BLM California News.bytes 
News.bytes Extra, issue 580

Department of the Interior Wildland Fire Engine Academy

Fighting wildland fire is inherently a dangerous job, including operating engines.

Engine crews go through a towing exercise at the Prairie City State Vehicle Recreation Area.
Engine crews go through a towing exercise at the Prairie City State Vehicle Recreation Area.

A two-week-long engine academy at state facilities near Sacramento trained engine crews from Department of Interior agencies on how to safely and aggressively fight fire. Engine crews from the Bureau of Land Management, Parks Service and Fish and Wildlife Service learned a variety of skills.

 In exercises at Prairie City and the Cal Fire Training Academy at Ione, crews took engines up a steep rough grade.
In exercises at Prairie City and the Cal Fire Training Academy at Ione, crews took engines up a steep rough grade.

 
“It’s really been a team effort,’ said Kipp Morrill, incident commander for the academy.
 

 In exercises at Prairie City and the Cal Fire Training Academy at Ione, crews took engines topping a steep grade
In exercises at Prairie City and the Cal Fire Training Academy at Ione, crews took engines topping a steep grade.

The academy used the Prairie City State Vehicular Recreation Area to practice skills including driving up and down steep grades, driving through loose rock and over obstacles, and on side hills.

 In exercises at Prairie City and the Cal Fire Training Academy at Ione, crews took engines down a steep grade
In exercises at Prairie City and the Cal Fire Training Academy at Ione, crews took engines down a steep grade.

Academy members also trained at the CAL FIRE training facility at Ione. They attended classroom training and did hands-on training in pump operations, preventive maintenance and other skills. Engine crews practiced driving on a slick skid pad with a loaded engine and did a nighttime exercise in the “wui village.” That exercise used structures typical of houses in the wildland-urban interface.

 Engine crew members learn pump maintenance skills.
Engine crew members learn pump maintenance skills.

Engine operators needed to decide whether to drive forward, back in or send a lead party on foot when faced with a long, narrow driveway leading to a home. The village has typical hazards firefighters face in that environment such as propane tanks that could explode and powerlines that could drop on firefighters or the engine.
 

-- David Christy, Public Affairs Specialist, Central California District (May 2013)

BLM California
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