3 - Was the June 26,1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the incomplete lessons learned on June 30, 201-B
Authors: Douglas Fir, Joy A Collura, and other contributing authors
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What follows is from (Figure 32. above) and all other Perryville Crew and CREP LaTour MOIs that follow (below) likely paraphrasing unless in quotes (" "). This one is relatively disturbing compared to what you have read thus far. Fairly graphic details and descriptions of the Perryville Crew, apparently without a designated Lookout to see and then report on the ensuing fire weather and fire behavior, attempting escape from an aggressive flaming fronts, multiple fire shelter deployment scenes, condition of WFs and fire shelters as they deployed into and then emerged from fire shelters (and what was left of their shelters), hiked out wearing shelters as capes, LaTour encouraging them to stay focused on getting out of there, to ignore the tragedy around them and what they would hike through and what they were and would be witnessing, "told help was on the way," and repeated radio calls to notify of deployments and for help.
Figure 33. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation.MOI Page 29- Perryville CREP Dave LaTour - Page 6 of 7 -Missing Page Two From"Part 2 - Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the "incomplete" lessons learned on June 30, 2013?" ) Source: Anonymous Source from Joy's Records Files
What follows is from (Figure 32. above) likely paraphrasing unless in quotes (" "). "He remembers telling [CREP] Terra to go get water for crew which was delivered by ATV. ... Remember some radio talk about 1/2 hour before fire about it bumping Fuller Canyon, which is West of them." Talks about is wildland fire training and experience and working for Rural Metro under contract with AZ State Forestry. The ongoing discussion of his training and experience continues in Figure 33 (below).
Figure 34. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. MOI Page 30 - Perryville CREP Dave LaTour Page 7 of 7 -Missing Page Two From"Part 2 - Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the "incomplete" lessons learned on June 30, 2013?" ) Source: Anonymous Source from Joy's Records Files
Figure 35. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. MOI Page 30 - Perryville WF Don Love -Missing Page Two From"Part 2 - Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the "incomplete" lessons learned on June 30, 2013?" ) Source: Anonymous Source from Joy's Records Files
What follows is from (Figure 35. above) MOI of Perryville Asst. Squad Boss Don Love likely paraphrasing unless in quotes (" "). He felt that the fire shelters worked. Shortly after the Crew gathered for drinking water, a "Navajo Scout yelled to 'get out'" so all of the Crew began running down the dozer road toward the Control Road. "Fire had crowned over the dozer line and split the Crew" with half running up and half running toward the Control Road. LaTour gave the order to deploy shelters and then notified supervisors. Recalls LaTour comments to stay calm as a fire front hit them. He heard screaming.
What follows is from (Figure 36. above) MOI of Perryville Asst. Squad Boss Don Love likely paraphrasing unless in quotes (" "). Perryville Crewmembers yelling and screaming during "10-15 minutes of intense heat. Saw flames though the pin holes in his fire shelter. Once out of the shelters LaTour directed them to wrap it around them and move down the canyon toward the Control Road. Came to [Bachman] who had her hand behind her back as if she was trying to get her shelter, the Denny and Chacon. Chacon was [lying] on Denny. Continued and ran into Hoke who was in his shelter. Hoke went with them. Continued and met Ellis coming up the canyon. He had serious burns. Shelter was hanging down from his head. He turned around and continued with them. Ellis said he was dead. He went toward a hose and rolled off into a ditch [Walk More creek bed]. Continued onto the Control Road where several of them dropped there fire shelters.
"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13 (KJV)
Figure 36. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. MOI Page 31- Perryville WF Don Love Page Two-Missing Page Two From"Part 2 - Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the "incomplete" lessons learned on June 30, 2013?" ) Source: Anonymous Source from Joy's Records Files
Consider now Alpine Supt. Mattingly's MOI (Figures 37 & 38. below) noting the fire weather warning felt by others in several locations and Perryville radio communication issues: "Rain drops recorded at 1310. Dead calm for 5-10 min just before blow-up. Erratic (speed and direction) winds 1230-1400. ... 1400 - note of gusty winds 5 - 10 sec gusts. The handline around the [Corner House] helped give them direction to the Safety Zone. ... Programmed the Perryville radio to match his. OK - but not all the time. Tried to contact them - no answer. ... walking up the trail behind Gleason and Linse. [Perryville] Hatch came out of the smoke at 1433 (according to Mattingly's fast watch." (emphasis added)
Figure 37. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. Page 1 of 2. MOI Page 32 - Alpine HS Supt. Jim Mattingly - Missing Page Two From"Part 2 - Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the "incomplete" lessons learned on June 30, 2013?" ) Source: Anonymous Source from Joy's Records Files
Consider the second half of Alpine Supt. Mattingly's MOI dealing with Hatch burn victim, intense and threatening fire behavior in Figure 38. (below). "Requested burn blankets. ... Fire behind them - all around. ... Went about 120 feet to the corner of the line ... looked then the fire really started to cook. They got to safety. Helispot and Medivac completed. The fire kept coming. Not a wall of flames. Finger runs. ... Dale Ashby was the original Div [Group] Sup ... 1000 - Engine Captains radioed in - "we won't stay during the burning show without [fire] shelters." At least 40 people were up there without [fire] shelters. They seemed more concerned with saving structures. 1300 - 1330 the spot really went. They fought the spot inside the burn. ... 1350-1400 major wind gusts. Moved back to improve line." (emphasis added)
By The Grace of God, more WFs and FFs were not burned or injured or killed that day!
Figure 38. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. Page 2 of 2. MOI Page 33 - Alpine HS Supt. Jim Mattingly Page Two-Missing Page Two From"Part 2 - Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the "incomplete" lessons learned on June 30, 2013?" ) Source: Anonymous Source from Joy's Records Files
Figure 39. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. MOI Page 34 - FBAN Ron Melcher -Missing Page Two From"Part 2 - Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the "incomplete" lessons learned on June 30, 2013?" ) Source: Anonymous Source from Joy's Records Files
Around 1100 FBANs Melcher and Farnsworth received NWS forecast of thunderstorms, transcribed them into the June 26, 1990, IAP, however, never notified line personnel that "thunderstorms were developing in the area. ... statement by Craig Ellis, Fire WX Forecaster, Phoenix all included in the witness statements and document files."
Figure 40. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. MOI Page 35 FBAN Ron Melcher page Two - Missing Page Two From"Part 2 - Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the "incomplete" lessons learned on June 30, 2013?" ) Source: Anonymous Source from Joy's Records Files
MOI of FBAN Melcher in Figure 40. (above) "0630 ... winds were calm. The fire was cooking under an inversion. ... 1300 ... a convection column was building. 1315 Gusty winds in camp - like from a thunderhead, 5-6 drops of rain. Heard there was a spot over the Control Road."
MOI of FBAN Melcher continued in Figure 41. (below) - "Called [OPS] Cooke - suggested that they evacuate more homes. ... At the base of Walk Moore Canyon found 2 people walking with their shelters. One had no hardhat on - held the shelter tightly around his face, Donald Love and Greg Hoke. Loaded them into the pickup. Ran into a NW Fire Dept. truck which had EMTs. Transferred the people to them. Went back toward Walk Moore and found two more people. David LaTour and Donnie Davenport. One said 'there's four dead guys up there.' ... LaTour had all of his equipment on."
Figure 41. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. MOI Page 36 FBAN Ron Melcher page Three -Missing Page Two From"Part 2 - Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the "incomplete" lessons learned on June 30, 2013?" ) Source: Anonymous Source from Joy's Records Files
MOI of Ron Melcher and Mark Zumwalt (second-hand) in Figure (below) - "This is second-hand information. Ron Melcher talked to Mark Zumwalt, Div / Sup on The Rim on 6/26. (Ron talked to Mark, then Ron called [Investigator - Interviewer] Pat [Andrews]. Conducting a burnout on the top of the Rim by the 300 Road. They were staying just ahead of the movement of the main fire. The smoke was sucking down off The Rim. ... He was in the center of Section 21. There was a lot of heat in Section 28. The smoke from Section 21 was being sucked into Section 28. 15 minutes before Bonita [Estates] blew [up] the fire in Section 28 blew-up and ran into sections 33 & 34, down to the SE toward Ellison Creek Subdivision."
Figure 41a. (left) Dude Fire Incident map with Sections 21, 28 visible, Sections 33 & 34 are mostly hidden behind the legend. Source: Dude Fire Fatality Investigation Report
Figure 41b. (below) Tonto NF map with Sections 21, 28, 33 & 34 clearly visible . Source: USFS, Tonto NF, North Half
First off, you will need to enlarge these map images to view them. Either use some type of a magnifying glass or use Ctrl+ (plus sign) to enlarge the images, but that only goes so far. Then focus on Section 21 and Burnt Point (North-northeast of Bonita Creek Estates); it is split about 80% on top of The Rim, along the Forest Road (FR) 300 and FR 145 junction and about 20% below The Rim. Section 28 is due South of Section 21 and lies entirely below Burnt Point and The Rim.
DIVS Zumwalt's second-hand MOI contained within FBAN Melcher's MOI in Figure 42. (below) is a remarkable observation of the progression of fire behavior from subtle to overt, and the very powerful affect of "fire influencing or pulling fire" which then was the set-up for the down-canyon fire weather winds and aggressive to extreme fire behavior that ensued in Walk Moore Canyon.
The authors often refer to "aggressive" fire behavior more often than the over-used "extreme" fire behavior, which is somewhat addressed in the Tedim et al (2018) research paper below. Moreover, in the excerpt that follows - although undefined in the text - "overruns" may likely refer to or be synonymous with the more common empirical term actually used on the firelines, i.e. "burnover": "Fire behavior overwhelms capacity of control. Fire spreads unchecked, as suppression operations are either not attempted or ineffective. During suppression, there may be immediate consequences, such as witnessed on the Dude Fire: (i) Entrapments and fire overruns; (ii) Unplanned last moment evacuations; (iii) Entrapments with multiple fatalities and near misses; and (iv) Fatal fire overruns." (Table 2. page 9) (emphasis added) Indeed, these all occurred on the June 1990 Dude Fire, the June 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire, and likely numerous other wildland fire tragedies.
The overall daytime and the even more critical nighttime fire behavior contributed to an order of magnitude that was, for those of us on the firelines on June 25-26, 1990, - visually and experientially - "off-the-charts" - as they say and noted by many experienced WFs in their respective MOIs. Scientifically speaking, based on the MOIs and anecdotes of WFs, it is a permissible inference that there was exponential fire behavior that was likely two or three times in order of magnitude.
An Order of Magnitude is an exponential change of plus-or-minus 1 in the value of a quantity or unit. The term is generally used in conjunction with a power-of-10 scientific notation. In base 10, the most common numeration scheme worldwide, an increase of one order of magnitude is the same as multiplying a quantity by 10. An increase of two orders of magnitude is the equivalent of multiplying by 100, or 102.
Figure 41c. Order of Magnitude Snippet denoting Number, Nearest Power of Ten, and Order of Magnitude. Source: Shmoop. Intro. to Physics. Order of Magnitude
Tedim, F, et al (2018) Defining Extreme Wildfire Events: Difficulties, Challenges, and Impacts. International Association of Wildland Fire Journal, 1. ( https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/untangling-physics-firenadoes-drifting-embers-other-wildfire-phenomena-180971735/ )
Scott, J.H. (2006) Off the Richter: Magnitude and Intensity Scales for Wildland Fire. Systems for Environmental Management. Missoula, Montana ( http://pyrologix.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Scott_2006.pdf )
The Mogollon Rim and its influential Thermal Belt and Down-slope winds clearly falls within Watch Out No. 4 (Unfamiliar with local factors influencing weather and fire behavior)
See or revisit an idealized image of a thermal belt in Figure (6b - above):
Figure 42. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. MOI Page 37 FBAN Ron Melcher and DIVS Mark Zumwalt page Four - Missing Page Two From"Part 2 - Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the "incomplete" lessons learned on June 30, 2013?" ) Source: Anonymous Source from Joy's Records Files
Figure 43. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation.MOI Page 38 STLE Bob Scopa page Four -Missing Page Two From"Part 2 - Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the "incomplete" lessons learned on June 30, 2013?" ) Source: Anonymous Source from Joy's Records Files
STLE Bob Scopa's MOI (two parts) Figure 43. (above) and Figure 43c. (below) Some paraphrasing may occur otherwise quoted statements as such (" "). Follow the Scopa thread all the way through as there are several newly revealed key points brought out that are very informative.
"Scopa was the Engine STL (STLE) for the Strike Team [Five Engines with specified combinations of the same kind and type of resources, with common communications, and a leader] at Bonita Creek Subdivision and worked on structure protection for DIVS-Group Supervisor Ashby and DIVS Whitney. His radio communication was Mutual Aid (154.280) with the Perryville CREP LaTour, Crews, and Engines, but had no radio communication with DIVS Whitney after the IMT transition. Scopa received several radio transmissions regarding Perryville deployment but unaware of who they were from as they counted off the number 1 to 11. "Scopa had no communications with the Perryville Crew just prior to the announcement of the deployment." He assisted the Glendale FD Paramedics that relieved the Alpine EMTs as they treated burned Perryville WF Hatch in the Safety Zone."
The Alpine Hot Shots EMTs, Glendale FD paramedics, and STLE Scopa did some stellar work under very risky fire conditions that most definitely contributed to saving Perryville WF Hatch's life.
Figure 43.a (left) STLE Bob Scopa on June 26, 1990 .Dude Fire - Perryville Fire Crew Entrapment. Source. YouTube, WLF LLC
Figure 43b. (below) In my research this is all I could find for Bob Scopa and confirmed 7/25/20; same person yet legally Bobbie for 25 years now. Thank you Bobbie Source: Facebook
Consider now STLE Bob Scopa's MOI (two parts) Figure 43. (above) and Figure 43c. (below)
'The four Glendale Paramedics started an IV on Hatch in the Safety Zone and Scopa assisted them carry Hatch on a backboard to the medivac site as the fire continued to run on them. They questioned if they could continue to haul Hatch and still save themselves. They kept moving and finally reached the Safety Zone with Hatch.'
"Scopa felt that the the four Glendale Paramedics were worthy of special commendation for their actions." Unsure whether this was followed through.
Saturday, July 25, 2020 11:51 AM, Bobbie Scopa answered to the question above: "That's correct. I wrote them up and we all ended up getting many awards. It was more than just embarrassing. Six people died and we were getting awards for saving one. But I guess that's how it works."
I (JAC) am so proud of Bobbie Scopa and this reply below to the Dude Fire so we can archive this all to ONE document and ONE accession number one day to the Arizona State Archives Library.
May I welcome Bobbie Scopa's look back thirty plus years later on the Dude Fire - thank you Bobbie - a true honor as our read on:
Figure 43b. STL-E Scopa email recounting June 26, 1990, events in Walk Moore Canyon (July 25, 2020, 10:02 AM ) Source: Scopa, Collura
What follows is a Snippet from the third paragraph of Scopa's email statement in Figure 43b. (above) that is brand new, unrevealed evidence that it noteworthy and very significant with regard to the increasing fire behavior that afternoon as the result of what is referred to as a "DIRTY BURN." The goal in every firing operation is to burn at least the surface and understory fuels as completely as possible. And so, a "dirty burn" means that it was partially burned, and therefore has significant potential for a threatening reburn when the fire weather conditions are optimum, as they were that day. See also Figure 43c. (below) for "dirty burn" image.
This excerpt from the Ojo de Los Casos Wildfire Inciweb news article on the (NM Cibola NF - July 11, 2020) titled "How a 'dirty burn' affects wildfire containment percentage" explains it rather well: "This fire is made up of many patches of burned and unburned vegetation. In cases such as this, lingering heat can hide within unburned fuels close to the ground. This heat may not be recognized until weather and fuel conditions are just right for ignition. Once ignited, these areas could burn hot and fast. Firefighters call this a 'dirty' or 'scabby' burn." (emphasis added) This was also noted in another Inciweb article on the Williams Flat Fire (WA - Colville BIA - August 21, 2019). "In fire terms, areas of the Williams Flats Fire had a dirty burn - an area where there is still standing, half-burned fuel susceptible to reburning." (emphasis added)
Figure 43c. Photo showing incomplete combustion of fuel bed, i.e."dirty burn" Source: Inciweb.gov
As you read Scopa's email excerpt directly below from Figure 43., note that this is very significant regarding what intense, rapid fire behavior eventually occurred in Walk Moore Canyon on the afternoon of June 26, 1990, as noticed and as recounted in Scopa' email below:
"Around mid-afternoon, Perryville began getting spots around their line and requested my assistance. ... I was surprised and concerned by what I saw. The earlier burnout that was done during the night did not consume the fuel. It mostly just scorched and dried out the turbinella oak leaves and continued to creep around in the duff. It was obvious to me that the Perryville Crew was in a dangerous situation. The fuel loading was heavy and pre-heated and dried out from the earlier burn out operation. I communicated this with [OPS] and then directed my engine crews to extend a hoselay down Walkmore (sic) Canyon to begin assisting the Perryville crew. Shortly after my engine crews began working on the new hose lay is when the blow up occurred." (emphasis added)
Figure 43d. Snippet of third paragraph of STL-E Scopa email (above) recounting June 26, 1990, "dirty burn" observations and concern regarding fire behavior and safety hazard potential in Walk Moore Canyon Source: Scopa, Collura
It is noteworthy as well that this was the TNF PRD Type 3 Engine (Model 70) discussed in Engine Boss Tiffany's MOI in Figures 51-51 (below) that would provide the means of escape for several of the Navajo Scouts and Perryville Crewmembers attempting to flee the ensuing danger in Walk Moore Canyon during the blow-up and the life threatening, advancing fire front.
Figure 43c. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. MOI Page 39 STLE Bob Scopa page Four -Missing Page Two From"Part 2 - Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the "incomplete" lessons learned on June 30, 2013?" ) Source: Anonymous Source from Joy's Records Files
What follows in Figure 44. and Figure 45. (below) are two pages of fairly articulate, detailed, neatly typed, legible observations and conclusions (statement format) of the Navajo Scouts Crew Boss Lois Sorrel. His statement is WELL WORTH READING. It covers in quite some detail - fire weather, fire behavior, human factors, and the Ten Standard Fire Orders and Watch Out Situations during the critical period of time between 1315 and 1430.
Once again, it is WELL WORTH READING!
Figure 44. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. Detailed typed Statement - Page 40 Navajo Scouts Crew Boss WF Louis Sorrel page Four -Missing Page Two From"Part 2 - Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the "incomplete" lessons learned on June 30 ,2013?" ) Source: Anonymous Source from Joy's Records Files
Figure 45. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. Detailed typed Statement - Page 41 Navajo Scouts Crew Boss Louis Sorrel page Four - Missing Page Two From"Part 2 - Was the June 26,1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the "incomplete" lessons learned on June 30, 2013?" ) Source: Anonymous Source from Joy's Records Files
Figure 46. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. MOI Page 42 Mark Spann, Ronald Regan, respectively Tonto and Coconino NF Radio Techs, page Four - Missing Page Two From "Part 2 - Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the "incomplete" lessons learned on June 30, 2013?" ) Source: Anonymous Source from Joy's Records Files
Some paraphrasing may take place otherwise statements in quotes. A communication plan and repeater set-up was already in place by the Type 2 IMT by the time these Communications Personnel arrived on the fire.
"Everyone was still on the Tonto [NF] Net on the 26th. There was lack of direction on the [fire]line, Groups were agreeing among themselves on the frequencies they would use. Everyone was complaining about not being able to talk to anyone. The initial [communication] setup had problems. Someone called Communications (at the base Camp) for a Medivac, but no one responded because they were not monitoring the freq[uency]. Another BIFC Comm Unit arrived and Fred Buhl (Type I Comm Unit Leader) has straightened things out."
What a communications cluster f**k! There were some very serious communications problems occurring from the start and all throughout the critical burnover, deployment, and fatalities periods. The "C" prong of LCES - Communications - is almost always mentioned in every wildland fire fatality investigation report. The feckless FLAs, RLAs, Learning Reviews, Coordinated Response Protocols, etc. are excluded because they exclude the "truth" about what happened and because they are more interested in their "stories."
What follows if AZ DOC Crew Boss Larry Terra MOI in four (4) parts. Paraphrasing except for direct quotes below from Figure 47. (below). 'Larry Terra was the AZ Dept. of Corrections (DOC) under contract with the Perryville Fire Crew Supervisor and a Safety Coordinator with the AZ State Forestry. They arrived at the Payson RD on June 25th about 1930 and checked in with operations. At 2230, they were directed to go to Base Camp to bed down. They ate dinner between 2300 and 2400 and while enroute to Base camp, a Park Ranger (sic) redirected the Crew to Bonita Creek Subdivision arriving about 0100. He received instructions to park their vehicles heading out in [the] event [a] quick escape was necessary. CREP Latour instructed them to take their fire shelters out of their packs and put them on their hips. They had worked with LaTour on other fires. Shortly after, they were instructed to put their shelters back in their packs and tool up. "Minutes later, about about 0130, I was told to get in the vehicles and get out." Get out? Because of fire behavior or what?
These Perryville WFs have likely worked all day on project work or on The Yard, and now it's early in the morning and they are "in country not seen in the daylight." (Watch Out #2)
Figure 47. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. Page 1 of 4 of MOI Page 43 Larry Terra (Perryville Crew Boss) Page Four -Missing Page Two From"Part 2 - Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the "incomplete" lessons learned on June 30, 2013?" ) Source: Anonymous Source from Joy's Records Files
What follows if AZ DOC Crew Boss Larry Terra MOI. Paraphrasing except for direct quotes below from Figure 48. (below).
'They drove back the way they had come for over an hour and arrived at the Control Road and Walk Moore Canyon junction about 0230. He was instructed to build line along the jeep trail (Walk Moore Canyon had been an old logging / woodcutting road). A dozer had not been through the area.' The reason that a dozer had not been through the area was because the one we were using that night had no light kit and the morons refused to go get or request to bring the light kit from the District Fire Cache, as I (DF) had suggested to them hours before it got dark on Jun 25, 1990.
'The area was extremely hazardous with heavy fuels. They were instructed to build a two foot wide handline on the right track. Later they were bumped up Walk Moore Canyon to where the powerline crossed the jeep trail and to improve the powerline right-of-way (ROW) toward the Bonita Creek Subdivision by clearing a three foot handline. They had two of their own power saws (ProMac 700s). This was about 0400 to 0430 and Terra claimed to be in constant communication with DIVS-Group Supervisor Ashby.'
'He thought a dozer was building line (unreadable text) to the Control Road. They improved the line up to the subdivision, arriving there about 0500. They worked there until 0900 to 1000. They left the Subdivision and met with the Prescott HS where the jeep road tied into the road around the Subdivision. They were instructed to improve the dozer line working down Walk Moore Canyon, eight (8) feet on the on the fire side. He made contact with STLE Scopa who asked to use his radio.'
'Terra expressed concern about the vegetative canopy overhang over the dozer line to Scopa and LaTour.' Many WFs made comments about this valid safety concern. Other WFs - more credible than Terra - stated that without a charged hoselay in Walk Moore Canyon, they could readily burn it but there was no way they would be able to hold it because of the heavy fuels noted and the steep, narrow canyon.
From this point, I (DF) allege that this is where Terra's lies begin about he and Crewmember Hill allegedly leaving Walk Moore Canyon to get water for the Crew on the Control Road. The water was ALWAYS right down in Walk Moore Canyon itself, being delivered by a Payson RD employee on an ATV who's only job was to do just that. Again, water was ALWAYS in Walk Moore Canyon! Terra's MOI stated "he left to get water ... from the vehicles on the Control Road. ... They left the Control Road ... " (emphasis added) This is a blatantly false statement. Did he really leave his radio with Bachman as he claimed? Did he let Bachman even know she would be in charge? Did Terra let CREP LaTour know he was gone from the Crew?
Terra's MOI continues: 'At about 1300, the Perryville Crew ran out of water. Terra ordered water trough LaTour but none arrived in over 45 minutes. Terra took Fred Hill and left to get water and fuel from the vehicles on the Control Road. Left his radio with Sandra Bachman who was to be in charge. Passed LaTour on the way down and saw an airtanker and noticed an airtanker had dropped on him. An ATV took the water up and dropped it off for them. They left the Control Road ... '
There is an obvious mixture of truthful statements, i.e. "An ATV took the water up and dropped it off for them" with outright lies, i.e. "Terra took Fred Hill and left to get water and fuel from the vehicles on the Control Road" mixed into Terra's MOI.
Figure 48. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. Page 2 of 4 of MOI Page 44 Larry Terra page Four -Missing Page Two From"Part 2 - Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the "incomplete" lessons learned on June 30, 2013?" ) Source: Anonymous Source from Joy's Records Files
What follows is the AZ DOC Crew Boss Larry Terra MOI part 3 of 4. Paraphrasing except for direct quotes below from Figure 49. (below).
'Conditions became very dark and they recognized it was not a good situation." How could Terra know this when he was on the Control Road at the Fuller Creek junction witnessed by myself and several other WFs and talked with directly by me (DF). This is where and when he made the statements to me - two times: "I should have never left my Crew."
'Met with Navajo II who were working below the Perryville Crew. The Navajos had little or no radio communication. At about 1215, they were about at the last person on the Crew and heard a Crew Member yell "Get Out." The Crew started running down and out. They continued up the trail to tie in with their Crew. Heard wind like a locomotive and saw a wall of flame on the side of the ridge. Continue toward the Crew. Didn't hear any radio communications. Three of the Perryville Crew ran passed (sic) them down Walk Moore canyon. at top speed without saying anything. Three more came running toward them. They asked why he was running with a chainsaw. I took the chainsaw from them and eventually carried it out.
How was it possible for Terra to allegedly do and witness all these things when he had left his Crew and was NOT with them during this critical time? I (DF) witnessed - with others - and talked directly with him on the Control Road and the Fuller Creek junction. How is it possible when he told me twice - in person -"I should have never left my Crew." And the fact that the SAIT knew within three days of the fatalities that he had left the Crew.
'The fire crowned and then dropped in front of them with intense heat with 100 foot flames orange flame on all sides. Appear there was not enough time to deploy their shelter. Hill had already started back. Decision was made to run back. Met up with Enriquez who was walking. Wall of fire on the East was advancing faster than the front on the West. Both continued burning and caught up with Flippen and and soon got to the Control Road.
'At 1547 was notified by Love that they were all dead (Sandra, James, and Joe). Had sent two 2-person lookouts to check the (??) ...'
Once again - How was it possible for Terra to allegedly do and witness all these things when he had left his Crew and was NOT with them during this critical time? I (DF) witnessed - with others - and talked directly with him on the Control Road and the Fuller Creek junction. How is it possible when he told me twice - in person -"I should have never left my Crew."
Figure 49. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation.Page 3 of 4 of MOI Page 45 Larry Terra page Four - Missing Page Two From"Part 2 - Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the "incomplete" lessons learned on June 30, 2013?" ) Source: Anonymous Source from Joy's Records Files
What follows is the AZ DOC Crew Boss Larry Terra MOI part 4 of 4. Paraphrasing except for direct quotes below from Figure 50. (below).
"... left for water. They scouted and returned to the line. All air traffic stopped and it was sprinkling about 1330-1400. Heard explosions over the ridge.
And one more time - How was it possible for Terra to allegedly do and witness all these things when he had left his Crew and was NOT with them during this critical time? I (DF) witnessed - with others - and talked directly with him on the Control Road and the Fuller Creek junction. How is it possible when he told me twice - in person -"I should have never left my Crew."
"No Safety Zones were designated Escaped (sic) Routes were up or down the dozer line. Thunderstorm came out of nowhere and created an exceptional situation.
"(July 2, 1990, interview) Terra said that himself, Bachman, Chacon, Denny, Ellis, Hatch. Love, Enriquez, and Hill did not take the Step-Test during 1990 because they were concentrating on testing the new personnel. They were conducting daily exercise for 1/2 to 1 hour including jogging, wind sprints, rope jumping, bikes, and weights."
Figure 50. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. Page 4 of 4 of MOI Page 46 Larry Terra page Four -Missing Page Two From"Part 2 - Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the "incomplete" lessons learned on June 30 ,2013?" ) Source: Anonymous Source from Joy's Records Files
What follows in (Figure 51. - below) is the MOI of one of the Dude Fire Extended Attack Resources - TNF PRD Model 70 Engine - Engine Boss Mark Tiffany MOI pertaining to the active June 25, 1990, fire behavior, beginning at about 0130 (1:30 AM). Part 1 of 3. Paraphrasing except for direct quotes from Figure 51. and Figure 52. (below).
"Monday 1300, 6/25/90 – water tender. Met with Crew on West line off 129 Road. 1700 waiting for Helitack [HT]. Unaware what "Crew" he is referring to here. Helitack initial attacked the fire early that afternoon and were in a Safety Zone within 15 minutes.
"Supposed to go to Bonita Creek Estates for structure protection, arrived at 2400. TNF PRD WF John Day with water tender.
"[Payson Hot??] Shots reported major runs to the Southeast. [Downslope fire behavior with NW winds]. Runs uphill then switch to down canyon.
"Sat at the edge of the Subdivision and watched the fire [behavior] until 0300 (3:00 AM). Spotting downslope.
"Watched embers land and quickly grow to spot fires (0200 to 0300)"
Figure 51. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. Page 1 of 3 of June 25, 1990, MOI Page 47 Mark Tiffany page Four - Missing Page Two From"Part 2 - Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the "incomplete" lessons learned on June 30, 2013?" ) Source: Anonymous Source from Joy's Records Files
Figure 52. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. Page 2 of 3 of MOI Page 48 Mark Tiffany page Four - Missing Page Two From"Part 2 - Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the "incomplete" lessons learned on June 30, 2013?" ) Source: Anonymous Source from Joy's Records Files
What follows is the TNF PRD Engine Boss Mark Tiffany MOI pertaining to June 26, 1990. Parts 1 of 3. Paraphrasing except for direct quotes from Figure 52. (above) and Figure 53. (below).
TNF PRD Engine Boss Tiffany MOI dated "6/26/90 – this interview was for the purpose of determining (??)" The handwritten text is unreadable.
'[Beginning at] 0100 (1:00 AM). The [USFS TNF PRD Type 3 "Model 70"] Engine was stationed at the intersection of Walk Moore Canyon and the Control Road. At 1:oo PM they noted a few sprinkles of rain and at 2:00 PM the winds were calm.'
Note the established pattern of June 25-26, 1990, and theme running through most of the Dude Fire WF / FF MOIs - "a few sprinkles of rain, calm winds, then winds increase or shift with increased fire behavior"
'At 2:30 PM there was a rapid wind shift to the the NW at 30+ mph.' Engine left the scene, 2 1/2 to 3 minutes later - fire was everywhere.
These TNF PRD Engine guys told me right after the fire, that this Engine also had a flat tire on one of the outside duals. Fortunately - more like fortuitously - they had decided to wait until they got back on the Control Road to change the flat. Several of the escaping-downhill-downcanyon-and-out Navajo Scouts and Perryville Crewmembers climbed onto and into this Engine and the other vehicle - the TNF PRD WF in his pickup truck (who contemplated making another ATV run or load up and get ATV fuel) that was delivering water by ATV, and both narrowly escaped to the Control Road with these WFs. They said the taillight covers on the Model 70 Engine melted.
How many Navajo Scout WFs and Perryville WFs would have been burned and / or died without this TNF PRD Engine and the ATV water delivery WF that quickly and safely hauled them out to the Control Road? No doubt, all of these WFs think about that at least once a year.
"It is not craven fear. it is courage that the Christian service should bring to a man. It always takes courage to be a Christian, and that courage comes from the continual consciousness of the presence of Christ. In the true Christian there is the power to cope with things, the power to shoulder the back-breaking task, the power to stand erect in the face of the shattering situation, the power to retain faith in the face of the soul searing sorrow, and the wounding disappointment. The Christian is characteristically the man who can pass the breaking point and not break." (emphasis added) quoted in William Barclay (Scottish professor and theological maverick) (1960) from Holton, C. (2005) Bulletproof on pp. 115-116.
What follows are paraphrased and quoted excerpts from TNF PRD Engine Boss Tiffany MOI, Part 3 of 3 in Figure 54. (below)
"The fire moved into the crowns and out again. It would run for a half-section or so and die down. Run 60-90 seconds. Die down for 10-15 mins.
"Watched it do that for about an hour. The fire would spot, make spot fires, then the main fire would catch up to the spots. Left at 0300."
Almost to a tee, this is what we experienced and witnessed as Field Observers and WFs on the night of June 25-26, 1990
"Went to the Control Road to regroup, by the 1208 Road."
"Urban [Type 1 and 2] Engines went in for Structure protection. He was there for Forest Protection so he went to the base of Walk Moore Canyon to set [up] water [support] for the burnout [operation]."
"Got to the base of Walk Moore Canyon about 0400 (4:00 AM). They were short on hose and nozzles. Got 600 feet of hose line out to the powerline."
"The dozer went up this line. Saw white, black, red clouds all morning around Northeast of Estates - burnout. Spot over Control Road about 1000-1100."
"He came down but another Engine was sent to it and got it. He saw what he thought was the burnout coming. It looked nice. Northeast [downslope] winds about 5 mph."
"The head was moving Southwest [downslope Northeast winds]. Watched it come for 30-60 minutes. Still thought it was the burnout. Around 1200 (noon) report of [spot] fire over the Control Road. Some confusion over the radio about the earlier spot [fire] over the [Control] Road. Pleasant Valley HS [West flank, above the fire below the top of The Rim] confirmed it was the main fire."
"Calm. Dead calm at the Control Road. Ridgeline blew up. Crews ran out. They picked up people. 50-60 mph [wind] blast for 2 ½ - 3 mins. Navajo Crew … sprinkled 2 hrs. before."
"Communication bad before blow-up, impossible afterward."
Figure 53. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. Page 3 of 3 of MOI Page 49 Mark Tiffany page Four - Missing Page Two From"Part 2 - Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the "incomplete" lessons learned on June 30, 2013?" ) Source: Anonymous Source from Joy's Records Files
What follows are paraphrased and quoted excerpts from OPS Van Tilborg MOI, Part 1 of 2 in Figure 55. (below)
“Worked together with [OPS] Dundas during the first shift. Concentrated efforts on the Bonita [Creek] area. Division E was from the Control Road Northeast to approx. the area of the burnout. Division points were not well defined."
"Everyone knew the conditions were critical. [DIVS] Eckstein and [DIVS] Gil were monitoring the firing operations, [DIVS Group Supervisor] Ashby had the Crews and the State structural Engines in Bonita [Creek]. The sequence of Crews at about 1:00 to 1315 was (sic) [were]: Zig Zag [HS], Prescott [HS] (protecting the last house), Perryville, Navajo Scouts, and Alpine (to Control Road)."
"Turned responsibilities over to Cook[e] about 1330. Wasn’t comfortable about the transition, however, the Division Sups were shadowing. Would prefer not to transition in the middle of the shift in the future. [Three] 3 Division Sups were replaced by one."
Figure 55. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. Part 1 of 2 in MOI Page 50 OPS VanTilborg page Four - Missing Page Two From"Part 2 - Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the "incomplete" lessons learned on June 30, 2013?" ) Source: Anonymous Source from Joy's Records Filesm looking at old investigation
What follows are paraphrased and quoted excerpts from OPS Van Tilborg MOI, Part 2 of 2 in Figure 56. (below)
“Did not deal directly with this Airtanker or Lead Plane. Worked through OPS Glen [Dundas] for any Air Operations."
“Communications frequencies were very busy. Just before returning to Camp, checked where the fire had crossed the Control Road and found it was not passable.”
Figure 56. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. Part 2 of 2 MOI Page 51 OPS VanTilborg page Four - Missing Page Two From"Part 2 - Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the "incomplete" lessons learned on June 30, 2013?" ) Source: Anonymous Source from Joy's Records Filesm
What follows is DIVS Group Supervisor Jeff Whitney's Part 1 of 4 of his MOI from (Figure 57. below) likely paraphrasing unless in quotes (" "). There are also some statements from a news article by a former AZ Republic News reporter / photographer Tom Story who was there that day as well when the June 26, 1990, firing operation went South.
The first page of the MOI for Jeff Whitney is obscured by a USFS shield which makes the Interviewer notes and writing very difficult to decipher.
"There were four general questions that the Team requested [to] be addressed during the interview with Jeff."
"The first being what was his position and responsibility. Jeff stated that he was the Group Supervisor (??) Group of Division, with the responsibility for the protection of structures within the Bonita Creek Subdivision (??) Estates (??)." The "official" Investigation Report lists Whitney as a Type 1 Team Division Supervisor, along with Bead and Gatewood, assigned by OPS Cooke.
"Whitney’s major assignment was to supervise (??) … ??? the burnout operation being conducted along the West side of the development."
Nowadays this would be considered a "distraction" and a "collateral duty," even though DIVS Phil Gil was the actual Burn Boss according to his MOI in Figures 17 and 18 (below). It depends how much Whitney allowed himself to be involved with that particular operation whether or not it distracted him from his other supervisory duties.
"Assigned to the burnout operation was (sic) the Prescott [Hot] Shots, Zig Zag [Hot Shots], Plums (sic) [Plumas Hot Shots], Alpine [Hot] Shots, and Flathead [Hot] Shot Crews.
"In addition, there were (?? ) Strike Teams of Type I Engines. Most of the time in the (??) was spent fire proofing structures and supervising the burn-out operations." Several Engine Strike Teams of Type 1 Engines is a lot of very large Engines needing lots of room to park and maneuver and to turn around. We used to call them "Pavement Queens."
"Between 1330 and 1400 Phil Gil took Whitney to the Southeastern portion of the Bonita [Creek] Estates for him to pick-up (sic) his vehicle. At that time he noticed a spot. (sic) fire on the East side of the Estates. He then attempted to drive out the road …"
These are a few news article statements from a non-WF / non-FF perspective as the (former) AZ Republic reporter / photographer Tom Story (worth reading) that was there that day. These are germane to what was occurring on the afternoon of June 26, 1990, in the Bonita Creek Subdivision prior to everything going to s**t: "When we arrived at the Bonita Creek Estates, private land inside the national forest boundaries, we parked our vehicles near a fire engine. I followed their hoses to where some firefighters were set up to protect a burn out operation being done by the Flathead and Zig Zag Hotshots. The area they burned out helped protect what is called the 'Corner House' in Bonita Creek Estates. ... I remember meeting up with the Prescott Hotshots. It was around this time that we were listening to some radio traffic that indicated that the fire had jumped the road and we could not leave the area. We were cut off."
"I sort of remember the clouds and smoke getting darker and the whole atmosphere becoming more weird. Some of the firefighters started looking nervous and the decision was made for everybody to go up to a "safety zone" that had been built and burned out the night before."
"I remember some talk about how we 'may have to deploy shelters. ...'"
"As I photographed the Prescott Hotshots, I starting thinking something along the lines of: 'If these guys are this shaken up, maybe I should be concerned, too. ... The main body of the fire arrived. Everybody watched large flames on the outside of the safety zone. Propane tanks vented and exploded in the distance. ...'"
"After the evacuation we left the safety zone and walked down to where our vehicles were parked. I made photos of a burned house. The fire engine had some fire damage as did [USFS PIO] Pete Libby's Forest Service Blazer, which had several windows blown out and the paint scorched. Some of the paint on my truck was burned, the taillights were melted, the weather-stripping on the camper had dissolved and the fiberglass camper shell had blistered in places." (AZ Central - Tom Story - Special to the Republic - June 26, 2015)
Figure 56. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. MOI Page 52 DIVS Jeff Whitney Page 1 of 4 - Missing Page Two From"Part 2 - Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the "incomplete" lessons learned on June 30, 2013?" ) Source: Anonymous Source from Joy's Records Filesm
What follows is DIVS Group Supervisor Jeff Whitney's Part 2 of 4 of his MOI from (Figure 57. below) likely paraphrasing unless in quotes (" ").
" … to the Control Road and encountered another spot fire blocking the access. He then returned to the Northwest side of the Estates and ordered building of the Safety Zone.
"This area of responsibility under which Whitney understood was his responsibility was (sic) “Group F,” all within the Bonita Creek Estates.
Interesting. According to Whitney's MOI, this was truly a Functional Group with a DIVS Group Supervisor that day, once the Type I Team finally transitioned into place.
"Another question was had he had contact with the Perryville Crew prior to the deployment? His answer was he had, he had no radio contact with the Perryville Crew because of the differences in radio frequencies being used by the overhead.
Interesting. He had "physical contact" with them but no "radio contact."
"The overhead was operating on the BIFC radio nets and the Perryville Crew was operating on the State [NIIMS] frequency. During the work period that Whitney had been in Group F, no Strike Team Leader had been assigned to the Division where the Navajo #2 Crew or Perryville Crews [were working] (??). "
According to a recent conversation with a NIFC Radio Technician, a 'radio net' is a radio network, and so, in this particular case, the radios could have had the frequencies correctly programmed into them to work properly. However, it seems that the Perryville Crew radio issue was an ongoing problem based on other MOIs, WF anecdotes, and Dude Fire reference materials and sources.
Figure 57. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. MOI Page 53 DIVS Jeff Whitney Page 2 of 4 - Missing Page Two From"Part 2 - Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the "incomplete" lessons learned on June 30, 2013?" ) Source: Anonymous Source from Joy's Records Filesm
What follows is DIVS Group Supervisor Jeff Whitney's Part 3 of 4 of his MOI from (Figure 58. below) likely paraphrasing unless in quotes (" ").
"Has worked on the [Payson Ranger] District 80-83. Hot Shot Crew. Knows typical fire on [T]he [R]im. Was surprised to see the fire burning downslope at 1:30 (1330) on 6/26. Head fire was running downslope."
"Briefing done 6:30 [AM] 6/26. At 0700 [the fire] was active, not crowning, some torching."
"Shadow and replace [Type 2] Team at 1300. Comfortable. Knew the people. Uncomfortable that there was no good anchor."
Figure 57a. Archive cartoon-type image depicting Watch Out #8 Constructing line without a safe anchor point Snippet. Source: NWCG - WFSTAR (2018)
Whitney at least recognized and acknowledge this, yet he makes a fairly interesting and perplexing statement. He is comfortable because he knows the people he works with, but uncomfortable with one of the many inherently dangerous Watch Out Situations that could get him or others injured or killed, i.e. Watch Out No. 8. Indeed, these Watch Out Situations are things that occur on every shift on every fire and considered as possible dangers to be aware of (Ziegler, 2007).
A recent NWCG training site goes further: "The 18 Watch Out Situations are more specific and cautionary, describing situations that expand the 10 Standard Firefighting Orders with the intent that if firefighters follow the Standard Firefighting Orders and are alerted to the 18 Watch Out Situations, much of the risk of firefighting can be reduced." (emphasis added) (NWCG July 7, 2020)
"Crews had been on [the] fire for 18-20 hours. 0900 back to Camp.
Burnout- slow – good air support." Fatigue most definitely was a causal factor contributing to the Perryville Crew fatalities. See excerpt directly below.
The morning of June 26, 1990, recollections and reflections from a Flathead HS are exceptionally insightful: "When we passed Perryville on the way up Walkmore Canyon to the subdivision; they were sitting there from a night shift and they all had thousand mile stares. What I had heard was that they were just letting them 'work' another shift by standing by and really had no business being out there. ... They had gotten up and repositioned themselves which probably is what killed them." (YHFR website - Part 2 Do our WF Instructors ... ( June 21, 2020)
"Stein - dozer - off to Northeast. Spot [fire] over the line."
"1230 – Dick Cooke didn’t assign a section of the line."
"Whitney 'was running' the burnout. The transition was complete, but he stayed because they needed help."
"Everything was going well. Zig Zag was doing the lighting. He shot them off." (Shot what off? Very pistol rounds? What?)
Nowadays, "running a burnout" while in another position (other than Ignition Specialist), would be considered a "Collateral Duty" proscribed by USFS direction as a result of the Thirty Mile Fire fatalities (WA - 2001). In the SAIT-SAIR: "Thus Daniels assumed collateral duties as IC (responsible for communications) and Crew Boss trainer." (p, 34) and "Command roles on the Thirtymile Fire were unclear and confusing to those in command of the incident,to the rest of the crew, and to others associated with the fire." (p, 34) and "Fatigue and collateral duties impeded the abilities of key leadership to think clearly and to act decisively to use available time on the shelter deployment site to prepare for the burnover." (p. 41) (all emphasis added)
How about replacing the above statement with this instead? Those "collateral duties" hindered their key leadership abilities to think clearly and to act decisively to better use their available time to follow the tried-and-trued principles of Entrapment Avoidance rather than rely on a "last resort" fire shelter. Disturbingly - yet predictably - the words "shelter" and "fire shelter" are used 78 and 22 times, respectively in the Thirty Mile Fire SAIT-SAIR and "last resort" is never mentioned even once!
Similarly, in the 2013 YH Fire SAIT-SAIR, the phrase "fire shelter" and the word "shelter" is used 121 times and "fire shelter" is used 36 times, respectively, and "last resort" is never mentioned even once!
This human failure also occurred on the Battlement Creek Fire in Colorado in 1976 as a key contributing factor for the Crew Boss, directly involved in a firing operation, which resulted in his death.
Related to the "collateral duties" issue, Human Factors authors and researchers Loukopoulos, Dismukes, and Barshi (2009) in their insightful book titled: The Multitasking Myth: Handling Complexity in Real-World Operations delve deeply into the fallacy of multitasking and the competing, dangerous distractions this entails, including the inordinate lengths of time it takes to recover and realign with ones original task.
Figure 58. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. MOI Page 54 DIVS Jeff Whitney Page 3 of 4 - Missing Page Two From"Part 2 - Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the "incomplete" lessons learned on June 30, 2013?" ) Source: Anonymous Source from Joy's Records Filesm
What follows is DIVS Group Supervisor Jeff Whitney's Part 4 of 4 of his MOI from (Figure 59. below) likely paraphrasing unless in quotes (" ").
"Prescott [Hot Shots] - two went out to get the buggies and get food. (??) Started out ... Heard it crossed the Control Road. 'Don’t have a secure position.'”
"Ashby [DIVS Group Supervisor] had mutual aid communication.
"[DIVS] Gatewood was there, but did not assert authority.
About 150 people secure –
"5 frequencies – Crew, Command, Mutual Aid, maybe 25 radios among 150 people.
"For 45 minutes there was no air cover. – Need eyes in the sky.
"Hear that the fire crossed the Control Road. Went to get rig of East side of subdivision.
"Saw a spot on South side of [Bonita Creek] subdivision. Not the one from the burnout.
"5 min[utes] to get rig – 5 min[utes] back
"While getting the rig someone said 'Can’t get into the subdivision'”
"Called Prescott, said get into the Safety Zone. Orderly move to Safety Zone
Thought the fire blew at the top – that the rest could go down."
Figure 59. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. MOI Page 55 DIVS Jeff Whitney Page 4 of 4 - Missing Page Two From"Part 2 - Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the "incomplete" lessons learned on June 30, 2013?" ) Source: Anonymous Source from Joy's Records Filesm
Figure 62. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. 5. Site Photographs (p. 25) page Four - Missing Page Two From"Part 2 - Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the "incomplete" lessons learned on June 30, 2013?" ) Source: Anonymous Source from Joy's Records Filesm
Figure 63. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. Walk Moore Canyon photographs - Missing Page Two From"Part 2 - Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the "incomplete" lessons learned on June 30, 2013?" ) Source: Anonymous Source from Joy's Records Filesm
Figure 64 Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. Walk Moore Canyon photographs - Missing Page Two From"Part 2 - Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the "incomplete" lessons learned on June 30, 2013?" ) Source: Anonymous Source from Joy's Records Filesm
These photos, albeit blurry, are very similar to many of the "missing photos" from the TNF PRD that "disappeared" prompting the Regional Staff Ride Coordinator to initiate a National / Regional Staff Ride Workshop to finally complete the Dude Fire Staff Ride.
Experience has shown it is always hazardous to accept as true any statistic, prediction, warning, or alleged statement of fact from any USFS official or designated spokesperson when it comes to accepting all wildland fire fatality and / or high loss incident (i.e. Los Alamos – Cerro Grande 2000) investigations, reports, reviews, etc.
This is an appropriate excerpt from a Payson Roundup newspaper annual, ongoing, June 1990 Dude Fire special. "And so it lies in the end to the survivors, to neither forget nor to squander such lives, such courage.” (Payson Roundup July 27, 2018)
And this Orwellian gem: "There is greater potential for collateral damage through the creation of a report that is structured around fact and cites actions as causal” is from (retired) former USFS Director, Office of Human Performance and Innovation and Organizational Learning (HPIOL) Ivan Pupulidy. He currently works for the Taos Institute. Creating Promising Futures Through Social Construction.
Ivan Pupulidy (2015) The Transformation of Accident Investigation. From Finding Cause to Sensemaking. Tilburg University. (emphasis added) p. 52
( https://research.tilburguniversity.edu/en/publications/the-transformation-of-accident-investigation-from-finding-cause-t )
Here are some more unrevealed Perryville Crew and Walk Moore Canyon comments to consider related to what Mr. Pupulidy stated about "facts" and what STL-E Scopa recently added (above) in the Figure 43. MOI, email, and anecdotes series.
After the Dude Fire, two months later - to the day - there was another fatality wildfire. The Alpine Hot Shots and the same investigators from the Dude Fire Serious Accident Investigation Team were assigned and dispatched for this August 26, 1990, wildfire near Midway, Utah. These two wildland fire fatalities had occurred on the Midway Fire in the Wasatch Mountain State Park within the jurisdiction of the Utah Lands & Forestry in Wasatch County.
There is a tell-tale story here regarding this newest Utah wildfire, the Dude Fire, and the recurrent equivocal nature of wildland fatality fire "investigations" that will be recounted following these Wasatch County Fire details.
There is scant information on this Utah wildfire tragedy, except for the Always Remember page and website link (above), a place to find information and learn about deadly incidents involving members of the wildland fire community.
Figure 64a. Accident Investigation Report. Wasatch Mountain Fire Incident. Multiple Firefighter Fatality.August 26, 1990, Wasatch Mountain State Park. Midway, Utah. Source: NFPA
I also included a cover sheet here in Figure 64a. (above) of a SAIR that I received from the NFPA which specifically stated to me that the USFS is the 'custodian of record" of this SAIT-SAIR, and USFS Regional Safety Manager Randy Draeger was the contact.
Interestingly, Mr. Draeger, a Marine veteran, prior to his current position in a key USFS manager position in one of the highest wildland fire-load Regions in the US with NIFC research report data indicating numerous wildland fire burnovers, entrapments, and fatalities in the USFS, earned his abundance of prior safety and health experience with 15 years in the Hospitality Management arena, (i.e. Hilton Hotels and Director of Security). You will find Mr. Draeger listed as an alleged "Investigator" and / or "Reviewer" on numerous wildland fire fatalities, including the June 30, 2013, Yarnell Hill Fire.
However, the NFPA will not release the Wasatch State Park report. And, of course, Mr. Draeger and the USFS deny it even exists with a typical FOIA Request response, (i.e. "No records responsive to your request.")
Please note in Figure 64a. (above) all along the left margin of the document, the faint, yet readily identifiable markings of the spiral notebook "slot hole" marks typical of professional plastic zip-bound reports.
Please consider the details on the wildfire also known as the Wasatch State Park Fire in some documents and records. Killed on this fire were: County Road Department Equipment Operator Ralph M Broadhead, (64) and Deputy Sheriff Blake V Wright (38) with details of the incident from the website to follow:
"The fire started adjacent to Wasatch Mountain State Park on August 26 near Midway, UT. Exact details of the entrapment are unknown, but NWCG reports that winds increased in speed and changed direction. The fire, burning in brush and timber with 50 foot flame lengths, was seen spotting into canyons. Hundreds of residents from subdivisions with limited ingress / egress were evacuated. ‘The fire was burning so fast you could not drive a car out fast enough to escape it.’ Dozer Operator Blake and Deputy Sheriff Broadhead were working on a firebreak to protect the wildland-urban interface community when the fire rolled over them. One shelter was deployed. News articles report Wright and Broadhead lost radio contact and were fatally burned. Their bodies were found later the next morning near the bulldozer they were using to clear the firebreak.” (emphasis added)
Shortly after the Dude Fire, anecdotal evidence from one of the Alpine HS surfaced that directly relates to some of the details recently shared by STL-E Scopa regarding the “dirty burn.” From my (DF) Dude Fire notes and documentation, one of the Alpine Hot Shots on his way down-and-out through Walk Moore Canyon to retrieve vehicles, recalled seeing some of the Perryville Crew using fusees. We talked about this and others details of the fatalities by phone a few times.
Did the Perryville Crew create their own "dirty burn" by burning out in Walk Moore Canyon the night before? Were they burning out on June 26th and trigger this unburned, dried out pocket to ignite?
This Alpine HS later called me with some interesting comments once the Wasatch County (former Dude Fire) SAIT showed up as the Investigators on the Utah fire. He told me that some of the SAIT members had talked with him and asked him questions about the Dude Fire. He told me: “The questions they [SAIT] were asking me about the Dude Fire where almost like they had been listening to us when we talked about it on the phone.”
This is the same kind of stealth "investigation" that would also occur on the 1996 Clark Peak Fire debacle as well as the infamous June 30, 2013, Yarnell Hill Fire.
A Canadian WF and researcher posits this regarding the wildland fire lessons learned question we ask as our post title, and at least some answers as to what needs to be done to rectify matters: "The wildland fire community, politicians, and the public will have to correct their perceptions and expectations regarding the realities of wildland fire versus fire suppression technology. Aggressive fire suppression would not [be] the unquestionable, solitary solution to the wildland fire problem. Fire suppression tactics would be applied consistent with the prevailing conditions of the fire environment, probability of mission success, and the values at risk. It could mean total aggressive fire suppression, more conservative tactics or complete non-engagement. This could well translate to fewer fires fought, reduced initial attack success rates, increased area burned, with fewer accidents. We must ask ourselves if we have the determination, conviction and most of all, the courage to attempt such a cultural change." (emphasis added) p. 8 (Beaver 2001)
Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. Winston Churchill
In conclusion - after somewhat critiquing a proposed solution from a longtime, well respected Old School WF - may we suggest a viable solution posited by Robert W. Mutch (Chair, Painted Rocks-West Fork FireSafe Council) in his Intl. Association of Wildland Fire (IAWF) paper titled: The Pattern (Just Leave The Line) posted October 2013
"[There is] an unfortunate belief that is all too prevalent in some wildland firefighting circles. This longstanding belief equates wildland firefighting with war and acknowledges casualties and fatalities as inevitable. When people adopt this stance, their view that death is an inevitable outcome too often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy." (emphasis added)
We are at ease and confident to equate wildland firefighting with warfare as does Christian author, researcher, and former Army Ranger Holton, because it is a quasi-military endeavor requiring chain of command and following orders (with specific exceptions). And we do, in fact, agree that the tragic wildland firefighting deaths are inevitable because WFs and FFs continue to do dumb s**t for the very same reasons, likely because of "incomplete" lessons learned. All we can reasonably do is lessen them. And that would include following this option suggested by Mr. Mutch "to retreat from danger until conditions become more favorable for safe and successful fire suppression efforts." (emphasis added) This is also suggested by Canadian WF and researcher Beaver (2001).
It is also suggested by "predicting the dangerously impressive winds that accompany these downbursts remains an elusive goal." And this has gotten somewhat more available by learning to use and discern and interpret using upper air Skew-T soundings. The Ransom Road Fire Board of Review recommended good lookouts and escape routes. However, the key one was to "pull back from the fire during impending thunderstorms in areas with fuels that burn with high intensity and rate of spread, as in the Ransom Road Fire." Beaver - p. 61 (emphasis added)
"There is another and more reasonable option available for firefighters. Instead of running towards danger, it is okay to retreat from danger until conditions become more favorable for safe and successful fire suppression efforts. This scenario is predicated on the idea that everyone who goes to a fire deserves to go home after the fire, to go home to family and friends." Beaver (emphasis added)
Source: Butler, B. and Alexander, M. (2005) Eight Wildland Fire Safety Summit. The Human Factors Workshop Ten Years later. IAWF. April 26-28, 2005 Missoula, MT
Now to address the question we ask in our post titled: Was the June 26,1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the incomplete lessons learned on June 30, 2013?
There is and was a lot of cover-up, lies, and whitewash on the June 1990 Dude Fire. At least one answer could be the DIVS Group Supervisor that 'was running' the burnout on the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire, who later became a key figure on an infamous fatal wildland fire 23 years later. On one of the Dude Fire Staff Rides, at the Corner House Stand, he made the comment that he was "a Branch Director" on the fire, however, the record is completely bereft of any such documentation. Such a proclivity for embellishment, may also have had some sway in what was ultimately - included in and excluded from - the June 30, 2013, Yarnell Hill Fire SAIT-SAIR and what would eventually become what is considered the ultimate "official" YH Fire Staff Ride. That would certainly contribute to those infernal "incomplete' lessons learned.
Christian author, researcher, and former Army Ranger Chuck Holton notes: "... the most important preparation we can make is spiritual. Why? Because ... spiritual warfare will happen. It is happening. And it will happen to you." (italicized emphasis in original, all other emphasis added)
The authors were warned about delving into the June 1990 Dude Fire, We chose to ignore those warnings. And yes, the spiritual warfare did come.