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Wildfire Frontlines

Corey Cason news photo

by Bethel University

Corey Cason news photo

Nov. 16, 2020 - California is no stranger to wildfires, but this year produced the fourth largest wildfire and the single largest fire in the state’s history, the Creek Fire. Corey Cason, a Bethel University online student, spent 21 days fighting the Creek Fire. The fire started on Sept. 4 and is still burning today.

“The fire exploded in size in the first week and at the height of the incident had over 3,000 firefighters assigned to it,” Cason stated. “The fire covered over 360,000 acres and destroyed over 800 structures.”

During his time at Creek Fire, Cason continued to take classes through Bethel’s College of Professional Studies, working towards his Business Leadership degree.

He said, “Many times in the 21-day deployment I was typing a paragraph or two from the seat of my fire truck during a lunch break, or after dinner and before bed. On one occasion, I had to drive down the mountain until I was in a better cellular service area to find my citations and submit my assignment.”

Before beginning work at a new fire department in July of 2019, Cason was not familiar with Bethel University. His mentor told him about going through the program and the success he had and encouraged Cason to consider the program.

“One of my department mentors graduated from Bethel University online and influenced me to apply,” Cason stated. “In turn, I influenced my whole station crew also to apply and go through the program with me. Last-minute, my Battalion Chief applied and took the program with us as well.”

Cason first joined the fire service in 2004 as a volunteer while finishing high school. He enjoyed it so much that he finished EMT and Wildfire Academy before graduating. After that, Cason completed Fire Academy and went to work at Central Valley in California and was promoted to the rank of captain during his time there. Currently, he works for the North Central Fire Protection District in Fresno City.

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