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IDAHO CITY -- Millions of acres were burned last year, and hundreds of people throughout Idaho were forced to evacuate as wildfires ripped through the state.

Fire season is here again with one burning now in Arizona.

Meanwhile, dozens in Idaho City are getting the training needed this week to be on the front lines this summer.

In a single file line, crews walked up to their first wildfire. With tools in hand, they got instructions on how to fight it.

The practice burn seemed all too real for the men and women not used to being so close to the smoke and flames.

All morning, crews worked feverishly to build fire lines, digging out an 18-inch trench around the blaze to contain it.

Nineteen-year-old Bryan Cobarubias says he wants to make wildland firefighting his career.

It's definitely a lot different than being away there and just doing the schooling, but when you come out here you get a lot more of the hands on, you get the feel for it, you got the smoke and you breathe the smoke, and you have a different mentality, said Cobarubias.

It's physically and mentally exhausting, especially with the threat so real.

Physically, but a lot of it's mental, you have to be mentally stable to be out here, said Cobarubias.

It's the men and women, some students, some with other jobs, who will be certified to fight wildfires after this week.

It's a training program offered by the U.S. Forest Service for anyone who's interested.

The veteran firefighters teaching the school say this day in the field is the most valuable.

I think it's going pretty good, definitely had the smoke to give them that stress, fatigue factor instead of digging a line in the woods for practice, and then we're trying to mix up the tools so everyone gets to see how they handle it differently, said crew boss Tim Garity.

As the 70 firefighters-in-training worked, some, like Josiah Dixon, fell in love with the excitement and stress of one of the toughest and most dangerous jobs.

We're all having fun, we're all having fun, we're out of breath, but it's fun, said Dixon.

Once the week long training is complete, these men and women can immediately join a Hot Shots crew or be on a list where they're called in when needed to fight fires.

This is the first year that a crew of 20 young men, ages 18 to 21, enrolled in a Job Core program, will be a permanent resource for the Boise National Forest.

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