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Topic: Ariz firefighters, what were they doing< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 02 2013, 4:48 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have little to no experience in backcountry firefighting, but in light of 19 young great men dying, a reexamination of what specifically they were doing is in order, and questions about wether they should have been there.
Does anyone here have enough experience with this field to say:what specifically they were doing, does it really work in the real world?(not just theoretically but in the real world).
Or was this just poorly planned bravado that was never really going to stop a fire that size????
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 02 2013, 5:00 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It will take a while to sort everything out.  Despite the speed of the internet, it takes time for independent investigators to piece all the facts together.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 02 2013, 5:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(frmertd @ Jul. 02 2013, 4:48 pm)
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Or was this just poorly planned bravado that was never really going to stop a fire that size????

I suspect not this, but I'll reserve further comment until investigations, if any, provide more information.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 02 2013, 5:40 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

What these men were doing does work and usually very well.......

Investigation will show what happened and give insight to prepare for future, so it does not happen again.  It is very, very tragic, even so given that fact, fighting wildfires have a pretty good safety record for how dangerous it is.  You can plan/predict for most, but mother nature can throw a wrench very fast.

The Shots, of which there are about 100 crews (20 person each) are equated like the Rangers are....the elite.  They have glamour, but they all know the dangers. They as a crew know fire, know the dangers and know how to mitigate them to effectively fight the fire.  You can find a wealth of info thru Google.  Also Youtube has excellent videos produced by individual Crews.  Wildland fire (Hotshots) is a young mans game and they have to be at the top of the game.  They are first in and always last out during the day......a matter of pride in their job and pride in doing their best.

I don't care for Maddow but she has one of the better news spots on HotShots:  
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/27201422#52370521

azcentral.com  has good info as well, have to search around.

If you want the beginning this is the start, the great fires of 1910 in Idaho:
http://www.wildfirelessons.net/documents/1910_fire.pdf
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 02 2013, 6:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(fifeplayer @ Jul. 02 2013, 5:32 pm)
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(frmertd @ Jul. 02 2013, 4:48 pm)
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Or was this just poorly planned bravado that was never really going to stop a fire that size????

I suspect not this, but I'll reserve further comment until investigations, if any, provide more information.

A fire what size?  At noon Saturday, it was reported to be 5 acres.  It grew quickly from 2,000 to 6,000 acres on Sunday. Also, it wasn't purely a backcountry fire.  I'm sure the proximity of the town had a lot to do with their decision, especially considering what happened to it since.

They've had a lot more success holding the line on much larger fires.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 02 2013, 6:19 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

"never really going to stop"

If wildland fire suppression didn't work we'd be in a lot better situation in terms of fuels overabundance now. but fire suppression (fighting) does and has worked....

As to what that crew was doing, beyond the expected role of creating breaks in the fuel to contain the fire's progress, there'll be a huge investigation into that and at some point there'll be a report.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 02 2013, 6:39 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(frmertd @ Jul. 02 2013, 2:48 pm)
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. . . Or was this just poorly planned bravado that was never really going to stop a fire that size????

It wouldn't even occur to me to suspect that "bravado" had anything to do with their decision.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 02 2013, 7:56 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

yeah, you are right. Why on earth would i think "dumb bravado" had anything to do with it? 19 guys who were "the best of the best" sent in to stop a 1000 acre raging wildfire. Sent in a place where the winds change constantly, but if the wind switched, they would be cut off from any escape.  Sent into this fire with chainsaws and axes and knowing they were the best. Oh, i forgot that scientific blanket. That certified scientifically proven BLANKET was going to save them. I guess they should ask for their money back on those blakets!
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 02 2013, 8:07 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(frmertd @ Jul. 02 2013, 5:56 pm)
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yeah, you are right. Why on earth would i think "dumb bravado" had anything to do with it? 19 guys who were "the best of the best" sent in to stop a 1000 acre raging wildfire. Sent in a place where the winds change constantly, but if the wind switched, they would be cut off from any escape.  Sent into this fire with chainsaws and axes and knowing they were the best. Oh, i forgot that scientific blanket. That certified scientifically proven BLANKET was going to save them. I guess they should ask for their money back on those blakets!

Well, I suppose if you really want to know, you could go to Prescott, Arizona and tell them how you really feel.

They might even feed you a complimentary knuckle sandwich or two.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 02 2013, 8:30 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Things happen and lives are lost - in wars, in fighting fires, in hospitals - everywhere people are operating at the edge.

Whatever the cause(s), the main thing now is that brave men died in service to their community. To me, they were among the bravest and the best. I'm grateful for their service and I mourn their passing.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 02 2013, 8:35 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Some folks really know how to show their a$$.  

I look at the individuals who risk their lives to protect the lives and property of people they don't even know as heroes.  Is there a certain amount of bravado among those individuals?  I'm certain there is.  Much like there is a certain amount of bravado in the military.  There HAS TO BE to allow them to do their job.  I have never stood on a fire line and faced that particular enemy but I'm damned glad there are those who are willing to step up when the need arises.  They were, by all accounts, very well trained professionals.

They were all highly trained and something went horribly wrong.  As has been previously stated in this thread, the incident will be studied in order to prevent the same thing from going wrong in the future.  That's what professionals do, they analyze the situation and learn from it.  To sit at a computer without any first-hand knowledge of the individuals who were lost or the particular situation that they faced and throw innuendos is an insult to their memory as well as to their profession.  I would suggest that rather than jumping to conclusions about the individuals who were lost and why they were lost, we should all wait for the professionals to do their jobs and make their recommendations about how to avoid such situations in the future.

Right now though, the families and friends of those who lost their lives need to be in our thoughts and prayers.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 02 2013, 8:41 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Fire fighting is a dangerous occupation.  Wildfires are unpredictable, and a sudden wind shift can cause the situation to change very quickly.

I will leave the speculation and armchair emergency response management to others.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 02 2013, 11:19 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(frmertd @ Jul. 02 2013, 5:56 pm)
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yeah, you are right. Why on earth would i think "dumb bravado" had anything to do with it? 19 guys who were "the best of the best" sent in to stop a 1000 acre raging wildfire. Sent in a place where the winds change constantly, but if the wind switched, they would be cut off from any escape.  Sent into this fire with chainsaws and axes and knowing they were the best. Oh, i forgot that scientific blanket. That certified scientifically proven BLANKET was going to save them. I guess they should ask for their money back on those blakets!

Do a little more research ..... it is obvious you know little of Wildland fire.  

It is not like they were the only ones fighting the fire......There are crews, aircraft tankers and most of all safety and strategy involved.  They didn't blindly run into the canyon.  Their lookout (who survived) was watching out, although in this instance the fire blowup was exceptional fast.  He is watching the fire and watching the crew, taking weather and relaying conditions regularly.  Actually he was almost caught in the blowup as well.  I am sure he warned the crew, but conditions had to be very, very extreme, out of the normal.  Escape routes are planned, safe areas are a daily exercise.  Fire shelters are the LAST resort.  They cannot take sustained or direct heat, they are not designed for that.

A wildfire up close and personal commands respect.  Hotshot crews give fire that respect.  I actually have the honor to work alongside quite a few shot crews.  They all should be commended for their work and dedication to there job.  They all love the job and NO they do get paid enough for the work they do.  Ask the people in Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho, Utah or anywhere where they have saved homes and lives.  They are everymuch a part of the city to urban interface.

Ask these people in this slideshow:
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/52363114/displaymode/1247?beginSlide=1

Your comment is unwarranted.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 02 2013, 11:29 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It was an incredibly dangerous situation. Small,  new fire, lots of fuels - no black areas as a possible safe zone. With the ongoing drought coupled with the incredible heat wave and in the afternoon, RH had to be in the 20s at the high end? Possibly lower. Those fuels were ready to ignite. If those winds switched,  as it sounds it did, the Super heated air (and it it was coming down in elevation, I have no idea if it did in this case, would only heat it more) those 1 & 10 hour fuels would just instantly ignite.

There was likely nothing that they couldn't done outside of not being there in the first place to save themselves. By the time they saw/heard 50-60mph winds coming over the ridge, it was over.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 03 2013, 1:16 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Lamebeaver @ Jul. 02 2013, 6:41 pm)
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I will leave the speculation and armchair emergency response management to others.

+1

Armchair quarterbacking after the fact is always easy. Takes zero risk, has zero accountability and requires no courage at all.

Meanwhile, opinions are a lot more valuable coming from actual experts with actual information.

Either way, RIP.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 03 2013, 1:48 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Having been the loved one of a Hot Shot at one time, going off to a fire was not unlike going off to war.  There is a battle and uncertainty as to coming home alive or whole.  When they fall, it doesn't necessarily mean any one did something stupid or wrong, only that you lost the battle. These fighters deserve our grace and thanks, not our scorn.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 03 2013, 10:45 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

well, it sounds like everyone thinks im a u know what. So i will not hold anything back. I grew upin Florida, and in Florida we don't crybaby about getting hit by hurricanes. Florida is in the center of how hurricanes come up the East Coast and if u live there, you will be hit by hurricanes, your house may be destroyed. We dont ask 21 yr old young naive fathers of young children to die for us. Conversely, if u live in a mountain town right in the middle of where forest fires happen every 10 yrs, you shouldn't ask young fathers to die for your nice vacation home. And if its your real home, you chose to live in fire country. You knew a big fire comes thru every ten yrs.
To take young,impressionable, naive fathers of yg children and fill them with hype, buid up their egos telling them they are "elite hotshots". Then march them into a raging fire with a questionable escape route. Refuse to give them 1/10 the air support a mission in Afghanistan would get. And ask these young men to die to protect your pretty little woodframe house you built in the middle of fire country?????
You say people with experience should talk? Its the people with experience that got them killed.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 03 2013, 10:49 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Puhleaase.  You're telling us the Air National Guard wasn't helping out after Hurricaine Andrew?  Katrina?  Gimme a break.

You really think people don't notice how Floridians draw so heavily from federal "disaster relief" aid every time another predictable "disaster" strikes their coast like clockwork?  Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

Your comments say far more about you than they do about any firefighter.  Just another slew of criticisms fueled by complete ignorance from the comfort of a keyboard.




A shot of Miami after Hurricane Andrew.  Why should the federal gov't spend billions in relief aid just to rebuild for idiots who knowingly build luxury vacation houses in a hurricane zone where a storm hits every ten years?  If you think that's a stupid argument, then irony is funny.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 03 2013, 10:51 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hmmm, for some reason, when I read frmertd's post this quote comes to mind:

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."

Abraham Lincoln


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 03 2013, 10:52 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(frmertd @ Jul. 03 2013, 10:45 am)
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well, it sounds like everyone thinks im a u know what.

We don't think that, you have done a fine job proving it.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 03 2013, 10:58 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Maybe you should petition the government to make them stop letting people build in natural disaster zones. Just sayin'

The hurricane analogy is kinda dumb. Just sayin'
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 03 2013, 11:37 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Settled.....you no nothing about wildland fire.....

Crews aren't marched in to the fire.  These 'young naïve 21 years olds' are far from that.  Most shot crews are the 'best' in wildland fire hands down.

Seems like I remember a lot of shot crews in the hurricane areas performing rescue, chain sawing trees, etc.  They also performed most of the search work for the space shuttle disaster, firefighting is just the main hire reason.

Tanker and water drops do not put the fire out, they support the ground crews by stalling the fire, hard ground work puts the fire out.

You think building in the forest is dumb.....how dumb is it to build where you are guaranteed a hurricane EVERY year.  How about LA...earthquakes are a certain.  How about the Midwest....tornadoes are a certain.  How about along the major rivers....flooding is a certain..... check out where the fires were in Texas last year...I didn't see a whole lot of forested places.

Yarnell isn't a vacation home town............regular people live there.
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http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/05/01/weekinreview/01safe.html

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(Tigger @ Jul. 03 2013, 10:09 am)
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Suddenly the "mountain states" aren't looking so bad, huh.

That's the thing about fires.  Yes, they happen every year.  But there are literally tens (hundreds?) of millions of acres of forested mountains out west, and big fires only hit a tiny fraction of them each year.  The "fire every ten years" comment is a joke.  Unlike, say, a hurricane which swipes across thousands of square miles with a single strike and does far more widespread damage than any wildfire.



frmertd, you'd do well to move away from Florida up to say, Grand Junction, CO. :laugh:


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(GoBlueHiker @ Jul. 03 2013, 12:17 pm)
QUOTE

(Tigger @ Jul. 03 2013, 10:09 am)
QUOTE

Suddenly the "mountain states" aren't looking so bad, huh.

That's the thing about fires.  Yes, they happen every year.  But there are literally tens (hundreds?) of millions of acres of forested mountains out west, and big fires only hit a tiny fraction of them each year.  The "fire every ten years" comment is a joke.  Unlike, say, a hurricane which swipes across thousands of square miles with a single strike and does far more widespread damage than any wildfire.



frmertd, you'd do well to move away from Florida up to say, Grand Junction, CO. :laugh:

Damn, I'm screwed!  My home falls into every one of those risk areas!  Hmm, I may have to show that chart to the wife and use the "Move to Wyoming, it's safer!" pitch!  Thanks guys!


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 03 2013, 1:14 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

chart shows red states bad, blue states good. No problem, Pat Robertson will steer the hurricane away from me.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 03 2013, 1:29 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

nice map...... they forgot to show the Yellowstone supervolcano..........everything is toast    :D
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 03 2013, 1:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(frmertd @ Jul. 03 2013, 10:45 am)
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Conversely, if u live in a mountain town right in the middle of where forest fires happen every 10 yrs, you shouldn't ask young fathers to die for your nice vacation home.

"Nice vacation home" is pretty much of the opposite of what you would find in Yarnell.  Median household income is less than $25k.
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(bbobb169 @ Jul. 03 2013, 11:29 am)
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nice map...... they forgot to show the Yellowstone supervolcano..........everything is toast    :D

Or all of Seattle once Mt. Rainier blows. :D  But that's a once every few-tens-of-thousands-of-years kinda thing.  So folks take their chances.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 03 2013, 1:44 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm hoping I live just far enough from yellowstone to appreciate the grandeur of the event for a few seconds before dying.

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