Klamath Falls, Ore. – Wildland fire fighters aren’t the only ones preparing for a busy fire season – as training steps are also being taken by the media to report on those fires.
Getting video of major wildfires isn’t without risk, and it’s also important to get out accurate information quickly.
Forestry officials met with reporters in Klamath Falls Wednesday morning, with a focus on two objectives.
“One is safety, so the media is trained.” Explains Fire Information Officer Sarah Saarloos. “And two, access. We want to be able to work with the media in partnerships to be able to get the news out to the public.”
Reporters were given basic training in the use of emergency fire shelters.
“We want to keep them safe.” Notes Klamath Falls Herald and News Editor Gerry O’Brien. “We want them to understand what the drills are, and to make sure they are safe while they’re out there reporting.”
Saarloos says online sources are playing an increasing role in getting out information. “Even in rural communities, people are using social media such as, I would say Facebook more in this area than Twitter – and we’re being able to use that tool to then get our message out to the public.”
But, live reports from the fire line provide an extra dimension – along with some risk.
“They need to be safe when they’re out there on the fire lines.” Stresses O’Brien. “And it’s very critical that they understand what they’re dealing with when they show up at a fire.”
The South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership (SCOFMP) is composed of five state and federal agencies, and covers an estimated 10,000,000 acres of public and private lands.