The operator was wearing a seat belt and was not injured. It happened August 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:
Narrative 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.
Above: Photo of the truck after rolling over on the Aragon Fire, on the Santa Fe National Forest, in New Mexico; from the report.
In searching through the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned website looking for information about a dozer transport truck that rolled over while it was carrying a dozer on the Cougar Creek Fire in Washington, I ran across a few accidents we previously had not reported on. This is one of them.
On July 16, 2018 a four-door pickup truck slid off a rain-slicked road and rolled over. The accident occurred on the Aragon Fire, on the Santa Fe National Forest in New Mexico. Below is an excerpt from the Rapid Lesson Sharing report:
…Two District fire personnel were driving Truck #1168 from the Aragon Fire to the Staging Area.
[Road] NFSR 505 contains a narrow section where the road is elevated above the natural drainage. Erosion had created a depression on the right side of the road in this narrow section.
The driver steered the vehicle to the left side of the road here to miss the eroded area. The vehicle began to slide off the road and over the embankment. The vehicle rolled completely over, coming to rest upright in the bottom of the drainage.
Several Forest Service employees witnessed the vehicle rollover. The driver and passenger exited the vehicle under their own power. An EMT arrived on scene less than five minutes after the accident. The EMT examined the individuals. While neither had visible injuries, both individuals were shaken-up and complained of soreness in their neck area.
For precautionary reasons, these two went to a local hospital that evening to be examined. Both were released within two hours…
One was on the Miles Fire in Oregon and the other was on the Ferguson Fire in California
Two water tenders rolled over while working on wildfires in California and Oregon earlier this month. According to the very brief Rapid Lesson Sharing reports filed with the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center, there were no serious injuries. No assumptions were made about the cause of either accident, and road conditions were not mentioned as being an issue.
It is not always possible to point to a single cause of many of these sometimes fatal accidents. But challenges facing drivers of emergency vehicles on wildland fires include visibility due to smoke or dust, long hours leading to fatigue, low standard or inadequately maintained roads, distractions, skills needed to drive a large heavy vehicle, top-heavy vehicles, weights exceeding manufacturer’s GVW rating, and shifting of weight caused by partial loads of water in the tank.
The Rapid Lesson Sharing report for the accident on the Miles Fire reached this conclusion:
Statistics show that the biggest risk to firefighters today is the mundane task of driving to and from the worksite. Often, the function of driving is accompanied by fatigue from the day’s events and thoughts of what is yet to come.
Water Tender operators are asked to drive large, heavy vehicles in variable conditions repeatedly for multiple operational shifts. Just like line firefighters, these professional drivers must fight fatigue and complacency from the beginning of an assignment to its end.
We regret to have to report that a firefighter died this morning, July 14, on the Ferguson Fire west of Yosemite National Park. CAL FIRE announced this afternoon that Heavy Fire Equipment Operator Braden Varney was tragically killed while battling the fire. Mr Varney leaves behind a wife and two small children.
One of the firefighters on the fire reported this morning that he thought there was a dozer rollover, and just in case, he wanted to get medical help started to the scene. It turned out that the dozer had rolled several times and ended up in a location that was very difficult to access by foot or see from an aircraft.
(To see all of the articles on Wildfire Today about the Ferguson Fire, including the most recent, click here.)
Just after 1 p.m. local time CAL FIRE made the official announcement about the fatality.
We send out our sincere condolences to Mr. Varney’s family, coworkers, and friends.
A firefighter with the New London Fire Department in Texas died after the water tender they were using to respond to a vegetation fire rolled over near Overton, Texas. The U. S. Fire Administration released the following information:
Firefighter M.V. Hudson was injured in a fire tender (tanker) crash on the evening of February 28th. Hudson and two other firefighters were responding to a grass fire when the apparatus left the right side of the roadway and rolled over, badly damaging the cab and injuring all three occupants. The three firefighters had to be extracted from the vehicle and were rushed to the hospital. Two firefighters were subsequently released, but Firefighter Hudson died while in the hospital on March 10, 2018.
Mr. Hudson had 45 years of firefighting service and was 86 years old.
Our sincere condolences go out to his family, friends, and co-workers.