Airmen from the 173rd Fighter Wing recently spent five days of wildland fire training with the Oregon Department of Forestry in preparation for their role in assisting with the 2023 fire season.
Air National Guard Magazine featured a story about ODF firefighters lighting a controlled blaze during training for the 173rd Fighter Wing Airmen at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Oregon.
“We are tasked with training Guardsmen on Operations Plan Smokey,” said Jake Barnett, protection supervisor for ODF. He said this initial training consists of 32 hours of in-class and hands-on instruction. Airmen are ready to assist the state of Oregon if called up during emergencies and natural disasters. Operation Plan Smokey provides extra resources to the state from the National Guard via an interagency agreement between the Oregon Military Department and the ODF. Training covered fire behavior, tool use, and communications. The last day included a burn in sagebrush and tall grass. Oregon red-carded 20 new firefighters for the state, and Col. Lee Bouma, 173rd FW commander, said they trained an extra three crews this year.