Each year the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center analyzes and summarizes reported incidents to create an Incident Review Summary. This report’s overall intent is to provide content and context for crew training and discussions. Each summary includes exercises to aid crew leaders and instructors with facilitation. (Pro-tip: Do the exercises.)
While this annual report is typically released and posted in February (with information from the previous year), it is intended to be referenced—and used—by crews throughout the year.
For the 2018 Incident Review Summary, we collected information—and lessons—from 160 wildland fire incidents that occurred during that year. As we do each year, we combed through these reports and extracted specific lessons.
The intent is for you to use this information to inform your future operations—for you to turn these lessons into learning. The Incident Review Summary report is intended to “live” throughout the year, providing you a handy resource for “hands on” training.
So if you missed it last February, or you got busy and have overlooked its existence—we totally get how that can happen—please take a look at the 2018 Incident Review Summary.
Highlights from the 2018 Incident Review Summary
Chainsaws and Drip Torches
In 2018 we collected 16 different reports related to Chainsaw Operations and 9 related to Firing Ops. Is that proof of the numerous poorly trained operators out there—OR flat out amazing that the number is so low given the amount of time we spend running saws and lighting things on fire?
Hit by Tree events are a difficult topic. We have had a series of tragedies in recent years. We’ve endured eight fatalities in the last four years. We’ve had one hotshot die each summer for the past three years. Each instance is heartbreaking. These events are sometimes difficult to process because there is often a feeling of inevitability around the issue of wildland firefighters being struck by trees. How do we make these events matter?
How We Roll
2018 saw 17 reported Rollover Incidents. Mostly Water Tenders and Dozers (5 each). The others were chase vehicles, an Engine, a UTV and an ATV. Almost all of the rollovers involved slipping off the road shoulder. We move big heavy things around on dirt roads under difficult conditions while stressed and tired.
Entrapments are always a popular topic of discussion at training. Why is that? In 2018 we collected reports on 10 different entrapment events. All entrapments are scary and some of these were especially terrifying. Several of them were fatal. Some were as close to fatal as they come. As always, the dilemma is how best to benefit from the experience of others? HOW you view and interpret these events will determine what YOU get out of someone else’s life-threatening or deadly event. How do we make these events matter?