Examples of catastrophic events on wildland fires that led to changes

Interviews with 13 people

Heather Heward

Above: Heather Heward, one of 13 people interviewed, describes a catastrophic event on a wildland fire that led to a positive change.

Chief John Hawkins (@JhawkFire) of CAL FIRE/Riverside County wrote a tweet recently that mentioned the “Law of Catastrophic Reform”, meaning a positive change following a catastrophe on a fire. He gave examples including positive pressure breathing apparatus, fire shelters, keeping personal protective equipment clean, enclosed vehicle cabs, and moving sirens farther away from occupants in a vehicle.

While attending the Fire Continuum Conference in Missoula this week, I asked some of the attendees if they would describe a catastrophic event on a wildland fire that led to a significant change. The video has short (in most cases less than two minute) interviews with 13 people from several countries:

  • Tom Harbour
  • Dave Calkin
  • Tom Zimmerman
  • Tim Sexton
  • Domingos Viegas
  • Heather Heward
  • Marta Miralles
  • Mike Beasley
  • Russel Parsons
  • Chris Dicus
  • Shelia Murphy
  • Mike Norton, and
  • Colin Hardy

I really appreciate the 13 folks that contributed to this, who in some cases told a story of how they were personally affected.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

2 thoughts on “Examples of catastrophic events on wildland fires that led to changes”

  1. A common theme in many of these stories is fireline fatalities. As we get into fire season this year, please review and emphasize the 10 Standard Fire Orders and apply them to every fire. Doing this will save lives.

  2. Those contributions were all very good, but I thought Tom Harbour’s segment was particularly astute, and close to what I might have said if I was thoughtful and articulate. The things he saw concerning the South Canyon Fire’s effects on the fire profession had a major effect on my career.

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