1. #1
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    Default Brush Season, Rural Vollie Dept.

    With this summer coming and temperatures expecting exceed over 100 degrees for over a week at a time. The officer staff has been tasked to revise company operations to remain at normal operating "levels" and be ready for brush fires all over the district. Now as I mentioned in the state subform (Arkansas), my department operates at full capactiy nearly 100% of the time. Now, we have recently developed an automatic mutual aid with the surrounding departments that gives us an additional fifty more miles in our district.

    We have some ideas such as:

    station deployments: one report of a brush fire takes a service, a brush. Verified large fires will be sent an engine and a tanker.

    keep our normal staffings: all three brush trucks and all three service trucks and one engine.

    more ideas to come.
    our stats:
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    If you have any ideas that would help us, please post them here,

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    Just trying to orient myself to your jargon. What is considered a "service" truck? What is "subform"?

    Also, might want to look at humidity levels more than temperature in prep for brush fires. Usually about 1-3pm in the spring and fall, the humidity drops and anything below 35% means a serious increase in not just fires, but the potential for the fire to grow big. The fuels lose any moisture and will catch extremely easily. Granted it might be different in Arkansas, but in Virginia, during the summer, humidity is over 80% each day.

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    a service truck is our "support truck", it has our Jr.FFs on it. We have a driver and three Jrs per Service Truck. the subform is the link I posted. How does your dept. run comfortably during brush season?

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    We dont change any staffing, but usually during those seasons, some of the department are more aware that if we do get fires, they can be a little more than the usual brush call. This will generate more people than other times of the year.

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    As a primarily volunteer combo department to your south in the Piney Forest "hill country" of Louisiana, a brush assignment in our department gets two engines, a brush truck, a tanker and if it sounds significant, a service truck, If additional engines sign on the air, they will be staged until the extent of the fire and the direction of travel has been sized up by first arriving units. if needed, they will be brought into the incident.

    In addition to one dedicated 4WD brush truck, we have two service trucks with 200-300 gallon tanks that function as auxiliary "hard pan" brush apparatus. we also have access to a second dedicated 4WD brush truck owned by the state at a military facility we cover under contract that responds anywhere in our district manned by our personnel.

    The last two years we experienced some of the worst wildland fire activity in the department's history, including a month long lakebed fire two years ago and a smaller, three-week long lakebed fire last year. Multiple 10-20 acre fires a week were not uncommon as was a couple of 50 to 100 acre jobs a month.

    We deployed to the parish to our west, east Texas and central LA last year as well for major incidents.

    I would send at least one engine with a brush truck for fire attack from hard roadbeds, structural protection and/or water supply for a brush truck. I would also recommend at least dispatching a tanker, even if it runs cold. The idea of sending a brush truck out alone with only a service truck can get you into trouble if you come upon a fast-moving fire threatening structures before any engines can arrive to support the brush apparatus. Even though we have had a wet winter, fire conditions , especially in spring winds, can still be dicey. At least that has been the case here over the past couple of weeks.

    I would also recommend talking to adjoining departments and counties and develop the framework to assemble and deploy task forces of at least 3 engines, 2 brush trucks, a tanker or two and a command staff of at least 3 Chiefs for rapid deployment to major incidents. last year we deployed as a parish, or at least as a 3-4 department strike team to adjoining parishes on several occasions with some very good success.

    My VFD in a neighboring parish follows the same basic operating principles, with somewhat less manpower, and has responded out of the parish on task force operations in the past 2 years as well, as well as operating extensively mutual aid at the lakebed fire two years ago on their side of the lake.

    It's funny you posted this as I was watching the local news in Shreveport tonight and they aired a story about the ARK Forestry Department stating that they expected this spring to be very active up your way.
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    Basically we were told by our surrounding departments that we would be the main response because of their lack of member activity. The majority of our support would come from Little Rock, Pine Bluff, until the closer departments are able to send out their guys. So far one of our Jrs gave the idea:

    1 Brush, 1 Service (1st page)
    1 Engine (Verified Brush Fire)
    1 Ladder/Quint, 1 Rescue (For trees on fire and large areas that can be wetted down with a master stream)

    He also gave the idea to staff the Service trucks with one of the Chiefs.

    Modified House fire response:
    1 Engine, 1 Ladder, 1 Service.

    Modified EMS/MVA response:
    1 Ladder/Rescue/Squad or Support

    LAfire, how is your dept. handling the upcoming season? Any manpower/staffing changes? (Anyone else?)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fire71EMT View Post
    Basically we were told by our surrounding departments that we would be the main response because of their lack of member activity. The majority of our support would come from Little Rock, Pine Bluff, until the closer departments are able to send out their guys. So far one of our Jrs gave the idea:

    1 Brush, 1 Service (1st page)
    1 Engine (Verified Brush Fire)
    1 Ladder/Quint, 1 Rescue (For trees on fire and large areas that can be wetted down with a master stream)

    He also gave the idea to staff the Service trucks with one of the Chiefs.

    Modified House fire response:
    1 Engine, 1 Ladder, 1 Service.

    Modified EMS/MVA response:
    1 Ladder/Rescue/Squad or Support

    LAfire, how is your dept. handling the upcoming season? Any manpower/staffing changes? (Anyone else?)
    We aren't adding any personnel. We are lucky in that my combo department has 5 paid staff on during the day, and 2 at night, plus a very healthy volunteer response. We did just acquire a small mule from the Highway Department which we are currently outfitting with a 65 gallon tank and pump.

    My volunteer department isn't so lucky as we only have about 15 personnel on the roster.

    I would make a couple of suggestions. As I talked about above, add at least one engine to the 1st page response. If the brush truck comes up on a significant fire, it will not have the water for significant operations. In addition, it will not provide nearly the punch needed for exposure protection or to knock down a fire which has already extended into an outbuilding. Finally, you will want the engine on scene with the brush truck for immediate water supply.

    I would also think about putting a tanker on the card as the first out truck for those other departments, followed by a second brush truck or engine.

    I would have the Chief respond POV or in a command or truck other than the service for two reasons. First of all, you want your initial officer to be very mobile in a brush fire situation. Tying him to a response vehicle will greatly limit that mobility. Secondly, we use our service trucks as a manpower resource that can be assigned anywhere on the fireground as soon as they arrive. By putting the Chief into that service truck, you have reduced your manpower pool and limited it's ability to move around the fireground as needed.

    Those are just my ideas.
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    Based on the weather briefing I just heard brother ... Sounds like you need to think about your flod response for the next few days.

    They are calling for 5-6" here for the next 3 days but a slight shift east could easily give us 8-10".

    Sounds like much of the western part of ARK, if that is where you are, is gonna get all of that if not a little bit more.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 03-08-2012 at 03:44 PM.
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    A ladder on a brush fire response ? I would hate to catch a major fire while my ladder was out in the boonies "wetting down trees and the ground"
    And like Spencer says -overhead heat is just a small part of the equation, and while there are exceptions , generally early Spring and mid to late fall are more active fire seasons in the mid south.Replace the ladder response with another brush truck or a tanker - even a support / scout pick up would be more useful.
    ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by slackjawedyokel View Post
    A ladder on a brush fire response ? I would hate to catch a major fire while my ladder was out in the boonies "wetting down trees and the ground"
    And like Spencer says -overhead heat is just a small part of the equation, and while there are exceptions , generally early Spring and mid to late fall are more active fire seasons in the mid south.Replace the ladder response with another brush truck or a tanker - even a support / scout pick up would be more useful.
    What if we get another brush call? then we'd only have one brush left for operations and therefore would not be able to operate at full capacity. We have a lot of trees in our district that are close together.

    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    We aren't adding any personnel. We are lucky in that my combo department has 5 paid staff on during the day, and 2 at night, plus a very healthy volunteer response. We did just acquire a small mule from the Highway Department which we are currently outfitting with a 65 gallon tank and pump.

    My volunteer department isn't so lucky as we only have about 15 personnel on the roster.

    I would make a couple of suggestions. As I talked about above, add at least one engine to the 1st page response. If the brush truck comes up on a significant fire, it will not have the water for significant operations. In addition, it will not provide nearly the punch needed for exposure protection or to knock down a fire which has already extended into an outbuilding. Finally, you will want the engine on scene with the brush truck for immediate water supply.

    I would also think about putting a tanker on the card as the first out truck for those other departments, followed by a second brush truck or engine.

    I would have the Chief respond POV or in a command or truck other than the service for two reasons. First of all, you want your initial officer to be very mobile in a brush fire situation. Tying him to a response vehicle will greatly limit that mobility. Secondly, we use our service trucks as a manpower resource that can be assigned anywhere on the fireground as soon as they arrive. By putting the Chief into that service truck, you have reduced your manpower pool and limited it's ability to move around the fireground as needed.

    Those are just my ideas.
    the Chief would be the "Company Officer" while the Jrs would be doing rehab, staging, and other non-firefighting stuff. The Chief would be IC but still would ride with the service co.

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    Fully understand that the Chief would be the company officer.

    My point was simply that in a brush fire situation with limited resources responding, initially, the IC does need to be very mobile, and IMO, tying him to a response vehicle like a service truck compared to a POV or command car will hinder that mobility.

    The only real point of having a service truck respond to a brush fire, unless it carries a small tank and pump, is again, to provide a mobile, flexible source of manpower. By tying that manpower to the IC you are reducing your response's flexability.
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    What if you get another "brush call" - well call mutual aid/ state forestry commission send your structural engines and protect your structures. Take a chill pill while waiting on resources ,dont get upset over all the ticks and chiggers getting killed, maybe even take a minute and rely on your natural barriers and let the fire burn clean instead of watercapping the fire. Again I would hate to explain why my expensive specialzied piece of apparatus was tied up spraying trees. While I lost a commercial building or a whole block. 90% of the time a brush fire improves the area. Not so often on a structure fire.
    ?

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    The other side of not using the ladder is that it is not a very good tool for the job. Putting fires out in trees is not the job of an aerial. Use a hose or cut the tree down. Using the master stream is a poor choice for wetting a large area. Spray the outside with a mobile hoseline and let the interior (the black) burn. Use tools to cut firelines. These are more appropriate and time-tested tactics for brush fires. You can use an aerial, but it is not the best tool.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fire71EMT View Post
    Basically we were told by our surrounding departments that we would be the main response because of their lack of member activity. The majority of our support would come from Little Rock, Pine Bluff, until the closer departments are able to send out their guys. So far one of our Jrs gave the idea:

    1 Brush, 1 Service (1st page)
    1 Engine (Verified Brush Fire)
    1 Ladder/Quint, 1 Rescue (For trees on fire and large areas that can be wetted down with a master stream)

    He also gave the idea to staff the Service trucks with one of the Chiefs.

    Modified House fire response:
    1 Engine, 1 Ladder, 1 Service.

    Modified EMS/MVA response:
    1 Ladder/Rescue/Squad or Support

    LAfire, how is your dept. handling the upcoming season? Any manpower/staffing changes? (Anyone else?)
    Well bud I will say this, Good job for trying. BUT lets get realistic...If all you have is ONE single engine equipped to handle a Wildland Fire Send 1, and call for the cavalry. Trust me, the rest of the world will be laughing there asses off if you roll up in a aerial for smoking tree. It is a waste of resources and the complete wrong tool for the job. Sometimes its best to wait for the guys that are equipped and trained to handle them.
    Last edited by Bushwhacker; 03-14-2012 at 09:22 PM.
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    Unless there is a well supplied hydrant nearby to connect to, using an aerial for fighting a wildland fire in a rural area is not feasible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FIRE117 View Post
    Unless there is a well supplied hydrant nearby to connect to, using an aerial for fighting a wildland fire in a rural area is not feasible.
    Pretty useless even then. I've watched 2000 gallon water tenders flow a master stream with little effect, water is best applied directly to the flames not misted over the landscape. Spray bars, nozzles, and well placed firing operations tied to natural / manmade barriers is the way to go. At best a Quint at a brush fire is a very expensive, very inefficiant water tender.

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    Well, guess what? If the career FD I am on gets a "Brush" or "woods" fire call we will get an engine and truck, or an engine and a quint, or a truck and a quint. We have no brush truck and the truck supplies additional manpower.

    We have never done it, but frankly I have a hard time understaning how flowing anywhere from 300 to 1000 gpm onto a brush fire wouldn't have a killer effect on knocking it down. Who said anything about misting it over the landscape?
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    You are correct,1000 gpm will knock the crap out of a brush fire, right there, that one little spot, maybe even a piece of line 50 feet long, then the fire flanks you on both sides and continues on its merry way. That is why master streams generally just get misted over the landscape, they are static, and wildfires are dynamic moving fires so the master stream tries to reach out to cover a larger area resulting in a little rain shower. So yes, massive application of water has some use, protection from being burned over, point defense, but in the larger view of containing the fire is either massive overkill (say a 1/10 acre spot) or just a side show. A 1 ton with a 200 gallon tank and 50 gpm aux pump will put out a lot more fire than a 1000 gpm master stream, right tool for the right job.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Here and there View Post
    You are correct,1000 gpm will knock the crap out of a brush fire, right there, that one little spot, maybe even a piece of line 50 feet long, then the fire flanks you on both sides and continues on its merry way. That is why master streams generally just get misted over the landscape, they are static, and wildfires are dynamic moving fires so the master stream tries to reach out to cover a larger area resulting in a little rain shower. So yes, massive application of water has some use, protection from being burned over, point defense, but in the larger view of containing the fire is either massive overkill (say a 1/10 acre spot) or just a side show. A 1 ton with a 200 gallon tank and 50 gpm aux pump will put out a lot more fire than a 1000 gpm master stream, right tool for the right job.
    And both of thre POC FDs I am on have brush trucks built on pick up chasis. One has a 6 wheeled atv with a tank and pump.

    My point was simply your one size fits all doesn't necessarily apply. Not everyone that has brush or woodland fires has hundreds, or thousands, of acres burning. In my career FDs case a ladder pipe may make more sense for a brush fire than attempting to get a brush truck into an area where it won't go.

    If master streams are so useless for wildland why are so many new rigs coming with bumper mounted turrets flowing up to 350gpm? Like every other tool in the box, proper application of it is the truly critical issue.

    To say blanketly that a 50 gpm pump will automatically put out more fire than a 1000 gpm master stream is ludicrous. If the fire is vastly spread out and moving through woods, or whatever, being more mobile may be better. If you are in a situtation where the fire is stationary, or slow moving, an engine with a master stream may be a better choice for that particular scenario.
    Last edited by FyredUp; 05-24-2012 at 03:02 PM.
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    Ok, I don't know how to say this without sounding like the arrogant western wildland firefighter, so understand I don't mean to be an ***, but I'm probably going to come across as one.
    Really, you suggesting because that is all you have it is the right piece of equipment?

    If ladder trucks had a useful place on the wildland fire ground, don't you think you would see them in So Cal? It's not like all those big city and county departments with a major wildland problem don't have access to lots of them.

    Lots of departments respond to brush fires in structural turn out gear, they make do with what they have and it even works most of the time if the fires are small, but it still doesn't make it a good idea.


    The bumper turrets are something else, that is being done to get firefighters inside the truck during mobile attack. Way to many have been killed over the years by riding the bumper, or on top of the rig. They really are not very effective from a water management point of view but it is a much better option than putting a firefighter in an old tractor seat bolted to the hood of a brush truck. Of course the elephant in the room is the physical fitness level of many departments that feel putting a firefighter on top of the rig is appropriate.

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    not sure how it is in some of your states, but like slackjawed said, call on your state forest service for assistance, bear in mind that they may have extended response times (we tend to be located in remote areas or not evenly distributed) you might also want to talk with them (Forestry) and see what they can offer you, through the rural fire assistance grants: surplus military vehicles, pumps, tanks, hose, wildland PPE, hand tools, and many other sort of federal excess, as well as training
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    Quote Originally Posted by Here and there View Post
    Ok, I don't know how to say this without sounding like the arrogant western wildland firefighter, so understand I don't mean to be an ***, but I'm probably going to come across as one.

    Oh, you are a arrogant *** because all you can see is your little half acre of the universe and hpw YOU do things. I am talking about an URBAN FIRE DEPARTMENT. Generally when we have a "Wildland" fire we are talking about a small fire usually no more than 50 feet across. I am not talking about thousands upon thousands of acres of brush burning.

    Really, you suggesting because that is all you have it is the right piece of equipment?

    YES, I am suggesting that. Because what would you have us do? Buy a brush truck for the perhaps one or two brush fires a year that 1 or 2 - 2 1/2 gallon extinguishers won't handle?

    If ladder trucks had a useful place on the wildland fire ground, don't you think you would see them in So Cal? It's not like all those big city and county departments with a major wildland problem don't have access to lots of them.

    Now climb down off your high horse and pay attention this time okay? We are an URBAN fire department, we do not have thousands of acres of wildland that we burn down year after year after year. We have small patches of park or undeveloped land that may occasionally have a fire. We use our engines and ladders quite successfully because it is what we have. I never said we ever used a deck gun or ladder pipe on a brush fire. What I said was I could see where in OUR circumstances that may very well be a viable option for a larger fire.

    Lots of departments respond to brush fires in structural turn out gear, they make do with what they have and it even works most of the time if the fires are small, but it still doesn't make it a good idea.

    Relevance to the topic? Because if you are suggesting that we outlay the money for wildland gear, um, sorry not a chance.


    The bumper turrets are something else, that is being done to get firefighters inside the truck during mobile attack. Way to many have been killed over the years by riding the bumper, or on top of the rig. They really are not very effective from a water management point of view but it is a much better option than putting a firefighter in an old tractor seat bolted to the hood of a brush truck. Of course the elephant in the room is the physical fitness level of many departments that feel putting a firefighter on top of the rig is appropriate.

    Golly, both of my POC FDs put guys INSIDE the cab operating hoselines. I haven't see anyone ride on the back of a brush rig here in years.
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    Well not sure who is looking at just their 1/2 acre, but I'm done here. I didn't come for a fight which you seem to want.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Here and there View Post
    Well not sure who is looking at just their 1/2 acre, but I'm done here. I didn't come for a fight which you seem to want.
    You don't want a fight but you have twice told me, despite my explaining my circumstances, that what we do is wrong. Show me where I said what YOU do in YOUR circumstances is wrong?
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    firedup - how do you put guys inside the cab operating hoselines? Are you pulling a red (reel)line inside the cab? I have seen several near misses and one injury doing that.
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