ECCFPD Recruits Train for Wildfires

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You may have seen the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District out in a field near JC Penny’s the last few days, have no fear as they were training the new recruits that will be helping re-open the Brentwood Station in May. The recruits were performing wild fire and brush fires drills as part of their training.  They practiced arriving on scene, unloading the engine and hooking up the hoses while heading out into a field with water flowing—they were also being timed.

This training is part of the 8-week crash course on District protocols as part of the District Orientation.

Unfortunately, they did not practice on a live fire scenario, but here are some pictures of the training

Here is some additional information on fire safety from SmokeyBear.com

Tips for Safe Debris Burning

  • Comply with Local Regulations:
    Contact your local fire department in advance to confirm that burning is allowed and to find out whether a permit is required to burn debris.
  • Check the Weather Forecast
    Weather fluctuations, such as sudden gusts of wind, could make debris burning spark a wildfire. Call your local fire department the day you plan to burn debris to finalize that the weather is safe enough to burn.
  • Choose a Safe Burning Site
    A safe site will be far away from power lines, overhanging limbs, buildings, automobiles, and equipment. It will have vertical clearance at least three times the height of the pile, as heat from the fire extends far past the actual flames that you see.It will have horizontal clearance twice the height of the debris pile.
  • Prepare the Site Correctly:
    The ground around the burn site should be surrounded by gravel or mineral soil (dirt) for at least ten feet in all directions. Keep the surrounding area watered down during the burn.
  • If using a Burn Barrel, Make Sure it is Equipped with the Proper Features
    Burn Barrels must be made of all-metal construction in good condition (no rust on the sides or bottom) and properly ventilated with three evenly-spaced, three-inch square vents spaced evenly around the rim near ground level. Each vent must be backed by a metal screen. A Burn Barrel must have a metal top screen with mesh size of one-fourth inch or finer to keep sparks from escaping and potentially sparking a wildfire. When burning, layer the different types of debris and stir often. Be careful of sparks escaping the barrel when you stir it.
  • Remain With your Fire
    Stay with your fire until it is completely out. To ensure the fire has been completely extinguished, drown the fire with water, turn over the ashes with a shovel and drown it again. Repeat several times. Check the burn area regularly over the next several days and up to several weeks following the burn, especially if the weather is warm, dry, and windy.
  • Keep it Legal
    It is illegal to burn plastic, tires, and most other waste products not from a tree or shrub.

House Safety

  • Charcoal briquettes and ash from woodstoves/fireplaces also can start wildfires. When disposing of briquettes and ash outside, drown the charcoal and ash with lots of water; stir them, and soak again. Be sure they are out cold!
  • Sparks from lawnmowers and power equipment DO start wildfires. Be careful on hot, dry days, and be sure to get your equipment checked regularly.
  • Proper car etiquette: Be sure chains and other metal parts aren’t dragging from your vehicle – they throw sparks. Check your tire pressure – driving on an exposed wheel rim can cause sparks. Be careful driving through or parking on dry grass. Hot exhaust pipes can start the grass on fire. Never let your brake pads wear too thin; metal on metal makes sparks.
  • If you are going to smoke and it is permitted outdoors, safe practices require at least a 3-foot clearing around the smoker. Grind out your cigarette, cigar, or pipe tobacco in the dirt. Never grind it on a stump or log. Never throw it away into the brush or leaves. It is unsafe to smoke while walking or riding a horse or trail bike because you never know where the ash will land. Use your ashtray while in your car.
  • Creating a 30 foot zone of fire-resistant space around your home will help prevent fires from starting near or spreading to your home. In addition, consider using fire resistant plants and landscaping that may help to protect your house from a wildfire.

For more tips on how to better protect your home visit http://www.firewise.org.