Never did i think i’d learn about wildfire behavior

During orientation, I heard that interns could participate on active wildfires, so on my first official day as an intern, I told my mentor about it. She was very excited that I was interested in this and gave me a list of six trainings I needed to do to be qualified to join her on a wildfire. While she was on leave for the holidays and field work was slow, I got to work on the trainings.

At first, I was a bit overwhelmed as some of the trainings were all-day and one was a week long, but I took it one at a time and it collectively took about a week and a half to complete them. I learned all about wildland fires, their components, behavior, and how weather and topography play a role. It was super interesting to me how much of a science it is to fight wildfires and how complex each situation can get. I never realized that it took someone with so much practice and experience to successfully manage a wildfire. It gave me a greater appreciation for those who risk their lives to protect wildlands and the people who reside near them.

Once I pass the pack test (where I get tested on my physical fitness) and the in-person training day (where I perform various tasks that I learned in the Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior training), I will be fully qualified to join my supervisor and fellow co-workers on an active wildfire this coming fire season (late spring-summer). I am super excited to see what it is like to work on a real wildfire and to add this experience on my resume! I never thought that I would be as lucky as to have such a cool experience in my skillset.

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