5 - 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 large” and "of public concern"
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Figure 1. A wildland firefighter watches active nighttime fire behavior on the side of the Mogollon Rim above author Zane Grey's cabin June 26-27, 1990. Source: USA Today.com
Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety. Proverbs 11:14 (NKJV)
What follows immediately below in Figure 2. is the (July 3, 1990) "Dude Fire Weather Overview" by NWS Meteorologist David Goens. It is a neatly typed, well written, clear and concise Fire Weather picture of the pre-fire season buildup, the unprecedented heat and accompanying dryness, eventually leading up to several palpable warning signs observed by many WFs of what immediately preceded and occurred during the June 26, 1990, fire behavior blowup. There are also detailed, specific fire weather images that follow to assist with comprehension.
Figure 2.. Dude Fire Weather Overview (6-26-90) David W. Goens, Meteorologist (7-3-90) Source: NWS, Schoeffler Files
According to Patricia Andrews, one of the two fire weather and fire behavior investigators: "The behavior of the Dude Fire from its initiation on June 25 through its rapid spread on June 26 was not unusual considering fuel and weather conditions." p. 2 (emphasis added)
"Outflow winds from the storm spread the fire to about 300 ac ... in 3 hours. During the night, active burning continued with moderate down slope wind. By sunrise on June 26 the fire was estimated to be 2000 ac ... ." p. 3 (emphasis added)
"This fire spread in all directions [Figure 3] however, mapping of the actual fire growth indicates predominate spread to the south as the downburst winds were channeled by the topography." p. 5 (emphasis added)
"The downburst winds caused the fire to change from a fire backing through the understory to a fire that spread rapidly through the overstory. This paper was undertaken: to further document the conditions that led to the entrapment and fatalities on the Dude Fire. Hopefully, it can also be used to heighten the awareness of the common denominators of tragedy fires (NWCG, 1996). It may also be used as a case study by those who are working to provide methods for better prediction of downbursts on fires." p. 5 (emphasis added)
Source: Goens, D.W. and Andrews, P.L. (1998) Weather and fire behavior factors related to the 1990 Dude Fire near Payson, AZ. Second Symposium on Fire and Forest Meteorology; 1998 January 11–16; Phoenix, AZ: Boston, MA: American Meteorological Society: 153–158.
Please consider looking into this paper and researching the phenomenon of Low Level Jets (LLJ), or sometimes Nocturnal Low Level Jets, a rarely studied fire weather event in the United States. The Australians are far ahead of us on this research.
A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident. Proverbs 14:16
Imagine being on a wildfire and experiencing the following within the upper confines of a Thermal Belt, as very well may have occurred on the June 1990 Dude Fire.
"Without friction to slow the moving air, wind speeds increase and are maximized right at the top of the inversion layer. This wind aberration is called the nocturnal jet." (emphasis added) (Brotak 2012)
Chrust, Whiteman, and Hoch (2013) Observations of Thermally Driven Wind Jets at the Exit of Weber Canyon, Utah. J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol., 52
See also: Brotak, E. (2012) Unseen Jets: Low-level jet streams increase the potential for loss of aircraft control near the ground. Flight Safety Foundation
The Wildland Firefighting Rules and Guidelines (Fire Orders and Watch Out Situations) - deal with weather. And of course, weather determines fire behavior. To wit, specifically Fire Order Number One and several of the Watch Out Situations relate to it as well, (i.e. Numbers 4, 14, and 15).
Ten Standard Fire Orders
1. Keep informed of fire weather conditions and forecasts.
2. Know what the fire is doing at all times.
3. Base all actions on current and expected behavior of the fire.
4. Identify escape routes and safety zones and make them known.
5. Post lookouts when there is possible danger.
6. Be alert. Keep calm. Think clearly. Act decisively.
7. Maintain prompt communications with your forces, your supervisor, and adjoining forces.
8. Give clear instructions and be sure they are understood.
9. Maintain control of your forces at all times.
If 1-9 are considered and completed then ...
10. Fight fire aggressively, having provided for safety first.
Condensed Fire Orders
4. Escape Routes & Safety Zones
10. Fight Fire
18 Fire Watch-Out Situations
1. Fire not scouted and sized up.
2. In country not seen in daylight.
3. Safety zones and escape routes not identified.
4. Unfamiliar with weather and local factors influencing fire behavior.
5. Uninformed on strategy, tactics, and hazards.
6. Instructions and assignments not clear.
7. No communication link with crew members or supervisor.
8. Constructing line without safe anchor point.
9. Building fireline downhill with fire below.
10. Attempting frontal assault on fire.
11. Unburned fuel between you and fire.
12. Cannot see main fire; not in contact with someone who can.
13. On a hillside where rolling material can ignite fuel below.
14. Weather becoming hotter and drier.
15. Wind increases and/or changes direction.
16. Getting frequent spot fires across line.
17. Terrain and fuels make escape to safety zones difficult.
18. Taking a nap near the fireline
19. Death From Above (Overhead, Gravity mechanisms, Hazard Trees, Aircraft, Powerlines, Aerial Ignition)
Consider now, some of the diagnostic tools (links below) results for preparing case studies of select wildland fires for research, formal and informal training, refresher training, papers, presentations, and lessons learned as addressed by the above authors and investigators.
National Weather Service data and maps ( https://www.weather.gov/ffc/archives )
Climate Reanalyzer (Univ. of Maine) (https://climatereanalyzer.org/about/datasets.php)
National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) (https://rda.ucar.edu/)
NOAA Natl. Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) Global ISCCP B1 Browse System (GIBBS) (https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/gibbs/)
Plymouth State Weather Center (https://vortex.plymouth.edu/)
eWall - Electronic Map Wall (http://mp1.met.psu.edu/~fxg1/ewall.html}
Univ of Wyoming Weather Web (http://weather.uwyo.edu/upperair/)
RAWS USA Climate Archive (https://raws.dri.edu/ )
European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMEF) (https://www.ecmwf.int/en/forecasts/datasets/browse-reanalysis-datasets)
Consider below in Figures 2a. and 2b. two NOAA NWS NCEP Reanalysis (archive) Snippet images from June 26, 1990, 12Z (0600) 850 mb (5,000 feet) (left) and 500 mb (18,000 feet), (right) indicating the High Pressure system dominating the Southwest as addressed in Goens' Dude Fire weather overview paper.
Figure 2a.(left) Reanalysis (archive) 850 mb
( ⸞ 5,000 feet) Height indicating dominant High Pressure over Southwest. Source: NOAA NWS NCEP
Figure 2b.(below) Reanalysis (archive) 500 mb ( ⸞ 18,000 feet) Height indicating dominant High Pressure over Southwest. Source: NOAA NWS NCEP
Consider below in Figures 2c. and 2d. the two NOAA GIBBS (archive) GOES-7 satellite infrared imagery Snippets from June 26, 1990, 1801Z (12:01 PM) (left) and 21 Z (3:00 PM), (right) indicating growing convective cell activity referred to in Goens' Dude Fire weather overview.
Figure 2c. (left) and Figure 2d. (right) June 26, 1990, 1801 UTC and 21 UTC, respectively, GOES 7 Infrared Satellite Imagery indicating convective activity over Arizona. Source: NOAA GIBBS
Figure 2d. June 26, 1990, 12 GMT (0600) Skew-T sounding Snippets with classic Inverted-V indicating downdraft and / or microburst potential. Winslow, AZ (left) and Tucson, AZ (right) Source: Goens and Andrews, Plymouth State Weather
Figure 2e. June 6, 1990, 12Z (06:00 AM MST) (KTUS) Tucson, AZ) Archived Upper-Air Observation Text Listing. Note: 700 mb and 500 mb Temperatures and Dew Point Depressions (Td). Source: Plymouth State Weather
Figure 2f. How to calculate High-elevation Haines Index using Stability Term (700 mb T - 500 mb T) and Moisture Term (700 mb T - 700 mb Td). Source: NWS P. Hamilton - WSFO Reno - Western Region Technical Attachment (94-10) March 15, 1994
The Haines Index (HI) is a numerical value that indicates the potential for large wildfires to experience extreme fire behavior and large fire growth. The HI combines both the instability and dryness of the air by examining the lapse rate between two pressure levels in the atmosphere and the dryness of one of the pressure levels. (USFS PNW RS AirFire)
So then, using the Haines Index equation above in Figure 2f. we will first calculate the High Elevation Haines Index Stability factor and Moisture factor, respectively, for June 26, 1990, from data in Figure 2e. as follows: Stability Factor = 700 mb T - 500 mb T = 18 degrees - (-5 degrees) = 23 degrees = 3 points. And the Moisture factor = 700 T - 700 Td = 18 degrees degrees - (- 4 degrees) = Td 22 degrees = 3 points. Therefore, the June 26, 1990, High Elevation Haines Index was a 6 = High Haines.
The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty. Proverbs 22:3
Figure 3. Idealized map image of Dude Fire indicating Mogollon Rim, Dude Creek, Walk Moore Canyon, Bonita Creek Subdivision, Control Road, Bonita Creek, and Entrapment Area with the estimated 1300 (1:00 PM) and 1500 (3:00 PM) fire perimeters, respectively. Source: Goens and Andrews
With the east wind You break the ships of Tarshish. Psalm 48:7
Figure 4. "Anonymous By Request" - Source: Joy A Collura's Record Files
Figure 5. Email Snippet regarding photo details and specifics from Anonymous By Request photographer Source: Joy A Collura's Record Files
The following 24 newly revealed photographs, included as seven (7) separate images (Figures 6 - below) were taken during during the June 26, 1990, Walk Moore Canyon firing operation. They were taken from the upper end of Bonita Creek looking Westerly. The photographer location is notably from a freshly dozed out area which would eventually become their Safety Zone. This was supposedly 30 to 40 minutes or so before the "blowup" that day.
Email Snippets regarding photo details and specifics from the Anonymous By Request photographer are included with several of the photo images that follow.
Figures 6 a-h. June 26, 1990, fire behavior photographs by an Anonymous By Request photographer. Source: Schoeffler Record Files
Figure 7. Photo of a June 26, 1990, smoke whirl snaking down Walk Moore Canyon about 30 to 45 minutes before the burn out was lost and the fire blew up. Taken by another Anonymous By Request photographer. This is included in the Dude Fire Staff Ride information sources. Source: Wildland Fire LLC, Schoeffler Files
What follows in Figures 8. - 8b. (below) are investigator photographs of some of the Perryville Crew fire shirts of those that died. Be forewarned, these may be offensive and emotional to some. According to one of the investigators, they indicate heavy (blackened) scorch from the waist, up, and particularly just below and around the neck area. This was from direct flame contact (i.e. convective heat) when compared to clothing that was merely discolored yellow or orange, from indirect heat transfer (i.e. radiant heat). This clearly reveals that they were standing up when the deadly hot gases arrived. He stated that the front of their bodies acting just like a topographic slope would, funneling the hot gases up into their faces and lungs.
According to this same investigator, if they had laid down on the ground, they would have very likely survived, albeit with second and third degree burns. This is supported by photographs (not shown) of many of their fire packs scattered along the fireline, on the ground, also revealed very little fire damage.
Figure 8. Perryville Crewmember Fatality (J-RiP) scorched fire shirt and fire pants (front and rear views) Note: heavy scorch around face and neck areas of fire shirt. Source: Dr. Ted Putnam
Figure 8a. Perryville Crew Fatality (S-RiP) scorched fire shirt and fire pants (front and rear views) Note: heavy scorch around face and neck areas of fire shirt. Source: Dr. Ted Putnam
Figure 8b. Perryville Crewmember heavily scorched fire shirt from direct flame contact (convective heat). Upon initial investigation, the shirt had to be cut to remove it from the injured FF. This is a view of the back of a fire shirt that was placed together for the photograph. Source: Dr. Ted Putnam
According to Dr. Putnam's investigation notes and a recent conversation on these items:
"Pants had dye sublimation and light heat set - Shirt similar but heavy charring in head area - Nylon packs on ground have light melting -
Firefighters standing up, trying to deploy shelters when burnover occurred." (emphasis added)
Dr. Putnam recalled one instance where a Perryville WF initially survived one of several short fire runs in Walk Moore Canyon. He left his shelter behind to walk further up canyon into an unburned, green pocket. Unfortunately and tragically, he was caught unaware and unprotected when another rapid fire run burned through the green pocket he was located in and cut him off. He perished.
Here is a video (2017) of Dr. Putnam, as part of the original Dude Fire Fatality Investigation in Walk Moore Canyon. It was ostensibly for documentation purpose only and not supposed to be made public. Whoops! "Ted Putnam with the Missoula Technology and Development Center (MTDC) describing fire shelter and personal protective equipment impacts on the June 26, 1990, Dude Fire."
Figure 9. Dr. Ted Putnam during June 1990 Dude Fire Fatality Investigation in Walk Moore Canyon revisiting Perryville Crew fatality sites discussing deployment sites, fire shelters, PPE, and related personal gear. Source: Wildland Fire LLC, You Tube
Even though it should be common knowledge to every WF and FF, NWCG recurrently cautions us to protect our precious, ever-so-fragile airways. We agree! However, we also subscribe to the belief that WF and FF burnover and fatality medical and autopsy reports should be required reading and Refresher Training subjects to show them what can happen in this "inherently dangerous" occupation. This in order to repeatedly instill the need to improve upon our ongoing goal of and toward historically achievable Entrapment Avoidance.
"Keep your face pressed into the ground and protect your airway." (IRPG)
"You must protect your airway; remain as low in the vehicle as possible, ..." (NWCG 6-Minutes for Safety - Vehicle Entrapment)
"... protect your lungs and airways ..." (NWCG New Generation Fire Shelter)
"Firefighters have moved from one location to another in a shelter and have used a shelter as a shield to move. However, using a shelter in this manner may expose your airway to extreme, even fatal air temperatures."
(Fire Shelter Training Update and Reminders—2020)
I (DF) am unsure of the source of this worthy quote, so I will have to post it as anonymous for now and edit and update accordingly once I locate it, while striving to take better notes in the future. "This article is interesting in terms of examining 'a lie.' How about examining 'more lies.' The lie about risk assessment models that are good but not good enough to keep firefighters from dying - or the lie or failure to do nothing about a 'can do' firefighter culture that is killing firefighters -or the lie that fire fatality investigations provide learning from mistakes to prevent further fatalities. And somehow - how the importance, significance and "how to" follow the rules to keep firefighters [safe?] are lost.” (emphasis added) Anonymous
Without counsel, plans go awry, But in the multitude of counselors they are established. Proverbs 15:22 (NKJV)
If any of you have print film picture not digital and want to make sure your photos are preserved to the "Dude Fire" to ensure complete lessons are being learned by placing as much data out, please call or email me and I can post with credit or anonymous for you on this blog. I can share your story or just the photos. You matter! I guarantee that and promise anonymity if that is your preference.
Even if you were other than a Firefighter that day and just a bystander - it all matters. Much like on the Yarnell Hill Fire - it all matters! Unlike in the 1960's when the common thread of normalcy and acceptance was ten deaths annually because the job is a risky one. What better person to help preserve your data than me- who is not ever making a MADE FOR PROFIT book or movie about the awful tragedy I experienced. I am just placing it out for "educational purposes" and my page is copyrighted and if your information is ever used- you seen all my disclaimers, you may go after anyone who uses the information or misuses it.
I am Joy A. Collura and far from anyone like the well-known John N. MacLean (Fire Author).
- MacLean was a journalist turned author tied into his partner as he calls it "my research partner (pause) my partner" in a video with Dekker May 2019- Holly Neill (married to Wayne Neill) who we hiked with in 2013 and I did again in Summer 2014 as well as GMHS Eric Marsh's good friend Alan Sinclair is noted on John's site as the other person.
I mention this all here because Darrell Willis signed off on a lot in regard to the GMHS, and it is Willis who allowed Wayne and Holly some "time off" to get married. How much of this book will have become 'biased' if we have personal and professional "history" before the tragedy of the folks writing it?
Will they delve into the true activities of the Spur Roads out by both of the Sesame to Shrine Corridor areas?
Unlike MacLean, who would rather take the energy to make books that are a financial livelihood of his, I am here to make sure we have lives we can live if you are a Wildland Firefighter (WF) and / or Firefighters (FF) or just a tax paying citizen living amongst acreages being burned.
I leave you with this - who has devoted "more time" of their lives to show the World the documents so you can make your own assessments. Who is "showing" you results?
I remember when Holly Neill told not just me but others 'You share to me all you get and I will do the same so we are on the same page.' I know I have recorded others telling me they were told the same from Holly yet never received a thing from her except a 'surprise' article on Gabbert's page.
That set the stage for some of us that we better refrain from giving so much to her. We had to sit back and think, 'she told me that she has a different research style than me.' Really?
You trashed me before I even arrived in Beaumont, CA telling lies to many Board Members where you were to present - then came to me smiling and cordial as I stated 'why would I be fake, Holly. After I just heard and had to "prove" my innocence based on your words and lies.' Your reply to me was 'we both have different research styles.' Wow. That blew me away. To explain publicly - I am just the 'housewife hiker' gathering as the little messenger for Him, the Big messenger - God.
Really watch 'who' she is tied into both professionally and personally when making your assessments.
I have provided more information publicly than she has in almost seven years.
In their 2018 presentation, they even still used accounts and materials we provided and revealed to them. If they really had an account, there would be zero room to add our stuff in there, nor would there be the time like what was shown and so crassly stated at the Smokejumper Conference, where MacLean wasted time and energy on what he considered comedian inserts on how I know my old hiking pal, Sonny.
Afterwards, I had people reaching out to me - even Holly - apologizing for MacLean's actions.
I truly think Tex Harold Eldon Gilligan (Sonny) said it right on InvestigativeMEDIA JUNE 15, 2020 AT 8:52 AM '...There are many good [W]ild land [F]ire fighter [B]osses–but there are a few that put reputations before the lives of their [C]rew.'
Figure 9. Prescott Hot Shots (Emery and Yowell) consoling each other after within the Bonita Creek Subdivision Safety Zone after the firing operation was lost and after being notified of the fatalities on June 26, 1990. Source: Tom Story