For three days, firefighters from all over Riverside County are preparing for the worst.
“The main reason we do this is to kind of blow the cobwebs out, a term used yesterday. Get us ready for fire season. It also gives us the ability to meet and start training with people we’re going to be working with,” says Mike Jennings with Murrieta Fire Department.
More than 200 people from a dozen fire and law enforcement agencies, including the Palm Springs and Cathedral City fire departments, take part in fire drills that include real fires.
“The live fire drill consists of two exercises. One, just on how to do a firing operation where, if we have a fire, and we’re going to end up fighting fire with fire, we’re going to be removing fuel, we’re going to teach our folks how to do that and then the other aspect of it is we’ll be using mobile operations, where we’ll be riding along the edge of the fire and put the fire out…We’re trying to prepare to protect their lives and their structures. So, with that we’re doing a lot of preparing for that. But the main thing I want to say to them too is for them to prepare,” says Jennings.
The fire department says you can help prevent a wildfire from spreading by clearing the brush around your home. They say at least 30 feet, so that this, doesn’t end up looking like that.
“Palm Springs Fire Department and Cathedral City Fire Department have fire engines out here and have been out here all three days and we also have trainees in the overhead position so strike team leaders, we’re bringing up new people to be certified as a strike team leader for future use,” says Cathedral City Fire Department chief Robert Van Nortrick.
Because you can never be too prepared. And, during a wildfire, every second counts.