MOLALLA, Ore. (KOIN) — Firefighters from all over the state of Oregon took part in a wildland firefighting school Saturday.
The live fire training took place in Molalla. Crews used live fire and helicopter operations to refine and develop new skills specifically for wildland fire situations.
“What’s unique about today is we have an actual helicopter going back and forth.” said Brandon Paxton with Clackamas County Fire District One.
Paxton told KOIN 6 News coordinating with helicopters will be crucial for this fire season, which is shaping up to be a big one in Oregon and Washington because of a warm winter and lack of snow pack.
“Each and every year, our firefighters train, but certainly there’s potential this year for an increasingly hazardous fire season.” Paxton said. “The timing couldn’t be better for them to refine those skills.”
Forestry officials believe the wildfire season could start earlier too. They expect large timber and brush fires that usually ramp up in August to start burning in June or July.
“Certainly there’s potential this year that’s different than last year and the year before, but for us firefighters, the game doesn’t change. We take training very seriously.” added Paxton.