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home : current news : current news June 24, 2016


4/29/2014 1:05:00 PM
Firefighters burn to learn
The Cloverdale fire district hosted other local agencies for a two-day live fire exercise last weekend. Crews from Sisters, Cloverdale, and Black Butte Ranch worked on a variety of structure firefighting techniques on buildings donated by a property owner. photo by Gary Miller
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The Cloverdale fire district hosted other local agencies for a two-day live fire exercise last weekend. Crews from Sisters, Cloverdale, and Black Butte Ranch worked on a variety of structure firefighting techniques on buildings donated by a property owner. photo by Gary Miller


Local firefighters put in two days of live fire training hosted by the Cloverdale fire district last weekend.

On Saturday, April 26, members of several local fire departments met on the north end of Quail Tree Lane in Cloverdale to hone their skills. Firefighters from Bend, Black Butte Ranch, Cloverdale and Sisters-Camp Sherman fire departments learned about fire behavior and experienced live fire in a controlled environment.

Late last year Mary Jo Swaner contacted the Cloverdale Fire District and offered three unused buildings on her property that could be burned for training purposes. After checking the buildings, Chief Thad Olsen of Cloverdale fire district approved the training, and the process began. Over the past several weeks, members of the four departments spent countless hours preparing the buildings and plans for this training. Preparations consisted of removing all fixtures in the buildings, covering windows and doorways, removing window glass, and adding an extra layer of sheetrock to each room to slow the fires' spread into the structural members.

Firefighters were able to practice a variety of situations, including safely moving into a burning room, attacking a fire in a building's interior, and learning how quickly temperatures increase and form dangerous layers of superheated toxic gases that move downward from the ceiling as the fire burns.

In order to ensure the safety of all of the firefighters involved, even in these controlled training events, seven chiefs and fire officers supervised different aspects of the training.

Training officer Michael Valoppi from Cloverdale said that teamwork was essential in this event. Captain Richard Cearns of Black Butte Ranch fire district and Deputy Chief Ryan Karjala of Sisters-Camp Sherman fire district spent countless hours helping to prepare both the buildings and the plan for the day's training, as well as scheduling and logistics.

Firefighters were able to extinguish six different fires in the garage before the fire moved into the structural members and compromised the safety of the structure. At that point the fire was allowed to burn and consume the building.

On Sunday firefighters planned to burn two other structures on the property, but had to cancel that training due to the high winds the area experienced. The training staff hopes to be able to complete that training in early May.

Captain Cearns from Black Butte Ranch fire district said that the trainers were able to meet all of their objectives during the day of training.

Most of the firefighters and instructors that attended the training were volunteers, students in one of the departments' fire training programs, or firefighters attending training on a day off from work.

Firefighters from Cloverdale fire district stayed at the site for several hours Saturday night to ensure that there was no possibility of any of the burned materials rekindling or spreading.

Chief Thad Olsen of Cloverdale fire district thanked Swaner for her donation, as well as Matt Cyrus, Ranch Country Outhouses, and Home Depot of Bend for their donations of materials and services to make the training a success.









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