Agencies practice for next fire season | NevadaAppeal.com

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Agencies practice for next fire season

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Chris Ketring, gesturing with his hand; Isaac Powning, right, and Casey Jones work a wildfire scenario at the Nevada Army National Guard building in Carson City on Wednesday.

With the National Weather Service predicting Nevada will see a dryer, warmer summer than last year, fire agencies from state, federal and local levels converged on the Army National Guard Armory in Carson City to coordinate firefighting efforts Wednesday.

“This is our preseason game, our practice,” said Carson City Fire Chief Stacey Giomi.

The region’s top command staff engaged in the drill to practice resource deployment, strategies and tactics.

On 4-by-6-foot “sand tables” Carson City, Lyon, Douglas and Storey county fire department personnel worked next to crews from the Nevada Division of Forestry, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, North Lake Tahoe, Sparks, Mammoth Lakes and CalFire. Representatives from Sierra Pacific Power and Southwest Gas were also on hand for the drill.

The exercise, in which hundreds participated, used the scenario of three wildland fires burning at the same time in the Sierra region to evaluate the Sierra Front’s capabilities during wildland fire incidents.

“This is the proving ground for our incident commanders; ultimately, it will make them more capable,” said Giomi.

He said the training has a side benefit in that the neighboring jurisdictions can exchange cell phone numbers and meet face to face in a relaxed setting instead of during an actual fire when they are focused on fighting.

“We’re building those relationships now instead of then,” he said.

Franklin Pemberton, spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service, Carson Ranger District, said the practice helps the crews run a seamless operation when the need arises.

“To borrow a phrase from the National Guard – train like you fight, fight like you train,” he said. “This puts us all basically on the same page. If you live in a fire environment like we do, you’re going to have wildland fire.”