Everyone Goes Home in the Wildland program is introduced

Above: WFF Executive Director Vicki Minor and NFFF Executive Director Ron Siarnicki. Screenshot from the video referenced below.

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) is announcing a new initiative directed toward wildland firefighters. Today with the support of the Wildland Firefighter Foundation (WFF), they are introducing the Everyone Goes Home in the Wildland program. It is an offshoot of the Everyone Goes Home® (EGH) program established by the NFFF in 2004 featuring the 16 Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives. Their goal was to “help the U.S. Fire Administration achieve its objective of reducing the number of preventable firefighter fatalities”.

In 2017 the NFFF began a series of six listening sessions around the United States asking firefighting personnel for their ideas about how to reduce line of duty deaths and injuries on wildland fires. Input was also obtained from natural resource management organizations that have not traditionally identified themselves as part of what we know collectively as “the fire service.”

Drawing from their success in reducing LODDs among structural firefighters through programs under the Everyone Goes Home® umbrella, the NFFF now proposes to leverage their strengths and resources to do the same for wildland firefighters.

The actions taken today include the release of a video in which WFF Executive Director Vicki Minor and NFFF Executive Director Ron Siarnicki discuss their collaboration and adoption of the 16 Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives in the wildland environment.

In addition, a 12-page report is available that summarizes the findings of the NFFF’s wildland firefighting needs assessment, including the surveys and listening sessions. This paper will be the guiding document for this effort, prioritizing EGH program development for wildland firefighters in the near future.

Today the WFF and NFFF also released a tri-fold brochure designed to introduce the concepts of the 16 Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives to the wildland firefighter. It is designed to be downloaded and printed by organizations, either professionally or on a standard copier.

Silver Creek fire near Kremmling, Colo. awakens

The fire made a 4-mile run on Wednesday

Above: Airline pilot Chad Andrews photographed the Silver Creek Fire as it spread to the northeast September 12, 2018.

(Originally published at 10:15 a.m. MDT September 13, 2018)

The Silver Creek fire 19 air miles northwest of Kremmling, Colorado had been quiet for weeks, but strong winds and very low humidity on Wednesday brought it back to life in the Buffalo Park area. The 12 mph southwest wind gusting at 24 mph combined with 11 percent relative humidity caused the fire to spread four miles to the northeast, prompting fire officials to evacuate hunters in the area.

Our very unofficial analysis from satellite data indicates that approximately 1,100 acres burned Wednesday, which would bring the size up to 5,800 to 6,000 acres.

Silver Creek Fire
This is a screengrab from video footage shot Wednesday of the Silver Creek Fire by Colorado’s MultiMission Aircraft.

Additional firefighting resources are being ordered.

The fire is 19 air miles southeast of Steamboat Springs, west of Highway 40.

Map Silver Creek Fire
Map of the Silver Creek Fire. The red line was the perimeter on August 23. The red shaded area on the northeast side represents heat detected by a satellite at 3:13 a.m. MDT September 13, 2018.

Thursday’s weather forecast is not good news for firefighters. With a Red Flag Warning in effect it is a little more severe than conditions on Wednesday. Firefighters should expect southwest winds at 12 to 17 mph gusting up to 27 mph along with humidities as low as 9 percent. This could result in additional fire spread to the northeast if fuels are available.

Silver Creek fire
A photo posted on InciWeb September 3 showed a mosaic burn pattern on the Silver Creek Fire.

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.

Maps: Red Flag Warnings and wildfire smoke

Red Flag Warnings are in effect in portions of eight states

red flag warnings september 12 2018
Red Flag Warnings September 12, 2018

While residents along the east coast are evacuating as a hurricane approaches, Red Flag Warnings are in effect for enhanced wildfire danger in areas of California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Colorado.

The map below is the forecast for the distribution of wildfire smoke at 5 p.m. MDT September 12, 2018.

wildfire smoke map
The forecast for the distribution of wildfire smoke at 5 p.m. MDT September 12, 2018. NOAA.


Fire information on InciWeb is now subject to being deleted after it is no longer current

We learned recently that agency personnel who post information on the InciWeb website are being told to delete media files, especially videos, when they are no longer current, and to remove all information about an incident when it is no longer active. Wildland firefighting agencies use the website to post current information about ongoing wildfires and other incidents.

There are two reasons for deleting the information according to Jennifer Jones, a Public Affairs Specialist for the Forest Service at the National Interagency Fire Center. The files need to be removed in order to free up storage space. And, in the new version of InciWeb introduced in March, 2018, there can be a clutter of icons on the map representing fires, making it difficult for the public to find the fire they are interested in.

“With the launch of the redesigned InciWeb public site”, Ms. Jones explained, “it has become an issue. Having inactive incidents still showing clutters the map and makes it hard for members of the public to find information about current active fires. In addition, since the capability to add video to InciWeb was added a few years ago, storage space for those files which can be fairly large has also become an issue.”

Ms. Jones said this policy of deleting incidents that are no longer active has always been the policy. But I have found that before the recent major change, I could use Google to search just the InciWeb site to find complete records of fires that occurred years earlier. The new version wiped out, as far as I can tell by using Google, public access to all of the fire information before March, 2018. And now that the delete-media-and-inactive-fires policy is being implemented or enforced, this important data could disappear in a matter of days after being posted.

In the last few years the prices for storage space for digital data have plummeted, so it seems odd that this can be a limiting factor on what information is provided to the public about ongoing emergencies. We should be striving for serving the public with transparency rather than purging important historic information about wildland fire events that affect millions of people.

The problem of the clutter of icons that represent fires on the interactive map on the new version of InciWeb could be mitigated by restoring the user-sortable table that worked very well in the previous version of the website.

We asked Ms. Jones about retention of the data at InciWeb. “Since its inception, the purpose of InciWeb has been to provide a ‘one stop shopping’ source of information about current wildfires” she said. “InciWeb was never set up as an official system of record and was never intended to be used for historic information or reference purposes and it has never been funded or staffed to serve those purposes.”

Before a fire completely demobilizes, the Documentation Unit Leader at the incident command post is supposed to assemble all pertinent data according to very strict guidelines established by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group.  It can be a daunting task. The result can look like the two examples below, which are from a training program for incident personnel.

records archive
Example of archived documents, from Incident Records Training.

When InciWeb is operating properly it can be a very user-friendly environment for viewing information about an incident. Anyone with internet access can go to the site 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and with a few clicks find troves of information within minutes. This can be invaluable for citizens concerned about nearby wildfires, those learning about their environment, as well as reporters, scientists, and authors, both during and after a fire.

records archive
Example of archived documents, from Incident Records Training.

Now that complete records of fires on InciWeb are going to be purged after the fire is no longer active, try to picture how these people will obtain information from the official records shown in the two photos above.

It simply will be far, far more difficult than going to an internet site and finding the data in a minute or two. They could submit a Freedom of Information Act request. We have filed a few of those with the U.S. Forest Service. In one example, even after filing a FOIA, the agency refused to give us a copy of an air tanker study completed under contract by the Rand Corporation. In another case it took the USFS eight months to send us a copy of an existing non-controversial Excel file that we requested.

Scene from “Raiders of the Lost Ark”

Dozer operator killed in vehicle accident in California

He was driving to the North Fire on I-80

Tuesday morning September 11 at about 5:45 a.m., Antonio (Tony) Flores 37, an employee of Kent Siller Trucking, was involved in a fatal vehicle accident on Interstate 80 near Blue Canyon, California between Sacramento and Reno. Mr. Flores was assigned to the North Fire as a private contractor operating a bulldozer. He was driving to the incident command post at the Blue Canyon Airport.

Incident Commander Curtis Coots said that the personnel working on the North Fire are deeply saddened by the death of a fellow firefighter. “This has been an extremely tough fire season for our firefighters both physically and emotionally”, Mr. coots said.

Mr. Flores is survived by his wife of 18 years and four children, ranging in ages from 9 to 16 years old. He is a lifelong resident of the Yuba City area.

He has worked for Kent Siller Trucking for more than 20 years as a master mechanic and heavy equipment operator.

The cause of the accident is under investigation by the California Highway Patrol and the Placer County Sheriff-Coroner’s Office.

Since it started September 3 the North Fire has burned 1,120 acres nine miles northeast of Alta, Calif. It has not grown in the last 24 hours and will transition back to the local unit today, September 12.

Our sincere condolences go out to Mr. Flores’ family, friends, and co-workers.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Tom.
Typos or errors, report them HERE.