Kingsley Field Fire Department partners with community for “Burn-to-Learn”

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jefferson Thompson
  • 173rd Fighter Wing

Kingsley Field Firefighters partnered with local community organizations to hone structure fire response, Dec. 8, 2021.

Klamath Falls Fire District One invited the Kingsley Field Firefighters to participate in a “Burn-to-Learn” event held on a condemned structure on the south side of town.

The structure, an old home visibly in disrepair, hadn’t outlived its usefulness though it was no longer fit for habitation. The structure served as a training ground for firefighters from both districts, as well as Klamath Community College Fire Science students, who were on-hand to participate—kitted out in full personal protective gear.

The training began as firefighters set small blazes in different rooms in the house and observed how the fire behaves. They squelched these initial fires at a certain point to avoid burning the entire structure.

“Practicing skills in a live-fire environment is critical to being prepared to fight a fire at Kingsley,” said Howard Owens, the Kingsley Field Fire Chief. “This also builds the partnership with the primary agency that will support Kingsley during an emergency; we are staffed to mitigate small incidents—for a large-scale event we would need assistance through mutual-aid.”

And so this process bears directly on a real-world scenario where firefighters from District One and the base would work shoulder-to-shoulder as a team.

The final step in the “Burn-to-Learn” process was to start a number of fires throughout the structure and observe the ensuing inferno while protecting the local area, including trees and pastureland.

Owens says the value of the training runs from observing how building construction influences fire spread, radio communication between the team, to effective nozzle choice for best suppression.

In addition to furthering the partnership with the local fire district, five firefighters also met an Air Force requirement for live-fire training in a local venue, rather than traveling five hours to Travis Air Force base in California.