Wildland Fire Training

By: Marcus Washington
By: Marcus Washington

February 26, 2006

The Virginia Department of Forestry held their annual wildlands fire training Sunday in Nelson County.

Wildland fires turn areas that we are use to seeing in the Charlottesville area to destroyed burned dry land.

"A lot of it is because people are burning debris and they don't take the proper precautions in order to keep the fire from getting away," Martha Warring, Nelson County Forester.

The Virginia department of forestry worked with nearly 70 firefighters and private citizens, training them to be ready if any Wildland fire comes our way.

Warring adds, “This helps them as far as knowing what to do when they get out there and especially from a safety standpoint.”

Firefighters usually train on building or house fires routinely, but battling a Wildland fire can be a bigger challenge.

“It could be spread out over hundreds and hundreds of acres,” said Matt Walker, Albemarle County firefighter. “Resources get spread thin trying a different way of attacking it.”

They end up attacking the fire any way to make sure the fire doesn't get the upper hand. George Stephens fought against the 1998 Wildland fire in Head Mountain and he says training like today keeps their skills polished and refined.

“We meet and we train; we compare notes," said George Stephens, North Garden Volunteer Fire Company. “We do lessons learned much like we did today and where we can recap…if we made mistakes we won't make that same mistake and we learn from that.”

If you would like to know more about Wildland fires or training, just log onto www.dof.virginia.gov.

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