5 Ways To Train for the Wildland Firefighting Season

The Supply Cache Blogger |

A wildland firefighter in full gear with a helmet is seen from behind as they spray a huge blaze with a firehose.

Here’s a saying: you should always respect nature because it has no respect for you. By extension, you should also respect yourself enough to stay in the best shape possible to fight fires. Here are five ways to train for the wildland firefighting season, improving not just your physical fitness but also your endurance and mental sharpness. Staying physically fit and mentally strong is the best way to increase your chances of walking away from even the worst blazes.

Cardiovascular Exercise

Distance is a huge factor in fighting wildland fires. Wildland firefighters are less likely to face a blaze in an enclosed area limited by walls and ceilings. You’ll be called on to haul heavy loads over rough terrain, so be sure your lungs and heart are prepared to deliver the blood and oxygen that powers your efforts. Go for activities like rowing, running, cycling, and swimming.

While it’s all well and good to use exercise machines, it’s even better to exercise in the areas you might be called on to save. Get 30–45 minutes of high-intensity cardio exercises at least three times a week or more. Interval training is also a plus when building stamina.

Strength and Endurance Training

Building your strength is vital for wildland firefighting because you will be called on to carry heavy equipment, dig firelines, and other challenging tasks requiring muscle. Build strength through the usual exercises and weight training—squats, deadlifts, bench presses, lunges, pull-ups, push-ups, and the like. Do exercises that train the muscles and engage the movements you’ll use the most. Kettlebells, cables, ropes, and similar equipment can help.

Build Your Core

A strong core is necessary for fighting wildfires. It helps with balance and staying upright during the chaos of fighting a blaze. Strengthen your core through planks, leg raises, medicine ball throws, and similar exercises. Yoga and Pilates can also do wonders for building your core strength, flexibility, and general resilience.

Mental Exercises

Firefighting is 50 percent physical and 50 percent mental. Be ready for the mental as well as the physical stresses and strains of wildland firefighting by engaging in mental training. Visualization, mindfulness, meditation, controlled breathing, and similar techniques can help you stay calm, alert, and aware of your surroundings. The biggest battles often take place in our minds. Taking up martial arts is a good way to learn how to be prepared to fight while remaining calm and clear-headed.


Don’t dismiss the value of pretending! Drills and simulations of various firefighting scenarios teach you how to handle crises, create muscle memory, and diminish the possibility of panic when the chips are down. Participating in controlled burns, drills, and other exercises prepares you for the real thing and gets you used to handling the equipment and wearing your gear.

Those are just five ways to train for the wildland firefighting season. Have other questions about preparing and becoming more familiar with wildland firefighting equipment, including forestry fire nozzles? Contact us for the answers and supplies!