Graduation Planned for Alaska Wildfire Academy 2011 Class
(Tok, AK) – More than 30 students from across Alaska will graduate from the Alaska Wildfire Academy in Tok on Saturday, June 11, 2011. The noon graduation ceremony will take place at the Tok School. This year’s class includes students in their late teens through twenties, including many rural Alaska Natives and one veteran, a former Marine with two combat tours.
The graduates completed 21 consecutive days of classroom instruction with hands-on experience in the field and demanding physical training. The daily schedule began at 5 a.m. and lasted until 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. Students endured the same living environment as wildland fire crews sleeping outdoors in sunny, windy, or even rainy conditions along with Alaska wildlife and mosquitoes.
Graduates have earned Forestry qualifications and certifications that prepare them to be immediately assigned on wildland fires in Alaska. Tok Area Forester Jeff Hermanns said “We’re proud of the opportunities this program offers rural Alaskans. Without this program it would take years to obtain the same level of training in bush Alaska.” The high-quality standardized curriculum offered at the academy means these graduates are a known “job ready” commodity to potential employers. “This program means graduates can expect to be in demand and work a full fire season rather than just hoping for three weeks employment.” said Hermanns.
This program reduces the cost and logistical hurdles for training and it reduces the number of out-of-state resources needed to fight wildland fires.
The Alaska Wildfire Academy is a unique partnership between the Alaska Division of Forestry, State of Alaska Department of Labor, U.S. Fish & Wildlife, Tanana Chiefs Council, Doyon Corporation, Gateway School District and the University of Alaska.
For more information on the Alaska Wildfire Academy, contact the Alaska Division of Forestry Tok Area Office at (907) 883-1400.