The 14th Annual Arizona Wildfire & Incident Management Academy kicked off at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University on Saturday, March 5. Around 340 students, instructors and incident management team members were on campus as the week-long training began and of the 749 students registered for this year, about 600 are from Arizona according to a press release from Arizona Wildfire Academy Public Information Officer Punky Moore. Other students were from 27 states, including New York, Florida and Montana.

At the morning briefing on Saturday, Incident Commander for the Academy Todd Abel told students to challenge their instructors and absorb as much information as possible.

“Building the relationships that will be important to you down the road, starts at the academy,” Abel said in the release.

Since the Academy began, nearly 9,000 students have received training certificates, the release stated. About $3,000 was donated to help provide scholarships to students.

The academy’s mission is to develop professional and safe responses in the wildland environment by offering training and education that meets National Wildfire Coordinating Group standards. Those interested in donating can visit or mail to AWIMA, 1700 Iron Springs Road.

For questions, call the information center between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. at 928-777-3473.