Despite drought, firefighters still able to train

The structure that allows crews to practice on a live fire.

AUBURN, Ala. – Each county in the State of Alabama is under a burn ban due to the dry conditions. Since Oct. 1, there have been more than 1,400 wildfires. Compare that to 232 last year at this time.

Firefighters say that the drought makes it tough on them, especially for training.

Anthony Gilmore of the Auburn Fire Division said that typically they typically acquire structures to do fire training on, but in compliance with the ban, they are not doing that.

However, they are still able to train by doing training in enclosed structures like on along Shug Jordan Parkway. The structures are a controlled environment that allow crews to practice fighting a fire without the fear of it spreading or getting away from them.

A view inside the structure
A view inside the structure

“So many fires that we have right now are starting outside, but we’re not going to practice and build fires outside because it’s against the law,” Gilmore said. “We’re going to stay within the law and not create any safety issues. We try to set a good example for the public, and we, the fire department are not going to set any exterior fires. We will make sure our fires are done inside a controlled environment.”

In addition to training in the structures, the Opelika Fire Department recently received a digital fire training system that will allow them to practice fire fighting techniques without setting a fire.


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