The Yurok Training Exchange (Yurok TREX) Began September 30

This is a press release from the Yurok Tribe:

Yurok Wildland firefighter and tribal member Andy Lamebear participates in the Yurok TREX.

The Cultural Fire Management Council is excited to announce that the Yurok Training Exchange [began] on Saturday, September 30.

The week-long educational exercise seeks to teach participants how to safely use fire as a natural resource management tool and as a means of reducing dangerous forest fuel loads surrounding the eastern part of the Yurok Reservation. The Yurok TREX also aims to assist local firefighters, whether they are novices or seasoned vets, in developing a greater set of skills, which can be applied to prescribed burns and actual forest fires.

“The TREX provides local people with hands-on experience using fire as a tool to improve habitat for wildlife, reduce hazardous fuel loads in the forest and promote a healthy ecosystem,” said Margo Robbins, CFMC President and Yurok Tribal member. “These controlled fires promote the production of natural foods, medicines and basket materials, too.”

In the past five years, Yurok TREX participants have performed cultural burns on hundreds of acres of forest and prairie lands in Yurok ancestral territory. Numerous native animals, such as deer, bear and even mountain lions, have been spending a significant amount of time in these fire-treated parcels, whereas before they were a rare sight. Traditional weavers have reported an increase in the availability of hazel sticks, a previously scarce resource that is used to make baby baskets. Also, many local families now have a significant amount of defensible space, from wild fires, surrounding their homes because of the TREX.

The intensive training is open to wildland fire personnel, including federal, state, Tribal and non-governmental agencies, private practitioners and university faculty and students. Trainees, under the supervision of professional firefighters, will obtain real-life experience in the following: preparing fire containment lines, scouting, using weather-reading instruments, fire line leadership skills ignition, mop-up, patrolling the fire line, as well as pre and post-fire monitoring.

The Yurok TREX is supported by the following organizations: the Nature Conservancy’s Fire Learning Network, Yurok Tribe, Karuk Tribe, US Forest Service and Terra Fuego, a nonprofit that assists communities in developing fire adaptation strategies that are beneficial to humans and wildlife.

The mission of CFMC is to facilitate the practice of cultural burning on the Yurok Reservation and Ancestral lands, leading to a healthier ecosystem for all plants and animals, long term fire protection for residents, and provide basket weaving materials to weavers that will in turn be a platform for restoration of a Yurok cultural life way. For more information about Terra Fuego, please visit www.terrafuego.org

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