2018 East River Fire Training Exchange

2016 2nd Session TREX Participants


Two sessions of the SD East River Training Exchange (TREX) are scheduled for 2018 

First Session: May 1-12       Second Session: May 15-25

 2016 TREX 1st Session Participants 

pictured above: 2016 TREX crews

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the State of South Dakota Wildland Fire Division, the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and The Nature Conservancy will be hosting the 2018 East River Training Exchange (TREX) for two sessions: May 1-12, 2018 & May 15-25, 2018.

Applicants include: Wildland and municipal firefighters, private land owners, researchers, university students, state and municipal managers, regulators, and other people seeking to gain experience in prescribed fire planning and application. 

Description: During the month of May, crews will conduct a series of controlled burns in the mixed grass prairies of South Dakota. These burns are intended to improve wildlife habitat and range conditions, reduce the possibility of damaging wildfires, and provide training and learning opportunities for the participants. All burning is conducted following the interagency standards set by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group's PMS 310-1, and the training is organized as an incident using the Incident Command System. 

Participants will serve in qualified and trainee firefighting positions on a prescribed fire crew and will assist with preparing, scouting, briefing, igniting, mop-up and patrol on numerous controlled burns. Experience will also be gained in pre- and post-fire monitoring, training with various equipment, fire line leadership skills, local fire ecology, and fire management. 

This training is designed to integrate a diverse group of fire practitioners with all levels of experience, and to safely implement controlled burns while also discussing and learning about local management challenges and opportunities. There will be field trips to areas burned in recent fires with presentations from local ranchers, land managers, and fire practitioners. In addition, participants will practice for and possibly be featured in local media interviews. 


Crew locations 

 Sand Lake NWR (Columbia, SD)  

 Waubay NWR (Waubay, SD)  

 Huron, SD  

 Madison, SD  

 Lake Andes, SD  

There is no fee for this training. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the State of South Dakota Wildland Fire Division, the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, and other participating organizations fund this training. 


 1. All participants must be current and qualified according to NWCG wildland standards (FFT2 minimum) and must hold a valid red card with the arduous level rating.  An arduous level Work Capacity Test (pack test) will be offered.

 2. Participants must have personal or employer provided medical insurance. 

 3. Participants should come with all appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including: a Next Generation Fire Shelter, hard hat, Nomex clothing, all-leather gloves, eye protection and canteens. If you are unable to provide your own PPE, please contact fw6_greatplainsfirezone@fws.gov 

 4. Participants must bring fireline-approved boots (all-leather work boots, 8 inches tall, with non slip soles; no steel toe).     

Ignitions Complete

Meals and lodging: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be provided at no cost for participants during the training. Participants will be able to camp or stay in crew housing. Bring a sleeping bag and tent. 

Salary: Participants or their sponsoring agency will be responsible for all salary costs, including base and overtime.

Travel: Participants are responsible for their own travel to and from the training. Additional directions and instructions will be provided closer to the start of each TREX session.   


Applications will be accepted through March 30, 2018. The link to the application is below:


Please refer any questions to fw6_greatplainsfirezone@fws.gov