Week 1 – 3, VFC Corps Member Training:


VFC Corps Member Training:

Members of the Kaibab National Forest VFC Team (and both Black Hills VFC Team 1 & Team 2), enjoyed three weeks of SCA Orientation, Red Card (wildland firefighting), Wilderness First Aid training, and S-212 Wildland Fire Chain Saw training. We all met at Medicine Mountain Boy Scout Camp near Custer, SD on May 21st to begin our three weeks of rigorous trainings. The first week of training included SCA Orientation, policies, procedures, and all last minute administrative tasks. The schedule also allowed for a couple of short recreational trips to explore nearby: Mount Rushmore National Park & Wind Cave National Monument. The end of week one was concluded with adult/child CPR along and Wilderness First Aid administered by two personnel from Aerie Backcountry Wilderness from Montana. After learning the book answers, we immediately practiced them. Our instructors provided us with hands-on real world scenarios that tested our ability to learn, react, work with others, and make prudent snap decisions when faced with emergency situations in a backcountry setting.

Black Hills National Forest hosted a Guard School for our second week of training. Many members of the surrounding Forest Service District Offices (Custer, Rapid City, Hill City, and Spearfish) came to the camp in order to teach us all we would need to know in order to fight forest fires and to assist with prescribed burns. This training was ran as a “mock incident”, during which we all camped out in a fire camp like one would during a large wildfire incident. We took S-190 (Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior), S-130 (Firefighter Training), IS-700 (An Introduction to the National Incident Management System, NIMS), and L-180 (Human Factors on the Fireline). Some of the classes were on weather and how it affects the way fire behaves. We also had a class on fire behavior, potential hazards, and map & compass use to name a few. During Guard School we also participated in the Arduous Work Capacity test which consists of carrying 45 pounds for three miles in under 45 minutes. We concluded the week with a live prescribed burn field training exercise, constructing fire lines, mopping up, and even deploying our fire shelters. It was good to practice the techniques and knowledge we gained in the classroom.

Watch Video Here:

Black Hills Fox: Crews test skills in live fire exercise

During our third week the Black Hills National Forest hosted S-212 Training (Wildland Fire Chain Saws) and after a week of training and field work the VFC team are now certified “A fallers”, which is the apprentice level of the three certifications: “A, B, and C fallers”. The “A faller” is proficient in limbing and bucking. Limbing is the practice of sawing branches off trees and bucking is the practice of sawing fallen timber in to smaller pieces.