Firefighters Practice Skills to Battle Wildland Blazes | Homes & Lifestyle

Posted on May 14, 2022
| 9:00 am

New protocol, Wildland Mayday, designed to reduce firefighter fatalities

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Night helicopter operations was among the five areas firefighters worked on at a recent training session (Courtesy photo)

Firefighters representing seven departments from across Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties came together May 10 to prepare for high fire season by participating in an annual Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) drill. The 2022 WUI drill took place at Las Flores Ranch in the Santa Maria Valley.

Firefighters moved through five stations at the ranch, including practicing progressive hose lays, structure protection, mobile attack, mapping, and night helicopter operations. Understanding and training on each of these skills is critical to our success during a real incident.

Additionally, training with local partner agencies gives firefighters the opportunity to get to know one another and build trust among all the involved departments. More than 50 local fire personnel participated in this year’s drill. The drill was organized by Santa Maria City Fire and Santa Barbara County Fire Departments.

Participating agencies were: Santa Maria City Fire Department, Santa Barbara County Fire Department, including helicopter; Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District; Montecito Fire Department; Five Cities Fire Authority; CalFire SLO; and Los Padres National Forest.

New this year, firefighters discussed the importance of Wildland Mayday, a new protocol for firefighters to communicate their location and need for help during critical situations, such as burn overs and entrapments. This protocol was developed by FIRESCOPE in response to the rising number of firefighter fatalities during wildfires.

During the WUI drill, Damian Guilliani of Encinitas Fire Department instructed participating firefighters about the Wildland Mayday protocol.

As firefighters prepare for a challenging fire season, community members are asked to help get ready for wildfires by reviewing evacuation plans and building an emergency supply kit. For more information, visit


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