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South Bay Fire Departments Prepare For Dangerous Wildfire Season

Three-day prevention exercise in the Lexington Basin, south of Los Gatos, will help public safety agencies better coordinate response in case of large-scale wild land inferno.

A three-day wildfire prevention exercise June 18-20 in the Lexington Basin, south of Los Gatos, signals preparation by the Santa Clara County Fire Department, Cal Fire and other first responders for fire season which officially began Memorial Day.

In a press release issued Thursday, Santa Clara County Battalion Chief Kendall Pearson announced that apparatus from multiple area agencies will participate in the three-day wild land fire training to be ready when the next inferno strikes, more possible this year due to a dry winter.

The annual event, coordinated by the Santa Clara County Fire Chiefs  Association, will allow firefighters, police officers, medical volunteers, and other emergency responders to work together during simulated emergency scenarios, the release stated.

Cooperating agencies include the Cal Fire Santa Clara Unit, Town of Los Gatos, Santa Clara County Emergency Medical Services Agency, and local government
fire departments.

During a large fire emergency, different agencies and groups will be involved in addition to fire departments.

Large animal evacuation groups and medical volunteers will participate in this year's drill and experience large-scale coordination of resources first hand, he stated in the release.

The Town of Los Gatos will evaluate its hillside emergency evacuation plan, he added.

“Whether the patch on your shoulder says state, county, city, or town, the reality is that we will all be working together to meet the challenges of a major wildfire emergency. No one agency can do it all. Practicing together makes us better performers during the real deal,” said Derek Witmer, division chief for Cal Fire and incident commander for this year's exercise.

The media is invited to an event briefing at Vasona Lake County Park, 333
Blossom Hill Rd., Los Gatos at 10 a.m., Tuesday, June 19.

Access will be provided to the four drill sites including up-close opportunities to see wildfire suppression techniques, structure protection, and tactical size up, according to the release.

Below rainfall levels this year have made many public safety agencies be on the lookout for the possibility of a large-scale wildfire. Those who live near the Los Gatos Mountains are close to vast acres of land with dry grass and brush, which could easily ignite in case of hot temperatures and lit embers from careless residents such as those from an improperly discarded cigarette butt or an unattended BBQ, to name a few.

Irene Aida Garza-Ortiz June 16, 2012 at 03:14 AM
Fires are bad enough! But with this Heat & Wind! Can be quite scary!

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