Section of Camp Bowie set on fire to teach firefighters
Most are familiar with the phrase "don't play with fire." But for the Central Texas Wildland Fire Academy, it's necessary to teach.
Monday, firefighters set a section of Camp Bowie ablaze as part of the five-day training academy.
This year marks the 12th annual Central Texas Wildland Fire Academy at Camp Bowie, and 65 students attended to learn more about fighting wildfires.
Smoke could be seen for miles as students started several wildfires covering a 100-acre portion of Camp Bowie.
One-year firefighter Antonio Romero traveled from New Mexico to attend the academy.
"We were looking for a new class just to start off the wildland season, and this was the only class available throughout the region," Romero.
A more seasoned veteran, Chief Dwight Dold has been fighting wildfires for 18 years.
"I love it. You will either love it or you will hate it. There's no middle ground," Dold said.
Dold said Monday’s particular windy day wouldn't impact or stop the academy.
"They're going to see some live fire behavior, see what this wind will do for us, see what the humidity is going to do, see what terrain can do," Dold said.
Wind or no wind, each firefighter must consume 6,000 calories while fighting wildfires.
That's because of the amount of energy they use carrying all that heavy equipment in the sun.
"The packs we carry weigh about 45 pounds on average, and the guys will work 16 hours a day for two to three weeks straight on some of the large wildfires," said Phillip Truitt with Texas A&M Forest Service.
The students worked for five hours Monday starting fires and watching them burn out.
Last year, Texas experienced more than 10,000 wildfires, and in 2011, 31,000 wildfires blazed in Texas.
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