Authored by Brannon Knight
The Orianne Society, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, The Longleaf Alliance and The Nature Conservancy hosted a Basic Wildland Fire Academy on December 14-18 at the Altama Plantation near Brunswick, Georgia. The primary objective of this academy was an attempt to build our volunteer base throughout South Georgia to assist the Interagency Burn Team (IBT). We successfully trained 12 people who all share a similar interest and passion for prescribed fire and restoration.
The course consisted of S-130 (Fire fighter Training), S-190 (Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior), ICS-100b (Introduction to the Incident Command System and L-180 (Human Factors in the Wildland Fire Service), which are required by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) to become a Fire Fighter Type 2 (FFT2). The students are required to complete an online prerequisite portion and a four-day instructor-led portion. Some of the topics covered during the instructor-led portion are fire ecology, ATV/UTV operation, portable pumps, hoses, fitting, appliances, fireline first aid, radios and more. Toward the end of the academy, students were required to take everything they learned and apply their knowledge during scenarios. These scenarios are intended to test their knowledge, problem-solving skills and teamwork. All of the scenarios are applicable to what they may encounter in the field or are tasked out to accomplish on a prescribed fire.
This is a basic or entry level course that is designed to give a FFT2 the knowledge that he or she needs to perform their job on the fireline. Although, they are at least exposed to a more advanced way of thinking and problem solving, which is applicable to the real world. The plan for the future is to host an annual fire academy to continue building our volunteer base to meet the IBT’s needs. Hopefully, this will allow us to put more fire on the ground and to restore more habitat.