If you encounter issues loading this site, please refresh the page by using Ctrl + F5 if on Windows or Cmd + Shift + R if on Mac.

Adult Opportunities

Chicago Wilderness Prescription Burn Crew Training (in person)

Gain the skills and knowledge to participate safely in using prescribed fire for conservation and land management.

Content Detail

Chicago Wilderness offers the Midwest Ecological Prescription Burn Crew Member Training class in person through The Morton Arboretum. Based on the National Wildfire Coordinating Group’s (NWCG) S-130 and S-190 courses, this two-day training covers the basics of topics such as fire behavior, controlled burn techniques, and smoke management. The objective is to provide participants with the background necessary to safely participate on the crew of a controlled burn.

This class will take place mostly indoors at The Morton Arboretum and will include presentations by expert instructors, live class discussions, and an in-person final exam. There will be breaks throughout the day and a lunch break in the middle of the day; please bring your own lunch and water bottle.

This program meets in person at The Morton Arboretum.

Continuing Education: Please be aware that although the training is accepted by many of the natural resource management agencies in the Chicago Wilderness region as the minimum training required for a participant on a burn crew, it does not carry the official NWCG certification. This class can be taken as a supplement to the Natural Areas Conservation Training Program in natural areas management. Learn more about N-ACT.

Instructors: John McCabe, director of resource management, Forest Preserves of Cook County and president, Illinois Prescribed Fire Council, and Jay Johnson, heritage site logistics manager, Forest Preserve District of DuPage County

Health and Safety: Program participants must abide by the Arboretum’s health and safety guidelines. Guidelines are subject to change, so please check back frequently.

Age: 16 and older

#W500

Instructors

John McCabe, director of resource management, Forest Preserves of Cook County and president, Illinois Prescribed Fire Council

John McCabe has worked for the Forest Preserves of Cook County since May 1990. He has participated in over 500 fires and is recognized as an expert in conducting prescribed burns and wildfire suppression in the urban environment. He coordinates restoration projects and manages the Natural and Cultural Resources Master Plan, which sets forth the Forest Preserves’ land management direction for the next 25 years. McCabe loves his job, as every day is an adventure at the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

Jay Johnson, heritage site logistics manager, Forest Preserve District of DuPage County

Jay Johnson is the heritage site logistics manager at the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County where he has worked for over 35 years. His love for the outdoors comes across when teaching programs about outdoor recreation and natural areas management. He instructs others on prescribed burns and river rescue as part of the Chicago Wilderness partnership. He enjoys working with special needs audiences. He earned a BS in forestry.

Program Schedule

Section A: Thursday and Friday, February 16 and 17, 2023

Section B: Saturday and Sunday, February 18 and 19, 2023

8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Arbor Room, Thornhill Education Center

What to Know

  • This class takes place mostly indoors.
  • Please bring a lunch, water bottle, and materials for taking notes and the exam.
  • You must pass the exam to earn your certificate of completion.

Donate

Your support is vital to the Arboretum, where the power of trees makes a positive impact on people’s lives.

Make a gift