PCC Southwest offers free programs in forestry, wildfire mitigation

MANCOS – Pueblo Community College Southwest will offer two no-cost certificate programs in forestry, wildfire mitigation and natural resources starting this year.

The programs were made possible by a $429,140 Forestry and Wildfire Mitigation Workforce Development grant PCC Southwest recently received from the Colorado Commission on Higher Education.

There is a limit of 20 students for each program. The courses are open to anyone high school age or older. Students can pursue an entry-level wildland fire certificate through PCC’s wildland fire academy or enroll in a two-semester certificate program in forestry and wildland fire. 

The wildland fire academy, a one-week course, will be held the first week of June in Pagosa Springs. Registration details are being finalized. By completing the academy, participants can apply for an incident qualification card, known as a red card, or pursue a career as a junior wildland firefighter or member of a front-line fire crew.

The forestry and wildland fire certificate program will be offered beginning in August. This certification will equip students to begin careers in areas such as logging, forest thinning operations, the forest product/timber industry and more. Registration will open March 11. 

Each curriculum offers hands-on practice and field experience. Students will learn essential workforce skills such as communication, teamwork and critical thinking. In addition to firefighting, potential career paths include positions in community engagement, conservation, education and land stewardship.

PCC Southwest also plans to offer a two-year degree in forestry and natural resources in the near future.

Those interested in receiving information about the programs can contact Perry Pepper, regional director of academic services, at Perry.Pepper@pueblocc.edu or 970-564-6205, or Heather Houk, agriculture program coordinator, at Heather.Houk@pueblocc.edu or 970-564-6230.

Founded in 1933, Pueblo Community College is a premier teaching institution focused on providing academic and service excellence, without discrimination, to help its students acquire the 21st-century skills needed to better their lives. An educational and technological leader, PCC fosters economic development and utilizes strong partnerships in the communities it serves through its Pueblo, Fremont and Southwest campuses.


Lisa Snyder
Executive Dean, PCC Southwest

Perry Pepper
Regional Director of Academic Services, PCC Southwest

Amy Matthew
PCC Director of Public Relations