Southern Utah Fire Departments Train for Upcoming Wildfire Season

Apr 27, 2019, 5:30 PM | Updated: 6:26 pm

Washington County, Utah – It’s a sure-tell sign of summer in Utah.

Firefighters clad in green and yellow.

Although it’s not quite summer yet, it’s definitely time for wildland firefighting crews to start getting ready for it.

That’s why several fire crews in Southern Utah did a little training Saturday… to remember what it’s like to do this type of work.

“Fire season is only about a month away,” said Charles Peterson, a firefighter with the Santa Clara / Ivins Fire Department. “This is a good opportunity to get out engines out and get the equipment running.”

Crews spend time in the Kayenta area working on fire trucks, pumping water, and going through different scenarios.

“Kind of knock the rust off and get everybody ready for the upcoming fire season,” said Washington County Fire Warden Adam Heyder.

As far as what the upcoming fire season looks like, Utah had a lot of rain and snow this winter, which has caused a lot of vegetation to grow.

That vegetation will eventually dry out and become possible fuel for a wildfire.

“There’s potential there to have large, fast moving grass fires throughout the fire season,” said Heyder.

A big part of Saturday’s training including visiting homes in Kayenta where the desert meets houses.

Crews simulated going door to door, looking at escape routes, and predicting where a fire could burn.

“There is a lot of potential for fire here,” said Peterson.

And since local departments usually are the first crews on a fire, they practice together to get used to each other.

“It’s super important for multiple agencies to come together,” said Lt. Mark Youngberg with the Santa Clara / Ivins Fire Department. “The more we can train together, the better we work together in real life scenarios.”

No one knows for sure what the fire season will bring this year, but because of that, fire crews train as if it’s going to be the worst one on record.

“That’s how we train,” said Heyder. “We have to have that kind of mindset going into every fire season so we’re prepared and things don’t catch us off guard.”

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Southern Utah Fire Departments Train for Upcoming Wildfire Season