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Firefighters to get more training ahead of wildfire season

Posted at 4:22 AM, Mar 23, 2017

We've all heard the saying "practice makes perfect," but it also applies to fighting wildfires. 

Right now, more than 100 firefighters are getting a refresher regarding how to fight these unpredictable blazes ahead of fire season.

About 26 departments (mostly municipal) are training in the Tonto National Forest over a two-day period. The training is mandatory and meant to be as realistic as possible.

These firefighters are now required to be ready all the time instead of just certain times of the year.

"We had a fire last week in Flagstaff," said Kevin Bailey, the deputy incident commander. "They fought fire in the snow. It was dry enough to have grass burning and they were able to tie it into the snow bank."

Firefighters will spend about four hours in the classroom and then get intense hands-on training in the field.

As for the intensity of this year's fire season, Bailey says it depends on how much rain Arizona gets in April. From there, they'll be able to better predict what these firefighters might have to deal with. 

RELATED: A past, present and future look at Arizona's wildfires