These are the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center staff members’ recommended incident reports from 2022—that initially appeared in the 2023 Winter Issue of Two More Chains.
I Suggest: Double Creek Fire Civilian Extraction
Why I Liked It: This RLS tells the simultaneous stories of hunters camping in the Oregon backcountry while fires grow in their vicinity. The narrative follows the actions of emergency responders (both fire and sheriff) to keep informed of the hunters’ locations, plan for their safety, maintain communications with them, and, if necessary, facilitate extraction. I could easily imagine the anxiety all involved must have felt as they tried to navigate what actions made the most sense given the current and expected fire behavior. The story highlighted for me the great professionalism in our interagency fire community and our ability to come from different backgrounds and still communicate and plan effectively to produce great outcomes.
Recommended By: Erik Apland, LLC Field Operations Specialist
I Suggest: Davy Crockett National Forest UTV Fire
Why I Liked It: Utility (meaning “useful”) is why I love this report. It also happens to be what the “U” stands for in UTV. UTVs are very useful in our business; we operate them often. We work close to fire. Almost every year we get reports of UTVs catching fire. Based on these facts, this report has an extremely useful lesson that is easily implemented: Make sure your UTV has a fire extinguisher AND make sure it is accessible (mount it to the frame). This lesson was learned by having the extinguisher under the seat…which caught fire. I like utility. I like this report.
Recommended By: Travis Dotson, LLC Analyst
Why I liked It: The writer of this RLS does an excellent job of storytelling. We are given enough information to understand the scene and to consider how we might react in the same situation. The story highlights the assignment, the accident, and the medical response and patient transport, emphasizing decisions and complicating factors. The perspective is humble in tone with a complete focus on learning. The lessons outlined are thoughtful and practical. This document could serve as the basis for a good crew discussion and learning opportunity.
Recommended By: Kelly Woods, LLC Director
I Suggest: Lost Lake Fire Bee Sting Infection
Why I Liked It: We’ve all been there before: “Meh, it’s just a scratch, I’ll be OK. It’s happened before and it was fine.” And then we resume whatever it was that we were doing. Did you ever pause to think that this time it might be different? What if this time it isn’t the same? This sobering RLS answers that “What If” scenario with a graphic outcome that started with an innocuous little sting. It’s a lesson for all of us to not ignore that “What If” voice.
Recommended By: Tom Engberg, LLC Visual Information Specialist, Detailed
I Suggest: Marshall Fire FLA Story Map
Why I Liked It: This reads like a damn good book. The imbedded videos help to tell this incredible story of the myriad challenges first responders faced. 115 mph winds. Evacuating 35,000 people, including hospitals. Important lessons from suppressing this urban firestorm—the most catastrophic fire in Colorado’s history—are also featured. And for your friends who might be anti-cop, have them read/view the “Animal Rescue” section. Amazing.
Recommended By: Paul Keller, LLC Writer-Editor
Why I liked It: This report covers the incident in which a water drop from a Type 1 Helicopter hit three members of an interagency hotshot crew. The FLA provides several great lessons and reminders. The two that stand out to me: 1) Injuries to folks on the ground associated with water or retardant drops are likely more common than folks realize. Being dropped on can be a big deal. The injuries described in this report are a reminder of this reality. 2) It can be really tough to live up to the concept of “If you see something, say something.” This review highlights another way to say the same thing: “Check your perception of a situation out loud with those around you. If a situation makes you take pause or you are tempted to say ‘Huh, that’s odd’—trust yourself and voice that concern” (from page 12 of the FLA).
Recommended By: Alex Viktora, LLC Assistant Center Director