The Fire That Burned 11 Homes
One time I was on a fire that destroyed eleven homes in Ashland, Oregon. One of our tactics on that fire was to use helicopters to drop water on the burning houses. When the helicopters began operating it was important to keep them from dropping water on one particular house where firefighters were working inside. That’s because a helicopter water drop can push fire in all directions, in spectacular fashion, which is very cool to watch. Most of the time when it happens, if the house is well involved, fire just explodes out of every window and door in the place. But because it blows fire all over, a water drop from a helicopter can cause serious injury or even death to anyone fighting fire inside.
So with a couple of crews inside this house and with the helicopters flying all over doing their water drops, I became concerned that they would drop on the house with my guys inside. So I called command on the radio.
“Command from Oak Knoll Division,” I said. “Direct the helicopters NOT to drop on the house directly across from 8106.”
Command responded, “Copy, send a helicopter to drop water directly on the house across from 8106.”
Of course that was exactly what I did not want them to do. Continue reading