Police and fire crews prepare in Idyllwild for busy fire season

Police and fire crews prepare in Idyllwild for busy fire season

IDYLLWILD, Calif. - Many fire and police departments around the southland are getting prepared for what they expect will be a busy fire season.

They hit the mountain communities of Pine Cove and Idyllwild to tackle the ficticious Wood and Robin fires for a Wildland Urban Interface Fire Preparedness Training Thursday.

"We're working with Riverside Sheriff's, the CHP, Animal Patrol and trying to interject them as it would happen in real life," said Cal Fire Chief Jeff Stowells.

Minus actual flames, the scenarios were as real as could be. Hand crews cut lines, aerial support mapped the fire and sheriff's deputies planned for a successful evacuation.

"We can find out if there's things we need to work to improve or if we're where we need to be," said Stowells.

The training comes after much debate from the Mountain Fire last July. Public records showed the Idyllwild Fire Department, the closest to the origin of the fire, did not get called until 17 minutes after other departments got sent in from further away.

"When we practice everything together it gives us that opportunity to blend everybody," said Cal Fire spokesperson Jeff LaRusso. "One of the things we're working on is bringing everyone together to improve on lessons learned from the past."

When flames do ignite, they'll be ready and so will you.

"As we're preparing, we want the residents to prepare. They should have an action plan."

Fire crews encourage all residents to cut and remove brush from their property and plan in case an evacuation order takes place.

Firefighters train in Idyllwild

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