By Madisen Keavy

ELDORADO NATIONAL FOREST (CBS13) — Wildfire preparations are already underway, and in some cases, happening sooner than they ever have before due to an earlier start to the wildfire season in California.

At the Eldorado National Forest, now is the time to train the potential workforce and open the door to opportunities within the national park. The week-long training program held in April is the first to be held during the spring season. Typically, the introductory training course is held during winter months as to not interfere with wildfire season. The training is taught by U.S. Forest Service firefighters and includes both classroom and hands-on lessons.

READ MORE: California Gov. Newsom Criticizes GOP After Texas School Shooting: 'Who The Hell Are We If We Cannot Keep Our Kids Safe'

“The fire environment is becoming increasingly active. We’re seeing fires get a lot bigger and lot faster than we have in the past. We’re needing more firefighters on the ground than in the past,” said Kaleena Lynde, Eldorado National Forest fire prevention technician. 

Lynde explained that the training does not require previous experience, only that participants are U.S. citizens, over 18 years old, and have a driver’s license. The rest, she said, is about their drive.

“It takes a special person, it’s not an easy job,” said Lynde.

The training is for people who want to become wildland firefighters, or learn more about the job. There is a need for candidates who want to do the work, according to Lynde. The training gives an idea in a short amount of time of what it may look like to be a wildland firefighter, and at the very least, get them in the door for other opportunities.

Blackhawk Helicopter ‘On Call’ in Placerville

The USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region have a Sikorsky UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter at the Placerville Airport on a “call when needed” basis to fight wildfires.

READ MORE: Wildfire In Colusa County Explodes In Size, Containment At 30%

It can carry up to 920 gallons of water and fly for 2.5 hours at a time before refueling, which is ample time to fight wildfires across the state, and specifically, within the region. It is the largest and fastest helicopter used for water drops on wildland fires.

It goes anywhere it’s needed, and typically leads initial attacks on wildfires as well as protecting life and property when there is an immediate need.

“There’s a lot of Blackhawks working on fires and I think they’ve become a fantastic resource. It seems like we’re going to see a lot more of these out here in the future,” said Ross.

Ross, who has flown the Blackhawk over Northern California fires before, said some days are better than others.

“You get fires that are burning through homes and stuff. Those days are rough. The ones you feel like you have an impact are much better,” said Ross.

“Once [fires] start, it’s very hard to catch. We’re trying to be ahead of the game,” said Michael Stelp with the Eldorado National Forest.

MORE NEWS: World's Strongest Man Competition Returns To Sacramento

The Blackhawk’s placement is strategic in Placerville as it sits in the middle of many areas that may require support during wildfire season. It can also travel where it’s needed statewide if there is a more wildfire immediate threat.