2022 WOR Day 7: South Canyon Fire (Colorado) – July 6, 1994
Today’s topic is dedicated to all wildland firefighters.
May we never stop learning.
Today we mark the anniversary of the South Canyon Fire which claimed the lives of 14 wildland firefighters. This tribute to the incident on Storm King Mountain closes out a week of collective remembrance and learning, honoring the lives lost to wildland fire. Anniversaries such as this provide an opportunity for all of us to reflect on our mission and seek improvement. Participating in the Week of Remembrance, it becomes clear how tightly wound learning and tragedy are. As a result of these events, countless lessons can be learned and passed along through our leaders, teachers, mentors, and conversations with each other.
This is our history. Learn from it today. Use it tomorrow.
Week of Remembrance is a somber time for all of us. Taking this week to discuss lessons of loss should encourage us to reflect. What we do with that reflection is how we honor the memories of those we have lost.
The purpose of this week has been to honor all fallen firefighters by making a commitment to learn the lessons from those that walked the fireline before us. Many lessons are learned the hard way ending in the ultimate sacrifice
Student of Fire – This notion was coined by the late Paul Gleason, developer of LCES. When asked what he wanted his legacy to be, Paul responded, “I suppose I would want my legacy to be that firefighters begin to realize the importance of being a student of fire, and that I was able to help make that happen.” Being a student of fire means different things to different people.
“Ultimately, a student of fire is first and foremost a student. A student is always learning. A student never assumes they have it all figured out. A student looks for the lesson. A student is willing to question their own beliefs. This is humility.” – Learning in the Wildland Fire Service
Ask yourself: Are you a student of fire?
Action: We encourage everyone – fireline personnel, incident management teams, fire support staff, or program managers – to take a moment of remembrance today when appropriate to:
- Reflect on the 6MFS Week of Remembrance topics.
- Discuss lessons learned from this Week of Remembrance.
- Consider how you will apply those lessons.
In memory of the firefighters lost on the incidents studied during the 2022 Week of Remembrance and to all whose ultimate sacrifice has given us the opportunity to learn.
“We as firefighters can most honor them by recognizing and cherishing the lessons they have imparted to us at the greatest price.”
– Paul Gleason
- Learning in the Wildland Fire Service – Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center
- South Canyon Fire Resources at the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center
Video: The Tri-Data Study
- Honor the Fallen
- RT-130, Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher (WFSTAR) Module: 1994 South Canyon Fire on Storm King Mountain
Incident Management Situation Report (IMSR)
10 Standard Firefighting Orders, PMS 110
18 Watch Out Situations, PMS 118
10 & 18 Poster, PMS 110-18
NWCG Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461
RT-130, Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher (WFSTAR)
Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation Operations (Red Book)
Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center