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Fire Origins
Remember. Learn. Share.

On Protection of Towns from Fire — Benjamin Franklin, 1735

On Making Official History Honest — Kent Robert Greenfield, 1954

LCES—a Key to Safety in the Wildland Fire Environment — Paul Gleason, 1991

Attitude Check — Bill Fish, 1995

TriData Phase IV, “Developing a Cooperative Approach to Wildfire Protection” — Charles Perrow, 1998

Lessons From Thirtymile: Transition Fires And Fire Orders — Jerry Williams, 2001

Loop Fire Disaster Brief — November, 1966

1967 Task Force Report

2005 Fire Prevention and Safety grant application



MARCH 1967



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:

  1. Your team activities should be related to the program developed by the Fire Task Force of 1957 and the fire safety progress made since then.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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:

  1. Casualty causing fires of the past ten years.

  2. The work of the 1957 Fire Task Force in analyzing casualty causing fires of the previous twenty years and the resulting action program.

  3. Fire Safety progress made since 1957.

Ideas from these several sources were catalogued, combined, and fully discussed by the Fire Safety Team.


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 4.

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” >>>


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