Carson City firefighters train for wildland fires | NevadaAppeal.com

Carson City firefighters train for wildland fires

Teri Vance
Carson City Fire Department
Carson City Fire Capts. Mike Santos, left, and Jason Danen, center, conduct wildland fire training with new recruits in Carson City, Nev., on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. The crew was working with the department's seasonal wildland firefighters to practice thinning brush, running hose lines and honing skills for protecting homes from fire.
Cathleen Allison | Nevada Photo Source

YOU CAN HELP

Go to livingwithfire.info for tips to create a defensible space around your home. For information on the Carson City Fire Department’s program where trailers and dumpsters are provided for fuel management, go to carsonfire.org.

Follow the Carson City Fire Department on Facebook and Twitter. For more information, contact the Fire Prevention Bureau at 887-2210.

In a training exercise Wednesday, seasonal firefighters joined with recruits and veteran firefighters from the Carson City Fire Department to practice extinguishing wildfire and discouraging its spread.

“By training, we can hone our skills. We work together more efficiently,” said Rodd Rummel, wildland fuels management officer. “Even for seasoned veterans, training is always key to efficient and effective work.”

Crews spent the day at a north Carson home practicing different maneuvers, such as creating defensible space, thinning brush and extending the fire hose.

“We get this great, real-world training,” Rummel said. “When you throw out a hose at the fire station, it just goes nice and easy. It doesn’t get caught up on sagebrush. This is what they’re going to deal with when a real fire happens.”

In an effort to protect the home, firefighters cleared a 100-foot space around the perimeter. Rather than completely clear out the sagebrush from the field in back of the home — which would be unsightly and lead to erosion — crews thinned the brush, clearing out clumps here and there.

“It breaks up the continuity of fuel,” said Deputy Chief Bob Charles. “We take pockets of it out so if one brush catches on fire, it can’t easily jump to the next brush. It doesn’t mean it won’t burn, it just means it won’t burn as fast and won’t spread to the house.”

He encouraged homeowners to follow the tips at livingwithfire.info to make their homes more fire safe as well. The Carson City Fire Department also will provide free dump trailers for clearing defensible space.

“When we are assessing a structure during an oncoming fire, we have to identify the homes we believe we can protect,” Charles said. “If there isn’t that 30-foot defensible space, it exponentially increases the risk to a firefighter. Thirty feet is recommended, 100 is better.”

Rummel urged residents not to become complacent because there haven’t been any large wildland fires in Carson City in years, the worst in recent history being the 2004 Waterfall fire that burned 21 homes in Kings Canyon.

“We are in a wildland urban interface area, where homes are right up against open space,” Rummel said. “Anywhere you look, you can see burn scars on the mountainsides. It’s the ecosystem we live in.”

Charles added that fires can happen even in the fall into the winter, making defensible space critical year round.

“That the mistake people make,” he said. “I have fought fires with snow falling just because the fuels are readily available.