New videos: long line extraction, spot fires, and battles lost

The Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center has released a dozen videos in the last month. They can all be seen on their YouTube Channel, but here are three of them.

The first is a recording of a webinar, in which Brian Potter, a research meteorologist with the USDA Forest Service, presented a summary of the state of science behind spot fires. Spotting is one characteristic of “extreme fire behavior,” capable of short range acceleration of fires as well as producing long-distance spot fires that complicate management efforts. The presentation summarizes current knowledge and tools, as well as knowledge gaps

The next, below, was produced by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group, and describes our wildland fire fatality history, and the hard lessons learned.

The third one shows an emergency longline extraction on the Freezeout Ridge Fire,
September 21, 2014. For more information about the incident, see the Freezeout Ridge Facilitated Learning Analysis.

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Four civilians killed in recent wildfires

At least four civilians have been killed in wildfires in Chile, India, and the United States since March 12.

In Maryland on Thursday authorities found the body of a man believed to be in his 70s, after they suppressed a wildfire in the western part of the state.

Also on Thursday a man in Halstead, Kansas was fatally burned trying to put out a grass fire. After his pants caught on fire while trying to stomp out flames, Fred Rodenberg suffered 4th and 5th degree burns over 50 percent of his body.

In India, Robert Lobo, 58, died Friday after becoming entrapped by a fire while he was cutting trees in the forest in the district of Kasaragod.

In Chile the death of a woman in her 60s who suffered a heart attack was blamed on a large wildfire that required the evacuation of 7,000 people near Valparaiso. Thirty-two people were injured, including 19 firefighters, a spokesperson from the National Emergency Office said. Five of the firefighters were badly injured, but their lives were not in danger.

In northeast Nebraska on Friday an elderly man suffered burns on his legs when he tried to put out a grass fire that started when strong winds blew embers out of a burn barrel. The fire blackened 30 acres near Crofton.

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South Africa firefighter killed in vehicle accident

From iol Mobile, March 6, 2015:

“Cape Town – A young firefighter from the West Coast District Municipality died on Thursday when the fire truck he drove left the road and plunged down the side of the Dasklip Pass.

Nazeem Davies, 25, from Worcester, was on his way back to the Vredenburg station from the Winterhoek Mountains, near Porterville, where he and his colleagues had helped put out a fire.

West Coast District Municipality spokesman Kallie Willemse said Davies and a colleague, Niklaas Nel, were on their way back to Vreden.

Nel escaped with slight injuries, but the truck hit a large boulder on the way down, which stopped it but crushed the truck to the point where hydraulic jaws had to be used to extricate Davies’ body from the wreck.”

Our sincere condolences go out to the firefighter’s co-workers and family.

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Body found in Pennsylvania vegetation fire

From WNEP in Pennsylvania:

EAST UNION TOWNSHIP — Fire crews in Schuylkill County are cleaning up after a brush fire where a body was found. Fire officials said the fire near Sheppton started around 1 p.m. on Tuesday.

Crews found the body of Dorothy Fellin, 74, in the burnt brush.

The Bureau of Forestry is investigating the fire, but officials believe the 74-year-old woman was burning leaves near her home on Centre Street.

The bureau said with the area’s rough terrain, wind gusts and dry leaves, fires spread quickly…

The fire burned seven acres.

Our sincere condolences go out to the family.

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Montana Fire Chief dies one month after vehicle accident

Dave Anderson, a volunteer Fire Chief in Fort Shaw, Montana died Monday, a month after he was injured in a traffic accident. Cascade County Deputy Coroner Jason Boyd said the Chief died as a result of injuries suffered in the crash, along with cardiac complications. The Montana Highway Patrol said he was driving a water tender on U.S. Highway 89 on July 22 when his vehicle collided with a brush truck that was making a U-turn because the driver had missed a turnoff.

On June 19 another Montana firefighter and a family of five was killed when the fire engine driven by Three Forks Fire Chief Todd Rummel experienced a mechanical problem that locked up one of the wheels, causing the truck to veer into the path of the oncoming pickup. Investigators determined that Chief Rummel died of smoke inhalation while unconscious. Matthew Boegli, Crystal Ross and their three young children died of blunt-force trauma on impact. The Chief was driving back to Three Forks at 55 mph while returning from Helena where the truck had been undergoing repairs to its water system.

Our sincere condolences go out to the families.

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Firefighter dies while off duty in Oregon

Several media outlets are reporting that a wildland firefighter died while he was off duty at a fire camp. Matthew David Goodnature, 21, of Phoenix, Oregon was found by another firefighter Tuesday evening, July 29, near Four Mile Lake on the Fremont-Winema National Forest in Oregon. Mr. Goodnature was assigned to the Launch Fire and apparently took a walk away from the camp where an accident occurred.

According to Newswatch 12:

Detective Nick Kennedy with the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the case, and said he cannot draw any conclusions until his investigation is done. However, it appears that Goodnature tripped on a large rock and fell backwards. Scruff marks and other traces indicated Goodnature fell on a log that struck him on the small of his back. Detective Kennedy said it appears he died of a broken back.

Mr. Goodnature worked for Pacific Oasis Wildland Firefighting out of Ashland, Oregon.

We offer our sincere condolences to his family, friends,and co-workers.

Previously this year, there have been a total of six wildland firefighter fatalities: one aviation accident (plane crash) and five medical emergencies (heart attack). All six were either state or local jurisdiction employees.

Thanks and a hat tip go out to Jeff.

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