By Dee Hudson
On March 7th Nachusa hosted a refresher day for the Nachusa and Middle Rock Conservation Partners fire crews. The day was sunny, and spring was in the air—a perfect day to light some prairie fires.
How do you become a fire crewmember?
The Nature Conservancy has three requirements for a potential fire crewmember:
1. Pass the pack test.
This requires each person to carry a 24-pound pack for two miles. The trick is that the pack test must be completed in 30 minutes or less. Long-legged individuals have a bit of an advantage, while short-legged people really need to hustle.
2. Complete the S-130/S-190/I-100 online course work.
These courses are self-paced and give an introduction to the basics of wildland fire training. There are questions at the end of each video section, and they must be answered correctly in order to continue to the next section. Before beginning the online course, candidates must contact Nachusa or another agency that will supervise the fire training, as a sponsor is needed to complete the online course. After the online portion is complete, there is one day of hands-on training.
3. Attend a fire refresher.
Nachusa’s refresher this year focused on learning to use the pumper equipment and hand tools during live fire exercises.
I am a nature photographer, a freelance graphic designer, and steward at Nachusa's Thelma Carpenter Prairie. I have taken photos for Nachusa since 2012.
I have been a high school French teacher, registered piano technician, and librarian. In retirement I am a volunteer historian at Lee County Historical and Genealogical Society.