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  • Esperanza fatalities greensheet?

    I heard the USFS released the greensheet on this late Friday. Anybody have a copy to post?

  • #2
    green sheet

    i will try and post one here... a sad time in the sbnf i worked there a few years back and had the privlage to meet and work wirh the engine capt mark... god speed


    • #3


      October 26, 2006


      CDF INCIDENT #CARRU-091190



      On October 26, 2006, five USFS firefighters were entrapped while engaged in structure protection operations on the Esperanza Fire in Riverside County, California. Three firefighters were killed at the scene, one died en-route to the hospital and the fifth died on 10/31/06. All deaths were the result of burns received at the incident.



      The fire was located in the San Jacinto Mountains in Riverside County. The burn over site was located on a prominent knob in a bowl, near the top of an “un-named” drainage. This drainage is located west of the Twin Pines Drainage and runs from the desert floor in a north east alignment with a rapid elevation increase to 3240’ above sea level.


      Area fuels were predominately continuous heavy Chaparral/Manzanita best described as Fire Behavior Fuel Model 4.


      A Red Flag Warning was in effect at the time due to “Santa Ana” wind conditions. Weather conditions were taken from the Beaumont RAWS.

      Date Time Temperature Relative Humidity Wind Speed Gusts Direction

      10/26 0110 60 F 5% 8 21 ENE
      10/26 0310 60 F 6% 8 20 ENE
      10/26 0510 59 F 6% 10 23 ENE
      10/26 0610 60 F 7% 13 26 E
      10/26 0710 57 F 8% 13 31 E
      10/26 0810 59 F 10% 15 -ND- E
      10/26 0910 62 F 10% 16 33 E


      Forecasted weather and the seasonally dry vegetation conditions categorized the fire with a high probability for large development. The fire produced a rapid rate of spread with extreme fire behavior conditions with wind dominancy. These conditions displayed increased spotting potential with flame lengths of up to 90 feet. A rate of spread of 20 mph was observed on level terrain. Wind and slope alignment produced a greater rate of spread to 40 mph which caused temperatures to exceed 1220 degrees Fahrenheit ahead of the fire front.

      The fire was in full alignment with wind and slope at the time of the burn over. The fire drastically increased in velocity due to the converging of forecasted winds out of the northeast and terrain effects. The fire environment dominated the atmosphere with area ignition conditions surrounding the fatality site. A convection column of up to 18,000 feet high occurred.


      (See attached detail map for visual representation)


      On Thursday October 26, 2006, at approximately 0111 HRS a fire was intentionally set on Esperanza Road at the bottom of a slope near the town of Cabazon, California in State Responsibility Area (SRA). It quickly spread southwest uphill toward State Highway 243 and the rural residential community of Twin Pines.

      Initial attack fire apparatus were dispatched from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF). At approximately 0123 HRS CDF/Riverside County Fire Medic Engine 24 arrives at the scene. Engine 24 assumes Esperanza Incident Command (IC) and reports that the fire is approximately 10 acres with a rapid rate of spread and is well established on the hillside. The IC advises the Perris Emergency Command Center (ECC) that the fire might have entered the United States Forest Service (USFS) direct fire protection area. At 0130 HRS, Perris IC requests five Type III Engines from the USFS. At approximately 0132 HRS, the first arriving CDF Battalion Chief arrives and assumes command. At approximately 0307 HRS, Esperanza IC is transferred to a CDF Division Chief. The IC reports that the fire is 500 acres plus and has reached the top of Cabazon Peak.

      Between 0330 - 0402 HRS, BDF Engines 51, 54, 56, 52 and 57 assemble at the Incident Command Post. The engines are instructed to respond to the Twin Pines area for structure protection. At approximately 0515 HRS, BDF Engines 52 and 57 arrived at Hwy 243 and Twin Pines Road and assigned to Branch II (Position held by a CDF Battalion Chief). They were given the assignment of evacuations and structure protection in the Gorgonio View Road and Wonderview Road area. BDF E57 and E52 access Wonderview Road directly from Twin Pines Road. At approximately 0550 HRS, BDF E52 arrived at a residential structure and identified an elderly woman that needed to be evacuated and are committed. BDF Engine 57 drove down Wonderview Road and turned right on Venison Road. BDF E57 stopped at 49550 Venison to check on a residential structure under construction, referred to as the “Tile Roof House”. The home was found to be empty. BDF E57 left the “Tile Roof House” and drove back to Wonderview Road until reaching the “T” intersection of Wonderview Road and Gorgonio View Road. BDF E57 then turns right and arrives at 15400 Gorgonio View Road. As the branch director drives south on Gorgonio View from Wonderview Road, he makes contact with BDF Engines 51, 54, 56 and March Brush 10 at a mobile home referred to as the “Double Wide”.

      At approximately 0620 HRS, the Branch Director meets with BDF E57 at 15400 Gorgonio View Road and discusses their plan, state of the weather, topographical features, locations of other resources, and safety zone.

      At an unknown point in time after the Branch Director left 15400 Gorgonio View Road, BDF E57’s crew deploys firefighting equipment. They deploy a portable pump at the swimming pool located to the west of the main residential structure and attach a 1 ½” hoseline which is laid out to the east side of the residence. A 1 ½” hoseline was attached to a rear discharge of BDF E57.

      At approximately 0640 HRS, the Branch Director contacts the Operations Section Chief (Position held by a CDF Battalion Chief) and the Twin Pines Structure Group leader to advise them of extreme fire spread upslope toward Twin Pines Ranch Road. He advises them to start evacuations at Poppet Flats.

      At approximately 0700 HRS, the fire burns up the Twin Pines Drainage and crosses HWY 243 south of Twin Pines Ranch Road and is described by the Branch Director as having very extreme fire behavior with multiple spot fires. At approximately 0710 HRS, the fire also established within the “un-named” drainage below 15400 Gorgonio View Road. Slope and wind alignment in conjunction with multiple spot fires which resulted in an area ignition event. These conditions developed a headfire run to the Northwest and to the ridgeline. The winds exceeded 50 mph during this event.

      The speed and intensity of this fire run overwhelmed the crew of BDF E57. At approximately 0745 HRS, a search for the crew of BDF E57 began. At approximately 0800 HRS, emergency medical treatment was rendered to the survivors.


      Three firefighters perished at the scene. One firefighter died en-route to the hospital and the fifth died on 10/31/06 from the injuries.

      A 2001 USDA Forest Service Fire Engine Type III Model 62 was completely destroyed by the passing fire front.


      • Lookouts, Communication, Escape Routes, Safety Zones
      • 10 Standard Firefighting Orders
      • 18 Situations That Shout Watch Out


      • Review Structure Protection Triage Procedures
      • Ensure all personnel are briefed on Fire Weather Watches & Red Flag Warnings
      • Review Structure Protection Tactics
      • Complete a Risk verses Gain Analysis while in an Wildland Urban Interface Operation


      • #4

        the engine captain was a buddy of mine rest in peace mark


        • #5
          The Firefighter Story - Esperanza Fire Awareness Report

          I am one of the coauthors of "The Firefighter Story" - contemporary fiction for young adults. The content of this story evaluates the effectiveness of Fire Danger and Red Flag warnings in terms of firefighter safety. Please take a look at a Fire Awareness report I generated. See link below.

          Why was the initial attack light? I think because Fire Danger wasn't high or extreme. What can be done to fine tune Fire Danger and Red Flag warnings for better fire preparedness? Should there be SUPER RED Flag warning when winds and humidity and fuel moistures combine to create explosive conditions? Based on these conditions should the initial attack been more extensive?

          For more information go to: www.qualityparks.org - Firefighter Story - Working Synopsis - or here directly:http://www.qualityparks.org/QP/FS/Wo...eranzaFire.doc


          • #6
            Mindy, what do you mean why was the initial attack light? They brought engines down from mid-state. They knew the wind conditions were coming and moved handcrews down as well. I will post the initial dispatch when I find it. My dept sent two engines the next morning. dozens and dozens of engines and crews and support were there. I dont understand what you are trying to say here..


            • #7
              After I re-read your post I may have an idea of where your mistake may be.
              You said "Why was the initial attack light?" It was not. The daily sitrep stated
              from the reporting office OSC "Light Initial Attack activity today". Several issues there. That was not from San Berdu Forest or Riverside Ranger unit, where the fire was. I dont know who OSC is.

              Second, light initial attack activity means just that. Not what initial resources are dispatched. Nothing to do with the esperansa fire. It means light initial attack activity, Just that. Few fires in that unit that required light activity. How you equate that to the Ezperansa fire is beyond me.

              There was a high or extreme fire danger as well as red flag warning that day. Where are you going with all this? All wildland resources in SoCal are keenly aware of the potential during santa ana wind events, to include the wind, humidity and fuel moisture combinations. People and equipment move down to this area. Days off are cancelled. Vacations are cancelled. Staffing hours are extended, etc, etc

              Do you know what the initial attack consisted of and what additional resources were called and when they were called? Maybe you should continue to write fiction and leave the forum alone. This is not the place to question anybody, any agency or any person.


              • #8

                OSC is the South Ops for the geographic SoCal area. They reported that for that day, there was light initial attack throughout the area, not that the initial attack on the esperansa fire was "light". that means few and small fire activity other than the esperansa fire that day.


                • #9
                  Where am I getting at? I am trying to understand what happened and why firefighter lives were lost. I am trying to discover if there is value to a Fire Awareness report done for Long Island in comparison to one done out west.

                  "There was a high or extreme fire danger as well as red flag warning that day." Who issued that information? Is it posted on the web? I was looking at the national fire danger rating posted for the whole country. They are not as good as local forecasts, but I couldn't find them on the web. Can you point me to the right local source?

                  I am also trying to find out what was the staffing class for that time period. California has 3 staffings (low, med, High) - High means a full strike team ( 5 engines, 2 air tankers, a air attak ship, 2 inmate... dozer and battalion chief...) - I am finding it hard to determine if these were the resources used. What was the staffing level?



                  • #10
                    Mindyblock, I take it you are trying to understand how we operate.

                    If that is the case I can give you a short version, response levels are based on "local" weather forcasts, typically local being roughly a county sized area of roughly similar geography and elevation. If we have a going fire we can get spot weather forcasts based on observations taken at the fire instead of a weather station several miles away.

                    Here is a website that lists the weather forcast areas, each of these is further broken down within the reports.


                    In most places during the fire season the appropriate weather report is read during the morning routine. the national weather service makes red flag warnings, however it should be mentioned that red flag warnings are so common during the fire season that they are really almost buisness as usual, just kind of an extra reminder to be careful.

                    The typical morning routine in my station consists of checking out the engine & equipment, reading the situation report (more later), current local weather, any special safety briefings, a safety topic of the day then physical training (hike, run etc).

                    The situation report from NICC (National Interagency Coordination Center), comes out daily during the season, it primarily shows what major fires are burning & where, the initial attack activity and the availability of resources (a rating from 1-5 based on how many resources are committed nation wide, the higher the number the less stuff is available for new fires).


                    you can find the link to the sit report in the upper left corner.

                    This site also links to the various GACCs (Geographic Area Coordination Centers), the SoCal GACC might interest you.

                    Initial attack activity is simply how many fires were attacked the day before, not the level of dispatch. You can have extreme conditions and high dispatch levels (lots of equipment sent to each start) but still have light initial attack activity if there are few fire starts.

                    Dispatch levels and response is determined locally through a formula based on weather, topography, fuel types, access etc.

                    The level (low, moderate, high) is based primarily on weather and fuel moisture. Taking my area as an example a low response is 1 engine for most areas, during a high response you may get 5 engines, 2 patrols, 2 hand crews, 1 air tanker, 2 helicopters and a dozer.

                    The response for a given area is also modified by local factors, an area with many homes will get a larger response than one in the wilderness, an area with little road access will get fewer engines but more hand crews and air resources than one with many roads. Areas with multiple jurisdictions will also get more resources since each agency contributes to the response.

                    The dispatch level and response is not the same across 1 jurisdiction let alone the state.

                    Time of day also plays a factor, the federal wildland agencies work an 8 hour day, a response at night means crews are being recalled from home. The Esperanza fire started at 1 am, the initial response would have been only local agency and CDF resources, the USFS crews would be recalled and sent as they arrived at the stations, also aircraft don't fly at night so all air resources would not get dispatched until sun rise. Both of these factors could make it look like there was a limited response.

                    Hope this answers your questions and helps you understand how we do things.
                    Last edited by NonSurfinCaFF; 11-15-2006, 05:49 PM.


                    • #11
                      Wow. Great information. Ahaa! Dispatch level is what I meant.

                      On Long Island, we use Fire Danger ratings and the Red Flag warnings. It gets confusing when one is saying there is a higher threat than the other but that is what is happening at this time.Both serve as a general heads up.

                      We had an unusal fire here in the spring when humdities dropped to the teens, which is low for us, and so I have been comparing this Brentwood Fire to the Eseranza Fire. I like what you said about red flag warnings being so common that they can become business as ususal. The suprisingly low humidities in both the Esperanza and Brentwood Fires would indicate a need for a third NWS class, (Fire Watch, Red Flag, SuperRed?).

                      Do you have an example of an actual dispatch level formula I can look at or is it more of an art than a science like Fire Danger predication is for us on Long Island?

                      - Mindy


                      • #12
                        that apple and that orange are both kinda round.


                        • #13
                          red flag warnings

                          What is the definition of a red flag warning. - mine is an Aussie approximation - Exteme care - preferably don't get in front of the main fire as you are going to get very uncomfortable, check typography, check water, check escape routes, check anchor points. - so what extra stuff are you going to do on a super red flag. The fact Red flag warnings are occuring more frequently is based on the the high fire weather we are both experiencing both in Aust and the USA. The fact it is the 10th red flag this season does not make it any less dangerous than the first.

                          yes they are all kinda round.
                          These views are my own and not of either my brigade or any other organisation.


                          • #14
                            Red Flag Warning:

                            A term used by fire-weather forecasters, to call attention to limited weather conditions of particular importance that may result in extreme burning conditions. A Red Flag Watch may be issued prior to the warning. The criteria for red flag events requires the combination of high to extreme fire danger and a critical fire weather pattern such as: dry lightning, low relative humidity, very dry and unstable air, and very strong/ shifting winds.
                            Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
                            Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

                            *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
                            On the web at www.section2wildfire.com


                            • #15
                              Dear Mindy, I used to be a firefighter on Long Island and was a participant in MANY Manorville Invites as well as the famed LI fires of 1995 (Westhampton Beach Fire). I have since moved to CA and now work for the CA Dept of Forestry and Fire (Riverside County Fire). The "fire weather index" used by KEG977 (I think they now call themselves "Fire-Com") is modeled exactly after the USFS Fire Weather Index. The calcuations are developed from standard S-390 fire behavior prediction calculations. Same as the USFS. You can download a copy of the local USFS Pocket card to Long Island and it will give you an estimate of the burn index, what kind of fire behavior, speed of the fire, flame lengths and much more info.


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