Wildland firefighting classes offered

A new program at Northern Michigan University will help students earn the certification they need to launch a firefighting career.

It’s a wild-land firefighting program that is being offered as a minor.
It includes 23 credits involving both classroom lectures and hands on training.
Course work will involve learning about portable pumps and water, the use of chainsaws and about fire behavior.

“I think this whole program here is pretty unique. There are not a lot of universities that offer the actual National Wildfire Coordinating Group courses. When fire-line supervisors are looking to hire seasonal staff, this will be a standout on their resume,” Adjunct instructor Ben Wagner said.

The program also provides certification through the National Wildfire Coordinating Group and can open doors in other fields of work as well.  The courses in the program are taught by seasoned wild-land firefighters.

“This provides them with a bit of a leg up on those who may not have had this training. It enables them to start at a position or job and hit the ground running. They have already had the training. So that’s training, time, and money that an agency won’t have to turn around and invest in that individual,” Wagner said.

For more information about the course, visit http://www.nmu.edu/hper/node/80.

“…the benefits that this program offers students as they find work in wildland fire may even open doors into other careers in Natural Resources, Forestry, Recreation, and many related fields as students are able to take the experience gained through these courses at Northern and build upon it elsewhere. The potential for success with an NMU wildland fire program is enhanced even more with the presence of incredibly professional and experienced instructors in the likes of Jeff Noble, Pete Glover, and Ben Wagner,” according to Mitchell Glen, Montana DNRC Wildland Firefighter and NMU Student.

NMU Students Conducting a Controlled Burn, photo courtesy NMU

“One of the first things our fire leadership does when reviewing applicants to the open fire jobs each year is look for completion of basic developmental fire courses.  Those folks that attend your university will have a much better opportunity to be hired than most.  An understanding of Basic Air Operations, and Interagency Incident Business Management are courses most of our seasonal workforce don’t receive until their second or third years,”  said Wally Bennett, Fire & Aviation Management Specialist, DNRC Northwest.