READY TO GO: Rural fire department prepares for next wildfire

Published: Aug. 13, 2022 at 7:17 PM CDT
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EAGLES NEST TOWNSHIP, MN. (KBJR) - Firefighters in a rural department practiced how to evacuate their small town in case a wildfire creeps up on them.

“They can explode rapidly,” Mike Ostlund, the Director of Emergency Management for Eagles Nest Township said.

Just last year, the department battled the Greenwood Fire. This year, they wanted to take lessons from that fire and use them to get ready for the next blaze.

“Every time you have a an incident like that, and a major incident like Greenwood or Pagami Creek or other big fires, there’s always lessons learned,” Ostlund said.

They used a two part system to prepare.

“To move residents out of harm’s way in the event of a wildfire, but it also gives us the opportunity to train our firefighters,” he said.

Today’s drill was a little bit different. They practiced using no cell signal for lines of communication. All they could use were radios.

Fire Chief Larry McCray and the Eagle’s Nest Fire Department went out to about 30 residents’ doors. They knocked on them to tell them to evacuate the area.

“We’re practicing their evacuation as well as communication to them to get them out of their homes,” McCray said.

After getting all of the residents out safely, they had to fight a fake fire. In order to put it out, they needed to use lake water.

“We’re constantly looking for ways to get to the lake and get that water out of there and get it to the fire scene,” McCray said.

McCray and his crew worked most of the morning and afternoon to make sure everyone was safe. They were able to get all of the residents out of the area and successfully got their hoses working in time.

“Its become a big deal for us, hopefully we’ll never have to use it,” he said.

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