Rogue Forest Partners’ member Lomakatsi Restoration Project partnered with Jackson County Fire District #5 IAFF Local 2596 (JCFD5) on the new Oregon Fire Fighter Apprenticeship program, a state-wide effort to build workforce capacity for fire response and wildfire mitigation. Under this state-funded program, a group of 21 recruits are in the process of a 20-week training course through JCFD5, and then will be based at the fire station for the next 2-3 years to expand local fire response capacity. This unique program offers a broad range of training spanning from structural firefighting to wildland fire and hazardous fuels reduction.
This week, Lomakatsi’s Fire Operations Manager Sean Voorhes is leading a training on safe chainsaw operation and tree falling for JCFD5, fulfilling the National Wildfire Coordinating Group S-212 Wildland Fire Chainsaw certification. Yesterday, recruits spent the morning in the classroom learning about sawing best practices and safety. They spent the afternoon with chainsaws in hand, practicing what they learned on an active forest restoration and fuels reduction operation Lomakatsi is managing as part of the West Bear All-Lands Restoration Project.
In addition to chainsaw operations, Sean also explained the basics of ecological thinning and fuels reduction. JCFD5 has a great group of recruits, many with prior wildland fire experience who helped demonstrate cutting and falling techniques to peers.
Lomakatsi is grateful to JCFD5 Chief Hanley and his team for their leadership in bringing this much-needed program to the Rogue Valley, and to the Oregon State Legislature’s support for programs that help make communities more resilient. Lomakatsi looks forward to our ongoing partnership with JCFD5, helping to build workforce capacity as we scale up large-scale forest restoration initiatives across the Rogue River Basin.