This week, INHF Land Stewardship Specialist Ryan Schmidt was called to western Montana to battle wildfires blazing in the state. Ryan completed National Wildland Fire Academy training in 2013, taking online courses and in-person sessions in Iowa and Missouri. Interested parties can earn Red Card certification all across the country at local training centers to become wildfire certified. Iowa is in the Eastern/Great Rivers Region.
This is the first time he’s been called to duty for the US Forest Service, but Ryan is no stranger to fire. As one-fourth of the Stewardship team, he manages INHF’s burn program, creating burn plans for INHF and partner properties throughout the spring season. In Iowa and other prairie states, fire is used as a management tool to create healthy habitat and ensure the diversity of prairies.
A dedicated conservationist, fighting wildfires has always been a dream for Ryan. “It’s something that’s been in my heart for a long time. I’m excited to see the action,” he said.
He’ll be working with a hand crew of 19 other conservation employees and firefighters from Iowa and Missouri. The 14-day shift will be located near Missoula, MT, stretching to Glacier National Park.
“Ryan will learn fire management skills in Montana that he’ll be able to bring back to Iowa and apply to his work with INHF,” said Joe McGovern, INHF president.
Melanie Louis, INHF land stewardship assistant, is also Red Card certified.
Please join us in wishing Ryan good luck and a safe journey!