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  • NEWSROOM: FIREFIGHTERS GATHER IN EAST TEXAS FOR ANNUAL WILDLAND FIRE TRAINING ACADEMY

    LUFKIN, Texas – More than 200 emergency responders will attend the 21st Annual East Texas Wildfire and Incident Management Academy over the next two weeks to improve their knowledge and skills for combating wildfires and managing the complex, large scale disasters that often occur in Texas. 

    The East Texas Interagency Wildfire and Incident Management Academy is held each year in Lufkin as a joint effort by Texas emergency response agencies to provide training to all levels of firefighters and incident managers. Students come from various backgrounds including paid and volunteer fire departments, various state and federal agencies in Texas, and others from around the nation. The classes have an emphasis on entry level and intermediate training in wildfire suppression.

    “The training academy allows wildland firefighting professionals from across the state the opportunity to develop the skills needed to keep Texas’ communities safe from wildfire. Courses are accredited by the National Wildfire Coordination Group and are recognized by all local, state and federal wildfire agencies,” said Weldon Dent, a Public Information Officer with Texas A&M Forest Service. “Academy courses are structured around the Incident Command System, allowing students and instructors to better familiarize themselves with the command framework used to manage large scale disasters and events.”

    Currently, 230 students are set to attend one or more of the 18 classes, each ranging from one to five days. Students from 10 states, including Texas, will be able to learn from Texas A&M Forest Service, U.S. Forest Service, National Parks Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and other state and local cooperators.

    The tuition cost to attend the academy is $55 to $275 depending on the course. Texas A&M Forest Service provides reimbursement to qualifying fire departments through the Rural Volunteer Fire Department Assistance Program (HB2604) and Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System (TIFMAS).

    The East Texas Interagency Wildfire and Incident Management Academy is taking place May 15–24 at Angelina College in Lufkin. Students can check-in at room 221 of the Science and Math building. Meals and lodging are off campus and not included in the cost of academy courses.

    For more information on classes go to the Texas Interagency Coordination Center website at http://ticc.tamu.edu/Training/training.htm or contact the Academy Registrar at 979-458-7330. Media outlets can also contact Public Information Officer, Andy McCrady, for interviews or to attend as a guest.

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    Editor’s note:
    Members of the media are invited to visit the academy on Media Days, May 22 and 23. On these days, you will be able to view the field training sections of several wildland firefighting classes. Techniques being demonstrated may include use of portable pumps, fire engines, dozers and handline construction. If you would like to attend, please contact Public Information Officer Andy McCrady at (936) 689-9393 orwmccrady@tfs.tamu.edu. You will need to wear long pants and closed-toe shoes. You are also encouraged to arrive at the academy at 7:30 a.m. to witness the morning briefing.

    Contacts:
    Meredith McNeil, Academy Registrar                  Andy McCrady, Public Information Officer
    (979) 458-7330,
    mmcneil@tfs.tamu.edu              (936) 689-9393, wmccrady@tfs.tamu.edu


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