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Carpinteria-Summerland FPD to Host Multi-Agency Wildland Firefighting Exercise

The Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District will be hosting a large wildland urban interface firefighting exercise on Saturday, May 9.

Fire departments from San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, plus the U.S. Forest Service, will participate in the drill. The exercise will simulate a large wildland fire threatening the communities of Carpinteria and Summerland.

In preparation for what fire behavior experts are considering a very active fire season, fire crews will gather at Pacifica Graduate Institute for a presentation on Santa Barbara County’s storied fire history, local factors influencing fire behavior, and lessons learned from past local fires.

Following the presentations, crews will deploy to sites in some of the wildland fire high risk areas above Carpinteria and Summerland to practice common wildland firefighting tactics and skills. Crews will rotate through three scenarios, including protecting structures in the Hidden Valley Lane area. Residents can expect to see a steady stream of fire engines and support personnel in the Summerland, Ladera Lane and Hidden Valley areas.

About 130 firefighters from a dozen fire departments will participate in the training event. Planners for the event, which include fire officers from agencies throughout Santa Barbara County, have arranged for fire engine and crew movement throughout the drill to impact as little as possible the local community. The drill will begin at 9 a.m. at Pacifica Graduate Institute and wrap up in the late afternoon at the Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club.

With the severe drought intensifying the ever-present wildland fire threat to Carpinteria and Summerland, this type of multiagency training has enormous benefits. It gives crews an opportunity to train on basic skills and tactics they will be using this season, and introduces the actual crews from out of county to the terrain, history and challenges they will face when they respond to Southern Santa Barbara County’s next major wildfire.

This drill is a simulation. At no point will we be using live fire.

An overview of the drill area, including the flow of fire engine traffic and event sites can be viewed at the CSFD website by clicking here.

— Grace Donnelly is a public information officer for the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District.

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