Wildland firefighters sharpen skills at Camp Williams in preparation for fire season

CAMP WILLIAMS – Dozens of wildland firefighters descended on Camp Williams to undergo some intensive training.

Thirty-three wildland firefighters representing multiple agencies such as the BLM, Forest Service, Park Service and Unified Fire Authority have logged several hours in the classroom over the past week.

They’re getting ready for wildfire season, which is just around the corner.

“We’re finishing up a week-long course of engine operations. They learn how to operate their engines, maintain their engines, and become familiar with them,” said Randy Turrill, lead instructor from Color Country District of the BLM in Cedar City.

Now, they’re strapping on their gear and getting ready for their final mission at Camp Williams.

“This is their opportunity to work out the bugs and understand the operating procedures for all their equipment,” McFarland said.

Firefighters took part in tactical exercises that will help them battle wildfires and also practiced hose lays.

“You have multiple engines from different areas who may not have worked together before,” Turrill said. “They have to communicate with each other. Figure out their pump discharge pressures and sync their pumps up with that.”

This is a complex drill.

“There's a lot going on in a small area, and they need to be able to communicate and keep everybody in the loop,” Turrill said.

Firefighters also worked together, using a mobile attack to suppress a mock fire. In this situation, coordinated communication is key.

“Not only intercommunication within their own crew, but engine-to-engine while they're spread out over a large area and there's a lot going on,” Turrill said.

These are practical skills they don’t typically use every day, but they will come in handy when they’re on the front lines.

“At many points and times this summer, we're going to do this again, but we're going to do it operationally and on the real deal,” McFarland said.

This is the 15th year, they've put on the workshop and the fourth time they've used Camp Williams as a training ground.