Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center
Forty men and women from the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Oregon Department of Forestry began their initial training to become wildland firefighters this week. At the end of the training the students will be qualified as entry level firefighters, and will join more than 300 other federal and state wildland firefighters working in Central Oregon this summer. “This type of intense training provides the essential foundation for becoming an effective, well-informed, and safe firefighter” said Karen Curtiss, Assistant Fire Staff with Central Oregon Fire Management Service, the combined Forest Service and BLM fire and fuels organization in Central Oregon.
During the week of training, known as Guard School, the new firefighters will go through a rigorous schedule of classroom and field exercises designed to teach a variety of subjects including fire suppression techniques, fire behavior, fire ecology, and maps/navigation skills. The firefighters will also learn how to operate engines, pumps and other mechanized equipment.
On Thursday, the firefighters will go through a live fire exercise designed to provide hands-on experience in line building techniques, setting hose lays, and applying mop-up standards. Specialists will ignite a small, 2-3 acre “wildfire” in order to give the new recruits an opportunity to apply their new knowledge on an actual fireline.
Classroom work and some of the field exercises will be taught at the Biak Training Center east of Redmond, and the live fire exercise will occur on Forest Service lands in the Cold Springs area west of Sisters. The practice fire will be a low-intensity maintenance burn in an area that was previously treated.
For more information, please contact Jared Reber at the Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District at (541) 383-4000.