Above: The truck that became stuck as the driver attempted to turn it around. The report describes it as “fire damaged”. Photo from the report.
The U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management have released more details about the near miss that occurred on the Horse Park Fire May 27 in a remote area of Southwest Colorado. The report disclosed that in addition to the two firefighters that had to flee from a stuck truck, a lookout in another location also fled on foot and ignited an escape fire at a potential fire shelter deployment site as the fire approached. According to the information released there were no injuries.
Below is the narrative from the “72 Hour Preliminary Report”:
“Two crew members were scouting a road for a potential burnout operation when their truck became stuck. They were unable to free the truck before the fire began to overtake them. The crewmembers made the decision to abandon the truck and take their gear with them. They fled back down the road and away from the fire. One crew member ran ahead and made it safely back to the other vehicles. The other crew member dropped his pack, keeping his fire shelter and radio with him. An additional crew member came up the road on a UTV to help him escape. The pair drove to the parking area where the other crew members were waiting in the vehicles.
“Meanwhile, the crew lookout was forced to flee from the lookout position by the same advance of the fire. Given the fire behavior, the lookout did not feel it was possible to outpace the fire and make it back to the vehicles, so instead moved down and away from the fire. The lookout dropped their pack, but kept the fire shelter, a tool, and radio. At some point during the escape, the lookout realized that the antennae was no longer attached to the radio and there was no way to communicate with the crew or other resources. After moving a considerable distance down a drainage, the lookout found a grassy spot that appeared suitable to deploy a shelter, and began lighting the fuels in the area. Before deployment was necessary, aerial resources located the lookout, who was picked up and flown back to the parking area to rejoin the crew.
“There were no injuries as a result of this incident. An Interagency FLA team, is in place and reviewing the incident.”
Videos recorded during the incident show firefighters hurriedly moving to safety while a radio conversation can be heard referring to the firefighters who escaped and the vehicle that was damaged.
Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Tom.
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