wildland firefighting

Real World Emergency Services Discussion

wildland firefighting

Postby lfd214 on Fri Apr 15, 2011 11:52 am

I just spent my morning reading through a very disturbing serious accident and near miss report involving a wildland fire incident. So i thought id pose some questions to active fire service members here. My intent is not to say were better than you im interested in the nuts and bolts. Yes i am from california or R5 if your usfs, wildland is beat into us out here im curious of other parts of the country. Ive just decided to make a little list of things ive encountered over the years and see what you all have to say.
1-when responding to a wildland incident do you wear wildland fire gear or structure gear?
2-when responding to a wildland incident do you bring your structure gear as well?
3-are you trained or have received training in wildland urban interface?
4-do you or have trained in structure protection?
5-do you have any basic wildland training at all?
6-do you know how to use a fire shelter?

I think ill leave it there for now and see what kind of discussion we come up with. Well think of it as an informal training exercise. Thanks everyone,lfd214
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Re: wildland firefighting

Postby Chris on Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:26 pm

Well let's see:

1: Depends really. Mostly on what I am responding in and where it is at. 1/3 of our county is national forest so if it is there then prob wildland gear. Our #1 job is structural protection though. Both sets of gear are in the back of my POV though.

2: I always have structural gear.

3: Lot's of training in wildland and urban interface. We actually have a multi county wildland taskforce and at least once a year there is a multi day exercise. I will say that in the department there is not as much wildland training as there once was.

4: Trained and then trained some more. Might be volunteer but I am taking the test away from NPQ2.

5: Have had the basic wildland firefighter for a while. Been red carded a time or two and last year went through squad boss training.

6: Without a doubt!

I think I know where you are coming from though, we have had our fair share of city guys come around working part time or what not and don't think twice about heading into the woods in structural gear and no wildland training. I have been a bit peeved more than once especially on particularly high danger days. Even with the training I have had there has been a time or two that things went from looking like no problem to a second later we were running with hands on our shelters about to pull the strap. Obviously those guys have not gained the respect of what can happen in an instant. Irritates me every time I hear one say it's just a brush fire. Guess they don't realize that the escape route is not a window 5 away.

I think the worst I have seen though was at a big fire in south GA when I was in a structural protection role and we were sent to a town that was supposedly about to be ran over with fire. USFS gave everyone that did not have it wildland gear and fire shelters and said that was what was required PPE. None of the other guys had ever seen a shelter never less knew what to do with it. And still did not when they turned it back in later that day.
Stay Safe,
Chris
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Re: wildland firefighting

Postby lfd214 on Tue Apr 19, 2011 12:02 pm

Chris thats very interesting,ive seen exactly what you have described many times and i also have always been a volunteer, If you guys can get ahold of the Kelly York Story and the Eagle Fire Burnover excellent training. Id list all my certs but theres to many and thats just wildland certs. And as you have said had my hand on my shelter many times but have yet to use one. three times was while on a dozer thank god ive never needed it. Im glad to see the interest and thanks for the reply.Mike
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Re: wildland firefighting

Postby Aaronw on Thu May 05, 2011 1:52 am

I started to answer this awhile ago, then got distracted and didn't get back to it. Working for the Feds as a wildland firefighter, it is probably fairly obvious what most of my answers will be.

1-when responding to a wildland incident do you wear wildland fire gear or structure gear?
Wildland

2-when responding to a wildland incident do you bring your structure gear as well?
Yes (in CA, structure gear wasn't available when I've worked in other states)

3-are you trained or have received training in wildland urban interface?
Yes

4-do you or have trained in structure protection?
Yes, I'm a qualified structure FF, operator and officer

5-do you have any basic wildland training at all?
Yes, I've got a 3" thick binder full of certs (not all wildland, EMS, hazmat, auto ex etc also take up a fair chunk)

6-do you know how to use a fire shelter?
Yes, I've actually been in one under controlled conditions.There was a brief period in the mid 90s where live fire, shelter training was being promoted by CDF. Plenty of time to clear the ground, and done in grass with so really not much like most actual deployments, but still an interesting experience. The intent behind the training was well meaning, but I'm not surprised that it has gone away since it was an accident waiting to happen.

I've had the opportunity to get around to several states on fires, and it really makes me appreciate how well supported the California fire service is. Even the most podunk volunteer fire department in this state has fairly decent access to training and equipment through CDF and the USFS. That is definately not the case in many states I've been to.
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Re: wildland firefighting

Postby chariots of fire on Thu May 05, 2011 6:36 pm

My two cents on the gear to use.
1. In our neck of the woods ( and they are woods) structural gear is out of the question for fireground operations. It is too clumsy and heavy for walking around in heavy underbrush. The one exception to that is if we think we may be out overnite or late into the evening in the spring when our fire season is at its worst. It does get cold and the structural gear helps to keep the crews warm. It's usually not worn when in the act of fire fighting.
2. Fire crews on most brushbreakers will wear protective clothing suited for that purpose along with a hard hat and hard toe shoes.
3. Most natural cover fires in our area are close to residential areas and are near stations that have structural apparatus. If there is a threat, the engines and tankers are called out to protect exposures.
4. The use of fire blankets is not generally covered here but probably should be. A number of years ago a fire crew working on a brushbreaker got caught at the bottom of a kettle hole and the intense fire sucked the oxygen out of the air and stalled the truck. The fire burned over the top of the truck and injured several of the firefighters on the apparatus. The truck burned up. The fighters might have escaped injury had they been able to protect themselves with a reflective blanket.
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Re: wildland firefighting

Postby ChrisMooney on Sat May 07, 2011 7:41 pm

in Kingston We put our brush fires out with about one or two PW cans. however my good friend on the Dept takes his vaction in the spring and works for PA DCNR. as a Fire Ranger. Ill get some more info from him.
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Re: wildland firefighting

Postby lfd214 on Mon May 16, 2011 1:44 pm

Thanks guys, so far so good Aarons answers were what i expected to hear from him, the insight into other parts of the country is really interesting. No i dont use my structure gear on wildland but i do take it for a number of reasons as i take my wildland to structure and vehicle fires, get caught unready you definately dont do it twice, been there done it and had the basketball size ankle for a trophy caused by my turnout boots and a small root. I also take both sets for as stated above it does get cold on overnighters and ive seen way to many fires begin as one type and end up another. Thanks,lfd214
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Re: wildland firefighting

Postby Pinolafire on Fri May 20, 2011 7:26 am

My dept does business a bit different , we are rural and have many LARGE wooded areas within our response zone.

We were given 10 sets of wildland gear about two years ago as part of a state wide grant.

I DO take my structure gear , cuz it's all I have ... and you never know how something simple can go bad ... while it's clumzy it provides more protection than a pair of jeans and a pair of Justin work boots...

We do have training in structure protection , but rely heavily on MS Forestry Commision's Fire track units , threre are four dozer units permanatly assigned in the county staffed/ on call 24hrs..

We just were awarded a decent sized equipment grant from state forestry to purchase Indian Tanks and hand tools..


Matt :mrgreen:
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