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From June 6-10, 2022 the Upper Arkansas Valley Wildland Fire Foundation will return to Salida for the fourth time to host roughly 300 wildland firefighters and emergency responders during the weeklong Colorado Wildland Fire & Incident Management Academy (CWFIMA). The base of training will be the Salida High School.

County residents should expect to see numerous fire agency vehicles and personnel at Salida High School, as well as at local hotels and restaurants in Salida. Breakfast and lunch will be served at the high school, but dinner of their choosing will be around town.

Campfires are a mainstay of camping, but poorly managed fires are a significant risk for major wildfires. Image: Unsplash/Colter Olmstead.

The Academy will offer 20 in-person courses and exercises related to all-hazard incident management, wildland fire, and leadership. The Academy also provides opportunities for students to train in specific job functions related to emergency response and the Incident Command System. This nationally recognized Academy is one of the oldest and largest wildland fire and incident management training events in the United States.

Since its inception in Salida in 1994, the CWFIMA has worked collaboratively with local, state, and national agencies to deliver training to more than 35,000 students. As residents know, Salida and the Upper Arkansas Valley are no strangers to wildfires. Students attending the Academy are expected to gain invaluable operational and incident command knowledge and experience that is sorely needed; the 2022 summer fire season is already an active one.

“We are excited to be returning to Salida,” said Academy Director Wendy Fischer. “Salida is where my career began with the Academy, I have many friends in the area and enjoy returning to this beautiful town, and welcoming community. It couldn’t be a more perfect location.”

“Responding to emergencies, from single incidents to large-scale disasters, requires cooperation between multiple agencies and individual emergency responders,” explained Academy Incident Commander David Carter. “Interagency Training is an essential pillar supporting our cohesive system of fire resources that effectively respond to any size and complexity of incident.” The value of incident management training has been reinforced numerous times during unprecedented wildfire seasons. Colorado responders also served throughout many all-hazard responses like hurricanes Harvey and Irma, where the Incident Command System served as the model for both response and recovery.

The CWFIMA will be hosting a CWFIMA Benefit Fund Golf Tournament on Tuesday evening, June 7 at the Salida Golf Course.  The organization is looking for hole sponsors for the golf tournament. Interested people should contact Wendy Fischer at 970-759-9610 or

The Upper Arkansas Valley Wildland Fire Foundation is also taking item donations for the Benefit Fund Silent Auction if that is a better fit for your donation.