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Local fire investigators training in Atascadero

Atascadro training burn.JPG
Posted at 6:15 PM, Jun 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-07 23:51:42-04

Some local firefighters spent their Tuesday morning training in Atascadero.

A crew of fire investigators will also train on Wednesday in order to learn how to identify fires potentially caused by arson.

"This fire season, we decided that it'd be good to do some sort of wildland refresher," said City of Atascadero Fire Investigator Zach Jackson.

"We're conducting a series of small parcel burns and support of our SLOFIST, our arson investigation task force, to come out and actually figure out how each one of the fires was uniquely started and location of where it was started," said City of Atascadero Fire Department Battalion Chief of Operations Matt Miranda.

Local firefighters from Atascadero, Templeton and Morro Bay have been involved in the two-day training.

"We build that crew cohesion among all the different agencies and that goes a long way for our capabilities on what our comfort levels are moving into the fire season," said Jackson.

"When we looked at a realistic training window, this was our last week to get it done," said Miranda.

Fire Chief Casey Bryson said the objective is to provide arson investigators with a realistic environment where they will work in teams to determine exactly where and how the fire started based on the evidence left behind.

"It's a very precise type of eye that takes to figure all these ones out and it takes a lot of time and practice," said Miranda.

"We were able to use a blower to simulate more of a running fire versus a regular low intensity," said Jackson. "Most of the fire that we had here was low intensity until we got the blower. We were able to get some good movement."

The training also allowed firefighters to experiment with different ways of containing and putting out fires depending on certain scenarios.

"We are getting ahead of them a little bit and giving them something to look at, something to investigate, and work on their skills as fire investigators," said Miranda. "Them being able to walk in there completely cold and learn from the beginning is a huge opportunity."

"We were able to utilize PHOS-CHEK, the company," said Jackson. "They came out and treated some areas, so we were able to actually see how fire burns interact with that."

Local firefighters will continue to train in Atascadero off of Del Rio Road on Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.