Firefighters Brace For Wildfire Season

Monday, March 9th 2009, 8:09 am
By: News On 6

Associated Press

McALESTER, Okla. (AP) -- Firefighters from all over Oklahoma were in McAlester this weekend to hone their skills battling wildfires.

The Bob Smith Wildland Roundup brought firefighters from some 90 fire departments across the state together for classroom instruction and hands-on training in fighting all sorts of blazes.

Now in its ninth year, 416 firefighters attended this weekend's classes, held at the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in conjunction with Oklahoma State's University's Fire Programs Department.

The timing for the classes couldn't have been better as Oklahoma enters springtime, one of its most active seasons for wildfires.

With Oklahoma being an agricultural state, wildfires pose destruction of pastures and cropland, endanger livestock and eventually threaten farm equipment and buildings, if not entire towns.

About 90 percent of those taking the weekend classes were volunteer firefighters from rural fire departments from every corner of the state.