Largest Training Event to Prevent Wildfires Resumes in Grand Rapids
The Minnesota Wildfire Academy will return to the Grand Rapids area after a two-year postponement due to COVID-19.
An expected 600 students will participate in wildfire training this June. Held at Itasca Community College in Grand Rapids, the 20th Minnesota Wildfire Academy will provide 23 courses on wildland fire planning, operations, safety, and leadership.
Being one of the largest wildfire training academies in Minnesota, many of the instructors are associated with Minnesota Incident Command System’s (MNICS) state, federal and tribal partners. The lessons are approved by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG). The week-long course will have both in-classroom and field work, allowing for a hands-on experience. Courses cover the following information such as basic firefighting, basic air operations, helicopter crew support, emergency vehicle operations, field observation, and fire operations. The use of portable pumps and power saws are also covered in the courses.
One of the main goals of the academy is to expose students to knowledge, and career and networking opportunities with industry professionals.
“As we prepare the next generation of wildland firefighters, we know recruitment begins with exposure. The academy is one of the most powerful tools we have in Minnesota to publicize, recruit, train, and grow the skills necessary for today’s highly sought after wildland firefighters,” said Todd Manley, wildfire training specialist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Currently wildfire risks are low to moderate throughout most of Minnesota. Crow Wing and Cass County are both listed as high risk by the Minnesota DNR. However, these reports may change if the summer is similar to that of drought conditions from last summer. The DNR also provides information on preventing wildfires.
The wildland firefighting courses are held from June 6-10 at Itasca Community College. More information can by found on MNICS’s website.
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