Fully equipped from head to toe in brush fire gear, the Glendale
firefighters did mock drills and simulated fires on the hillside of
the sparsely vegetated mountains in preparation of brush fire season.
"Now, it's considered to be all year long," fire engineer Jim
Meyer said. "It could happen any month."
Brush fire season typically runs from August to December, but
because of the climate in Southern California and the Santa Ana
winds, brush fires could happen at any time, Glendale Fire Capt. Ed
"Brush fires are one of the most dangerous fires you can find,"
Ackerman said. "Training helps to promote readiness and allows the
firefighters to work together as a team."
The fire department organizes two hands-on training sessions a
year, but firefighters are always following up with classes and
reading materials, Ackerman said.
Multi-agency brush fire drills are usually organized once a year,
so that Glendale fire officials can practice with neighboring
agencies, like Los Angeles County Fire, in the event of a large
incident, Meyer said.
"This is basically just to keep us in the mode of working with our
safety equipment," he said. "Checking your equipment, and making sure
you're ready to go. Safety is No. 1."
Typical causes of a brush fire can include arson, glass
reflection, cigarettes or car fires on the freeway, Ackerman said.
"Weather is a huge factor on how quick we are able to get control
of a fire," he said.
In Glendale, the Santa Ana winds can dry moisture in hillside
vegetation, increasing the risk of a brush fire. But local fire
officials have taken preventative measures into their own hands,
frequently clearing vegetation from mountain sides.
"With fire prevention, we're pretty progressive," Ackerman said.
But practice is important.
"Hiking these hills with heavy equipment is very strenuous, very
stressful work," said Guerrero. "But we also have to keep a mental
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