Hutchinson, Kan. – Hutchinson Community College Fire Science students will be taking part in a fire mitigation project in conjunction with the Kansas Forest Service over spring break at HCC.
More than 30 HCC students will participate in the internship and training event. The students will work alongside Kansas Forest Service employees and other wildland fire fighters from 19 different agencies and at least seven different states. The students will gain hands-on experience in reducing fuel sources in areas near Toronto and Leon, Kansas, from March 23-29.
The project is managed by an Incident Management Team (IMT), in the same manner and following the same protocols used in actual large-scale wildland fire incidents. This is the 10th year for this mitigation project.
“To support the size and complexity of this incident, we’ve brought in equipment, and enlisted the expertise from a diverse group of cooperating agencies,” said Rodney Redinger, Hutchinson Community College instructor and the Incident Commander for the IMT team.
Other participating agencies in the Mitigation event include: the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Kings Canyon National Park; Mesa Verde National Park; Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest Service; The Nature Conservancy; The University of Missouri; Fort Riley Conservation and Fort Riley Fire Department; Blue Township Fire Rescue; Burrton Consolidated Fire District #5; Colorado Wildland Fire Service; Denver Fire Department; Hutchinson Fire Department; Johnson County Fire District #1; Manhattan Fire Department; Pottawatomie County Conservation; Sedgwick County Fire District #1; and the Wichita Fire Department. Members of the Southeast and South central Kansas All Hazard Incident Management Teams will also be participating in the event.
Kansas Forest Service Fire Management funds this project with grants received from the US Forest Service. This grant is designed to cover the cost of fuels reduction in areas where life or property could be harmed in the event of a wildfire. This year’s Project will focus around Toronto State Park, and KFS Jackman Demonstration Forest near Leon. Students and fire personnel will be using fire engines, chainsaws, hand tools, and prescribed fire as tools to mitigate wildfire hazards. This project gives the students and firefighters the opportunity to get some off season training in a safe learning environment.
For more information on Hutchinson Community College, visit the college website at www.hutchcc.edu/fire