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An academy is teaching future firefighters about containing wildland fires and emergency response

Training helps future firefighters prepare for wildfires

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Waldo Canyon, Black Forest and Royal Gorge: these are a few example of the wildfires that devastated Colorado in the last two years, but an academy is teaching future firefighters to save lives and property.

The Colorado Wildland Fire and Incident Academy is teaching more than 800 students to fight fires and manage the incidents, like floods, after the fire.

The academy is open to the public.

Andrew McArdle is one of the students at the academy.

He said he has grown up seeing wildfires break out in Colorado and he joined the academy to make a difference.

"I've always watched them and wanted to do something to help out," McArdle said.

He said he has learned how weather can affect a fire and how to suppress a fire, but containing a blaze isn't the only thing the academy wants to teach students.

"It almost seems like the fire is the smaller event, and the after effects last longer and sometimes are equally damaging," said Jim Jaminet, who is referencing flash floods and other events that may happen as the result of a fire.

He was a firefighter for 30 years and works at the academy.

Jaminet said the academy doesn't train heroes, but intelligent firefighters.

"It's not worth rushing into a dangerous scene just to try and save another 20 acres of timber or something," he said.

McArdle said he can't wait to battle his first fire.

"It will be exciting, and just knowing all the hard work and training and going through all the different scenarios will be allowing us to actually go out (and contain fires)," he said.

Training continues at University of Colorado, Colorado Springs through Friday.

The next session will be held June 2 through June 8 in Newcastle.

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