Wildland Fire Training to be Held in Valentine and LaVista - UNL CropWatch, Oct. 10, 2012

Wildland Fire Training to be Held in Valentine and LaVista - UNL CropWatch, Oct. 10, 2012

October 10, 2012

With Nebraska still in severe drought and its grasslands and fields often dry as tinder, the Nebraska Forest Service will be offering training to help firefighters become better prepared for battling wildland fires. The two training events are for firefighters and those interested in learning more about wildfire management.

The training focuses on fire behavior, weather, fire preparedness, tactics and safety on the fire line.

"The 2012 Nebraska fire season has been one of the worst on record, burning 241,605 acres of forest and grassland in Nebraska, along with seven homes and 41 other buildings," said Casey McCoy, Nebraska Forest Service's wildland fire training manager.

The training is free and open to everyone.

The first training will be Oct. 28 from 1-5 p.m. at the Cherry County 4-H Building in Valentine.

A more comprehensive training for Red Card Certification will be held at the LaVista Fire Department on consecutive weekends, Nov. 3-4 and Nov. 10-11, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Participants must attend all four training dates to become certified. There is no fee for registration or training.

Red Card training is part of the fire qualifications system used by all federal and many state and private wildland and prescribed fire management agencies. All firefighters assigned to a fire being managed by a federal agency are required to complete the training. The Red Card functions as a driver's license, certifying the card holder has completed the course work and training required for a particular firefighting position. In addition to the training, participants must pass a fitness test.

Participants who complete the Red Card Certification training receive certificates for the following:

  • S-130 Firefighter Training, designed for entry-level firefighters.
  • S-190 Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior, which focuses on the primary factors affecting the start and spread of wildfire and how to recognize potentially hazardous situations.
  • L-180 Human Factors in the Wildland Fire Service, designed for new firefighters.

"We know that large wildfires that burn hotter and faster will be more common in coming years," McCoy said. "Studies show that the average number of annual fires larger than 10,000 acres is now about seven times greater than it was in the 1970s. That means we need more qualified firefighters who can effectively manage these fires."

To register, contact Casey McCoy at the Nebraska Forest Service or visit nfs.unl.edu for more information. The Nebraska Forest Service is an affiliate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.