Firefighters gather for training

firefightersHundreds of firefighters from across Virginia and several states will convene May 24-28 at Longwood University for specialized training at the 16th annual Virginia Interagency Wildland Fire Academy, hosted by the Virginia Department of Forestry and the U.S. Forest Service.

More than 300 firefighters are registered to take classes ranging from basic wildland firefighting and wildland chainsaws to incident leadership and fire operations in the wildland interface.

“The Wildland Fire Academy has been an unqualified success,” said John Miller, VDOF’s director of resource protection.  “The program brings together structural firefighters and wildland firefighters to help both groups become better at saving lives and protecting property in a dangerous environment.”

Since its establishment in 2001, more than 6,800 people have taken a total of 188,240 hours of training at the Virginia Interagency Wildland Fire Academy.

VDOF Forester Rich Reuse said, “I’ve taken a number of courses at the Academy, and each one has helped me become a better firefighter and a better leader.  It’s an honor and a privilege to be able to protect and serve the citizens of Virginia, and the Wildland Fire Academy provides the knowledge, skills and experience we need to perform at the highest level.”


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