Don’t be alarmed if you see flames shooting into the sky off of Tuolumne Road this weekend. It’s all part of a training exercise for area fire fighters on how to deal with flammable liquid fires.
Cal Fire Capt. Mike Spears says, “People driving along the road may on Saturday evening may see flames coming from behind our Standard Cal Fire Station. The flames could reach potentially 25 to 30 feet in the air, but it will be a clean burn so you won’t see any smoke in the air.”
Cal Fire is asking motorists not to stop on or along the road to see the fire as that will just create traffic hazards. About 25 fire fighters will participate in the drill. The exercise involves a prop flag trailer filled with propane.
Cal Fire Battalion Chief Scott Fremd says, “They will simulate the amount of flame production and heat that you would have from an overturned propane or fuel truck. One of the props is called the Christmas Tree; it looks like a metallic Christmas tree. It’s piping that stands up and if you can envision that with propane coming out of every little orifice on the tree that’s one of the props that they’ll deal with.”
Fremd says we came close to having an actual emergency like this recently.
“One instance that I can think of was the fuel tanker that overturned on Highway 108 near Jamestown. If that had turned out to be a fire, this will train the crews responding up to the level so that they can handle emergencies like that.” Fremd said.
Fremd says three CAL Fire Master Instructors are teaching the drill which runs all day with the flames portion of the exercise starting after dusk and running until 10pm on Saturday.