House › AK Fire Info › New wildland firefighters spent the holiday weekend building skills
While many Alaskans enjoyed a relaxing Memorial Day weekend, 53 wildland firefighters in training got hands-on experience in the field during the Alaska Department of Natural Resources’ Fire Field Day.
Fairbanks Area Forestry staff organized and hosted the event, with assistance from the White Mountain Type 2 Initial Attack Team. It wrapped up a week of training and testing and included demonstrations and simulations, with opportunities for hands-on learning.
Reinforcement of practical skills included learning how to unwind, wind and connect the fire hose and how to operate the pumps; how to perform a grid search for hotspots in burned areas; how to work safely around saw operators felling trees; how to use drip torches; and how to respond to medical emergencies in the field. The trainees were able to examine and explore a fire engine, a helicopter used for firefighting and a rescue boat in the event of an accident. They also learned how to set up a wildfire camp so they would have a place to eat and sleep after a long day of firefighting.
“The simulation really helps them build crew cohesion,” said Tony Peterson, a DOF Wildfire and Resource Technician and one of the event organizers.
In addition to those new to firefighting, attendees included local structural firefighters learning the skills needed to fight wildfires.
After passing written and work ability tests, newly qualified firefighters receive Incident Qualification Cards – also known as Red Cards – and are ready to be hired for wildland firefighting as well as various support roles. .
A reminder: The Northern Forestry office will hold its last Fire Refresher of the season for firefighters tonight (Tuesday, May 31) at 6 p.m. via Zoom. For the Zoom link, call (907) 451-2600. The last firefighter workability test of the season will be Saturday, June 4 at 9 a.m. at the Alaska Division of Forestry, 3700 Airport Way, Fairbanks.
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