Red Flag Warnings July 22, 2016

Red Flag Warnings July 22, 2016The National Weather Service has posted Red Flag Warnings or Fire Weather Watches for areas in California,  Washington, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.

The maps were current as of 7:20 a.m. MDT on Friday. Red Flag Warnings can change throughout the day as the National Weather Service offices around the country update and revise their forecasts and maps. For the most current data visit this NWS site.

Report released on burnover of CAL FIRE engine

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has released what they call a “Green Sheet”, a summary of the burnover of an engine that occurred as it was making a mobile attack on the Pacheco Fire, which eventually burned 341 acres in Calaveras County south of Valley Springs.

****

“SUMMARY

On July 12, 2016, a CAL FIRE Type 3 Model 34 engine (E1) attempted to start a mobile attack toward the head of a vegetation fire. Firefighters deployed two lines, but before they could anchor and start the mobile attack, the main fire and several spot fires converged on the fire engine. One firefighter took refuge in the engine, and one firefighter ran into the green. The engine sustained damage from the fire. Neither firefighter was injured.

CONDITIONS

  • Weather: 89°, 21% relative humidity, winds 9 mph from the west and shifting, taken from the Campo Seco RAWS at 1400 hours.
  • Fuel Type: Approximately two feet tall grass.
  • Topography: Southeast aspect, rolling topography with multiple draws
  • Fire Behavior: Sheeting, fire whirls, spotting

SEQUENCE OF EVENTS

On July 12, 2016, at approximately 1314 hours, CAL FIRE and local government resources were dispatched to a vegetation fire in the vicinity of Langford Pacheco Road and Milton Road in Calaveras County. The initial report on conditions given by the Air Attack at 1329 hours was 15 acres of grass woodland and spotting out in front of the main fire. At 1356 hours, the fire was reported to be 100 acres in size and spotting under the column.

A CAL FIRE engine (E1) arrived at scene at 1345 hours and was assigned Division R, the right flank of the fire. The crew met with a Battalion Chief (BC1) and came up with a plan to create an anchor point and start a mobile attack toward the head of the fire. A second CAL FIRE Engine (E2) and Dozer (D1) were just behind E1.

As E1 crossed through a gate to make access to the fire. E1 stopped in the green and deployed a one inch THY-600 Angus line manufactured by Rawhide Fire, with a 3/8 inch tip for the mobile attack and a reel line to pick up any spot fires. The Captain (FC1) on E1 saw the engine was between the main fire and multiple spot fires. Winds were shifting and the fire behavior was erratic so FC1 from E1 gave the order to pick up the lines so they could move to a better location. As the two firefighters (FF1 and FF2) began to roll up the hose, the main fire and spot fires converged and burned up to the engine. FF1 jumped into the engine while FF2 ran away from the engine into the green, losing his helmet. FC1 lost sight of FF2, and seeing only flames, announced on the tactical frequency that a fire fighter had been burned over. Engine E2 radioed to E1 that they were heading toward them. A large fire whirl was between E2 and E1.

Uninjured, FF2 looked back toward E1 from the green and saw the under carriage of the engine was on fire. FF2 contacted E1 on the radio and told them the engine was on fire. FF1 exited the cab and used the reel line to extinguish the fire under the engine.

Flame impingement caused the airlines above the frame rails to burst. When the air pressure dropped below 60 psi, FC1 was unable to release the spring brake. FF2 ran back to E1. A helicopter dropped water around E1 while D1 constructed line around a portion of E1 to protect the crew. FC1 notified the Incident Commander that all personnel were accounted for and in a good location.

There were no injuries. E1 sustained heat damage to the tires, fenders, lens covers, air brake lines and pump panel.

CAL FIRE engine damage

SAFETY ISSUES FOR REVIEW AND LESSONS LEARNED

STANDARD FIRE ORDERS

  • Base all actions on current and expected fire behavior.

WATCH OUT SITUATIONS

  • Wind increases and/or changes direction.
  • Getting frequent spot fires across line.

LESSONS LEARNED

  • Consider topographical features and fuels, no matter how minor, in relation to you and/or your vehicle’s location to anticipate fire behavior.
  • Base actions on current fire situation and activity potential.
  • Properly wear your PPE”

Utah develops plan to reduce the impacts of catastrophic wildfires

Utah fire strategyThe state of Utah has developed a plan to mitigate and prevent the adverse impacts of what they call “catastrophic wildfires”.  A 25-person steering committee wrote the document which identifies 14 statewide pilot projects
designed to offer the greatest positive impact on community
safety, water supply, utility and transportation
infrastructure, and damage to waterways and reservoir
storage. The projects include public education, improved address and road signage, the acquisition of more fire apparatus, and various types of fuel treatments. The estimated cost of the 14 projects is $129 million.

The plan is titled Catastrophic Wildfire Reduction Strategy. I’m sure that “catastrophic” describes wildfire, rather than the strategy.

Considering what has been going on in Utah during the last couple of years I was surprised to not see anything in the plan about taking over federal land to turn it over to the state or private companies.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Shayne.

Laboratory camera captures photos of Little Den Fire in Nevada

Above: The Little Den Fire at about 7:55 p.m. MDT July 20, 2016. Screen shot from Nevada Seismological Laboratory camera.

Earlier this month a mountain top camera operated by the Nevada Seismological Laboratory captured excellent images of the Hot Pot Fire near Midas, Nevada as it burned approximately 120,000 acres within its first 30 hours. The still images were converted to time-lapse videos condensing an hour of fire activity into one minute.

Now it has taken photos of a new fire, the Little Den Fire 39 miles west of Austin, Nevada between U.S. Highway 50 and Highway 2. By Wednesday evening it had burned an estimated 1,800 acres and was being suppressed by 3 hand crews, 7 engines, 3 air tankers, and 2 helicopters. Hecht’s Type 3 incident management team is assigned to the fire.

map Little Den Fire
Map showing heat detected by a satellite over the Little Den Fire at 2:15 a.m. MDT July 21, 2016. Click to enlarge.

In one video you can see the initial stages of the fire as it started at 10:15 a.m. on Wednesday July 20.

The one-minute video below shows the rapid spread of the Little Den Fire from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

The next video covers 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. and has some very interesting images just before sunset showing wind shear effects on the smoke.

Other videos of the Little Den fire posted by the laboratory.

Red Flag Warnings, July 21, 2016

wildfire Red Flag Warnings

The National Weather Service has posted Red Flag Warnings or Fire Weather Watches for areas in California, Nevada, Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

The passage of a cold front will bring gusty winds and abundant lightning to the Columbia Basin in parts of Washington and Oregon Thursday night through Friday morning. The Snake River Plain in Idaho will experience wind gusts of 30 to 40 mph with humidities of 5 to 15 percent Friday afternoon through Friday evening.

The maps were current as of 7:55 a.m. MDT on Thursday. Red Flag Warnings can change throughout the day as the National Weather Service offices around the country update and revise their forecasts and maps. For the most current data visit this NWS site.

Firefighter collapses and dies on the job in Quebec

He was fighting a fire in the Chibougamau region Sunday afternoon

Regis Tremblay
Regis Tremblay

From the Montreal Gazette:

Régis Tremblay, 61, was at the scene of a blaze when he said he wasn’t feeling well and collapsed, said Gérard Lacasse, prevention and information co-ordinator for the provincial firefighting agency, the Société de protection des forêts contre le feu (SOPFEU). Resuscitation attempts took place before he was rushed to a hospital in Roberval, where he was pronounced dead.

It was Tremblay’s 30th season with SOPFEU.

Lacasse said it was too early to tell what caused the death, but said the fire was not “intense” and was already under control. Tremblay was working on the fire for about an hour and a half before the incident.

Our sincere condolences go out to the friends, family, and co-workers of Mr. Tremblay.

USFS DC-3 listed on auction site