Firefighters anticipate likely busy fire season

Jun 1, 2018, 10:01 PM | Updated: Jun 3, 2018, 6:41 am

HUNTSVILLE, UTAH – About 80 firefighters from Rich, Box Elder, Cache and Weber Counties dispatched from a base camp in the Ogden Valley for a full day of wildfire training Friday. This is the 9th annual training of its kind to be held by the region.

Dustin Richards

“This is a huge part of preparing and getting ready for the upcoming year,” said Dustin Richards, a fire management officer for the US Forest Service. “It gives the opportunity to physically get out and see what needs to be done on the fire line before there really is a fire.”

While accurately forecasting a fire season is nearly impossible, Richards notes that the fuels in the northern part of the state are primed for a busy summer and fall.

A firefighter waters down simulated hot spots in a training area.

“I would think with the winter we had, and the weather we’ve got right now, I would think that we could possibly have a pretty extreme year in parts of Northern Utah,” Richards explained.

Between Friday and Saturday, firefighters will train on a number of different scenarios, from digging fire lines, to defending structures. As fire crews brush up on their skills, Richards warns that people in general need to sharpen their own fire safety practices.

A group of firefighters plan their approach during a wildfire scenario Friday.

“Every year, we have some human started fires,” Richards said. “It’s very frustrating.”

Richards added that people should avoid using fireworks in restricted areas, and make sure campfires are completely out when finished.

“Fire is a living thing, and it will catch up with you if you’re not being cautious,” he said.

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Firefighters anticipate likely busy fire season