Children First: Firefighting class available to teens - KOTA Territory News

Children First: Firefighting class available to teens

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"Ever since I was a little kid, I always thought of being a firefighter," said Tongue River High School senior Jacob Dukeman.

Thanks to a new fire science class, 11 Bighorn High School and Tongue River High School students, including Jacob, get an early start on pursuing their dream of becoming firefighters.

"It's just sort of like a passion of mine.  You get to be on the front line preventing destruction, " said Jacob.

"We start off learning about how fuels, topography, and weather affect fire and then we get a little more into learn about tactics, tools used," said Steve Hanson, the class instructor and Bighorn Volunteer Firefighter.

Outdoor assignments can have the students digging fire lines and getting to practice with the hoses on a real fire.

"A program like this allows these guys to get a national certification to fight wild land fire.  So that when they do go out on a fire it's not, 'Oh, I've heard about this tool.'  It's actually, 'I've seen it.  I've used it.  I've handled it,'" said Hanson.

That's good news for Jacob and his classmates who are planning for the future.

"I've already applied to U.S. Forest Service as well as BLM," said Jacob.

"The benefit of a program like this is living in this area, there's a tremendous demand for firefighters for seasonal work," said Hanson.

The class was made possible thanks to a $9,702 grant from Whitney Benefits to Sheridan County School District #1 to purchase the necessary equipment.

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