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New Firefighter Joins Hoosier National Forest Fire Team
Updated October 18, 2016 6:41 AM | Filed under: Fire
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(BEDFORD) - Ben Lyons joined the Hoosier National Forest fire team as a wildland firefighter in late summer.

His primary responsibilities will include wildland fire suppression, prescribed fire, and other natural resource management assignments. Lyons, along with other firefighters, are routinely dispatched off forest to help with national incidents during times when fire danger is low in Indiana.

Lyons grew up in the Huntington, IN area. Though his parents lived in town, he spent as much time as possible on his grandparents' farm. Later he started helping a friend farm, planting and harvesting for other people. He liked farming, but in the off-season he received his basic and advanced training in emergency medical services and worked for seven years as a reserve/on-call first-responder with the Wells County ambulance service.

In the same vein of emergency services, Lyons volunteered with the local Markle Volunteer Fire Department for 11 years. He also began doing wildland fire with Indiana Department of Natural Resources. In 2005 he was able to get on seasonally with the US Forest Service as a firefighter. Lyons worked seasonally most years between 2005 and 2014 in Oregon, Montana, California, and Arizona. On an early fire assignment with a state crew he worked with several people from the Hoosier National Forest.

"We all remembered Ben," Paul Fountain, a fellow wildland firefighter on the Hoosier says. "He was the kind of guy that stands out. He works really hard, shows initiative, and is always willing to jump in and do what needs to be done."

Lyon's application came through for the fire job this summer, many people were pleased to see him selected for the position, Fountain added.

Lyons was pleased as well.

"I really enjoy working in fire, the whole adventure and thrill of the job is something you can't get enough of, and I like the emergency aspect of it. But even more, I feel like we have a sense of purpose," notes Lyons.

This is his first permanent job with the Forest Service, he's worked seasonally and said it must be a lot like the military. He compared it to soldiers who return from war and feel lost - he would come home from seasonal details and miss fire, and the danger, and the crews he worked with.

Now he's a permanent part of the team.

Lyons is still trying to figure out the Forest ownership - in many western states public ownership is 60-70 percent of the land base, versus the four percent public land base in Indiana. He finds it a challenge to navigate on the scattered small land base of the Hoosier.

However, he is looking forward to the fall season with prescribed burns and getting to know the Forest better. He noted everyone has been friendly and helpful.

Lyons lives in Lawrence County. He enjoys hunting, fishing and playing sports.

For more information on the Hoosier National Forest fire crew contact the Bedford office at (812) 275-5987 or contact Ben Lyons at benjaminlyons@fs.fed.us. Ben Lyons, Brownstown District Fire fighter.

The U.S. Forest Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a mission of sustaining the health, diversity and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The Forest Service's Eastern Region includes twenty states in the Midwest and East, stretching from Maine, to Maryland, to Missouri, to Minnesota. There are 17 national forests and one national tallgrass prairie in the Eastern Region. For more information, visit www.fs.usda.gov/R9.

The U.S. Forest Service manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation's clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live. For more information, visit www.fs.usda.gov/.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (toll-free customer service), (800) 877-8339 (TDD), or (800) 845-6136 (TDD in Spanish).



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