By LIZA PULSIPHER
The season has yielded a few single-tree, lightning-strike fires, one half-acre, human-caused fire and a couple of false alarms on the North Zone of the Sawtooth Forest. As the temperatures continue to rise, the fuels become drier, increasing the odds of another large forest fire. Considering the slow start to our season, readers might wonder what the fire crews do in their spare time. Besides the standard daily tasks of physical training, equipment checks, fire behavior classes and various projects throughout the forest, the answer to that would be practice!
Beginning in the latter part of June, the forest engines out of Ketchum and Stanley have been getting together every Thursday to review and perform tasks that would be implemented in a live fire situation. They have extensively gone over the workings of positive-displacement and centrifugal pumps, efficiently setting up progressive hose lays, crew cohesion and communication, accurate use of GPS units, radio communications and creating and maintaining proper escape routes and safety zones. This Thursday will include an in-depth course in understanding and using maps and compasses. In addition to the Thursday training days, crews never miss an opportunity to practice, often simulating their own training scenarios throughout the week.
When fires occur, these training exercises help your local firefighters to be more prepared, refreshed in knowledge and have the memory markers built to efficiently fight fires aggressively while providing for safety first.
To report wildfires, call (800) 974-2373.