Crews refresh wildland firefighting skills amid red flag warning

A red flag warning is in effect due to strong winds, low humidity and a high fire danger.
Published: Feb. 15, 2022 at 6:38 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A red flag warning is in effect due to strong winds, low humidity and a high fire danger.

The Arizona Army National Guard, local fire departments and state fire agencies are ramping up their training. Recently crews used bambi buckets, filled them with water and dropped it on targets near Picacho Peak.

“When you see the black hawks, bambi buckets and the men and women in uniform, that tends to be the exciting piece, which it is. But they’re more of the smaller piece down on the ground. There’s a lot more that goes on behind the scenes,” said Major General Kerry Muehlenbeck, the Director of the Department of Emergency and Military Affairs.

She said the department often steps in to give logistical and community support when wildfires break out.

“Our team comes in when counties get overwhelmed in terms of their response to the fire,” she said.

The Golder Ranch Fire District’s firefighters refreshed themselves on wildland firefighting Tuesday.

“Hose deployments, going over the apparatus just refamiliarizing themselves with the pumps and equipment,” said Steve Lunde, the Golder Ranch Fire District Division Chief.

He said they’re making note of places potentially more prone to sparking fire.

“Areas around Catalina State Park and some of those areas are a bit concerning,” he said. “So just getting out, looking at it and making sure we’re familiar”

They want to be extra prepared as we experience very dry weather and gusty winds.

“February is about the time we can start picking up these more spring-like wind systems. One thing that is exacerbating the situation is we’ve been really dry lately,” said Glenn Lader, a Meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Tucson.

He said southern Arizona is about an inch behind in rainfall for this time of year. The National Weather Service is reminding people to make sure chains aren’t dragging on vehicles and to dispose of cigarettes properly to avoid sparking a fire.

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