps & Water Use: This course gives the student practical knowledge and application skills of portable pump operations. The course consists of three skill areas: supply, delivery, and application of water. Field exercises train the student in the set-up, operation, and maintenance of pump equipment.

Ignitions Operations: This is an entry-level course providing training in the functional roles and responsibilities connected with firing operations. The course covers planning, ignition procedures and techniques, and equipment applicable to wildland and prescribed fire.

Saturday, May 31

Wildland Fire Chain Saws: Provides an introduction to the function, maintenance and use of internal, combustion engine-powered chain saws and their tactical wildland fire application. Field exercises support entry level training for firefighters with little or no previous experience operating a chain saw, providing hands-on cutting experience in surroundings similar to fireline situations.

Tuesday, June 3

Fire Operations in the Wildland/Urban Interface: This course is designed to assist firefighters who will be making tactical decisions when confronting wildland fire that threatens life, property, and improvements in the wildland/urban interface.

Wednesday, June 4

GPS Orientation: This course will help familiarize students with GPS units and their utilization in fire and

EMS. Topics include: various types of GPS units and using GPS units in various fire and EMS situations.

Thursday, June 5

Wildland Fire Chain Saws: Provides an introduction to the function, maintenance and use of internal, combustion engine-powered chain saws and their tactical wildland fire application. Field exercises support entry level training for firefighters with little or no previous experience operating a chain saw, providing hands-on cutting experience in surroundings similar to fireline situations.

Friday, June 6

Basic Firefighter/Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior: Introductory course designed to train entry-level firefighters. Student will gain an understanding of the basic incident management organization, firefighting techniques, suppression equipment, safety, strategy/tactics and basic fire behavior.

Contacts:
Jan Amen, Public Information Officer
936-546-1004 cell, jamen@tfs.tamu.edu
*Available Wednesday, May28  through Saturday, May 31.

Melanie Spradling, Public Information Officer
979-450-2578 cell, mspradling@tfs.tamu.edu
*Available Sunday, June 1 through Friday, June 6.

 

[via tfsweb.tamu.edu | East Texas Hosts 17TH Annual Wildfire Academy]

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