Created in 2010 in cooperation with the US Forest Service, expanded into an AmeriCorps program in 2012, and supported by generous partners includeing C&S Wholesale Grocers, the Veterans Fire Corps trains and engages teams of military veterans in wildland ﬁre mitigation. Projects include fuels reduction, ﬁre effects monitoring, educational outreach, pre-ﬁre preparation of burn units, and participation in prescribed ﬁres. SCA’s Veterans Fire Corps members work together for 13 weeks, organized in teams of ﬁve Corps Members and one Project Leader. The leader is most often a graduate of a prior Veterans Fire Corps program who has proven to be a capable ﬁreﬁghter, manager, and logistician.
The training provided to participants has three components: training as an SCA Corps member, Wildland fire and chainsaw training, as well as ﬁeld-based practical experience. Each training component builds on the prior training, focusing not only on technical aspects, but also on softer skills such as leadership, group dynamics, and conﬂict management. When not working on fuels mitigation, members may work with various federal agency staff in other areas, such as trails, archeology, ﬁsheries, or other projects. Members receive weekly living allowances. Housing and ﬁeld-based meals are provided, but positions may require camping in the ﬁeld for a signiﬁcant portion of the program.
SCA waives application fees for all US Military Veterans.
Wildland Fire Chainsaws
Basic Wildland Firefighter
Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior
Introduction to Incident Command System
Standards for Survival
Human Factors on the Fireline
Introduction to the National Incident Management System
Wilderness First Aid, CPR, and Red Card Certification
US Military Post-9/11 Veterans
DD214 form showing Honorable Discharge or General Discharge (under Honorable Conditions)
Valid driver’s license
Ablility to pass a criminal background and motor vehicle check
Ablility to pass USFS Pack Test at the “arduous” level (3-mile hike with 45-pound pack in 45 minutes)
Ablility to hike long distances with a heavy pack and remain composed under pressure while serving in rugged terrain
Comfort and ability with using a chainsaw and other hand tools
Comfort and ability with living and serving with veterans from all service branches
GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - A new partnership between the Student Conservation Association (SCA) and the National Park Service helps veterans transition from the military into a civilian world and into federal firefighting jobs. Some of the training is taking place at the Grand Canyon.
Founded in 1957, the SCA, a non-profit organization, began to recruit and build a generation of leaders interested in conservation and a lifelong stewardship of the land.
The men and women I’m training know we’re about to confront a merciless enemy. We are all military veterans, and in the field we have an objective, a plan, and the ﬂexibility to change tactics midstream — just as in the armed forces.
In this case our adversary isn’t al-Qaida or any of the other combatants I faced with the U.S. Marines in Afghanistan and Iraq; it’s not even human but it eats, breathes and grows.
After graduating from high school in Williamson, Wayne County, I did combat tours with the U.S. Marine Corps in Afghanistan and Iraq. But like the thousands of other vets returning to upstate New York, I was left wondering what to do next. Where could I put my military training to best use? How could I continue giving back to the country that I love?
This past week, we finally tied back in to the Forest Service, and have to admit that we are glad to be back. We started the week off going back to our old project site, the Carter Road project which the Forest Service is clearing a chain on either side of the road to enable them quick escape routes for areas of suspected high risk fire behavior in the future.