February 3, 2009

State of Alabama
Press Release: Forestry Commission, Alabama

AFC Employees Complete Intensive Equipment Training

When any major disaster occurs within the state, or a large wildfire burns out of control in your community, it’s comforting to know that the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) is prepared. A major part of being prepared is training. Recently, 16 AFC associates completed internal equipment training in South Alabama. The familiarization course, which occurred at Little River State Forest in Monroe County, involved both day and nighttime exercises. The primary objective of this intensive course was to prepare newer AFC field personnel to operate heavy wildland fire suppression units bulldozer/transport combinations) under different environmental conditions and on all sorts of terrain as they protect Alabama’s forests and rural landscapes from wildfires. Equipment and training materials were provided by the agency, and Commission instructors conducted all classes.

An additional purpose of this weeklong event was Incident Command System “ICS” training for seasoned wildland firefighters and support staff, simulating a disaster scenario. Governor Bob Riley has mandated that the state’s lead forestry agency be prepared to deal with major disasters, should they occur in Alabama. The goal is to have four “Type 3” Incident Command Teams, capable of managing any regional level fire, disaster, or incident; as well as two more specialized “Type 2” Incident Command Teams, capable of handling any state or national level incident.

According to State Forester Linda Casey, “Progressing our associates to this level requires specialized advanced courses. This week’s exercise prepared participants to coordinate county, regional, and state office staff under an ICS structure in the event of a disaster such as the wildfires that ravaged both Georgia and Florida in 2007.” 

AFC employees participating in the training included Gary Braxton, Barber County; Joseph Dicks, Montgomery County; Chad Gilliland, Talladega County; Ryan Holland, Conecuh County; Shannon Hollinger, Wilcox County; Lea Anna Meadows, East Central Region (Montgomery); Jessie McDonald, Walker County; Patrick O’Neal, Northwest Region (Northport); Joseph Ransier, Mobile County; Trista Rogers, Lawrence County; Randall Seal, Southwest Region (Brewton); Freddy Smith, Bullock County; Gary Stephens, Mobile County; Tommy Taylor, Russell County; and Ben Williams, Chambers County. Madeline Hildreth, Escambia County, also attended as a refresher course.
Instructors from the AFC included: Joel Bartlett, Marion County; Chad Camp, Little River State Forest; Billy Carlisle, Marengo County; David Davis, Autauga County; Terry Helms, Blount County; Victor Howell, Conecuh County; Alan Johnson, Choctaw County; Richard Johnson, Baldwin County; Nick Jordan, Clay County; Jeff Keener, DeKalb County; Tim Kelly, Clarke County; Johnny Kline, Monroe County; Steve Perdue, Butler County; Jeremiah Rogers, Pike County; Rusty Smith, Sumter County; Steve Smith, Wilcox County; Gary Thompson, Covington County; and Eddie Wilson, Monroe County;
Staff participating in the Incident Command structure included: Shane Woodham, Cherokee County; Greg Wood, North Region, Decatur; James (Moto) Williams, Chambers County; Philip Smith, Etowah County; Charles Rawls, State Office, Montgomery; Hank McKinley, Northeast Region, Gardendale; Roy Maye, Monroe County; Gene Lyons, Calhoun County; Randy Kinman, State Office, Montgomery; David Kelly, Tallapoosa County; Debbie Johnson, State Office, Montgomery; Jason Gillikin, Baldwin County; Benji Elmore, Clarke County; Kenneth Colburn, Shelby County; Bruce Bradford, Jackson County; Marti Bickley, State Office, Montgomery; and Elishia Ballentine, State Office, Montgomery.

The mission of the Alabama Forestry Commission is to protect and sustain Alabama’s forest resources using professionally applied stewardship principals and education, ensuring that the state’s forests contribute to abundant timber and wildlife, clean air and water, and a healthy economy.

  • For more information, visit http://forestry.alabama.gov
  • For more state-wide press releases, click here