Local Lingo: Fire Categories

I am (slowly) learning the local ways around my new home and the firefighting terms used lately.  I thought I would share this article with you so we all can understand the Ramsey Fire updates as they are posted at  The Pine Tree  … I will be looking for them throughout the day, for the obvious reason. I will not be posting each update on this blog, however, if you are interested in Arnold, or it’s surrounding communities in the Sierra Nevada foothills, John Hamilton will keep y’all up to date. Just click  HERE and bookmark it.

A Bit of Fire Lingo for You (Posted by: John_Hamilton on 08/16/2012 09:08 AM)
Ganns Meadow, CA…With the Ramsey Fire there has been quite a bit of interest in the how the USFS categorizes fires. This was sent to us and contains some great information. A single tree would be a Type 5 incident – a truck goes out and monitors or puts it out. Type three teams will have some air support, maybe a hot shot crew or two (Type 1 ‘Elite’ firefighters) , some engines and maybe one or two Type 2 hand crews (less skilled than Hot Shot crews, but still skilled). The Forest has evaluated the local weather, fire behavior and resources at risk in the local area and determined a Type II Incident Management Team is in order. When the Forest “threw the switch” for a Type II team, trailers for offices, a portable mess hall, supplies for a supply cache, porta potties, hand washing units and other necessary items for a “Project Fire” were mobilized. A special group of “Overhead” management staff have also been called, people who’ve spent their careers working to fill jobs on Incident Management teams.

The team will be communicating with the ‘North Operations Center’ (North Ops) in Redding as they evaluate the fire further and begin requesting fire fighters from across the country. They will divide the fire into Divisions or Branches and members of the Team will be assigned to manage each Division of the fire.

The big fire is being broken down into management units and each unit will be staffed with necessary resources to meet the management objectives of the Forest. Since this is human caused, it will be full suppression – the fire will be surrounded with fire line, crews will try keeping the fire inside the line, and when it cools off, the fire will be mopped up 200 – 250 feet inside the line by those Type 2 and Type 3 crews, it will be contained a portion at a time, and finally controlled.

If the fire turns into a Type I incident, that is a big one. The Type I team manages one or more Type 2 teams and all the complexity around a very large fire, the politicians showing up, vastly expanded media coverage, etc. If the fire goes Type I, pay very close attention to the news, wind directions, weather and your property.

Type 2 & Type I teams have Public Information Officers running an information “Trap Line,” a 24 -48 hour update of fire info to local media, posting maps and press releases in local businesses, arranging public meetings, making the world safe for dignitaries, managing TV and news reporters, etc. Find out where the trap line businesses are, and you will get the most up to date info possible, short of a Twitter feed, Inciweb is your next best source.

Ramsey Fire Map: Aug16th Morning Update
Ramsey Fire Map: Aug16th Morning Update

Ramsey Fire Morning Update…1,150 Acres, 30% Contained, One Way Traffic Control on Hwy 4 Through Fire Area

Posted by: John_Hamilton on 08/16/2012 08:54 AM
Ganns Meadow, CA…Today fire crews will continue with fire suppression efforts. Fire crews will be working on preparing an area along the southwestern edge of the fire near the Stanislaus River for planned burnout operation tonight and tomorrow morning depending on fire conditions. The burnout operation is being planned to help secure containment line along an area that is unsafe for fire crews to work in, due to steep terrain and standing dead trees. Steep terrain and limited access along the Stanislaus River is a major concern and are making direct line construction along the fire unsafe for crews.