Boise Police Department
News Release

Michael F. Masterson
Chief of Police


Contact: Lynn Hightower
Communications Director
570-6180

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, March 28, 2011

BPD Paticipates in Regional Wildfire Training

03-28-11 BPD Paticipates in Regional Wildfire Training

    Boise, March 28, 2011 - Boise Police were among more than a dozen emergency response agencies who met recently in training session meant to improve coordination and response should a disastrous wildfire strike again in the Boise area.

    "Police officers play a big part in assisting firefighters with evacuations, traffic management and communications during any major emergency," said Lt. Doug Shoenborn of the Boise Police Department who attended the training.

    Boise's Fire Chief says the training coincides with a timely message to property owners who live near the foothills or any open space; it's time to manage the weeds and landscaping around homes and property to minimize fire danger. 

    "Our firefighters train regularly to give the best response possible to any type of fire. But homeowners can help themselves and help firefighters by clearing brush and other fuels off their property. Near a wildland or open space area, one house with overgrown weeds, shrubs and trees can add a lot of fuel to a fire and even jeopardize other homes. Adding fuel to a wildfire is a something no one wants to contribute to," said Boise Fire Chief Dennis Doan.  

    Chief Doan offers neighborhood groups the expertise of Boise Fire Prevention experts to advise homeowners on what firefighters call "Firewise" landscaping. For more on protecting your home from wildfire, go to www.boisefire.org.

    The following is a news release on last week's interagency training from the Boise office of the Bureau of Land Management.   

Emergency Responders and Officials Simulate Wildland Fire in Foothills

BOISE, ID - Emergency responders and officials from the cities of Boise and Eagle, Ada County, Boise County, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Idaho Department of Lands (IDL), the Bureau of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and homeowners met yesterday at the Owyhee Plaza Hotel to work through a simulation representing what should occur if a large wildland fire were to burn in or near populated areas in the Treasure Valley.  The meeting focused on coordinating a response to a wildland fire that would involve several fire departments, agencies, and emergency responders.

The exercise and discussion allowed firefighters and emergency responders to discuss important steps in suppressing wildland fires with public officials such as Ada County Commissioners Sharon Ullman, Rick Yzaguirre and Vernon Bisterfeldt.  The simulation further identified the roles and responsibilities of all agencies and officials involved in wildland fires, including home and property protection; emergency evacuation; jurisdictional responsibilities; fiscal responsibilities; and support from emergency organizations such as FEMA and Homeland Security.  

"This exercise further improved our ability to respond to a large wildfire, should one ignite where homes and lives are immediately threatened," says Andy Delmas, Boise BLM Fire Management Officer.  "It's important for us to all sit down together and discuss how all agencies will respond to such an emergency, so we can suppress these types of wildfires quickly while providing for protection of lives and property," Delmas adds.  

Several wildland fires have ignited in the Boise area in recent years, threatening lives and property.  The 2008 Oregon Trail fire burned several homes, and one woman was killed during the incident.  Last summer, the Highway 16 fire near Eagle, Idaho, burned several homes and threatened many more.  

"Wildland fires are a part of our environment, so they're bound to happen," adds Delmas.  "Firefighters and emergency responders regularly practice responding to wildland fires every spring; this latest exercise allowed us to further involve public officials.  It's one more tool we'll use to improve our capabilities so we can safely respond to potentially dangerous incidents."

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