Common Denominators Of Fire Behavior On Tragedy Fires
Five common denominators that contribute to accidents/incidents have been identified through studies of tragedy fires. It is important for firefighters to readily recognize the following common denominators so that future tragedies can be prevented:
- Most incidents happen on smaller fires or on isolated portions of larger fires.
- Most fires are innocent in appearance before unexpected shifts in wind direction and/or speed result in flare-ups or extreme fire behavior. In some cases, tragedies occur in the mop-up stage.
- Flare-ups generally occur in deceptively light fuels, such as grass and light brush.
- Fires run uphill surprisingly fast in chimneys, saddles, gullies, and on steep slopes.
- Some suppression tools, such as helicopters or airtankers, can adversely affect fire behavior. The blasts of air from low-flying helicopters and airtankers have been known to cause flare-ups.
- Talk about some instances in which you have been in any of the above situations or experienced any of the overly common denominators.
- Discuss the frequency of the above situations on a fire, speak about complacency towards the end of a shift/fire season. Come up with examples of ways to combat and/or deal with situations in which you are involved in a common denominator situation.
Incident Management Situation Report (IMSR)
Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461
NWCG Standards for Helicopter Operations, PMS 510
RT-130, Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher (WFSTAR)
Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation Operations (Red Book)
Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center
Have an idea? Have feedback? Share it.
EMAIL | Facebook | URL: https://www.nwcg.gov/committees/6-Minutes-for-safety
MAIL: 6 Minutes for Safety Subcommittee • 3833 S. Development Ave • Boise, ID 83705 | FAX: 208-387-5378