Project Location: BLM National Training Center, Phoenix, AZ

Project Partner: Bureau of Land Management, Phoenix District Fire Program

Hitch Accomplishments: Wildland Firefighting Training: S-130 (Firefighter Training); S-190 (Wildland Fire Behavior); I-100 (Incident Command); S-110 (Basic Wildland Fire Orientation); L-180 (Human Factors in Wildland Fire).

Tuesday, January 30, 2018:
The Phoenix Field School crew began their first project week participating in the interactive and intensive four-day wildland firefighting certification training course, instructed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Phoenix District Office Fire Program. The classroom and field course trains individuals to become educated, prepared, and certified to work as Type II Wildland Firefighters on an engine or hand crew. The Field School crew met at the BLM National Training Center on Tuesday morning and after signing in, under the instruction of the BLM PDO Safety Officer, Dean Fernandez, jumped right into the training beginning with L-180, Human Factors in Wildland Fire, S-110, Basic Wildland Fire Orientation and S-190, Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior. Throughout the day, the students learned about more about the history of wildland firefighting, basic language and concepts of wildland fire, as well as the influence of fuel, weather, and topography and the basics of wildland fire behavior in different areas.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018:
On Wednesday, the Phoenix Field School crew returned to the BLM National Training Center and began coursework material for the S-130, Firefighter Training portion of the training. During this training component, the students learned all about firefighter preparedness and gear. Then, the students progressed to I-100, Incident Command going into depth regarding risk-management while on a fire including covering the 10 Fire Orders, the specific 18 Watchout Situations and LCES (Lookouts, Communication, Escape Routes, Safety Zones) followed by learning about Fire Shelters, potential hazards and human factors on the fireline.

Thursday, February 1, 2018:
On Thursday, the final day of classroom instruction, the Field School crew delved into training covering transportation safety while on a fire, fire devices and water use, lead by Field School Crew Leader, Ian Cockrill. Afterwards, the students learned more about the specific hands tools used on wildland fires, fire suppression, and mop up followed by covering fire patrolling and communication and discussing hazardous material awareness and wildland-urban interface safety before concluding the day with a final course examination.

Friday, February 2, 2018:
Friday Field Day! The Field School crew met at 7:15am on Friday morning and travelled to the BLM Phoenix District Office to pack PPE, stock up on water, and make lunches before driving out to the State Forestry compound for the day’s field experience exercises. Working alongside other BLM course participants, the students separated into four work groups – Burn Operations, Fire Shelters, Line Construction, and Engine Inspection. The students spend about 40 minutes participating in various practice exercises at each station. At the Engine Inspection station, the students received a briefing on the standard rigging and responsibilities of an engine crew and were able to acutely observe and inspect the layout of the fire engine while participating in a dialogue with the BLM instructor. At the Fire Shelter Stations, the students reviewed the conditions in which deploying a shelter would be necessary, discussed deployment techniques, communication, and hazards/concerns before actually practicing a timed deployment using old shelters that had been de-issued (as there was no active fire occurring). At the Burn Operations station, the students received hands-on experience with a fuse and drip torch and were able to practice what it would be like to initiate a burn for suppression efforts. The group then reviewed the necessary PPE, proper handling, associated hazards, proper communication, and extinguishing methods. At the fourth station- Line Construction- the students reviewed the various types of hands tools commonly used for line construction in the lower 48 states for wildland fire and then, with PPE secure, practiced constructing lines and communicating with their peers regarding the quality of the line. The students rotated through each station receiving direct hands-on instruction from the BLM Fire Instructors. Following completion of the station exercises, the Field School crew volunteered to re-organize and clean the equipment trailers before debriefing the course and learning more about wildland fire careers with Dean and the BLM Fire staff and receiving course certificates. Afterwards, the crew returned to the BLM to put away gear, fill out timesheets, and prepare for the upcoming project week-Trails Skills Training.

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