Firefighters training for a likely busy season

Posted: Monday, April 28, 2003

WASILLA (AP) Firefighters in Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna area are training hard for what they expect will be a busy fire season.

More than 100 volunteer firefighters gathered Saturday for a wildfire training exercise, in which they participated in a 45-acre burn at the University of Alaska Fairbanks' experimental farm.

The crews torched 45 acres at the farm along Trunk Road, the scene of annual fire training exercises. The flat fields burn relatively safely, officials say, while the action of the flames bolsters new grass growth.

Flames as tall as 6 feet blossomed from the dry grass, fanned by the breeze. A fast-moving grass fire can become a real disaster for homeowners, training coordinators said.

If you're burning trash at your house, this is how it could go,'' said Glen Holt, the state's public information officer. It would be like, Oops, call 911, dear.' By the time you got 911 dialed, it would be right up under your porch.''

This fire season firefighters might have their hands full because of the little amount of snow this winter, the dry spring and the recent spate of sunny weather.

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