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  1. #1
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    Smile Suggestion for threads

    I notice that most of the threads in the Wildland forum are simply news items that are cut and pasted from media articles. These are for the most part interesting, but they tend to flood the list of discussion threads. I suggest that we have one thread for News, and put all of the cut and pasted news articles there. The remaining threads would be for items that we expect to discuss.


  2. #2
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Default Re: Suggestion for threads

    Originally posted by Jackson8888
    I suggest that we have one thread for News, and put all of the cut and pasted news articles there. The remaining threads would be for items that we expect to discuss.
    That would be an item for the webteam to evaluate. I endorse that wholeheartedly. However, and I'm sure you've noticed.....the amount of participation from wildland firefighters is very limited. That in itself is an understatement.
    I'm trying to figure out WHY there aren't more posts from wildland FF's regarding equipment, tactics, experiences, questions, answers....ANYTHING.

    Where is everyone? Grab a keyboard and chime in.
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

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  3. #3
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    I agree with Jackson8888. I know folks are trying to prompt responses, but it seems more newsy than something that would promote dialogue. I have been doing this business for 36 years, and I have heard or seen few things that I would consider new. Mostly we make new crisis' using old information. I have tried using this handle (Celt) and another to instigate some discussion over the past couple years, but nothing much materialized. I gave up, and I check the forum about once every couple weeks now for structure items.

    I have some ideas why nobody here is talking, or wants to. Regardless of that, I am certainly willing to contribute to wildland fire issues (either cause them or comment). I like the exchange of ideas, not too keen on bashing, but I know it's appropriate at times to embelish a point (I'm a child of the 60's).

    Here's one of my favorites:

    I think our continual focus on the 10/18 and LCES or LACES is contributing to injuries and fatalities. Now here's a novel concept, we have spent the last 46 years conditioning our firefighters to think "inside the box". I think we have taught firefighters to focus so much on 1 aspect of fire fighting that we are ignoring the obvious killer environments: RISK MANAGEMENT. Is LCES, etc. risk management? No, they are but one step in the process of risk management, and they are mitigation, and only for fire behavior. For many years I thought the 2 situations that would contribute to mass casualities on a wildlfire would be extreme fire behavior and yellow busses (after doing away with duece and a halfs). Now I add hazardous materials. It won't be caused by failure to implement LCES or LACES, it will be a management failure of remedial proportions. So what are we missing? We are missing all the things that allow us to recognize hazards, recognize risks, predict furture risk, realize mitigations, manage risk, monitor and evaluate success, and how to change in mid-stream if necessary. I will leave it hear as it obviously applies to several other issue areas: training, validating training and experience, professional integrity, NWCG products and standards, political influence, to name a few.

    Care to weigh in? js
    Last edited by Celt; 06-12-2003 at 12:52 PM.
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    I have been reading the forums for quite a while. I used to read and post replies on a couple of dirrent threads as well as te wildland fire section. Yes, this one has become a bit more of a news form than an open discussion. Don't get me wrong, it's good to know the news of the wildfires around the country but some people may be avboiding this section for questions and discussions because of all of the news postings. I know that my comrade from New Jersey is doing a good job of getting the news out but it may be intimidating for others to post questions and expect replies when they seem thread after thread of news articles.

  5. #5
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    I don't find it intimidating, just boring. I can understand wanting to make information available, and I did appreciate the national perspective on some items in particular, like the gal who started the Hayman Fire. However if we are going to break the cycle of killing people on the fireline and think the old verbage is going to do it, we are wrong. We have been doing that for 30+ years and it has not changed. I find structure folks with a strong interest to participate in wildland fire, and who better to strike up a conversation that is candid about what kills people on the fireline. Most folks are more comfortable talking about the newest line gear design, rather than what we train and practice in the field. I had my say.
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  6. #6
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Wink

    Celt...I feel your pain. I hear what you are saying. However, disregarding of any one of the LACES policies, sets you up for disaster. I agree, we should be thinking outside the box...but if you look at some of the basic problems which have caused burnovers and wildfire deaths in the recent past, what do you find?

    Communications failures. Simple details, like weather updates, urgent weather information that fails to get to those on the front line. Had some of our brothers and sisters received word that weather fronts were approaching, and that wind direction and/or speed would be affected....they might have had a chance to head into safety zones. Fire crewmembers need to be kept informed...and given lead time for approaching weather conditions.

    Had lookouts...in the job title sense of the word (Fire Tower)...been manned during the tragic events at the 30 Mile fire, perhaps those FF's would have had some warning of the impending danger. Had they known of possible increases in winds...they might have acted accordingly. As it is...they had little or no time to react. From what I recall, they were doing mop-up....and probably didn't seriously consider escape routes or safety zones. They wound up deploying...and some deployed in a horrible spot...atop an uneven, rocky area, just above a dirt road. Because they weren't on level ground...they could not possibly get a seal...and wound up inhaling superheated air. That can be attributed to inexperience...however, the fact remains. If they had received info on the expected change in winds...they might not have had to deploy at all.

    As I stated...yes, we must think on a larger scale...but failure to observe the standard protocols of LACES is still a huge problem.

    I do not apologize for posting the news articles in these forums. Many of the items do not make the headlines or news page...and I believe there is some interest in what is burning and where. Apparently, the only time we can get people to contribute here...is when tragedy strikes. We discuss it...and then go out and make the same mistakes. That's truly tragic.

    I would love to hear from people who have been involved with testing the new shelters, or hear from someone intimately involved in the problems with our air tankers. I'd love to hear details about the effectiveness of firefighting gels applied to structures....and talk about the success or failure of RX burns.

    They just lost a RX burn in Arizona....


    And in central Arizona, a prescribed burn that jumped fire lines had burned some 1,500 acres, forcing the evacuation of about 15 homes in the rural community of Cherry.
    But we never hear the details of why it happened...what the conditions were....from anyone who witnessed it.

    It's frustrating, to say the least. Why the silence among the wildfire forums? I wish I could fathom an answer.
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  7. #7
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    Thank you for responding. You certainly need not apologize for passing information on and I would never ask you to. LACES or LCES however you want to think of it is fire behavior specific. That means you have to be on the fire ground to assess and implement. My premise is, the decision to save lives could have, and should have been made long before fire fighters were ever committed to the fire. Basic information, on both South Canyon, 30 Mile, or Marble Mountain for examples, if used some form of Risk Management Process (OODA Loop) would have never put firefighters on these fires. Now if South Canyon had been risk identified, they would not have gone to the top of the fire. Conjecture, I agree. But what was done? Automatic deployment without concern for risk. 30 mile thought of as a mop-up action which turned into quite the opposite. A Type 1 crew mobilized and extended attack options followed, and a Type 2 Team ordered. All this before the tragedy, so I would say fire ground management was well beyond mop-up. It also had nothing to do with risk. That was why people got caught, and died. LACES or whatever else you use is not a decision process, they are mitigations that are a part of a process. My point is, the process has not been used, we automatically think mitigation, and we set ourselves up for tragedy because we are not calculating anything else. Do I use LCES, the 10 ORDERS. Yes, I use LCES for mitigating tactic risk when on wildfires; and I use the first couple ORDERS in Situational Awareness, the next 7 for mitigations, and to hell with the last one. I have been on enough investigations to also know, we have encumbered firefighters with management failures because managers fail to consider risk. We send firefighters to the fire expecting LCES to keep them safe. Then it doesn't. Management has the responsibility to measure risk and know this fire is not worth responding to with the resources at hand. Let's try something different. Different tactics may have changed the outcome on a lot of fires, no-one hurt and the fire caught, and we would have never heard about it. Or, no-one hurt and the fire acreage the same. If you follow these tragedies, you find people are doing what they know, and what they practice. Because we taught them to restrict their thinking processes only to what we think is appropriate. "Inside the box" thinking. If you read "Young Men and Fire", Wag Dodge did something extraordinary in Mann Gulch, he lit an escape fire. Unheard of in those times, not talked about, not practiced, to the degree that men running for their lives abandonded him and his suspicious escape fire. Dodge thought outside the box, and in order to do this, he spent time studying other material than what was offered. As it turned out, he studied tactics of American Plains Indians and found they did this all the time. Adapted the tactic to a situation, and could have saved many lives.

    In order to think out the box (sorry for the catch phrase) we have to first define what is inside the box. It's the same old stuff, so if the same old stuff is always there, we have to look at better ways to process information and make decisions. We need to study risk, know how to identify it, and measure it. Then make decisions accordingly. We are not doing that now. Thanks again. js
    Last edited by Celt; 06-19-2003 at 01:04 PM.
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  8. #8
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    Default

    BRAVO !!!!

  9. #9
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    Default

    You make some good points there Celt.

    I agree with the idea that wildland firefighters must be thinking out of the box, but also don't think you should be throwing away LCES and the 10/18 standing orders. They are a good base of training that a firefighter must build on through experience and on-going training. Having said that, I have stated before that getting a class of structural volunteers to memorize them, and really understand them is damn near impossible without a couple of years of re-enforcement. We are in an active wildland interface zone, and wildland training is at least one third of our training schedule.

    I personally find a wildfire much more intimidating than a structural fire. If you are conservative on a structural fire, you may lose one or two buildings. If you are conservative on a wildland fire you may lose your entire community. They are totally different animals and there are just too many ways that they can suddenly change and hurt you. I have great admiration for the local boys that work the big ones.

    As for developing new tactics on the fly, the big problem with encouraging creativity on the fireline is that it can border on freelancing and can be just as dangerous in the end. Maybe one of the real problems is that you cannot create practice burns on the scale required. I can burn another old house every other weekend and try something new, we can't usually burn a forest to test some new tactics (at least not safely). Lessons in the wildland sector seem to come reactively. If you want to bring in new tactics, you are first going to have to come up with some means of testing them safely.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

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  10. #10
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    Now were're talking. I am certainly not saying LCES is wrong. I use it myself, but I try hard to use it in the management of risk; inclusive of everything I can think of for risk. An example, indirect line construction with burnout later in the day. If I use LCES, I go to the site put lookouts up, buildline all day, hopefully identify safety zones, then a front comes in, we are so committed distance wise we have to stay in place while the main fire burn over us. Our safety zone is inadequate (as the majority of them are)and we shelter. The other side of the coin is, identifying risks and mitgations. Like: No anchor points for line construction, how do we assure safe places to be? How will the burnout progress and what are our backups for spots and possible burnover opportunities along the line? I am concerned with all the unburned fuel between me and the main fire. Can we achieve effective safety zones based on 4 times the expected maximum flame lengths? Can we construct line and burn at the same time to create and carry a zone of safety with us? Is air support available to support us? Is aircraft the key to our success, would it be the trigger to disengage? Can we go direct? How do we create an anchor for all exposed firefighters if we go indirect? Can we use mechanized line construction for speed and reduced exposure to firefighters? Here are a few things I would think about that are all risk and tactically oriented, that do not reflect so much LCES or 10 ORDERS. Even the original 10 orders never talked about safety zones, zones of safety or anchor points. I want to use them all, but in a decision process that recognizes all the risk.

    Innovation is evolution. Even Wag Dodge kept his secret until the ultimate reality appeared. We have to question and discuss. We have to innovate our training and we have to take the time to discuss what matters to us and what we know works. We are having a discussion now involving the use of heavy machines for fire suppression. Everyone has a little experience dealing with dozers, tractor plows, and few of the unique machines like the unimog or the scabbed together skidgines. But there is a group of experienced managers and operators that are detailing incredible ways to use other machines in incredible ways to be safer, more efficient, and more available than traditional handcrews for a variety of fireline jobs. Is it taking hold? No. It's non-traditional and suspect, much like Wag Dodges escape fire. However now the evidence is in, people just refuse to accept it.

    That's whats inside the box, traditional approaches, and that is where we have to step outside our comfortable areas of expertease. If we used risk analysis to measure safety and effectiveness of night operations and tree felling, comparing handcrews to machines, guess which one would prove out? Machines. Fuel type and terrain dependent would be the counter, but not any longer, capabilities have mushroomed as well as the light hand concept of line construction. The implications are we are not rplacing crews, we are displacing crews to where they really are needed, putting fire out.

    I think we need to train based on risk, and use the LCES's as mitigations where they appropriatly fit into it. We need to train using basic tactics and how to innovate their use to fit situations. We need to help firefighters sharpen their eyes to risk recognition, and what the tools are to mitigate them. We need to expend energy and funding to preventing burnovers not improving the fire shelter. Thanx. js
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