Training for the upcoming wildfire season
Sublette County and Forest Service Firefighters train together
by Joe Sampson
June 23, 2011
Sublette County fire season is quickly approaching. The news media is currently filled with articles of the devastating fires occurring in the south west portion of the U.S. Even though we are still feeling the effects of a lingering cold and wet spring, our minds are on the ever present flood conditions. The prospects of an active fire season cannot be dismissed.
The Sublette County Firefighters, which consist of Bondurant, Daniel, Kendall Valley/Cora, Pinedale, Big Piney/Marbleton and Boulder Fire Departments headed by the County Fire Warden TJ Hunt, while still engaged with the problematic flood conditions, are now preparing for the upcoming wildland fire season. Every year in the month of June the Sublette County Firefighters, along with the local U.S. Forest Service (USFS) personnel, conduct a joint training exercise. This joint training, known as the Sublette County Interagency Fire Day, ensures that the different agencies can work together in an effective and safe manner, extinguishing wildland fires.
In the early part of June the USFS, County Fire Warden and Fire Chiefs of the county fire departments met to discuss and plan the events for the upcoming training. A scenario was developed to simulate fire operations that would occur on the fire ground of an actual incident. The Forest Service and fire department chiefs would jointly teach the different evolutions to the firefighters.
On the morning of June 18th at 7:30 AM, the USFS, Sublette County Firefighters, Emergency Management Coordinator and EMS personnel converged on the winter parking area of the Horse Creek entrance to the Bridger-Teton National Forest. The Emergency Management Coordinator, Jim Mitchell, provided the command/communication trailer. All firefighting personnel, vehicles and equipment were checked in.
The training began with the morning briefing. Communications making sure that all personnel could communicate with one another. Then on to fire behavior and spot weather observations. From there it moved on to wildland fires in hazardous areas (oil/gas fields in particular). The afternoon consisted of three stations, pump and roll (fighting fires with mobile units), stationary pumps (the different types) and GPS and maps orientation with an exercise in fire shelter deployment. Training ended with an after action review and comments from all members participating. Some of the comments were:
"Great start of the season refresher" Vern Setser Big Piney/Marbleton Fire
"Good instructors" Chad Kuhn Boulder Fire
"Great meeting fellow firemen, good training" Tom Rooks Bondurant Fire
Over 30 firefighters participated with personnel from the USFS and all the county fire departments in attendance. The training was a success due to the hard work of Paul Hutta, Mark Randell and Rick Lancaster of the USFS, TJ Hunt County Fire Warden, all the County Fire Chiefs including Richard Thomas Bondurant, Ben Franklin Daniel, Joe Sampson Kendall Valley/Cora, Alvin Mitchell Pinedale, John Ball Big Piney/Marbleton and John Blaha Boulder, EMC Jim Mitchell, and EMT Dawn Perry.
If any member of the Sublette County community would be interested in joining one of the local fire departments, contact the department in your area or call the Sublette County Fire Fighter’s at 307-367-8872.
Photos by T.J. Hunt