June 24, 2013
Each spring, the Northwest Interagency Coordination hosts a wild land firefighting training and certification class. Included in that interagency agreement are the Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Forest Service, Washington State Parks, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
On June 21, 65 students took their final exam -- real live fire control. The students spent the last week and a half in a classroom setting learning the basics of fire fighting, ergonomics, wild land safety and management. The course culminated in a hands-on, live fire exercise, where students practiced using in-field hand tools to construct fire lines adjacent to a live fire.
At the end of the day, all 65 students left as qualified firefighters at the entry level capacity called firefighter two.
Mental and physical challenges abound for the students taking this fire course, as well as separation from family, modern technology, kitchens and beds. Yet everyone will tell you, from the students, to the instructors, to the administrators, it's all worth it.