Wildland firefighters train with the real thing near Idaho City

Posted at 5:14 PM, May 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-25 19:15:06-04

Close to 40 new wildland firefighters are digging in and fighting back. The Southwest Idaho Fire Training lets them practice on the real thing in a controlled environment. All week they have been learning in the classroom and for many, it was their first experience with live fire.

"It's a pretty great experience, great opportunity for training as opposed to just being in a class talking about it," said Jelani Bunn a student who took part in the training. "We can truly experience it and get a chance to really feel what it's like to be on the line." 

From digging hand lines to doing direct suppression. The training encompasses many complex techniques on rugged terrain. They're learning right alongside firefighters who've done it all before.

"These experienced members are really keying in on some of those key components so anything from crew cohesion, communication, obviously safety is paramount," said Joe Schindel of the United States Forest Service.

One technique they are learning is how to dig a cup trench. On steep terrain, the trench can catch flaming debris rolling downhill. 

"Fire is one of those things that you truly have to gain that experience from on the ground," said Schindel.
One student says he hopes to walk away from the training with not only an understanding of what they could improve on, but strengthen the bond he has with his teammates.

"Just growing together and becoming a big family a real family, that's just something to look forward to honestly," explained Bunn.

The National Interagency Fire Center is anticipating a normal fire season for southwest and northern Idaho and a below normal fire season for the rest of the state