COLORADO SPRINGS — Wildland firefighters from 40 states are in Colorado Springs to learn how to better take-on the increasing threat of wildfire.
“Training people and to provide a safer way for them to fight fire and hopefully not repeat some of the tragedies that we have seen along the way,” said Colorado Wildland Fire and Incident Management Academy, Executive Director and Training Coordinator, Wendy Fischer.
The Colorado Wildland Fire and Incident Management Academy started 30 years ago in the aftermath of the Storm Mountain Fire near Glenwood Springs, Colorado.
Flames shifted and 14 firefighters died.
“[The academy is] training people to provide a safer way for them to fight fire and hopefully not repeat some of the tragedies that we have seen along the way,” said Fischer.
The Colorado Wildland Fire Academy has grown into a national training resource since its start 30 years ago.
Close to 900 firefighters from 40 states are attending the 2024 academy in Colorado Springs.
The importance of the academy has become evident in recent years as wildfire activity has increased.
“What we're seeing, is fire seasons are getting longer, fires are burning in more intensity. And so the training that we provide, is really critical,” said Wildfire Academy, Incident Commander, Bill Waln.
The original mission at the academy is the same.
The curriculum evolves to address the increased fire risk and to include advances in firefighting technology.
“We pride ourselves, the fire service prides itself on being a learning organization,” said Waln.
Over its 30 years the academy has trained close to 20 thousand firefighters.
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