International Journal of Wildland Fire International Journal of Wildland Fire Society
Journal of the International Association of Wildland Fire
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Wildland firefighter entrapment avoidance: modelling evacuation triggers

Gregory K. Fryer A , Philip E. Dennison A B and Thomas J. Cova A

A Department of Geography and Center for Natural and Technological Hazards, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA.

B Corresponding author. Email: dennison@geog.utah.edu

International Journal of Wildland Fire 22(7) 883-893 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WF12160
Submitted: 28 September 2012  Accepted: 28 March 2013   Published: 23 July 2013

Abstract

Wildland firefighters are often called on to make tactical decisions under stressful conditions in order to suppress a fire. These decisions can be hindered by human factors such as insufficient knowledge of surroundings and conditions, lack of experience, overextension of resources or loss of situational awareness. One potential tool for assisting fire managers in situations where human factors can hinder decision-making is the Wildland–Urban Interface Evacuation (WUIVAC) model, which models fire minimum travel times to create geographic trigger buffers for evacuation recommendations. Utilising multiple combinations of escape routes and fire environment inputs based on the 2007 Zaca fire in California, USA, we created trigger buffers for firefighter evacuations on foot, by engine and by heavy mechanised equipment (i.e. bulldozer). Our primary objective was to examine trigger buffer sensitivity to evacuation mode and expected weather and fuel conditions. Evacuation travel time was the most important factor for determining the size and extent of modelled trigger buffers. For the examined scenarios, we show that WUIVAC can provide analytically driven, physically based triggers that can assist in entrapment avoidance and ultimately contribute to firefighter safety.


References

Alexander ME, Thomas DA (2004) Forecasting wildland fire behavior: aids, guides, and knowledge-based protocols. Fire Management Today 64, 4–11.

Alexander ME, Mutch RW, Davis KM, Bucks CM (2012) Wildland fires: dangers and survival. In ‘Wilderness Medicine’, 6th edn. (Ed. PS Auerbach) pp. 240–280.(Elsevier: Philadelphia, PA)

Anderson HE (1983) Predicting wind-driven wildland fire size and shape. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Research Paper INT-305. (Ogden, UT)

Anguelova Z, Stow DA, Kaiser J, Dennison PE, Cova T (2010) Integrating fire behavior and pedestrian mobility models to assess potential risk to humans from wildfires within the US–Mexico border zone. The Professional Geographer 62, 230–247.
Integrating fire behavior and pedestrian mobility models to assess potential risk to humans from wildfires within the US–Mexico border zone.CrossRef | open url image1

Bachmann A, Allgöwer B (2002) Uncertainty propagation in wildland fire behaviour modelling. International Journal of Geographical Information Science 16, 115–127.
Uncertainty propagation in wildland fire behaviour modelling.CrossRef | open url image1

Baxter G, Alexander M, Dakin G (2004) Travel rates of Alberta wildland firefighters using escape routes on a moderately steep slope. In ‘Advantage’, vol. 5, number 25. (Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada) Available at http://training.nwcg.gov/pre-courses/S390/Advantage%20Article.pdf [Verified 20 May 2013]

Beighley M (1995) Beyond the safety zone: creating a margin of safety. Fire Management Notes 55, 21–24.

Butler BW, Cohen JD (1998a) Firefighter safety zones: a theoretical model based on radiative heating. International Journal of Wildland Fire 8, 73–77.
Firefighter safety zones: a theoretical model based on radiative heating.CrossRef | open url image1

Butler BW, Cohen JD (1998b) Firefighter safety zones: how big is big enough? Fire Management Notes 58, 13–16.

Butler BW, Cohen JD, Putnam T, Bartlette RA, Bradshaw LS (2000) A method for evaluating the effectiveness of firefighter escape routes. In ‘2000 International Wildfire Safety Summit’, 8–10 October 2000, Edmonton, AB, Canada. (Eds BW Butler and K Shannon) pp. 42–53. (International Association of Wildland Fire: Montana City, MT)

Cal-Fire (2007) Zaca fire incident information. Available at http://cdfdata.fire.ca.gov/incidents/incidents_details_info?incident_id=190 [Verified 13 August 2012]

Cheney P, Gould J, McCaw L (2001) The dead-man zone – a neglected area of firefighter safety. Australian Forestry 64, 45–50.
The dead-man zone – a neglected area of firefighter safety.CrossRef | open url image1

Cook R (2003) Show Low, Arizona, inferno: evacuation lessons learned in the Rodeo–Chedeski fire. National Fire Protection Association Journal 97, 10–14.

Cook J (2004) Trends in wildland fire fatalities. USDA Forest Service National Fire Operations Safety Information Briefing Paper. National Interagency Fire Center. Available at http://www.wildfirelessons.net/documents/entrapment_fatality_trends_1933_2003_cook_june_2004.pdf [Verified 13 August 2012]

Cova TJ, Dennison PE, Kim TH, Moritz MA (2005) Setting wildfire evacuation trigger points using fire spread modeling and GIS. Transactions in GIS 9, 603–617.
Setting wildfire evacuation trigger points using fire spread modeling and GIS.CrossRef | open url image1

Cova TJ, Drews FA, Siebeneck LK, Musters A (2009) Protective actions in wildfires: evacuate or shelter-in-place? Natural Hazards Review 10, 151–162.
Protective actions in wildfires: evacuate or shelter-in-place?CrossRef | open url image1

Cova TJ, Dennison PE, Drews FA (2011) Modeling evacuate versus shelter-in-place decisions in wildfires. Sustainability 3, 1662–1687.
Modeling evacuate versus shelter-in-place decisions in wildfires.CrossRef | open url image1

Crosby JS, Chandler CC (1966) Get the most from your windspeed observation. Fire Control Notes 27, 12–13.

Cruz MG (2010) Monte Carlo-based ensemble method for prediction of grassland fire spread. International Journal of Wildland Fire 19, 521–530.
Monte Carlo-based ensemble method for prediction of grassland fire spread.CrossRef | open url image1

Dakin G (2002) Ground rates of travel by fire crews using escape routes: an interim report. In ‘Advantage’, vol. 3, number X. (Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada) Available at http://wildfire.fpinnovations.ca/73/Advantage_Report.pdf [Verified 20 May 2013]

Davis KP (1959) ‘Forest Fire, Control and Use.’ (McGraw-Hill: New York).

Dennison PE, Cova TJ, Moritz MA (2007) WUIVAC: a wildland–urban interface evacuation trigger model applied in strategic wildfire scenarios. Natural Hazards 41, 181–199.
WUIVAC: a wildland–urban interface evacuation trigger model applied in strategic wildfire scenarios.CrossRef | open url image1

Dennison PE, Moritz MA, Taylor RS (2008) Evaluating predictive models of critical live fuel moisture in the Santa Monica Mountains, California. International Journal of Wildland Fire 17, 18–27.
Evaluating predictive models of critical live fuel moisture in the Santa Monica Mountains, California.CrossRef | open url image1

Dijkstra EW (1959) A note on two problems in connexion with graphs. Numerische Mathematik 1, 269–271.
A note on two problems in connexion with graphs.CrossRef | open url image1

Finney MA (2006) An overview of FlamMap fire modeling capabilities. In ‘Fuels Management – How to Measure Success: Conference Proceedings’, 28–30 March 2006, Portland, OR. (Eds PL Andrews, BW Butler) USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Proceedings RMRS-P-41, pp. 213–220. (Fort Collins, CO)

Forthofer J, Shannon K, Butler B (2009) Simulating diurnally driven slope winds with WindNinja. In ‘Proceedings of 8th Symposium on Fire and Forest Meteorological Society’, 13–15 October 2009, Kalispell, MT, USA. pp. 13–15. (American Meteorological Society: Boston, MA)

Greenlee J, Greenlee D (2003) Trigger points and the rules of disengagement. Fire Management Today 63, 10–13.

Jimenez E, Hussaini MY, Goodrick S (2008) Quantifying parametric uncertainty in the Rothermel model. International Journal of Wildland Fire 17, 638–649.
Quantifying parametric uncertainty in the Rothermel model.CrossRef | open url image1

Keeley JE, Safford H, Fotheringham CJ, Franklin J, Moritz M (2009) The 2007 southern California wildfires: lessons in complexity. Journal of Forestry 107, 287–296.

Larsen JC, Dennison PE, Cova TJ, Jones C (2011) Evaluating dynamic wildfire evacuation trigger buffers using the 2003 Cedar Fire. Applied Geography 31, 12–19.
Evaluating dynamic wildfire evacuation trigger buffers using the 2003 Cedar Fire.CrossRef | open url image1

Mangan R (2007) Wildland firefighter fatalities in the United States: 1990–2006. National Wildfire Coordinating Group, Safety and Health Working Team, National Interagency Fire Center, NWCG PMS 841. (Boise, ID)

McDaniel J (2007) The Zaca fire: Bridging fire science and management. Available at http://www.wildfirelessons.net/Additional.aspx?Page=110 [Verified 13 August 2012]

McKelvey K, Busse K (1996) Twentieth century fire patterns on forest service lands. Sierra Nevada Ecosystems Project, Final Report to Congress. University of California. pp. 119–38. (Davis, CA)

McLennan J, Holgate AM, Omodei MM, Wearing AJ (2006) Decision making effectiveness in wildfire incident management teams. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management 14, 27–37.
Decision making effectiveness in wildfire incident management teams.CrossRef | open url image1

Munson S (2000) Wildland firefighter entrapments: 1976–1999. USDA Forest Service, Missoula Technology and Development Center, Technical Report 0051–2853-MTDC. (Missoula, MT)

National Interagency Fire Center (2008) Historical wildland fire fatality statistics. Available at http://www.nifc.gov/safety/reports/year.pdf [Verified 13 August 2012]

NWCG (2004) Fireline handbook. National Wildfire Coordinating Group, PMS 410–1, NFES 0065. pp. 92–93. (Boise, ID)

NWCG (2010) Incident Response Pocket Guide. National Wildfire Coordinating Group,PMS 461, NFES 1077. pp. 86–87. (Boise, ID)

Putnam T (1995) Findings from the Wildland Firefighters Human Factors Workshop – improving wildland firefighter performance under stressful, risky conditions: toward better decisions on the fireline and more resilient organizations. USDA Forest Service, Missoula Technology and Development Center, Technical Report 9551–2855-MTDC. (Missoula, MT)

Pyne SJ (2001) ‘Year of the Fires: the Story of the Great Fires of 1910.’ (Viking Press: New York)

Reeves MC, Ryan KC, Rollins MG, Thompson TG (2009) Spatial fuel data products of the LANDFIRE Project. International Journal of Wildland Fire 18, 250–267.
Spatial fuel data products of the LANDFIRE Project.CrossRef | open url image1

Rollins MG (2009) LANDFIRE: a nationally consistent vegetation, wildland fire, and fuel assessment. International Journal of Wildland Fire 18, 235–249.
LANDFIRE: a nationally consistent vegetation, wildland fire, and fuel assessment.CrossRef | open url image1

Rothermel RC (1972) A mathematical model for predicting fire spread in wildland fuels. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Research Paper INT-115. (Ogden, UT)

Ruby BC, Leadbetter GW, Armstrong DW, Gaskill SE (2003) Wildland firefighter load carriage: effects on transit time and physiological responses during simulated escape to safety zone. International Journal of Wildland Fire 12, 111–116.
Wildland firefighter load carriage: effects on transit time and physiological responses during simulated escape to safety zone.CrossRef | open url image1

Scott JH, Burgan RE (2005) Standard fire behavior fuel models: a comprehensive set of fuel models for use with Rothermel’s surface fire spread model. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, General Technical Report RMRS GTR-153. (Fort Collins, CO)

Stephens SL (2005) Forest fire causes and extent on United States Forest Service lands. International Journal of Wildland Fire 14, 213–222.
Forest fire causes and extent on United States Forest Service lands.CrossRef | open url image1

Taynor J, Klein GA, Thordsen M (1987) Distributed decision making in wildland firefighting. Klein Associates Inc., KATR-858[A]-04F (Yellow Springs, OH)

Tobler W (1993) Three presentations on geographical analysis and modeling: 1) non-isotropic modeling, 2) speculations on the geometry of geography, 3) global spatial analysis. Technical Report 93–1. (National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis) Available at http://www.ncgia.ucsb.edu/Publications/Tech_Reports/93/93-1.PDF [Verified 13 August 2012]

USFA-NFPA (2002) A needs assessment of the US fire service: a cooperative study authorized by US Public Law 106–398. FEMA, US Fire Administration, National Fire Protection Association International. (Washington, DC)

Westerling AL, Hidalgo HG, Cayan DR, Swetnam TW (2006) Warming and earlier spring increase Western US forest wildfire activity. Science 313, 940–943.
Warming and earlier spring increase Western US forest wildfire activity.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DC%2BD28XotFCitbo%3D&md5=308417c344ec067b31725c73724340afCAS | 16825536PubMed | open url image1

Zhang J, Goodchild MF (2002) ‘Uncertainty in Geographical Information.’ (Taylor and Francis: London)



Export Citation