SD volunteer firefighters attend training for wildland fires
BOX ELDER, S.D. — Volunteer firefighters from multiple counties in western South Dakota are taking time away from family and friends to attend the basic courses needed for them to become qualified wildland firefighters.
“Through a partnership with the South Dakota Department of Public Safety, Wildland Fire, those who attend and complete the training will receive certificates endorsed from the National Wildfire Coordinating Group,” said Box Elder Volunteer Fire Department Chief Adam Kuenkel, co-sponsor of the training course. “This training session is not possible without the generous support of South Dakota Wildland Fire, they really tied it all together for us.”
The courses focus on the fundamentals of wildland firefighting, and the training includes some formal classroom training with an emphasis for hands on and field exercises.
The training has been scheduled so as many participants as possible could attend, missing the least amount of time away from family and friends. They will also learn valuable skills that can transfer to the real-world work environments.
“When scheduling vital training like this, you must take into consideration the valuable time commitment of our volunteers’ firefighters,” Kuenkel added. “We rely on them, their family, loved ones, friends and employers who form a support system for them. Without their support, none of this would exist.”
With the recent fires in Colorado, wildland fire is not restricted to a season but is a year-round event.
“One cannot overemphasis working and training together is vital to creating strong preparedness capability for wildland fire response here in western South Dakota”, Kuenkel said. “From training help and coordination from the Department of Public Safety, to our instructors, fire departments and volunteer firefighters, it all takes teamwork.”