Through a partnership between The U.S. Forest Service, Minarets High School, and Chawanakee Adult School, a group of 14 individuals began a 32-hour Basic Fire Training program recently at Minarets High School.
The Forest Service provided professional trainers with decades of combined fire experience to teach the students in the fundamentals of fire behavior, fire suppression, fire safety, proper tool use, communication tactics and the use of maps and compasses.
The Forest Service staff included Engineer Stephan Osmond, Battalion Chief Mark Smith, Battalion Chief Brandon Adams, Engineer JB Thornburg, Engineer Steve Patterson and Prevention Captain Franny Adams.
The students who completed the training are ready to begin careers in firefighting after the training. Students from the program could be hired for fire engines, hotshot crews, helitack crews and timber/trail crews for the US Forest Service and Cal Fire. These students are the next generation of local heroes.
“As a former Crane Valley Hotshot, I could not be more proud of our Minarets and Chawanakee adult students,” said Minarets Principal Daniel Ching. “This is a great opportunity for our young people to enter the work force and make a difference in their communities.”
“I have always been interested in the fire fighting profession,” said Minarets senior Jared Krucki. “I grew up on 40 acres and we had to do a lot of brushing and burning. This seemed like a great career and after hearing how passionate our instructors were, I want to do it even more.”
Minarets junior Sierra Stalter grew up in a Forest Service family and has been interested in pursuing a career fire fighting since she was young.
“The stories that our instructors told us made me even more interested,” Stalter said. “The last day was hard as we were out in the field, learning through hands-on training.”
“The United States Forest Service is excited to mentor the future leaders of our community,” Osmond said. “This new partnership with Minarets will help them compete more effectively for Wildland Firefighting jobs.”
Osmond further stated that every student that attended the training class has received the tools and knowledge to become a Wildland Firefighter.
Members of the training class from the high school included Clay Allen, Seth Patterson, Sierra Stalter, Jared Krucki, AJ Rodriguez, Brooke Thoma, Miles Otero, Creed Evans, Jessie Hutchens, Chris Bowe and Justin Coleman. Four adults in the program were Garrett McDaniel, Reno McClellan, Carrie McNally and Chris Aiello.
Minarets High School and Chawanakee Adult school are partnering in providing career training for mountain area students and adults. Future training sessions provided by Chawanakee will focus on the areas of welding, construction, agriculture, chainsaw training, CPR/First Responder and child care.