Water tender close call

water tender near miss
Photo from the report.

A water tender working on the Soberanes Fire south of Monterey, California last month had a very close call. While driving on a dirt road the right-rear tires slipped off the edge of the road as the soft dirt gave way. Luckily it did not continue sliding or roll down the steep slope.

A dozer and a Rapid Extraction Module responded, and after stabilizing the large truck, the dozer began to pull it out using a tow strap and for backup, a chain, both connected at the same time. As the strap stretched, some of the stress was transferred to the chain. Since the driver, who was in the truck to steer and maintain control after it was pulled out, had not yet let the clutch out, the chain quickly snapped. But they eventually extracted the truck using the tow strap.

The video below shows it being pulled out.

The Rapid Extraction Module probably didn’t anticipate they’d be assisting with THAT type of extraction. An article on Wildfire Today from September of 2015 has more information about what they normally do.

More details about this recent incident are in the Rapid Lessons Sharing report.

Burn injury on the Rough Fire

(Originally published at 7:01 MDT, September 7, 2015)

A firefighter was burned today on the Rough Fire. Below is a news release from the incident management team:

At approximately 8:00 [on September 7, 2015], a firefighter was injured while working in the Converse Basin area of the Rough Fire. The firefighter was part of a hotshot crew working the night shift tasked with monitoring the fire line along Hoist Ridge, looking for spot fires that may have occurred outside the containment line.
Given the extremely steep, rugged terrain, a Rapid Extraction Module (REM) was dispatched to remove the firefighter from the scene to a road. The firefighter was delivered to an ambulance and transported to a nearby helispot. A helicopter then transported the patient to the hospital for treatment. The firefighter was conscious and alert at the time of the extraction.

The firefighter is now in the hospital, receiving treatment, in stable condition and good spirits. The firefighter’s family has been notified and is enroute. The Forest Service is providing an employee advocate who is on scene to work with the firefighter’s family and medical staff to facilitate communication with all involved parties and deal with any needs of the family.

The Rough Fire, which started on July 31 east of Fresno, California, has burned over 95,000 acres.

Does anyone have details of what comprises a “Rapid Extraction Module” on a wildland fire?

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(UPDATE September 8, 2015)

Our readers can provide a wealth of information.

  1.  Holly sent us a copy of the ICS Position Manual for the Rapid Extraction Module Support (REMS), ICS- 223-12.
  2. Kari Greer, in the comments, provided a link to some photos she took during a Rapid Extraction Module proficiency practice on the Happy Camp Complex last summer on the Klamath National Forest in California. That Module is from Sacramento Metro FD.
  3. A REM has been assigned to the Rough Fire in California.

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