Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Burn to Learn

Hillsboro Fire and Rescue conducted a training burn at 1255 SE Walnut on Saturday (Feb 13) to teach new firefighters and volunteers needing additional experience about fire behavior and suppression methods. The burn was conducted at a locally owned home that is being demolished to make way for Habitat for Humanity to build several new homes on the property for low income residents.

The burn began at 8:30 am with a safety briefing. Experienced firefighters served as team leaders to guide the new recruits and volunteers through the paces. Safety officers were prepositioned within the structure and a fire was set in a pile of hay and pallet wood. A team was sent in to watch the fire’s growth and to knock down the flames to keep heat levels under control. The teams rotate personnel on the end of the hose line and attacked the flames again. As the fuels were depleted in one room, another room was prepared and set ablaze and the process began again. At the conclusion of the drills, all personnel withdrew from the building and the home was allowed to burn to the ground.

These burns are a win-win for the property owner and Hillsboro Fire Department. The property owner has less debris to haul away from the property and place in a landfill and the fire department gets a structure in which it can train new firefighters under controlled circumstances to provide the safest experience possible. More than 100 people from the neighborhood turned out at the height of the training.

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