A Process to Follow
- Examine Current Fire Situation (Location, Factors, Spread Direction, and Fire Behavior)
- Evaluate Unburned Areas Where You Are and Will Be Working
- Anticipate Expected Fire Situation in Those Areas
- Assess Fire Risk: Interpret Ignition and Crown Fire Potential
- Project Fire Spread, Flame Length and Spotting Distance
- Determine Decision Thresholds to Ensure LCES
- Document Your Assessment
What Makes a Good Analyst (Mark Finney...FBSC YouTube Video)
Examine Current Fire Situation (Location, Factors, Spread Direction, and Fire Behavior)
- Fuel: Is it burning in grass, litter, or into shrubs and crowns?
- Fuel Moisture: Are fuels dry? Are they still green?
- Terrain: Is it burning upslope or downslope?
- Weather: Is the wind pushing it or is it sheltered from the wind?
- Fire Behavior: Is it smoldering, creeping, or actively spreading? Are the flames low, or is it burning hot?
Evaluate Unburned Areas Where You Are and Will Be Working
- Which spread directions do you expect to be active?
- Which seems like the spread directions that will produce the most problems?
- Which of the spread directions are of most concern to you?
Anticipate Expected Fire Situation in Those Areas
- Fuel: What fuel is it going to move in that direction? Will it burn hotter and faster or slower and cooler?
- Fuel Moisture: Will the change in fuel moisture encourage extreme fire behavior?
- Terrain: Slope reversal? Flat to upslope? Will changes increase or lower fire behavior?
- Weather: As the fire moves, will it be more exposed to the wind? Will the wind increase in the future?
- Fire Behavior: Do you anticipate the fire behavior being manageable, based on the anticipated changes?
Assess Fire Risk: Interpret Ignition and Crown Fire Potential
- Is it the typical dry period for the area?
- Is the overall drought situation enough to make it worse?
- Has there been recent crown fire on this or other fires in the area?
- Are humidity and fine fuel moisture low enough to encourage intense surface fire?
- Is backing fire causing torching? If so, expect crown fire with head fire.
- Is fire moving up ladder fuels? Expect at least short crown fire runs.
Project Fire Spread, Flame Length, and Spotting Distance
- Select proper tool for assessment: Spatial tools in WFDSS, BehavePlus and field tools for quick analysis, Nomograms, and crown fire assessment tools are included here.
- Can you calibrate projections with current fire behavior?
- How precise do the projections need to be?
Determine Decision Thresholds to Ensure LCES
- Determine time frames for escape to safety & escape routes. What windspeeds or changes in fire behavior will render those time frames insufficient?
- Identify best locations and methods for lookout to monitor and validate your assessment.
- Ensure that weather & fire behavior observations are communicated to the entire crew.
- Will fatigue and logistics factors impact these decisions?
Document Your Assessment
- Record your observations and assumptions.
- Use worksheets and include notes for each assessment.
- Include assessments and decisions in personal logs.
- Remember: If you’re not keeping score, it’s just practice.
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