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19 fire agencies organize "Mega Drill" in Blackfoot

By Stephanie Hale-Lopez
Published On: May 18 2013 10:33:55 PM CDT

19 different agencies and more than 100 firefighters participated in the area's largest fire training exercise.

BLACKFOOT, Idaho -

As we head into summer, eastern Idaho is already one week into fire season.

To prepare, area firefighters organized a "mega drill" training exercise Saturday at the fairgrounds in Blackfoot, bringing in 19 different agencies and more than 100 firefighters. 

It's the largest fire training exercise in Eastern Idaho.

"There are 19 state, federal, local and tribal agencies that have come together here for this training and are represented here," said Kevin Conran.

Conran is a fire mitigator for the Bureau of Land Management. He said today's drill will simulate a wildfire and a handful of other incidents firefighters can expect to face when responding to a call. 

"We're in a neighborhood in the Spring Drive area of Blackfoot and the scenario is that there's a wildfire threatening this neighborhood from the south in this direction," said Conran. 

Fire crews had to spray the area, search for vulnerable houses and work on their structure protection tactics. 

"They have minutes to decide what you're going to do with the resources that you have and which houses you're going to defend and where you're going to do the most good with your limited resources," said Conran. 

Conran said on average, federal agencies will respond to about 150 fires every year and 50 to 60 percent are human caused. 

"In a wildfire situation that affects multiple jurisdictions or requires a lot of departments to come together, it's important to rehearse how we're going to come together in a coordinated manner," said Conran.

Firefighters said there are many things you can do to help protect your home from becoming a fire hazard. 

To learn how to do that, visit www.firewise.org.

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