Wildfire training takes front seat in Woodburn
Woodburn Fire District hosted a wildfire preparedness training exercise on Friday, July 15, that included firefighters from Aurora, Molalla, Clackamas County, Hillsboro, Mount Angel, Silverton and the Oregon State Fire Marshal's office.
The controlled burn provided for a live-fire training exercise on a 20-acre site located near Parr and Stubb Roads on the southeast rural edge of Woodburn. The training site was an undeveloped field owned by Lennar Homes and is part of the Smith Creek development.
WFD officials noted that the training afforded wildland firefighters an opportunity to train together and earn certifications necessary for safe and effective wildland firefighting. Nearly 50 firefighters from the eight agencies participated in the regional training exercise.
The entire event was organized by WFD Lt. Jon Koenig, a 22-year veteran of the district and a member of the Oregon State Fire Marshal's incident management team (IMT).
WFD Chief Joe Budge said Koenig is frequently dispatched to wildland conflagrations across the state to help supervise firefighting crews tasked with structure protection.
"Jon's extensive experience and passion for wildland firefighting, along with his meticulous attention to detail, helped to make this event very successful," Budge said. "WFD is fortunate to have a member with such a high level of competence and experience as part of our organization."
Eight IMT members from various agencies assisted Koenig with the event, using the opportunity to train and mentor firefighters who will likely be filling firefighting, equipment-operator and supervisory roles at wildland conflagrations that occur later in this fire season.
The training event was financed in part by a grant from the Oregon State Fire Marshal's Office. WFD was awarded $3,884 specifically for the purpose of conducting wildland training exercises for firefighters in preparation for wildland fires that occur in their jurisdictions and conflagration deployments across the state.
Budge emphasized that live-fire training is vital to preparedness training so that when structures are threatened by wildfire, properly trained and equipped firefighters are ready to respond at a moment's notice. Budge extended appreciation to Lennar Homes for making the site available.
Because many IMT members volunteered and provided training in Woodburn for this event, remaining grant funds should be available for additional training events this fall and spring.
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