WeatherFire Watch


Local firefighters gather for wildland fire training in Santa Maria Valley

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Posted at 5:31 PM, May 10, 2022

With the summer heat approaching, fire departments across the Central Coast gathered together Tuesday, for a yearly training session in preparation for wildfire season.

The Wildland Urban Interface drill is a yearly exercise that allows the Central Coast's many fire departments the opportunity to work with one another and iron out plans for responses to local fires.

"We're a tight-knit family," said Montecito Fire Department Public Information Officer Christina Favuzzi. "For us all to get together and rebuild relationships makes us that much more successful during the real incidents."

One of those training exercises includes getting firefighters familiarized with the Santa Barbara County Fire Department's Air Support Unit.

"When this call comes in at 10 at night or two in the morning and we're meeting firefighters on the ground on a remote site, we can have a plan worked out ahead of time and have our policies and procedures worked out in training versus doing it on the actual incident," said Santa Barbara County Fire Captain Glen Dupont.

The Santa Maria Fire Department took the lead in coordinating this year's training exercise with firefighters from Montecito, Carpinteria-Summerland, Five Cities Fire, and a strike team from CAL FIRE San Luis Obispo turning out as well.

Favuzzi says regular civilians can do their part in preparing for wildfire season, too.

"Every fire department has their own 'Ready Set Go' guides that are tailored to your communities and we encourage you to seek that out wherever you live on the Central or South Coast," she told KSBY.

Fire officials say June, July and August are when wildfires are most frequent on the Central Coast, but they have already been seeing a rise in wildfires popping up across nearby western states.

You can find the details on your community's 'Ready Set Go' guide on the website of your local fire department.