POWELL BUTTE, Ore. - This week, 58 students from several agencies are becoming qualified wildland firefighters through classroom and hands-on training in Central Oregon.
The Central Oregon Fire Management Service is hosting an interagency series of fire classes to train new wildland firefighters this week. This year’s class of students include 35 USDA Forest Service personnel, 15 Bureau of Land Management staff, seven individuals from the Oregon Military Department and one US Navy sailor.
The recruits are spending time in the classroom learning about fire behavior, the incident command system (ICS), and wildland firefighting techniques and will gear up on Wednesday afternoon to learn how to dig fire line, utilize pumps and hoses, and how to safely put fire on the landscape.
On Thursday, the trainees will be transported to a live-fire exercise 7 miles south of Sisters off of Forest Road 16 near Three Creek Lake on the Deschutes National Forest.
The live-fire exercise will burn up to 5 acres to give students hands-on experience directly and indirectly engaging wildland fire using hand tools and associated equipment including numerous COFMS engines. The new recruits will be supervised and assisted at all times by qualified and experienced wildland firefighters.
The training is being held at Biak Military Training Center east of Redmond in Powell Butte. The students eat at the Training Center and sleep in tents, just as they will on wildland fires this summer.
The public may see smoke from the live fire exercise on Thursday. Signs will be posted on significant nearby forest roads that could be impacted. No road closures are anticipated.
Firefighters will follow policies outlined in the Oregon Department of Forestry smoke management plan, which governs prescribed fires (including pile burning), and attempts to minimize impacts to visibility and public health.
Keep up with prescribed burns in Central Oregon by visiting this live map: http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/webmaps/deschutes/cofms-rxfire/