Ok, given the drought conditions prevelant in my region, I'm wondering...
For the past week the winds have not been less than 10 mph, and during the day, sustained winds of 40 mph are not unheard of. Humidity levels have been sinking, and the weather forcasters on tv tell you that it hasn't rained in fifty-one (51) days. Daily highs rarely break 5, but the lows stay in the fifty's and sixty's.
The local governing authorities have banned any burning. And, OF COURSE, there's always a dumb@$$ out there who thinks the governing bodies are oppressive, and further more don't know what the heck they're talking about.
This respective dumb@$$ lives at the bottom of a hill, and the closest development is on top of the hill, thru the woods, some 3/4 miles away. This is in a rural area, and the developers built it without installing any hydrants. Oh yeah, these homes in this new development (termed an "exclusive" development) are valued an average of a 1/2 million a piece, and they all have those lovely cedar shakes (for asthetics, you know).
Of course the only access into this "exclusive" area is via a narrow entrance way off a highway, that as the crow flies is nearly three miles from the dumb@$$ who is about to clear off his land, using naturae's tool known as fire.
It is around 1530 hrs, the winds are howling, and someone in the "exclusive" subdivision has called 9-1-1 (or whatever emergency number is in use at the time) reporting smoke coming from he woods, blowing thru the "exclusive" subdivision.
For the sake of arguments, we will say that the dumb@$$ place is on the southwest corner, and the wind is out of the southwest blowing 35+ mph sustained, with gusts to 55+. Humidity is at 40%, temps in the high 70's, and there's not a cloud in the sky.
Use your department's standard response, knowing local conditions and variables. Let's have some fun with this, and there's no wrong answer. To be honest, I ain't to sure what as an officer I would do... seems like a bad situation from the get go.
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Thread: Another November scenario...
11-19-1999, 10:19 AM #1Truckie from MissouriFirehouse.com Guest
Another November scenario...
11-19-1999, 12:23 PM #2BoothbyFirehouse.com Guest
OK I'm really flipping through the rollodex now. I spent 6 years in the fire service in Washington state and we had some training on this type of situation, but it's been awhile.
From what you described it sounds like a wildlands fire, with the potential to turn into an urban interface job. If it's a small brush fire deal with it. Attack from the flanks and upwind/downhill so that you are not in the path of the fire. Get ICS in place, call for manpower, tender relays, and brush rigs. Make the attacks with low volumes of water and hand tools. Be prepared to shift to the big fire mode.
If it's a big fire and in the trees you have some really bad mojo on your hands. Get ICS in place now! Big wildlands fires can last for days, weeks, even months, so the establishment of an effective ICS is key. Call for lots of manpower, request the state department of natural resources, request local and state police responce, designate a logistics officer and have him start collecting resources like heavy equiptment, you will also need a finance officer since all this costs money and PO's will need to be written. Establish your bench marks based on your manpower and how fast the fire is spreading. Your major exposure is the housing developement. In the big fire mode you need to evacuate the developement now! In high wind moving up hill big fires can travel in excess of 60 mph. That means that if the fire is 3/4 of a mile away it will be in their laps in less than 1 minute. You have to figure that if it's a big fire you will NOT have enough manpower fast enough to effectivly attack so you must get the people out. Also with only one way in and out you have the possibility of a major loss of life. If the road is in the path of the fire you could have as little as three minutes before the road is cut and all the trapped people are overrun. Try to protect the road as long as you can. After that it's a matter of logistics, terrain, and weather.
Now I'm sure that the wildlands guys will probably tear me up. I am by no stretch of the imagination an expert on this stuff. I did take a course many years ago on interface fires, and the biggest impression it made was that you don't want none!
This scenario has the potential to be a real nightmare with both civilian and fire service lives lost.
Truck 3 A-shift
11-19-1999, 02:12 PM #3Truckie from MissouriFirehouse.com Guest
I forgot to mention, yeah, we're in BIG FIRE mode here.
And I think you are on the ball. I haven't been in a wildland/interface fire situation in 4+ years. So I'm somewhat rusty, too.
Again, my apologies.
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[This message has been edited by Truckie from Missouri (edited November 19, 1999).]
11-19-1999, 02:33 PM #4monteFirehouse.com Guest
Good senario. Based on the weather/fuels recipe, and the fact you have gone 50+ days w/o moisture, I will assume all agencys are on some kind of automatic dispatch protocol. There would be couple ways to answer, 1) as a dispatcher and 2) as ICT3. As a dispatcher I would activate what ever automatic protocol was in place; if none then be sure wildland qualified Incident Commander at Type 3 complexity, is first responder, probably a couple T6 or T5 engines with 1 tender in support. Send 1 T6 engine into the subdivision to establish inside contact for IC, and to begin structure triage and verify tactical points. First order of business is get an exact location and size up. Second order locate staging area outside the subdivision and away from the access rd. Third, notify law enforcement: possible critical evacuation, also investigator for human fire start threatening subdivision, traffic control and scene security. Third, get a couple of mutual aid structure engines enroute to stage outside the subdivision until size-up has occurred. Don't want engines and crews trapped in the rush. Need to get assessment of how long the access road is, width, etc. for 1 or 2 way traffic. Also, what is walking distance and time if the road gets block to get EMS on-site. Also check for available aerial platform with observer to assist with directing operations by providing IC information, and providing lookout. Establish Commo. with IC/Police/Fire Investigator/Structure Units/Dispatch. Go from there. *** As IC I would need to establish fire location, size, fire behavior, and potential. Establish immediate tactics, which with the given conditions, is anchor, flank, direct attack with burnout, secure, and see if you can turn the corner on the head before it reaches a critical location. You would have to detach yourself from all tactics; therefore get structure units responding to locate staging and assess the access road. Send the T6 engine into the subdivision to locate tactical points between fire and structures; assess internal conditions, triage structures on the exposed side, and assess other dangers (overhead lines, water supply, sewer systems). Need to assure LCES, therefore assume no safety zones, base actions on establishing commo. (hopefully on common mutual aid freq.) and establishing escape routes out and away from the fire/subdivision. From this point, the fire has to develop to cause reation. The tactical point will make, is, wildland folks will fight wildland fire and provide structure defense. Structure ignitions will be handled by the structure folks. Ingress of structure engines will occur under controlled conditions by officers to avoid congestion problems. Any link in this chain that fails or is missing, will increase risk all the way around.
11-19-1999, 02:40 PM #5monteFirehouse.com Guest
ok, big fire mode. So 1st priority is evacuation. So establish evac. authority and procedures, establish on-site ems, notify hospitals of on-going events, stage structure apparatus close to subdivision but away from access road, place structure vehicles inside when tactics have been decided, tactical defense for firefighters assured and triage in place. Wildland, needs situation update quickly for tactical locations ahead of the fire. Meanwhile, anchor, flank, direct attack, one-foot-in-the-black, prepare to hand-off to organized team after the first burn period. Be certain on-site command is unified (structure, wildland, law enforcement, ems) and qualified for the level of complexity.
11-19-1999, 03:00 PM #6BURNSEMSFirehouse.com Guest
Well Here Goes,,, Our Dept Consist of 2 Brush Trucks 2 Engines 1 Tanker, Our Brush Trucks would attempt to Locate the Head Fire from The Burned or Black Side, but in the Wind Described we would be better off waiting for the Fire to come to us, Our tanker Drops our Porta Tank and sets up a Water Sector between the Head Fire and Structures usualy off of a paved Road but not out of the Way for quick Refills, E1&2 prestage and Pre wet areas around structures that area in immediate danger, and we always keep a Exit Open for a Hasty Retreat, Notify LawEnforcement to assist with Evac of Residence, Mutual Aid would be automatic upon seeing the Smoke this Fire would be putting off, Our Mutual Aid would Provide a Additional 2000 gal Tanker 2 Brush Trucks and a 1500gpm Pumper, These would be placed according to greatest Need and Time Constraints, the Forest Service would be advised we had a real Blowout on Hand and we would request 2 Dozers 2 Engines and Air Support, upon arrival of the Forest Service we would turn over Command to The Experts and go into support Mode, As we know Fire can and usualy Burn Faster Up Hill than down Hill ands given the low Humidity and winds My concern would be to make sure Our People did not get overrun and if at all Possible a Large Natural Barrrier or Terrain Feature was between us and the Head Fire so that if Necessary we could Pre Wet and Retreat. I dont Know if I am right or wrong but I will be watching others to see How they Handel it.
Here today for a Safer Tomorrow
11-19-1999, 03:22 PM #7Dalmation90Firehouse.com Guest
This is what we call a "Signal 63...72...62....71...52" fire.
(Translated...that means On Scene, Working Fire, Start Mutual Aid, I'm going home and back to sleep 'cause this must be a nightmare )
11-19-1999, 05:00 PM #8AffFirehouse.com Guest
Let it go. Then when they rebuild the subdivision, get hydrants installed!
11-21-1999, 04:18 PM #9RockiesFirehouse.com Guest
All three attack engnes would go in front of the fire, pump and roll Barricade or CAFS on each home. We'd cover as many homes as possible. I doubt we'd lose any. The headup display in each cab would allow driving through heavy smoke anf allow viewing of debris in the thermal column.
11-21-1999, 05:21 PM #10Hammerhead338Firehouse.com Guest
I think that dalmation90 has the right idea.
11-21-1999, 07:22 PM #11Tower33Firehouse.com Guest
Well the first thing I would say is right along what most are thinking...Oh ****, lets go home but I'll take a stab. SOP's? I don't even think we have any which would even touch base on such a large scale brush fire.
Here you go...
1)Dispatch a couple of alarms to a stagging area including all the tanker trucks in the area (which isn't too many) and resources from all airports such as protected pump-and-roll vehicles.
2)Evacuate the area and set up a safe command and stagging area. (Complete incident command and disaster plan)
3)Contact the Department of Forestry.
4)Find out the availability of mega-LDH and any and all foam from local industries/aiports/military.
5)Try and remember the new advanced non-flamable coating used to protect exposures for this event and it's availability.
6)Begin to work on water supply, foam coverage to stop/slow fire spread and protect structures.
7)Pray that someone who has ANY clue in wildland firefighting was arrived and began to fix the main problem (wildfire) and the compounded problem (what I've done) :-)
11-21-1999, 08:11 PM #12RockiesFirehouse.com Guest
"This is in a rural area, and the developers built it without installing any hydrants. Oh yeah, these homes in this new development (termed an "exclusive" development) are valued an average of a 1/2 million a piece, and they all have those lovely cedar shakes (for asthetics, you know). "
That is our coummunity, we built our fire department for just such an event.
"Of course the only access into this "exclusive" area is via a narrow entrance way off a highway,"
Just another residence where we live.
"Use your department's standard response, knowing local conditions and variables. "
This type fire can kill off your fire department rather fast. It is essential that you have a plan long before the conflagration. Visibility will be zero. Without enhanced driver vision systems you won't have to worry about doing anything because you won't be able to see to do any structure protection. Rapid structure protection with pump and roll CAFS OR Barricafe is your only chance to save homes. Departments in these surroundings need apparatus with large tanks 2000 gallons plus, drop off CAF packs for homeowners, the ability to drive through smoke, the ability to control 2 to 3 streams from the cab and direct special chemicals. Getting in front of the fire is your only chance if your apparatus is and firefighters are equipped and trained to do so. If not it is suicide to commit crews.
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11-21-1999, 08:25 PM #13Truckie from MissouriFirehouse.com Guest
Thanks for the post! I'll be honest: I would have no clue how to work this one. I've seen terrain like this, and I just envisioned the possibilities...
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11-22-1999, 09:46 AM #14monteFirehouse.com Guest
One problem with senarios is the player has to visualize what the conditions are. Visibility is key to this as well as others. The other point regarding pre-planned sop is true also. In this case don't forget law enforcement. They are the one's with evacuation authority and will usually be the first on scene, unless they are in our fire district. People are the #1 priority, ours is firefighters, the residents, and the folks coming in to help or are just curious. So it's important to keep firefighters and ems in a secure place where they won't be compromised in melee of scared people. After so many years of this stuff, it would be refreshing to see some significant changes in construction and development requirements. This senario is quite real, and I would suggest, the structure ignition research by Jack Cohen, Rocky Mountain esearch Station in Missoula, is good information to get to homeowners and local governments. In a nut shell, it's everything we believed true in most cases. His position, in developed areas, although the wildfire may have initiate the first homes to burn, it's the development configuration and home construction standards that allow all the homes to burn. One home propogating another. This makes it doubly difficult when defending exposure. So if this is true, why am I preaching to the choir?
11-24-1999, 02:54 PM #15Squad33Firehouse.com Guest
Ok, Living out west in a big huge I-Zone area I have to give this a shot. I will make some assumptions on this fire, 1 being that the fire is still on the ground and NOT in the trees. 2 is the fuel load is pretty thick and is putting out some heat (SPOT FIRES).
First order of bussiness is safty. Establish safty zones and escape routes on the way in. also be sure to have a IC identifier and a TAC net.
Second thing is to get an good size up. Also done on the way in and be sure to get the info to the troops and chiefs coming in behind you.
Now the make or break part. Order resources and lots of em. Establish a staging area on the highway and assign a stageing area manager. Hopefuly air support was included in the intial dispatch. If not order up 1 air attack (spotter) 2 air tankers and a copter to hit the spot fires with thier bucket. For stucture protection get a couple of strike teams in that development. Again get Law enforcement envolved early on. Be concered about a bunch of very paniced folks driving down a little road in heavy smoke. If the terrian and layout of the development allow consider "evac in place". Get the folks to a big defensible place(indoors)and use a strike team to protect that location.
One of the strike team leaders will do the triage on those big homes. Ceder shake well thats a big strike against them. Lets see if they have some clearance around them. I sure hope so. Some of those places are probably gonna burn, Sorry folks we just can't save em all. Prevention and education about wildland fires are the only thing that will help.
Ok back to the Fire. Have those air tankers drop in front of the head to slow its progress first. Use the copter to hit the spot fires ahead of the main fire to keep them small. Then flank the fire away from the development and other populated areas. I'd use a combination of dozers cutting line, tanker drops, and good ol' backfires to try to direct the fire. The strike teams inside have broken up to protect the homes that can be saved. Pull 2 11/2 lines, one around each side, ladder the roof(homeowners ladder)and stick the garden hose in your tank. The crews will be clearing the area around the home of stacks of combustible materials. They may even fire out if the terrain and conditions allow. May even consider foaming the exterior of the home.
Whew This is one bad fire burning up ol'Miss. As I would say "This is not good." There is just so much going on in this scenario and so many are just plain bad things. I could ramble on some more about this but I won't.
"stop the small fires before they get big"
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