NSP Troopers cross-trained in wildland firefighting

Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 9:23 AM CDT|Updated: Mar. 31, 2023 at 10:37 AM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (Press Release) - Fourteen troopers with the Nebraska State Patrol have been cross-trained by the Nebraska Forest Service as part of the Nebraska Wildland Fire Academy. These troopers are drone pilots stationed throughout the state, many of whom responded to assist at wildfires in 2022.

“As our NSP drone program grew last year, it became a valuable public safety resource at many wildfire responses across the state,” Captain Jason Scott, Commander of NSP Special Operations said. “Adding basic wildland firefighter training for our drone operators adds an important level of safety to their operation. We want to thank the Nebraska Forest Service for providing the training and additional knowledge to our troopers.”

These 14 troopers received Red Card Wildland Fire Training earlier this month. The Nebraska Forest Service offers several levels of training for wildfire response. More information can be found at the Nebraska Forest Service website.

“The Nebraska State Patrol provides a much-needed resource for wildfire suppression in Nebraska,” State Forester John Erixson said. “The information collected by the drones is invaluable for understanding what is happening with the wildfires. Having State Troopers trained in basic wildland firefighting will help keep everyone safe. Folks taught in these classes learn critical skills, including wildfire behavior, firefighting techniques, and how to be safe in a high-risk environment.”

In 2022, NSP troopers flew drone missions in response to wildfires in many parts of Nebraska. In total, troopers flew missions at ten wildfires, often with multiple drone pilots working on different areas of the fire. The drones were able to provide a real-time view of fire activity for firefighters battling the blaze on the ground. NSP also coordinated with the Nebraska National Guard in multiple responses, using drones to pinpoint hotspots which were then doused with a water drop from an aircraft.

As the spring and summer months arrive, NSP and the Nebraska Forest Service remind all Nebraskans to be cognizant of fire danger and the potential for wildfires in dry conditions.