DEM hosts wildfire training ahead of predicted dry summer

CHEPACHET, R.I. (WLNE) — Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management personnel and firefighters learned the strategies, tools, and tactics needed to respond to wildfires on Wednesday.

Training officer Ben Arnold said they hold training exercises to increase capacity for wildfire response across the Ocean State.

“We always need more boots on the ground, so getting people through this training is very important for us and you know, it’s something we wanted to do for a long time,” Arnold said. “We want to be able to have trained firefighters show up at these scenes.”

The training comes shortly after the large wildfires in West Greenwich and Exeter back in April.

Sydney Clays works in the Office of Emergency Response at the DEM and said she wants to help out in case another wildfire were to ignite.

“Even having that little bit of knowledge going out — help with DEM — help with local municipalities — and help wherever you can, it doesn’t mean attacking that fire, it could just be laying down line and doing more of incident command,” Clays said.

During Wednesday’s outdoor training at the DEM George Washington Management Area in Chepachet, 27 participants worked through several different stations.

“One where they’ll be digging hand lines with hand tools, another station is introducing them to fire devices, and the final station is a mop-up station which requires teaching them how to extinguish fire that’s burning into the ground with and without water,” Arnold said.

Participants said with wildfires in Canada, as well as ones hitting so close to home, its imperative first responders are prepared when it comes to large scale wildfires.

Categories: News, Rhode Island