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Large-scale Wildfire Simulation

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Date(s) - 04/16/2015
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Mother Lode to hold large-scale wildfire simulation April 16

 Volunteers needed to play the role of evacuees

WEST POINT, February 2015: Twenty-six agencies including local fire districts, Cal Fire, sheriff departments in two counties, private businesses and the American Red Cross are now planning a large-scale exercise to be held April 16 that will simulate a wildfire in the West Point area along the North Fork of the Mokelumne River between Amador and Calaveras Counties.

Volunteers are now being recruited to play the role of people evacuated or otherwise impacted during a fire similar in magnitude to the Rim Fire or the King Fire that burned other portions of the Sierra Nevada in the last two years.

“It is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when,” West Point Fire Protection District Chief Jim Carroll said of the chance that such a large fire could go raging up the Mokelumne River Canyon.

Carroll said that after large fires of the last few years such as the Rim, King, and Sand, the Mokelumne is one of the last major watersheds in the region that has not yet had a large fire. Carroll, a former Cal Fire Chief Officer and an expert in wildfire behavior, along with Cal Fire Battalion Chief Mike Blankenheim are mapping out the scenario that will be used for the exercise.

Exercise coordinator Dennis Lewis said he’s looking for acting classes, drama students, students from emergency-related career training programs, or others willing to volunteer to play the role of people evacuated during the emergency.

“Those volunteers will be given scenarios to play that will test the response of emergency personnel,” Lewis said. “For example, it is not unusual to have people show up at a disaster shelter without their prescription medication, or to be under severe psychological stress. We need actors to play those roles.”

Lunch is being provided by the Ladies Auxiliary of VFW Post 3322 in West Point.

For more information, or to volunteer, contact Lewis via email at delewis63@yahoo.com.