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Parts of the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are still recovering after the KNP Complex Fire scorched more than 88,000 acres late last year. The fire was sparked by lightning on September 16, 2021 and after a round-the-clock suppression effort involving hundreds of firefighters, it was declared “contained” one month later. The National Park Service estimates that between 1,330-2,380 sequoias over four feet in diameter were killed by the fire or will die within the next three to five years. The KNP Complex Fire is just one of more than 8,800 California wildfires in 2021.

Fresno EOC Local Conservation Corps (LCC) is training crews to prevent those devastating fires. The LCC is part of the Central Valley Forestry Corps, collaborating with the Fresno Workforce Investment Board and Reedley College. The goal of the program is to create a workforce that prepares clients for a possible career working on public lands, playing essential roles in land management, conservation, and rehabilitation.

The Central Valley Forestry Corps’ five-month program, includes:

  1. Four weeks of orientation, intro to Forestry at Fresno EOC Local Conservation Corps
  2. Eight weeks of classroom and field training, including federal chainsaw certification
  3. Eight weeks of concentrated training in the field

During the first few weeks of January, LCC Corpsmembers worked in the Dunlap area, removing fire fuels and knocking down hazardous and dying trees. Dunlap is located about 38 miles east of Fresno, just south of Kings Canyon National Park. It’s one of many local mountain communities where residents have witnessed the toll of the flames on the environment and breathed the smoke-filled air in their lungs. Shawn Riggins, Director of LCC, said, “During the past several years, local fires have had a detrimental impact on the respiratory health of residents of Fresno County. The Central Valley Forestry Corps is a great vehicle for trainees to have a positive impact on their community.”

If you have a passion for working outdoors and helping the environment, you can learn more about LCC’s Public Lands and Trail Conservation training here. Applicants must be between the ages of 18 to 26. You can find more information regarding the Central Valley Forestry Corps, including training and certification here. The age range for the Central Valley Forestry Corps is 18 and over.

About Fresno EOC Local Conservation Corps

At the Fresno EOC LCC, young adults between the ages of 18-26, will have the opportunity to participate in the following vocational training areas, earning $15 per hour; recycling, solar/weatherization, construction, public lands, and landscaping. In addition to developing vocational skills, corpsmembers are required to enroll and progress in an academic program concurrent to their enrollment in the LCC’s paid skill-building vocational training programs. Corpsmembers lacking a high school diploma enroll in the on-site YouthBuild Charter School of California (YCSC). High school graduates are encouraged to enroll in local college classes. Once enrolled at the LCC, corpsmembers can receive an AmeriCorps scholarship, which allows them to earn an education award (college scholarship), up to $2,300, while serving their community.

Public Lands and Trail Conservation
Corpsmembers working in small crews assist with a variety of conservation and natural resource management projects on public lands (open spaces, National Parks, Forest Service Lands) and other properties, including – restoring wildlife habitat along rivers, providing fire prevention services—chain saw work, maintaining and building hiking trails, and providing maintenance on recreational facilities.


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