Veterans Fire Corps: A Burning Challenge


Veterans embrace SCA Fire Corps training

PRESCOTT – For some veterans, returning to civilian life isn’t always easy, but there are ways to make that transition less stressful.

Enter the Veterans Fire Corps, a program designed for veterans who desire to work in conservation-related fields.

The VFC, organized by the Student Conservation Association (SCA) and the U.S. Forest Service, is a 90-day training program created in 2010 that allows veterans the opportunity to explore conservation-related careers, including careers in wildfire containment. Once enrolled in the program, veterans are taught fire mitigation, organizers said – a skill that has led many veterans to employment in fire-fighting positions.

A VFC crew is currently operating in the Prescott area.

Katy Tuckerman, Prescott National Forest Project Leader and former VFC member, said the program basically serves the Forest Service in an internship-style capacity.

Tuckerman, a veteran herself, enrolled in the VFC program last summer and returned this year as a project leader.

In her current capacity, Tuckerman serves as liaison for Forest Service officials and the VFC crew.

“There’s two missions; SCA’s mission in conservation and trying to educate the younger generation in becoming conservation leaders in the future, but also the VFC is about helping veterans and getting them reintegrated into civilian life, to help transition them from military to civilian service. You have to be a veteran to get into the program,” Tuckerman said.

She said she was originally drawn to the program out of her desire to become a wildland firefighter.

“VFC is an easy way to get a glimpse of what that kind of career would look like and it helps you determine if you want to go that route, and you’re surrounded by fellow veterans, which makes it an easier transition,” Tuckerman said.



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