Firehouse

JAN 2017

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Response plans and deployment An agency's wildland response plans should reflect the level of risk predicted from corroborated intelligence. Several organizations that are well versed in wild- land response are intimately familiar with factors such as weather predictions, histori- cal patterns and fuel modeling. In contrast, agencies that do not respond to wildland incidents on a frequent basis may not con- sider those factors. The key: The initial selection and number of resources sent on a possible WUI incident may truly dictate (or significantly contribute to) the outcome. Many agencies use a matrix that is developed based on risk and that relies on local or regional risk ratings. The rat- ings then apply to the resources. See the charts above for an example for a single wildland fire without the added complex- ity of a significant WUI risk. Compare that to the WUI risk chart, which may look far different for some agencies. Response plans will vary considerably between organizations depending on fac- tors like risk, availability of resources, and tactics. When developing response plans for the WUI, organizations should follow a process similar to a standard of coverage critical task analysis. A WUI incident can be extremely complex due to varying incident objectives, fuels, fire behavior, weather and many other factors. Unlike the traditional task analysis that we would use for a structure fire, a much larger picture of the potential should be brought into the equation as well as the amount of time necessary for some of the resources to respond. For the most part, buildings are static, and it is relatively simple to stop the trans- mission of fire from the fire building to exposure. In contrast, a WUI fire may communicate via brands and wind changes blocks or even miles away from the origin, making the incident commander's theater of operation much larger than what many are used to. Furthermore, for some of the larger aircraft and dozer programs, it may take up to an hour to mobilize and engage in an incident. Compared to what we are use to in the structural world, the concept of response time and the period until engagement may be much different. The adage of call early and be proactive cannot be understated when it comes to WUI incidents. Engage—now WUI incidents and our nation's response to wildland fire, in general, will continue to be on the policy and political forefront for many years to come. The fire service has an opportunity to collaborate and engage with the federal system to improve our collective response, or we can remain in our silos and be in the audience while fire threatens areas surrounding us. For those in the latter group, the fires will eventually burn into your jurisdiction or have an economic impact on your com- munity. Now is the time to engage. n References Gorte, R. W. (2008). Wildfire protection in the wildland-urban interface: Washing- ton, D.C.: Congressional Research Service, the Library of Congress. Groisman, P., & Knight, R. (2008). "Pro- longed Dry Episodes over the Conter- minous United States: New Tendencies Emerging during the Last 40 Years." Journal of Climate, 21(9), 1850–1862. Kennedy, R. G., & Troy, A. (2007). Liv- ing on the Edge: Economic, Institutional and Management Perspectives on Wildfire Hazard in the Urban Interface. Oxford: Emerald Group Publishing Limited. WILDLAND FIREFIGHTING STRATEGY & TACTICS WUI FIRE TYPE 1 ENGINES 1 1 3 5 TYPE 5/6 ENGINES 0 1 3 5 Low Risk Moderate Risk High Risk Extreme Risk OVERHEAD 0 1 BC 2 BC 2 BC, 1DC TENDERS 0 0 2 3 SPECIAL 0 0 0 Dozer + Boss, Air Attack + Tanker CREW 0 0 0 20 Person WILDLAND FIRE TYPE 1 ENGINES 1 1 3 4 TYPE 5/6 ENGINES 0 1 3 4 Low Risk Moderate Risk High Risk Extreme Risk OVERHEAD 0 1 BC 2 BC 3 BC TENDERS 0 0 2 2 SPECIAL 0 0 0 Dozer + Boss CREW 0 0 0 0 Maintaining a national understanding of the level of wildland risk and situational awareness is easier now with modern technology. 50 l Firehouse l January 2017

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