(Chadron)-A fire crew based out of Chadron, is in the process of thinning forests and restoring balance to fire-adapted forests and grasslands. The Soldier Creek Fire Crew is made up of Pine Ridge Job Corps students and US Forest Service firefighters. Together, they are thinning overgrown forests and using prescribed fire to improve the health and resilience of these areas.
During a typical assignment, the 10-person team will arrive on site with all the tools, equipment, vehicles, tents and food needed for a 14-day assignment. Twice a year, Job Corps students attend a wildland fire science “fire school,” and receive training in how to operate and maintain chainsaws and firing devices, such as drip torches.
The crew also provides a training ground for emerging leaders in wildland fire management. Professional wildland firefighters join the crew for short term assignments where they have the opportunity to serve as apprentice crew leaders and gain supervisory experience during a wildfire or prescribed burn.
They logged over 4,000 hours of work this summer, including assisting in the suppression of the Aristocrat Fire south of Chadron.
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