POSTED: Friday, May 30, 2014 - 9:00am
UPDATED: Friday, May 30, 2014 - 9:09am
LUFKIN, TX — In the Lone Star State, 80 percent of wildfires occur within two miles of a community, and volunteer firefighters are considered the first line of defense for almost all of them.
Those statistics underline the need for additional wildland firefighter training, and nearly 200 emergency responders from nine states will get just that at the East Texas Interagency Wildfire and Incident Management Academy.
Firefighters will converge on Angelina College in Lufkin over the next two weeks to learn about wildland firefighting, dozer operations, chainsaw use, incident command, tactical decision-making and fire behavior.
“Through these classes students learn how to achieve objectives, through Interagency cooperation,” said TFS Fire Training Coordinator Charles “Boo” Walker. “By working together in a controlled classroom environment students build a spirit of interdependence and cooperation that transcends into working on incidents, whether they be wildfire, flood, or tornado damage.”
The academy is a joint effort coordinated by Texas A&M Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service.
Courses offered are part of a standardized, national training curriculum developed by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group for career and volunteer firefighters.
Training expenses are reimbursed to the students or departments through a grant program administered by TFS.
Classes begin Wednesday, May 28, and run through Friday, June 6.