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Newly-Formed Badger State Wildland Fire Module Assists on Western Wildfires

U.S. Forest Service

Imagine trudging up a mountain carrying heavy gear or trying to navigate a bulldozer on a steep mountain side through the trees.

Now picture doing those things with a wildfire burning right next you.

“For a lot of us it’s just a normal day job,” said Jeremy Erickson. Erickson is the Assistant Fire Management Officer at Blackwell Job Corps.

He’s also one of the 10 wildland firefighters that make up the new Badger State Wildland Fire Module.

“We just want to provide that specialized expertise and experience and qualifications to a lot of these emerging incidents that are occurring out west,” said Erickson.

The crew is made up of Wisconsin wildland firefighters from the Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest, Blackwell Job Corps Center and U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Each member has multiple years of experience working on wildfires. The crew’s expertise ranges from constructing fire lines and clearing out brush to directing dozers and taking on a leadership role on the fire.

Credit U.S. Forest Service
The Cameron Peak Fire started on Aug. 13, 2020. It's now more than 206,000 acres.

The newly-formed crew gained quite the reputation working on the Cameron Peak Fire in Colorado in September.

“We became known as those hardy folks from Wisconsin because we got close to 12 inches of snow one night and we brought all the necessary gear to ride the storm out if you will and we were able to achieve quality work as well as provide expertise in a lot of positions that were needing a little of an extra boost,” said Erickson.

The crew members are returned home safely and are ready for their next assignment.

“This isn’t a one and done thing whatsoever. This is something we want to build upon for years to come,” said Erickson.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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