FIREFIGHTERS WARM UP FOR SUMMER CONTROLLED BURN PROVIDES PRACTICE.
Byline: Holly Edwards Staff Writer
CASTAIC - Firefighter Alex Calvo walked along a brush-filled field Tuesday at the Peter Pitchess Detention Center A detention center or a detention centre is any location used for detention. Specifically, it can mean:
v. parched, parch·ing, parch·es
1. To make extremely dry, especially by exposure to heat: The midsummer sun parched the earth. vegetation and igniting it with a blow torch Blow torch is a common name for a simple heating torch, which burns liquid fuel with ambient atmospheric air after vaporizing it using a coiled tube passing through the flame. In the United Kingdom the older, kerosene-fuelled, type was called a blowlamp. .
Within seconds, orange flames and thick clouds of brown and gray smoke began to rise and some 150 firefighters and 50 inmates - standing at the ready with shovels and rakes in hand - swung into action.
A three-day-long controlled burn Prescribed or controlled burning (back burning) is a technique sometimes used in forest management, farming, prairie restoration or greenhouse gas abatement. Fire is a natural part of both forest and grassland ecology and controlled fire can be a tool for foresters. of 92 acres surrounding the Castaic jail complex was under way. As the flames spread quickly, firefighters threw dirt on the fire at a frenzied pace.
``Look at how fast that fire's moving, and it's not even that windy,'' said Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. County Fire Sgt. Brian Jordan
1. Santa Ana wind, a local Southern California reference to Föhn winds, a meteorological phenomenon occurring as a layer of wind is forced over a mountain range -- drying the air -- which then passes over the crest and begins to move downslope -- kick up.''
With fire season officially beginning Thursday, and the Los Alamos Los Alamos (lôs ăl`əmōs', lŏs), uninc. town (1990 pop. 11,455), seat of Los Alamos co., N central N.Mex. It is on a long mesa extending from the Jemez Mts. The U.S. , N.M., disaster fresh on everyone's mind, fire officials didn't take any chances on losing control of the blaze. A water-filled helicopter, a bulldozer and a battalion of six fire engines stood ready to intervene at the first sign that the firefighters were losing control of the fire.
Intended primarily as a training exercise for firefighters and the inmates who serve as their support team, the controlled burn was also designed to protect nearby homes by eliminating dead vegetation.
About 1,300 brush fires were reported in the county last year, and fire officials expect this season to be even busier. The lush vegetation produced by El Nino rains two years ago is now drying up and could provide an abundance of fuel for brush fires, Jordan said. This summer is also expected to be drier and windier than usual.
Firefighters participating in this week's training exercises say they are ready.
``Sometimes we're up for 24 hours Adv. 1. for 24 hours - without stopping; "she worked around the clock"
around the clock, round the clock straight battling a brush fire, so we have to spend a lot of time training and preparing for that,'' said Eric Nelson Eric Nelson may refer to:
Sally Medel, one of three women participating in the training exercise, called the job ``exhilarating and exhausting.''
``As long as I do my job, the guys treat me like just another crew member,'' Medel said.
The 50 inmates participating in the drill serve as a backup team for area firefighters and also must undergo rigorous training, Jordan said.
Fire officials say the most common causes of brush fires are careless smokers, bottles that ignite dry grass by magnifying sunlight, and, oddly enough, gardeners using Weed Whackers.
``The Weed Whackers can shoot rocks at another rock and create a spark,'' Jordan explained.
To protect themselves and their property, Jordan suggested residents clear brush to ground level within 30 feet of their homes and cut vegetation down to 18 inches in the area 70 to 200 feet from their homes. He also suggested residents remove dead tree branches and keep pieces of wood on hand to cover windows in case of a brush fire.
Photo: (1 -- color) A helicopter makes a water drop Tuesday near the Pitchess Detention Center as firefighters and inmates, with the recent disaster in New Mexico fresh in their minds, make sure a controlled fire stays under control.
(2 -- 3 -- color) Above, firefighters keep a close eye on the fast-moving flames after sparking a controlled burn along a ridge. At right, members of the firefighting team climb a ridge to make sure they stay ahead of the flames.
Shaun Dyer/Special to the Daily News