An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

HomeNewsArticle Display

Vandenberg firefighting team conducts training in Guam

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Three members from the Vandenberg fire department and Vandenberg Hotshots assisted in wildland fire training at Anderson AFB, Guam, March 1 - 8.

Vandenberg's team members included Mark Smith, a Vandenberg fire battalion chief; Jesse Hendricks, the Vandenberg Hotshots superintendent; and Kristin Halbeisen, a Vandenberg Hotshots fire captain.

"Guam requested our assistance in certifying their firefighters to Wildland Firefighter 1," said Mr. Smith. "This is a national standard for firefighters engaging in wildland firefighting. The Anderson AFB firefighters, the Navy firefighters and local natural resource personnel completed online training and needed our assistance with the practical training and evaluations."

Vandenberg's team of firefighters assisted the Anderson fire department and accompanying parties by conducting training and reviewing Anderson's programs, training, equipment and exposure to wildland fire threats.

"It was an invaluable opportunity to look at another program, share ideas and network," Mr. Smith said. "It was a great experience for us as well as the firefighters at Guam."

Guam's training has helped the Vandenberg firefighting trio hone their own skills and prepare for Vandenberg's approaching dry fire season.

Nearly seven months prior to the trip to Guam, the Vandenberg fire department and the Vandenberg Hotshots faced a wildland fire, later named the Pine Canyon Fire, that burned through more than 600 acres of Vandenberg property. Although extinguished in only a few days, the Pine Canyon Fire leaves the team wondering what they will encounter this year.

"Wildland fires are always hard to predict," Mr. Smith said. "The recent increased amount of rain here adds an abundance of fine fuels (grasses), but no matter what, we can expect to have a period of very dry and warm conditions that could lead to a large fire. We need to always be cautious during fire season."