30 students graduate Central Valley Forestry Corps, assisting in CA firefight

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Thanks to a unique Valley program, fire crews will now have more help in their fight against California wildfires.

On Wednesday, nearly 30 students joined the ranks of the Central Valley Forestry Corps.

Just this year, over 2.5 million acres have burned in California. Right now, fire safety and prevention are crucial.

Over the past 20 months, Workforce Connection has been training these graduates for a career in forestry and most importantly to assist in the firefight.
Jordan Morris wasn't always on the path to being a firefighter.

"In January, I was fixing air conditioners, then I was on the Dixie Fire a few months later," said Morris.

Morris says the Creek Fire led him to take up firefighting as a career. His family lost everything during last year's disaster.

"Every young kid wants to be a firefighter," said Morris. "You see the trucks and everything, it's something I always wanted to do. I just never had the opportunity."

Morris joined the Central Valley Forestry Corps, saying the no-cost training program was an easy choice.

"I heard about this program as a way to get into firefighting quickly and I quit my job," added Morris.
Within months, he was learning the ins and outs of firefighting, eventually joining wildland firefighters battling the Dixie and KNP Complex fires.

"You learn every aspect that comes with wildland firefighting, from using a chainsaw to hand tools to fighting fire directly," explained Morris.

The program is a partnership between Fresno Regional Workforce, Reedley College, Fresno EOC, Calfire and the Associated California Loggers.

"We had them in small groups, we had them masked, we had them spaced, so we did not stop training because of COVID," said Executive Director of Fresno Workforce Board Blake Konczal.

The graduating students will all receive job placement assistance. As for Jordan, he says he'll be out battling fires next wildfire season.

if you're interested in learning more about the program you can find the details on their website.
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