Firefighters from Clallam 2 Fire-Rescue, the Port Angeles Fire Department and Clallam County Fire District 3 in Sequim are busily preparing for what is expected to be an above average fire season in Western Washington.
In advance of what could be a one of most dangerous wildfire seasons in recent history on the Olympic Peninsula, firefighters will conduct a training burn on Sunday, June 14, on Baker Farm Road south of Port Angeles.
Fire officials plan on taking advantage of the cooler weather that is forecast and also want the training burn to take place as close to fire season as possible while complying with the annual burn ban that is expected to go into effect July 1.
The firefighters will arrive at 9 a.m. after a safety briefing then begin firing at approximately 9:30 a.m. and expect to have the exercise completed around 1 p.m.
Twenty two firefighters from the three agencies have signed up to participate in the scenario which will depict a barn fire in a rural area.
Live fire training is the most beneficial way for firefighters to learn fire behavior, team work, hose handling techniques plus water conservation strategies.Barn fires are common this time of year, according to fire officials with Clallam 2 Fire-Rescue, as hay is cut, baled and stored in barns.
On occasion, hay bales will spontaneously ignite if the hay was not fully cured in the field prior to baling and storage inside.
Safety of the nearby fields and homes also is being addressed by firefighters in advance of the burn. The property is owned by Joe and Serena Cialoa who plan on building a home on the property once their barn is removed.
The Ciaolas are working through building contractor Kevin Russell to coordinate the training burn with local firefighters. The barn is not of any historical significance and has been inspected by certified authorities for any hazards including asbestos.
“We go through a lengthy planning process that incorporates a 15-20 page safety action plan,” said Sam Phillips, fire chief of Clallam 2 Fire-Rescue.
Teams of firefighters will be patrolling the surrounding area to make certain no spot fires develop. If spot fires are detected, they will be quickly extinguished by the patrols. Citizens are asked to be mindful of, and watch out for, fire vehicles driving on Monroe Road between Mariah Winds Way and Baker Farm Road which will be slowing, turning off onto side streets and entering Monroe Road during the exercise.