Training at CO Fire Camp


Members of the Prescott National Forest VFC team enjoyed two weeks of SCA Orientation, Firefighter Type 2 red card, and Wilderness First Aid training. The first week of training was the S-212 Wildfire Chain Saws course.  The VFC team learned about the parts of a chain saw, the proper maintenance of chain saws, and standardized cutting techniques used by the Forest Service. Limbing, bucking, falling and brushing were discussed and practiced during the four day course. Limbing is the process of cutting branches off trees to reduce ladder fuels and to protect the trees from burning during a fire. Bucking is the practice of sawing a fallen tree into smaller pieces. Bucking is usually used to assist the sawyer and swamper (sawyer’s assistant) in removing or moving the fallen tree from a fireline. Brushing is when a sawyer reduces fuels by clearing small trees and shrubs. Aerie Backcountry Medicine trained the team in adult/child CPR and Wilderness First Aid (WFA). The class was conducted outside and was extremely thorough. After learning the book answers, the team immediately practiced skills in the field. The instructors provided the team with hands-on, real world scenarios that tested their ability to learn, react, work with others, and make prudent snap decisions.  The second week was designated for red card training. The team took S-190 Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior, S-130 Firefighter Training, I-100 Introduction to Incident Command System, and L-180 Human Factors on the Fireline. The team learned the Watch Out Situations and Fire Orders, the importance of LCES (Lookouts, Communications, Escape Routes, Safety Zones), and potential hazards on the fireline. Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior consisted of topographic influences, fuels and weather and the effects they have on fire behavior, and proper safety measures.  The team performed the pack test and conducted a field training exercise (FTX). The pack test is a Forest Service-wide requirement and is designed to test the physical abilities of potential wildland firefighters by carrying 45 pounds for three miles in less than 45 minutes. The FTX was completely crew member run. The squad boss was not the project leader but a fellow crew member. The team established escape routes and safety zones, established a lookout, built a fire line, and had to deploy their fire shelters.  It tested learned skills from the classroom setting in a real world scenario.