Two firefighter injuries, a snakebite and gasoline fire

chain saw gas cap fire burns

Reports about two notable injuries to wildland firefighters have been released in recent days.

A “72-hour” report provides very little information about another in a series of accidents that may involve a “gasoline geyser”. The document does not include the date of the injury, the location of the accident, or the name of the fire or incident, but it was issued by the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest and Pawnee National Grassland headquartered in Fort Collins, Colorado. It is titled “Pingree Hill Chainsaw Incident” and says a firefighter that was working on a prescribed fire sustained gasoline fire burns to the abdomen, arm, and wrist related to a chainsaw while working on a prescribed fire. He was flown to the Northern Colorado Burn Center where he is recovering.

Since at least September 30, 2016 Inciweb has had information about a 2,027-acre “Pingree Hill Prescribed Fire” near Rustic, Colorado that apparently is being conducted on an intermittent basis.

Many injuries have been reported in the last couple of years related to gasoline being forcefully released from chain saws. Some of these incidents have occurred with saws that have the new quarter-turn gas caps.

Here is a video released a year ago on the subject:

The second injury is titled “Rattlesnake Bite” in the Rapid Lesson Sharing report that was released by the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center. It happened on the Kent Fire in Montana July 24, 2016. The firefighter never saw or heard the snake that bit him, the report says.

Below are excerpts from the report:

A team of more than five EMTs were assigned to patient care, with one EMT identified as lead caregiver.


Disagreement Involving Interventions and Patient Care

Once the ambulance arrived on scene, there was a disagreement between the ambulance personnel and onsite EMTs involving interventions and patient care being provided. Because of the dispute and increased level of pain experienced by the patient, Division Whiskey decided to transport the patient via the DNRC [Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation] helicopter.

The lead caregiver and one other DNRC EMT joined the patient in transit to Baker. The DNRC Task Force Leader followed via ground transport in order to bring the EMTs back once patient care had been transferred.

Upon arrival at the Baker Municipal Airport, the patient was transported to the Fallon Medical Complex emergency room. Medical personnel assessed the bite and cleaned wound.

Because it was determined that side-effects could have adverse effects on this patient, it was decided to hold off on administering antivenin, a biological product used in the treatment of venomous bites and stings. After tissue samples were taken and sent to the lab, it was determined that the bite was nonvenomous.

The patient was monitored and released that evening.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

One thought on “Two firefighter injuries, a snakebite and gasoline fire”

  1. If it was a rattler, fortunately it was a dry strike! A painful nonvenomous snakebite to a man? Perhaps psychologically induced pain but I’m curious if the FF was in a “pants down squat” if you get my drift.


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