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Cramer Fire

Lessons Learned

“Safety Zone” newsletter, July, 2004

Lessons Learned
author, date unknown

One-Year Anniversary Letter by Kelly Close, FBAN

Declaration on Cramer Redactions, by James Furnish, April, 2005

FSEEE v. USFS, FOIA Civil Lawsuit Order,
December, 2005

FOIA Request to USFS, December, 2005

FOIA Appeal to USFS,
February, 2006

Management Evaluation Report

Investigation Team Information

Synopsis of the Cramer Fire Accident Investigation

Causal Factors

Contributing Factors


Factual Report

Executive Summary

   (facts 1 - 57)
   (facts 58 - 201)
   (fact 202)
   (facts 203 - 237)


Appendix A
Resources on the Fire

Appendix B
Cramer Fire Timeline

Appendix C
Fire Behavior and Weather
   Prior Conditions
   Initial Phase
   Transition Phase
   Acceleration Phase
   Entrapment Phase

Appendix D
Equipment Found at H-2 and the Fatalities Site

Appendix E
Fire Policy, Directives, and Guides

Gallery of Cramer Fire Report Images

Accident Prevention Plan

OIG Investigation

OIG FOIA Response, February, 2005

2nd FOIA Request to OIG, April, 2006

2nd OIG FOIA Response, August, 2006, (1.4 mb, Adobe .pdf file)

OSHA Investigation

OSHA Cramer Fire Briefing Paper
 • Summary and ToC
 • Sections I-IV
 • Sections V-VII
 • Section VIII
 • Acronyms/Glossary

OSHA South Canyon Fire Briefing Paper

Letter to District Ranger, June 19, 2003

OSHA Investigation Guidelines

OSHA News Release

 • OSHA Citation 1
 • OSHA Citation 2
 • OSHA Citation 3

USFS Response


HFACS—"Swiss cheese" model of Accident Causation

Adobe PDF and Microsoft Word versions of documents related to the Cramer Fire can be downloaded from the U.S. Forest Service website.


Accident Investigation Factual Report

Cramer Fire Fatalities
North Fork Ranger District
Salmon-Challis National Forest
Region 4
Salmon, Idaho - July 22, 2003

Appendix C—Fire Behavior and Weather

Acceleration Phase, July 22 (1400 to 1500)

Between 1330 and 1400, the fire was making small runs in the grass with upcanyon winds and backing downslope into the main Cramer Creek drainage with low flame lengths. H-1 was being pressed by fire.

By 1400, the shortwave disturbance had started to move into central Idaho. This brought increased windspeeds and a strong flow from the northwest that began to overpower local diurnal winds. Fire activity began to increase dramatically over the entire fire, as well as on other fires in the area. Winds were reported as “whipping back and forth,” and a large brown smoke column formed west of H- 1. The fire burned with increasing intensity, moving east and downslope with stronger winds, overrunning H-1. To the west, fire continued to back down below the West Ridge into the Cache Bar drainage.

With hot conditions, increasing winds, and dried, preheated foliage from the backing fire, the smokes began to transition to an active fire front between 1430 and 1440. The general winds were overcoming local diurnal winds in the canyon. Although the ridgeline between Fountain Creek and the Cache Bar drainage sheltered the bottom of the drainage from the northwesterly winds initially, the shift to a more westerly flow aligned with the eastwest orientation of the Cache Bar drainage, and overall updrainage windspeeds began to increase. The fire in the Cache Bar drainage was building simultaneously to the fire buildup in Cramer Creek. See figure 23 for estimated perimeter growth and figure 24 for estimated backing spread into the Cache Bar drainage.

Figure 23—Cramer Fire perimeter and spread on July 22, 2003, by 1430 (estimate).

0830–0850: Smokes seen below West Ridge.

1300: Smokes and backing fire seen
down to midslope below West Ridge.

1430: Fire estimated to have backed
down to lower portion of drainage.
Figure 24—Fire spread estimates from backing and rollouts into the Cache Bar drainage.

<<< continue reading Appendix C, Entrapment Phase >>>


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