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How the Jackson Fire Department aims to prevent wildfires with fire

Prescribed burns are important tools in clearing brush and training firefighters, officials say.

JACKSON, Calif. — The Jackson Fire Department conducted a prescribed burn on about 1.5 acres near Cemetery Lane and Placer Drive Wednesday. Prescribed burns are an important measure in working ahead of what’s expected to be a heated fire season this summer.

Battalion Chief Alex Sharp says prescribed burns not only help clear dry brush that are potential fuels for fires but also serve as an important training tool for firefighters.

“In rural communities, vegetation management especially creating firebreaks where fire can’t from the big open fields to the houses, that’s where our biggest threat is,” Sharp said.

During a prescribed burn, crews use torches and fuel to set fire to brush and slowly allow it to burn before dropping any more fuel. The process is highly controlled and at least a dozen firefighters were in the area to prevent any unintended burning.

This is the first training burn of its kind conducted by the Jackson Fire Department in more than a year. Sharp said conditions must be safe enough to do prescribed burns.

Jess Johnstone lives right outside of Jackson and was concerned when he saw the smoke from the burn. He said he would like to see everyone doing more to prevent wildfires.

“It’s definitely dry up here and everybody’s got to pay attention and these guys do a damn good job,” Johnstone said.

Firefighters say prescribed burns are an important tool, but just one. Homeowners can help firefighters by clearing brush around their homes too. You should do that work before 10 a.m. to prevent sparking a fire when temperatures are low and humidity is high.

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