The Georgia Forestry Commission conducted a wild land training class at the McRae-Helena Fire Department with a live-burn exercise recently. Five instructors from the Georgia Forestry Commission led the class of firefighters attending from McRae-Helena Fire Department (MHFD), Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) Fire Services (Telfair State Prison), Milan Fire Department and Scotland Fire Department.
The 40-hour online portion of the Georgia Basic Wild Land Firefighter Course required the successful completion of 16 different curriculum areas, followed by several hands-on instruction exercises throughout the weekend. Georgia Forestry's extensive course covered a variety of topics including fuel types, topography, reading the weather and how the weather affects fires. The attending firefighters were instructed in Georgia Forestry's methods for the construction of a handline, or firebreak as a team and the different ways Georgia Forestry combats wild fires.
"Our main responsibility is structure fire fighting, however, approximately 10% of our yearly calls are to brush/wild land burns," says McRae-Helena Chief Jeff Hardin. "While Forestry and us both have the same task of extinguishing fire, we each approach task differently. Learning the way they see the task ahead compared to how we approach it will allow us to work with Forestry even better than we did before."
"Learning from instructors that have worked not only in Georgia and the Okefenokee Swamp fires of 2007 and 2011 but also large fires across the USA was invaluable to us," explains MHFD Assistant Chief and Training Officer Greg Young. "Furthering our knowledge and improving our relationships with other public safety agencies is invaluable to the services we provide our communities."
"We would like to thank the Georgia Forestry instructors and all of the students for their participation in this class and making it such a great success," adds Chief Hardin.