Over the last three years, there have been eight major wildland fires in East Fork Township, burning more than 41,000 acres of land and costing $17 million to suppress.
With a similar potential for fires this year, the East Fork Fire & Paramedic Districts is recruiting 18 volunteer wildland firefighters, Chief Tod Carlini said.
“The potential for similar wildland fires again this year is just as significant as the past three years,” Carlini said. “In fact, even more probable due to persistent drought conditions. As drought conditions continue, the fire potential will only continue to increase.”
Carlini said the districts, upon acceptance of an application and complete background investigation, will equip and train applicants in the skills necessary to work in a team environment to combat wildland fires.
“These voluntary positions will be considered seasonal,” Carlini said. “However, at the end of the season, those interested after a taste of the business, will be encouraged to participate as all-hazard volunteers and join a volunteer department and participate in additional training.”
Those who successfully complete the application screening and background check will receive a physical exam and participate in wildland and basic hazardous materials training in early May, consisting of more than 50 hours of mandatory training, Carlini said. Training will be conducted in the evenings and on the weekends.
“Being a volunteer firefighter is not for everyone and the same holds true for those who may want to just fight wildland fires, but for those who do, here is your opportunity to become a member of a very professional and dedicated team and to do something of great value for your community,” he said.
Carlini said wildland volunteer firefighters will be assigned to volunteer departments based on where they live or work.
“The volunteer department will provide the necessary supervision and structure for the program, as well as serve as a reporting location at the time of a wildland fire,” Carlini said.
Once trained and certified, volunteers will be issued a pager to alert them when a wildland fire has been reported.
Applications are available at the East Fork Fire & Paramedic Districts Office at 1694 County Road, Minden. They will be accepted through the close of business on March 21.