A firefighter's work is never done.

Unfortunately, firefighters in Eastern Iowa have been busy lately, having to deal with a blaze yesterday that caused severe damage at the Dairy Queen on Wilson Ave. SW in Cedar Rapids as well as one last month at a Johnson County restaurant, which also caused significant damage that will keep Shuey's closed until further notice. Not to mention the numerous fires we don't always hear about.

But, folks out west have been dealing with an ongoing threat, quite frankly for years now, that is just as unpredictable and dangerous: raging wildfires. According to KCRG these types of blazes take an extra level of training that a new program underway here in Iowa is providing.  The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will send 34 Iowa firefighters to the west coast to battle these scenarios and assist firefighters in California and Mexico who deal with them directly.

The Iowa DNR Forestry Fire Training Program is different from typical firefighter training because, needless to say, there aren't a lot of wildfires seen in Iowa. Ryan Slater of the Iowa DNR said in a KCRG story:

They'll be doing the groundwork. So They'll be doing things like digging fire lines or they might be running sprinklers or they might be running hose or they might be doing what's called 'mop up' on a wildfire

This training will also boost their preparedness to help on a national level with incidents like hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes (two things we do know all too well about).

The group setting out to help this year is full, but the program is already taking applicants for next year. You can apply here if you think you have what it takes. It requires the completion of a 40-hour course and field training test.

Geneva Tower Fire in Downtown Cedar Rapids

Geneva Tower, at the corner of 3rd Street and 5th Avenue SE, sustained damage during an overnight fire the morning of Sunday, February 20, 2022. The fire resulted in the complete evacuation of the 13-story apartment building. There is no timetable for when residents may be able to return.

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