The 23rd annual Capital Area Interagency Wildfire and Incident Management Academy offered by the Texas A&M Forest Service begins at the Camp Swift National Guard Facility in Bastrop will take place Oct. 8-20.
Each year, firefighters travel across the state and nation to attend the academy to continue their education and earn National Wildfire Coordinating Group, NWCG, training qualifications.
The mission of Texas Interagency Wildfire and Incident Management Academies is to enhance wildland firefighters’ knowledge, utilizing NWCG standards, while promoting safe and cost-effective operations.
Reduced numbers, but not reduced training
Twenty-one classes are available this year that emphasize entry level and intermediate training in wildfire suppression for firefighters and incident managers. A total of 282 students from Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas are expected to attend.
This year’s enrollment has been reduced and on-site student barracks will be unavailable to better accommodate social distancing and appropriate COVID-19 precautions.
“We are excited to have the Capital Area Interagency Wildfire and Incident Management Academy this year,” said Meredith McNeil, chief training coordinator with Texas A&M Forest Service. “Though it is in a decreased capacity, we are still incredibly fortunate to be able to offer this training to our cooperators, in-state and nationally. Our team has worked diligently behind the scenes to make sure that we can continue with the academy in a safe and healthy environment.”
Training tuition assistance is available to eligible departments through Texas A&M Forest Service under the Rural Volunteer Fire Department Assistance Program and Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System.
Academy partners include the Texas Army National Guard, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, National Weather Service, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, The Nature Conservancy and the Texas Wildfire Association.
The 18th annual Wildland Firefighter Memorial Service will be held on Oct. 13. This service honors firefighters who have died in the line of duty while fighting wildfires.
Additional academy information is available on the Texas Interagency Coordination Center webpage: https://ticc.tamu.edu.