Bureau of Land Management rookies prepare for upcoming fire season

New BLM wildfire crew recruits listen as officials describe their training assignments

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — The newest recruits for the Bureau of Land Management are preparing for Idaho’s upcoming wildfire season.

Among the 37 rookies are people from all walks of life, each with their own reasons for joining the firefighting crews. Some, like Grace Youts have watched the firefighting efforts of the BLM from other parts of the organization and decided it was time to joins the ranks.

“I really just wanted to see the other side of things and kind of get my hands dirty,” Grace Youts, a new recruit and former BLM dispatcher, told KID Newsradio. “You don’t get the whole picture in dispatch. You get bits and pieces, but you don’t really always know what’s going on out there.”

As one of several women to join the crew this season, Youts said she looks forward to staying, “busy, but not too busy,” over the next several months.

“It’s just nice to know that I have a job that helps,” Youts said.

Bruno Gutierrez also made the leap from his current BLM assignment to the fire crew, saying he wanted to work with fire more directly.

“I worked structure the first half of the year and there’s not much fire with structures, so I spoke to somebody who said there’s definitely more fire and you’ll see a lot more of it if you do the wild land,” Bruno Gutierrez, a new recruit, told KID Newsradio.

Spring rains and rising temperatures increase the prospect of an active fire season, but that also means more experience for the crews.

“I do expect to be out there as much as possible,” Gutierrez said. “That’s the quickest way that you learn how to do this job, the quickest way you get better at doing this job and the way I become a better asset to this team.”

You can view a gallery of the new recruits training session below.