Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Northwest Fire preparing for fire season

Erick Castiblanco trudges through the last leg of a work capacity test. The test requires participants to wear a 45-pound vest and cover three miles in 45 minutes.

Erick Castiblanco trudges through the last leg of a work capacity test. The test requires participants to wear a 45-pound vest and cover three miles in 45 minutes.

Northwest Fire Rescue District is gearing up for this year’s fire season and for the first time will field a hotshot team composed of experienced firefighters.

The fire season in Arizona runs roughly from April 1 through Sept. 30, and the severity depends on rainfall, heat and vegetation growth.

This year, the wildfire season could be early and long, Gov. Janet Napolitano warned last month.

The newly formed, 20-person Ironwood Hotshot crew is considered a crew in training this year and will be certified after completed rigorous national certifications and inspections, said Battalion Chief William Dugger Hughes of Northwest Fire.

The Ironwood Hotshots are the first crew ever sponsored by a fire district in Arizona, he said.

Northwest Fire units last year fought fires in California, Idaho, Montana, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida as well as in southern Arizona., said Hughes.

Wildfire training includes daily physical exercise, 80 hours of classroom instruction and a medical exam.

Northwest recruits its seasonal firefighters in January and trains them in March.

Seven members of the Wildland and elite Hotshot teams prepare for their annual work capacity test.

Seven members of the Wildland and elite Hotshot teams prepare for their annual work capacity test.

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This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

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