An American Asset
I went wildland firefighting last season, which was the summer of 2009. To become a wildland firefighter I had to take a week long class related to fire science and had to pass what they call the pack test. This pack test consists of putting on a fifty pound vest that is filled with sand and walk three miles in forty five minutes. I know you’re thinking three miles in forty five minutes “no problem”. Let me be the first to tell you not everyone makes it in 45 minutes. Believe me that fifty pounds gets heavier as you sweat. Half way through the test my legs were like jelly, I felt like I couldn’t take another step, that fifty pound vest turned into 150 pounds. When I made it to the finish line my legs were on fire, I felt like throwing up, I was completely exhausted, but at the same time I had a renewed sense of accomplishment. It takes a very mentally strong and motivated individual to be a wildland firefighter. Wildland firefighters keep wild fires from spreading to residential areas, commercial areas, wildlife reserves, and try to keep fire from harming more of the forest through fire suppression. Wildland firefighters are significant to United States’ governed forests, Oregon’s forests, and our economy. The first recorded wildland firefighting crew was the Unites States Army, who was sent to protect Yellowstone National Park “in 1886 when the U. S. Army was assigned the responsibility for its protection” (NWCG). Upon the Army’s arrival they found several fires burning, some were in areas unreachable to man, so the first fire suppression techniques were developed. “The commanding officer decided that human-caused fires along roads posed the biggest threat and that the Army would concentrate its suppression efforts on the control of those fires” (NWCG). The army turned over its reign of forests to the United States Department of Forestry (USDF) in 1901. In 1944 the USDF developed posters with a black bear on them to help educate people on...
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