New Fire Tech Program Launched

Male firefighter sprays water on fire
By Jill Dolan

September 06, 2023 - 05:32 PM

As most Californians know, there is no longer a “fire season.” Rather, the threat of wildfires is something residents --and firefighters -- face year round. To meet the needs of industry partners to combat wildland fires in the region and statewide, Mt. SAC has created a Wildland Fire Technology Certificate and Degree to train and certify wildland firefighters.

Wildland Fire Training students started coursework this Fall and the first Wildland Fire Academy is expected to start next Winter. Up to 40 students will be enrolled in the academy twice annually.

The Wildland Fire Technology Certificate provides training in hand crew formation, fireline construction,​and ​the ​use​ of​ wildland ​fire ​tools and equipment. Courses include Wildland Fire Behavior, Wildland Firefighter Safety and Survival, Wildland Fire Operations, Wildland Fire Investigation, Prevention and Public Information, and Wildland Fire Logistics, Finance and Planning.

All trainees will meet and exceed the minimum entry level qualifications for a United States Fire Service Wildland Firefighter and meet and exceed the minimum entry level qualifications for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.  Students completing the program will be prepared for immediate employment in high-demand jobs with the U.S. Forest Service and California Department of Forestry, as well as positions with municipal fire departments.

“These jobs are good paying, with wages well above the family-sustaining level and have projected growth over the next decade and beyond,” said Ray Mosack, Director of Public Safety Programs. “Between now and 2030, California will need to fill an estimated 21,520 job openings for firefighters due to retirements, resignations, and growth positions.”

California is the most wildfire-prone state in the country. In 2021, over 9,000 wildfires burned throughout the state, ravishing 2.23 million acres. California accounted for roughly 31 percent of all acres burned due to wildland fires in the U.S.