As San Diego heads into another fire season, firefighters across the region have begun training in the event a large wildfire breaks out.
The annual training at Viejas Indian Reservation is a crucial part of preparing for peak wildfire season on the ground, firefighters told NBC 7 San Diego.
"Everything we train with here is what we're going to take out into the field," said Sonny Saghera, Fire Captain at Heartland Fire and Rescue.
Over three days, more than 750 firefighters from multiples agencies across the county will come together to train how to best defend homes and lives during an actual wildfire.[[382043081,C]]
"The biggest thing is that we are gathering agencies throughout the county who normally wouldn't work (together), but would on a real wild land incident," Saghera said.
As the San Diego County Sheriff's Department (SDSO) chopper flew overhead Monday, boots were on the ground, hiking through the dry brush.
Firefighters were digging and hacking to get a make-believe fire under control -- and at one point, when the flames "took over", crews threw on their green shelter and waited.
In the past week, the Pala Fire and Temecula Fire near the Rainbow Valley have charred more than 100 combined acres. Once crews quelled the Pala Fire, it reignited shortly after.
Darren Hall, Captain of the Coronado Fire Department, said previous year's trainings have paid off in unexpected ways.
"In 2001, I was in the Viejas Fire and its the same exact spot where we did a rendezvous point in real conditions," he said.
"I was telling the younger crew members on my crew, we were in real firestorms in this area not that long ago," he added.
As they train, crews are already preparing for what they anticipate to be a long fire season.
"Be prepared for the real thing, that's coming down the road, I'm sure," said Brian Kuklinski, a firefighter with the Viejas Fire Department.