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Have You Used Anchor and Hold in a Wildfire Conflagration?

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  • Have You Used Anchor and Hold in a Wildfire Conflagration?

    We had a rash of wildfires over the last few years. We lost over 700 homes in San Bernardino, CA alone in 2003. We coined the phrase "Anchor and Hold" during our urban conflagration. It was the only thing that stopped it from running even deeper into the city.

    With everything that that burned during 2007, did anyone else out there find themselves switching over to this strategy from "Bump and Run?"
    For those of us on the West Coast.....
    www.westcoast911.com

  • #2
    For those of us without crowning forest fires, could you define the two methods?
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

    Comment


    • #3
      Have You Used Anchor and Hold?? - Urban Conflagration

      Originally posted by nmfire View Post
      For those of us without crowning forest fires, could you define the two methods?
      The "Anchor and Hold" tactic is not really pertaining to forest fires, but rather an urban conflagration. You see, in 2003 and 2007 we had significant wildfires that were fanned by Foehn (Santa Ana's) winds.

      The fires started in the foothills and then were pushed into the city's urban areas. A great example of the event is on video here: http://drama911.com/fire-videos/

      Traditional urban interface wildland firefighting teaches us to "bump and run". We evaluate structures, and if they appear to be losers, we press on to other neighborhoods and do structure protection.

      In an urban interface area, performing "bump and run" to the T, would allow a conflagration to get too far pushed into the city. Our fire started in the foothills, and pushed 30 blocks into neighborhoods. We fought fire for 36 hours straight with few strike teams coming to our aid.

      I only pose this Thread question because after American Heat filmed our story, I came across many naysayers in the Fire Service that discredit these tactics. But those that do probably have never been in a full blown conflagration.
      For those of us on the West Coast.....
      www.westcoast911.com

      Comment


      • #4
        With your anchor and hold tactics, what are you using for your anchorpoint?
        What natural or man made barriers are you using, what is the topography, what is your ingress and egress like. Just a few things to think of.

        This strategy may work some of the time and some times you may have to cut your losses and move on. Firefighter safety 1st
        Fight fire aggrressively having provided for Safety first.

        Comment


        • #5
          Give us a little more detail, Do you burn out as you go (ie bring the fire with you ) -- or do you start on a flank and hold a house till the till the danger passes then move down ? Sounds like you a using a very regional term.
          ?

          Comment


          • #6
            Have You Used Anchor & Hold?

            Originally posted by slackjawedyokel View Post
            Give us a little more detail, Do you burn out as you go (ie bring the fire with you ) -- or do you start on a flank and hold a house till the till the danger passes then move down ? Sounds like you a using a very regional term.
            In the urban interface areas, the traditional bump and run/structure triage rules still apply. But once the fire has come down off the mountains/foothills and is pushing into established neighborhood or tract homes, we then lay in an anchor point at fire plug and stop the conflagration of houses burning.
            Here is video of what it looked like http://drama911.com/fire-videos/

            We drove down many streets where dozens of houses in a row were burning, and basically concentrated our efforts on putting out the last home in line.

            Classic wildland firefighting lessons conflict with these tactics, since once a home is on fire, you are supposed to "write it off" or label it a "loser".

            When the firestorm of 2003 hit. I was told by many of the old guys that this was a "once in a career fire". But we had another one in our city in 2007.

            I know that regionally, things are different for many firefighters, but I was wondering if anyone else out there had ever changed over from the bump and run tactics to an Anchor and Hold approach.
            For those of us on the West Coast.....
            www.westcoast911.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Drama911dotcom View Post
              I know that regionally, things are different for many firefighters, but I was wondering if anyone else out there had ever changed over from the bump and run tactics to an Anchor and Hold approach.
              ...and at the same time, promote your website and generate hits! Sheer genius, man...

              But we should expect no less from the "RealManofGenius", right?
              My opinions might coincide with someone of importance's POV... I wouldn't know, since I never bothered to ask. My policy is: "Don't ask, don't care."

              IACOJ--West Coast PITA

              Comment


              • #8
                So anchor and hold --- is basically going to the leading edge(house) and catching a plug and fighting the last house on fire. Sounds pretty much like attacking from the unburned. Thats been the tactics in towns and cities since the days of bucket brigades.
                How bout :Anchor -- flank - and spank ? Ever used that?
                ?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by slackjawedyokel View Post
                  So anchor and hold --- is basically going to the leading edge(house) and catching a plug and fighting the last house on fire. Sounds pretty much like attacking from the unburned. Thats been the tactics in towns and cities since the days of bucket brigades.
                  How bout :Anchor -- flank - and spank ? Ever used that?
                  Or, while we're coining corny catchphrases--instead of "retreat" or "cut and run", how bout "Anchors aweigh, live to fight another day"???

                  No? Damn, back to the drawing board...
                  My opinions might coincide with someone of importance's POV... I wouldn't know, since I never bothered to ask. My policy is: "Don't ask, don't care."

                  IACOJ--West Coast PITA

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by the1141man View Post
                    Or, while we're coining corny catchphrases--instead of "retreat" or "cut and run", how bout "Anchors aweigh, live to fight another day"???

                    No? Damn, back to the drawing board...
                    I am not sure why all the animosity. My community doesn't have near the Urban-interface problem that SoCal does, but last year we had 2 30,000+acre fires within 5 miles of the town center. It caused a lot of heartburn and anxiety for a lot people around here.

                    The traditional bump and run tactics that the BLM and the US Forest Service encourage us to use aren't very popular when people understand them.

                    We have done things that sound similar to your anchor and hold tactic. We didn't have a name for it though. It was more like "put on your bunkers and scbas, we are not losing this house" tactic.

                    I don't know what to call it. I don't even know if this guy's tactic will be a final answer, but I think it is legitimate to have a reasonable discussion about wildland-urban interface tactics.

                    All that said, I don't think there is any magic bullet that will save homes in denser urban-interface areas (like SoCal) when the fire is being pushed by 50-60 mph winds. All you can do is get out of the way and be ready to pounce when the weather gives you a break.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      While your going to get different definitions on "Anchor and Hold" tactic. Like most of California your traditional "Bump and Run" is used alot. Especially w/ lack of resources.

                      One Strike Team I was on. We used what you call "Anchor and Hold" on a small subdivision w/ a few other Strike Team Companies. We were roughly 8 miles or so ahead of the front and was told basically we are going to hold it here. We also had Hand Crews, Air Support and firing out for this assignment.

                      For the most part it worked.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Anchor and Hold Controversy

                        Thanks for the feedback guys!
                        Besides a few derogatory comments, I think that this gives us something to think about regarding wildland interface.

                        I also want to emphasize that once a fire is burning a few blocks into neighborhoods away from the foothills, you are no longer dealing with the interface problem but rather an "Urban Conflagration". So changing your mindset can aid you in modifying your tactics.

                        Stay safe out there guys. It is all a brotherhood. Please post your experiences, especially if first-hand. Once we open our minds to learn from the experience of others, we can help keep each other safer while still performing stellar as Firefighters.
                        For those of us on the West Coast.....
                        www.westcoast911.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          After reading you description and looking at other folk's videos on your site, I would say it is a NO GO, because it violates LCES and the 10 and 18.

                          I have also seen similar tactics used, with very poor results. Structures were still lost as well as one engine and two others damaged. Luckily no one was hurt.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by hailstoneMT View Post
                            After reading you description and looking at other folk's videos on your site, I would say it is a NO GO, because it violates LCES and the 10 and 18.

                            I have also seen similar tactics used, with very poor results. Structures were still lost as well as one engine and two others damaged. Luckily no one was hurt.
                            Just consider a tactical change once a wildfire is a few blocks deep into neighborhoods.........at that point it's an URBAN CONFLAGRATION. Use traditional bump and run methods, and the only thing that will stop it is when the wind dies. Check out the footage on the website closer and you will see that in many cases the fire has run blocks deep into neighborhoods.
                            For those of us on the West Coast.....
                            www.westcoast911.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by engineer2000 View Post
                              While your going to get different definitions on "Anchor and Hold" tactic. Like most of California your traditional "Bump and Run" is used alot. Especially w/ lack of resources.

                              One Strike Team I was on. We used what you call "Anchor and Hold" on a small subdivision w/ a few other Strike Team Companies. We were roughly 8 miles or so ahead of the front and was told basically we are going to hold it here. We also had Hand Crews, Air Support and firing out for this assignment.

                              For the most part it worked.
                              Key words highlighted.

                              Such an action is resource-intensive, both manpower and apparatus. One or two Engines hooked into the 2.5" outlets on a street corner hydrant probably aren't going to be very successful...

                              drama911:
                              As for derogatory comments--please. Tact is for those who lack the wit to comprehend sarcasm. I was just busting your nuts a bit... here, have a kleenex.
                              My opinions might coincide with someone of importance's POV... I wouldn't know, since I never bothered to ask. My policy is: "Don't ask, don't care."

                              IACOJ--West Coast PITA

                              Comment

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