EdWatch: Fighting fire with fire

Do you have what it takes to be a wildland firefighter? If you say yes, and you've got physical stamina and a sense of adventure, then the Delaware's Forest Service's one-day fire camp is for you.

"At Blackbird, the fire camp, directly relates to what we do when we get out there on a western fire assignment," says Henry Poole, Assistant Forestry Administrator for the Delaware Forest Service.

Poole says trainees will learn hands-on how to combat a wildfire and stay alive in Blackbird State Forest in Smyrna.

"We have a live fire exercise where students and trainees and new recruits can see the proper and effective use of fire in the landscape and actually, how we use it to fight fire," he says.

If they learn anything, Poole hopes it's that wildfire conditions can change in an instant.

"Be cognizant of the weather and the conditions that they're in," says Poole.

He says the biggest challenge--that recruits won't get in their one day training--is just how exhausting wildfire fighting can be.

"14 days of firefighting, typically it's 16-hour days, so after awhile you get pretty tired, but it's rewarding," he says.

The best part?

"It's a good feeling just to come away helping people."

Training runs Saturday, April 20, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and it's not just for firefighters. To register contact Henry Poole by telephone at 302.698.4548 or by e-mail at henry.poole@state.de.us.

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