THE FIRE SAFETY REVIEW TEAM
A PLAN TO FURTHER REDUCE
THE CHANCES OF MEN BEING BURNED WHILE FIGHTING FIRES
This report is submitted in response to the Chief’s 5100 memo of November
30, 1966 (Appendix 1).
By that memo, the Chief appointed a Fire Safety Review Team and transmitted
the report on “The Loop Fire Disaster” in which twelve men lost their
lives and others were seriously burned.
Overall objective set by the Chief for the Fire Safety Review Team:
“There is no way we can return the men lost in the recent tragedy.
We must now provide for those others who depend upon our programs to
give them the skills needed for their safe conduct.”
Deputy Chief Nelson’s 5100 memo of December 15, 1966 (Appendix
2) gave the Fire Safety Review Team these definite assignments:
Your team activities should be related to the program developed by
the Fire Task Force of 1957 and the fire safety progress made since
The recommendations made by the Loop Fire Analysis Group are guides
for your work. These recommendations are broad and you must analyze
them and specify what needs to be done to extend these benefits to
firefighters throughout the Service.
You should not limit your activities to implementing the Analysis
Group’s recommendations. In addition, you should weigh the benefits
of all pertinent safety measures you identify.
The end product of your Fire Safety Team’s efforts should be a
recommended action program to prevent men from being burned while
fighting forest, grass, and brush fires.
We reviewed pertinent available material on:
Casualty causing fires of the past ten years.
The work of the 1957 Fire Task Force in analyzing casualty causing
fires of the previous twenty years and the resulting action program.
Fire Safety progress made since 1957.
Ideas from these several sources were catalogued, combined, and fully
discussed by the Fire Safety Team.
REVIEW OF FIRE FATALITIES
In reviewing the records for the past 30 years on the casualty-causing
fires, there have been 27 tragedy fires on the National Forests in which
109 men lost their lives by burning. Thirteen of these fires, with a
loss of 42 lives by burning, have occurred in the past eleven years.
Usually the factors involved in these fires were unexpected fire behavior
coupled with flashy fuels and critical fire danger. Downhill line operations
were involved in the Loop, Inaja,
and Silver Creek fires. On the Loop and Inaja
fires “chimneys” further complicated the situation. Most of our recommendations
are pertinent to these subjects.
For a list of tragedy fires of the last 30 years, see Appendix
3. For an analysis of principal factors common to major
tragedy fires in the last 60 years, see appendix
The greatest opportunity to prevent these tragedies lies in the management
and organizing on the job to insure and require the use of what we already
know and what we already have.
continue reading—1967 Task Force Report, Downhill Line Operations
and “Chimneys” >>>