Recruits get hands-on training for 2014 wildfire season

SWEET HOME, Ore. - The recruits from the Mid-Willamette Valley Interagency Fire School put their new skills to the test Friday while working a practice fire deep in the forest near Sweet Home.

The class of about 150 fire recruits attended weeklong classes taught by Oregon Department of Forestry and U.S. Forest Service crews.

From using water pumps and hoses to directing fire engines and hand crews, Friday's mock wildfire gave the new Mid-Willamette Valley Interagency students a taste of what's to come in the 2014 wildfire season.

Fire School is run like a real fire scenario, with wildland firefighter trainees spending their days and nights in a fire-camp setting. Trainees learn fire behavior, initial attack methods, how to handle the elements, and above all - safety in the field.

This is the 18th year of the joint USFS/ODF fire school, taught by a staff of 50 veteran firefighters and team leaders.