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Wednesday, it was as close to real as it could be for groups of firefighters with the Pocatello Fire Department. The crews were part of a burn and learn exercise conducted by the department in the 3700 block of Jason Avenue. Over the course of the day, senior firefighters lit controlled fires in the home to give a few of the newest members a sense of the real thing. “A book and a classroom only go so far in preparing a firefighter for their first fire,” said Assistant Chief of Operations Travis Smith. “Once you get into a live fire with the heat, smoke, and noise, you have to remember all your training plus be situationally aware of what’s unfolding in front of you in order to make tactical adjustments quickly. Really, there’s no substitute for live fire experiences like this.” For this exercise, crews were training specifically on the strategies and tactics to employ when faced with a blaze in a residence. The home was purchased through the use of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds allocated to the City of Pocatello by the federal government. With the structure removed, the lot will now be utilized to build three low-to-moderate income level homes by NeighborWorks Pocatello, which has partnered with the City’s Neighborhood & Community Services Division. CDBG funds are used on a variety of housing and community development programs including removal of blighted properties. Burn and learn trainings are conducted in accordance with regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Fire Protection Agency.