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Butte Cal-TREX, Fall 2023

Prescribed Fire Training Exchange

Deadline to register:  Sept 8, 2023!

 Chico-Cohasset-Forest Ranch, CA

What is TREX?  A TREX, short for "Training Exchange," is a festival of fire learning, a training event where we build "good fire" skills.  Butte Cal-TREX is designed so both professionals and ordinary people can get better at putting good fire on the ground in and around our rural communities. Just like the Butte Prescribed Burn Association which is open to all, it's about the belief that everybody deserves to know how to use fire wisely. 

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When is it?  Butte Cal-TREX has 2 parts: pre-fire training weekends (Oct 20-22 and Nov 4-5 2023) and an on-call burn window (fall 2023 - February 2024). During this "on-call window," we will be burning a variety of State, Federal, University, and private lands around our foothill communities whenever we have a safe and ecologically healthy opportunity to do so! 

Who can participate: The TREX event is for anyone interested in improving their fire knowledge and becoming better practitioners of good fire.  Beginners, non-professionals, and fire professionals are all welcome and will benefit from this training exchange.  Some burns are only open to community members who have completed certain fire trainings or certifications. However, other burns are open to everyone, such as burns hosted by private landowners working with the Butte Prescribed Burn Association. If you have questions, contact PBA Coordinator Dallas Koller at or TREX Incident Commander Eli Goodsell at

If you would like to sign up for the TREX on-call crew and/or recieve more information about the classes we offer, CLICK HERE

I live here. Will I see smoke/fires in my community during TREX?  Yes!  As we rebuild the rural skill set of prescribed fire, you will be seeing more smoke and prescribed fires in your community over the coming fall and winter.  As always, folks lighting good fire in your community will have notified the Butte County Air Quality Management District, CAL FIRE, and most likely your community Facebook page. We also recommend the Watch Duty app to find out where many prescribed fires are being lit.  Or, just join the Butte Prescribed Burn Association and come burn with us!

I own land!  I would love to underburn it! How can I get you to come help me out?  The Butte PBA (Prescribed Burn Association) exists exactly to help private landowners like you. You can email the PBA at Tell them a little about yourself and what you'd like to accomplish on your land. They can come walk your land with you and help you decide whether fire is a tool that would help you meet your goals.  They can also help you understand what you would need to do before you are ready for fire. Butte PBA offers free assistance with burn unit prep, mapping, burn plans, and some permits.

I'm a journalist. Can I come watch your prescribed fire training?  Yes!  We have 2 PIOs (public information officers) whose job is to make sure we can welcome you to our fire training safely so you get a chance to tell our story.  Space may be limited, though, so please contact our PIOs as soon as you know the dates you'll be in Butte County. Our PIOs are Danielle Feulner. You can reach her at  Please read the entirety of this page to get a sense for what kinds of things we cover at TREX.

Can't make it to Butte Cal-TREX 2023-24?  All is not lost! To get Good Fire News so you never miss another opportunity to join a burn or training, sign up here.

If you would like to sign up for the TREX on-call crew and/or recieve more information about the classes we offer, CLICK HERE

OK, I'm signed up for TREX. What do I need to do in advance? No prior experience or training is necessary. However, individuals are encouraged to complete the basic wildland firefighting NWCG courses S-130, S-190, L-180 and FEMA courses ICS-100 and IS-700. (Scroll down for details) A work capacity test and a practice shelter deployment will be offered Oct 20, 2023 (you must sign up).  Some burning opportunities, including all Forest Service burns, will only be available to participants who have the training listed above.  For more information, see the “Basic Wildland Firefighter Training” section below.

Description:  The Butte Cal-TREX training has two parts:

1.) Pre-fire training weekends: Over two immersive three-day weekends of fire study. (Oct 20-22, Nov 4-5), participants will tackle hands-on field scenarios focused on local fire ecology, cultural burning, and building a cohesive community burn corps.

Training topics will include:

  • Building a prescribed fire team
  • Operational field scenarios 
  • Introduction to cultural fire and TEK concepts
  • How to take weather and fuel observations
  • Radio communications
  • Indicators for when a landscape or patch of ground is ready to burn
  • Reading the landscape to tell where fire would be beneficial
  • How to tell if a fire "met its objectives" (accomplished what you wanted it to)
  • Botany for firelighters
  • Fire ecology and its interaction with climate science

2.) On-Call Prescribed Fire Crew: For all of fall 2023 and winter 2023-24, participants will be on-call for prescribed fire training opportunities through (at least) February 2024.  Timing of individual burns will depend on weather windows.  Participants will assist with preparing, scouting, briefing, igniting, holding, fire effects monitoring, mop-up, and patrol on prescribed burns. The work will take place in diverse ecosystems, including on private lands and lands managed by the Plumas and Lassen National Forests.  You can be on call for burns even if you did not make it to TREX. Contact

If you would like to sign up for the TREX on-call crew, CLICK HERE

Do I need a red card/FFT2 quals to participate? You would only need a "red card" (a.k.a. Firefighter Type 2 qualifications) to join burns on Federal lands, on BCCER lands, and from time to time on other fancy burns. But you don't need a red card to join most burns on private lands.  If you don't have a red card yet and you'd like to grow your fire learning opportunities by getting one, scroll down to see options for getting your qualifications. 

Additional Information:

• All participants must have insurance (e.g., workers’ comp or health) to cover any injury they may sustain during the training exchange.

• Participants should come with all appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Appropriate PPE is different on different burns.  For burns requiring a red card, PPE will usually include fireline-approved boots (all leather work boots, 8-inches tall, non-slip soles, no steel toe), headlamp, hard hat, Nomex clothing, leather gloves, eye protection such as sunglasses, canteens for drinking water, and (in many cases) a new generation fire shelter and a fireline pack to carry it in. If you do not have full PPE, we can arrange for you to borrow some. For community burns (on private lands/with the Butte PBA), PPE is: Sturdy boots/shoes, with all-leather being preferred (No rubber boots), a hat with a brim (hard hat is a great choice but a cowboy hat or ball cap works), leather gloves, eye protection such as sunglasses, and long sleeves-long pants, natural fiber clothing.  100% cotton clothing is most commonly worn and works great. But hemp, linen, and wool are all fine too! No synthetics. (Unless it's Nomex,  of course!) For all burns, it's best to keep a cotton mask handy to stay COVID-safe.

Logistics: Most or all meals will be on your own, so expect to bring your own food and water. 

Questions: Email Dallas Koller at or Eli Goodsell at

If you would like to sign up for the TREX on-call crew and/or recieve more information about the classes we offer, CLICK HERE



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, the U.S. Forest Service, or the Plumas Underburn Cooperative.  Sometimes there is a cost and sometimes it's free. 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  You will need to find these classes in the list and follow them to their online delivery. 
  • The IS-100 is here
  • The IS-700 here
  • 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).
  • 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.