June 08, 2006 - Refuge fire crew completes readiness review
Firefighters staffing Klamath Basin's fire engines participated in an annual U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service preparedness review, assessing their fire suppression readiness, tactics and safety. Each year representatives from the California-Nevada Operations (CNO) Office in Sacramento and select refuge fire personnel travel to each of the four fire management programs in the two states and evaluate their fire suppression programs. Doug Waggoner, CNO Fire Management Coordinator, stated the evaluations ensure "job safety, firefighter preparedness and that firefighters have the right tools for the job."
Everything from training records to equipment is inspected and reviewed to make certain crews are proficient and ready to safely extinguish any uncontrolled wildfire they may be assigned. Crews also complete a fire drill, simulating a wildfire dispatch and response. Resources receive a simulated call from dispatch and respond to a predetermined area and operate as if they are in an actual wildfire suppression scenario. According to Waggoner, the Klamath Basin crew did an "excellent job, communicating well and approaching the drills with a positive attitude."
Waggoner was joined by Jessica Wade, CNO Wildland-Urban Interface Coordinator and Javier Saldivar, Engine Operator from San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Ruth Johnson, Klamath Basin Prescribed Fire Specialist, joined Waggoner, Wade and Richard Hadley as an evaluator of the San Luis and San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex fire management programs. Utilizing refuge-based fire staff facilitates the sharing of ideas and strategies and fosters working relationships throughout the Service.
"Overall, I feel very good about our (fire) programs," Waggoner said. "Everyone is ready to fight fire and do the job safely."