October 10, 2018 Bastrop — Firefighters from across the country will attend the 21st Annual Capital Area Interagency Wildfire and Incident Management Academy, October 11-24, 2018 at the Camp Swift National Guard facility in Bastrop, Texas.
Managed as an actual wildfire incident, the academy is operated using the Incident Command System (ICS) and students earn National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) training qualifications. A total of 32 classes are offered this year ranging from entry level, to refresher, to advanced courses. Topics include leadership skills, fire suppression tactics, crew and engine boss instruction, wildland fire behavior, heavy equipment, basic air operations and helicopter crew member training.
“TFS is proud to work with local, state and federal cooperators to support firefighters across the state,” said Michael Geesling, chief response training coordinator for Texas A&M Forest Service. “The wildfire academy provides critical firefighter training so they can better serve their local communities.”
Tuition assistance is provided for eligible fire departments through the Texas A&M Forest Service’s Rural Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) Assistance Program and the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System (TIFMAS). Firefighters from volunteer fire departments can benefit from the tuition assistance made available to attend the academy.
“They rely on Rural Volunteer Fire Department Assistance funding to attend the wildfire academy. Otherwise, they might not be able to attend on their own. It’s a cost-effective opportunity to meet these firefighters’ needs,” said Geesling.
Texas A&M Forest Service and statewide fire departments have reported over 8,300 wildfires in 2018 burning more than 523,000 acres in Texas.
“During the past 30 years, we are seeing larger and longer duration wildfires,” said Fire Chief Mark Stanford, associate director, Forest Resource Protection, Texas A&M Forest Service. “This requires more personnel and resources to protect the citizens of Texas. Our academies are recognized throughout the U.S. and offer quality training for new and experienced wildland firefighters.”
The 16th annual Wildland Firefighter Memorial Service will be held on Friday, Oct. 12 at 11 a.m. The service recognizes firefighters who have died in the line of duty battling wildland fires.
Academy partners include the Texas Army National Guard, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Weather Service, The Nature Conservancy and the Texas Wildfire Association.
Additional academy information is available at the Texas Interagency Coordination Center (TICC) webpage: ticc.tamu.edu.