Firefighters participate in controlled burn
by W. Brian Hale
Mar 20, 2011 | 1678 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Members of 11 area fire departments converged on the Walker County Lake Saturday for a joint operation with the Alabama Forestry Commission and the Alabama Wildland Fire Academy during a controlled burn exercise.

The operation allowed the participating departments to take part in fire simulation training while helping reduce the hazardous vegetation around the lake and park from starting a devastating wildfire.

The state requires the Forestry Commission burn 60 acres this year, with burns taking place on a rotation. Such burns around the lake help keep the area clean and remove weeds, dead trees and bushes to maintain the overall look.

Jason Berry of the Forestry Commission, who was supervising the burns, said the operation went well and was pleased with the participation of the attending fire departments.

“It went real smooth today, and you could tell the class we had here today was paying special attention,” Berry said.

According to David McCurry, an instructor for the Wildland Fire Academy, the training helps fire departments communicate more efficiently with the Forestry Commission on operations and procedures in the event of a wildfire.

“When we talk about lighting fires for these operations, it has to have a mixing height and dispersion of the smoke,” McCurry said. “With the interstate being so close, we have to burn on a day that the smoke goes up high and lifts out, so you don’t take a chance of smoking in an interstate and other major roads that could cause wrecks. These departments that took part in this exercise today picked up some valuable information on this procedure and were able to make sure it was managed safely.”

The 28 members of the Walker County fire departments were from the Cordova, Curry, Oakman, Parrish, Boldo, Argo, Thatch, Barney, Jasper, Pineywoods, and Eldridge communities.

“I liked what we did here today,” said Mike Simon of the Cordova Fire Department. “I learned new things about fires and how they run. It was a very good experience.”

Mary Turner, with the Barney Fire Department, felt the exercise will be helpful in the event a wildfire happens and her department is involved. “We have forest fires in our district and it’s important to know how to deal with them.”

“It was neat to take part in it and show that a lady can do anything,” said Megan Berry, a member of the Curry Fire Department.

The group held burns Friday and Saturday. A third scheduled burn will take place on Wednesday.