Monday, March 23, 2015

Alumni Spotlight-- Bradley Barker

This is the first in a recurring series of posts about TTU Fire alumni and their current positions.

Brad Barker graduated from Texas Tech's Department of Natural Resources in May 2014.  Since graduation, he has been employed with The Nature Conservancy's Arkansas Field Office.  Below he discusses his current position.

I work on the burn crew for The Nature Conservancy in Arkansas. We are responsible for burning TNC, private, state, and federal lands across Arkansas. TNC’s goals are to reintroduce fire back into the landscape, restore prairies, cut back on herbaceous and woody fuels, decrease invasive plant species, consume leaf and pine duff, and manage habitat for the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker.

Brad on an RXburn in pine

2015 TNC burn crew
This job has been a lot of fun-- my favorite part has been to burn in all types of fuel models and to see a variety of fire behavior. 

Working for TNC is a great way to gain experience and get a foot in the door with a variety of agencies. I have been lucky enough to make connections with hot shot crews, the Forest Service, and the Game and Fish Commission.
My advice for anyone trying to get into this field is to prepare to work hard; putting in fireline is not easy work. 

Fire jobs require a great deal of physical and mental strength, long hours, and working for multiple weeks with no days off. Also, I recommend being outgoing and outsourcing yourself; the fire world is a small community, and everyone knows somebody.