FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE) – With drought conditions in California, fire crews are preparing for a challenging wildfire season.
Fire crews go through a series of trainings to practice their wildland skills, from structure defense to progressive hose lay.
“They’ll be completing 1,200-foot hose lay, adding 100 foot, 100 foot, and simulating putting out a fire,” CAL Fire Fresno County Battalion Chief Dan Urias said.
That training came into play during Thursday’s 60-acre fire in northeast Fresno that started at a commercial building and extended to vegetation.
“This training directly correlates to what we saw yesterday,” Urias said. “Twenty to 25 mph sustained winds we had, it really posed a true challenge to us because the fire was influenced by the wind and it was just hard for us to establish perimeter control to finally put it to bed.”
While speaking with Urias during the interview, a wildland fire had broken out on Gibbs Ranch Road in Tollhouse.
“The fire was about one acre,” CAL Fire Fresno-Kings Unit Battalion Chief Shawn Hogan said. “Three of the engines were at the training and they applied it here. They were laying hose lines, 100-foot sections at a time to encircle the fire to stop it.”
With 41 counties in the state under a drought emergency, they’re preparing for what could come.
Urias said Friday’s training gave them an opportunity to evaluate where they’re at and ensure that firefighters are 100% prepared.
“With the drought conditions, and as critical as the fuels and everything is right now, it’s one of those situations where we have to do the training,” Urias said. “We have to be on top of our game. We have to have our training at tip top condition because we are the ones who are responding.”