Seven Oak Fire burnover report released

7 Oak Fire whirl
A fire whirl, during the final run of the fire onto the burnover site. The blurry image of an air tanker coming in to assist can barely be seen.

On February 3, 2009 CalFire released the report about a burnover that occurred July 6, 2007 on the Seven Oak Fire which was part of the Inyo Complex on the Inyo National Forest in California. Nine firefighters from two engines suffered injuries and were treated at a burn center in Fresno, California.

Photo taken during the burnover

The report is very well constructed, and highlights a lot of good decisions, as well as some that contributed to the burnover.

You should read the entire document, but here are some of the report’s findings and contributory factors:

  • The two engines were defending a structure that had been identified as undefendable.
  • The burnover occurred during a transition to an Incident Management Team.
  • Providing medical treatment and air transportation for the injured to the Burn Center was much delayed.
  • Two fire fighters experienced difficulties removing their fire shelters from the PVC bag.
  • Fire suppression personnel resorted to their core training, which saved their lives. Per statements taken, the pond had been identified as a safety zone, if needed, by Engineer 4480. When things did not work as planned, each employee resorted to their core training and gathered at their identified safety zone. They communicated with, and supported one other. Working as a team, they survived this incident.
Engine 4452
Engine 4452

The photos are from the report.

Thanks, Dick.

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