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Point Fire, 1995
Island Fork Fire, 1999

Point Fire Case Study

Point Fire Accident Investigation

A. Point Fire Overview

B. Investigation

C. Recommendations

D. Supporting Data

  • Sequence of Events
  • Organization Charts
  • Site Investigation
  • Fire Behavior Report
  • Property Damage Report
  • Witness Statements
  • Outline of Kuna Wildland Training Provided by BLM

E. Records and Reports

  • Preplanned Dispatch
  • BLM Radio Transmission Log
  • Ada County Dispatch Log
  • Fire Incident Status Summary
  • Escaped Fire Situation Analysis
  • Wildland Fire Entrapment Report
  • Technical Analysis of Personal Protective Equipment
  • Vehicle Inspection
  • Weather Reports

F. Glossary


Island Fork Fire Accident Investigation


Island Fork Fire, NIOSH Report

Point Fire — U.S. District Court Civil Case

Ruling on I.C.'s Decisions - Nov. 10, 1998
 • Factual Background
 • Legal Analysis

Ruling on BLM Liability - Feb. 19, 1999
Findings of Fact
 • Legal Standards
 • Analysis

Ruling on Public Safety Officer Benefits (PSOB)


Surviving Fire Entrapments


Colorado Firecamp extends special thanks to Linda Perkins, BLM Idaho State FOIA Coordinator, for her friendly assistance in gathering the Point Fire documents. BLM FOIA Letter



Point Fire Overview

Date of Incident: July 28, 1995
Time of Incident: 1829 MDT
Incident Name: Point Fire
Legal Description of Location: T1N R1W Section 35 SE1/4 NW1/4

Late in the afternoon of July 28, 1995, thunderstorms began to move into southwestern Idaho from northern Nevada. The thunderstorms produced little or no moisture, and the lightning associated with them sparked dozens of wildfires.

At 1829, the Danskin Lookout reported a wildfire northeast of Initial Point, about 16 miles southwest of Boise, Idaho. The wildfire was also reported by several citizens and the Ada County Dispatch Center. At 1831, the Bureau of Land Management’s Boise District Dispatch sent the “Wild West” Unit to the wildfire. The Wild West Unit consists of two “type 4X” wildland engines (Engine 67 and Salmon District Engine 425) and a “type 6X” slip-on. The crew boss, [————] [————], drove to the wildfire in a Suburban.

More resources soon were dispatched. BLM’s “Unit C” included three “type 4X” engines (Engine 09, Engine 83 and Boise National Forest Engine E-61) and a Suburban driven by unit leader [————] [————]. Additionally, one “type 2” water tender and a transport with a bulldozer were sent.

The Wild West Unit was the first to arrive on the scene at about 1900. Crew boss [————] assumed the role of Incident Commander (IC).

The Point Fire was actively burning in sagebrush and cheatgrass with moderate rates of spread and 3 to 5 foot flame lengths along the flanks. Because of higher-than-normal spring moisture, cheatgrass growth was especially dense, estimated in excess of 3,000 pounds per acre. Mature sagebrush from 3 to 4 feet high also added to the fuel load. The fire size when the Wild West Unit arrived was estimated at 60 to 65 acres. Winds were generally from the west at 4 to 6 miles per hour.

[————] was contacted by Boise BLM Dispatch and asked if the Kuna Rural Fire District (Kuna RFD) was on the scene. [————] said that he had not seen any rural fire department equipment or personnel. [————] was then contacted by Kuna Fire Chief [————] [————] and asked if assistance was needed. The BLM IC replied that he could use a brush truck and a water tender. At 1907, [————] radioed Ada County Dispatch and requested three vehicles to respond. Kuna Engine 620, a 1,500 gallon brush truck, Kuna Engine 622, a 1,750 gallon brush truck, and a 2,500 gallon water tender (625) responded. The Kuna vehicles departed from their fire stations at 1911 for the wildfire.

The Wild West Unit arrived at the southeast corner of the wildfire on Swan Falls Road, a two-lane paved road running north-south. Its initial strategy was to keep the fire from crossing Swan Falls Road to the east, and to minimize the loss of resources and property in the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area. (See Map #1.) The IC tactically positioned the type 6X slip-on along Swan Falls Road. The assignment was to burn out along the road to keep the fire from crossing it. Engine 67 and 425 followed the IC to an area near the fire’s point of origin at the southwest corner.

The engine crews were instructed to anchor and split up and directly attack the flanks, using water pumper through their hoses, called “live reels.” Engine 425 worked the southern flank east toward Swan Falls Road, while Engine 67 worked the northern flank eastward, also toward Swan Falls Road. Shortly after the flanking operation began, the BLM dozer arrived and was assigned to work the southern flank, constructing a line behind Engine 425 to the east.

A helicopter departed the Boise airport at 1857 enroute to the Point Fire. The helicopter picked up the IC for a reconnaissance flight. During the flight, BLM Unit C arrived on the scene along Swan Falls Road. Two of the Unit C engines, 61 and 83, were assigned to directly attack the northern flank, west from Swan Falls Road. Engine 09 was sent to directly attack the southern flank west from Swan Falls Road. [————] , the Unit C leader, assisted the type 6X Wild West slip-on with securing Swan Falls Road.

Kuna RFD Engines 620, 622 and 625 arrived just behind Unit C at about 1930. The brush trucks were assigned to work behind Engines 61 and 83. [————] [————], the Kuna [————], came to the scene on Engine 620 and was dropped off on Swan Falls Road at Tender 625 to act a Kuna Command, as directed by [————] [————].

In the early stages of the fire, the two Kuna RFD engines and two BLM engines worked the north flank of the fire.

Shortly thereafter, Engine 61 and Engine 83 began flanking the north line, working west from Swan Falls Road. Kuna 620 and 622 drove around them in tandem and 620 began working a flare-up on the fire line, using nozzles attached to the front bumper while driving next to the fire’s edge. Engine 622 trailed Engine 620, conserving water. (See map #2.)

Map #2

At 2010, [————] stated that engines on both flanks had met and the spread of the fire had been stopped. He estimated the size of the fire at 120 acres. The dozer continued working the southern edge toward Swan Falls Road.

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