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60th CES teams with off base agencies for rare controlled burns

Arturo Perez, center, San Ramon Valley Fire Department instructor, instructs Airmen from the 60th Civil Engineer Squadron during a live burn training at Travis Air Force Base, California, Jan. 14, 2020. Travis Fire Emergency services and 10 other fire departments used four buildings at Travis AFB for live-fire training before conducting a final controlled burn to remove them. (Courtesy photo)

Arturo Perez, center, San Ramon Valley Fire Department instructor, instructs Airmen from the 60th Civil Engineer Squadron during a live burn training at Travis Air Force Base, California, Jan. 14, 2020. Travis Fire Emergency services and 10 other fire departments used four buildings at Travis AFB for live-fire training before conducting a final controlled burn to remove them. (Courtesy photo)

Firefighters from various local fire emergency services participate in a live burn training at Travis Air Force Base, California, Jan. 14, 2020. Travis Fire Emergency services and 10 other fire departments used four buildings at Travis AFB for live-fire training before conducting a final controlled burn to remove them. (Courtesy photo)

Firefighters from various local fire emergency services participate in a live burn training at Travis Air Force Base, California, Jan. 14, 2020. Travis Fire Emergency services and 10 other fire departments used four buildings at Travis AFB for live-fire training before conducting a final controlled burn to remove them. (Courtesy photo)

Firefighters from various local fire emergency services participate in a live burn training at Travis Air Force Base, California, Jan. 14, 2020. Travis Fire Emergency services and 10 other fire departments used four buildings at Travis AFB for live-fire training before conducting a final controlled burn to remove them. (Courtesy photo)

Jeff Switkowski, left, Sacramento Fire Department instructor, instructs Firefighters from various local fire emergency services during a live burn training at Travis Air Force Base, California, Jan. 14, 2020. Travis Fire Emergency services and 10 other fire departments used four buildings at Travis AFB for live-fire training before conducting a final controlled burn to remove them. (Courtesy photo)

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. The 60th Civil Engineer Squadron capitalizes on the rare opportunity to burn dilapidated and unused buildings on Travis throughout January and February.

“The primary objective is training,” said Master Sgt. Cody Nelson, 60th CES assistant chief of training. “Three old buildings on Hangar Avenue and building 927 on West Street were originally slated for ordinary demolition. Instead, Travis Fire Emergency Services will utilize them for live-fire training before conducting a final controlled burn to remove the structures.”

This arrangement increases the training opportunities for local firefighters and saves the Air Force normal expenses associated with demolition. Coordination began last September to conduct this training. The buildings being demolished are dilapidated and no longer inhabitable. Before burning, the structures needed to be made safe. Then notification was given to both on- and off-base environmental agencies for approval.

The Fire Control 3A live-fire training is designed to provide both volunteer and career firefighters with hands-on training in specialized areas such as firefighting, extrication, rescue and pump operations.

“The course is designed to develop fundamental skills in combating structure fires by providing the students with a thorough understanding of fire behavior,” said Nelson. “Classes are being delivered through registered instructors and are tailored to meet the needs of the student.”

The opportunity to reinforce the student’s knowledge of fire behavior is provided in all the exercises. In many cases, this will be the firefighter’s first exposure to live structural firefighting, yet it can also serve as an educational tool for the seasoned firefighter.

Around 100 personnel from surrounding fire departments are participating in the training; Squaw Valley, Sacramento City, Santa Clara, Winters, Vacaville District, San Ramon Valley, Camp Parks, Atascadero, and 932nd and 349th Reserve firefighters. 

“Working to serve locally with our off-base agencies prepares us for a faster overall response time for any event where an agency would be needed here or one of our agencies being needed there,” said Nelson. “The instructors and CES leadership hope for more training opportunities and burns like this in the future.”

Nelson also said this was the first opportunity for Travis Airmen to participate in a training like this and the CES trainers hope for more trainings and burns like this in the future.

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