Next generation of firefighters gain hands-on experience battling wildfires

Members of the next generation of Kansas firefighters had first-hand experience fighting...
Members of the next generation of Kansas firefighters had first-hand experience fighting wildfires Wednesday, April 5, in Scott County.(KWCH)
Published: Apr. 5, 2023 at 6:53 PM CDT
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SCOTT COUNTY, Kan. (KWCH) - Training the next generation of firefighters, the Kansas Forest Service is hosting its annual fire mitigation project at Lake Scott in Scott County. That next generation includes students in Hutchinson Community College’s Fire Science program. The training gives them hands-on experience in a real-life emergency response.

“We dug some line, worked some chainsaws, and did some mop-up work after the fire [Tuesday], Hutchinson Community College student Logan Branam said.

Kansas Forest Service Public Information Officer Matthew Gillotti further touched on the career-preparedness advantage for students planning to become professional firefighters.

“A lot of them want to continue on doing it. They love the hard work, they love the teamwork aspect of it, the experience,” Gillotti said. “So, it’s a really good opportunity for them to get that in.”

Branam said the experience he gained Wednesday at Scott Lake will help him soon. This summer, he said he has a position lined up, working with a wildland crew in Colorado.

“The world can’t really function without people helping their communities get by and making sure they’re safe,” he said.

You can learn more about the Kansas Forest and its training opportunities here on the organization’s website.