WARRENTON - This weekend, local area fire departments, in conjunction with the Oregon Department of Forestry, will be staging wildland fire training exercise at Camp Armed Forces Training Center.

The two-day exercise will consist of specific training topics on Saturday, followed by a live fire exercise Sunday.

Approximately 40 to 50 fire department personnel from Clatsop, Tillamook and Pacific Counties will be participating in the exercise alongside 15 to 20 Forestry Department personnel.

On Saturday, all participants will receive hands-on training in various topics that include Hand Line Construction, Structure Protection, Firing Devices, Wildland Fire Pumps and Hose Lays.

The live fire portion of the training exercise on Sunday will involve burning a large area of light to moderate vegetation, and will produce smoke throughout the late morning and afternoon. The smoke may be heavy at times, and will be visible from U.S. Highway 101.

This is a unique opportunity for local Clatsop County fire department personnel to gain valuable experience in wildland fire suppression strategies and tactics, and to benefit from working together with outside fire departments and ODF personnel.

This year's event has been planned to build on the experience gained during previous exercises conducted in 2000, 2001, and 2004, as well to prepare newer firefighters for the possibility of operating at a wildland fire.

As the summer season progresses and vegetation continues to dry and cure, fire danger in Clatsop county will increase, warned Warrenton Fire Chief Ted Ames.

"It is easy to mistake the green appearance of natural vegetation in the local area as reason not to worry about wildland fires, when just the opposite is the case. Rainfall amounts, while heavy earlier in the year, are tapering off quickly and will rapidly increase the local fire danger.

"While the participants in this weekend's exercise will gain valuable experience in dealing with a large wildland fire, they would also remind everyone to please be careful with any outdoor burning, and to be sure to check with your local fire department or the Oregon Department of Forestry prior to doing any type of burning," Ames said.