2- Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the incomplete lessons learned on June 30, 2013?
Views expressed to "the public at large” and "of public concern"
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Authors: Douglas Fir, Joy A Collura, and other contributing authors
Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. Psalm 86:11 (KJV)
“Today not only in philosophy but in politics, government, and individual morality, our generation sees solutions in terms of synthesis and not absolutes. When this happens, truth, as people have always thought of truth, has died.” ~ Francis Schaeffer (evangelist and pastor)
We need this to be a "learning organization" using "complete lessons learned." You will all need to be more willing to include the "human mental elements" in this, which would entail including this into your annual training and fire refreshers.
I "get" it that we are in a world of poor mannerisms; some because of temporary issues and some by permanent birth defect. My duty is to "call them out" and have them brought to the "forefront" if they are not certified and qualified to do a task or job.
It is the difficult right thing to do.
My innocuous mannerisms have been bothersome to some, and I have been told by some of the highest levels in the wildland fire arena that I intimidate them. That is their problem, not mine. I should not be looked at in such way. I should not be shown to the Wildland industry as such. I should be looked at as I am addressing the "harm" and "dangers" their actions will do in the long run.
When a person denies their participation - full well knowing they were there on the Yarnell Hill Fire and or any other Fire Fatalities - even though there is a way to show the documented proof they were there yet won't unless it entered a court setting. Or when you see them try to "justify," "minimize," "deflect," refuse to show empathy, get too caught up in their career and culture within it and will take it to the grave, offended how they are affronted, etc. that is all THEIR issues not mine. Yet, I will bring you all to the front to make sure "complete lessons" are told.
Look at this image (below) in Figure 1. from our Records File on the Dude Fire. This is the Day Shift Cover page two days after the six fatalities. I find it is most disturbing and despicable that the Incident Commanders and Plans personnel allowed this to be approved. These are some sick and twisted individuals indeed.
Figure 1. June 28, 1990 Day Shift Plan Cover Page Source: Our Dude Fire Files
This image in Figure 1. is the same one in the link (below), but I removed the "post it" note on it, so we have the original grey toned colored Shift Plan instead of the black and white one shown here with no "image credit" of origin from one of our contributing authors.
June 28, 1990 Shift Plan Cover ( https://www.nwcg.gov/sites/default/files/wfldp/docs/sr-dude-iap-28.pdf ) This is included in the Dude Fire Staff Ride Information Sources listed below.
NWCG Wildland Fire Staff Ride Guide (2010) Leadership Toolbox Reference: ( https://www.nwcg.gov/sites/default/files/wfldp/docs/sr-workbook.pdf ) 22 pages
Dude Fire Staff Ride ( https://www.nwcg.gov/wfldp/toolbox/staff-ride/library/dude-fire )
( https://youtu.be/3mEVDY9tPQk ) Alpine Hotshot Crew - The Dude Fire
Gene Garate - The date noted 10 and 11 years ago, so do the math. 2009 or 2010. See Niemi comment below.
Superintendents describe the scene at Bonita Estates, Dude Fire
( https://youtu.be/y-_uBRRPJNw ) (powfindr13) "The involved hotshot sup'ts describe the situation at Bonita Estates subdivision on June 26th, 1990, on the Payson RD's Dude Fire. They are facilitating a staff ride to a group of 20-30 people."
Dude Fire Story by Phoenix News Channel 3 ( https://youtu.be/_jbs2waR56U ) Nov 7, 2016
"Over time though, maybe we’ve learned to celebrate people’s lives and their worth more than the past and to recognize the harm that traumatic events have on peoples souls instead of just brushing it by the wayside. It wasn’t only those who died who paid the price but those that survived and had to live w/ their survival and brush w/ near death and lifesaving actions." (Alpine Hot Shot David Niemi comment)
Figure 2. Accident Investigation Report, Dude Fire Incident Multiple Firefighter Fatality June 26, 1990 Southwestern Region, Tonto National Forest (numbered 22) USDA US Forest Service Logo (center bottom) Source: Anonymous source
Shortly after the Dude Fire fatalities had occurred and a Fatality Investigation Team was ordered - according to the TNF Dispatcher at the time - prior to the Investigation, both Type 2 and Type 1 Fire Bosses (ICs) took the fire package records to the TNF Supervisors Office in Phoenix and shredded fire package records. The Dispatcher and / or Center Manager told them that 'the Investigators would need those documents and records for their investigation,' According to the Dispatcher, the Fire Bosses allegedly told him: 'if you don't like it you can just leave.'
Because it was my District and I (DF) worked on the Dude Fire, I was tasked with putting together the Dude Fire Staff Ride by USFS Staff Ride Coordinator Bequi Livingston. All of the many photos, documents, and records that I was familiar with were now gone, mostly of extreme fire behavior and specifically evidence of the Horizontal Roll Vortices (HRV) after-effects (needle set) in Walk Moore Canyon.
Regional Staff Ride Coordinator Livingston scheduled a "Region 3 Staff Ride Development Workshop" in Payson from November 6-9, 2006, with the product to be the "Dude Fire Staff Ride for inclusion into the National Staff Ride Library." We had four teams that consisted of: Orientation, Mapping, Research, and Facilitation. Our Team Advisors were Jim Cook, Dan Kleinman, Lori Messenger, Larry Sutton, Chris Wilcox, Pete Gordon, Julian Affuso, and Chad Fisher. We obtained a copy of the original Investigative Report that was provided to the Development Group by an anonymous source by one of the original investigators.
Figure 3. Accident Investigation Report, Dude Fire Incident Multiple Firefighter Fatality June 26, 1990 Southwestern Region, Tonto National Forest - Investigation -page 2 Source:Anonymous source
The entire Dude Fire Accident Investigation Report document, as presented to us, is somewhat confusing. Figures. 2 to 3 goes from the Cover Page to opposite side of the page is labelled "2". I would imagine page one is considered as the Cover Page in Figure 2.
Figure 4. Accident Investigation Report, Dude Fire Incident Multiple Firefighter Fatality June 26, 1990 Southwestern Region, Tonto National Forest - Narrative - page 3 Source: Anonymous source
Consider now the third to the last paragraph (above): "A. Narrative - Interviews were conducted with key members of the overhead teams and all surviving members of the Perryville Crew. Statements or records were obtained from several other key persons knowledgeable of the incident, ..." (emphasis added) This is somewhat of a false statement because there were many of us that were qualified as "key persons knowledgeable of the incident" and yet we were not interviewed. For example, those of us that witnessed and talked with Crew Boss Terra on the Control Road and the Fuller Creek junction driving an AZ DOC vehicle back and forth as the fire crossed the Control Road between there and the Bonita Creek Subdivision. And right there he admitted twice to witnesses on that spot: "I should have never left my crew." And the SAIT investigators that I talked with years ago and recently stated that they knew three days after the fatalities that he was gone from the crew and something to the effect of "it would have had no influence on the final outcome."
If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts. Albert Einstein
More document confusion explained here. Either they misnumbered and / or another page is missing, but the way it was copied has the Figure 4. as "page three" and then on the backside of that page, there is the Figure 5. as "page five" - There is no page four.
Figure 5. Accident Investigation Report, Dude Fire Incident Multiple Firefighter Fatality June 26, 1990 Southwestern Region, Tonto National Forest - Findings - page 5 Source: Anonymous source
The "B. Findings (d) Weather" portion is listed here (above - Figure 5.) but not in any of the numbered pages below.
Figure 6. Accident Investigation Report, Dude Fire Incident Multiple Firefighter Fatality June 26, 1990 Southwestern Region, Tonto National Forest - Findings cont. -page 6 Source: Anonymous source
"(7) The shift plan ... fire behavior forecast accurately predicted the potential for extreme fire behavior and thunderstorm buildup." (emphasis added) Well, of course it did. It was dated and timed June 26, 1990, at 2200 hours (10:00 PM), and unsigned by the FBAN (Figure 27.) long after the fatalities had occurred. And the Fire Weather Forecast, listed above, but conspicuously missing, was also dated and timed June 26, 1990, at 2200 hours (10:00 PM).
This is a transcript of a July 11, 2020, interview with an Anonymous By Request WF Supervisor on June 25-26, 1990. Some minor to editing to correct for proper nomenclature, punctuation, and grammar.
'To the Dude Fire Archives (07/11/2020) I acted as a Division Supervisor (DIVS). My Division was that portion of the fire that hit the top of the Mogollon Rim (The Rim). That Division was approximately 17 miles long. I observed the fire activity from a thousand feet above on the day of the fatalities. The fire was creating its own weather. The smoke column took on all the features of a thunder cell. I saw a fire whirl in the vicinity of the fatality area indicating extreme fire behavior. The accident occurred shortly after our IMT took charge of the fire. The weather was hot and dry with little wind generally. The winds associated with the extreme fire behavior were quite high. The crews on my Division were able to construct fireline down the Western flank, and I was then relieved and sent back to the Main Fire Camp as that line was fired out. As I recall I worked most of my ten days on top of The Rim.' (emphasis added)
Either they misnumbered and or it is missing but the way it was copied has Figure 6.'s "page six" then on backside of paper has the number 8. More ??? - There is no page seven.
Consider the interesting extreme fire behavior observation mentioned (below) in Figure 7. that strongly suggests Horizontal Roll Vortices (HRV) as stated in the SAIR (page 8) at: "(e) Fire Behavior (7) The fire flashed from the west to the east side of Walk Moore Canyon. This was followed immediately by the burning of the surface fuels." (emphasis added)
Flashing from the West to East side of Walk Moore Canyon has fairly strong probative value when all the evidences are considered as a whole.
Figure 6a. (left) Cross section through idealized fire illustrating occurrence of vortices owing to horizontal gradient of vertical motion produced by buoyancy from the fire. Source: USFS Synthesis of Knowledge of Extreme Fire Behavior: Volume 2 for Fire Behavior Specialists, Researchers, and Meteorologists.
Figure 6a. (right) Cross section through idealized fire illustrating occurrence of vortices owing to horizontal gradient of vertical motion produced by buoyancy from the fire. Source: USFS Synthesis of Knowledge of Extreme Fire Behavior: Volume 2 for Fire Behavior Specialists, Researchers, and Meteorologists.
Figure 6c. (above) Evidence of HRV fire behavior needle set. Note how the needles are dried ("set") in a lateral and downward top left to bottom right curl when the hot gases preceded the flaming front. Source: Cedar Fire Entrapment Report (2017), Wildland Fire LLC
The SAIR states (below) in Figure 7. "(11) A transcription error resulted in the Spot Weather report in the day shift plan not accurately reflecting the National Weather Service spot weather forecast." (emphasis added) The SAIT is being disingenuous here because the Fire Behavior Forecast also reflects that same date and inaccurate time - long after the fire shelter deployments and fatalities.
Figure 7. Accident Investigation Report, Dude Fire Incident Multiple Firefighter Fatality June 26, 1990 Southwestern Region, Tonto National Forest - Findings cont. - page 8 Source: Anonymous source
Figure 8. Accident Investigation Report, Dude Fire Incident Multiple Firefighter Fatality June 26, 1990 Southwestern Region, Tonto National Forest - Causal Factors- page 9 Source: Anonymous source
Note that they failed to mention anything about causal "human factors." Also note "(f) The fire spread so fast that the victims, without warning, did not have sufficient time to escape." (emphasis added) The fact of the matter is that the WFs and FFs, especially the Perryville CREP and alleged Lookout, ignored the escalating, numerous warnings about the imminent aggressive to extreme fire behavior apparent throughout the narrative, witness statements, and videos.
Figure 9. Accident Investigation Report, Dude Fire Incident Multiple Firefighter Fatality June 26, 1990 Southwestern Region, Tonto National Forest - Supporting Data -page 10 Source: Anonymous source
Figure 10. Accident Investigation Report, Dude Fire Incident Multiple Firefighter Fatality June 26, 1990 Southwestern Region, Tonto National Forest - Sequence of Events- page 11 Source: Anonymous source
This is where they begin to lie about Crew Boss Terra being with 'Crewmember Fred Hill leaving to get water at the Control Road, leaving Assistant Crew Boss Bachman in charge with CREP LaTour. Terra sent the water up the line on an [ATV] and began walking back with Hill.' (emphasis added)
Once again, the TNF PRD employee was always delivering water in Walk Moore Canyon via ATV without any assistance from Terra.
“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” Albert Einstein
Either they misnumbered and or it is missing but the way it was copied has Figure 10's "page eleven" then on the backside of paper has the number 13. ??? - There is no page twelve.
Figure 11. Accident Investigation Report, Dude Fire Incident Multiple Firefighter Fatality June 26, 1990 Southwestern Region, Tonto National Forest - Site Investigations- page 13 Source: Anonymous source
Figure 12. Accident Investigation Report, Dude Fire Incident Multiple Firefighter Fatality June 26, 1990 Southwestern Region, Tonto National Forest - page 14 - Maps Source: Anonymous source
Figure 13. Accident Investigation Report, Dude Fire Incident Multiple Firefighter Fatality June 26, 1990 Southwestern Region, Tonto National Forest - page 14a - Maps Source: Anonymous source
Figure 14. Accident Investigation Report, Dude Fire Incident Multiple Firefighter Fatality June 26, 1990 Southwestern Region, Tonto National Forest - page 14b - Maps. Walk Moore Canyon on the left (West and Northwest) side of Bonita Creek Subdivision Source: Anonymous source
Note the almost bowl-like feature in the Southwest of the Northeast quarter of Section 31 the headwaters of Walk Moore Canyon on the left (West and Northwest) side of Bonita Creek Subdivision
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Ephesians 4:25 (KJV)
Figure 15. Accident Investigation Report, Dude Fire Incident Multiple Firefighter Fatality June 26, 1990 Southwestern Region, Tonto National Forest - page 14c - Maps Source: Anonymous source
Figure 16. (Accident Investigation Report, Dude Fire Incident Multiple Firefighter Fatality June 26, 1990 Southwestern Region, Tonto National Forest - Page 15. - 2. Perryville Crew Members List Source: Anonymous source
Please note (below - Figure 17.) the Perryville Crew Member List that denotes "Name, Age, Title, Injured, Doc. No., Pack No., and Entrapped"
Larry Terra is clearly listed first and clearly indicates "NO" under the "Injured" column. In other words, he is officially listed as UNINJURED.
Whoa now - the Terra enigma intensifies even more.
According to AZ AUSA Johns (RiP) Chronology, (6/30/90 1419) Terra falsely claims he "received 2nd degree burns on the back of his neck, along with upper airway thermal damage and smoke inhalation as he ran out." I (DF) confidently allege that Terra self-inflicted the burns on his neck and threatened the inmates regarding him and Hill allegedly going for water. When I talked face-to-face with him on June 26, 1990, as he sat in his AZ DOC truck. I noticed no burns on his neck nor did he ever mention to me that he had been burned.
So then, how is it possible for Crew Boss Terra to both be with his crew in Walk Moore Canyon during all this and yet be seen and talked with on the Control Road and the Fuller Creek junction? And admit twice to witnesses on that spot: "I should have never left my crew." And the SAIT stated that they knew three days after the fatalities that he was gone from the crew. And the Chronology states in many places that he was with the Crew in Walk Moore Canyon alone and then with Crewmember Fred Hill. How is that f**king possible?
So then, which one is it now? (1) With the Crew in Walk Moore Canyon with injuries? Or is it (2) Away from the Crew in his vehicle on the Control Road and Fuller Creek junction without injuries? Or is it (3) Officially listed as "NO Injuries?" Which one is it?
Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. Aldous Huxley
Figure 17.Accident Investigation Report, Dude Fire Incident Multiple Firefighter Fatality June 26, 1990 Southwestern Region, Tonto National Forest 2. Perryville Crew Members List Names Source: Anonymous source
Figure 18. Accident Investigation Report, Dude Fire Incident Multiple Firefighter Fatality June 26, 1990 Southwestern Region, Tonto National Forest - Page 16 - 3. Crew Deployment Positions Source: Anonymous source
Figure 19. Accident Investigation Report, Dude Fire Incident Multiple Firefighter Fatality June 26, 1990 Southwestern Region, Tonto National Forest - 3.Crew Deployment Positions. Dark, solid dots denote fatalities. Note WF Ellis movement from top of the Crew to below the powerline ROW where he died. Source: Anonymous source
Figure 20. Accident Investigation Report, Dude Fire Incident Multiple Firefighter Fatality June 26, 1990 Southwestern Region, Tonto National Forest -Page 17. - 4.Crew Equipment Locations Source: Anonymous source
Consider now the Perryville Equipment Locations map (below - Figure 21.). Note that all their gear was numbered making it much easier for investigators to match and correlate equipment and fire gear with particular inmates. Also note the litany of nouns describing what may have likely occurred: chaos, disarray, mayhem, pandemonium, panic, confusion, hysteria, and frenzy. These likely took place as these WFs attempted escape from flames, heat, and injury, and /or while seeking safety in their fire shelters scattering equipment and gear in the process.
Figure 21.Accident Investigation Report, Dude Fire Incident Multiple Firefighter Fatality June 26, 1990 Southwestern Region, Tonto National Forest - 4.Crew Equipment Locations Source: Anonymous source
Figure 22. Accident Investigation Report, Dude Fire Incident Multiple Firefighter Fatality June 26, 1990 Southwestern Region, Tonto National Forest - C. Witness List - Page 18 Source: Anonymous source
Please note the asterisk (*) identified personnel and who was interviewed or not. Inmate Fred Hill who was allegedly with Crew Boss Terra was NEVER interviewed. Surely you would want to corroborate that connection, right? Nor were any of the DIVS nor the Bonita Group Supervisor interviewed except for Phil Gil, and NO Type 1 IMT Safety Officers were ever interviewed.
Either they misnumbered and or it is missing but the way it was copied has Figure 22's "page eighteen" then on backside of paper has the number 20. ??? - no page nineteen. Yet, you can see in page 18 it is labelled "C." then labelled "D." in page 20. I can assume it is a misnumber but who knows. Because the next page 20 then follows with missing page 21 which was D. Records - 1. Witness Statements. and as you will also note in Figure 23. the end of this document of 5. Site Photographs are as well missing.
Figure 23. Accident Investigation Report, Dude Fire Incident Multiple Firefighter Fatality June 26, 1990 Southwestern Region, Tonto National Forest - D. Records - Page 20 Source: Anonymous source
Please note that the Spot Weather Forecast dated and timed June 26, 1990, at 2200 (10:00 PM), several hours after the fire shelter deployments and fatalities occurred; conspicuously missing. The official record is missing page 21.
Figure 24. Accident Investigation Report, Dude Fire Incident Multiple Firefighter Fatality June 26, 1990 Southwestern Region, Tonto National Forest - 2. Incident Objectives - Page 22 Source: Anonymous source
Figure 25. Accident Investigation Report, Dude Fire Incident Multiple Firefighter Fatality June 26, 1990 Southwestern Region, Tonto National Forest -2. Incident Objectives - Page 22 backside page Planning Section Chief Signed by Bud Shaver and IC was Ed Hollenshead Source: Anonymous source
Figure 26. Accident Investigation Report, Dude Fire Incident Multiple Firefighter Fatality June 26, 1990 Southwestern Region, Tonto National Forest - Page 23- 3. Fire Behavior Forecast Source: Anonymous source
What follows in Figure 27. (below) is particularly noteworthy and of utmost concern, indicating dishonesty - the "Fire Behavior Forecast No. 1" dated and timed June 26, 1990, 2200 (10:00 PM) unsigned by FBAN Pat Velasco. And the "see attached 'Spot Fire Weather Forecast' is also conspicuously missing as noted above.
Figure 27. Accident Investigation Report, Dude Fire Incident Multiple Firefighter Fatality June 26, 1990 Southwestern Region, Tonto National Forest - Page 23a- 3. Fire Behavior Forecast Source: Anonymous source
Figure 28. Accident Investigation Report, Dude Fire Incident Multiple Firefighter Fatality June 26, 1990 Southwestern Region, Tonto National Forest - Page 24- 4. Health and Safety Message Source: Anonymous source
Figure 29. Health and Safety Message, including Watch Out Situations and older, discredited version of Fire Orders Source: Anonymous source
The issues of whether there was a collapsed plume dominated smoke column or whether there were severe downslope outflow winds from a passing thunderstorm are still unsettled. And somewhat debatable. Goen and Andrews focus on a thunderstorm created by the plume dominated smoke column with severe outflow winds emanating from it. And so does Dr. Brian Potter (below), following along with the Goen and Andrews research.
However, there is solid evidence from several AZ Game and Fish (AG&F) Officers that were on a June 26, 1990, Training Operation for their new recruits in Young, AZ (23 miles air miles Southeast of the fire). They received a radio call and a Resource Order to report to the Dude Fire as Security Managers about mid-afternoon. As they drove toward the fire, they witnessed a big thunderstorm traveling North up Canyon Creek along the TNF and Ft. Apache Indian Reservation boundary to The Rim, and then watched it traveling West along The Rim toward the Dude Fire.
Were these AG&F Officers ever interviewed about the fire weather that they witnessed on June 26, 1990? Was this the same thunderstorm that Goen and Andrews mention here: "Additional energy was added to the cell around 1400 MST as a weak convective outflow boundary from a decaying thunderstorm complex to the southeast reached the fire area."
"It is worth highlighting the fact that crown fire runs in mountainous terrain are not limited to just upslope situations. Cases of crown fires burning downslope or cross-slope under the influence of strong winds have occurred in the past (Byram 1954, McAlpine et al. 1991). The major run of the Dude Fire in northern Arizona on June 26, 1990, that led to the deaths of six firefighters involved downslope and cross-slope spread as a result of the strong downdraft winds caused by the fire’s collapsing convection column" (emphasis added) (Goens and Andrews 1998).
Goens, D.W.; Andrews, P.L. 1998. Weather and fire behavior factors related to the Dude Fire, AZ. In: Preprint volume of second symposium on fire and forest meteorology. Boston, MA: American Meteorological Society: 153–158. ( https://www.frames.gov/catalog/11688 )
"A convection column, aided by thermal energy and moisture from the combustion, began forming over the fire by late morning (1000 MST). This column continued to grow for the next four hours and became a fully mature thunderstorm by 1400 MST. As the thunderstorm began to decay, a strong downburst occurred. Winds were channeled by the topography, causing dramatic down and across slope fire spread." (emphasis added) (p. 4)
The winds channeled by topography obviously refers to Walk Moore Canyon. It was basically a reverse box canyon. Once again, note the almost bowl-like feature in the Southwest of the Northeast quarter of Section 31 the headwaters of Walk Moore Canyon on the left (West and Northwest) side of Bonita Creek Subdivision in Figure 14. (above and below - cropped and reduced).
Figure 14. Accident Investigation Report, Dude Fire Incident Multiple Firefighter Fatality June 26, 1990 Southwestern Region, Tonto National Forest - page 14b - Maps. Walk Moore Canyon on the left (West and Northwest) side of Bonita Creek Subdivision Source: Anonymous source
"The convective cell's growth over the fire was still continuing around 1300 MST, however fire personnel did report a few sprinkles of light rain around this time. Additional energy was added to the cell around 1400 MST as a weak convective outflow boundary from a decaying thunderstorm complex to the southeast reached the fire area. Aerial observations at this time also reported the convection column had "iced out", indicating cell maturity and the potential for imminent decay. Fire crews in and near Walk Moore Canyon noted the indraft winds had ceased and a complete absence of wind with a "frightening calm" noted around 1400 MST. The cell then collapsed dramatically, producing a downburst with winds estimated from 40-60 mi/h (18-27 mps) by crews on the ground near the entrapment site. The strong winds lasted only 5 to 10 minutes, then decreased by about 50% and persisted for another 30 minutes. Downburst winds normally fan out in a circular direction from the center of a stationary convective cell in flat terrain (Fujita, 1985). This fire spread in all directions ... however, mapping of the actual fire growth indicates predominate spread to the south as the downburst winds were channeled by the [Walk Moore Canyon] topography." (emphasis added) (p. 4)
Consider now some of the work of USFS Research Meteorologist Dr. Brian Potter on the subject. He uses the Goen and Andrews research as support. (all emphasis added below)
From Archives of They Said It:
Discussion starting on 6/28/06:
The Dude Fire is Still Smokin’
"The latest chapter in the Dude Fire story has been written by Dr. Brian E. Potter, Research Meteorologist & Team Leader, USDA Forest Service AirFIRE Team. Dr. Potter published an article in 2005 explaining how the water produced in a wildland fire enters the plume and affects the likelihood of causing a downburst. The Dude Fire was among the most dramatic examples of this phenomenon in his article. “The role of released moisture in the atmospheric dynamics associated with wildland fires”. Potter, Brian E., International Journal of Wildland Fire, 2005, 14, 77-84.
"The Dude Fire downburst article by Goens and Andrews is referenced in Dr. Potter’s work. Dr. Potter calculated the DCAPE - Downdraft Convective Available Potential Energy - and the Dude Fire DCAPE values were among the highest of the eleven severe fires examined. Dr. Potter states: “Released moisture is not only a contributing factor, but at times a controlling or critical factor in fire-atmosphere interactions on time and space scales important to fire behavior and fire-fighter safety.”
"One can infer that but for the fire-released water from the Dude Fire into the plume that day, on the order of 5 million kilograms by my estimate, the air would probably not have had sufficient water content to initiate and sustain the downburst.
"Dr. Potter explains the need to add this to our predictive models: “The traditional definition of fire behavior describes the controlling factors as fuels, atmosphere and topography. If released moisture is indeed an important factor controlling fire behavior, then it presents an area of fire behavior research that requires strong knowledge and understanding of both fuel conditions and the atmospheric conditions. The link between these two becomes a strong two-way interaction that cannot be studied or understood in separate fuel and atmospheric pieces.” Dr. Potter concludes with what needs to be done to put this knowledge to work on the fire ground: “There are also implications of this work for management, though practical application is far down the road. If a manager knew that a certain rate of moisture release was a threshold for extreme fire behavior on a given fire and day, the manager may attempt to control rate of spread during a specific time period in the hope that the moisture release rate would stay below the threshold, thus preventing possible erratic behavior. Fuel managers could also begin considering fuel loads that would hold the possible released moisture down below a climatologically determined level that divided blow-up from well behaved fire probabilities.”
6/29/06 Old Sawyer
"Thanks for bringing up the idea of released moisture. Do you know if the article is available online, vs. having to buy a back issue of the journal? I imagine there must be a break-even point where the fuels are still dry enough to contribute to extreme fire behavior, but contain enough moisture to contribute to plume dominance?
"This reminds me of something I've been wondering about, although I don't want to impede discussion of your original topic. It seems like people have often observed a calm before a fire blows up. I think it is mentioned in the Dude investigation and I've observed it at least once. Anyone have a theory on why this happens? My first thought was that you might be in a lull as the wind changes direction, but it seems like in that situation the winds are often kind of squirrelly for a while rather than dead calm.
Still Out There as an AD
"6/29/06 Still Out There:
"Dr. Potter sent me his articles during our discussions of the subject. (See above studies)
"He agreed with my estimation that the 1500 acre fire (200 new acres that morning) would have added on the order of more than 5 Million kilograms of water into the column in an otherwise relatively dry air mass. The remaining issues include how it mixes and a lot of factors affecting downbursts. Fires as small as 100 acres can produce rain drops. Rain drops fell on Paul Gleason. Paul Linse, some of the Perryville crew, also at the Control road and at the subdivision before the downburst. In addition, Tony Sciacca and Nando Lucero noted the smoke laying down near the burnout further up Walkmoore Canyon, and decided to pull the Prescott Hotshots out, told the adjoining Alpine Hotshots, Jim Mattingly, and they both tried to call and contact Perryville but Perryville was already on the run escaping from the downslope run from the downburst further down the canyon. Paul Linse also noticed the area smoke in further up the canyon. The smoke laying down further up the canyon was not noticed until a few minutes after the burnover in the canyon below them. High winds did not involve the upper canyon until after the burnover below, from which Hatch walked out back up the canyon and was found by Gleason, Linse and Mattingly.
Old Sawyer" (all emphasis above is added)
Consider now some excerpts from the Cliff Mass Blog on the Yarnell Hill Fire with several specific fire weather references to the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire. Cliff Mass Weather Blog - The Yarnell Hill Fire: The Meteorological Origins ( https://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-yarnell-hill-fire-meteorological.html )
"There have been countless burnovers and close calls from thunderstorms. Hell, the [D]ude [F]ire did the same thing. Predictable is preventable. You you can count on a fire being unpreditable (sic) under such conditions. That's the thing. In the end it is predictable." (emphasis added) Anonymous July 4, 2013 at 8:26 AM
"As mentioned the Dude Fire (Walk Moore Canyon in Payson, Arizona 1990) was very similar in cause and result with six fire fighters trapped and killed by a sudden wind shift due to convective activity. As a result of that incident many changes were instituted to diminish the potential for entrapment due to sudden, and somewhat predictable, wind shifts." (emphasis added) Tacoma Sailor July 5, 2013 at 5:08 PM
"Is there some reason that a direct comparison couldn't be made between this fire and the Dude Ck Fire ( http://www.fireleadership.gov/toolbox/staffride/downloads/lsr11/lsr11_info_summary.pdf ) ? Sincerely, it appears that virtually the same situation occurred again, yet nobody had learned from the last one, so it was repeated." (emphasis added) Aaron Troy Small July 11, 2013 at 8:39 PM @WXMAN42
How insightful - "it appears that virtually the same situation occurred again, yet nobody had learned from the last one, so it was repeated."
These are clearly three Weather Nerds that have some keen insight into convective activity and downslope winds and wind shifts in general, and specifically as they related to the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire. They have left no indication(s) that they are WFs or FFs. One distinctly mentions Walk Moore Canyon. These would almost qualify them as Fire Weather Nerds. Almost I said.
They also pick up on the lessons learned and / or not learned. One picks up on Risk Management lecturer Gordon Graham and his longstanding accurate quip that "Predictable is Preventable." The Hindsight Bias crowd, including the Wildland Fire LLC, loathes that saying. They bring it up at every presentation and Staff Ride.
“Trust starts with truth and ends with truth.” – Santosh Kalwar (PhD and simple human being)
As you can see or not see- the last page is missing - "5. Site Photographs."
Here is a link (below) of the hows and whys NWCG does Staff Rides, and I find them to possibly be lacking details to give "complete lessons learned" the link shows: Basic Staff Ride Design - WHY CONDUCT A STAFF RIDE? WHAT IS A STAFF RIDE? WHAT CAN A STAFF RIDE ACCOMPLISH? KEYS TO SUCCESSFUL STAFF RIDES.
Wildland Fire Staff Ride Workbook
Consider some of the key excerpts from the Staff Ride Workbook on the Dude Fire, page A-3, followed by our analyses and responses. (all emphasis is added below)
"With the Dude Fire Staff Ride, we applied the framework of the military staff ride to a wildland fire that blew up outside of Payson, AZ, in June 1990, killing six firefighters. This staff ride was part of a national interagency fire behavior workshop in Phoenix, AZ, in March 1999. The staff ride is not a lecture or field trip. The basic assumptions used in developing the Dude Fire Staff Ride were:
* There may be no one correct answer or chain of events leading up to the fatalities;
* Wildland fires are complex natural events that commonly defy honest attempts to think through and understand them;
* Hindsight often creates misperceptions of what actually occurred on a fire; and
"The root cause of the Dude Fire tragedy may never be fully known. The lessons learned by participants in a staff ride are usually individual, personal, not easily categorized, and filled with emotion. The expectation is that individuals will form their own conclusions and then, after talking and listening to other participants, form a shared vision of what happened." (all emphasis added)
These two sentence excerpts clearly suggest at least some Groupthink (Hazardous Attitude identified in IRPG - Figure 29a. (below) by starting with their "individual, personal ..." statement: "The lessons learned ... are usually individual, personal, not easily categorized, and filled with emotion. The expectation is ... form their own conclusions and then, ... form a shared vision of what happened."
Very subtle manipulation here. They first encourage individuals to form their own conclusions, then quickly turn 180 degrees and imply that they all need to 'let go of' those individual thoughts and replace them with the shared vision of the group. "Groupthink - Afraid to speak up or disagree"
Figure 29a.(left) IRPG p. xi. Hazardous Attitudes Source: NWCG IRPG
In response to the above, we feel the need to dissect this Orwellian nugget rife with logical fallacies and Weasel-wording. The USFS are correct that there "may be no one correct answer or chain of events." And that is because there are many "correct answer[s] or chain of events" leading up to the fatalities, (e.g. causal factors in general and specifically, Bad Decisions With Good Outcomes, the odious Normalization of Deviance, Stress Reactions, etc.).
In response, there is even more Weasel-wording here as well. "Wildland fires are complex natural events that commonly defy honest attempts to think through and understand them." Indeed, most wildland fires are complex natural events, however, many are unnatural, like human caused or mechanical caused, or arson caused wildfires. Human influence has now become so pervasive that most fires are `unnatural,' including unnatural accumulations of fuels. Another problem is always suppressing natural wildfires, creating an unsustainable buildup of fuels which results in dangerous “unnatural fire.” Those are all unnatural fires.
For decades there have been competent WFs and FFs practicing the principles of Entrapment Avoidance, (e.g. 10 & 18, LCES, Watch Outs, etc.) while safely managing themselves and those they supervise. Obviously, those that are bewildered and mystified by "... honest attempts to think through and understand them" should probably board the train of those WFs and FFs that know and understand and mitigate and follow the Basic WF Rules - with excellent results.
Yes indeed, it does - sometimes."Hindsight often creates misperceptions of what actually occurred on a fire," however, consistent in-depth research will almost always get to the core and the truth. On the other hand, those that would unethically and disingenuously conceal the truth are the ones that actually "create misperceptions of what actually occurred on a fire."
"The root cause of the Dude Fire tragedy may never be fully known" is a half-truth, a classic self-fulfilling prophecy that requires Reactance Theory to counter it. Reactance theory says that we dislike people telling us how to think, what to do, etc. so then we will want it, seek it out, etc. However, we choose - and hope you do as well - seek the truth of what happened and why.
The definition of "A root cause is an initiating cause of either a condition or a causal chain that leads to an outcome or effect of interest. The term denotes the earliest, most basic, 'deepest', cause for a given behavior; most often a fault. The idea is that you can only see an error by its manifest signs." (emphasis added) (Wikipedia)
Strive for and seek out the root cause(s), the truth of what really happened and why. Resist drinking the USFS Dude Fire "we will never know" Kool-Aid.
What follows in Figure (below) are pages 17-19 of a total of 22 pages of the Wildland Fire Staff Ride Workbook discussing Stands for the Dude Fire Staff Ride. During the FBAN and Fire Behavior Workshop Staff, they had as many as eight (8) Stands compared to the four that they have now. Two of these are much more detailed and should be added.
Figure 30. Wildland Fire Staff Ride Workbook pages 117 / 22 to 19 / 22 discussing eight (8) proposed Stands for the Dude Fire Staff Ride . Source: Collura
This is a mostly accurate quote from an IMT Safety Officer article in Fire Management Today: "Unfortunately, firefighters will continue to perish on wildfires. Firefighting is a high-risk occupation. The 18 "Watch Out!" Situations and the 10 Standard Fire Orders are safety guidelines. They are worthless unless each firefighter acknowledges and adheres to them before, during, and after each fire. Fatalities are the result of an inadequate assessment of the hazards associated with each particular incident combined with inadequate or inappropriate implementation of mitigation measures." (emphasis added)
Fire Management Today (FMT) "A WILDFIRE SAFETY OFFICER'S PERSPECTIVE" Tony Dietz (Vol. 55, 1995) p. 20
I (DF) disagree with Mr. Dietz's assessment that the 10 Standard Fire Orders are safety guidelines - they are NOT! They are rules. The Watch Out Situations are guidelines. There is a huge difference. And I agree entirely with the remainder of that paragraph.
The fact that a great many people believe something is no guarantee of its truth. W. Somerset Maugha (English playwright, novelist, and writer)
I, Joy A. Collura, was left with many questions when I participated in the Dude Fire Site Visit and all through my experiences that day, I had on my mind a Yarnell Hill Fire Wildland Firefighter (WF) who was on the Shrine Road - KC Yowell (Bucky) - I thought when I saw this photo (below) - I just wonder why WFs have to go through their careers without being given all the information on fires they were on from people they put their faith in - their bosses and management. Or if the bosses or management do give them more details they are pretty much told it is not for Public Release. Instead, we are told to follow the Investigation Reports only. However, that has been placed out as an "incomplete" record of what occurred and why. So, how can true lessons be learned?
Figure 31. Snippet of Prescott Hot Shot KC Yowell Source: Wildland Fire LLC, YouTube
Go to Marker 22:11 to see KC Yowell (Bucky) speak on the Dude Fire. What I gather from it---what I think He said: "It kinda hurts. Ya know ... Prescott is not that far away ... and we do drive through here a lot. Ya know ... on the way to other fires and stuff ... it hurts to see a big fire like this ... it really does."
It would be interesting to see all the footage the news reporter had. These long term quality WFs, just because they were in between the Sesame and Shrine Corridor, does not equate to them knowing or being involved in the last 18 minutes of what happened on the Yarnell Hill Fire. I would know because I was there. You will be hard pressed to meet another person who has "fact-checked" to the depths I have done thus far.
I strongly believe that the ones who do know, "owe" it to these WFs and so many others for "complete lessons learned." It is the right thing to do. Many are at peace about the Yarnell Hill Fire, but there are many others that are not, until the rest is placed out into the Public or at least into the WFs and FFs knowledge base, (e.g. YHFR website, Wildland Fire LLC, Wildfire Today, InvestigativeMEDIA).
Consider watching this video (below) in Figure 32. with KC Yowell.
Figure 32. Dude Fire News Footage #1, includes footage of the Bonita Creek Estates neighborhood before and after the fire, interviews with WFs, PIO, WF Overhead. Source:Wildland Fire LLC, YouTube
The video remarks: Raw news file footage from the 1990 Dude Fire in Arizona - May 19, 2016
From 0.00 to about 4:30 are pretty good aerial video shots from the News helicopter revealing very active fire and firing operations around Bonita Creek Subdivision, and in and around Walk Moore Canyon.
Ignoring facts does not make them go away. Fran Tarkenton
So then, we need to answer our initial question: "Part 2- Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the incomplete lessons learned on June 30, 2013?"
One answer comes from a Weather Nerd: "Sincerely, it appears that virtually the same situation occurred again, yet nobody had learned from the last one, so it was repeated." (emphasis added) Aaron Troy Small July 11, 2013 at 8:39 PM @WXMAN42
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (NIV)