Controlled Burn Of Structure On Okoboji Bible Conference Grounds Provides Valuable Training For Arnolds Park-Okoboji Firefighters

Sat 3-13-2021

(Arnolds Park)-- Members of the Arnolds Park-Okoboji Fire Department received some valuable training today (Sat.). The department held a controlled practice burn of an old house on the grounds of the Okoboji Bible Conference in Arnolds Park. APO Fire Chief Chris Yungbluth says the training is especially valuable for the newer members on the department...APO Training Fire01 

"We set a couple of rooms doing some room burns and letting our new firefighters which we have several of, experience a room fire from the incipient stage where it first starts which we never get to see because, you know, it takes a little bit of time for a fire department to get paged and get to the scene before it gets reported. So they get to watch that develop and build up in the room, they get to see all the way up to the rollover. They get to see why they've got to stay low just like teach the kids in schools to stay low because of the heat, they get to feel the heat and then they get to see what happens when they put water on the fire. So it makes a big difference for our folks to be able to see the live fire version. And then when we're done we get to burn the structure down completely and that benefits both us as we get to do some water flow and hose training and it benefits the folks that own the house by having a reduced cost for landfill and things like that when it comes to tearing the structure down the rest of the way anyways."

Yungbluth says a lot of work went into planning the exercise...APO Training Fire02 

"We had to cut some of the trees back so we didn't have to destroy the trees completely. We had to do some prep work, we contacted the neighbors and let them know that we were going to be doing a burn and we didn't want to inconvenience them, or at least as little as possible."

Yungbluth says they would like to have exercises like this on a more regular basis but he says that's very difficult to do...APO Training Fire03 

"We'd love to do one a year if we could, but there's just not that many structures because of so many hoops that it takes to jump through with the DNR and with everyone else to be able to have an acquired structure and do a burn. DNR allows us up to two a year. We try, we would like to do one a year but honestly probably about one every five to seven or eight years is what we get for an acquired structure that we get to burn."

A crowd of onlookers gathered to observe the exercise. Smoke from the fire could be seen for miles.