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Wildland firefighters attend week of training in local area

Firefighters attending "guard school" used a controlled burn in the forest near Walton Lake to learn and prepare for the coming fire season which is expected to be potentially busy for them.
Approximately 100 wildland firefighters from the Oregon Department of Forestry, Bureau of Land Management and the USDA Forest Service gathered in Prineville for a week-long training session. The event included complete classroom and field training on basic firefighting.
   Prineville has hosted the week-long training for the last two years. Students completed the classroom portion of their training at the Crook County High School.
   "The City of Prineville saw a considerable increase of fire emergency vehicles and personnel," said Lookout Mountain District Ranger Art Currier. Firefighters who do not live in the area camped at the high school. Breakfast and lunch were provided at the school and students ate dinner at local restaurants.
   Last Thursday students and instructors participated in live fire exercises at in the forest near Walton Lake. The students camped near Walton Lake each night and the training continued through Friday, June 22.
   The annual course is required for all state and federal employees engaged in wildland firefighting, and is often called "guard school" by experienced firefighters. Course material included fire organization, hazardous materials, dispatch procedures, mop-up, fire shelter deployment, water-handling techniques and tool use. The training will prepare wildland firefighters for a potentially busy fire season in Central Oregon to fight fires such as the Hash Rock Fire of 2000.