The venue for the annual day-long wildland fire drill in the Woodside Fire Protection District this year – happening Wednesday, May 16 – will be the open areas along the northern border of Woodside.
The fire protection district includes Woodside, Portola Valley and nearby unincorporated communities such as Ladera, Emerald Hills and Vista Verde.
Crews will be present in the vicinity of Runnymede Sculpture Farm, Huddart Park and the grounds of the Mounted Patrol of San Mateo County along Kings Mountain Road to "hone their wildland firefighting skills," district Fire Marshal Denise Enea said in a statement.
While the drill will not use actual fires, firefighters will simulate an "aggressive" wildfire that involves plenty of fire trucks, she said. Crews will come from firefighting agencies throughout San Mateo County, accompanied by deputies from the Sheriff's Office and volunteers from the Woodside district's own Citizens Emergency Response Preparedness Program (CERPP).
The drill will include training for large-animal "familiarization and evacuation" at the Mounted Patrol grounds, Enea said.
With spring rains late this year, the annual grasses and vegetation represent an intensified risk to the community, she said. Fire season is now a year-round phenomenon, she added.
"Wildfire is a constant and looming threat in California with larger and more intense fires erupting closer to San Mateo County each year."
Given the district's steep, brush-filled hillsides, and homes outfitted with wooden siding, wooden decks and aging shake roofs, the area "is primed for a wildland fire," she said.
The equipment staging area will be the vicinity of Lawler Ranch Road, located just west of the intersection of Sand Hill Road and Interstate 280.