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Multiple agencies conduct aviation accident training at Ririe Reservoir

RIRIE, Idaho (KIFI) - In preparation for Wildfire season, the Caribou-Targhee National Forest is getting ready for any incident that may befall them during the event of a wildfire.

On Wednesday they are training on a simulated aviation incident at Ririe Reservoir. Air Idaho and the Bonneville County BackCountry team are teaming up with fire crews with the forest service.

"We're here working with our forest partners, trying to prepare for the upcoming fire season to make sure we're ready to enact when a wildfire happens," Thomas Pence a natural resource specialist Caribou-Targhee National Forrest.

This is the first time they have done live aviation training. They had a white car in the field that was representing a helicopter that crashed, and while this particular scenario may never occur in the field, being ready for any scenario during wild fire season is so important.

"Accidents do occur within wildfires. They are rare, but they have been known to happen. We try and prepare ourselves the best we can for when an eventual accident will occur," Pence said.

Those who participated in the event, said the scenario was a great help for them as wildfire season approaches.

"In that scenario, everyone did an excellent job of being there, being with it and being using their knowledge and their education and their training to go into action quickly," Laurel Friedlander a lead from Pocatello Helitack said.

"I think they're ready. Yeah, I'm alive in here. So in this scenario, I survived and they took good care of me. I think, any patients that they have in the in the field in the future are in good hands over here with this group," Tanner Gardner a Forrest Hydrologist said.

Gardner was a victim in Wednesday's training scenario.

"I had several injuries, a broken clavicle and, punctured bone and through my skin. And I'm guessing I'd be screaming a lot more for that than I was today. But I tried my best to reenact that, hopefully make the situation a bit more real for them," Gardner said.

For those involved the day was just a intense.

"I think we did pretty well. It's always a little confusing at first. And, your energy's a little high because this could happen.  So I think we did a good job," Friedlander said.

With multiple agencies involved in the training, learning how everyone interacted and reacted to the scenario was key, as they now feel better prepared in case this did happen in a real life scenario.

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Braydon Wilson

Braydon is a reporter for Local News 8.


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