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BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - Volunteer firefighters in Butte County fight fires, but also respond to other types of emergencies, and are constantly training to maintain skills and learn new ones.
Saturday a new batch of trainees started a 17 day volunteer firefighting academy. Instructor and Fire Captain Joe Chavez started teaching the recruits on Saturday morning. They will train on weekends through February. There are 32 students in the new group.
In 2017 there were 177 volunteer firefighters signed up in Butte County, for 17 different volunteer companies.
CAL FIRE Public Information Officer (PIO) Rick Carhart told Action News Now there were 20,252 incidents that were dispatched to Butte Unit firghters in 2017. More than half of those calls were for medical responses (56 percent).
As students were training on Saturday, the already trained firefighters in the Butte Unit responded to a rollover collision on the Skyway near Rocky Bluff, and to a vegetation fire in Berry Creek.
PIO Carhart says CAL FIRE volunteers are most known for their response to vegetation fires, but that only accounted for one percent of calls in 2017.
Carhart said in the fall fire calls start to shift from vegetation fires to structure fires.
In order to keep your home safe, he suggests checking your heater, stovepipes, chimneys and appliances carefully before starting them up this winter.
He also requests people refrain from the unsafe use of barbeques inside of home kitchens. "Don't use them for heat," he said.
Also, CAL FIRE wants to remind people to be careful when they take out ashes from their woodstoves and fireplaces.
"Don't store the ashes next to your house, and don't just throw the ashes in the garbage," Carhart pleaded. You need to make sure the ashes are cold before they are completely disposed of, he reminded.