Thread: How do You Fight Grass Fires
03-28-2001, 06:04 PM #1d308Firehouse.com Guest
How do You Fight Grass Fires
I was wondering how other depatments fight grass fires and the equipment they use. We fight fire in grass anywere from 1" to 4 feet in hight. we also use 2x4, 4x4, 6x6 trucks with the attack units carrying anywere from 2000 to 4000 gallons of water. the trucks all are set up with front platforms and we use pump and roll on all fires. Just Wondering
All opinions are mine and do not reflect the views of any organization I am involved with
[This message has been edited by d308 (edited 03-28-2001).]
03-29-2001, 02:26 PM #2monteFirehouse.com Guest
No matter how you do it, approach into an anchor point, or approach to create your point, then as much as possible deal with the fire from the fire side, or inside-out. If you do not have people or equipment to work behind the lead engine, then slow your pace down to assure water/foam coverage and more importantly, water penetration into the heavier gras fuels. Applying water can be done a lot of different ways, but I think the tactics used usually mean the difference between success and a tragedy.
03-29-2001, 03:42 PM #3d308Firehouse.com Guest
Thanks for the info monte i was wandering how others approch these type of fires and it appears that we do things close to the same. The only differance that we use form the forestry recomendations is we fight from the grass side of the fire and not the black due to the fact that the head of the fire may be more than 50 feet tick. Again thanks for the info!!!
04-02-2001, 05:04 AM #4AC6Firehouse.com Guest
We fight grass fires in a similar manner in that we fight off the front. We use 2 4X2 and 1 6X6 and all carry between 800-1000 gallons. We use class A foam extensively and normally carry 25 gallons on each truck. We also employ a "command rig" which is a 4X4 pickup. We live in the sandhills of Nebraska which can create some unique problems. Our usual tactic when responding to a reported grass fire is to start calling for mutual aid early, with the distances that we have to travel calling early is important. We do it all wrong according to the classes that I have attended from the forestry service. First, like d308 we fight from the green and very rarely from the black. This is due to the soil composition of the area which is sand and a lot of it is suger sand. Once the vegetation has been burned off the traction is terrible. Second we try to go after the head fire first. The reason for this is that in Nebraska we have wind and usually plenty of it. With a head fire advancing at the rate of 20-30 mph, starting at the flank and "pinching off the head fire" it can be next to impossible if not impossible to catch the head fire. Now I understand the reasoning behind the Forest Service thinking and understand why they do it that way but unlike the forest service we do use pump and roll tactics. Our brothers in the Federal system are not allowed to fight from a moving vehicle. In this area its like telling a cop to fight crime but don't arrest anyone, you may be able to take care of the small fires but the large ones prove to be impossible to take care of. In the last two years my department has responded to mutual aid calls on large fires, in 1999 one burned 70,000 acres and in Sept. of 2000 a series of fires started by dry lightning burned 100,000 acres both in a 24 hour period.
We do address safety issues especially given the way we fight after all going out there and being a "cowboy" is not efficient and puts people in harms way. First we pair trucks together 2 or more trucks working together is safer and more efficient than 1 working by itself. Second, we initiate and maintain communication with the weather office and keep tabs of weather and wind conditions and forecasted conditions. Third, when fighting from the front of the trucks we wear structural bunker gear. Should it get a little warm you have a lot more protection than wildland gear. Fourth, we employ the command rig. It has no firefighting capability whatsoever (except for fire extinguishers) so it can be devoted solely for command duties. These include directing the attack, maintaining communications, scouting, etc.. Fifth, firefighter rehab is a big concern, we carry drinking water and gatorade on the trucks and firefighters are instructed to drink often. We use the phrase that if you get even a little thirsty you are not drinking enough. We strive for at least a 1/2 gallon intake per hour. And lastly using the command rig we try to plan out our attacks in other words we try to take the fire where it is most suitable to take it. Trying to take it in 4 foot of dry grass is usually a waste of water which is a precious commodity if you have to go very far to refill your tank.
Regardless of how you fight your grass fires, if you don't use class A foam try it! Once you do you won't want to be without it.
Stay safe this summer and pray for rain.
04-02-2001, 09:55 PM #5d308Firehouse.com Guest
AC6 Ditto we do about the same things. We also use Class A foam and we also belive that the only strengh we have is in our mutual aid agreement with 6 other departments that fight fire like we do. We also respond on mutual aid with a department that is 20 miles south of our town and all that is in thier district is sandhills and about 50% of it is sugarsand poises some interesting challenges. The largest fire that I ever was on was about 50 miles south of our town I do not remember the agreage but the length was about 64 miles and the width was about 20 miles. It was a case of not calling for help early which should show anyone that you should call early. It is better to turn unneeded units around than to call for them when it is to late.
AC6 Thank You for your reply
04-06-2001, 05:51 PM #6simpleguy_68Firehouse.com Guest
Anyone that has ever been in East Texas and gotten a truck stuck knows to never fight a fire from the "unburned" side whenever possible. Too many brush trucks have become casualties after getting stuck and being overrun.
Our tactics change when going from a grass fire to a forest fire. As a rule, our trucks do not go into heavily wooded areas, instead relying on Forestry Service dozers to provide plow lines for containment OR getting in front of the fire at the next opening. We deal with a lot of "wildland-urban" interface situations where homes are built next to forests. Our primary priority in this situation becomes the protection of property.
04-06-2001, 10:32 PM #7d308Firehouse.com Guest
Yes, This is a good point. We always run at least 2 trucks if not more together. That way we have a way to protect each other. This is also the reason that we have large breathing air packs and pumps that are not run of of the truck engine. We also use Structural Fire gear instead of wildland gear because of the extra heat protection in the event that the trucks do get overrun. Also we are sure not to get in front of the fire and keep a safe run to the black in sight at all times. Any way Thanks For the reply it proves my first idea. That the tactics for grass fires will vary by place terrain, and diffrent ideas that members come up with. The main thing is to do what works best for you and always be as safe as posible.
Again Thanks for the reply
[This message has been edited by d308 (edited 04-06-2001).]
04-14-2001, 06:48 AM #8Terry StokesFirehouse.com Guest
I've found a few of the points here interesting. My firefighting origionally started in Australia. As I'm unaware of the configuration of your engine, it's hard to comment on what is the best way to fight grassland fires for you. Can I suggest obtaining, or finding on the net, manuals on firefighting practices from the Country Fire Authority in Victoria or the New South Wales Rural Fire Service. Both of which are located in Australia. I do not wish to fill this forum with a broad response.
04-14-2001, 02:23 PM #9d308Firehouse.com Guest
Thanks for the reply. I will look at the info you provided. If we all take some info from what every one has seen or done then we will be that much closer to getting the job done fast and safe
Again Thanks for the reply
04-22-2001, 07:35 PM #10nmsardogFirehouse.com Guest
04-22-2001, 07:40 PM #11nmsardogFirehouse.com Guest
First of all, about the Forestry trucks not having pump and roll. You have to work with them, most of you guys don't ever see FOREST fires. There is no use for pump and roll engines on a forest fire. Most wildland fires you see is grass fires. And on grass fires nice pump and roll is needed, try to spray water on a forest fire with 20-30 ft, flames. Doesnt do much.
04-22-2001, 10:17 PM #12d308Firehouse.com Guest
nmsardog, Good point. There are big differences in the way you attack a forest fire and a grass fire. In the type of fire that we fight pump and roll is a big plus and makes life easier on containg the fire. In forest fires everthing must be done threw mainly a indirect attack.
nmsardog thank you for the reply and every one elsee who has ansewerd this thread.
05-02-2001, 07:35 AM #13koalaFirehouse.com Guest
During the South Australian summer, my agency which is a state wide fire service uses two AirTractor 802 aircraft on auto dispatch to all reports of wildfire in the 'urban interface' together with at least four 'trucks', 4X4 composite brush/urban trucks. For large incidents, not uncommon for 30-60 trucks to be in attendance.
Further to Terry Stokes comment, if you are seeking info on Aust. wildland FF tactics, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
05-05-2001, 09:48 PM #14Fireguy57Firehouse.com Guest
We usually put water on them...
05-06-2001, 11:55 AM #15d308Firehouse.com Guest
That works, we put water on them too.
[This message has been edited by d308 (edited 05-06-2001).]
05-06-2001, 09:05 PM #16Nate MarshallFirehouse.com Guest
2 trucks, one just outside the black, one about 100 feet behind just on the black, each truck will have a driver, a nozzleman and a safetyman. Nozzle and safety will walk along wetting the line down. Safety walks behind the truck flaking hose, watching for flareups.
Following them will be the handcrew mopping up.
Pretty much do this in the meadows. If the fronts are big or we have interface we change our tactics and add in cafs and a structure protection group of 2 engines, and handcrew.
05-14-2001, 03:20 PM #17KS.KE,EMT/FIRE/RESCFirehouse.com Guest
Like the gent from NE. we tend to have WIND in KS. One of the things I've learned is never say never. Clump grass doesn't just burn instantly so there are times to stay in the fuel side but never "there's that word" by yourself, we found that an attack team of two or three, one ton 4x4's with 300 gal of class A foam can catch a quick moving fire. We don't ever get off the rig that's a sign of someone green with lot's of energy. Truck 1 does a constant knockdown w/ truck 2 hiting hot spots, when thuck 1 is out truck 2 takes lead and 3 begins his part, this is for mild days But in high winds we try to stay in the black and this makes for hazardous conditions for truck #2 and #3 they can't see until they've hit you or went down that draw that truck #1 forgot to warn about. This is our set up and we build it up for bigger fires, We've got six of these quick-attacks within our dept. and several within min. from other mutual aids. Our command is at the tanker and tender which is wind side of the burn. Because we're use to the wind the most dangerous time on a wildland fire is when there is no Wind or that of 4 MPH or less this can catch you off guard. We have a catwalk setup behind the cab and the ff can were their choice of stucture or wildland gear but the driver needs to be in wildland w/scba or smokeeater mask and the windows are down. That ff is responcible for both the back ff and the truck so he has to use all senses to relay danger.
M. Cory Myers
it's better to load N go then stay N play
05-14-2001, 05:49 PM #18Dalmatian90Firehouse.com Guest
There is no use for pump and roll engines on a forest fire.
Depends what kind of forests you have...
Otis Air Force Base Breaker 4 preparing to make a stand at a roadway in Sandwich, MA May 1, 1965. Several thousand acres were lost in this fire.
Of course, the pitch pine forests of the Cape lend themselves to these pump & roll tanks which are designed to push over trees upto 6" in diameter to get to the fire.
More about brushbreakers at: http://www.capecodfd.com/PAGES%20Spe...0/Breakers.htm
Fortunately in my area, our fields tend not to be too large. Preconnects plus a stair pack or two of hose is usually sufficient, plus our Grass Fire Season and Spring Woods Fire Seasons follow each other -- when the grass is dry enough to burn hot and fast, the woods don't. And usually just as the woods dry out, the grass greens up.
As dry as New England is right now, thankfully the fields are green. We'd be in a world of hurt if the grass was dry, 'cause then the fast moving grass fires would enter the woods on a wide front and create a big, fast moving woods fire.
05-14-2001, 09:25 PM #19d308Firehouse.com Guest
KS.KE... we do have the wind here to. I have been on fires were the wind was sustained at 50mph with gust higher. the guys on the front have air the only diffrence is the guy in the cab does not mainly because if it gets bad for him it is worse on the front and is time to pull out.
KS.KE,EMT/FIRE/RESC Thanks for the Reply
05-14-2001, 09:31 PM #20d308Firehouse.com Guest
Dalmation90, Thanks for the reply. The stuff that you have to take care of is slightly worse than any thing we have here. I would not whant to be were Breaker 4 is without a lot more training in that type of fire. I also belive that pump and roll no matter where you are is a very valueable tool and can shure save a lot land if used within its capabilities.
Hope you get rain soon to solve the problem and always BE SAFE.
06-02-2001, 03:50 AM #21Bear221Firehouse.com Guest
First aircraft,dozer,handcrews, and then when there all done the engine crews come in to mop up that the only way to fight a brush fire. ocasonaly engine crews have to let out a few hose packs but that is no fun.
06-18-2001, 02:48 AM #22hoser130Firehouse.com Guest
first of all let me start by saying that I am in no way critisizing other departments methods or tactics. What works for one dept. might not work for another. That said let me make a few comments about what I have read in other posts. First of all when we attack a natural cover fire in our dist. it is allways from the black whenever possable. In our fuels that mostly consist of sagebrush, sheet grass and russian olive trees, it is much too dangerous to try and fight it from the green. With flame lengths often reaching anywhere from two to fifteen feet and driven by our local winds, it would be too dangerous to put a crew in front of or even along side the head in unburned fuel. Now I am assuming that by pump and roll you guys mean a ff is on the rig in a basket or cage fighting the fire as the truck is moving. Now my dist. used to use this method befor I joined, however, it was discontinued after a ff was killed in a vehicle roll over while he was on the rig. just something to think about. aside from those differences, we go about it alot alike the rest of you. Oh and one more thing, ALLWAYS leave some water in the tank for your personal protection while going back to refill. be safe.
06-18-2001, 10:59 PM #23rmmutzelburgFirehouse.com Guest
Here in Queensland we have both urban (career and part-time) and rural (volunteer) stations. The rural brigades are specifically intended for grass and bush fire fighting and I really can't speak for them.
In the urban stations our grass fires are usually threatening structures.
We use a number of different tactics depending on the weather conditions, terrain and size of the fire. Our pumpers are designed for urban firefighting so are not really suitable for off road use.
If the fire is small enough and it is safe to do so we will use high pressure hose reels (booster lines I think is the US term).
If we can't get close enough to use the pumper and again if it is safe we will use beaters and rakes to extinguish the fire.
Otherwise, backburning is commonly used to create breaks around fires and allow them to burn out safely.
Ross Mutzelburg, Station Officer, Queensland Fire & Rescue Authority (South East Region) Australia
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