Idaho recruits loggers to fight fires

IDL is training those closest to rural fires as resources continue to be a struggle
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 5:22 PM MDT
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BOISE, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — As we enter fire season, the need for qualified and skilled firefighters has gone up each year as well as the competition between agencies to recruit firefighters.

Idaho Department of Lands is trying to meet that need with those that are already in the area of most wildfires. As they have expanded a program that originally recruited ranchers to loggers.

Last year the program saw 110 loggers and industrial foresters start the process.

56 of them completed the two part training, Something Governor Brad Little says is good for the state.

Governor and chairman of the Land Board Brad Little says, “The cost of firefighting is going up for everybody. For the BLM for the forest service, for the state. We need all hands on deck. We need farmers, we need ranchers, we need local volunteer fire departments and loggers and critical because they have the equipment and often the equipment is right there near where the fire is so this is a good deal for the state.”

IDL is currently training for this fire season.

They hope to expand the program and help cut some of the red tape associated with fighting fires.

IDL Director Dustin Miller says (they), “Continue to struggle to procure resources during times of high fire severity when everyone is in need of fire suppression equipment firefighters you name it. So, having these additional firefighters out there is crucial if were going to continue to provide aggressive initial attack on forest fires and keep these fires as small as possible

More information can be found on the Idaho Department of Lands website for this years training and what it takes to becomes a certified firefighter through IDL.