How fighting wildfires works

how fighting wildfires works
Screenshot from the video below.

This video, intended for those unacquainted with the subject, explains how firefighters control wildfires.

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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.

4 thoughts on “How fighting wildfires works”

  1. I need to preface this by saying I rarely respond to any article in any magazine, but the errors here are so egregious I feel I must. I am also a retired Assistant Director, Fire Ground Operations, NIFC, USDA Forest Service. Utilizing the CALFire shield on the opening of this video is misleading at best. CALFire does NOT have smokejumpers at all…additionally, it misrepresents how initial attack is accomplished. Aircraft are dispatched immediately and contrary to the statements in this video, retardant does NOT stop fire! Retardant is appropriately named in that it “retards the fire” until ground resources can reinforce the line. It is true that it is VERY expensive …I could go on but suffice it to say this video has more than a few errors. I concur with Mr. Penni’s reply but it goes beyond this. Until the conflicting laws are dealt with and ” gridlock” is resolved, we will continue to see these issues of mega fires. Even if gridlock is resolved, it may still be too late! – the infrastructure is gone, knowledgeable people not only retired but are dying and one must change the mindset that exists in the federal agencies today which will be no easy task. It is like the state of California – there are more folks on the government subsidy roles than are working so it behooves legislators to continue to support programs that are broken and are breaking the back of hard working taxpayers in order to insure their re-election (but that is a whole different topic!)- it is a vicious spiral downward. I truly hope we will be able to reverse the trend – we must do something!

  2. There should be a bench mark as to how far away the land in and around poorest communities should focus on a constantly maintenance the fuel break and prescribed burning. That also includes dead limbing.all types of trees within the designated zone per size of the Forest community. we can live responsibly in the urban Wildland interface if we take the necessary steps to ensure that communities are safe from the ravages of extreme wildfire. The forest floor is very deep with decades apon decades of build up of dead and dieing vegetation. Coupled with the ladder fuels that help fire sperad to the larger vegetation finally reached the forest canopy at that time making the fire at the most difficult point to try and control. Put the responsibility of removing dead bug kill and disease stands to the respective land owners, Federal, State agencies. Lumber conglomerates like Sierra Pacific Industries, Warehouser and all the other big-name lumber companies that own forest land should be put in charge of removing those trees it’s in their own best interest to do so. Fire Fighters should be tasked to dealing with having to go against these monsters for lack in many respects of much better Forest practices that can and do work. I believe that the 217 scientists need to get out of the lab and take a walk in the forest. Take a walk through a groove of bug kill trees. Logging is inevitable in many of these scenarios. Logging operations need to step up and be better about clearing the slash off the forest floor from a logging operation have that stuff gathered up and reduced to its smallest component and reused elsewhere not just leave it laying around hoping it will rot away it does but it takes time time that the forest really doesn’t have to wait for someone to come along and clean it up. The condition of the forest is all of our responsibility to make better not stand firm on being against one form of dealing with the issue. There are many methods to help with the problem and many areas where one type of operation may not be the answer where it might be in another.


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