(Update: Live-fire training canceled due to expected rain)
SUNRIVER, Ore. (KTVZ) — The Central Oregon Fire Management Service is partnering with local structural firefighting departments around Central Oregon to provide an immersive, scenario-based wildland firefighting program designed to illuminate firefighters’ understanding of wildland firefighting suppression tactics, mutual aid and the dynamics of interagency response in an emerging wildfire incident.
The three-day course begins with a classroom portion to familiarize participants with wildland firefighting procedures, communications and tools followed by two days of live-fire response exercises.
A live-fire portion of the course was scheduled to be held this Thursday and Friday along Forest Service Road 41 adjacent to Besson Day Use Area, but was canceled due to expected precipitation. Over 100 participants from fire departments ranging from Crescent to Warm Springs were to be in attendance.
“Firefighters were able to complete the one-day classroom portion of the training,” Deschutes National Forest Public Affairs Specialist Jaimie Olle said in an update Tuesday. “Organizers are looking at alternative opportunities for providing field experience to participants and ways to continue to foster, develop and sustain cooperator agency relationships across Central Oregon.”
The Central Oregon Wildfire School, initially developed in the 1990s, has been intermittently held over the years. The most recent iteration, beginning in 2018, revitalized and improved the program enhancing the live fire format with critical skills education.
The program serves as a collaborative effort among local agencies to foster, develop and sustain cooperator relationships while increasing knowledge around wildfire response. This amplified understanding of wildfire response strengthens and increases the success rate of diminishing catastrophic wildfire in Central Oregon.
“The training that participants receive will make them safer and more efficient firefighters,” says Sunriver Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief Rod Bjorvik. “It also improves coordination between local fire departments and our federal and state partners ultimately leading to better outcomes during response to wildfire in Central Oregon.”
Agencies involved in the planning and hosting of the training include, Bend Fire Department, Bureau of Land Management – Prineville District, Deschutes National Forest, Oregon Department for Forestry, Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training, Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal, Redmond Fire Department and Sunriver Fire Department.
The live-fire exercises were planned to give participants the opportunity to respond to a wildfire scenario while practicing dispatch protocol, fireline construction, hose lay implementation and interagency communication.
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