News: Miramar Firefighters ‘Mitigate fire hazards’ with Prescribed Burns
Story by Cpl. Raquel Barraza
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. – Firefighters with the Miramar Fire Department conducted a prescribed burn on the explosive ordnance disposal range aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., June 12.
The Miramar Fire Department conducts these burns as part the air station’s vegetation management program to reduce the risk of wildfires. The firefighters only conduct these burns under specific conditions.
“The prescribed burn is designed to mitigate fire hazards and fires occurring during EOD range disposal operations,” said Paul Tompkins, operations chief with Miramar Fire Department.
When Marines dispose explosives, the shrapnel can start wild fires because of the dry vegetation, explained Tompkins.
These fires also prevent the risk of the fire spreading to others areas in the San Diego County.
Firefighters take into account factors such as humidity, temperature and moisture to ensure conditions are favorable to conduct the burns.
“As we saw a few weeks ago, with the weather and climate we’ve had lately and the extreme weather conditions, the fuel moisture (fuel moisture is the amount of water in the fuel available to a fire and in this case vegetation is the fuel) in San Diego County and throughout California have been unusually low and trending to go lower.” said Tompkins “So we’re attempting to coordinate our burn with the weather outlook.”
Miramar Firefighters worked with Firefighters from the Laguna Hotshots, a crew with the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, during the operation.
“The more you work together, the more you have the same ideas and you’re on the same page,” said Jim Huston, superintendent for the Laguna Hotshots.
Integrating the different agencies helps the fighters work more efficiently and safely together and be prepared for when a real fire occurs, explained Huston.
As the California wild fire season begins, Miramar firefighters and San Diego County firefighters prepare to work efficiently together in case of a real fire.
“Given the complexity of the burn and the area of acreage were tackling today, it’s important we have this kind of support to execute the burn safely, and to have sufficient manpower to execute and get it done,” said Tompkins.
Firefighters plan to continue these prescribed burns throughout the summer season. For more press releases regarding scheduled controlled burns visit www.miramar.marines.mil/news/pressreleases.aspx.