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      Firefighter's learn how to battle wildland fires

      Illinois firefighters learn how to battle wild land fires

      The Liberty Fire Department and the University of Illinois Fire Services Institute taught firefighters how to properly battle wildland fires Saturday.

      The course is part of the National Wildfire Coordinating Groups requirement for firefighters to be certified to battle grass fires.

      According to the National Wildfire Coordinating Group's Glossary of terminology, a wildland fire is any non-structure fire that occurs in the wildland.

      Firefighters risk their lives everyday to protect us. But they always need to expand their knowledge and techniques to make sure they can battle any type of fire.

      That's why more than two dozen firefighters come to a small field to learn how to battle wildland fires.

      "We're burning off a hundred acres of timber and field to get fire training," Liberty Fire Chief Don Loos said.

      And students come eager to learn.

      "I just want to learn how to better fight a wild fire, grass fires so we can get stuff done and get home," Griggsville Firefighter Hayden Bradshaw said.

      Students practice essential skills they'll need in the field such as team work and communication.

      "A lot of what we do, talk about, is how to communicate," Hayden's father University of Illinois Fire Service Institute instructor Larry Bradshaw said. "We got guys looking out for what??s going on, situational awareness, communication so that we're all talking the same language."

      Veteran instructors teach students how to dig lines, carry portable hoses and how to back burn fires.

      "We cover a lot of the basics of fire due to the weather conditions, the typography of the land , the fuel models that we're dealing with, things like that," Bradshaw said.

      It's to help all of the firefighters to prepare for when a large grass fire starts in their community.

      "A lot of times when we get a call to go out to a grass fire, we just bail off into the middle of a field and go after the fire," Larry Bradshaw said."We put ourselves in some precarious situations."

      University of Illinois Fire Service Instructor Larry Bradshaw said the new skills students learn will help keep them alive when they battle wild land fires.

      "Sometimes we get out there and we get stuck, we tear up equipment and then we get ourselves in a position were the fire can over run us," Larry Bradshaw said.

      Students said it's important all firefighters receive this extra training.

      "I think it's very important to learn," Hayden Bradshaw said. "If you don't know it, stuffs going to burn."

      Wildland fire students received a certificate after completing the course.