Firefighters train to protect Kansas from wildfires
MANHATTAN – Preventing wildfires in Kansas has become a higher priority because of recent drought and high temperatures.
To help students and firefighters prepare for a wildfire, the Kansas Forest Service will host the 10th annual Mitigation Project scheduled for March 23 to 29.
The Mitigation Project is a six-day hands-on internship and training event focused on reducing the hazard of starting a wildfire and vegetation that could serve as fuel for a wildfire. The exercise is conducted by an Incident Management Team to simulate a large wildland fire incident and provide students and firefighters with off-season training in a safe, learning environment.
This year’s project will be reducing fuel loads around Toronto State Park and Kansas Forest Service’s Jackman Demonstration Forest near Leon. Students and fire personnel will use fire engines, chain saws, hand tools and prescribed fire as tools to mitigate wildfire hazards.
“To support the size and complexity of this incident we’ve brought in equipment and enlisted the expertise from a diverse group of cooperating agencies,” said Rodney Redinger, Kansas Forest Service training specialist.
Assisting Kansas Forest Service with the event this year will be more than 30 Hutchison Community College fire science students, multiple fire departments from Kansas and 40 wildland firefighters from 19 agencies and eight states. The firefighters are all nationally certified and will be in both trainee and trainer positions.
Kansas Forest Service Fire Management funds this project with grants from the U.S. Forest Service. The grant is designed to cover the cost of fuels reduction in areas where life or property could be harmed by wildfire.
For more information, contact the Kansas Forest Service at (785) 532-3300 or visit www.kansasforest.org.