Hundreds of firefighters are patrolling the hills at Camp Pendleton this week for the base’s annual Wildland Fire School. It helps that the U.S. Marine Corps base can burn thousands of acres without threatening any homes or buildings.
“This is a really unique area where we could actually put literal fire on the ground and actually go out and go chase it,” Camp Pendleton Fire Captain Luis Gonzalez said.
“It’s really important," Poway Fire Engineer David Legaspi said. "It’s all about preparedness."
The increasing drought conditions throughout California are of particular concern to all of the firefighters.
“This year is already lining up to be a very large fire season,” Gonzalez said.
“Every summer we worry," Legaspi said. "These fires can get pretty big."
Which is why hundreds of firefighters are in the middle of the base this week, practicing their attacks on fires and training on how to work with other agencies.
“It really helps us all out with communications,” Gonzalez said.
“If we’re going to make any mistakes, we’re going to make them here,” concluded Legaspi.
Wednesday afternoon, more than a thousand acres burned in a brush fire just east of where the firefighters were training. It was unclear whether that fire was related to the Wildland Fire School.