Dozer rollover on Holy Fire in SoCal

The operator was wearing a seat belt and was not injured. It happened August 12, 2018.

Dozer rollover, Holy Fire, 8-12-2018
Dozer rollover, Holy Fire, 8-12-2018.

A dozer rolled over while constructing fireline on the Holy Fire in Southern California on August 12, 2018. Below is the text from the Rapid Lesson Sharing report:

This day, August 12, was hot. I was part way through my shift as a dozer operator. My assignment for the day was putting in another blade of dozer line across the ridge and along the black in my Division. This was my second day working this piece of the line.

The terrain was rocky and steep. I was using the dozer to sidehill along the black. Due to dusty conditions working the dozer, visibility was marginal.

Around noon, I was working on a section of line that had a brush pile I was clearing out. The brush was pretty thick. I therefore didn’t realize that I was about to roll up onto a large boulder that was hidden under the brush pile.

Rolling up on this boulder made the dozer tip over on its side. It all seemed to happen in slow motion. There was no violent bounce. I was wearing my seatbelt which kept me in the cab during the rollover. I was able to remove myself from the cab. I realized that I had no injuries from this incident.

A Dozer Strike Team was able to upright my dozer back onto its track. Ground Support inspected the dozer and found no damage.


  • Use a swamper to scout for possible hazards ahead of dozer line construction.
  • When operating a dozer, don’t feel pressured to stay directly against the black when a “safer line” may pull away from the black for a little ways.

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. Google+