Firefighters take precautions as brush fire season approaches

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Provo firefighters are taking precautions this summer, warning citizens to stay inside as they prepare for the brush fire season.

According to Fire Captain Brian Roberts, captain at Provo’s fire station 22, this year’s record-breaking cold delayed the brush fire season in Utah — however, triple-digit temperatures have finally arrived.

“Any time we see triple-digit temperatures, we see a rise in brush fires, we see a rise in heat-related illnesses like heat stroke and heat exhaustion and really it affects the elderly and the young a lot,” Roberts said.

The combination of fighting fires and increased temperatures requires firefighters to rotate out more frequently.

“On the structure fires, we wear our turnouts, which are more insulating and heavy than the wildland firefighting gear … so you will rotate guys in quite a bit more when you can,” paramedic and firefighter Josh Forsyth said.

In addition to fighting fires, paramedics and firefighters also help treat various heat-related illnesses across the city.

Leaving children and pets inside vehicles during the summer is an easy way for children to experience heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heat stroke, Forsythe said.

According to Forsythe, firefighters need to stay hydrated, eat healthy foods and stay in shape to help combat fires and reduce the likelihood of heat exhaustion while on the job.

Firefighters are also asked to train on various exercises including medical, firefighting and extrication training, from one to three hours each day so they are prepared for any emergency which may arise on the job, Roberts said.

The fire department provides plans to ensure that firefighters are not outside in extreme heat for prolonged periods of time, according to Roberts.

“If we do have a structure fire or something that leads guys outside for a prolonged period of time, we have the callback guys that are off-shift, and they’ll come in and fill in these spots,” Roberts said.

As the brush fire season continues, Provo firefighters will take necessary precautions to provide the quickest and safest relief.

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