May 23, 2006 - Lava Beds N.M. Caldwell SE prescribed fire assist
Firefighters from Klamath Basin NWRC joined nearly 65 other federal and contract firefighters for a prescribed burn at Lava Beds National Monument in Tulelake, CA. The monument shares a common boundary with Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge, immediately south of Fish & Wildlife headquarters. Due to weather constraints, only a small portion of the burn was completed, about 25 acres, but managers planned additional ignitions if the weather improved for June 1. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service crews provided a fire engine, a task force leader trainee and an information officer trainee. Prescribed fires often offer quality opportunities for firefighters to gain new skills and train for qualifications they are aiming to add to their list of competencies and abilities. In wildland fire suppression and prescribed fire operations, all firefighters must maintain certain minimum qualifications to lead a specific activity, such as commanding a fire engine, igniting a fire, or overall management, like is done by the incident commander or burn boss. Fire crews from Klamath Basin and Lava Beds regularly join forces and assist with each others prescribed burns and wildland fire suppression activities.
Following the burn activities, Lava Beds hosted it first Junior Firefighter program, lead by a combination of National Park Service and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service fire personnel. Though cold and snowy, more than 25 children and 10 adults showed up for the hour long program. Attendees learned about fire and its role in nature, understanding how to distinguish good fire from bad fire and safety precautions to take when around fire. Kids crawled through the Park's fire engine, dressed up in wildland fire attire and took turns spraying water. After completing a short test, each student was awarded a Junior Firefighter patch.