Heavy Equipment Academy Overview
The MS Forestry Commission (MFC) is responsible for protecting Mississippi’s 19.2 million acres of forestland from wildfires. When threatened by wildfires, MFC wildland firefighters are the first line of defense for our state’s forests, farms, businesses, and homes. MFC responds to over 1,000 wildfires that burn over 19,000 acres annually. FY 2022 is proving to be one of our highest wildfire occurrences since FY17, with 1,241 wildfires and 35,316 acres burned so far.
Each year MFC provides a Heavy Equipment Academy (HEA) at our 127-acre field site in Raymond, MS, for our forest technicians, rangers, and wildland firefighters, training on techniques and strategies that employ bulldozers and heavy equipment to combat wildfires. Heavy equipment operators must know how to operate in unfamiliar territory and terrain. This training is a hands-on, seat-in-the-equipment, multi-scenario paced training, with individual coaching and guidance. This specific training is always dangerous, but engaging in a controlled training environment provides invaluable safety and training benefits for our wildland firefighters.
Highlights of the course include classroom presentations given by the MFC Training Team, two small-scale Night-Ops Mock wildfires, and daily hands-on wildland firefighting heavy equipment training at different stations. There are several training stations – truck and tractor inspection, plowing and rehab and high track, BMP and road construction, slope operations, and recovery and suppression tactics.
VIP Day at the Heavy Equipment Academy
Guests will meet at Hinds Community College Eagle Ridge Conference Center at 9:30 am where they will be transported to the HEA site. There will be a short welcome and presentation about the HEA. Guests will then be transported to each of the live training stations where they will see MFC trainees in action. After the tour, lunch will be provided under the pavilion. Dress comfortably and wear outdoor shoes or boots.
Video of MFC’s 2021 Heavy Equipment Academy