Community Events

Hinesburg Fire Department plans controlled burn

The Hinesburg Fire Department will be conducting a staged burn for training purposes on the corner of Route 116 and Hollow Road.

Controlled Burn. Photo Courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

By Olivia Wilson

If you see smoke coming from State Route 116 on Sunday, Nov. 12, no need to panic. The Hinesburg Fire Department will be conducting a staged burn for training purposes that day on the corner of Route 116 and Hollow Road. 

Firefighters will be putting out a controlled blaze on a residential structure at 14407 State Route 116, according to an Oct. 26 announcement, right down the road from the fire station. Google maps from this year shows a dilapidated home on the corner there that appears to have been vacant for some time. The burn will begin at 7 a.m. and is projected to finish by 1 p.m. 

Controlled burns are the best way to train firefighters, Chief Nicholas Baker wrote in the release.

The department has notified the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Vermont Department of Health’s asbestos program, as well as the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation’s Air Quality and Climate Division, according to the release.

The regional dispatch center in Shelburne is aware of the training, Baker wrote, and residents can expect to see firetrucks and equipment from multiple agencies in the area.

Most staff at the Hinesburg Fire Department are part time and on call, according to its website. Firefighters train once a week — every Wednesday — but controlled burns allow them to practice a realistic response to an actual house fire. The goal is to keep staff ready to face the 500 incidents they report to every year. 

In a 2017 article from The Citizen on a controlled burn training that year, HInesburg fire officials said, “It is a good opportunity for the officers and senior members to practice our skills and for newer members to be exposed to smoke and fire conditions in a controlled situation.” 

In previous years, these trainings have involved departments from around the state and rescue crews from St. Michael’s College. 

That mimics reality: Local departments regularly respond to each others’ calls. Such was the case the night of Nov. 1, when at least seven fire departments responded when a fire engulfed the RK Miles lumber yard in Montpelier.

Those worried about the aftereffects of the Hinesburg structure and property can look to the 2017 example when property owner Jessica Guillemette repurposed the land by planting Christmas trees, according to The Citizen.

Olivia Wilson is a reporter with the Community News Service, a program in which University of Vermont students work with professional editors to provide content for local news outlets at no cost. 

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