Let’s learn together
One of the main purposes of the Plumas Underburn Cooperative is training, experience, and skills sharing. PUC has hosted several training events (including Basic 32, “How to Prepare Your Land for Fire” workshops, and TREX), with more always in the works. Below you will find links to online certified trainings as well as some short video trainings.
Training topics are constantly evolving so if there is anything that you would love to see offered, or if you have task books that need sign offs, please reach out and we will try to make it locally available in the near future. Our trainings are aimed at all levels from no fire experience all the way up to CARX.
See this document, create by Sam Commarto, that explains qualifications nationwide, statewide, and includes handy links.
National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG)
These guys set the national standards for wildland fire trainings. Made up of 12 agencies and organizations, their mission is to “provide national leadership to enable interoperable wildland fire operations among federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial partners.”
Here is a link to the catalog of classes that can be offered. S classes are for hard skills, L classes are for leadership.
Prescribed Fire Training Exchange (TREX)
Initially started as a partnership between The Nature Conservancy and USDA Forest Service, there are a few different models of TREX but all-in-all they bring people from agencies, contractors, non-profits, tribes, and communities together to learn and burn. Sounds familiar right?
Plumas County hosts the Plumas Cal-TREX at Feather River College every Spring, which is followed by the Butte Cal-TREX located in Butte County, CA in the Fall months. The organizers of these events come from local organizations and agencies like the Plumas County Fire Safe Council, Feather River Resource Conservation District, Plumas National Forest, and others. These events are usually spread over multiple weekends and generally consist of NWCG courses, an Arduous Work Capacity Test, non-standardized classes and activities, and plenty of knowledge sharing. After attending one of these TREX events, you are usually placed on an on-call burn crew that is notified of potential burning opportunities on both public and private land through an email list.
Introductory Wildland Firefighter Training aka “Basic 32”
Basic 32 is usually a 4-day, 8 hour/day classroom session that includes 3 NWCG classes (S-130, S-190, and L-180), a field day, and a practice shelter deployment. This training is usually offered locally each year by the Feather River Adult Education Consortium and organized by PUC.
In order to participate in prescribed fire on federal lands (through TREX) or some private lands (the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve for example), you must have the FFT2 qualification. This is obtained through completing S-130, S-190, L-180, IS-100.c, IS-300.b, a field day, a practice shelter deployment, and an Arduous Work Capacity Test (aka the Pack Test, often offered through TREX events). Though none of these classes are necessary to participate in a PUC burn on private land!
An Incident Qualification Card, or “Red Card,” is something that can only be obtained when working for a contractor or a federal, state, or local fire agency. A “Red Card” simply lists the positions you are qualified for while on a wildland fire. PUC likely cannot assist you in getting a Red Card.
Free online trainings to become a wildland firefighter
NWCG courses S-130, S-190, and L-180, and FEMA IS-100.c, IS-300.b (the courses mentioned above) can be taken online! Each course has been hyperlinked. Though in order to become an FFT2 one must also complete a field day, shelter deployment, and an Arduous Work Capacity Test as mentioned above.
An additional valuable course available online is S-290 Intermediate Fire Weather. We recommend you take this class after experiencing some fire behavior in-person.
With any certificate, we recommend saving a digital copy on your computer in addition to printing a physical copy. If maintaining qualifications to use at a TREX event, always have a digital copy of your certificates on your phone just in case.
California State-Certified Prescribed Fire Burn Boss (CARX)
This newly developed curriculum is the result of fire practitioners from around the state collaborating to create a qualification that recognizes the recipient’s understanding and experience within the prescribed fire community. The curriculum comes from the State Fire Training division of CAL FIRE. The process of receiving the CARX qualification involves prerequisite courses (IS-100, S-130, S-190 in person, L-180, S-290 in-person, and S-131 OR L-280 OR FFT1 qual. OR equivalent), firing requirements (qualified FIRB OR equivalent experience), a 38 hour CARX class, and completing a CARX task book.
PUC intends to assist community members in obtaining the CARX qualification to the best of our abilities and will update mailing list subscribers of any prerequisite course offerings in our area.
The best training? The one where you are learning while you’re on the job. Come to a meeting, a pile burn, and an underburn… we bet you’ll learn something new.
Other online Training Resources