June 10, 2009
Firefighters and homeowners participated in the 11th annual All Fire Day training exercises on June 6 at Star Valley Ranch despite rainy weather. Firefighters from Teton, Sublette, Sweetwater and Lincoln counties, as well as Bridger-Teton National Forest, Grand Teton National Park, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Wyoming State Forestry Division gathered together to improve interagency coordination and emergency preparedness, communication and skills. The exercise gave interagency fire personnel the chance to “train the way they fight.”
Firefighter drills included: laying firefighting hoses for defending areas from approaching wildfire; digging lines to confine a wildfire to a particular area; practicing techniques and tactics for insuring a fire is extinguished; and responding to staged motor vehicle accidents and medical emergencies.
“The drills provide an opportunity for firefighters from all around the area to work together in a simulated incident,” said Incident Commander Bryan Karchut. “I think the whole day was a valuable training experience from the ground firefighter on up to the agency administrator.”
Some of the crews, along with Pat Durlan, national Firewise coordinator from Boise, Idaho, conducted home assessments along the forest boundary to see how defensible structures would be in the event of an approaching wildfire. Homeowners had been asked in advance to perform their own assessments so they could compare notes with the firefighters. The crews evaluated nine homes for their Firewise program and provided information to the residents.
“It is valuable for a homeowner to see how the firefighters look at a home and the risks associated with it,” said Fire Information Officer Traci Weaver. “The assessments identify steps homeowners can take to ensure the survivability of their home if it were threatened by a wildfire.”
Wyoming Governor David Freudenthal and Wyoming State Senator Dan Dockstader made an early morning appearance at All Fire Day to applaud the efforts of the firefighters. Lincoln County Commissioners Jerry Harman, Tammy Archibald and Kent Connelly also stopped by to lend their support and thanks to the participants.
“We are very grateful to the town of Star Valley Ranch,” said Karchut. “The town leaders and many residents gave up their Saturday and let us invade their neighborhood. They were incredibly good sports about the whole thing. Now, should Star Valley Ranch be threatened by a wildfire, we’ve all worked together and are familiar with the town—and they are with us.”
For more information on All Fire Day, contact Angie Crook at 307.886.5336 or 307.413.2146.