NFR Yarnell Hill Fire- Meteorological Lessons from Cliff Mass

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by wadin' boot, Jul 3, 2013.

  1. wadin' boot Donny, you're out of your element...

    Posts: 2,046
    Wallingford, WA
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    A while back, maybe 10 years ago now a sudden fire burst through Chewach Canyon at 30 mile and killed a bunch of fire crews here in the Pacific NW. That fire has haunted me for a while. The news of the Yarnell fire deaths were surprising, a crew of elite firefighters killed, 19 of em, and are perhaps more frightening. At least until you start figuring why. Cliff Mass's recent blog entry on this is very good reading if you're in a fire prone area, particularly one facing the threat of thunderstorms or in rough terrain. Really is a must read ...

    http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/
    c1eddy likes this.
  2. Flyborg Active Member

    Posts: 2,313
    Kalama, WA
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    He raises a good question. Do meteorologists work these fires?
  3. Kcahill Active Member

    Posts: 894
    Renton, WA
    Ratings: +262 / 2
    There are people with training and that are practiced in atmospheric sciences but as far as someone with a meteorologist title I am not sure, the DNR might have a few.
  4. Bob Anderson Member

    Posts: 49
    Preston, WA
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    My sister-in-law is HR in Prescott. She hired several and knew all the decedents. She's devastated, as is the town.
  5. Citori Piscatorial Engineer

    Posts: 1,208
    Federal Way, WA
    Ratings: +121 / 0
    It was 19 years ago, one week from the day of the Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew incident that the Storm King deaths occurred. A very dark day for the friends and families of them as well. Boot's admonition is valid, and I am sending the link on to those I know in the business.
  6. obiwankanobi Active Member

    Posts: 1,313
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    Having been on many fires, no meteorologist is on hand to determine what the day's weather might bring. Usually, you have an indication of what the conditons are from the radio reports from the heliocopter spotters above and the updates that come through from headquarters. I was a sawyer on the line so many of the commands I would not hear and it was the duty of others to inform me.

    It doesn't surprise me that this type of incident occurred since with dry groundfuels and a sporadic wind change, even the most trained firefighters would have been in severe fire danger. You hope to have an evacuation plan in place at all times but a shift in the fire pattern could cut that off and leave you having to resort to deploying your shelter.
  7. Jim Paget Active Member

    Posts: 100
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    Last week we drove through some of the Twentynine Mile fire. The sheer scale of the burn is unbelievable. We could see where they had tried to create fire breaks along the FS roads but with no success. We could not find any words to describe what we were seeing. It was with a profound sense of relief when we got far enough east to start seeing (live) standing timber.
  8. David Prutsman All men are equal before fish

    Posts: 322
    Woodland Park, Colorado
    Ratings: +25 / 0
    Meteorologists do work some fires, but not all fires. It would be impossible to put a meteorologist on every fire that starts, especially meteorologists who understand how their field applies to fire behavior. I will venture to say that most wildland fire fighters understand meteorology better than 99% percent of lay people out there. At the beginning of ever fire season, certified wildland fire fighters must take a "refresher course" in which weather behavior is touched upon. Additionally, most fire fighters take advanced weather courses (S-290 Intermediate Wildland Fire Behavior) to understand how to obtain their own weather data in the field and how it is to be interpreted. On many large, established incidents, the current weather is called out over the radio every hour on the hour. There are other standards in the wildland arena which help to keep fire fighters safe; LCES (lookouts, communication, escape routes, safety zones) and the ten standard fire fighting orders.

    I am sure we will find in the coming weeks and months that the weather was one of many contributing factors to this tragic incident.