Several of the classes involve realistic training scenarios with live fire and smoke at the Wyoming Fire Academy, as pictured here from the 2013 school. (Ernie Over photo) 

(Riverton, Wyo.) – This weekend will be a busy one in and around Riverton with the annual Mid Winter Fire School taking place at various locations around the city with about 500 people expected to attend. Captain Scott Walters of the Riverton Volunteer Fire Deparatment is in his fourth year as chairman of this big event, which involves firefighters from across the state, and neighboring states. The event is hosted by the RFD and the Wyoming State Firemen’s Association.

“We have 400 students pre-registered, mostly from Wyoming but also from montana, Colorado and Utah. We even have a Connecticut registration this year,” he said. “We’ll also have about 60 instructors coming from around the state and country, and I think we have some 40 vendors lined up.”

A firefighter in the confined space rescue training. (EO)

Confined space rescue training. (EO)

The events are happening at the Wyoming Fire Academy on Smith Road, RFD Station #1, Central Wyoming College and the Elks Lodge #1693. Thirty-Five different classes will be taught this year, including wild land, structural and live fires, ventilation techniques, automobile extrication, combined space rescue, pumper truck instruction, fire cause origin, HazMat and leadership classes, Walters said.

The Mid Winter Fire School has been a local tradition since 1972 and over 20,000 firefighters have attended. “We have everything from basic firefighting training to advanced, and I think we have some of the best instructors in the nation that come here every year,” Walters said.

Registration begins Friday morning at 10 a.m. with various associations and groups with business meetings on Friday with classes on Saturday and Sunday morning.

The Riverton Elks Lodge #1693 will be hosting a Taco Bar dinner at the lodge for the fire school participants on Saturday night, with entertainment to follow (This event is for participants only, it is not open to the public).

Craig Haslam, Fremont County Fire Protection District Chief, is also the president this year of the Wyoming Fire Chiefs Association. That association is paying the tuition for the volunteer and volunteer and combination department firefighters to attend thanks to a Wyoming Firefighters Recruitment and Retention Grant.

Wyoming State Fire Marshall Lanny Applegate, formerly of Lander, said firefighters would “have the opportunity to experience some of the best educational fire training available with professional instructors” at this year’s event.