Academics

Wildland Firefighting

The Wildland Firefighting program at ICC is a partnership with the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center, which includes the U.S. Forest Service, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, and Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Programs & Degrees

The Natural Resource program provides students with the basic skills to successfully perform as natural resource specialists, and the scientific knowledge that enables them to understand social and environmental issues within the natural resource field.

The Wildland Firefighting program consists of eight National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) courses taught by certified instructors and natural resource classes. The goal of the program is to provide graduates with the necessary training and certification to become wildland firefighters while providing a good background in natural resource skills. Graduates from this program are working for state and federal firefighting agencies like the Minnesota DNR and the US Forest Service. The demand for trained fire personnel continues to grow nationwide.

Transfer Opportunities

In addition to directly entering the workforce, Itasca’s Natural Resources graduates can transfer their A.A.S. degree to the University of Minnesota/Crookston, University of Minnesota/St. Paul or the University of Wisconsin/Stevens Point. For more information, stop by the Counseling Office or call 322-2320.

The Wildland Firefighting Program consists of a number of fire classes taught by certified instructors along with some Natural Resource courses. The goal of the program is to provide graduates with the necessary background to become wildland firefighters and also teach some Natural Resource skills which will help them to find employment during non-fire periods. The current job market for wildland firefighters is excellent, and they are being hired by many natural resource agencies.

Minnesota's Wildland Firefighting Destination

About the Program

The Wildland Firefighting program at ICC is a partnership with the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center, which includes the U.S. Forest Service, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, and Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The goal of the partnership is twofold:

  1. To provide students with high quality training and hands-on experience in wild fire and natural resource management.
  2. Provide a supply of highly trained entry-level fire fighters for employment with fire organizations to meet state and national needs.

Additional Information

Top Fire Science Program for Women

Women in Program

Student Hometown Summer Internship
Janice Erickson Hudson, WI Chippewa National Forest, MN
Ashley Werner Palmer, AK Tonto National Forest, AZ
Danielle Maki Deer River, MN Chippewa National Forest, MN
Laporsha Wiggins Memphis, TN Chippewa National Forest, MN
Kaleena Jones Poplar Bluff, MO Beaverhead-Deer Lodge National Forest, Montana

Fire Science Online used data from the National Center for Education Statistics to identify the 26 Most Popular Fire Science Degree Programs for Women. In order to be included on the list, at least 20% of the students enrolled in fire science, forestry and similar programs had to be female.

Courses & Careers

Wildland Firefighter Training

This course consists of three National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) courses; S130 Firefighter Training, S190 Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior and I-100 Incident Command System Orientation. Completing these three classes plus a physical fitness test (Pack Test) will qualify students for a red card certification.

Fire Safety

This course consists of two NWCG courses; L-180 Human Factors on the Fireline and S-133 Look Up, Look Down, Look Around. Students will gain an awareness of human performance issues and how they impact fireline job performance. They will also learn about the fire environment and how to recognize and predict problem fire behavior.

Portable Pumps and Water

This course is NWCG course S-211 Portable Pumps and Water Use. Training includes the safe use of pumps, related equipment and water resources.

Fire Behavior and Effects

This course provides an understanding of how fires behave and how they affect the physical, chemical and biological aspects of the environment.

Prescribed Burning

Students gain hands-on experience in controlled applications of fire to accomplish specific land management goals. Through agreements with the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Minnesota D.N.R.; students participate in prescribed burns.

Wood Safety/ Logging

These courses are NWCG course S-212 Wildfire Power Saws. Training includes chainsaw maintenance, safety and hands-on experience in operating chainsaws.

Wildland Fire Internship

Students gain on-the-job training by working for natural resource agencies in Minnesota and nationwide to gain wildland firefighting experience.

Leadership Enhancement

This course is NWCG course L-280 Followership to Leadership. Students learn leadership and teamwork principals through challenging outdoor exercises.

There is no better time to consider a career in wildland firefighting and natural resource management. It is estimated that over the next 5 years 40-50% of the federal and state workforce will be eligible to retire. As they leave, a new generation of employees needs to be trained and ready to take over.

Careers in wildland firefighting and natural resource management usually start out as seasonal positions with the state and federal agencies and private companies. It generally takes 2-3 years of seasonal work to gain enough experience to qualify for full time positions. Many firefighters work in timber, recreation or wildlife management in the winter months.

Itasca Community College's partnership with the federal and state firefighting agencies has been very successful in placing students into internships.

To date ICC students have been hired by the following agencies:

  • 75 students have been hired by the U.S. Forest Service in Minnesota, Colorado, California, New Mexico, Montana, Alaska, Oregon and Wyoming.
  • 24 students have been hired by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
  • 8 students have been hired by the National Park Service at Voyageurs National Park.
  • 5 students have been hired by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • 5 students have worked on Forest Service Hot Shot crews.
  • 4 students have worked for private fire suppression contractors.

Wildland Firefighting Gainful Employment Disclosure Information (diploma only)

Contact our Program Coordinator

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