Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
You need to play a total of 5 battles to post in this section.

3 comments in this topic

Recommended Posts

Members
3,010 posts
10,189 battles

Ok, well be prepared for a lot of information here. However, with the events of the Carr Fire, the Ferguson Fire (link has info on the Carr, Ferguson Fire and the Mendocino Complex) , as well as the usual Western and South Western States now popping off with fires of their own, coupled with extreme weather is nothing less than a disaster. If a fire hasn't started and it's been awhile since any rain has fallen and temps are high, this too is very much at risk. Where I live (western Oregon), it's a very wet and fairly cool place with temps reaching only 100 degrees Fahrenheit "maybe" a few days out of the summer and normally a few spells of 90's. However, this year and years leading up, the last precipitation we have seen was on the 4th of July (it literally sprinkled for all of 5 minutes, barely got the pavement wet) and before that was early June. This is unusual for this part of the country and no I am not about to start a debate on climate change as I know this is apart of a cycle, I have "some" (sarcastic in the some) knowledge in this area. 

As for me, I was a structural firefighter for four years and a wildland firefighter for seven. Although in the structural fire district I served in, it was a rural district and we covered a 50 square mile area. So needless to say, in both of my fire duties, I performed firefighting in the urban interface (structure protection against wildfires as well as early prevention).

With all of that said, I could not in good conscience not put out information for people to either use and/or pass on to family/loved ones, etc. So with that, I will break down each link, what it is, how it correlates, etc. I hope at least someone finds use out of this information as it is very useful.

What to do:

Before the Season:

Depending on your location in the States - Link is to the Forest Service Regional Map break-down, will depend on when your fire season normally starts and stops. For instance, the Western 11 states ie: Washington State, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming (Regions 6, 5, 4, 3, part of 2 and part of 1) start usually in late June/early July (exceptions being California, Arizona and New Mexico as they can start as early as late April/early May) and end typically in early October (when the seasonal rains hit). However, if we were to look at Region 9, more specifically the Tennessee/Kentucky area, their fire season starts a bit later and lasts later. I recall having Thanksgiving in fire camp in the Daniel Boone National Forest and waking up with frost on my tent... 

1) Before the season, know what Region you're in so you know when your fire season starts, this will help you be prepared well in advance of fire season.

2) Make sure that your address is clearly visible from the road. I can't stress this enough as I personally can't remember how many times I've been told to go to 123 xyz Rd. only to find that it was a mile and 8 house back all because no one took the time to cut bushes or clear dirt off of their signs/mail boxes, etc.

3) If possible, have a "go-bag" ready. Pack it lite, stuff that you don't need "now", but that can sit. That way if something happens you are that far ahead of the curve. If something does happen, remember - possessions are just that "possessions", your life is more important than anything in that house, apartment, barn or whatever. If you have livestock and you don't have time to transport, this will be hard and against your nature, but if a Level 3 Evac is ordered and again "you cannot transport your livestock/horses/whatever" open their kennels, pens, or whatever you are keeping them in. They have the natural instinct to get away from fire and have a better chance at survival on the run vs in the restricted area. Keep in mind that the majority of fire deaths are not by fire, but from lack of oxygen.

- Sub note: Be sure to have a check list of any and all medications you and loved ones will need during an evac. Check them off as you pack them, this will help.

4) Have an escape plan in place, if possible, ensure multiple routes are available. Keep in mind that the infrastructure will be horrendously packed with vehicles.

 

These are just naming a few generic steps. Below are the links I was referring to earlier and the link "Firewise" should go into it further.

Firewise home   Main site for Firewise, links to preparedness, current wildfires (unsure how up to date they keep that link, but I'm posting the NIFC link below)

Firewise tips   Great information on preparedness tips for your home. Before and during an event.

NIFC     National Interagency Fire Center - Located in Boise, ID. They dispatch all fire personnel from this location for fire districts that have requested a Type 2 or Type 1 Management Team (large incidents and not restricted to fires as they had a logistics team on standby for Sept. 11th '01 and a bunch of us - a few hundred, were dispatched to help with the Space Shuttle Columbia recovery efforts).

National Fire Report   Current status of all wildfires nation wide. Updated daily by NIFC during the fire season. They do announce when they stop updating daily. **Note: This is a pdf**

Red Flag Warnings   - Link to the National Weather Service and more specifically I linked it to the regional area that breaks down the red flag warnings for the western region. A Red Flag Warning is defined as weather conditions being extremely favorable to not only for ignition, but rapid spread. So it can be issued for low relative humidity, high winds, high temperatures, thunderstorms (both wet and dry) prolonged drought coupled with the aforementioned conditions, etc.

National Weather - This link will show a broader version of the Red Flag Warnings that I posted above, national scale. As well as different filters, ie: warnings by state, etc.

 

Currently there are a total of 143 incidents nation wide, 607 total hand crews have been dispatched (these are 20 person crews from both Federal and Private sectors), 1,734 Engines (usually 2 or 3 person crews, though California does have up to 5), 197 Helicopters (don't know how many fixed wing, though truly I would imagine the entire fleet is actively working - it's not as many as you think, last I can recall the count was around 16ish though looking at wiki it's saying 18 between light to heavy's.

Why am I bring these numbers up? Because resources are tapped. In 2016 there were an estimated 13,000 wildland firefighters between the 5 Federal agencies. In the private sector, there may be around 1,500 (I worked for the largest back in 2000 who had 1,000, but that company has since been severely downsized since the retiring of the owner). So at 607 hand crews, that's 12,140 firefighters just in that alone. Can't really predict an accurate number on engine crews due to the variance, but it would be roughly between 3,468 to 5,202 firefighters and well Aerial is in a league of their own. But as anyone can see, resources are done, tapped and stretched to the brink. Crews are pushing their hours to the letter of the law (for every 2 hours worked, 1 hour down time - not in that fashion though as it boils down to no more than 16 hours per day "unless" life or property are in danger") and a 14 day maximum dispatch before being sent home for 2 days of rest.

The more one can do to help prevent a fire or spread in their personal space, the better it is for everyone. Not just the firefighters, but the home owners (you, loved ones, etc.).

 

I'll close with this. I've been on a few incidents in the past where lives of colleagues have been lost and/or deployments have happened (30 mile fire in 2001). I was Crew 8 on the Florence Fire, later renamed the Biscuit Fire in 2002, which at the time was Oregon's largest wildfire in history at 495,000 acres, in fact my profile picture is a picture taken by a Forest Service employee of our safety zone about 5 minutes before the fire blew up and we had to evac to that site as it blew over. At that time we were performing structure protection and trying to get in as much line as possible. Thankfully instead of losing the predicted 10 out of 12 houses, we saved 10 having only lost 2 due to propane explosions and ammunition going off. Never the less, all of these instances could have been avoided - even the tragic four deaths on the 30 mile, had some preventative maintenance/action taken place. The 30 mile started by an unattended, abandoned camp fire.

So, if you have gotten this far into my ramblings I thank you. I know I'm long winded. I hope that some if not all of this information is helpful in some way and will get past along. Stay safe.

Regards,

Miner

  • Cool 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
157
[VVV]
Members
391 posts
2,400 battles

First, thank you for your service as a firefighter. I've always admired firefighters for the work they do: they risk everything and stand against an almost unthinkable situation, and somehow not only save lives and property but contain the fires.

I've always been lucky enough to live in a place where wildfires aren't really a threat (the southeast, where the air usually fluctuates between 99 and 100% humidity in the hottest days of the year), but I've seen the photos of the absolutely massive firestorms and the absolute devastation they cause. Even if you don't live in an area where a wildfire is likely, a house fire nearby or even a fire in your home can still put you at risk, prepare a fire evacuation plan and follow what Miner said. It saves lives.

Thank you for the PSA Miner, I cannot upvote this post enough. Fire safety is something everyone, even playing an online bote game, should know about.

  • Cool 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Members
3,010 posts
10,189 battles
41 minutes ago, AtlanticRim said:

First, thank you for your service as a firefighter. I've always admired firefighters for the work they do: they risk everything and stand against an almost unthinkable situation, and somehow not only save lives and property but contain the fires.

I've always been lucky enough to live in a place where wildfires aren't really a threat (the southeast, where the air usually fluctuates between 99 and 100% humidity in the hottest days of the year), but I've seen the photos of the absolutely massive firestorms and the absolute devastation they cause. Even if you don't live in an area where a wildfire is likely, a house fire nearby or even a fire in your home can still put you at risk, prepare a fire evacuation plan and follow what Miner said. It saves lives.

Thank you for the PSA Miner, I cannot upvote this post enough. Fire safety is something everyone, even playing an online bote game, should know about.

Thank you for the appreciation, it does mean a lot to not only me, but I know it means a lot to those who are still active.

However, I have pictures of me fighting fire in the Ocala National Forest back in '01 or '02 when the drought down there was really bad and the swamps dried up. lol The USFS had us clearing the old property lines so the surveyors could re-shoot the lines and update the info. Needless to say, we had to duct tape our nomex pants to our boots to prevent the ticks from getting in, watch out for the cottonmouths (yup, this fatboy got chased by one) and well chiggers are just a "thing" you deal with.. Though the palm meadow bugs aka roaches are a sight to see and if you ask them nicely, they may just pay rent... Gators, well, I didn't have time to swim.

With regards to "fires" though, I did learn a few things. "Green" burns. "Green" are areas you DON'T want to park when venturing off road. And, along with some of the best light shows (thunderstorms) I have ever seen, despite however much rain they dumped, if a lightning strike happened, chances are, a fire will still start there. Again, that was when the drought was really bad and the "Sink" fires were occurring in the swamps.

But yes, I do hear you very, VERY clearly.. I flew in overnight from Missoula, MT where we still had snow on the ground, 4 transfers and landed in Orlando, FL and about collapsed when I felt the 70 degree's and 80% RH at 11pm.. Whole different ball game there. :Smile_Default:

  • Cool 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×