Danville Express

Newsfront - June 22, 2007

Training burn next week

by Natalie O'Neill

A 600-acre fire will fill the sky with smoke next week near the I-680 and I-580 interchange in Dublin's Camp Parks Reserve Forces Training area. But Danville commuters need not worry.

The grass field will be lit ablaze by the San Ramon Valley, Fremont and East Bay Regional Park District fire crews June 26-27 as part of a training burn to prepare firefighters for the dry season.

"You want to practice on the real thing," said Battalion Chief Mike Brown, who is organizing the burn.

Having the ability to observe the fire's behavior and then put it out gives crews a much better idea of what to do in an actual situation, he said.

The training burn is part of an annual procedure that includes 40-50 fire engines and about 400 firefighters, Brown said. It's an opportunity for the fire districts to collaborate and learn about working together.

Last week firefighters burned a 2-3 acre perimeter to halt the fire in case it gets out of control during the upcoming burn. Grass that has already burned is not flammable so this will keep the fire contained, Brown said.

"In case anything happens, the fire runs into those black lines and stops," he said.

On training burn dates, the fire department usually gets plenty of worried phone calls from people who assume something disastrous has happened.

"Lots of people are concerned and call the dispatch office because they assume they are out of control," Brown said.

Wind and dry weather make for hazardous and fast moving fires and it's important for firefighters to understand the way a fire moves in this season, he said. Homeowners should also take note that keeping lawns and vegetation short is vital in the summer months.

"People should be preparing their property if they haven't already. Get vegetation down and open spaces tilled," Brown said.


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