By Alan Sorensen
Fighting wildfires is extremely arduous and dangerous work. It also can be very uncomfortable.
If you still want to be a firefighter, here's what you might want to consider, according to a rookie fire training handout from Rocky Boy's Forestry Office.
You'll need to take a 5-day course in firefighting and pass a back pack test take less than 45 minutes to complete a 3-mile walk while carrying 45 pounds on your back.
If you've completed the course and passed the pack test, you still have to buy the right equipment, pack the right gear and be ready to leave at a moment's notice for anywhere in the country.
Vibram-soled boots are required and steel-toed boots are verboten because of the intense heat. The Vibram won't melt and the steel-less toes won't conduct the heat from the forest floor directly to your feet. You'll also need special firefighting gloves that are intended to last you a whole fire season, crew boss John Gardipee said.
You'll need to pack an identification card tribal, state or federal. Your personal gear should include a jacket, change of clothing, tennis shoes for after hours, toothbrush and other personal items.
Should you pass muster at every level, you qualify for free transportation to a place where you'll likely be sleeping under the stars (if they're not totally obscured by the smoke), eat for free, and stay out of trouble by working 12 hours or more each day for two weeks straight.
If you survive that, you get a free ride home, where you can rest up for a day or two before being called out again at any time of day or night.