Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Vet Crews Taking Root in the BLM

2012 Accomplishment Story: National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) This year marked the start of something new as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) created five veterans fire and fuels hand crews in 2012. A veterans hand crew is a firefighting crew staffed completely or nearly completely with military veterans. Like any other crew, these crews train hard for the job of fire suppression. When they are not being used in fire suppression, the crews remain productive by doing fuels reduction projects.

Three of these vet crews are full 20-person hand crews, and they were put in place in Las Vegas, NV; Klamath Falls, OR; and El Dorado Hills, CA. Two smaller vet fire and fuels crews were started in Spokane, WA and Medford, OR. Along with virtually every other BLM firefighting resource, these firefighters had plenty to do in 2012…

Fire crews composed mostly of military veterans were stood up in California, Oregon and Nevada in 2012. Two members of the Lakeview veterans crew are shown at work at the Lava Fire, in southern Oregon, last July.
Vet crews are unique in that they take advantage of a largely untapped human resource: capable people recently out of the armed forces. With changing military missions, many new veterans are looking for solid and challenging job opportunities.

"Hiring recent members of the military is a natural fit for the BLM," said Howard Hedrick, deputy assistant director for BLM Fire and Aviation. "Veterans bring a whole set of positives to the firefighting job, including a team focus, discipline, and a capability for hard work in difficult conditions."

The BLM expects to hire 40 more veterans for fire and fuels work in Idaho and Montana in 2013—albeit in smaller, 5-person units. Veterans have served our country in the armed forces, and the BLM is pleased to give something back to them.


Reprinted from "The BLM Daily," December 12, 2012
National Interagency Fire Center

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