Fifty wildland fire recruits spent the week of May 24 at College of Western Idaho (CWI) training and learning new skills to battle fires this summer.
The Southwest Idaho Fire Training (SWIFT) program is a partnership between the National Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and the Idaho Department of Lands.
Students spent the first two days in the classroom learning the fundamentals of fighting wildland blazes. The classes were held in lecture halls that featured new technology purchased from CARES Act funds to optimize the learning experience.
On Wednesday, May 26, the students completed five stations at the College’s Nampa Campus Academic Building (NCAB) to get hands-on experience with fire shelters, fire engines, and tools to quickly dig fire lines.
“I love doing this training. It is super rewarding, and this group is very engaged,” said Chris Weaver with Bureau of Land Management, who helped run the training.
Monica Hulse, who will join a BLM Boise District fire engine crew, paused while inspecting a fire engine with classmates in the parking lot of NCAB.
She added, “It’s been great – our group has been asking a lot of good questions, so it makes me feel good about the team I’m working with.”
The recruits wrapped up the week of training with a practice burn near Idaho City before they joined their fire crews throughout the state for a busy summer.