Fire Agencies doing wildland readiness drills in Grants Pass this week

GRANTS PASS, Ore –  If you’ve seen a lot of firefighters and fire trucks moving around part of Grants Pass this week, don’t be alarmed.

Grants Pass Fire Rescue and several other local fire agencies are conducting wildland fire training in the northwest part of town ahead of the summer wildfire season.

“Working within our community for a fire if we were to have one,” said Grants Pass fire battalion chief Brandon ​​​​​​​Rigaud. “Kind of knock the cobwebs off of our wildland skill set.”

Firefighters are practicing a variety of techniques including hose lays, structural protection, and water delivery.

The training is taking place in the northwest part of town on Sunset and Hewitt Drives, Starlite, and F Street.

Rigaud said all the agencies had to get approval from nearby residents for the work this week, but he says residents are overwhelmingly in support of the training.

“People really enjoy seeing firefighters in their neighborhoods practicing for a fire,” Rigaud said. “Hopefully we never have one in this area, but if we do, we’ll be better prepared for it.”

With a very wet spring and larger snowpack, experts are predicting a later peak to Oregon’s fire season this summer.

Rural Metro Fire Captain Ethan Coates said that doesn’t impact this work — it’s business as usual.

“We’re always preparing,” Coates said. “99 percent of the job is preparing and then 1 percent is actually action.”

Both Rigaud and Coates said the best ways for residents to prepare for fire season are to know two ways out of their neighborhood in case of an emergency.

They also said to pack enough clothes and keepsakes for 72 hours if you need to evacuate.

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Marcus Veal was co-anchor of NBC5 News at Sunrise from 2022 to 2024. The San Francisco native graduated from UCLA with a degree in English. He also played trumpet for the UCLA Bruins’ marching band. Marcus earned his Master’s degree in Broadcast and Digital Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. Marcus loves to work out and make pasta. He roots for the San Francisco Giants, 49ers, Golden State Warriors and UCLA Bruins.
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