The Virginia Department of Forestry is hosting a weeklong academy to train firefighters about wildland fires.           

Officials say about 300 firefighters from Virginia and seven other states are participating in the academy that began Tuesday and runs through Friday.           

About a dozen courses are being taught at Longwood University in Farmville and about 15 miles away at Prince Edward-Gallion State Forest.           

The agency says that population growth has led to home construction in rural and suburban areas. That means more people and property are at risk.           

So far this year, firefighters in Virginia have protected 46 homes and 239 other structures, such as barns, garages and sheds, from wildland fires.           

State Forester Carl Garrison says the academy will make firefighters better prepared to safely attack and suppress wildland fires.