Three members of a helitack crew are overrun by fire inside the meadow that serves as their helispot. Only two of the firefighters have fire shelters.
A first responder can only relax when they are retired or dead, and sustaining that pitch of mindfulness is a hard road.
What do we want to take with us moving forward and what should we leave behind?
Reality set in quickly as I tore the plastic on my fire shelter. There was no longer any hesitation, no stigmas to worry about, this was survival. I remember saying “I will see you on the other side” to my partners as I fumbled with unfolding my shelter.
“This use of blasting as an available tool proved critical to meeting incident objectives and successfully reduced risk exposure to firefighters.”
Engagement Dilemma revisited: What would you do?
Here is the deal. You damn sure ought to use LCES for all of your operations. But under no circumstances should you use it as proof that you are safe. Nothing we do is safe.
Here are some numbers and a few lessons from incidents that occurred during the first half of 2020 (January - June).
The following thoughts and observations are derived from my own perspective that is based on 25 seasons filled with two shelter deployments, plenty of near misses, getting hit with branches because I was mesmerized by how awesome falling a burning snag is, falling asleep while driving, falling out on hikes (because I suck at hiking, smoke too much). Oh yeah, as well as one divorce and four or five failed relationships.
Be Aware: Gasoline being used during the warming months—May, June, July—may be more susceptible to geysering than in previous years.