Talk about hands-on training!
This week the Billings Fire Department held its annual wildland refresher course. While training at Riverfront Park, a nearby controlled ditch burn got out of control and began burning into some grass and trees. The crews were able to shift from training and put their wildland skills to work!
The refresher course included radio traffic, shelter deployment, chainsaw work, portable water pumping, digging a fire line, and hoselays, which means getting the hose from a water source to the fire.
Thank you to Billings Parks and Recreation for providing parkland to conduct this training. The department tries to hold the training in different locations each year to expose firefighters to a variety of terrain.
In 2022, BFD wildland firefighters fought over 18 wildland fires within Yellowstone, Carbon, Stillwater, Musselshell, and Big Horn Counties. In 2021, that number was even greater at 38.
The fire department would also like to use this as an opportunity to share a reminder: Grass and timber are dry this time of year, and it only takes a slight shift in winds for a fire to take off. Always plan ahead and look at the forecast before starting a controlled burn.