Dozers &The Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics, & Ecology


#1

AP Updated: 4:12 PM PDT Mar 14, 2019
By Paul Elias

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) —
An environmentalist group is questioning the use of bulldozers to fight major wildfires, saying they’re ineffective and leave lasting environmental damage.

The Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics, & Ecology organization released a report Thursday detailing bulldozer use during a Northern California wildfire in July. That fire killed eight people and destroyed 1,000 homes in and around Redding. One dozer driver died and another was seriously hurt.
Bulldozers are called in to help contain wildfires by clearing trees and vegetation in the blaze’s path.
The report found that the 305 miles of terrain the bulldozers cut through did little to slow the fire because flying embers jumped the lines.California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Scott Mclean didn’t respond to phone and email requests for comment. Follow this story to get instant e-mail alerts from KCRA on the latest developments and related topics.


#2

Folks this if frightening!!! I know most if not all experienced WLF will laugh this off as being ridiculous which it is, We need to push back hard now before momentum grows. The AP article is bing published in many local and regional papers this week. Federal land all-ready has far to many restrictions, we don’t need fewer tools we need more. During peek season Dozers should be allowed nearly everywhere including wilderness areas! Not the same as pushing through chaparral but with regard to the environmental issues compared to the suppression needs. In 1996 we used numerous dozers in the Point Reyes National Park to contain the Vision Fire. Dozers were the only way to cut line through the steep coastal topography in timber and mixed brush. Had containment lines not been completed in the few days they were allowing for heavy mop up, the next north wind pattern 10 days later would likely have pushed the fire south to the Bolinas Mesa with devastating results. The suppression repair was astounding. The following fall I hiked what was the main fire line that provided two way truck traffic with safety areas, it was literally impossible to recognize and I spent 5 days on that brake.

We always need to be smart about all suppression tools regarding environmental impacts, cost and benefit. The greater the potential damage a fire presents the environmental and cost benefits need to change based on the threat and operational benefit. Each fire is different so the rules for each fire need to be different if we want to get out ahead of these “MEGA” fires. Loosing or restricting dozers would be catastrophic! Spread th word.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) —
An environmentalist group is questioning the use of bulldozers to fight major wildfires, saying they’re ineffective and leave lasting environmental damage.

The Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics, & Ecology organization released a report Thursday detailing bulldozer use during a Northern California wildfire in July. That fire killed eight people and destroyed 1,000 homes in and around Redding. One dozer driver died and another was seriously hurt.

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Bulldozers are called in to help contain wildfires by clearing trees and vegetation in the blaze’s path.

The report found that the 305 miles of terrain the bulldozers cut through did little to slow the fire because flying embers jumped the lines.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Scott Mclean didn’t respond to phone and email requests for comment.

Follow this story to get instant e-mail alerts from KCRA on the latest developments and related topics. that the fire would not have been contained when the next north wind event rolled in and would have pushed the fire south likly through the Bolinas Mesa


#3

One of their key points is we should use dozers less when conditions render the likelihood of success to be very low. This is a common-sense idea, but of course it is difficult to make that call, or to know what conditions will be when a fire arrives at the line, which is why we seem to put in dozer line on every major ridge within 5 miles of a ripping fire.
Most wilderness areas in fire-prone areas have evolved with and need fire. I understand fires can cause a lot of problems to the built environment when they leave the backcountry, but I’m not sure what we are saving within the wilderness when we try to ‘protect it’ from fire. Focusing on fire hazard reduction around the edges of wilderness and roadless areas (more rx fire) would buy us a lot more leeway in managing backcountry fires - I am not a fan of heavy iron in the wilderness.


#4

I have always found your input very insightful but I am going to totally disagree on this one. I have read the report and watched their video and it is aimed at total removal of the use of dozers. One example of a lie is they show a rehabbed road that is mid slope below the hogback that descends to the lake (likely Shasta) claiming it was an example of unsuccessful dozer line. It appears this road was used as lake access likely for water.

I do agree that dozers are used when they can and should be avoided. Speaking from experience it is nearly impossible to predict success or failure of dozer line and firefighters are always going to try when there is a chance as we should.

As far as “wilderness areas” as you mention we have built such a lack of fire regime since 1910 and removal of most logging for the last 30 years we are in a hell of a mess now. Allowing fires to establish and linger in the wilderness areas and hope to control them at the boundaries of these areas has been proven in the last decades to be impossible. Unfortunately until some balance is restored we must not allow fires to linger in wilderness areas or “light on the land” areas that do not have a very significant barrier between them and thew wilderness outer boundary. The repeated years of month long fires in the Shasta T has destroyed the Trinity County Economy.


#5

Ask the person with their house still standing that was rung by a Dozer, how ineffective they are. Lets just keep them on a IA dispatch. Dozers are a crucial part of suppression resources responding to fires.


#6

As someone who supervises Equipment, I can speak 1st hand about their effectiveness. On Mendencino Comex, had dozer line been put it instead of the Mastocation treatment the burn over of the FF and near miss would never had happened. This incident shows how ineffective the shaded fuel break was in this area. As the report stated, the accident occurred when fuel, weather & topography all came into alignment. What the report leaves out was there was a plan for dozer line a week before, when conditions were better and the fire was still miles away in the Wilderness.

The elimination of a critical piece of dozer line, coupled with an advancing fire, that became aligned was a contributing factor that was not address in the FLA.