IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI)-This summer could be pretty active when it comes to wildfires.
Each year, hundreds of new wildland firefighters join the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service.
Before heading out on their first fire, these new employees are trained to perform the essential skills needed to work effectively and safely when fighting a wildland fire.
On Friday, they got hands-on experience by participating in a wildland fire simulation. The students practiced digging fireline at Ryder Park, which will become mountain bike trails for the public to use.
Digging a line is one of the basic ways wildland firefighters stop a fire from spreading. It requires coordination and communication, to be safe and effective.
Chris Burger, with the Idaho Falls district of the BLM, talked about what the 21 rookies learned about during their 40 hours of instruction.
"In class, they've been learning the science behind firefighting, the weather, the fuels, the topography, how it affects what you'll see on the fire line." Burger said "They've also been learning about how we organize our incidents based on complexity, so they understand where they fit in the puzzle. And then we're also teaching them how to be safe on the fire line."
Burger also says they're concerned about fires this year, given that we've already seen several large ones, such as the Lava Side fire in April.
"We are having an unusual amount of wildfires for this time of year in southeast Idaho, as evidenced by the Tabor and Lava Side fire," Burger said "There have also been a few others. So there are some concerns about the severity of the fire season coming."