Almanac

News - April 23, 2014

Fire crews to simulate an aggressive wildfire

by Dave Boyce

Fire trucks and other emergency vehicles will be seen and heard on Portola Valley roads, particularly Alpine and Los Trancos roads, on Wednesday, May 7. Town Hall will morph into an emergency operations center.

A helicopter from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection may visit the skies above Los Trancos Woods and Vista Verde, while below, residents simulate an evacuation from their homes.

Simulation will be the key to the day-long training exercise, including the fighting of simulated fires.

"This drill provides ideal training and familiarization with problematic narrow streets and an abundance of fire-prone vegetation for engine companies coming from different cities," Fire Marshal, Denise Enea of the Woodside Fire Protection District said. "Fire crews will simulate an aggressive wildfire."

Equipment staging will take place at Ford Field at 3399 Portola Road. The neighborhoods included in the drill include Ramona, Old Spanish Trail, Joaquin and portions of Portola Valley Ranch.

In addition to Portola Valley and Woodside, the district encompasses nearby unincorporated communities, including Ladera and Emerald Hills.

Ms. Enea has said that the drought moved up the start of the fire season, and that district lands are "primed for a wildland fire, with steep, brushy slopes full of hillside homes, many with aging wood-shake roofs."

Go to tinyurl.com/Prevent-fire-13 for more information on fire prevention in the Woodside district.

Go to firesafesanmateo.org for even more.

Go to cerpp.org for information on the services provided by the local volunteers for the crisis management group Citizens Emergency Response Preparedness Program.

The fire district recommends keeping roofs and the underside of decks free of leaf debris, and replacing combustible wood-shake roofs with metal, slate or composition materials. Noncombustible siding and deck surfaces are another important step to consider when making remodeling plans.

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