Multiple firefighting agencies train together to prepare for the dry season

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ROCKERVILLE, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Wildfires might not be on everyone's mind with the rain and snow, but firefighters spent Saturday training to make sure they're prepared.

A firefighter stands near container used for one of the training modules during the Black Hills Wildland Interagency Training in Rockerville. (KOTA TV)

Unattended slash piles at the beginning of spring and dried out vegetation during summer are the two biggest causes of fires in the Black Hills.

"Last week we had 80 plus degree temperatures and over the last month here in Rockerville we ran on a couple of fires already. Given the wet spring that we've had and the snow, we still see wildland fire all year long. So ultimately here in the Black Hills, we want our wildland firefighters to be prepared and ready to go," says Rockerville fire chief Gail Schmid

Because of this training is important and multiple fire department agencies got together to train in Rockerville on Saturday.

"It brings us all together and we can work with each other the state and all of our other departments so that way when we have an incident that calls for all of us to be there we all have worked together and have all worked the same way so we know how each department works," says Sean Weber, a type 2 firefighter with Black Hawk VFD.

This training provides different scenarios for the firefighters to train including an incident command post, hand line construction, water management, and structure protection.

Schmidt says, "we've got, again, learning at all levels from the basic brand new firefighter that just went through training all the way through your type 3 incident command team."

During training, each firefighter has a task book with different things they need to go through to move up in their rank. Depending on their current position and their end goals each person has different tasks they need to complete. With the opportunity to train in this environment it gives the firefighters more chances to improve.

"My goal would be by, in the next two years to have my firefighter type 1 which would make me a squad boss. That's what my main goal for the next two years would be and get out on as many roles as I could," says Weber.

Schmidt says she hopes the Black Hills Wildland Interagency Training becomes a recurring event to get the different agencies together and train for different situations.