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GRASS VALLEY, Calif. May 30, 2018 – The Tahoe National Forest (TNF) conducted a live fire training for their engine crews at the Grass Valley Emergency Command Center (ECC) yesterday. Vehicle and dumpster fires might not be what first comes to mind when thinking about wildland firefighters, but the number of highways and roads within the TNF has firefighters responding to this type of incidents quite often.

Photo YubaNet

The training is an annual requirement for the Region 5 SCBA (Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus) policy and is intended for proficiency and safety when responding to these types of incidents. Instead of the lighter Nomex worn on vegetation fires, heavier turnout gear with breathing tanks and full masks was worn by firefighters during the exercises.

One of the training objectives was to improve the level of understanding of strategy and tactics to safely and efficiently attack vehicle or dumpster fires to prevent spread to the vegetation.

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What to do when you come upon a car fire?

If you come upon a car fire or any fire – first call 911. Letting emergency services know exactly where the fire is, how many people are affected, is everyone out of the vehicle, are there any injuries and is there any extension to the vegetation should be your first move. Also, park in a safe place.

The small fire extinguishers carried in passenger vehicles may be enough to extinguish an engine compartment fire – but safety first! The 5 lbs extinguishers cannot efficiently suppress a fully involved car. If you safely can use the fire extinguisher on any grass on fire, do it.

Remember, firefighters train to handle these hazardous situations safely and efficiently. We should avoid causing fires by not parking in high, dry grass or dragging chains causing sparks and igniting the vegetation. Be safe!