VIRGINIA — During the two weeks of March 24 – April 6, the Virginia Fire Department was called for service 178 times: 166 medical calls and 12 fire calls. The 12 fire calls varied from lift assists, dispatched and cancelled enroute, multiple MVAs and a water flow alarm.
The 166 medical calls were 51 transfers and 115 9-1-1 medical calls. The 51 transfers brought us to Essentia Health- Virginia 47 times, Fairview Medical Center in Hibbing and Cook hospital two times each. These patients were transported to Essentia Health-St. Mary’s in Duluth and St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth as well as back to nursing home facilities.
The 115 9-1-1 medical calls brought us to Eveleth, Gilbert, Mt. Iron, Tower, Biwabik, Pike Sandy Britt and Virginia. These patients were transported to Essentia Health-Virginia, Essentia Health-St. Mary’s, Essentia Health-Northern Pines in Aurora and Fairview Medical Center.
We performed 221 procedures and administered 171 medicines. During this time, the Fire Marshall kept busy following up on inspections and code enforcements.
With the delay of spring, it seems like the wildfire season may never happen. However, it is right around the corner. Below are a few wildfire tips to remember this spring and summer.
How to prevent a wildfire
• Call 9-1-1, your local fire department or the park service if you notice an unattended or out-of-control fire.
• Never leave a campfire unattended.
Before sleeping or leaving the campsite,
completely extinguish the fire by dousing
it with water and stirring the ashes until
they are cold.
• Take care when using and fueling lanterns, stoves and heaters when camping.
Make sure lighting and heating devices
are cool before refueling. Avoid spilling
flammable liquids and store fuel away
• Do not discard cigarettes, matches or
smoking materials from moving vehicles
or anywhere on park grounds. Be certain
to completely extinguish cigarettes before
disposing of them.
• Follow local ordinances when burning
yard waste. Avoid backyard burning in
windy conditions, and keep a shovel, water and fire retardant nearby to keep fires
in check. Remove all flammables from
yard when burning.
• Evacuate immediately when told to do
• Know your evacuation route ahead of
time. Prepare an evacuation checklist and
• Wear protective clothing and footwear
to protect yourself from flying sparks and
Before you leave, prepare your house
• Remove combustibles, including firewood, yard waste, barbecue grills and fuel
cans, from your yard.
• Close all windows, vents and doors to
prevent a draft.
• Shut off natural gas, propane or fuel oil
• Fill any large vessels—pools, hot tubs,
garbage cans or tubs—with water to slow
or discourage fire.
Caught in a wildfire
• Don’t try to outrun the blaze. Instead,
look for a body of water, such as a pond
or river, to crouch in.
• If there is no water nearby, find a
depressed, cleared area with little vegetation, lie low to the ground, and cover your
body with wet clothing, a blanket or soil.
Stay low and covered until the fire passes.
• Protect your lungs by breathing air closest to the ground through a moist cloth, if
possible, to avoid inhaling smoke.
The following five rating levels are
used to describe danger levels in public
information releases and fire prevention
Low (green)—Fire starts are unlikely.
Weather and fuel conditions will lead to slow fire spread, low intensity and relatively easy control with light mop-up. Controlled burns can usually be executed with reasonable safety.
Moderate (blue)—Some wildfires may be expected. Expect moderate flame length and rate of spread. Control is usually not difficult and light to moderate mop up can be expected. Although controlled burning can be done without creating a hazard, routine caution should be taken.
High (yellow)—Wildfires are likely. Fires in heavy, continuous fuel, such as mature grassland, weed fields and forest litter, will be difficult to control under windy conditions. Control through direct attack may be difficult but possible and mop up will be required. Outdoor burning should be restricted to early morning and late evening hours.
Very High (orange)—Fires start easily from all causes and may spread faster than suppression resources can travel. Flame lengths will be long with high intensity, making control very difficult. Both suppression and mop up will require an extended and very thorough effort. Outdoor burning is not recommended.
Extreme (red)—Fires will start and spread rapidly. Every fire start has the potential to become large. Expect extreme, erratic fire behavior. No outdoor burning should take place in areas with extreme fire danger.
Submitted by Fire Chief Allen Lewis, Virginia Fire Department.