Earlier this year, Forest employees met with South Fork Middle School in response to a request for a science based lesson - to enhance the student’s knowledge and understanding of the Forest Service fuels and prescribed fire program – a program the students had been studying in the classroom.
The program’s projects take place, in and around, the Kern River Valley during the winter months, putting smoke in the air and questions in the students’ minds.
The Junior High students actively participated in the presentations both inside and outside of the classroom. The classroom portion covered forest fuels, mitigation prescriptions and the benefits of maintaining healthy forests.
Hands-on lessons were significant for the day as the Whiskey Flat Wild land Fire Module; Chris Scott, Matt Ball, Mike Hearons and Zac Maring, walked students through the skills required to perform a successful burn.
Outdoor lessons included five “hands on” stations where students were introduced to a series of actions and operations. Students were guided through the use of a belt weather kit, a device used to take wind, humidity and temperature during a fire. Weather taken in 30 minute intervals, may be bumped up to every 15 minutes if conditions become critical. These readings are essential for safety and current and predicted fire behavior.
One station demonstrated a series of firing devices. The devices are used (in any combination) during prescribed and/or suppression fires. Students learned fuel, topography, access, and the prescription objective all play a part in choosing the right device.
Further demonstrations guided the students through drills with mandatory personal protective equipment, firefighting hand tools and portable backpack (water) pumps. Students were then introduced to supply trailers, command vehicles, and portable pumps for drafting water.
The Forest Service would like to thank Principal, Ms. Olive and Science teacher, Mrs. Morgan and the staff, in helping to make this event a success for their students!
The Forest Service continues to encourage this next generation of students to become future stewards of forest lands.