BC students help control fires


Megan Luecke

One of many planes aiding in fighting the multiple fires started by lightning strikes dumps retardant near Round Mountain Road on Sept. 10.

Cassandra Mcgowan, Reporter

Lightning started multiple fires in  the foothills and nine of Bakersfield College’s fire technology program students are helping to put those blazes to rest.

The Comanche Complex Fire and the Breckenridge Complex Fire have burned a combined total of 55,534 acres of land in just over five days.

Tim Capehart, coordinator of the fire technology program at BC explained a complex fire, “Where you have three or four different fires, but they’re all being coordinated with one command post.”

The fire technology program offers students interested in going into the business of fighting fires, the opportunity for hands-on training.

“We have well over 1,000 students, we offer an AA/AS in fire technology, and we have an AS in wild land fighting, and there’s only four colleges in California that offer that and then, of course, we have fire tech certification,” said Capehart.

The large program here at BC is state fire marshal accredited and is recognized throughout the state of California.

The program also owns a total of three fire trucks that have been donated from various fire departments, but only two of them are in commission.

The program holds most of their classes at the Weill Institute. There they utilize the Olive Drive Fire Training Facility to get the trainees used to real-life fire situations. An example would be the two complex fires they are currently helping to put out in the Breckinridge area.

Engineer Anthony Romero, of the Kern County Fire Department, estimates that over 500 firefighters from all over Kern County are working hard to keep the fires from spreading.

“Keene is done, Comanche they’re expected to have it done by the 16th, the fire started on the 10th, it’s been five days since these fires have been going, and they don’t know when expected fire containment is for Breckenridge,” said Romero.

The Comanche fire is 95 percent contained and the Breckenridge fire is 70 percent contained, according to Kern County Fire Department’s website.