Idaho is training loggers to fight forest firesFriday April 28, 2023
Boise, Idaho – Governor Brad Little proclaimed the month of May as Wildfire Awareness Month, and as the State of Idaho actively gears up for fire season, the Governor’s administration is teaming up with loggers to better fight wildfires in Idaho forests.
Fighting wildfire safely requires training. The Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) is creating new opportunities to train loggers, foresters, and landowners of large tracts of industrial forestland to safely help fight wildfires, keep lands healthy, and save scarce firefighting resources.
In his first State of the State and Budget Address in 2019, Governor Little talked about Idaho’s leadership in embracing fresh, collaborative approaches to land and fire management. He pointed to the hundreds of ranchers and farmers who have become members of rangeland fire protection associations across southern Idaho.
“I want to carry over this successful wildland firefighting model to Idaho’s forestlands by expanding the initial attack capabilities of our loggers,” Governor Little said.
The IDL online fire training portal provides access to training resources that qualifies these boots-on-the-ground to safely fight fire within areas where the IDL provides fire protection. It is available at https://www.idl.idaho.gov/fire-management/fire-training-for-loggers-and-industrial-foresters/.
The portal connects forestry professionals with traditional in-person or virtual classes and free self-directed online learning.
With proper training, owners and operators of heavy equipment can become eligible to contract for fire suppression work, adding to the state’s firefighting capacity while benefitting local economies.
“Building wildfire suppression capacity by empowering loggers, industrial landowners and foresters to safely fight fires leads Idaho to greater self-sufficiency,” Governor Little said. “We’re making it easier to access the training and certification needed to safely fight fire, enabling industry folks to extend their helping hands when fire strikes.”
The Associated Logging Contractors of Idaho (ALC) support the new training opportunity, too.
“This partnership with industry is more important than ever as wildfires have become more frequent and more severe,” ALC executive director Shawn Keough said. “Our logging contractors and crews are usually close by and can provide initial attack before others can even arrive thus putting out fires or keeping them small and controlled. They also have the skills and equipment to continue working on containing a fire."
"This training by IDL helps cut some of the red tape involved for our crews to do this work while keeping everyone safe,” Keough added. "And given persistent drought conditions and heightened fire risks, having additional personnel and equipment available to fight wildfires is crucial.”
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