What are "quals"? They are formal qualifications for working in fire. They can help you advance in a fire career or earn a higher wage doing tree work or conservation work. However, they are NOT necessary to be a skilled and productive fire practitioner in your community. You don't need any formal qualifications to burn your own land or to assist your neighbors with their burns. Butte PBA does not require any qualifications to join our community burns.
You do need at least the "FFT2" quals to attend burns on federal land and most burns on the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve. Read on to learn how to get them.
Basic Wildland Firefighter Training Options to meet NWCG standards for Firefighter Type 2 (FFT2)
(also known as “Basic 32 Classes” or “Red Card”)
-----In Person Option-----
There are occasional opportunities to get your "Basic 32" hours of training in person in our region. These are usually hosted by Big Chico Ecological Reserve, Firestorm, our Butte PBA, the U.S. Forest Service, or the Plumas Underburn Cooperative. Sometimes there is a cost, sometimes it's free, and sometimes you can even get paid! A great way to hear about them is to join the Butte Prescribed Burn Association mailing list.
-----Self-Study Online Option (Always Free)------
- There are five classes (S-130, S-190, L-180, IS-100, IS-700).
- These courses will take approximately 30 hours to complete.
- The first three NWCG classes can be found online at https://www.nwcg.gov/publications/training-courses. You will need to find these classes in the list and follow them to their online delivery.
- The IS-100 is here https://training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=IS-100.c,
- The IS-700 here https://training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=IS-700.b.
- The last two classes are FEMA classes, so you will be prompted to create a FEMA SID (student identification number). You will also be asked for a DOMAIN, please select NWCG. There is nothing to it, just follow the steps and it will generate your number and send you back to the main page.
- Once you have completed the classes and pass the quizzes, it will generate a certificate for each class. Please save these in your personal files for the rest of your career! Documentation of your trainings is very important. You will also be prompted to submit these certificates during the registration process for the event.
**In addition to the Basic 32 online classes, you will need a field day, a shelter deployment, and an arduous pack test. To find out about these opportunities in Butte County, join the Butte PBA mailing list. To find out about them in Plumas County, join the Plumas Underburn Cooperative mailing list. (Butte PBA frequently shares Plumas-based news/trainings with Butte folks, and vice versa!)
To Stay "Current" in your Qualification:
- You will need to complete the RT-130 annually. This is a 1/2 day worth of training.
- You will need to deploy a practice shelter once a year (usually done at the RT-130). Butte PBA holds an RT-130 annually in the fall, Plumas Underburn Cooperative holds one annually in the spring, and sometimes there are other opportunities too.
- You will need to take the arduous level work capacity test every year.
- You will need to participate in a prescribed fire or wildfire within 5 years of taking the Basic wildland firefighting classes.