Pilot story and photos by Lynn Davis

Things heated up for the Brookings Fire Department last Saturday morning as firemen carefully performed a rare andquot;live fireandquot; training exercise on a partially demolished house located at 710 6th Street.

The prearranged drill was part of the andquot;Burn to Learnandquot; program that provides invaluable opportunities for the crew to learn more about fire behavior and, at the same time, serves as an inexpensive way for a property owners to dispose of an unwanted structures.

andquot;The overall cost of removing a structure will be considerably less than if they were to hire a contractor to have to tear it all down and dispose of it by another means,andquot; said Brookings Fire Department Chief Bill Sharp. andquot;We are saving the property owner a lot of money.andquot;

The program, he said, has been around for at least twenty-two years, the amount of time he has been with the department. Those wishing to have their structure burned are requested to pay a small donation, do some basic preparation work, and then sign over the building to the department.

The house used for last Saturday's exercise was donated about a month and a half ago by California resident,Ross Warthon.

Sharp said he waited for conditions to be just right before giving the andquot;go-ahead.andquot;

andquot;This is the time of year we like to do them,andquot; he explained.

The amount of moisture in the air, the dampness of surrounding vegetation and structures, and the lack of wind at 8 a.m. combine to form a good environment for controlling a burn, he said.