06 Jul Jubilant June on the Nez Perce-Clearwater
It's All Coming Together!
June is the kick-off for most people’s field seasons. Rigs have been reserved, snow has pretty much melted, college seasonals are out of school, trainings have pretty much wrapped-up… Now is the crazy part of the year, where everyone will be “running and gunning” around their home-forests to complete as much of their scheduled projects before the seasonal help goes back to school and winter begins to creep around.
My start to June was just like everyone else’s: absolutely (and mostly wonderfully) chaotic. The local schools around our Forest had let out, and we began to undertake the start to our Clearwater-Basin Youth Conservation Corps season! During June 12-14, we welcomed our 2023 CBYCC crews. They had three days of training that included tool use and maintenance, radio usage and communications, First Aid and CPR, and the importance of YCC/the impact they were making on the Forest they’ve grown up in. My role in all of this was making sure that crew leads (and crew members) understood how to use their radios to check-out and in with dispatch, and in the event of an emergency, how they should communicate their needs quickly and effectively.
That Thursday, I was able to go out to Fenn Ranger Station to complete my RT-130 Annual Refresher. For those of you who may be wondering, “What is RT-130?”, well, returning firefighters and people who want to work with wildland fire incidents must take a refresher course to re-visit the past year’s fire activity and significant events. One of the statistics from the 2022 fire season is that 89% of wildfires were human-caused; however, 3.4 million acres burned were due to those human starts, and 4.2 million acres were a part of the 11% of ignitions that were naturally started (lightning).
Taking the RT-130 is not an absolute to making sure firefighters and support personnel are fully prepared, but it is a good way to start getting people thinking about the upcoming fire season and what they are going to do to keep themselves and others safe.
The final component to these refreshers is typically an arduous work capacity test, which you are required to WALK three miles under forty-five minutes, while wearing a pack or vest weighing forty-five pounds. As RAPs, we are technically not able to do this part of the job because it is too much of a liability for non-federal employees… unless there is a loophole somewhere, which if that is the case, let me know!
The month of June has finally wrapped up, and we are fully into the field-going season of our jobs. Field season for me used to mean cutting out thinning units or roads, helping improve facilities, and spending most of my days outside. Now, I am starting to become more involved in the local community. Outreach and building public relations are something I am working on doing, especially in a way that gets folks understanding the importance of wildfire as a management tool (when utilized properly and responsibly). To wrap-up my June, I got to give a Smokey Bear presentation at one of our local libraries. As I am wrapping up my RA-ship and starting to enter my role in fire information, I am starting to really find my passion ramping up to educate folks on the good work that many men and women are providing through wildland fire management.