Structure vs. Wildland Firefighters: How Are They Different?

Structure vs. Wildland Firefighters: How Are They Different?

While every firefighter will receive the same basic training, extending beyond that is where the training differs. It may surprise you to know this, but there are several different types of firefighter jobs, each requiring specific training. Each job will come with challenges, and wildland firefighting is no exception. Here are the differences that come with being a wildland firefighter.

Fewer Escapes

When you are a structural firefighter, the fire you are trying to put out is usually contained in one building, offering more avenues for escape. However, wild fire has no structure or common behavior for where the fire will move to. This unpredictability makes it much harder for wildland firefighters to find a safe escape.

Fire Behavior

One of the main differences in being a wildland firefighter is understanding how fire behaviors differ. While structural firefighters focus on attacking the source of the fire, wildland firefighters solely focus on containing the fire. It is incredibly easy for wild fire to spread, as each blade of dry grass can serve as a piece of kindling.

As such, wildland firefighters must cover vast areas of land, preventing them from easily accessing their firetruck for water. These conditions require them to wear a wildland hose pack in order to travel with water and put out fires. While hose packs are not solely for wildland firefighters, they use these devices much more than structural firefighters.

Varying Duties

Wildland firefighters have varying duties specific to their role. Consider the fact that when you are in the wild, you won’t have access to your phone to provide you with directions. As such, wildland firefighters must know how to properly use a map, compass, or GPS as a navigation tool. Moreover, they must rescue civilians who are lost or need medical assistance in the wilderness.

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