Welcome To Fire Camp, Local Firefighters Train To Fight The Nati - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Welcome To Fire Camp, Local Firefighters Train To Fight The Nation's Biggest Blazes

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GEORGETOWN, Md. - They're sent out with just hours notice to wipe out wildfires in the forests of Utah, or battle blazes in the hills of Alaska, but the training starts right here at Redden State Forest in Delaware, at "Fire Camp."

Henry Poole with the Delaware Forest Service describes it as "similar to spring training for baseball for us."

It's the one day capstone of the Delaware Forest Service's annual months long training, readying nearly 60 hopeful wildland firefighters for the summer fire season, starting in June.

They're going over lessons ranging from learning how to use a fire shelter, protecting them from the flames, to pack tests...carrying heavy equipment...and learning to deal with a live burn.

"Our purpose is to get people familiar with using the drip torch or an ignition device," says Poole.   

It's a lesson in fighting fire with fire.  In a true situation, if the flames were coming from the far end of a field, crews would set the brush on the opposite side on fire, as a way to eat up the fuel (grass, trees), essentially killing the fire somewhere in the middle.
 
These volunteers can spend up to two weeks straight extinguishing infernos far from home, so why do it?  

"We all love it," says Tyler Torres, a volunteer firefighter from Smyrna, "we enjoy it.  Try to help people."

Poole says "it's kind of a brotherhood of firefighters."

This training is crucial for the Delaware Forest Service wild land firefighters, as fire season is set to start up in June, and all of California is reported to be in a drought, which increasing the chance for wildfires. 

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