(Updated at 7:15 p.m. August 12, 2014)
The three firefighters who were entrapped and deployed fire shelters were removed from the fireline and transported to a hospital in Yreka, California Monday evening, according to Corey Wilford, a spokesperson for the Incident Management Team (IMT). He said all three were treated for symptoms of smoke inhalation and one of them had second degree burns on his lower leg. After treatment, they were all released from the hospital.
The area that the IMT had previously described as a “safety zone”, did not meet the definition, in that fire shelters were required. On the other hand, the three firefighters had previously observed the area and remembered that it could serve as a “deployment site”, meaning that firefighters could likely survive being burned over at that location, but they would need to deploy fire shelters.
(Originally published at 8:44 a.m. PDT, August 12, 2014)
Three firefighters were entrapped by advancing flames Monday afternoon on the Beaver Fire in northern California, approximately 15 miles northwest of Yreka.
The incident occurred at 5:30 p.m. as a rapid wind shift affected the fire. All three firefighters deployed their fire shelters in a predetermined safety zone. They were evaluated on scene and no serious injuries were reported.
All firefighters on the fire were actively withdrawing as a thunderstorm approached. The weather system east of the Beaver Fire produced 30 to 35 mph outflow winds that changed direction rapidly and caused extreme fire behavior. With the increase in wind speed, flame lengths extended into the canopy of the trees, causing a sustained crown run which aligned with the exposed west slope on Buckhorn Ridge.
The lightning-caused Beaver Fire was discovered on June 30 and has blackened 28,000 acres. It is burning in a very remote area and could be a long-duration event. The Incident Management Team is calling it 30 percent contained.
The fire area is under a Red Flag Warning on Tuesday.