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  • JOY A COLLURA

3 - Was the June 26,1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the incomplete lessons learned on June 30, 2013?


Authors: Douglas Fir, Joy A Collura, and other contributing authors

Views expressed to "the public at largeand "of public concern"

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Figure 1. June 26, 1990, early afternoon Dude Fire showing increasing, aggressive crown fire at the head of Walk Moore Canyon, taken from Bonita Creek Estates looking Westerly Source: NWCG.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)



The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it. Thucydides (Athenian historian and General).

In "Part 2 - Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the "incomplete" lessons learned on June 30, 2013?" We closed the post with the "(Not for Public Release, FS Custodian of Accident Report) Accident Investigation Report," and the Dude Fire Incident Multiple Firefighter Fatality June 26, 1990, Southwestern Region, Tonto National Forest Figure 4. Narrative - page 3 from that post, in the copy of the larger scope "INVESTIGATION - A. Narrative B. Findings C. Causal Factors" report I found the additional (missing) Narrative page that was excluded as a page in the Dude Fire Accident Report. Here it is:

Figure 1a. Dude Fire Fatalities Page 4 (Narrative - The Missing Page 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 Record Files

Figure 2. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation Page 7 (the Incident Management Missing Page 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


Note midway (above) at: "(c) Equipment (6) Clothing degradation of four of the deceased indicates they were caught in a flame front prior to fully deploying [fire] shelters." (emphasis added) In the very near future, more will be further revealed with photographs of heavily scorched WF fire shirts from the waist up, to be located in the Part 5 Precursor post.


These fire weather warnings regarding wildland firefighting during thunderstorm activity and the associated winds continue to surface, and so they are worth heeding. These two were listed within Figure 2. (above). "d. Weather, June 26, 1990 - (5) A few sprinkles of rain occurred in the fire area around 1310-1315" and this warning was once included in Watch Out #15 regarding the winds. "(7) A definite calm occurred a few minutes before the blow-up" and "(9) A strong blast of wind preceded the fire front." (all emphasis added) We need to reinstate the calm or winds stop warning back into Watch Out #15 once again because it was a causal fire weather factor in both June 1990 and June 2013. In fact, this fire weather causal factor warning was instrumental in saving the lives of a "Hybrid" Engine Task Force in The Shrine area on June 30, 2013.


The sudden calm and the word "calm" in reference to the winds "prior to" the intense outflow downdraft winds is critical. It has somehow been discounted and forgotten by NWCG and many supervisors. It is, rarely, if ever mentioned in on-going required trainings and annual refreshers.

Figure 2a (left). Archive image of Watch Out Situation Number 15 - "YOU notice wind CHANGE!" poster Source: Wildfire Today


Wildfire Today Bill Gabbert posted this archive image on March 27, 2009, and stated: "The image above is the 10th one we have posted. It is similar to Situation #15 on the present day list of 18." (emphasis added)


I contend that it is "similar" only in the sense that it refers to the wind. Back in the day (1970s), I (DF) recall being taught that it included the wind stopping.

I (DF) recall U.S. AUSA Johns (RiP) asking me what the USFS policy was on firing operations during thunderstorms. My answer was that there is no such policy. So then, it defaults to our best professional discretion and judgement under the circumstances at the time.


For what follows now in order for the missing pages debacle to make sense, please consider the content from Part 2, Figure 10. page 11: "Just minutes after returning to work at about 1415 to 1420 hours, a Navajo crewmember yelled 'Get Out.' All of the Navajo and Perryville crewmembers realizing that the fire was blowing up, immediately began running down Walk Moore Canyon toward the Control Road. Part way down, 11 members of the Perryville Crew ... begin the remainder of this sentence that follows in Figure 3. Page 12 (below) "were cut off when the fire crossed the dozer line they turned around and began running back up the Canyon with orders to deploy their shelters." (emphasis added)


Please allow yourself the time to read the excerpts below regarding the progression of the Perryville Crew burnover, fire shelter deployments, injuries, and deaths that ensued. It will assist trying to make some sense of the Perryville Equipment Locations map in Part 2 in Figure 21. Be forewarned, many of these Perryville Crew experiences and recollections are quite emotional and may be considered by some to be disturbing or offensive.

Every word of God proves pure; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Proverbs 30.5 (KJV)


Figure 3. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation Page 12- Sequence of Events (the Incident Management Missing Page 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


This Figure 3. (above) document (p. 12) contains some details on the fire behavior, the Perryville Crew attempts to escape, several fire shelter deployment specifics, some specific fatalities mentioned, and eventual escape to safety for several onto the Control Road.

Figure 4. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation Page 19 appears to be a Witness contact List continued (the Incident Management Missing Page 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


As you progress down through the many informative WF MOIs and Witness Statements please pay heed to the unique Mogollon Rim thermal belt and high nighttime temperature fire weather phenomena influences of the increasingly aggressive to extreme exponential fire behavior that were witnessed and experienced throughout the June 25-27, 1990, Dude Fire. Watch Out #4 for those non-local WFs and FFs. (Robert Bates - 1962 - "A Key to Blow-up Conditions in the Southwest?" (See Fire Mgmt. Today, 63, Fall; The article is reprinted from Fire Control Notes 23(4) [Fall 1962]: 95–99) ( https://www.nwcg.gov/sites/default/files/wfldp/docs/sr-dude-blowup.pdf)

Figure 5. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation Page 21 Witness Statement Cover Page (the Incident Management Missing Page 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

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What follows are the beginning of a series of Memorandum of Interviews (MOI). These are generally the result of an investigator interviewing a witness and then transcribing the details. The interviewee is supposed to be allowed to review their MOI for accuracy, sign it if accurate or else make any correction(s), then initial, and date them. The ethical investigator should then include those in the SAIR.


Unfortunately, there have been several cases of nefarious deeds by unethical investigators that had an unprincipled or devious agenda, (i.e. conclusion first, then facts to support it). The corrupt investigators would then submit as evidence those original MOIs that were false or inaccurate instead to support their disreputable agenda, rather than the one(s) corrected by the interviewee. This is criminal!

Consider now (Figure 6 - below) the Safety Officer Hall Ashcroft MOI that starts right out of the gate out with these remarkable observations, conclusions, and statements: "Went in to Bonito (sic) [Creek Estates] Monday night. ... several Engines with no communications in a potential death trap because they were located in a brush field. ... Tied in with [two] dozers which had came (sic) in without supervision. ... felt uneasy about putting in the dozer line. ... " (emphasis added)

Figure 6. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. Memorandum of Interview (MOI) Safety Officer Hall Ashcraft One page - (the Incident Management Missing Page From"Part 2 - Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor ...?" Source: Anonymous Source from Joy's Records Files

Figure 6. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. MOI Two pages 2 - Fire Weather IMET Robert Berkovitz (the Incident Management Missing page from"Part 2 - Was the June 26,1990, Dude Fire a precursor ...?" ) Source: Anonymous Source from Joy's Records Files

Figure 6a. NWS Forecaster Robert Berkovitz reflects back on June 26-27, 1990. He correctly noted the nighttime June 27, 1990, Mogollon Rim Thermal Belt induced fire behavior - "The fire was spreading rather fast through the night, even though upper winds over the fire were rather light." Source: NWS Berkovitz, Joy's Records Files


NWS IMET Berkovitz validated what I (DF) and others witnessed right through the night and early morning hours of June 26-27, 1990, as the fire raged across the Mogollon Rim (The Rim), from West to East above Bonita Creek toward Horton Creek. On June 27, 1990, it would threaten the Haught Cabin, while untended-to embers in eaves, vents, and wood shingled areas, etc. would burn the Zane Grey Cabin from the top, down. The advancing fire front would also imminently threaten the Tonto Creek Fire Hatchery.


According to our trusted stand-by Wikipedia, The Rim extends approximately 200 miles, starting in northern Yavapai County and running Eastward, ending near the border with New Mexico. It forms the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau in Arizona.


Consider now a brief NWCG, S-190 refresher on Thermal Belts and see Figure 6b. (below): "Nighttime inversions in mountainous regions increase in depth during the night. They form early in the evening at the canyon bottom or valley floor and at first are quite shallow. The cold layer gradually deepens, with the nighttime inversion coming in contact with and reaching farther up the slope below the main ridges. The warmest nighttime air temperatures in valleys are often found at the inversion top. The height of the warmest air temperature, at the top of the inversion, can be found by measuring temperature along the slope. From the top of the inversion, temperature decreases as one goes farther up or down the slope. This region of warmer air, typically found on the middle third of the slope, is called the THERMAL BELT. The thermal belt is characterized by the highest minimum temperature and the lowest nighttime relative humidity. Within the thermal belt, wildland fires can remain rather active throughout the night. Below the thermal belt, fires are in cool, humid, and stable air." (emphasis added)

Figure 6b. Thermal belt idealized image Snippet. Thermal belts usually occur in the middle third of slopes with warmer temperatures and lower relative humidities giving rise to more active nighttime fire behavior.The entire Mogollon Rim is a thermal belt. Source: Thomson Higher Education


Figure 6c. (below) June 25-26, 1990, nighttime fire behavior. Source: USA Today



Now consider this from the bottom of OPS Cooke's MOI in Figure 7 (below): "PRD DFMO Pat [Velasco] was providing intelligence for future suppression actions. ... A Strike Team of Type I Engines was protecting the structures. [DIVS] Whitney was to stay with the structure protection and burnout operations. ... Walked down toward Walk Moore Canyon ... and Velasco was walking up from the Control Road. Met with [Velasco] part of the way down." (emphasis added) You're kidding me, right? Velasco providing suppression intelligence? This is definitely both contradictory and incongruous.

Figure 7. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation MOI Page 3 OPS Dick Cooke (the Incident Management Missing Page 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


In OPS Cooke's MOI (Figure 8. below) he was apparently observant in some situations while lacking in others, like situational awareness when he noted: "At 1315-1330 ... no burnout was taking place. ... [the] fire was backing down across the canyon about 1/3 [of] the way from the top. ... Heard a radio conversation that the fire had crossed the Control Road on the West side. Arrive at the Control Road with Velasco about 2:15 [PM]. ... Was not aware of Air Attack (fixed wing) activity over the fire. ... Was not aware of any storm activity. ... [Cooke] believed he was never clearly transitioned responsibilities from VanTillborg. Had a very short time to interact with the Type II Team and consequently the transition did not go smoothly. However, didn't believe it caused the accident. ... Worst fire behavior in over 20 years of fire experience." (emphasis added) The improper transition may not have caused the event, however, it was definitely a primary causal factor, enough so that it should be included, and definitely addressed at Stand One of the Dude Fire Staff Ride and / or Site Visit. The out-of-place "accident" comment is addressed below and should also be addressed on site.


Pay heed to the short interaction time with the Type II Team members during the classic Southwestern Region, mid-day, high activity time, as well as his unsmooth transition comment. As stated above, the lack of interaction time definitely did not alone cause the "accident" but it was most assuredly a causal factor. And what about the similar "it was an accident ... one of those things that happens" comment made by PFD Wildland BC Willis during the July 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire - GMHS Deployment / Fatality Site News Conference?


By definition - accident is defined as - "an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, typically resulting in damage or injury" or it is "an event that happens by chance or that is without apparent or deliberate cause." It is a widely accepted and known fact that wildland firefighter burnovers, entrapments, fire shelter deployments, and fatalities are definitely NOT accidents.

Teach me thy way, O Lord, that I may walk in thy truth; unite my heart to fear thy name. Psalm 86:11 (KJV)


Figure 8. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. MOI Page 4- OPS Dick Cooke - page two of his account (the Incident Management Missing Page 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 several mostly illegible handwritten pages of copies of OPS Cook's top-spiral notebook - you will readily notice that a lot of his writing is very difficult to read, and very difficult to decipher. They generally concern the Bonita Creek and Walk Moore Canyon fire behavior, the Perryville Burnovers, Deployments, and eventual fatalities. Therefore, the readers are on their own here on these public records.

Figure 9. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. Dick Cooke June 26, 1990, MOI supplement - Chronology spiral notebook copies Page 5- OPS Dick Cooke - page three of his account, chronology top-spiral notebook copies (the Incident Management Missing Page 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 10. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation MOI supplement - top-spiral notebook Page 6- OPS Dick Cooke - page four of his account, chronology II (the Incident Management Missing Page 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 11. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation MOI supplement - top-spiral handwritten notes Page 7- OPS Dick Cooke - page five of his account, chronology II (the Incident Management Missing Page 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

The MOIs of the Perryville Crew and / or those directly associated with them, are very limited to Crewmembers Davenport, Hoke, Harder, Smith, Love, Crew Boss Terra, and CREP LaTour. Surprisingly, Hatch was never interviewed. We believe that all of them should have been interviewed. What were the reason(s) they were not interviewed?


Consider now Perryville Crewmember William (Bill) Davenport's MOI in Figures 12. and 12a. (below):


'Perryville was mixed in with the Navajo Crew. One of the Navajo Crew yelled “Get Out.” All of the [Perryville] Crew started down the dozer line. Got cut off by flame coming across the line. Turned around and started running back up the dozer line. Love and LaTour were the only ones ahead. LaTour directed to deploy fire shelters as they were running. Took backpack off and took out his shelter.'

'Lost his glasses and Harley Davidson headband after the deployment. Deployed next to Love. Deployed down the hill from the H2O Jerry cans. Communicated with others … under the shelters. LaTour was directly behind. After the flame front hit I heard someone scream “I can’t take it anymore.” Davenport then screamed from fear. Was in fire shelter for about ½ hour. A branch dropped on his shelter and burned his legs. Burn on arms was from touching …’


So much for the CREP LaTour being a viable lookout for his Perryville Crew if you have to rely on another Crew running through yours warning you to "get out."


Figure 12. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation MOI Page 8 - WF William Davenport Missing Page 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 Part 2 of Perryville Crewmember William (Bill) Davenport's MO (paraphrasing, uncertainty, and quotes) in Figure 12a. below: '… the side of the shelter. … during the deployment … radio (??) … but could not transmit (??) out of his shelter followed by Love and LaTour down the canyon. Came up (??) on Bachman. Chacon on Denny and then Contreras. Took their shelters with them. Met up with Hoke who was still in his shelter. Next met Ellis who was burned. First thing he said was that he was dead. He had his shelter around his forehead. Left all their shelters at the road. '

"Hat, goggles and glasses fell off when they came out of their shelters."


Figure 12a. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation MOI Page 8 - WF William Davenport Missing Page 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


Please note in Figure 13. (below) that OPS Dundas stated: "There was a problem with the transition of the Division Sups because only [two] came out to the fire rather than three. The strategy was to burn out around Bonita [Estates]. ... the East side and the bottom. These were the critical [firing operation] areas. ... Slopovers were occurring from the start without a Southerly wind. Hot firing [operation] but successful. ... Flew the fire about 1300 ... winds were beginning to blow downslope, influenced by a thunderstorm." (emphasis added)


OPS Dundas - "the eyes in the sky" - observed all these crucial fire weather and fire behavior events, however, I (DF) do not recall him ever transmitting any of this to the WFs on the firelines. He may very well have done so, however, I don't recall any of these critical details being transmitted over the radio on Air-to-Ground or any of the TAC channels.


Figure 13. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. MOI Page 9- OPS Glen Dundas - Missing Page 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


"Pulled the Crews back from the firing operations on the West side at about 1315-1330, because of the fire behavior. ... various issues and problems with air resources ... At 1345 instructed [OPS VanTilborg] that the Control Road was no longer defensible as the fire had crossed it. [OPS VanTilborg] drove down to check it and determined the road was not passable. ... Remained frustrated because one of the Type I DIV Sups (Bead) had [NOT] come out to the fire to transition." (emphasis added) I (DF) recall hearing a lot of this radio traffic on the Command and TAC channels. I believe DIVS was lost, several canyons off to the East.

Figure 14. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. MOI Page 10- OPS Glen Dundas page 2 - Missing Page 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 15. Dude Fire Fatalities MOI Page 11- FBAN Alan Farnsworth - Missing Page 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


FBAN Farnsworth stated: "Everyone knew there were thunderstorms in the area' so he did not feel it was necessary to call the line with the information." (emphasis added) I (DF) was unaware of any thunderstorms overhead or in the area.

Figure 16. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation MOI Page 12- DIVS Bernal Gatewood - Missing Page 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 17. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. MOI Page 13 - Fire Weather Forecaster IMET Craig Ellis - Missing Page From"Part 2 - Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the "incomplete" lessons learned on June 30, 2013?" ) Source: Anonymous Sources from Joy's Records Files


Consider now the MOI from DIVS Phil Gil who was in charge of the Bonita Creek Estates Firing Operation in Figure 18. (below):, "as the Firing Boss. Began backfiring at 1100. ... Div Sup Whitney ... joined them about 10 to 1100. Zig Zag Crew was doing the firing. ... Had difficulty holding the line all morning. Lost a spot earlier which they planned to line with a dozer later in the day. ... They (Hot Shot Crews ??) left to return to camp at 2:00 to 2:15. ... When they tried to leave the [Bonita Creek] Subdivision they (HS Crews ??) found, to their surprise that it was surrounded by fire. They returned and had two dozers build a Safety Zone in the black. [OPS] Dundas had sounded some alarm about 2:00 in reporting the fire had crossed the Control Road which was supposed to be the last resort." (emphasis added)


Was DIVS Gil one of the two aggressive DIVS mentioned by Plumas HS Supt. Swartzlander that was pressuring them to burn and ignore spot fires until later?


How are you surprised about being surrounded by fire when you claimed that they had "lookouts posted all day?"

Figure 17. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. MOI Page 14- DIVS Phil Gill - Missing Page 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 following noteworthy observations and comments from DIVS-FIRB Phil Gil in Figure 18. (below): "Communications problems existed because of too many people on the same freq. Had off & on contact and poor communications with the Air Attack. Thought the Division ended at about Drop Point 1."


"Thought the transition did not go smoothly and that transitioning during the hot burning period was asking for it." Of course, the transition did not go smoothly because the Type 2 Team refused to relinquish full control after being blind-sided by the Forest Fire Staff the previous night, that he had already ordered a Type 1 Team while they were being in-briefed, and the Type 1 Team would take over the fire between 1200-1300 on June 26, 1990. They were pissed off!


"Knew they had a dangerous fire and was not surprised when it blew, but was surprised at the intensity. Everyone was in Safety Zones in plenty of time. Lookouts had been posted all day." (all emphasis added) Interesting comment about realizing how dangerous conditions were yet surprised at the fire intensity. That surprised just about everyone except for maybe some of the Hot Shot Crews and misc. Overhead. As far as "everyone getting into Safety Zones in plenty of time,' I would say that it is an understatement. There was certainly less than optimal timing for the Navajo Scouts and most of the Perryville Crew that had to run for their lives to make it to safety, and not necessarily a true Safety Zone. And there were those less fortunate WFs that certainly ran OUT OF TIME for those ultimately burned over, deployed, and where some died.


I question the "Lookouts had been posted all day" as a general, inclusive statement because of what transpired. Reading the Perryville MOIs indicates that they had no real clue what was happening until it was too late for those that died and almost too late for many others that deployed fire shelters. And the Navajo Scouts MOI reveals that their Lookouts noticed the wind change and fire behavior increase and quick decision to disengage and escape.


As stated elsewhere on this blog, we WFs always practiced the concept of LCES without realizing that is what we were doing, as indicated with all four prongs identified within DIVS - Firing Boss Gil's MOI. The lookouts prong is both nebulous and equivocal.

Figure 18. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. MOI Page 15 - DIVS Phil Gill page two - Missing Page 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 19. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. MOI (part 1 of 3) Page 16-Zig Zag HS Supt. Paul Gleason (RiP) - Missing Page From"Part 2 - Was the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire a precursor for the "incomplete" lessons learned on June 30, 2013?" ) Source: Anonymous Sources from Joy's Records Files


What follows is Zig Zag HS Crew Boss Paul Gleason's (RiP) MOI summary with some paraphrasing where needed. Quoted text will be within red quotes (" ").


Gleason observed high level cumulus clouds from the Fire Camp and while hiking up Walk Moore Canyon. He arrived at the base of Walk Moore Canyon about 1000. "They were generating heat and smoke from the firing operation." There was a little precipitation, thought there might be a thunderhead. Within "15-30 minutes later there were downdrafts. They started breathing smoke from the burnout. Erratic winds. They tried to stay even with the main fire. They were to burn a section, then hand it off. Heard that the fire crossed the Control Road 2. There was a deployment. 3. The fire crossed Walk Moore Canyon."


Mr. Wilson’s paper, Fatal and Near-Fatal Forest Fires: The Common Denominators, was published in 1977 in The International Fire Chief.


It was also posted in Wildfire Today: Gabbert, B. (Feb. 1, 2016) Are there 4 or 5 common denominators of fire behavior on fatal fires? Wildfire Today.



Figure 19a. Carl Wilson's (1977) Fatal and Near-Fatal Forest Fires:The Common Denominators snippets - Conclusion. Source: Intl. Fire Chief, 43


Often, human behavior is the determining factor. And so, as it should be, the final responsibility in Entrapment Avoidance is up to those individual WFs and FFs and their Supervisors to provide for the safety and welfare of themselves and those they are answerable to and accountable for.


And from a Canadian perspective, see: Beaver A.K. (2001) Evaluating risk and reward relationships in wildland firefighter safety. Proceedings of the 5th International Fire Safety Summit. International Association of Wildland Fire (IAWF). Missoula, MT. ( https://gfmc.online/wp-content/uploads/3-IWFC-008-Beaver.pdf )



Figure 20. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. MOI (part 2 of 3) Page 17- Zig Zag HS Supt. Paul Gleason page two - Missing Page 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


Paraphrasing and quoting (" ") Zig Zag Crew Boss Gleason's MOI. Zig Zag HS was part of a firing operation from Figure 20. (above) "in the vicinity of the Bonita Creek Subdivision with Flathead, Alpine, and Redmond IHCs; his Crew had hiked up Walk Moore Canyon from the Control Road, and passed the Perryville and Navajo [Scouts] #2 Crews who were widening line. About 1345-1400, some light precipitation fell on the fire site, and a thunder cell was observed in the area."


"Roughly 1/2 hour later the radio reports indicated that the fire had crossed the 'Control Road,' the fireline, and there had been a shelter deployment. The Zig Zag IHC and Flathead IHC headed S.W. toward the area, and passed the Alpine IHC heading up the fireline toward the Safety Zone. "The fire was making cross-slope runs from West to East in the crowns at 80 feet / minute. A person (Greg Hatch) came walking up the dozer line, with no hardhat, fire shelter, or tool. His back pack was smoking as was his hair (?) Gleason called on the radio for EMTs, and they came from the Zig Zag, Flathead and Alpine IHCs; the Paramedics

in [the] Engine S.T. #1 also responded. Gleason sent the remainder of his IHC with the Flathead IHC to the Safety Zone because of the immediate fire danger."


"- next page -"


This statement indicates to us the extreme HRV fire behavior that was occurring at the time: "The fire was making cross-slope runs from West to East in the crowns ... ." See Figures 20a. and 20b. below.


There were numerous HRV "needle set" photos from Walk Moore Canyon after the fire similar to those in Figure 20b. However, once the investigation began and after the SAIR came out, these disappeared from the Ranger District Office.




Figure 20b.(right) Needle set from HRV hot gases preceding extreme fire behavior. Source: Cedar Fire SAIR, WLF LLC


Figure 20a. (above) Idealized image

of Horizontal Roll Vortices (HRV) fire

behavior. Source: USFS Finney et al


From the 2001 Thirty Mile Fire SAIT Prologue: "The conifers’ small branches are frozen in time, needles intact, as they twisted away from the blast of the fire, ... ." (emphasis added) p. i


I (DF) recall hearing a lot of that fire shelter deployment radio traffic on TAC and Command during that time regarding Perryville WF Hatch.


What follows is the top third of Gleason's MOI in Figure. 21 (below):


"Walked down with [Flathead Crew Boss] Paul Lindsey (sic). The Alpine Crew was running up the line. "


"Fire was spreading about 80 ft / min, mostly in the crowns. It was not an independent crown fire. It burned in little strips. Not a wall of flame. Spreading cross-slope. There were downdrafts. Walk Moore is a V-shaped valley. There would be cross-slope radiation and tremendous heat release."


"The thunderhead would keep the heat down. Felt there was no effect on the main fire by the burnout. There were strong convective currents. It was a wind-driven fire."


Gleason's comment that he "Felt there was no effect on the main fire by the burnout" is interesting because it actually contradicts his proximate concerns, within a few days, that he felt that it was their firing operation that may have been responsible for Perryville's burnover. In addition, how can a burnout operation of that magnitude fail to have an effect on the main fire?


The remaining one-third (1/3) of Zig Zag Crew Boss Gleason's MOI is below the Figure 21. caption.



Figure 21. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. MOI Page 18- Zig Zag HS Supt. Paul Gleason page three - Missing Page 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


Continuation of Zig Zag Crew Boss Gleason's MOI (lower third - 1/3): "Burnout was 150-200 ft. (??) strips perpendicular to the cat line. Green patch was left due to the burnout ... runs 300-400 ft. strips ... 1/2 hr after deployment ... lots of smoke on South of (??) looked like a wind-driven fire." The "green patch" Gleason refers to is the one next to The Corner House in Bonita Creek Estates. Of note, over the years, several Hot Shots that were there that day, when they participate in a Staff Ride or Site Visit many years later are always amazed that a 'green patch' is there based on the intense firing operation they had all witnessed on June 26, 1990.

Courage, above all things, is the first quality of a warrior. Karl von Clausewitz


Based on empirical research and hands-on experience, in order to lessen the seemingly enduring number of wildland firefighter fatalities while improving on our Entrapment Avoidance knowledge, we must rely on those with "experience." As they say - it still takes ten years to get ten year's of experience. However, there are far too many 90-day wonder Wildland Firefighters and Firefighters that get advanced into leadership roles by the "good ol' boy' method, sycophants adopting the 'Go Along To Get Along' attitude, nepotism, hypocrisy (failure to lead by example), prematurely, want-to-be-everyone's-friend, the Federal Government's 'feel good' Diversity and Inclusion policies, or through supervisory incompetence placing them there to begin with. To be sure, there are clearly those that should never be in leadership roles. These are the so-called "leaders" that are responsible for these hard to fathom wildland fire tragedies.


Medical researcher Denehy seems to have it right: "a leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” (Denehy J. (2008) Leadership characteristics. J Sch Nurs.)


Figure 22. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigations. MOI Page 19 - Perryville WFs Glenn Harder / Tim Smith - Missing Page 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


Interesting comments from Perryville Crewmembers Harder and Smith - "Smith and an Indian looked up and saw the fire and heard it."

Warnings from the Navajo Scouts to get out, saw Bachman fall down, unaware that others were trapped behind them, "met [Crew Boss] Terra heading back up," (At this point, I (DF) have to ask - did he really meet with Terra or was he threatened by him to say that? Because myself and others witnessed and talked with him at the Control Road and Fuller Creek Road junction), and they never pulled their shelters but noted others had difficulty with theirs.


"Heard explosions and were running under a ceiling of fire with fire whirls mixed in." These guys were very likely hearing propane tanks and fuel cans exploding, and the 'freight train' sounds, and experiencing and witnessing some way-too-close-for-comfort extreme HRV fire behavior.


Why do these guys have to make comments about how close they are to the water Jerry cans?

Figure 23. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. MOI Page 19- Perryville WFs Glenn Harder / Tim Smith - 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 (below) will be the Perryville Crew MOIs, so please (re)consider the Perryville Crewmember locations diagram and note where Crew Boss Terra allegedly was. (Figure 23a. - left) and Perryville Equipment location diagram (Figure 23b. - below) in order to (re)familiarize yourself as you read through their MOIs.


Figures 23a.& b. Perryville Crewmember locations diagram. (left) Perryville equipment locations diagram (below). Source: Anonymous Source from Joy's Records Files

What follows are Perryville Crewmember Hoke's MOI (2 pages) (Figure 24. - below) stated with some selective paraphrasing: 'Had just finished my break (swamper for Chacon) we were at the water cans. I heard someone say "Get the f**k out." I began running with (Perryville Crew Contreras) I thought of running, but I decided to deploy the fire shelter. The wind was very strong, it almost blew me over. I was in my shelter about 20 minutes. I heard Ellis outside my shelter. He said "I'm hurt bad, my shelter didn't work.' I think there were two blow-overs. I told him to get some water from my pack. Why did it take so long for people to come and help."



Figure 24. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. MOI Page 20- Perryville WF Gregory Hoke - 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


Perryville Crewmember Hoke stated in Figure 24. (above): "I heard someone say get the f**k out. I began running with Contreras ... I thought about running, but I decided to deploy the shelter. The wind was very strong, it almost blew me over. ... I heard Ellis ... 'I'm hurt bad, my shelter didn't work.' I think there were two blow-overs ... why did it take so long for people to come to help."

Figure 25. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. MOI Page 21- Perryville WF Gregory Hoke - another page 1 of 2 -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


Perryville Crewmember Hoke MOI (Figure 25. - above) stated with some selective paraphrasing: "was working with the sawyers as a swamper ... Chacon heard shouting and saw flames ... ran down and saw flames cross above him between he (sic) and Contreras. Deployed fire shelter. Strong winds. Several fire blasts. Ellis walked past and said 'shelter didn't work' and he was hurt bad.'


Continuation of Perryville Crewmember Hoke MOI (Figure 25. - below) stated with some selective paraphrasing: Hoke observed Ellis walk past him and said "he was dead and walked over to [the] ditch (Walk Moore Canyon creek-bed) ... and sat down and died." He noted that "it was calm before the fire." Hit by several flame fronts. He also wondered why nobody was helping them.

Figure 26. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. MOI Page 22- Perryville WF Gregory Hoke - another page 2 of 2 -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


Continuation of Perryville Crewmember Hoke MOI (Figure 26. - above) stated with some selective paraphrasing: 'Surprised that Ellis was there because he had seen him go up canyon earlier. He witnessed Ellis dying. After the second wave of fire, he looked out from under his shelter and saw flames close to him. He inched his shelter up which was a mistake since the ground was very hot .... it was calm before the fire ... Wondered why no one came looking for them."


Consider now, IC Hollenshead MOI (Figure 27 - below) stated with some quotes and some selective paraphrasing: "Tried to transition with Type 1 Team at 1300. Transition was a problem in that it didn't appear that the incoming Team was recognizing fire behavior and other concerns. ... the Type II Division Sups stayed on the fire throughout the shift."


"At 1100 line personnel were becoming uncomfortable about the situation. Communications was a problem. The overhead was operating on a Tonto [NF] Fire freq. while the Crews were on a State freq. Issues with one of the two Air Attacks. Once in a lifetime fire behavior situation."


Of course there was a problem with the Team transition, see Gil MOI comments above in Figure 17. Of course line personnel were feeling uncomfortable about the situation because for many (most) it was the most aggressive to extreme fire behavior they had ever witnessed. Communications is always a problem on every fire, however, having the Overhead and the WFs on two totally separate frequencies must have been - and still is - a clearly historical event! Who does that?


One item conspicuously missing for IC Hollenhead's MOI - there is no mention whatsoever of shredding documents from the Dude Fire package, at the Tonto NF Supervisor's Office once the investigation began.

Figure 27. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. MOI Page 23 - Type 2 IC Ed Hollenshead - 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 (below) are seven (7) pages of Perryville CREP Dave LaTour's Memorandum of Interview (MOI). Yes - seven pages!

Figure 28. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. MOI Page 24 - Perryville CREP Dave LaTour - Page 1 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


LaTour's MOI is very difficult to read and decipher at times, so there is a lot of paraphrasing to follow. He was a Rural Metro FD employee that was specifically ordered as a CREP for the Perryville Crew. He traveled with another FF to the fire, arriving in the early morning hours. He worked for DIVS Group Supervisor Ashby and they were to "safety the homes" (which must be somewhat the same as structure protection}. They were told at one point to evacuate, then returned and were directed to Walk Moore Canyon to improve the line, then work up the "telephone line"[power line ROW] to the Bonita Creek Estates. (emphasis added)


Recall that Divisions are geographical in nature while Groups are functional. LaTour and the Perryville Crew were working for the Bonita Creek Structure Protection Group while all others were working for a DIVS doing fire perimeter control.


Figure 28a. Sula Complex. Bitterroot Valley, MT (2000) Geographic Division with perimeter control in background. Functional Structure Group in foreground Source: Lady's name


This is and was a critical factor, on the June 1990 Dude Fire as well as the June 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire and many urban interface fires in between. In other words, when the fire in the forested area in (Figure 28a - left) escapes and burns into your up-til-now fire-free structures within the Functional Group located in the meadow foreground - who works for who when it has gone to s**t?




Figure 29. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. MOI Page 25 - Perryville CREP Dave LaTour - Page 2 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


Continuation of LaTour MOI Figure 29 (above) They continued to improve line until it got light and were then directed to continue to "safety homes." After breakfast (0900) DIVS Ashby directed them to 'improve the Walk Moore Canyon dozer line downhill for burnout. They went below Alpine HS and began work.' He dealt with their radio programming issues again and noted other contacts they could use as an alternative. He could see he main fire in the distance above them and slurry drops. Some runs but well above Bonita Creek and the other side of Walk Moore Canyon. DIVS alerted them to watch for spots. Fire behavior was runs to ridgetops, then die down. About 1130 he asked for more drinking water but received no response. During the morning hours, the Zig Zag and Redmond HS hiked passed them about an hour apart. While still gridding for spot fires he worked with Alpine HS Supt. on radio programming issues again and they were unsuccessful. (emphasis added)

Figure 30. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation.MOI Page 26 - Perryville CREP Dave LaTour - Page 3 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 CREP LaTour's MOI from (Figure 30. above) likely paraphrasing unless in quotes (" "). DIVS Group Supervisor Ashby called to ensure they were spread out watching for spots and improving line. He could see the main fire backing down but not in their drainage. At lunch, there were some winds, squirly with some spots showing up in the drainage, where he put the Crew back to work improving line. DIVS told them to stay below the Alpine HS, so they maintained about a 200 gap between them. (emphasis added)


"It got smoked in about 1-1:30 PM. He was hit by 40-50 mph winds, downdrafts, squirly. It got dark like a sunset. He ran down to the Crew and heard shouting about evacuation. EMBERS THE SIZE OF PINE CONES WERE FALLING. ... He had been told their Escape Route was downhill. When he got to the Crew he could hear yelling and see people running downhill. Heard people yelling and people coming back and a sold wall of fire behind them. It was roaring and solid black. He turned and went back telling people to get shelters out but don't deploy until uphill. There were 2 people ahead of him and about halfway uphill they had to deploy. The others deployed in drainage. He asked for a nose count." (emphasis added) Similar observation of smoke indicating ensuing downdrafts are imminent.


It's incredible that CREP LaTour with all the alleged wildland fire experience, training, and qualifications he supposedly holds, would have ignored posting a designated Lookout, and to rely on a DIVS to tell him where and which way his Escape Route is. And to wait until you have embers the size of pine cones - they likely were pine cones - nonetheless friggin' pine cones on fire bouncing off your fire shirt! And his leadership skills appeared to be lacking with his Crew yelling and running in a chaotic manner and deploying fire shelters.



Figure 31. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. MOI Page 27- Perryville CREP Dave LaTour - Page 4 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 31. above) likely paraphrasing unless in quotes (" "). The LaTour MOI above covers about an hour period of the Perryville Crew deploying fire shelters and moving around, LaTour encouraging them throughout as they were cursing, screaming, yelling, burning, and dying, telling them to stay put inside their fire shelters, and all other manner of emotional expression. Then beginning to come out to assess themselves and the situation and start hiking out to the Control Road.

Figure 32. Dude Fire Fatalities Investigation. MOI Page 28- Perryville CREP Dave LaTour - Page 5 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) 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.

( https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/acp.1675 )



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.


( https://www.wlfalwaysremember.org/incident-lists/194-ralph-broadhead-blake-wright.html )


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)


( https://www.iawfonline.org/article/just-leave-the-line/ )


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.


Source: biblestudytools.com


"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever." Psalm 23 (KJV)

Updates - (7/22/20) added Thirty Mile Fire (2001) references to "collateral duties" and USFS warning to accept anything as factual from them related to wildland fire fatalities or high loss wildfires; (7/24/20) corrected Source Credit in Figure 6c.; added STL-E Scopa email recounting June 26, 1990, events regarding incomplete and potentially dangerous "dirty burn;" as well as Inciweb article info and color image regarding "dirty burns." (7/26/20) newly revealed details from Alpine HS regarding Perryville Crew and Walk More Canyon Fatality SAIT conversations, and Alpine HS being assigned to the Wasatch County Utah State Park Multiple Fatality Fire (August 26, 1990), including the SAIR cover sheet and USFS and Region 4 Safety Director Randy Draeger failing to admit to and release the SAIR. (August 27, 2020) Clarification added regarding Perryville Crew "dirty burn" and "fire shelter and shelter" comments regarding the YH Fire SAIT-SAIR.


6-22-13 1:29pm Chris MacKenzie IMG_0869 

Source: Yavapai County Records/SAIT Report/Documents.

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