VFC Corps Member Training:
Members of the Kaibab National Forest VFC Team (and both Black Hills VFC Team 1 & Team 2), enjoyed three weeks of SCA Orientation, Red Card (wildland ﬁreﬁghting), Wilderness First Aid training, and S-212 Wildland Fire Chain Saw training. We all met at Medicine Mountain Boy Scout Camp near Custer, SD on May 21st to begin our three weeks of rigorous trainings. The ﬁrst week of training included SCA Orientation, policies, procedures, and all last minute administrative tasks. The schedule also allowed for a couple of short recreational trips to explore nearby: Mount Rushmore National Park & Wind Cave National Monument. The end of week one was concluded with adult/child CPR along and Wilderness First Aid administered by two personnel from Aerie Backcountry Wilderness from Montana. After learning the book answers, we immediately practiced them. Our instructors provided us with hands-on real world scenarios that tested our ability to learn, react, work with others, and make prudent snap decisions when faced with emergency situations in a backcountry setting.
Black Hills National Forest hosted a Guard School for our second week of training. Many members of the surrounding Forest Service District Oﬃces (Custer, Rapid City, Hill City, and Spearﬁsh) came to the camp in order to teach us all we would need to know in order to ﬁght forest ﬁres and to assist with prescribed burns. This training was ran as a “mock incident”, during which we all camped out in a ﬁre camp like one would during a large wildﬁre incident. We took S-190 (Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior), S-130 (Fireﬁghter Training), IS-700 (An Introduction to the National Incident Management System, NIMS), and L-180 (Human Factors on the Fireline). Some of the classes were on weather and how it affects the way ﬁre behaves. We also had a class on ﬁre behavior, potential hazards, and map & compass use to name a few. During Guard School we also participated in the Arduous Work Capacity test which consists of carrying 45 pounds for three miles in under 45 minutes. We concluded the week with a live prescribed burn ﬁeld training exercise, constructing ﬁre lines, mopping up, and even deploying our ﬁre shelters. It was good to practice the techniques and knowledge we gained in the classroom.
Watch Video Here:
Black Hills Fox: Crews test skills in live ﬁre exercise
During our third week the Black Hills National Forest hosted S-212 Training (Wildland Fire Chain Saws) and after a week of training and ﬁeld work the VFC team are now certiﬁed “A fallers”, which is the apprentice level of the three certiﬁcations: “A, B, and C fallers”. The “A faller” is proﬁcient in limbing and bucking. Limbing is the practice of sawing branches off trees and bucking is the practice of sawing fallen timber in to smaller pieces.