Cal Fire Leads Wildfire Simulation in Calaveras County

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WEST POINT-

It's no secret our region sees its fair share of wildfires. In the fourth year of drought, it's clear the lack of water is raising the risk.

In Calaveras County, just beyond West Point, there's an area that has not burned since the 1960s. But that could change soon, said Cal Fire Captain Steven Hewlett.

"There is the potential here, the fuel loadings here, the fire danger is fairly significant here because of the drought," Hewlett said.

Thursday, Cal Fire led more than two dozen other agencies in a simulated wildfire drill.

The operation allowed fire crews, sheriff's departments and the Red Cross to practice working together. They also had the chance to learn from each other, in preparation for what may be the inevitable: a busy fire season.

As part of the drill, Cal Fire demonstrated how crews recycle water while fighting fires, using what they've got because so much is now dried up.

"Reservoirs, swimming pools, aquifers, things like that that they've used in the past for major incidents might not be available this year," Hewlett said.

Twenty-two members of the Sacramento Fire Department were in Calaveras County, sharing their tactics and learning new ones.

"We wanted to get the guys out so they could get some use before the season starts, work out some of the bugs," said Sacramento Fire Captain Derek Parker.

The Red Cross says as firefighters prepare, the public should do their part, too.

They urge everyone to keep a fire kit with enough supplies to last seven days. Also clear 100 feet of defensible space around homes.