Veterans to Train for Upcoming Wildfire Season at Paramount Ranch

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Date: March 8, 2017
Contact: Zach Behrens (NPS), 805-370-2343
Contact: Duane DeVorak (Team Rubicon), 310-666-0990

Thousand Oaks, Calif -- Over 50 veterans are headed to the Santa Monica Mountains this weekend to become wildland firefighters. The group of students will be members of Team Rubicon, an L.A.-based nonprofit organization that unites the skills of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams.

The vets will be trained in wildland fire suppression tactics, including communication techniques, fireline construction, equipment operation, and other critical wildland firefighting skills. Their basecamp and facility will be Paramount Ranch, a National Park Service site within Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area that’s been the filming location for hundreds of Hollywood productions, from “The Cisco Kid” to HBO’s recent hit, “Westworld.” They will be instructed by wildland fire professionals from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and National Park Service (NPS). This training, which will be conducted from Friday, March 10 through Monday, March 13, will be the first time NPS has been involved with both hosting and co-instructing.

“We’re thrilled to see the National Park Service expand its relationship with veterans, which includes a tradition of sites dedicated to their collective story,” said David Szymanski, superintendent of Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. “Building a highly skilled team of first responders is critical to preserving these places for future generations.”

Team Rubicon has partnered with the U.S. Department of Interior, the agency that oversees both BLM and NPS, for nearly two years because many of the skills veterans learned in the military translate to wildland firefighting, such as teamwork; decisive leadership; risk mitigation and management; logistics and emergency medicine. Team Rubicon members have responded to wildfires in Alaska, Nevada, California, Oregon, and Washington.

Team Rubicon seeks to help veterans transition from military to civilian life through disaster relief deployment by providing them with a sense of purpose, community, and identity, which are all often missing following their military service. Since two Marines founded the group in response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the organization has responded to floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other severe weather damage, helping disaster survivors all over the globe.

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) is the largest urban national park in the country, encompassing more than 150,000 acres of mountains and coastline in Ventura and Los Angeles counties. A unit of the National Park Service, it comprises a seamless network of local, state and federal parks interwoven with private lands and communities. As one of only five Mediterranean ecosystems in the world, SMMNRA preserves the rich biological diversity of more than 450 animal species and 26 distinct plant communities. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/samo.



Last updated: March 8, 2017

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