Earlier we had a report of two burnovers of engines on two fires in South Dakota on October 5. We just found out from Jim Strain about another one that occurred the same day.
Subject: Third Engine burnover in South Dakota
Wednesday, October 5th, saw yet another report of an entrapment on a prairie fire in the State of South Dakota. This is the third burn over/entrapment incident to be reported for that date. This incident occurred in Hutchinson County, about 1 mile South and 1 ¼ miles west of Tripp, SD. Jim Burk called the fire department today and gathered some more facts on the situation.
The fire was burning in CRP (Fuel Model 3) and had jumped the county road. The Tripp VFD engine was driving through the smoke, become disorientated, and drove down the steep embankment on the south road ditch. The engine did not roll, but as the firefighters exited the vehicle, one firefighter twisted his ankle trying to get up the steep embankment, and the other firefighter tried to crawl up the ditch, but could not, so exited the ditch running towards the west. That firefighter sustained 2nd degree burns to the face and arms. He will require skin grafts on the upper arms and is in the hospital at Sioux Falls. No damage to air ways. The firefighter was wearing his structure turn out bunker pants.
The weather from the nearest RAWS (Lake Andes) showed 95 degrees, 19 RH and winds SE at 25.
I have filed the ‘Wildland Fire Fatality and Entrapment Initial Report” through GPC and RMCC to NICC.
The SD Fire Marshal’s Office is checking into this report as well. This report is initial, and all information is preliminary and subject to change.
Asst. Chief — Operations, South Dakota Dept of Agriculture – Division of Wildland Fire Suppression