Week two for the Starker interns was all about fire training. This week we had a great opportunity to attend fire school at the ODF office in Philomath to take the S130 and S190 courses. The combination of these courses certified our entire intern crew as Firefighter Type II and prepared us all for the potential of being on fires this summer.
Though Starker Forests is not a company focused on wildland firefighting, they actually own three different firetrucks. It is very important that everyone is trained to fight fires if need be. The S130 course took up the first few days of the week and served as a general outline to wildland firefighting. We learned about things like firefighting tactics, tools, communication on fires, and watch-out situations. S190 took place on Friday and is a course introducing the effects of weather and topography on fires.
During the training, we got to spend some time outdoors working on more hands-on activities. In the middle of the week, we got to test some fire tools and did a simulation of having to deploy emergency fire shelters. Though we hope none of us ever have a real situation that involved having to deploy fire shelters, it is extremely important to know how to do so and to practice. Another fun activity we got to do was learn how to use things like fusees drip torches, which in fires would be a tool for backburning or lighting prescribed burns.
Having worked at Starker last summer, I had gone through the same set of fire training courses, however, I still learned a ton of new information again this year. As western Oregon moves into high fire danger with the heatwave, I hope everyone remembers to be extra cautious and has a safe holiday this weekend!
– Andrew Prom