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PPCC hosts wildland firefighter training academy

PPCC hosts wildland firefighter training academy bringing 1,000 firefighters to Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs, Colo. – Jan. 7, 2011 - Pikes Peak Community College (PPCC) hosts 1,000 firefighters, Jan. 8-14, at the Colorado Wildland Fire & Incident Management Academy. PPCC’s expert Fire Science Technology faculty, combined with 5,000 acres of accessible forest on Fort Carson, and ample room for future growth were factors involved in awarding Colorado Springs this event. 

“Originating in 1994 in Black Forest, Colo., the event returns to the Pikes Peak region,” explained Michael McCabe, department chair, PPCC Fire Science Technology. “We offer a superior training venue, possibly the best in the state, for an event of this magnitude.”

Firefighters from throughout the state will be exposed to PPCC’s online Fire Science Technology courses and further opportunities to earn credit for prior learning. McCabe estimates the event will be a windfall for Colorado Springs as well.

“Optimally, we’re looking at an additional $500,000-$750,000 in revenue for the city,” said McCabe. 

During the intensive wildland fire and certification courses, firefighters may choose from more than 40 courses. New to this year’s academy are FEMA Incident Command System courses designed to train the next generation of leaders in incident management.

“We’re educating future leaders in the wildland fire sciences,” said Ty Mather, firefighter, Colorado Springs Fire Department and PPCC Fire Science Technology faculty. “These are the people that are going to protect homes, citizens and property. The skills learned during this event will prepare the trainees for possible risks to the country, state and region.”

Pikes Peak Community College, in its 40th year of operation, is a two-year college offering associate’s degrees and various certifications in career and technical fields. With four campuses and three military educations centers in El Paso county, and more than 150 programs of study, PPCC serves approximately 20,000 students annually.


The media is invited to “gear up” for a unique opportunity to get hands-on experience during the Colorado Wildland Fire & Incident Management Academy. These opportunities include:

Fire Ops in the Urban Interface – Reporters can “gear up” and participate in exercises such as creating fire lines, removing dangerous foliage and digging fire break trenches, all designed to protect lives, property and homes at the edge of forest regions;

Wildland Fire Chainsaws – Reporters can gain realistic, hands-on, fire line tree cutting experience using internal combustion chainsaws to prevent the spread of forest fires;

Sandtable simulation – Reporters can learn wildfire tactics and strategy while using the Simtable, a next-gen sandtable simulator that can model fires in any area, including local neighborhoods, utilizing actual slope, terrain, wind speed/direction, vegetation, and other factors.

(See a demo of SimTable at