Military veteran crews get firefighter training with BLM

BLM firefighter training in the Wind River/Bighorn Basin District was unique this year, as firefighters were joined by two special military veterans crews for sawyer training and team building. The 20-person Devil’s Canyon Hand Crew and 14 national emergency responders from Team Rubicon (TR) trained with 25 district firefighters for a few days on public land in Markham Draw, northeast of Ten Sleep along the west slope of the Bighorn Mountains. Aspen stands were reinvigorated by reducing conifer encroachment while firefighters received needed on-the-job chainsaw training that will come in handy on wildfires as well as for future mechanical treatments. The newly-formed Devil’s Canyon Hand Crew is a national BLM Type II initial attack hand crew stationed at the BLM district office in Worland. The crew is comprised of both military veterans and civilians who work together as a cohesive unit to suppress wildland fires and conduct fuels projects throughout mostly the western states. [image: BLM_FireTraining6.jpg] The BLM was also able to host members of Team Rubicon at the Markham Draw training. TR is an international non-profit disaster response organization that pairs the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams to communities affected by disasters. The BLM began a partnership with TR, announced by Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell on June 9, 2015, to hire and train veterans in order to increase firefighting response capabilities. “We have bolstered our fire suppression capacity and many of the veterans have found a renewed purpose since leaving the military," said Chuck Russell, manager of the BLM National Office Veteran Program. "I am amazed at their dedication and desire to continue to serve their country regardless of the risks they may face.” [image: BLM_FireTraining2.jpg] “The new firefighters shared the experiences of camping and working together in bad weather and in a tough setting which helped break down barriers,” noted BLM Assistant Fire Management Officer Aaron Thompson. “In this setting, firefighters and veterans can relate as it is similar to being in the military and serving in the trenches together.” Following many other training sessions and early summer wildfires, the firefighters are now well-prepared for the rest of fire season. But when fuel moistures are high and fire danger is low, seasonal firefighters will be able to make huge contributions toward hazardous fuels reduction and wildlife habitat improvements throughout the district, which includes the Cody, Lander and Worland field office areas. [image: BLM_FireTraining4.jpg] #reboot #springcity #county10 #news