Firefighters undergo training at Lake Pleasant for wildfire season

Wildland firefighters got a crash course in certain skills on Thursday at Lake Pleasant to get ready for wildfire season.
Published: Mar. 31, 2022 at 7:25 PM MST
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PEORIA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — Wildfire season officially starts at the beginning of May, but that’s not stopping firefighters from getting ready. More than 225 firefighters from 20 agencies across Arizona took part in a two-day wildland fire training operation at Lake Pleasant this week.

“The goal today is to get everyone refreshed and get them ready for the season,” said deputy incident commander Ariel Barr. “It is to get everyone out, get their equipment out, make them think in frame of mind that it’s getting hotter and drier and we’re going to see fire activity.”

Firefighters received training in water pump operations, fire shelter deployment, communications and property protection. Organizers said it’s important for all fire crews to refresh their skills and get on the same tactical page as other firefighters who they may be battling a wildfire with. “It’s absolutely imperative that we work together,” said Peoria Peoria Fire-Medical Capt. Stephen Willis. “We all know the same equipment, speak the same language, all have an idea of the same tactics and strategies we’re going to use. It just leads to us being efficient, and ultimately, it’s a better service we can provide.”

Another benefit of the training is that younger firefighters get to learn from the veterans, who have been fighting wildfires on the front line for years. “Different people from different stations have different stories to tell,” said firefighter cadet Breanna Allgood. “They’ll tell you what they did in a situation and what to expect when certain things come up. Their hands-on experience will help me when I go into the field.” Refresher courses are required every year to be a wildland firefighter.