Tifton, GA – Students in the Fish and Wildlife Management program at Southern Regional Technical College's Tifton campus can now conduct prescribed burns safely thanks to Georgia Forestry Commission.
GFC donated fire shirts and pants to students in the program on Monday. They also are allowing the students to make use of fire shelters which will be housed at the GFC Tifton command center whenever they need it.
Ken Parker, Wildland Fire Specialist with Georgia Forestry Commission said they were at a prescribed fire burn council meeting and it was brought to their attention that Southern Regional Technical College's program that conducts prescribed burning was in need of some personal protective equipment and they had a surplus of equipment in storage that had been purchased for another program a while back.
"So we thought we could allow them to either use, loan it to them or either give it to them and through different combinations, we've donated to them some fire pants and some fire shirts," said Parker. "And the fire shelters due to the high cost, we're actually going to retain ownership but the students can come over here and check them out whenever they're going to do a burn. This allows them to have all the protection equipment that they need to safely go out and conduct a prescribed burn," he added.
"It's a great donation that Mr. Parker with the GFC and the GFC has donated. He saw the need that we had for students to be able to go out in the field and have the equipment that they needed to be able to carry out an effective prescribed burn in a safe manner," said Jeremy Anderson, SRTC Program Director for Fish and Wildlife Management. "It's going to be able to give them a better avenue into getting a job by having experience with prescribed fire," Anderson added.
Parker said the students in the program are the future of the industry.
"By allowing the students to have the proper protective equipment they can go out and conduct the prescribed burns. This allows them to gain experience that they can later take in to the industry either private or with the state jobs," Parker said.
The cost of the donation of fire pants and shirts to the program is approximately $2,000. Parker said if the school were to purchase the pants and shirts on their own, it would be about $4,000.
The fire shelters which are available for the students to use are each about $400, according to Parker.
Anderson said there is 100 acres on the campus that the students maintain and that's where they have prescribed burning
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