USA — El Centro fire stations were out Saturday and Sunday for their wildland and urban interface training.
About 11 firefighters participated in the training on both days, said acting Battalion Chief Trey Faubion.
Firefighters practiced the use of their handheld tools that would be utilized during a wildland fire, Firefighter Nick Cardone said. A wildlife fire is an uncontrolled fire near combustible vegetation.
Wildland fires occur in the countryside or a wilderness area.
Cardone said although wildland fires are not as typical in the Imperial Valley, firefighters need to be trained on the safety precautions, tools and tactics in case they are deployed on a strike team to help elsewhere.
Fortunately we have several people here that have previously worked in the wildland setting before, Faubion said. So they have a lot of knowledge and were able to help some of the firefighters out during the training.
Typically training is web- or video-based, said Johnny Romero, engineer with the El Centro Fire Department.
Its not often that we get to go out on the field and practice with the tools, Romero said.
Cardone gave a quick presentation of the handheld tools that would be utilized during a wildland fire.
Cardone held up an axe Pulaski and said the tool can be used to dig into the ground.
During a fire, roots underground can transfer heat, Cardone said.
The mattock on the other end of the axe is used to dig into the dirt and remove that root, he said.
Also, the wildland uniform differs from a structure fire uniform, Cardone said.
Wildland fires exert less heat than a structure fire; therefore firefighters only need two layers when out on the field, Cardone said.
In the case that a firefighter may be surrounded by intense heat, they would deploy their fire shelter shield, he said.
If a fire picks up and you need to find safety, you deploy your shield, he said.
The shield is meant to reflect radiant heat and withstand up to 300 degrees, Cardone said.
Wildland firefighting can be challenging, he said.