Students Gain Experience through Fire Crew

Emily Margeson

This fall, the College of Natural Resources added the Wild Land Fire Science program. With this program, experience in firefighting is needed to be successful and the Fire Crew has been set up for that purpose.

The University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point Fire Crew has a large number of new members as well as active federally certified members.

Weekly meetings are held in the Trainer Natural Resource Building in room 170 on Thursdays at 7 p.m.

Recently, meetings have had attendance of around 60 people although around 100 people are on record to be members.

The Fire Crew allows students to be as active as they want to be.

“We have some members that just choose to come to a few meetings to keep informed with what is new in the world of wild land fire,” said Joesph Salm, Fire Crew Leader. “But the members that really get the most out of UWSP Fire Crew are the ones who attend the trainings, volunteer for prescribed burning, and assist the DNR with wildfire suppression.”

This organization can give students experience, college credit and also federal certification.

“We get people their basic wildlife and federal certification. We have a class in the spring for around 100 bucks. That gets them federally certified to be a wild land fire fighter, ” said Brian Gorman, Public Information Officer for the UWSP Fire Crew.

Involvement with the crew can be fast paced, allowing students the opportunity to gain experience in a short amount of time. “I just got involved last year and it is a great opportunity to get training and wild land firefighting experience,” said Ashley Boushon, Fire Crew member. “It was a great attribute to have when I got on my first fire district in Wisdom, MT this past summer with the US Forest Service.”

Boushon was one of 11 students who were offered fire suppression jobs last summer, Gorman said. With this being such a new program, it shows how much experience matters in this field.

“I owe it to the fire crew members and leaders for their time and efforts,”

Boushon said. “They inspired and assisted me to get where I am today, and where I hope to be in the future.”

Many other universities are starting their own fire crews and allowing their own students to have these same experiences.

“I think it is a great asset to any college and really hope that other Universities take hold to the idea,” Boushon said.

The UWSP Fire Crew has an event that will take place on campus on Oct. 10 and Oct. 24. Members of the Forestry 224 class will be on the sundial talking about fire and working with equipment hands on.

The crew will also be burning on site at Tree Haven on Oct. 19.

“Not a week goes by that I don’t learn more about what it takes to be a leader not only on the fire line but also as part of a professional organization,” Salm said.

With so many people involved, this crew has helped many students succeed in their field of study and also develop team working skills.

“Besides the experience and training, the best part of fire crew is the camaraderie it provides,” said Daniel Harrington, Fire Crew member. 

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