Firefighters plan wildfire drills in Portola Valley
Firefighters from all over San Mateo County will converge on the Spring Down open space just south of the Portola Valley Town Center in the second week of April to engage in a series of wildfire control exercises, Battalion Chief Kevin Butler of the Woodside Fire Protection District said.
The exercises will run from Monday, April 9, through Friday, April 13.
On Thursday, April 19, residents will participate in an evacuation drill of the Brookside Park neighborhood — the area west of Portola Road between Alpine Road and Willowbrook Drive. Town staff and volunteers will participate in this drill, which will be directed from the town's emergency operation center at Town Center, Mr. Butler said.
In the weeklong Spring Down open space drills, there will be one exercise in the morning and one in the afternoon on all five weekdays, but traffic disruption on Portola Road should be minimal, Mr. Butler said.
Firefighters will lay out several hundred feet of hose, use hand tools, protect a structure from a wildfire, and shelter on the ground from an out-of-control fire, Mr. Butler said.
Firefighters participating include those from the county, Redwood City, San Carlos, Belmont, San Mateo, Foster City, Millbrae and San Bruno, Mr. Butler said. The Woodside district is hosting the event because "we're considered the wildland experts," Mr. Butler said.
Firefighters from the Menlo Park Fire Protection District were not invited because they are on a "different training calendar," though they may show up anyway, Mr. Butler said.