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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber KevinFFVFD's Avatar
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    Default emergency response and brush fires....

    Our county gets a bunch of calls for brush fires. Usually we will get 1 or 2 calls a day somewhere in the county for a brush fire. Our department may not be primary department to it, but still the county gets a lot. What kind of makes me mad is that most of the time when we get there it turns out to be a controlled burn and there are people standing right there with it. About 90% of the people who burn things do not call it in to dispatch like they are supposed to. Then someone driving by sees the smoke and calls in a brush fire and then we go hauling out there. This is where my question comes in….

    This is a 2 part question:

    1) How could we as a department educate the public on how to handle burns and how to properly report them so we don’t get called out to them all of the time?
    2) What calls does your department run code/not run code to? On what occasions would your unit run no lights or sirens to a call?

    Thanks everyone, stay safe out there, especially in this hot weather.


  2. #2
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    Here in our county the sheriff is also county fire chief.
    It has taken years for residents to call in for a burn permit.
    This was acomplished by education bu showing up at alot of controled burns and educating.

    The sheriff also can write tickets.

    If we are on a call we run lights.
    If we are responding to a call that has been verified or called into 911, we run code 3 lights and siren

  3. #3
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    Our county issues burn permits, they are good for 90 days, and one can have a valid burn permit for 180 days per year. It says right on the permit, call the dispatch center when you are going to burn, and have the permit available at the site of the fire.

    If a call comes in, and we are sent we ask to see the permit. If it is not current or they cannot produce it, they get a 200 dollar fine, and cannot get another permit for 180 days. The fines and bans increase for successive offenses.

    We do not run hot to calls for brush fires unless a structure is threatened. What is the fire loss on a 280 acre brush fire? 0$

  4. #4
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    On the burn permit thing. They MUST call it in to dispatch, if they don't we can call the Sheriff's office out and they can give them a ticket, written or verbal warning. Now most people do call in.

    Geinandputitout- I don't completely agree with you on the 0$ lost! In OUR area (maybe not yours) a lot of the land is produced for hay for livestock and other things. So farmers tend to get a little aggitated when we show up like its nothing.
    but that is in our area, and maybe not in yours! (hope you understand!)
    DONK

    All that I have posted are only my opinions and absolutely have nothing to do with my department and any other affiliations.

  5. #5
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    No need for a burn permit in most rural areas of northwest Louisiana, and I beleive that's true throughout the state. Basically, if you own it you can burn it, and that includes structures and vehicles. You have no obligation to notify the local FD or dispatch, though some folks do.

    We probably average 30-40 responses a year that turn out to be controlled burns called in by neighbors or passer-bys. Most are brush, brush piles, slash or a pile of junk in the yard. Last year we got toned out to a structure fire, and when we arrived we found a double-wide fully envolved. We started working it when a woman drove up in a car and said she was burning it down. After we verified that she was the owner, we rolled up our houses and left the scen with the house burning merrily in our rear-view mirrors.

    Such is life in the country.

    As far as education, use all your media sources. Articles in the local paper. maybe a sign in front of the station.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by donk7267 View Post
    On the burn permit thing. They MUST call it in to dispatch, if they don't we can call the Sheriff's office out and they can give them a ticket, written or verbal warning. Now most people do call in.

    Geinandputitout- I don't completely agree with you on the 0$ lost! In OUR area (maybe not yours) a lot of the land is produced for hay for livestock and other things. So farmers tend to get a little aggitated when we show up like its nothing.
    but that is in our area, and maybe not in yours! (hope you understand!)
    I know what your saying, but I've never seen any type of cover that would be good for baling if it was dry enough to burn.

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber SWLAFireDawg's Avatar
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    Our neighboring fire department got a call at 3am one night for a reported bon fire not being attended. Once they finally got out of bed and mosied on over to check it out, they found a single family residence fully involved.......with fatalities.

    I don't condone running lights/sirens on grass fires, but you never really know what you have. For us, once a unit or person arrives on scene and does a size up, they radio back and give instructions on if we should run hot or cold.

    As for education, you can try, but I doubt it would help much. Even if the person doing the burn called it in, flying embers could set a neighboring field on fire. So would you not respond because there was a duly registered and permitted burn in the area?

    And as for bruh fires costing 0$, I also disagree. If fence posts, well or pump sheds, cattle feed troughs, deer stands, tree farms, hay fields as mentioned above, etc are involved...the cost can add up quickly.

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber SWLAFireDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geinandputitout View Post
    I know what your saying, but I've never seen any type of cover that would be good for baling if it was dry enough to burn.
    Green will burn too, once it gets hot enough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SWLAFireDawg View Post
    Green will burn too, once it gets hot enough.
    First, I've thrown thousands of hay bales. While anything will burn if it gets hot enough is in fact a true statement, I have yet to see a maintained hay field burn. I've lived in Iowa for 29 years.

    Note the previous discussion was not about fence material, cattle feeders, water-basins, ag equipment, etc.

    If you look hard enough their is an exception to every rule. I still stand by my original statement that running hot to brush / grass fires is unnecessary unless a structure is threatened. I would submit that you are more likely to kill yourself or someone else running hot to grass fires or smoke in the area west of town, than actually making an impact on a life safety or property conservation issue. Hey if your willing to toss the dice, good luck -- hey at least you won't need a lawyer if you run over my boys.

    I know there are wildland / urban interface zones that can change this equation, however most grass and brush fires in the midwest do not fit into this category.

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber KevinFFVFD's Avatar
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    The fire departments here do not issue burn permits (which is basically why we get called of the time to BS controlled burns). However, out County Fire Coordinator is also the Environmental Safety Officer, and the Fire Chief of the city career department is the HAZMAT officer for the entire county.

    We had a call not to long ago to a “brush fire” which turned out to be a bunch of tires and other chemicals being burned off. Because of the hazards by which were being imposed by burning these materials we had to put it out. I do not believe we allow for “legal burning” of abandoned homes and cars. However we can’t regulate it because we don’t write burn permits.

    This is going to sound silly to you guys but its true…

    OUR COUNTY DOES NOT HAVE FIRE CODES….

    That’s right; our county does not have adopted fire codes. So another word we cannot go out and do inspections, write fines, or impose “improper safety hazards or behavior” because our county does not have a set fire code to abide by. Many of us think this is wrong, but nothing we can really do about it without going over the heads of the administration. So basically we cannot “enforce” it because we do not have the codes to back it up by.

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    In this neck of the woods or lack of, things move real quick and we run code 3. It doesn't take long for a grass fire to attach itself to something else. Not to mention the hay and grass are a pretty big money maker, or will get a herd through the winter. Fire is fire and we get there as quick as possible.

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    Here in California there is burn days and non burn days. It is up to the EPA and Air Quality Control to set those days. The resident has to either get a burn permit from county or the fire department. No permit or burn on a non burn day. BIG FINE. Also dispatch would be notified on location/address of control burns.

    Regardless of what type of veg fire. We have different terrian , fuel type and urban interface. In my county you get a first alarm w/ (3) Type 3 engines, (2) Water Tenders, BC, CALFIRE (5) Type 3 engines, aircraft, dozer and hand crew. First in will give size up of fire ( acreage, rate of spread, fuel, structures threaten) to dispatch and assume IC until BC arrives. If more are needed then there will be in county strike teams and out of county strike teams.

  13. #13
    MembersZone Subscriber SWLAFireDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geinandputitout View Post
    First, I've thrown thousands of hay bales. While anything will burn if it gets hot enough is in fact a true statement, I have yet to see a maintained hay field burn. I've lived in Iowa for 29 years.

    Note the previous discussion was not about fence material, cattle feeders, water-basins, ag equipment, etc.

    If you look hard enough their is an exception to every rule. I still stand by my original statement that running hot to brush / grass fires is unnecessary unless a structure is threatened. I would submit that you are more likely to kill yourself or someone else running hot to grass fires or smoke in the area west of town, than actually making an impact on a life safety or property conservation issue. Hey if your willing to toss the dice, good luck -- hey at least you won't need a lawyer if you run over my boys.

    I know there are wildland / urban interface zones that can change this equation, however most grass and brush fires in the midwest do not fit into this category.

    I agree, and thank you for the clarification. Where we are, there are very few true "brush" areas. Most of it is subdivisions, and farmland with houses mixed in, and all of it is fenced.

  14. #14
    MembersZone Subscriber dday05's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=KevinFFVFD;825235]The fire departments here do not issue burn permits (which is basically why we get called of the time to BS controlled burns). However, out County Fire Coordinator is also the Environmental Safety Officer, and the Fire Chief of the city career department is the HAZMAT officer for the entire county.

    We had a call not to long ago to a “brush fire” which turned out to be a bunch of tires and other chemicals being burned off. Because of the hazards by which were being imposed by burning these materials we had to put it out. I do not believe we allow for “legal burning” of abandoned homes and cars. However we can’t regulate it because we don’t write burn permits.

    This is going to sound silly to you guys but its true…

    OUR COUNTY DOES NOT HAVE FIRE CODES….

    QUOTE]

    Burning tires or abandoned homes would or should fall under a EPA issue I would think. I do know the EPA is cracking down on people for burning stuff they should not be burning or what have you. It's nice to see people cleaning up their property but you allways seem to run into that neighbor that just likes to bitch and complain about everything so they call every body and their brother. See where I'm going here? Anyways the EPA has cracked down hard on farmers for burning stuff and even fire departments.

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    SWLA ...

    Do you have any local burning regs in your part of the state? Do you see the same issues with folks burning whatever they want that we see up here?

  16. #16
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    In Nova Scotia Fire Dept's do not issue burn permits, Dept of Natural Resources does. In all my time we never responded to a burn complaint. DNR or RCMP takes care of those. If it was a large enough "controlled burn" our dispatch center would be notified prior to it taking place. Where I live now, listening to the scanner, Departments respond to burn complaints almost daily but I'm not sure what their protocols are.

    My old dept responded to brush fires,woods fires,field fires etc, we responded lights and sirens, except after midnight we would cut out the sirens. Most of our Woodland is in the south of our district. I can remember calls that took us 15 or 20 minutes to arrive. If a Chief or other Officer arrived on scene and found it to be a minimal incident they would downgrade some trucks.
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

    Ryan

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    SWLA ...

    Do you have any local burning regs in your part of the state? Do you see the same issues with folks burning whatever they want that we see up here?
    We have a few::

    1: No fire allowed after sunset......includes smoldering.
    2: No burning of tires, asphalt shingles, plastics, rubber compounds, or any material which produces black or obnoxious smoke after the initial 1 minute of light off
    3: No smoke may interfere with residential dwellings or obstruct public roadways
    4: Any fields to be burned must have proper burn strip or plowed strip to prevent unintentional fire spread
    5: All fres must be monitored by property owner or hs designee

    This is parish ordnance and police jury ordnances.

  18. #18
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    We do not run hot to calls for brush fires unless a structure is threatened. What is the fire loss on a 280 acre brush fire? 0$

    I can partially see your point....

    but, the difference in minutes can be the difference between a small brush fire contained with a water can and a raging inferno that sweeps through hundreds of acres and burns homes and people alike.

    It shouldnt matter if it hasnt happened yet. What should matter is that there is a chance of it happening.

    And 280 can be the difference in a man living with comfort that year or eating his leather soles on his shoes. Granted, we dont need to die for that 280 acres but just because no ones home is threatened does not mean that that fire is not important

  19. #19
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    Brush and timber fires here can be very costly for 2 reasons. First of all, many of our rural homes sit very close to the edge of the woods, and structure envolvement is always a possibility.

    Secondly, as we are in timber country up here, a woods fire can end up costing the property owner thousands, or even ten's of thousands dollars in potential damage, especially if the fire gets into a stand of young trees.

    While the chief stresses that the response need not be quite as urgent as a structure fire or MVA with reported entrapment, vegiation and woods fires are seen as a fairly serious situation.

  20. #20
    MembersZone Subscriber KevinFFVFD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Brush and timber fires here can be very costly for 2 reasons. First of all, many of our rural homes sit very close to the edge of the woods, and structure envolvement is always a possibility.
    I can understand this. We have this problem where I am as well. As a matter of fact, when we get called to a brush fire one of the first things we will ask dispatch is if a structure is being threatened.

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