Smoke billowed over Lakeview on the morning of Friday, May 16, from a training burn set by the Lakeview Fire Department on the hillside above 3rd street and north E street.
Six volunteer fire fighters set waterlines and began igniting sagebrush and wild plums to clear out fire fuel hazards in the hills behind several businesses on land owned by Carl Tracy.
“We don’t get a lot of opportunities to train on sage brush, but we get two to three sage brush and grass fires a year,” said Lakeview Fire Chief Dennis Morrill. “Where this type of training really comes into play is if the state or forest service has a big fire and our volunteers are on contract with forest service or BLM to assist if needed, so this gives them a bit of practical experience.”
Approximately an acre of brush was burned, with the fire being completely extinguished by noon, cleaning out the larger brush to reduce the fire risk.
Six fire fighters worked on controlling the fire including Dustin Stubbs, Geoff Pointere, Cory Thornton, Mike McCray, Jeff Boucher and Fire Chief Morrill.
“It’s just good training for us,” added Morrill. “Usually we’re going over the same stuff in the classroom all the time, so the more practical training we can get the better to keep our skills up and the boys happy.”
Considering the dry winter it could be a busy summer for fire fighters in the region, making practical training operations a valuable opportunity to hone skills prior to fire season. Recently a house in Lakeview was burned offering fire crews from around the county an opportunity to train in a house fire setting.
“It’s a good training opportunity, Carl Tracy wanted the area cleaned up a little bit, and this gives some of our guys who haven’t done this before a little chance to get some experience with it,” said Morrill.
Beyond the brush adorning nearby hillsides being reduced by fire crews, it is also important that residents make an effort to reduce dry vegetation growth to prevent the possibility of fires. Lakeview Town Council recently approved funding to support forest service and prison crews working in Bullard Canyon to reduce fire fuels, and urge citizens to also take a proactive approach in preventing fires by reducing the amount of overgrowth in yards.