Forestry club attends fire school, third at Philomath

The Sweet Home High School Forestry Club participated in a Fire School that was held at Camp Cascade outside of Lyons April 1-3.

Sweet Home took 10 students, Club Adviser Dustin Nichol said. “This was an exceptional year. The participants spent a day at a BLM thinning project. While there, the students were instructed on burning piles, fire line construction, hose lay construction, logistical workings of wild land fire fighting, types of tools and equipment and team building skills.”

Eugene Fire Department, Portland Community College, BLM, the U.S. Forest Service, Oregon State University, and Ferguson Management Company organized and taught classes, Nichol said. The students also spent time in the classroom learning map reading, fire theory, foam and safety practices. Representatives of OSU, PCC and Ferguson gave the teens valuable instruction along with future employment and educational opportunities, Nichol said.

“I think this was an excellent experience for the students,” he said. Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., was spent outside in the weather €“ snow, hail, sleet, wind, and rain €“ finishing with testing at the camp until 9:30 p.m.

On March 13 the club finished third in the Philomath skills competition.

“The kids were energized after our competition on March 6,” Nichol said. “All that week kids were practicing events that they had never practiced before so that they can compete and score more team points.”

The following students earned awards:

Matt Cuff, fifth, hose lay; Kayla Rood, second in axe throw, and first in open pole climb; Meisha Carlin, third in Jill crosscut and fifth in Jack/Jill crosscut; David Horner third in crosscut, fourth in choker, third in power bucking, third in novice log roll, fifth in cable splicing and sixth in hose lay; Calvin Babbit, sixth in hose lay, fourth in choker in cable splicing; Dallas Loewen, first in hose lay and second in Jack crosscut; Cody Loewen, first in hose lay, second in Jack crosscut and fifth in Jack/Jill crosscut; Kristen Tolle, first in open pole climb, second in Jack/Jill crosscut and fifth in cable splice; Alex Larsen second in Jack/Jill crosscut, first in hose lay and third in Jack crosscut; Johnny Cockrell in hose lay, sixth in power bucking, third in cable splice and sixth in choker; Josh Pickett, second in novice pole climb; Krista Collman, third in Jill crosscut; Ami Olmsted, first in power bucking; Jesse Baugus, fifth in axe throw; EJ Nichol, sixth in hose lay; Eric Munts, first in hose lay, first in map reading and fifth in cable splice; and Chas Palmer, first in hose lay, second in speech, third in job interview and third in map reading.

Palmer also was the Technical Forester.

“Palmer and Munts are always within a few points of each other when it comes to competing for the Technical Forester Award,” Nichol said. “Chas and Eric are close friends, and within that friendship is a quiet rivalry. Chas and Eric work very hard during their own time to hone their technical skills.

“Saturday was Chas’s day in the sun, and I am happy that his hard work has paid off. Each week these kids never cease to amaze me. I have kids asking all the time, ‘Nichol, can I try this or can I do that?’ I have told the kids that they can make this as big or as small as they want both individually and as a team.

“I have some leaders stepping up and rallying the team to get it into gear.”

The next event for the club is the Sabin Skills competition on April 10.