Four years ago today, on June 30, 2013, 19 wildland firefighters were overrun by the Yarnell Hill Fire outside Yarnell, Arizona. One way to honor the service of the Granite Mountain Hotshots is for firefighters on this day to take 15 minutes and select one thing — one act, one task, one decision, one directive, or one action — that happened that day and discuss what it means to them. Just one. Don’t be tempted to point fingers, not today. Make it a positive learning experience.
Below is a short documentary produced by the Weather Channel that features the incident.
Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Perry. Typos or errors, report them HERE.
A volunteer firefighter from the eastern New Mexico town of Nara Vista died Thursday after suffering severe burns on a large wildfire in Quay County (map). A second firefighter was injured but has been released from the hospital.
Above: screen grab from Wall Street Journal video.
(Published at 11:50 a.m. MDT June 19, 2017)
The wildfires in Portugal are continuing to spread, forcing residents to leave their homes. Approximately 1,000 firefighters are battling the fires that have killed at least 62 people, including a firefighter who died in a hospital.
Below is an excerpt from a BBC article:
Twelve people survived one of Portugal’s deadliest fires by seeking refuge in a water tank after access to their village was cut off by the blaze.
The residents, including a disabled 95-year-old woman, spent more than six hours in the tank as the fire prevented them from being rescued.
[In the village of Mó Grande] 30 bodies were found inside cars, with another 17 next to the vehicles, on the N-236 road, which leads on to the IC8 motorway. The N-236 was being described as the “road of death” in Portuguese media.
A few kilometres north of Nodeirinho, 11 people died in the village of Pobrais. Local reports said a third of the population had lost their lives, many as they tried to escape the fire. A survivor spoke of the roads being blocked and of no-one coming to their aid.
And from the Business Insider:
Despite government assurances that the first response by the emergency services was swift and adequate, many media and residents questioned the efficiency of the operation and the strategic planning in a country which is used to wooded areas burning every year.
“So what failed this Saturday? Everything, as it has failed for decades,” read a headline in the daily Publico, which blamed a lack of coordination between services in charge of fire prevention and firefighting and poor forestry reserve planning.
Now we know that the tree had been previously identified as being hazardous but it was thought to be outside the work area.
Alder Crew #4 was working on Ishi Pishi Road towards Somes Bar picking up piles of limbs and brush from the previous two days of work to feed into a chipper. The machine was running at full throttle when the crew supervisor saw the tree falling and yelled a warning, which was not heard by the entire crew due to the noise from the chipper.
The supervisor attempted to call the Fortuna Emergency Communications Center on his hand held radio but could not make contact. He got in the crew carrier truck and drove about 400 yards to a location from which he could talk to the ECC with the vehicle’s mobile radio.
Mr. Beck received a fatal blow from the tree causing blunt force trauma to the head, neck, and torso.
The tree was a 105-year-old, 146-foot Douglas-fir, with a 21.5-inch diameter (DBH). It weighed approximately 3,000 pounds and had a downhill lean of about 46 degrees. Mr. Beck was hit by a portion of the tree that was about 18 feet from the tree top.
Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Eric. Typos or errors, report them HERE.
The California inmate firefighter in Humboldt County was killed May 24 while working on a county roads project in the northwestern part of the state in Del Norte County.
According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Matthew Beck, 26, was working with a crew in the Hoopa area. He suffered major head, neck and back injuries when a 120-foot tall tree uprooted and fell on him. He died before life-flight crews were able to reach him.
“We are saddened by the death of Matthew Beck, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends,” said CDCR Secretary Scott Kernan. “The inmates who year after year help protect our communities from the devastation of fires perform a valuable public service, and it is a tragic event when we lose one of them.”
Mr. Beck, who was assigned to the Alder Conservation Camp in Del Norte County, was serving a six-year sentence for burglary and was due to be parolled in October. He is the fourth inmate firefighter to die on a fire since the conservation program was created in the 1940s.