UCF Prescribed Burn Team


Spring Break is typically a time when college students leave campus to vacation at beaches and springs to cool down and relax outside, however this year a select group of UCF students chose to stay on campus and turn up the heat!

In March 2020, the UCF Arboretum hosted its first S130/S190 Basic Wildland Firefighter Training course, where students and local agency employees had the opportunity to train to become nationally certified wildland firefighters. It was a rigorous week-long course concentrating on topics such as fire adapted Florida ecosystems, fire technology, prescribed fire techniques, fire tools, understanding advanced weather, and of course, fire control and suppression.

These concepts were taught by experienced instructors from various partner agencies including the Nature Conservancy, the National Park Service, Florida Forest Service, Flagler County Fire, Brevard County Fire, the Sandpine Alliance, the Florida Park Service, and our very own UCF Prescribed Burn Team. This assemblage of instructors delivered years of fire expertise and insight to the 30 student participants via classroom and field exercises.  Overall, it was an inspiring and productive week producing 30 new certified wildland firefighters who are seeking employment in land management and biology careers around the nation.

The week-long training paid off for select students in June when they were able to join the UCF Prescribed Burn team on a live fire in two forested units on campus, one of which had gone without fire for many years and another that had not been previously burned by our prescribed fire team. Since the training, seven of the students have participated in burns, including the campus burn this summer and burns in other local managed forests such as Tosohatchee, Wekiva, and Flagler conservation areas.

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