Heppner gazette-times. (Heppner, Or.) 1925-current, June 28, 1979, Page FOUR, Image 4

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    FOUR The Gazette-Times, Heppner, Oregon, Thursday, June 28. 1!7il
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Ef EEP'OUBQ FOUESTTS
SAFE FROM FIRE
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New firefighters experience practice blase
Federal and state workers
combined forces Thursday in
a practice fire fight in a
clearing on Wall Road not far
from the Bull Prairie Reser
voir. Summer firefighters from
the U.S. Forest Service, Hep
pner Ranger District and
State Forestry Department,
Fossil and Monument units,
had the fire contained within
minutes after officials ignited
the practice blaze with drip
torches, then cooled down the
less-than-an-acre fire with
water supplied by water
pumps and a pond.
Both the state's and federal
workers had undergone a
week of fire school, getting
them ready for the realistic
fire experience. . The initial
attack on the fire came from
the state crew which dug
handline or a two ft. swath
around the fringes of the blaze
with polaskis, shovels and
hazel hoes. Both federal and
state firefighters laid out hose
lines, fastened nozzles and
long wands to cool down the
hot spots and employees
taught by supervisors to
watch out for spot fires beyond
the fire's edge.
Most were beginning fire
fighters and the practice fire
designed to test their skills
under actual conditions.
Larry Bowman, Fire Man
agement officer for the Hep
pner Ranger District said the
district has already had its
first fire of the season, caused
by a lighting strike three miles
from Tupper and normally
experiences about 32 fires a
season. Ninety-two percent of
the blazes are caused by
lightning strikes. At the Hep
pner fire school, seasonal
Forest Service personnel were
given instruction in a variety
of subjects. ..vehicle uses, de
fensive driving, fire behavior,
fire organization, hand tools
used to fight fires, hand or fire
line construction and special
ized instruction for the dist
rict's two lookouts.
The state forestry depart
ment's fire school had a
number of similarities with
personnel schooled in hand
tool uses, fire behavior, sizing
up the blaze potential and
other instructions in the most
frequent of summertime
emergencies.
Both officials said Thurs
day's fire was the culmination
of the week's training and
putting the decision-making
into practice.
The exercise was also a
practice in cooperation bet
ween the Forest Service and
State Forestry employees in
combining their fire organi
zations. Frequently, both state
and federal workers combine
on fighting blazes in the
Umatilla National Forest and
as part of the practice, the fire
was turned over to Dale
Holland, a fire employee as
the assigned fire boss of the
practice fire.
The crews were made up of
women and men and each
member wore fire-resistant
clothing, mostly yellow in
color. The women ate smoke
as much as the men Thursday
and endured the physical
strain of dragging hoses and
yelling bump as they swung
their hand tools on the
hand-line.
While personnel on the state
crew are limited to fires
within the state, Forest Ser
vice employees of the Heppner
Ranger District may be sent
to fires throughout the west
ern states.
As a further aid to firefight
ing, a helicopter is based at
Monument to provide addi
tional water to the state truck
pumpers and gasoline-driven
pumps used in ponds and
rivers.
State and federal fire supression
crews protect Umatilla National Forest
Beginning firefighters from the Heppner Ranger District, U.S. Forest Service and
State Department of Forestry, Monument and Fossil units, experienced real fire
conditions in a practice Thursday on Wall Road in the Umatilla National Forest. The
veteran fire officials lit the blaze with drip torches, then let the firefighters contain the
blaze by building a fire line around the fringes, cooling it down with hoses and
providing 1(10 percent mop-up through the use of water, shovels and person-power. The
seasonal crews will be working side by side this summer in a joint federal-state effort
to stop fires in nearby forests.
Story and photos by
JimHackett
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