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Colorado Firecamp - wildland firefighter training

Apply on-line now for Colorado Firecamp's upcoming S-212 Wildland Fire Chain Saws classes:

  • Mar. 30-Apr. 2, 2017
    (8:00 am Thur.  5:00 pm Sun.
    )
  • Apr. 13-16, 2017 or
    (8:00 am Thur.  5:00 pm Sun.
    )
  • May 4-7, 2017 or
    (8:00 am Thur.  5:00 pm Sun.)
  • May 22-25, 2017 or
    (8:00 am Mon.  5:00 pm Thur.
    )
  • June 12-15, 2017
    (8:00 am Mon..  5:00 pm Thur..)
  • July 6-9, 2017
    (8:00 am Thur.  5:00 pm Sun.)
  • Aug. 7-10, 2017
    (8:00 am Mon.  5:00 pm Thur.)
  • Aug. 24-27, 2017
    (8:00 am Thur.  5:00 pm Sun.)
  • Sept. 14-17, 2017
    (8:00 am Thur.  5:00 pm Sun.)

Cost: $625 includes tuition, meals & lodging.


What to Bring to Class

Job Hazard Analysis (JHA)


MTDC Chain Saw Training

Felling Boss Training


Little Grass Valley Tree Felling Accident FLA — August, 2009

Freeman Reservoir tree felling fatality, 72-hour report & OSHA citation — June, 2009

Storm Mountain Ranch tree felling accident, OSHA citation — May, 2009

Andrew Palmer Fatality, Dutch Creek Incident, — June, 2008

OSHA citations

Volusia County Tree Felling Fatality
Scene Pictures — November, 2007

Big Creek Fire Accident — August, 2006


NWCG Hazard Tree and Tree Felling Task Group — link to hazard tree safety information


USFS Region 2 letter to Sen. Udall, re: S-212 cutting area — June, 2009

CSFS Faller Qualification Guidelines — May, 2006

USFS Region 2 Chainsaw Policy — February, 2005

S-235 Felling Boss Training, Issue Paper #12 — January, 1996


Wildland Fire Chain Saw Glossary — S-212 Pre-course work


 

Appendix C: CHAIN SAW TECHNICAL REPORT

Technical Assessment of Accident Site

Due to the lack of eye-witness accounts, a number of key facts are unclear; therefore actual events have been pieced together from interview statements and evidence at scene. FC2 and FC3 are the only surviving witnesses to the accident and they have not granted interviews to the Serious Accident Investigation Team. While it is impossible to determine at this time who actually fell Tree 1, it is possible for experienced observers to read the stump, the lay of the felled tree, and the felling area to determine how the felling of Tree 1 set into motion the sequence of events that lead to FC1 being injured.

Starting at DP 17, EM-CAPT proceeded east along the dozer line cutting an undetermined number of hazard trees. When the crew members reached the accident site one of them proceeded to fall Tree 1. Tree 1 was 36.7” at the point of cut. The ponderosa pine, when examined, appeared to be green with no readily apparent defects that would have required it to be felled as a hazard tree.

The first step in a procedural approach to felling is to survey the tree to be felled and the felling area for any hazards. Tree 2 would have presented a considerable hazard to anyone upslope from its base.

Photo 1 Remaining portion of Tree 2
Photo 1 Remaining portion of Tree 2

The chainsaws EM-CAPT had with them had bar lengths of 28” and 32”; the diameter of Tree 1 at the point the cut was made was 36.7”. Regardless of which saw was used, the sawyer would have had to cut from both sides of the stump in order to complete the undercut. During this process, the sawyer experienced difficulty in obtaining a single plane, or hinge, across the diameter of the stump. This hinge is critical to the process that directs the tree into the undercut and the intended lay.

Photo 2 Undercut section of Tree 1
Photo 2 Undercut section of Tree 1

Closer inspection revealed that the sloping section of the undercut was not cleaned sufficiently as to provide a single plane across the diameter of the stump. The stump exhibits two distinct horizontal (gunning) cuts and two sloping cuts. Multiple Dutchmen that would have altered the holding wood were also present.

Due to the multiple horizontal (gunning) cuts and the multi-faceted sloping cut, it is impossible to accurately determine the exact intended lay of Tree 1; however it appears that the intended lay was to be downslope and to the left (looking downslope) of Tree 2 and 3. The sawyer made the decision that the undercut was completed sufficiently to direct Tree 1 into the intended lay, and proceeded with the backcut. As the backcut was initiated, it appears that the tree may have started to fall before the feller was able to get a sufficient amount of the holding wood cut.

The stump section of Tree 1 and pieces of the undercut section were removed from the site of the accident. Under controlled conditions the cutting sequence was recreated. Photos three and four show the stump of Tree 1 with a saw in place to illustrate the multiple gunning cuts.

Photo 3 Stump of Tree 1 with saw illustrating multiple gunning cuts.
Photo 3 Stump of Tree 1 with saw illustrating multiple gunning cuts.

Photo 4 Stump of Tree 1 with saw illustrating multiple gunning cuts.
Photo 4 Stump of Tree 1 with saw illustrating multiple gunning cuts.

Photo 5 Backcut section of Tree 1
Photo 5 Backcut section of Tree 1

The large amount of holding wood (16” wide) left on the stump can be attributed to Tree 1 starting to fall earlier than expected due to a heavy sidehill lean or a large amount of limb weight. Because of the interaction of the multi-faceted undercut, the Dutchmen present in the undercut and the heavy lean, the tree fell in a sidehill direction, possibly as much as 20 to 40 degrees to the right of the intended lay.

Photo 6 Butt section of Tree 1 showing excessive holding wood, two gunning cuts and Dutchmen
Photo 6 Butt section of Tree 1 showing excessive holding wood, two gunning cuts and Dutchmen

As Tree 1 fell, it is possible that it contacted Tree 3, breaking it off approximately 85’ from the ground. (Statement: CRWB1 [E-10]; MOI: FAL1[F-20] )

As Tree 1 continued to fall, it is possible that it contacted the bole or a limb of Tree 2. It was this contact, or the vibration from Tree 1 hitting the ground, that caused an approximately 120’ section of the severely weakened Tree 2 to break off 16’ from the ground and fall upslope.

Photo 7 Tree 1 in foreground, Tree 2 is partially obscured in smoke. Bole of Tree 1 is on left and bole of Tree 2 is on right. Smaller stump was cut after accident.
Photo 7 Tree 1 in foreground, Tree 2 is partially obscured in smoke. Bole of Tree 1 is on left and bole of Tree 2 is on right. Smaller stump was cut after accident.

When this section of Tree 2 hit the ground it broke into at least five pieces. It was a section approximately 8’ long and 20” in diameter that impacted FC1 causing severe injuries.

Photo 8 Section of tree 2 that impacted FC 1
Photo 8 Section of tree 2 that impacted FC 1

It is highly probable that a large cloud of ash and dust was generated when Tree 1 hit the ground. This would have obscured any debris falling toward FC1. Based on the location of the broken pieces of Tree 2 and the known location of FC1 after the accident it was likely that a section of Tree 2, over 8’ in length and approximately 20” in diameter, impacted FC1, causing severe injuries.

Photo 9 Injury site - section of Tree 2 that likely impacted FC1 is in foreground, stump of Tree 1 is in background.
Photo 9 Injury site - section of Tree 2 that likely impacted FC1 is in foreground, stump of Tree 1 is in background.

The injury site is 35 feet from Tree 1. It is unknown what escape route the faller used and where the faller was when Tree 2 fell upslope. It is also unknown as to why FC1 was in such close proximity to the tree when it fell.

Photo 10 Tree 5 located next to FC1’s injury location
Photo 10 Tree 5 located next to FC1’s injury location


<<< continue reading—Dutch Creek Incident Investigation Report
Appendix C, Chain Saw Technical Report, Findings, Recommendations, Policy>>>

 


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