Have you ever wondered what it takes to become a wildland firefighter? It takes both educational and physical training. Wildland firefighters combat active fires and work to prevent future fires from starting. A range of federal, state and local agencies and organizations depend on these highly skilled firefighters to be at the ready for deployments during fire season and for forestry projects developed to prevent wildfire. The work is always strenuous and fitness is essential. An important element of becoming a wildland firefighter is passing the Work Capacity Test. The test was developed by a past president of the American College of Sports Medicine and evaluates stamina and endurance. These are the three testing levels:

  • Pack Test -Arduous – 3 miles, 45lbs, in 45 minutes
  • Field Test – Moderate – 2 miles, 25lbs, 30 minutes
  • Walk Test – Light – 1 mile, no weight, 16 minutes

The Coalition for the Upper South Platte (CUSP) has a Wildfire Suppression Program with our own wildland firefighting team. Our team works locally and deploys nationally when called. To support this invaluable resource, CUSP is hosting Pack for the Platte (P4P), an annual fundraiser using the Pack Test as a fun and challenging event that engages firefighters and outdoor enthusiasts alike while raising money for a great cause. P4P is an opportunity for the public to learn about wildland firefighting from the firefighters themselves. It is a venue for wildland firefighters to take their monitored Pack Test and for individuals and teams to test their endurance and stamina.

CUSP will be premiering Pack for the Platte on Sunday, May 7, 2017, as an extension of National Wildfire Preparedness Day, held the Saturday before. That Saturday, May 6th, CUSP will be working with homeowners in Palmer Park on neighborhood fuels reduction projects. P4P will take place at the New Santa Fe Regional Trail in Monument, starting at the Baptist Road Trailhead. This very popular trail is a perfect location for this event as it provides a smooth, flat surface for this demanding challenge.

P4P is a community event. Many firefighters and regional departments are participating and teams (a minimum of 4 people per team) are encouraged to sign up for friendly competitions. Booths/tables will be set up to provide information and on-site activities for kids and vendors will have food for purchase. It is also a great volunteer opportunity. We need people to help with several event related tasks, from helping with registration and set-up to assisting with various logistic details. If you or your company is looking for a great event to sponsor, this is the perfect time to get in on the ground floor of what promises to be a well-attended and popular competition. For registration costs and details or to learn more about sponsorships or volunteering , please visit www.cusp.ws/p4p/ or call the CUSP office at 719-748-0033.

Event Day Details

7:30 am —   Registration Begins
8:45 am —   Registration Closes for Firefighters  – remains open for public until 10:45a
9:00 am —   P4P Pack for the Platte Pack Test Starts – Firefighters

Heat 1 – Arduous Test – 3 miles, 45lbs, 45 minutes

Heat 2 – Field Test  – 2 miles with 25lbs, 30 minutes

Walk Test – 1 mile, no weight, 16 minutes


11:00 am — P4P Pack for the Platte Pack Test Starts – Public

Heat 1 – Arduous Test – 3 miles, 45lbs, 45 minutes (with or without weight)

Heat 2 – Field Test  – 2 miles with 25lbs, 30 minutes (with or without weight)

Heat 3 – Walk Test – 1 mile, no weight, 16 minutes


1:00  – Awards Ceremony