Engine Boss Apprenticeship
Kates Basin Fatality Report
“How to Operate a Fire Apparatus Mechanic” — by Lt. Bill Dyer
KATES BASIN FATALITY REPORT
August 11, 2000
|U.S. Department of Interior
Bureau of Indian Affairs
Wind River Agency
Fort Washakie, Wyoming
APPENDIX 5 - FIRE ORDERS AND 18 SITUATIONS THAT SHOUT WATCHOUT
*1. Fight fire aggressively, but provide for safety first.
Fought fire aggressively
*2. Initiate all actions based on current and predicted fire behavior.
Positioning the Engine #2 in front of the fire, with unburned fuels between it and the fire, placed it at risk.
Prior to the accident, the calculated rate of spread was 135 chains per hour. At the time of the entrapment, the calculated rate of spread was 879 chains per hour, with flame lengths of 30 feet. The timing of the tactical actions did not take into account the predicted weather and fire behavior.
*3. Recognize current weather condition and obtain forecast.
Did recognize condition, but did not apply this recognition to tactics.
Knew about Red Flag issued at 0623 hours (08/11); did not know about the Red Flags issued at 1200 hours, but this did not contribute to the accident because there was no change in the Red Flag for the local zone (287).
*4. Ensure instructions are given and understood.
unclear instructions on burn out in Mexican Pass area
unclear instructions on who was in charge in Mexican Pass area
*5. Obtain current information on fire status.
*6. Remain in communication with your crew members, supervisors, and adjoining forces.
*7. Determine safety zones and escape routes.
*8. Establish lookout in potentially hazardous situation.
*9. Maintain control at all times.
10. Stay alert, keep calm, think clearly, act decisively.
Did not contribute to the fatality.
Quick response of the crew of Hot Springs Engine #7 probably prevented more serious injuries to Presley Byington.
1. Fire not scouted and sized up
2. You are in country not seen in daylight.
3. Safety zones and escape routes were not identified.
Crews understood and demonstrated that the burn area was their safety zone.
Burned over engine could not get to safety zone because the escape route was compromised.
4. You are unfamiliar with weather and local factors.
*5. You are not informed of tactics, strategy and hazards.
*6. Instructions and assignments are not clear.
*7. No communication link has been established with the crew members and their supervisor.
Communications were established within the Oklahoma crews.
Handheld radios were set to Agency frequency.
8. You are constructing line without a safe anchor point.
This was not a contributing factor
9. You are building fire line downhill with fire below.
10. You are attempting a frontal assault on the fire.
*11. There is unburned fuel between you and the fire.
12. You cannot see the main fire and are not in contact with someone that can.
13. You are on a hillside where rolling material can ignite fuel below you.
14. The weather is becoming hotter and drier.
*15. The wind is increasing or changing direction.
Wind speeds suddenly increased as a dry surface cold front passed.
Engine #2 knew winds were expected to increase but were not fully cognizant of the relationship to their location and the resulting fire behavior.
*16. You are getting frequent spot fires across the line.
*17. The terrain and fuel make escape to safety zone difficult.
18. You feel like taking a map near the fire line.
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