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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

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Seniors fight future fires with CDF

Dead, dried up grass, blurs past the window of a moving car. The driver finishes a cigarette and tosses it out his window. In the end, 273,246 acres, 4,847 buildings, and 15 people are gone because of one man?s negligence.

The Cedar fire occurred in Oct. 2003 around San Diego County. Though the person who started the wildfire was never determined, it remains the largest wildland fire in California history.

Last year alone, of the 74,004 acres controlled by the California Department of Forestry (CDF), 4,908 fires were reported at an estimated cost of 105.3 million dollars to suppress them.

With the Sierra Nevada?s spanning over 31 million acres, the CDF has dedicated themselves for years to the preservation and protection of California?s woodland.

While most seniors spend their last months in high school celebrating their achievements, Joey Montejano and Paul Kinear have already made future plans with the CDF.

?I wanted to be a city firefighter,? Montejano said, ?the plan is to use the forestry service to get my foot in the door and gain experience.?

The pay for a beginning forestry officer starts at $12.75 an hour with a dollar raise for a promotion to truck driver.

?When there?s no fires, our responsibility is to back up the full-time firefighters by cutting line and digging trenches,? Montejano said.

Though currently enrolled in Fresno City College, Montejano plans to join the fire academy after a few years in the forestry service to become a full-time firefighter.

Others, however, approach a CDF position as a way to escape the pressures of school and make some money for short-term benefits.

?I joined because I?ve been in school for 12 years now,? Kinear said. ?I just don?t have a desire to spend any more time in a classroom.?

Before final acceptance, each individual must take a ?pack test? where they must prove themselves competent during a two-mile hike while fully geared.

?By joining the forestry service, I?ll gain some experience in the real world,? Kinear said. ?It will give me some extra money to live off of and some time to have fun.?

Both Montejano and Kinear met all previous requirements and will start working for the CDF during the first week of June.

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