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Chester Progressive
Chester , California
June 11, 2014     Chester Progressive
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June 11, 2014

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i~ulletm, Kecora, 'rogress ve, Heporter Wednesday, June 11, 2014 18 INSIDE SECTION B: EDITORIAL OPINIONS UPCOMING EVENTS :! Samantha P. Hawthorne Staff Writer .....: ........ tactics of local Forest Servme agencies were under much scrutiny during the 2012 Chips Fire, and many citizens were concerned responders did not handle the situation in a timely manner. Almanor Ranger District Prevention Officer Melissa Hennessey said there are many factors considered when suppressing a fn'e, but the No. 1 goal is always safety. "One of the 10 fn'e orders we abide by is to fight fire aggressively but provide for safety in'st," said Hennessey. In preparation for the approaching fire season, and to ensure initial responses are as productive as possible, the ranger district staged a surprise wildfn'e suppression training May 15, approximately 10 miles outside of Chester. Although it was just a drill, all personnel were ready to attack the fire head on to ensure it did not spread outside its intended 15-mile radius. The exercise was staged just as if the fire were :accidental. At approximately 10:39 a.m. dispatch radioed out to all of the district's available resources in response to a smoke report 2 miles west of Stump Ranch. To avoid startling the public, Almanor Ranger District firefighters staged fire. Engine crews put out hose lays to aid in fire suppression efforts. Fire crew members head to the fire site with their tools of the trade. dispatch used the admin net frequency to make the call. Resources called to the scene included battalions 11 and 12; engines 12, 14 and 16; water tender 185; and ARD crew 1. The training exercise included five new firefighters, one of whom had never been on scene before, and three trainees who were assigned to take the rolls of engine boss, incident Commander and burn boss. There were very light winds that morning, with the expectation of heavier winds by the afternoon. The area being staged had relatively low fuel loading, and is part of Almanor Basin's defensible fuel profile zone. Before staging the drill, ARD received permission to do so create control lines to create "One of the 10 fire orders we abide by is to fight fire aggressively but provide for safety first." Melissa Hennessey Almanor Ranger District Prevention Officer from the Plumas County Air Quality Advisory. First on scene was the assigned incident commander, which in this case was John (Scotty) Outland, an incident commander type 4 trainee with nine years of fire suppression experience. As IC, his job was to "size up" the scene and ensure the area was safe enough for crews to move forward. a defensible barrier around the The Forest Service size-up report consists of determining the incident type, figuring out precise location and jurisdiction, estimating the incident size and status of the fire, establishing a name for the fire, examining weather conditions, monitoring radio frequencies, formulating the best access route, assessing if Alm a n orf~ , there are any special hazards or concerns and calling out for additional resources if needed. After assessing the situation, Outland called crews forward. Engine 12 showed up first, followed by crew 1 marching in on foot. According to Hennessey, the engines park as close to the fire as they can and the crews park far from the scene and march in as a safety precaution. Engines 16 and 14 See Training, page 16B featuring exquisite fine dining. Dinner Served Tues.-Sat. Starting at 4 p.m. Chef Chucl Romo of Pioneer Saloon Home of the Brubeck Bar (from the historic Amedee Hotel) and featuring Custom Classic Cocktails Find us on Facebook