The mission of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) National Fire Training and Workforce Development Program is to develop the wildland firefighting workforce through qualification standards, training standards, and workforce development programs in support of BLM fire management objectives.
The purpose of fire training and workforce development qualifications is to develop firefighters who can fight fire effectively and safely, and who can manage complex wildland fire programs at the highest levels.
Although training is often associated with technical skills and education with professional knowledge, a successful firefighter must excel in both areas, mastering a wide range of technical skills and building a significant body of professional knowledge. An experienced firefighter’s skills and knowledge should range from fundamental suppression tactics to complex wildland fire management in challenging interagency environments.
All firefighters undergo similar entry-level training. This universal training provides all firefighters with a common background and skill set in the basic components of wildland fire management.
Fire training consists of curriculum-driven classroom studies; on-the-job training; individual and group workforce exchanges; formal and informal crew-level training; and knowledge and skills gained through experience.
The formal training curriculum covers the entire field of wildland fire, from basic suppression to management of large and complex fires. Fire and aviation operations, fire behavior and effects, risk management, leadership, logistics, planning, finance, and other subjects are part of the fire training curriculum.
On-the-job training is formally integrated into the fire training curriculum. Lessons learned in controlled classroom settings are practically applied in uncontrolled fire environments where performance is evaluated and documented by mentors.
Crew-level training is a critical component of effective wildland fire management. Crews train through the established curriculum, but also in many other ways, formal and informal. Every activity, from routine daily work to complex fire suppression operations, is a training opportunity; professional crews train and learn incessantly. The continuous training environment established by top crews amplifies the knowledge gained through experience.
Experience is the most critical aspect of fire training. A firefighter gains experience over time across a wide range of wildland fire environments and situations. Experience is enhanced as a training opportunity when it is critically reviewed and analyzed, even after success. After-action reviews, tailgate meetings, and accident investigations are all methods for evaluating recent experience and identifying opportunities to improve. Self-improvement is critical to the development of the professional firefighter.
Successful fire training and workforce development will develop the highly trained, skilled, and experienced firefighters and leaders essential to the future success of the BLM fire program.
Attached document published February 2023
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