Drill in Honolulu Hills area part of training for summer wildland fire season

You wouldn't know it from the weather, but it's fire season already.

Bureau of Land Management Firefighters from the Midway Station in Taft have gone through two weeks of rigorous training for the upcoming season and spent Friday afternoon in the hilly terrain north of Taft working on rope rescue skills.

Led by BLM ranger Brien Chartier, the firefighters, who man a heavy engine, light engine and water tender at the Midway Station, practiced securing and raising a victim up a steep slope.
The drill took place in the Honolulu Hills area overlooking Valley Acres.

Its a skill the firefighters may need in their work.

“It's very important,” Chartier said.

The firefighters were taught how to properly secure ropes both to a fixed point (in this case, a fire truck on the top of the hill) and to the litter used to transport he victim.

“The challenge is making sure everything is secure,” Chartier said. “If even one thing is out of place, the system will jam, placing both the victim and rescuers at risk.”

Once the rope system was in place, the team of firefighters carefully walked down the slope to place a “victim” in the litter, secure her and walk her back to the top.

The rope rescue training came at the end of the training period that  was supposed to involve live fire training at the kern County Fire Department's training facility in Bakersfield.

That training was cancelled when firefighters were busy with the real thing.

The BLM firefighters  responded over the weekend to two major fires, one in the Washburn Ranch area of Carrizo Plain National Monument and another fire north of Highway 166 west of New Cuyama.