credit – Hutchinson Community College
Hutchinson, Kan. – Hutchinson Community College Fire Science students will be taking part in the 11th Annual Hazardous Fuels Mitigation Project in conjunction with the Kansas Forest Service, March 22-28.
Kansas Forest Service Fire Management funds this project with grants received from the US Forest Service. This grant is designed to cover the cost of fuels reduction in areas where life or property could be harmed in the event of a wildfire. The Hutchinson area was chosen for the project due to its susceptibility to wildfire and has had some of the largest and most destructive wildfires in Kansas. This year’s Project will focus around Sand Hills State Park, Prairie Dunes Country Club and surrounding areas.
More than 30 HCC students will participate in this hands-on training event. The students will work alongside Kansas Forest Service employees and other qualified firefighters from six states and 16 different agencies.
“This year also marks the first time that the local fire department, Hutchinson Fire, has played a key role in the organization and implementation of the project,” said Eric Ward, Kansas Forest Service Incident Commander for the Project.
A VIP day during the week will be held on March 24, at the new HCC Fire Science Training Center, located at 3211 E. Fourth Street in Hutchinson. This day will give local officials and college administration a close-up look at fire mitigation, and what the procedure involves and includes.
The project is managed by an Incident Management Team (IMT), in the same manner and following the same protocols used in actual large-scale wild land fire incidents. Students and fire personnel will be using fire engines, chainsaws, hand tools, and prescribed fire as tools to mitigate wildfire hazards. HCC students will gain hands-on experience in reducing fuel sources which will help prepare them for wild land fire positions after graduation.
For more information on Hutchinson Community College Fire Science, visit the college website at www.hutchcc.edu/fire
For more information on the Hazardous Fuels Mitigation Project, contact Shawna Hartman with the Kansas Forest Service at [email protected] or visit the Kansas Forest Service Facebook page.