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NATA’s S-130/190 live fire day a blazing success

Overview
Instructors from multiple agencies and organizations came to assist for live fire day.

Instructors from multiple agencies and organizations came to assist for live fire day.

Participants representing multiple agencies, universities, non-profit organizations, and private entities met this August in Gainesville for the S-130/190 Basic Wildland Firefighter training. The workshop consisted of 3 days in the classroom at the FDACS Doyle Conner Building and 1 day in the field at Ordway-Swisher Biological Station. The goal of the field day is to provide participants hands-on experience with ignition and suppression tactics on the fireline. Experienced and knowledgeable fire professionals from multiple agencies, including Wildland Restoration International, The Nature Conservancy, and the Florida Park Service came to help out with the live fire day, along with the invaluable staff at Ordway.

Firing, use of water, and hand tool stations
Participants use hand tools to execute a leapfrog fire suppression tactic.

Participants use hand tools to execute a leapfrog fire suppression tactic.

The first part of the live fire day was spent rotating through themed stations where participants learned about the technical aspects of fire operations. There, participants observed how to lay hose and perform basic water operations on fire engines. Additionally, they learned about the variety of hand tools and the pros and cons of each depending on the plant community of the burn zone. Finally, they learned about the various ignition tools, including the use of a drip torch and its assembly, safe operations, and maintenance.

Conducting the prescribed fire and shelter deployment exercise
Participant uses a drip torch to light a backing fire.

Participant uses a drip torch to light a backing fire.

Afterwards, participants gathered on tram and van out to the burn zone and began a test fire to see if the prescribed burn was a “go”.  Once the burn boss authorized the crew to proceed, participants had the opportunity to use a drip torch, utilize hand tools for containment purposes, and feel what it’s like to be a wildland firefighter on a hot summer day in Florida. The last part of the field day was spent testing participants’ ability to deploy their fire shelters under a time limit.

Thank you to instructors
Instructor Chelsea MacKenzie shows a participant how to setup a drip torch.

Instructor Chelsea MacKenzie of TNC shows a participant how to setup a drip torch.

It should be noted that instructors from far and wide came out to help coordinate the live fire day and we wanted to say THANK YOU to all that contributed! Many participants reported the live fire day being the highlight of the 4-day workshop, and are excited to further their career as wildland firefighters!

Interested in taking S-130/190?

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