Best way to practice for wildfire season in Oregon: Light a fire and put it out.
More than 200 firefighters earned certification last week to fight forest fires, with the last day of training full of flames, smoke and real-world lessons.
The firefighters circled and stamped out burning slash piles in a clearing five miles east of Sweet Home, off of Highway 20. The firefighters were all students in the annual Mid-Willamette Valley Interagency Wildland Fire School, the largest of such training sessions leading up to fire season in Oregon.
“We’ve just been training at the station and in the classroom the past week. We’ve come out here to do drills, but this is the first time in front of an actual fire with actual flames,” said Sarah Messier, who this summer is on a Western Lane District fire crew with the Oregon Department of Forestry.
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