Posted: Apr 24, 2012 7:07 PM by Shelby Rhodes
Updated: Apr 24, 2012 11:48 PM
Crews from Cal Fire suited up for its annual preparedness exercise Tuesday in Atascadero.
Some of the crews were inmates through the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and California Conservation Corps. All of the firefighters have been training for months getting ready for the annual drill. It included hikes, fire line construction and a number of safety exercises.
Cal Fire Chief Robert Lewin said wild land firefighting with hand crews is a particularly dangerous type of work.
"You have people working on uneven ground, steep terrain under hot conditions both temperatures wise and with the fire. So these crews need to be ready to make sure that they're going to perform and they're going to do it safely." said Lewin.
The purpose of the exercise is to become qualified as Type 1 fire crews for emergency response. Lewin said Type 1 consists of a professional crew that is considered the best in the United States.
"These crews are the shock troops if you will on wild land fires. They're the ones that are up in the mountains, putting the fires out using the very old techniques of using hand tools and chain saws." said Lewin.
Due to last season's lack of rain, the brush is dryer than it is usually is, resulting in land that is more readily able to burn.
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