National Wildfire Coordinating Group

RT-130, Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher (WFSTAR)

Cramer Fire Case Study

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Review of the Salmon River Breaks Cramer fire and identifying hazardous situation in difficult terrain and fuels.
Category: Case Studies
Core Component(s): Fire and Aviation Operational Safety;
Human Factors, Communication and Decision Making;
Fire Shelters and Entrapment Avoidance

Estimated Delivery Time: 1 hour; Video Length: 31:47



Review the sequence of events that led to the Cramer Fire tragedy and discuss significant lessons learned.

Facilitator Preparation

  • Review the video and module tools.
  • Consider additional activities and discussion questions relevant to the location and agency.

Facilitating the Discussion

  • Show the video.
  • Facilitate a small or large group discussion using the activity and discussion questions below.
  • Consider assigning some groups different modules or positions on the incident.
  • Guide discussion based on the Risk Management Process in the Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461. Provide copies of the IRPG for students to utilize and answer questions.

Discussion Questions

Part 1

Identify Hazards (Situation Awareness)

  1. When did the involved personnel obtain the basic critical information?
    1. Objectives, communication, who’s in charge, previous fire behavior, weather forecast, and local factors.
    2. Was the assignment scouted?

Assess Hazards

  1. Were potential fire behavior hazards estimated?
  2. Which tactical hazards or Watch Out Situations were present?
  3. What other warnings or indicators were present prior to the entrapment?

Develop Controls and Make Risk Decisions

  1. Where was the fireline anchor point?
  2. Was there an established lookout?
  3. What communication links were in place between the involved personnel and their fireline supervisor or adjoining forces?
  4. What was the pre-identified escape route(s)?
  5. What was the pre-identified safety zone(s)?
  6. Was a Medical Plan in place?

Implement Controls

  1. Were the necessary hazard controls in place for this situation? If not, what was lacking?
  2. Were the strategies and tactics based on expected fire behavior? If not, why?
  3. Did all involved resources have an opportunity for feedback during the decision-making process? If not, why?

Supervise and Evaluate

  1. What individual or human factors existed that increased the potential for decision errors?
  2. What organizational factors existed that increased the potential for decision errors?
  3. As the fire and situation evolved, did the strategy, and tactics continue to work? Did the hazard controls evolve as the fire and situation evolved?

Part 2

  • Consider the casual factors identified in Part 1; then summarize the significant lessons to be learned from this case study.


Additional Video Information

This video is also available as a download. (Size 339 MB)
Download the .srt file for closed captioning (you may need to right click and Save As). For information on how to add closed captioning to a video, see this how to page.​

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