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Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

"The West Coast's Premier Fleet Marine Force Training Base"

Camp Pendleton Fire Department hosts Fire School

By Sgt. Keenan Zelazoski | Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton | June 16, 2016

Camp Pendleton Fire Department hosted several local firefighting agencies for a Fire School across the installation here, June 15.

The two week fire school is designed to give area firefighters hands-on training with live fire in a relatively controlled environment.

Officials begin the training by igniting small fires in a designated area and allowing participants to respond and gain control of the burn. The controlled environment allows responders to hone their skills and gain critical experience, according to Jared Locke, a captain with the Miramar Fire Department.

“We are just honing our skills and practicing what we actually do in the wildland realm, “said Locke. “It’s very rare that we have a chance to do live fire training and the Fire School has been canceled for the past three years.”

This year’s Fire School included San Bernardino National Forest, Cleveland National Forest, Angeles National Forest, Cal Fire, North Zone Agencies and Orange County Fire Authority. Camp Pendleton provides a unique landscape in which firefighters can practice extinguishing fires in a controlled environment.

“There is nothing that gets you training like live fire,” said David Kelly, the Case Springs area branch Director for the Fire School. “There is real smoke, real hills, real action and changing conditions. It’s not like practicing at the station where you know exactly how it is after the 30th time. Every little fire is different.”

In addition to the realistic training, the Fire School provides a mutual benefit between the local communities and Camp Pendleton.

“Not only is the Fire School beneficial to all of the local firefighting departments, it is a huge benefit to the base,” said Kelly. “We are working right at the edge of the base and black-lighting the edge of the base so any incidental fire that happens on the base isn’t going to leave the base, so it’s a definite win-win for everyone involved.”