PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is taking measures to better prepare firefighters to fight wildfires.

DEM said they will offer a new training program in June to increase the state’s capacity to fight wildfires.

Officials said the “intensive, introductory” course will cover effective tools and strategies used to suppress wildfires through classroom learning and hands-on fieldwork.

The training will be free to firefighters and held at the George Washington Management Area office in Chepachet.

More than 80 brush fires cropped up across Rhode Island in 2022, including one at the Black Hut State Management Area in Burrillville that scorched roughly 8 acres.

“We strongly believe that more planned, prescribed fires mean fewer unplanned, extreme wildfires,” DEM Training Officer Ben Arnold said.

Interested parties must register by Feb. 28 and acceptance letters will be sent to those admitted to the course.

Anyone with questions should contact Ben Arnold at or Patrick MacMeekin at Visit the DEM’s website for more information.