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Chapter 14


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  • 1. Chapter 14 The ISO at Wildland and Interface Fires
  • 2. Objectives
    • List and describe four incident types that can be applied to the wildland fire
    • List the three factors that influence fire spread, and define blow-up and flaring
    • List the leading stresses requiring rehab at the wildland fire, and describe the types of behaviors that would indicate effective rehab efforts
  • 3. Objectives (con’t.)
    • List four situations that may require the appointment of an ASO at the wildland fire
    • List the three common principal hazards at a wildland fire
    • Define LCES
    • Discuss a troubling issue that may arise when ground firefighters interface with aircraft
  • 4. Introduction
    • Wildland and interface fires include a wide variety of incident types
    • Wildland and structural firefighters may have different perspectives when working on a wildland incident
      • Example: relative importance of PPE
    • This chapter addresses initial ISO duties at Type V and Type IV wildland incidents
  • 5. Introduction (con’t.)
    • The Wildland Fire Typing Scheme
      • Type V: Local, agency, or jurisdiction specific
      • Type IV: Multiagency or jurisdiction
      • Type III: Regional
        • ISO functions may be transferred to a trained safety officer who is part of an IMT
      • Type II: State
      • Type I: National
  • 6. ISO General Duties at Wildland Fires
    • Grasp potential for firefighters being overrun by fire upon arrival and assignment
    • General considerations
      • Weather
        • Microbursts, winds, tornadic activity, etc.
      • Topography
        • Slope, aspect, physical features
      • Fuels
        • Moisture content, fuel type, continuity
  • 7. ISO General Duties at Wildland Fires (con’t.)
    • Hostile events at wildland fires
      • Blow-up
        • Sudden advancement and increase in fire intensity
        • Due to wind, prewarmed fuels, or topographic features
      • Flaring
        • A sudden, short-lived rise in fire intensity
        • Can be warning sign of upcoming blow-up
  • 8. ISO General Duties at Wildland Fires (con’t.)
    • Wildland flame length interpretations
      • Less than 4 feet
        • Attack directly with hand lines and tools
      • 4 to 8 feet
        • Flanking attack, indirect firebreaks, and wet lines
      • 8 to 11 feet
        • Direct attack dangerous; serious control problem
      • Over 11 feet
        • Major fire run likely; take defensive measures
  • 9. Monitoring Issues at Wildland Fires
    • Risk
      • Victims are prone to self-rescue
      • IAP may change to reduced-risk profile
    • Operational effectiveness
      • Use roving ASOs for evaluation over geographical distances and terrain
      • Take tour in vehicle or helicopter
  • 10. Personal Safety System Issues at Wildland Fires
    • Accountability systems
      • Difficult during initial stages
      • Firefighters may disperse during attack
      • ISO may need to close up ranks
  • 11. Personal Safety System Issues at Wildland Fires (con’t.)
    • Control zones
      • Based on descriptive parts of wildfire or geographical area
      • Working between head/flanks and spots could be dangerous
      • Burn (or black): portion of wildland where fire is already past
      • Threatened structures generally classified as defensible or indefensible
  • 12. Figure 14-1 Various parts of the fire or geographical descriptors are used to label zones at wildfires.
  • 13. Figure 14-2 Generally speaking, the black is considered a safe zone, although CO exposure and reburn are risks..
  • 14. Personal Safety System Issues at Wildland Fires (con’t.)
    • Rehab
      • Firefighters using structural PPE for wildland incidents are at extreme risk for heat stress
        • Rapid hydration and electrolyte replacement are essential
        • Cardiac monitoring
        • No releases should be given based on perceived comfort
  • 15. Defining Other Needs at Wildland Fires
    • Traffic
      • Smoke obscuration major concern
        • Divert traffic away from smoke areas
      • Dispersed small apparatus
        • Use radio safety message to remind drivers to use spotters
  • 16. Defining Other Needs at Wildland Fires (con’t.)
    • Need for ISO assistance:
      • For fires that impact a widespread geographical area
      • When a plans section is established
        • ASOs accomplish ISO field component
      • For fires that are active for over four hours
      • Anytime a base camp is established
        • ASOs communicate action plan and safety briefings to incoming crews
  • 17. Applying the ISO Action Model at Wildland Fires
    • Risk evaluation at a wildland fire
      • Practice intellectual aggressiveness
        • Calculated risk-taking that favors firefighter safety while still aggressive in fire control efforts
      • Judge pace of incident
        • Making structures defensible against advancing fire could take 20-30 minutes
      • Help IC with cyclic thinking when fire is progressing faster than crew effectiveness
  • 18. Applying the ISO Action Model at Wildland Fires (con’t.)
    • Recon evaluation at a wildland fire
      • Utilize vehicles, helicopter, and ASO field reports
      • Coordination is key
      • Caution: climbing to high ground to get a good look at the fire can prove fatal
  • 19. Applying the ISO Action Model at Wildland Fires (con’t.)
    • Recon evaluation (con’t.)
      • Defining the principal hazard
        • Rapid fire spread, traffic issues, and physical exertion
      • Defining environmental integrity
        • Weather, smoke, flame spread, and hazardous energy
      • Defining physical surroundings
        • Trip/fall hazards, animals, snags, power lines
  • 20. Applying the ISO Action Model at Wildland Fires (con’t.)
    • Recon evaluation (con’t.)
      • Crew exposure to hazards
        • Principal hazard +- Integrity + Physical hazards + Crew activity = Crew exposure
        • Tools
        • Team versus task
        • Rapid withdrawal options: LCES (lookout, communication methods, escape routes, safety zones)
  • 21. Applying the ISO Action Model at Wildland Fires (con’t.)
    • Resource evaluation at wildland fires
      • Time
        • Project on-scene time: advent of nightfall, weather changes
        • Travel distances affect reflex time: multiple stages
      • Personnel
        • Ensure adequate number of responders, high spirits
      • Equipment
        • Lengthy hose lays, water supply issues, Class-A foam, pump calculations
  • 22. Figure 14-3 The ISO should observe a sense of focus among crews.
  • 23. Applying the ISO Action Model at Wildland Fires (con’t.)
    • Report issues at wildland fires
      • Initial operations: 15-minute rule for face-to-face communications with the IC
        • Discuss risk, recon, and resources
        • Update checklists, forms, diagrams, and other documents
        • Amend schedule for prolonged incidents
      • Safety briefing sheet is routine
        • Can be passed to staging manager
  • 24. Unique Considerations at Wildland Fires
    • Interface with aircraft
      • Used for water and retardant drops
      • ISO training available at
      • Discourage sliming
        • Exception: trapped firefighters
    • Incident escalation
      • Type III incidents may be transferred to IMT
      • Good notes and safety briefings help with transition
  • 25. Figure 14-4 The use of aircraft at wildfires introduces unique hazards. If you do not have training in interfaces, seek it out!
  • 26. Summary
    • ISO duties at wildland incidents
      • Judge likelihood of firefighters being overrun by fire
      • Classify magnitude of event
      • Monitor risks, operational effectiveness, and personal safety systems
      • Ensure adequate rehab
      • Work with traffic issues
      • Assign ASOs as necessary
  • 27. Summary
    • ISO duties at wildland incidents (con’t.)
      • Judge pace of working crews
      • Define principal hazards
      • Ensure the use of LCES at crew level
      • Forecast potential problems with timing
      • Watch crew spirit to determine effectiveness
      • Be trained in aircraft interfaces
      • Keep good documentation for hand off to IMT