Firefighters in British Columbia battle with fire tornado

It took possession of their fire hose

fire tornado british columbia
Screenshot from the video below by mar.lowsky

When I went through basic firefighter training the instructors did not cover what to do if a fire tornado takes possession of our fire hose.

What would YOU do if your fire hose got swept up?

FYI: In the video caption below, “line” is fire hose, and “guard” is fire control line.

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+

6 thoughts on “Firefighters in British Columbia battle with fire tornado”

    1. Dave, it could be a fire whirl, or it could be a fire tornado, but I’m leaning toward the latter.

      The definitions of a conventional tornado and a fire tornado are different. Papers have been written about fire tornados, as we have documented.

      The items in the caption to the video that are interesting include:

      –It went on for 45 minutes.
      –It was strong enough to pull the hose lay 100 feet into the air.
      –It was over 200 feet tall.
      –Because of the smoke and dust it was difficult to see the entire object and to get it recorded on video.

      Articles on Wildfire Today about fire tornados:

  1. how about disconnecting (cutting if needed) the hose and getting away from the fire for a while until things settle down.
    Trying to save a piece of hose in those conditions docent make any sense.

    1. Right! One’s life is worth more than a couple hundred feet of hose. Notice that these B.C. firefighters don’t have shelters? Their philosophy is to not get into situations where they may need it. These guys never read the memo. I would have gotten as far away from the fire monster as quick possible.

  2. During the accident investigation of the 2008 Indians Fire, one of our main findings was that firefighters often do not understand the potential hazard these fire whirls/tornadoes present. Because of this, Bret Butler and I made this video to try to educate firefighters of the hazard:
    In the Indians Fire, the firefighters watched (and photographed) a tornado strength fire whirl spin just inside the fireline for over an hour. Eventually the fire tornado moved across the line and ran over several firefighters causing burn injuries. Earlier this year on the Carr Fire, a fire tornado killed a firefighter.
    I hope that word gets out to firefighters that even the smaller ones are very hazardous and the safest course of action is to move away. And anyway, there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Let it do it’s thing and after it dissipates, try to pick up the pieces. The BC fire whirl, while entertaining to watch, was a close call.

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