Mar 8, 2013 6:24 PM by John Patrick
TUCSON - Most of Arizona is under moderate to severe drought conditions and that has firefighters gearing up for an active wildfire season.
Forecasts point to an above average fire season by May for Southern Arizona so Rural Metro Fire Department is getting their annual red card certification underway. By next week all 180 firefighters at eight different stations will be ready for anything a wildfire can bring.
Grant Cesarek, Captain of Rural Metro Fire Department, says his firefighters must prove themselves before they can get called out to wildfires.
"If you don't have the knowledge base to what you're working with you can get severely injured if not killed," explains Cesarek.
Along with 40 hours of basic wildland firefighter training and lifesaving safety training comes the physical fitness test. All firefighters must be able to carry a 45 pound pack for three miles in less than 45 minutes.
Eric Brunsma has been fighting fires with Rural Metro for seven years and understands the importance of all his training.
Brunsma says, "It builds our confidence to let us know that when we do go out we're ready and the guy next to us is also going to be ready."
Rural Metro wants you to be ready for fire season as well. They say to keep your yard clear of brush, have an evacuation plan in case a fire does hit your area and make sure that all fires are fully snuffed out.