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Wildfire Training Creates Fire Dept Cohesion

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.   —   Camp Pendleton’s Fire Department along side fire-fighting agencies from across San Diego County gathered on base to conduct wild land fire training scenarios in preparation for fire season, June 15.

Since Camp Pendleton covers more than 125,000 acres, it is necessary for the base fire department to work together with outside fire departments to assist with fire containment, in defeating what destroyed nearly 100 acres last year.

"The training scenarios are designed to make the firefighters work as one and helps build communication skills among the different fire departments," said Jeffery Wilkerson, deputy fire chief, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton Fire Dept. ”It’s important that we practice these procedures now so we can find our weakness before it’s too late.”

During the training, instructors started small controlled fires, and had each crew focus on working together to surround the fire and contain it from spreading outwards.

“Our goal is to prepare the men and women for the unpredictability that the fires on Pendleton possess,” said Wilkerson. “The fires here on base can get out of control fairly easily, so it’s important we join together and practice our techniques so we can study its behavior firsthand.”

The training not only affected those battling the fires on the ground but also gave an opportunity for the fire departments’ chiefs and commanders, who were supervising the training procedures from on top of hills, to practice where to disperse their men and study how the fires spread aboard the base.

“This was a great learning lesson for us all,” said Wilkerson. “The training we receive here today is paramount when trying to tame fires that are at this level of intensity.”

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