Veterans learn to fight wildfires on Lopez Island

Military veterans will be on Lopez Island this weekend for a three-day training session for wildfire firefighter certification this weekend. The training is being offered through a new partnership between the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Team Rubicon, an international nonprofit disaster response group which combines the skills and experience of military veterans with first responders.

“Because of their military training and experience, veterans bring a remarkable skill set to the wildland firefighting community,” said Chuck Russell, BLM fire management officer and partnership coordinator. “It’s an honor for the BLM to provide our veterans these opportunities to continue serving and protecting our country.”

Hosted by the Lopez School District, Lopez Fire Department, and BLM’s San Juan Islands National Monument, the training will provide the required instruction and field experience for the Team Rubicon veterans to receive their Type II firefighter certification, making them eligible to be dispatched to national wildfire incidents and also qualified to apply for permanent firefighting jobs.

Wildfires have burned over 3.1 million acres this fire season, according to the National Interagency Fire Center, including 2.4 million acres in Alaska. To learn more about Team Rubicon, visit www.teamrubiconusa.org

For more information on the San Juan Islands National Monument, visit www.blm.gov/SanJuanIslandsNM

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