Dozer rollover with injury, Sugar Pine Fire in Oregon

Rapid Lesson Sharing report

Dozer rollover
The dozer after rolling end over end down a steep 175-foot slope.

The description of a dozer rollover in a Rapid Lesson Sharing report indicates that the operator is lucky to be alive after the dozer tumbled end over end for 175 feet down a steep slope. In spite of the serious injuries, several things contributed to getting the patient to a hospital in one hour and 40 minutes in the middle of the night, including having a paramedic and a stokes litter nearby.

The accident occurred on the Sugar Pine Fire 11 air miles northwest of Prospect, Oregon.

There have been too many incidents involving dozers this summer. They are tagged “dozer” here on Wildfire today.

Below is the narrative from the RLS report. The full document with successes and lessons can be downloaded HERE.


On July 30, 2018 at 1:04 a.m., approximately one mile northwest of DP 25, a dozer slipped off the edge of a logging road and tumbled down end-over-end, 175 feet to the bottom of a ravine.

A Paramedic, fireline overhead, and a hand crew quickly responded to the accident site.

Within approximately five minutes, the Paramedic and a crew member were on scene conducting patient evaluation and providing medical treatment. The patient had a broken hip, ribs, and head lacerations.

The fire overhead directed crew members to cut a switchback trail to the bottom of the hill where the Paramedic was treating the patient. The patient was assessed/stabilized/packaged and transported in a Stokes basket to the top of the hill. Crews then loaded him into a vehicle for transport to a waiting ambulance.

The Deputy IC, Unit Medical Leader located in the communications tent had directed the ambulance to meet the truck with the patient on a nearby paved road. When the truck arrived, the patient was quickly transferred to the back of the ambulance then transported to the Medford Medical Center.

After the patient was evaluated, he was transported via Life Flight and admitted to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland, Oregon.

(end of excerpt from report)


dozer rollover
3-D map of the general area where the dozer rolled down the slope.

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+

4 thoughts on “Dozer rollover with injury, Sugar Pine Fire in Oregon”

  1. Why are we sending huge equipment into such dangerous areas? Perhaps a review of protocol is in order. I don’t see any homes in that ravine.

    1. Most likely, from the narrative, the dozer fell off an existing road in the dark. Doesn’t say if the dozer had a swamper walking in front of it or not. You say there are no homes in that ravine, but left unchecked, eventually the fire will reach homes unless you get rain soon. If management were a little proactive, existing control lines would already be there and need little maintenance to re-establish them for teh holding box. Then we would not be seeing these types of fires and the amount of accidents we are seeing this year.

      1. But how does management know where to put “pre” control lines? That’s like wishing where the next lightning strike strikes.
        Even with the “pre” existing control lines, you would still have accidents like we are seeing this year. Those lines would have to be re-established, and that would entail the exact same situation that we are in now. Operators operating where they shouldn’t be, working by themselves, working without lights, continuing to work where conditions are such that they shouldn’t be working.
        The word “no” needs to be a word everyone is comfortable saying and using when it comes to assignments and what is being asked of resources on the fire line.

    2. Whether there are homes in the ravine or not, we need to remember the phrase “We don’t kill firefighters to save homes (and trees)”.

      Houses can be rebuilt; the vegetation will grow back! Firefighters and other fireline staff are people with jobs and families. Every one us deserves the right to go home at night or after a shift. No one’s home is worth a firefighters life.

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