Warrenton - A training exercise for local fire departments and Oregon Department of Forestry personnel is scheduled for Rilea Armed Forces Training Camp in Warrenton this weekend.

Training activities Saturday will include groups of firefighters and vehicles leaving Rilea from the north gate and assessing the Leinenweber Estates neighborhood in Warrenton for structure protection strategies in case a large fire should threaten the area in the future.

Sunday, there will be a wildland exercise that will involve burning a large area of vegetation and will produce a lot of smoke.

Forty to 50 fire department personnel from Clatsop and Tillamook counties and Washington's Pacific County will participate, along with 15 Oregon Department of Forestry personnel. An Oregon Air National Guard Fire Hawk helicopter will also take part in the exercise on Sunday.

"This is a unique opportunity for firefighters in the local area to gain valuable experience in wildland fire suppression tactics, as well as working together with outside agencies," said Warrenton Fire Chief Ted Ames.

Ames warned that fire danger in Clatsop County will increase during the summer. He said it's easy to mistake the green appearance of natural vegetation as a reason not to worry about wildland fires, when just the opposite is the case.

Rainfall amounts are lower than normal again this year, he said, and fire danger will increase rapidly. He said it's important for people to check with their local fire departments or the Oregon Department of Forestry before doing any type of burning.


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