Fighting wildland fires - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Fighting wildland fires

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By Bonnie Shelton

PLOVER (WAOW)--Wildfires are a dangerous possibility here in North Central Wisconsin, but a UW Stevens Point course is giving people some hands-on training to fight those fires.

A wildland fire can be devastating to the environment. That's why the University of Wisconsin--Stevens Point fire crew is training students to fight back.

Michael Wolfe is a freshman at UWSP. He said fighting wildland fires is interesting because they're unpredictable. "You never know what's going to happen out here. You could have a fire up in the trees, that's a crown fire, and it can be racing across."

From jumping in and putting out hot spots to learning how to dig a fire line, coordinators say fighting fire in the wild is a whole new ball game.

"Wildland has a lot more different techniques. We use a lot more hand tools than water," said UWSP fire crew PIO Jeff Metcalf.

Although water can be scarce when fighting a wildfire, these students also got the chance to practice using portable pumps and hoses.

DNR officials were on-site teaching techniques and giving some insight into this dangerous profession. Once students complete the course they will gain more than just a weekend in the wild, they will also be Type 2 firefighter certified.

Online Reporter: Bonnie Shelton

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