After fighting to defend our nation, several local veterans have found work putting their lives on the line again for Colorado, this time as firefighters.
SOURCE: Craig Daily Press
Two conservation corps programs in Colorado offer veterans and youth a path into the Bureau of Land Management’s fire program by providing the necessary skills and experience. A number of vets in the Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit, which includes the Craig Interagency Hotshot Crew or IHC, found their way to the wildland fire program through both the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps in Steamboat Springs and the Southwest Conservation Corps in Durango.
Since 2010, Conservation Corps programs like RMYC and SCC have initiated partnerships with the BLM in Colorado, California and Montana to establish Veterans Conservation Corps programs. The Veterans Fire Corps is part of Veterans Green Corps, a broader national initiative between the Department of Interior, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Conservation Corps programs.
Of the 64 BLM fire personnel at the Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit, nine are military veterans.
Paul Black and Stephan Bell both came to the BLM fire program after working in the SCC Veteran Fire Corps. Black is returning to the Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit for his second season as a wildland firefighter, and Bell is embarking on his first season as a crew member.