Thread: CDF Lodd

  1. #1
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    Unhappy CDF Lodd

    May I express my condolences to the family and friends of Eva Schicke. May God provide comfort to them...and the entire CDF firefighting family.

    COLUMBIA, Calif. (AP) - A member of an elite helicopter wildfire
    crew has become the first female firefighter from the California
    Department of Forestry to die in the line of duty, state officials
    said Monday.
    Officials could give few details about what happened when the
    seven-member crew was apparently overrun by flames Sunday in rugged
    terrain of the Stanislaus National Forest.
    The department identified the woman as Eva Schicke, 24, of
    Arnold.
    "This is a very difficult day for our department," said Jim
    Wright, chief of fire protection at the CDF. "It is just a
    reminder of the danger our firefighters face on a daily basis."
    Wright said the crew appeared to have been on the ground about
    an hour. Their job was to use hand tools to build a fire break
    ahead of the blaze, which had grown to 800 acres Monday and was 20
    percent contained.
    Phyllis Banducci, a CDF spokeswoman, said investigators know
    little about the accident except that it happened in a canyon area
    and firefighters recorded a change in the wind at about the same
    time.
    Six other firefighters suffered minor injuries.
    A college student, Schicke had spent 4 seasons working as a
    part-time firefighter.
    Because the death happened in a national forest and involved
    firefighters working for the state, it will be investigated by
    federal and state fire officials, CDF Director Dale Geldert said.
    The department's helicopter team members are considered among
    the best firefighters in the system, Wright said.
    In Arnold, mourners erected a roadside memorial that included
    flowers and balloons arranged between a pair of boots, a helmet,
    gloves and a shovel. A bulletin board included notes from friends
    and colleagues.
    George Muedeking, Schicke's academic adviser at California State
    University at Stanislaus, said she often returned to register for
    fall classes wearing military fatigues and still smelling of smoke.
    "Her commitment was very strong when she decided to do
    something," he said. "She really saw it through."
    Amid the mourning, fire crews worked to contain a separate
    wildfire threatening the western Sierra Nevada town of Mariposa,
    about 50 miles south of the blaze that killed Schicke.
    The flames had burned 2,000 acres and forced the evacuation of
    about 300 homes in the town of 1,400 residents.
    "It almost looks like a volcano has erupted. There is so much
    ash and so much smoke - miles and miles of it," CDF spokeswoman
    Olivia Luke said.
    A 34-year-old man was in custody on an arson charge, accused of
    starting the fire with a match inserted inside a cigarette.
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
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  2. #2
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    Post Memorial

    SACRAMENTO (AP) - Memorial services for state firefighter Eva
    Schicke, 24, the first female firefighter from the California
    Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to die in the line of
    duty, have been scheduled for 2 p.m. Monday in Angels Camp, fire
    authorities said Wednesday.
    State fire officials said several thousand state, county and
    city firefighters are expected to attend a Calaveras County
    Fairgrounds service for Schicke, 24, who died Sunday while fighting
    a wildfire in the Tuolumne River Canyon.
    "There will be fire engines from all over the state. We're
    starting to get calls and RSVP's from all over," said Tom Wells,
    CDF fire information officer.
    The service will feature a procession of engines and crews that
    traditionally honor firefighters killed on duty. More than 3,000
    firefighters and law enforcement officers attended funeral services
    last November for Steven Rucker, 38, of Novato, who died fighting
    wildfires last year in San Diego County.
    Schicke, a five-year CDF veteran who trained in the Tuolumne
    County town of Arnold and was promoted to an elite helicopter
    response crew based in Columbia, was overrun by a blaze about one
    hour after she and six other crew members landed in the river
    canyon. Other crew members received only minor injuries.
    A federal-state team is investigating the incident.
    Schicke, a graduate of California State University, Stanislaus,
    is survived by her mother and brother in the El Dorado County town
    of Camino.
    The fire, meanwhile, grew to 750 acres Wednesday, but was 70
    percent contained, said Stanislaus National Forest spokesman John
    Renshaw. He said crews expect to contain it late Friday.
    Tuolumne County officials planned an autopsy late Wednesday or
    early Thursday in Sonora, to verify identification from dental
    records and determine a cause of death.
    ---
    On the Net:
    Read condolences to Schicke's family at
    http://www.virtual-condolences.com

    (Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    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

  3. #3
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    Post The Report

    By DON THOMPSON
    Associated Press Writer
    SACRAMENTO (AP) - Firefighters failed to give themselves enough
    escape routes while battling a fatal wildfire in the Stanislaus
    National Forest last fall, according to a report by state and
    federal investigators.
    As a result according to the report released Wednesday,
    California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection firefighter
    Eva Schicke, a star athlete in college, couldn't outclimb the
    wildfire up a steep slope to a safe zone a mere 35 feet away.
    Schicke, 23, was the department's first female firefighter to be
    killed in the line of duty when she died Sept. 12. Three other
    firefighters were injured.
    Her crew immediately noticed when a wind shift began driving the
    fire back over their position, and immediately began running to
    their previously identified safety zones - a riverbed below and a
    road above.
    "However, due to the steepness of the slope and rapid change in
    fire behavior, they did not all reach safety," concludes the
    report by a joint investigative team formed by the state forestry
    department and the U.S. Forest Service.
    Among the factors:
    - "Escape routes were inadequate to allow sufficient time for
    the firefighters to reach safety zones."
    - "Inadequate consideration was given to the difficulty of
    travel back up the steep slope," particularly over soil churned up
    by the firefighters themselves as they scraped a fire line.
    - Firefighters started backfires designed to burn toward the
    wildfire. But when the wind suddenly shifted, the backfires
    themselves were what burned over the crew.
    - A fire engine had arrived and could have laid fire hose to
    help - but no one told the crew. Those were among the "incident
    command and control shortfalls."
    - The crew captain, Jonah Winger, had limited experience in
    building the sort of fire line his firefighters were constructing.
    - The firefighters made their decisions based on what the fire
    was doing - not what it might do.

    Winger, now a captain at the department's Garden Valley Station,
    declined comment.
    "It's not a good time for me to talk about it," said Winger,
    who suffered minor burns on his head and face. Another firefighter
    broke a rib and ankle, while the third had smoke inhalation.
    Chiefs at the crew's former unit and air base declined comment,
    referring calls to department spokesman Michael Jarvis.
    "The report speaks for itself. People can draw their own
    conclusions," Jarvis said. The department released only the
    report's executive summary. Jarvis said private personnel
    information had to be stripped out of the full report before a
    redacted version is released.
    In a statement, the department said the Accident Investigation
    Team "determined no individual was at fault," but said it will
    use the report to improve its policies, procedures and coordination
    with other agencies. It said that Schicke "lives on today in the
    hearts and minds of her colleagues."
    The Tuolumne River Canyon is 2,000 feet deep where the accident
    occurred, with steep slopes ranging from 80 degrees to 120 degrees.
    Schicke and a colleague from Helitack Crew 404 were just about
    35 feet below Lumsden Road when the wind shifted. The spread of the
    fire, and the height of the flames, "increased dramatically," the
    investigation found, burning over crew members in just 30 seconds.
    They never had time to unfold their tent-like fire shelters; the
    entire flare-up lasted less than two minutes.
    One firefighter was already on the road, retrieving equipment.
    Four others downhill headed to the river.
    Schicke and her closest colleague, Shane Neveau, headed uphill,
    but Schicke was caught by the firestorm just five feet from the
    road: she "was killed by inhalation of superheated air; she died
    within seconds."
    So steep was the slope that her body slid 100 feet downhill.
    ---
    On the Net:
    Read the report at
    http://www.fire.ca.gov/php/fire-er-fatalities.php

    (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    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

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