Doug Fir 777
How was it possible to do everything right and yet 19 PFD FFs died in one fell swoop June 30, 2013?
Authors Fred J. Schoeffler and Joy A. Collura
Restating the post title beyond the limited Wix title allowance: How was it possible to do everything right and yet 19 Prescott Fire Dept. Firefighters died in one fell swoop on June 30, 2013?
Figure 1. Idealized image as a proxy of a Flame-zone buoyancy created stream-wise vortex pairs that alternately push flames up into peaks and down into troughs. Source: Missoula, MT Fire Sciences Lab (USFS). Dept. of Fire Protection Eng. (Univ. of MD), Dept. of Mech. Eng. (Univ. of KY)
In the above Figure 1. idealized image, this is likely similar to what occurred on June 30, 2013, afternoon as Horizontal Roll Vortices (HRV) extreme fire behavior as the result of a likely firing operation in The Shrine-Sesame Street Corridor and GMHS Deployment Zone, Boulder Springs Ranch in Yarnell, AZ
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Abbreviations used below: Wildland Firefighters (WFs) - Firefighters (FFs).
For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle? So likewise you, unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air. 1 Corinthians 14:8-9 (NKJV)
"Because the crew was convinced that I was "on their team" there were never any issues with negative criticism... You as a mentor have to establish that you are sincerely interested in the problems of the person you are mentoring." - Retired Navy Captain L. David Marquet, is the author of the popular and unconventional book titled: Turn the Ship Around! Where he imagines a workplace where everyone engages and contributes their full intellectual capacity,
This post is derived from a paper for an upcoming annual human factors conference. Those sources and references utilized for this post are either numbered in brackets, i.e.  and listed at the bottom of the post under References, or embedded as a link within the identified source within the Yarnell Hill Fire Revelations (YHFR) post text.
On June 30, 2013, nineteen Prescott FD, quasi-military Granite Mountain Hot Shots, died on the Yarnell Hill (YH) Fire in Arizona. This was an Arizona State Forestry wildfire but was predictably “investigated” by a U.S. Forest Service-funded Serious Accident Investigation Team (SAIT), and when you have Federal funding you have Federal control. There is an ongoing FOIA Request for these USFS funding Public Records languishing in the USFS FOIA Black Hole for going on three years now. Crickets ...
And, of course, this Federal control continues to plague all manner of seeking the truth on this tragic fire. Their ensuing report (SAIR), based on a customary pre-determined “conclusion” - supported by specific “facts” to confirm it - inferred the following: "The judgments and decisions of the incident management organizations managing this fire were reasonable. Firefighters performed within their scope of duty, as defined by their respective organizations. And found no indication of negligence, reckless actions, or violations of policy or protocol." In other words - they did everything right, yet nineteen men perished. How is that possible? This clearly defies logic and reason. It is because wildfire tragedy "investigators" are using sleight-of-hand techniques practicing the illusion of objectivity, and using what is known as the psychologically-biased “motivated, result-oriented, or result-driven reasoning” strategies that allow them to draw the conclusions they want. Both US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management Agency training publications declare: "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." That is - they work. In 2002, former USFS Fire Director Jerry Williams fully supported that assertion. ‘The Ten Standard Firefighting Orders must be firm rules of engagement.’ Ongoing efforts to discredit the Ten Standard Fire Orders and the truth about the YH Fire; and detractors, glorifying the GMHS as heroes, while vilifying truth-tellers are addressed. Several probable resolutions to address these disputes, and promote realistic “complete” lessons learned to help reduce the number of inevitable wildfire fatalities due to any number of germane causal factors are examined, discussed, and proposed as probable solutions.
Consider now the Figure 1. idealized image (above) and the two photos (below) that follow to better understand what led up to the magnitude of the extreme fire behavior that afternoon. First off, wildfires, even though considered an inanimate phenomenon, often act as if they are alive. And they always signal their intentions and build up to this point. In other words, they don't just "explode" or "blow up" like you see in the movies or read about in the newspapers and periodicals based on carefully and coyly crafted Agency-provided "talking points" from their respective Public Disinformation Officers (PDO) attempting to "manage the information."
Consider now the images and photos revealed in these figures. Figure 1. (above) is from a well-researched and well-written in-depth research paper worth reading on fluid dynamics and buoyancy depicting an extreme fire behavior idealized image of the type witnessed on the YH Fire on June 30, 2013. Figure 2. (below, left) further reveals what type of aggressive to extreme fire behavior occurred the afternoon of June 30, 2013, as the result of a probable rogue, ad-hoc firing operation in the Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor areas. Figure 3a. (below, right) depicts the extreme Horizontal Roll Vortices (HRV) fire behavior on the Bass River Fire on July 22, 1977, in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. The four FFs (RiP) seen in this photo were from the local Eagleswood Volunteer Fire Department and they all died as a result of the extreme HRV fire behavior. Interestingly, the WLF LLC video points out that this was the same area "where five FFs were killed while fighting a forest fire in 1936." Source: Bass River Fire Entrapment Fatalities (1977) (https://www.wildfirelessons.net/orphans/viewincident?DocumentKey=ec1e4b8e-3604-4785-bb1d-fa420c7ef43f)
Therefore, it is both interesting and somewhat predictable that this would be history repeating itself for several reasons. First, Watch Out #4 readily comes to mind, i.e. "Unfamiliar with weather and local factors influencing fire behavior." Second, we have what is known as "Incomplete Lessons Learned" based on Challenger and Columbia space shuttle disaster author and researcher Dianne Vaughn's research and conclusions. This local fire behavior should have been - and would have been - their own turf, their own piece of ground, and should have been discussed in their annual refreshers and seasonal training. However, typically, many of the wildland fire tragedies are the result of failure to learn from our historical mistakes.
Figure 2. (left) IMG_1334.JPG photo. View looking westerly from the Yarnell, AZ as the ASF photographer was traveling NORTH on Highway 89, north of the Ranch House restaurant (the building on left is the Assembly of God church) on June 30, 2013, at (16:29:39) 4:29:39 PM. Revealing very aggressive fire behavior and associated smoke column (plume) advancing toward the Helms / Boulder Springs Ranch (BSR) area. Source: ASF Brian Lauber.
Figure 3. Intense fire behavior on June 30, 2013, unknown time, on the YH Fire. Source: Pacific Biodiversity Institute in their referenced paper and more than likely from a local news source
Figure 3a. (left) Bass River Fire July 22, 1977; New Jersey Pine Barrens. Eagleswood Volunteer Fire Department Four Fatalities (the FFs in this photograph all died as a result of the extreme HRV fire behavior in the photo) Figure 3b. (right) Snippet from video indicating "crown streets" as a result of the HRV fire activity with the rolling fire leaving these signatures behind. Source: NIFC Training Library Archive and WFLLC Incident Reviews - Bass Fire Entrapment Fatalities (1977)
Wildland Fire Fighters (WF) continually evaluate wildland fires in terms of fuels, weather, topography, fire behavior, and human factors. Researchers from the states of Arizona, Illinois, North Carolina, Washington, and elsewhere respectively (un)knowingly acknowledged the complexity of the "Old School" very effective Doug Campbell (RiP) Campbell Prediction System (CPS) and its concept and principles of the Alignment of Forces. They accurately countered the ulterior-motive-motivated, dishonest SAIT-SAIR and honestly concluded: “The fact that the Yarnell Hill Fire grew out of control was predictable. The interior chaparral shrublands that it burned through are notorious for high intensity wildfire. There was extreme fire weather during the fire coupled with very dry vegetation as a result of long-term drought, high temperatures, intense sunshine[,] and persistent winds. Unfortunately, it appears that insufficient attention was placed on the critical warning signals of extreme fire weather and fuel conditions, leading to an unfortunate loss of lives.” [1, 2]. It is unknown whether the SAIT - individually or collectively - was even aware of the July 2013 research and analysis by Peter Morrison and George Wooten, titled: "Analysis and Comments on the Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona and the Current Fire Situation in the United States." Pacific Biodiversity Institute. Winthrop, WA (2013). Either way, it was unfortunately intentionally absent in the SAIR for the sake of any worthwhile "complete lessons learned."
"Fire environment is not static, but varies widely in horizontal and vertical space, and in time. The fire environment components and many of their factors are closely interrelated. Thus, the current state of one factor depends on the state of the other factors. Also, a change in one factor can start a chain of reactions that can affect the other factors."
Clive M. Countryman (1968) has had more than 20 years' experience in forest fire research. He joined the U.S. Forestervice in 1939, and is now headquartered at the Pacific Southwest Station's forest fire laboratory, Riverside, Calif., where he is responsible for studies on fire behavior and fire environment. He received his bachelor of science degree in forestry from the University of Washington (1939)
The terrain, covered with a dense carpet of volatile grass from prior wet years; then a prolonged, critical drought, hit by forceful Summer outflows, and gust fronts, adversely affected fire behavior. Weather researchers Kaplan et al's instructive, in-depth paper noted: “The YHF fire front motion shifted from east-northeastward to southeastward to southward and, finally, southwest-ward over a brief period during the late afternoon of 30 June”. Cliff Mass, a Univ. of WA Atmospheric Sciences professor, on his July 2, 2013, Cliff Mass Weather Blog, expertly qualified that the June 30, 2013, meteorology upset him the more he dug into it . “You can see why I find this disaster so unsettling. Hours before the incident it was clear there was a real threat...satellite and radar showed developing convection to the north that was moving south towards the fire.” He at once questioned whether there were meteorologists. “This terrible tragedy needs to be reviewed carefully. … A number of media outlets called the strong winds unpredictable and random. This is [in]correct, as shown by the information I provided ...” . This ensuing adverse fire weather yielded atypical extreme fire behavior according to several experienced, seasoned Air Operations personnel witnessing the Boulder Springs Ranch area that afternoon; described as “flowing like water,” rolling through the lower bowl, which was the GMHS deployment Zone (DZ), and through the upper bowl slope and through the ridgetop saddles with very aggressive horizontal roll vortices, such as those depicted in extreme fire behavior journals . Extreme wildfire behavior at this stage should best be examined and debated in fluid dynamics, fluid mechanics, or buoyancy terms according to studied researchers and scientists familiar with the subject . It's instructive that during the April 2016 GMHS Family Staff Ride, the USFS Air Attack (B-33) - a former highly experienced Hot Shot Superintendent, Fire Management Officer, and later Forest Fire Staff - stated that he had never in his two-plus decade's wildland fire career - witnessed fire behavior that extreme ever before. In addition, he has to live with the fact that he was the last one to talk with and listen to the GMHS before and while they were being burned over. It affected him in such a way that he asked his supervisors to be given another USFS position. He ended up at the Lessons Learned Center as the Center Manager.
Figure 4. YH Fire GMHS Deployment Zone and Fatality Site revealing the lower bowl, the upper bowl slope, and one of the ridgetop saddles. The media in the photo, attending the July 2013 news conference is gathering around a fenced area where the GMHS died after deploying their fire shelters on June 30, 2013. This area is also referenced in this post Source: InvestigativeMEDIA
Figure 5. (left) Figure. 5a. (right) NOAA GSL High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR). Red circle shows the fire site, with maximum wind speeds (knots). The model simulated the convection and winds it produced fairly well. Figure. 5. is the 2 PM indicating strong winds (red/purple colors) northeast of the fire. Figure 5a. indicates the 4 PM forecast, showing winds reaching the fire site. Source: Cliff Mass Blog YHF
1.1. Wildland Firefighting Rules and Guidelines Overview
The most common firefighter safety rules are the 10 Standard Firefighting Orders; 18 Situations That Shout Watch Out; (i.e. "10 & 18)"; Common Denominators of Fire Behavior on Tragedy Fires; Urban Interface Watch Out Situations; Downhill Fireline Construction Guidelines; Lookouts, Communications, Escape Routes, Safety Zones; Aircraft & Tactical Watch Outs; Rules of [Dis]Engagement; and Trigger Points to foster Entrapment Avoidance as stated by Williams ; listed in the NWCG Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG) .
Figure 6. IRPG Fire Orders and Watch Outs (Back Cover) Source: IRPG 2018
Co-author Collura, several years ago, coached several of her local six- and eight-year-old neighbor kids on the Ten Standard Fire Orders and 18 Watch Out Situations, and then those same young kids taught her how to memorize them, so there is no valid reason for whatever lame excuse you're using to avoid memorizing this instead of relying on your IRPG.
1.2. YH Fire and GMHS-Specific Intolerance of WF Rules-Guidelines Accounts
You will swiftly notice a clear, ongoing pattern of WFs, FFs - and even the non-wildfire general public - recognizing serious GMHS judgment errors, staying inquisitive regarding the Fire Orders and Watch Outs. Former Army infantryman Brian Mockenhaupt, accurately noted: “This was standard procedure, part of a basic safety system known as LCES. If you can establish and maintain this procedure, the theory goes, you should be able to avoid fatal entrapment. … The [GMHS] had walked … along a dirt road and … onto a rocky spur overlooking Yarnell. The obvious was still pushing hard into town. They … started down into a box canyon, heading for [BSR], their safety zone. With a steep slope on their left, they lost sight of the fire, breaking an important firefighting rule” . The SAIT-SAIR also cites these decision errors and Fire Order violations  and yet they would disingenuously conclude that they: " ... found no indication of negligence, reckless actions, or violations of policy or protocol."
However, SAIT Team Leader Jim Karels dishonestly stated: “Our mission was to find out what happened and to discern the facts surrounding this tragedy to the best of our ability,” ... an official with the Florida Forest Service, said at a Saturday news conference in Prescott, according to the [AZ] Republic." Clearly, "the facts" were intentionally lacking from the SAIR!
On page 34 of the SAIT-SAIR - contradicting its own conclusion - it unambiguously points out these violations and states: "While they were descending the slope after about 1620, the GMHS likely knew or perceived the following: (1) The ridge, boulders, and brush sheltered them, so they could no longer see the fire, including its direction and rate of spread. (2) They lost the ability to feel or see wind changes. (3) They had a limited view of the smoke column, a lagging indicator of fire location and fire behavior" . SAIT Co-Team Leader Dudley also picked up on these clear judgment errors and Fire Order breaches in the June 20, 2014, Yarnell Hill - Unified Fire Authority YouTube video overview of the GMHS actions: “As soon as you drop off that saddle, that prominent ridge that runs out along that box canyon blocks your view to the North-northeast and then before you even go part way down that slope you no longer have a view of anything except for the [BSR] until you drop down to the bottom of the canyon. Then you can’t even see the [BSR] . Watch the Wants To Know The Truth’s (WTKTT) explanatory 'crossfade' ABC15 Helicopter Raw Video fire behavior footage and WF and FF locations; clip number 18 (taken at the YH Fire on June 30, 2013) and the equivalent 'Google Earth' imager for resource, fire location, and fire behavior in order to place everything into a better perspective (https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=wantstoknowthetruth) . Dudley noted: The [GMHS] team dropped into the box canyon, where their view to the north was cut off and hiked down to the [eventual] deployment site”. The YH Fire rapidly became a potentially deadly fire as the day progressed based on forecast and noticeable, observed weather, and predicted and observed aggressive to exponentially extreme fire behavior . The IMT had a meager grasp of this exponential fire growth and continued to remain "behind the proverbial power curve" for the remainder of their time on the fire. This critical exponential growth concept is the actual growth rate - as it is increasing at a greater and greater rate - constantly doubling in size in a set time cycle .
Considering the blatant contrary manner in which the 10 and 18 and human factors elements are addressed in the SAIT-SAIR - cognitive dissonance comes to mind. It is a state of tension that occurs when a person holds two ideas or beliefs that are psychologically inconsistent with each other. The SAIT-SAIR says they did everything right yet there are hundreds of WFs and FFs and citizens that intuitively believe and feel and know otherwise. And that is still producing ongoing immense mental distress issues for these YH Fire WFs, FFs, and citizens. It is troubling because “to hold two contradictory ideas is to flirt with absurdity” .
Mockenhaupt noted: “The Arizona State Forestry Division (ASF) commissioned an investigation team (SAIT) to determine what had gone wrong in Yarnell. ... After the other big wildfires that had killed multiple firefighters in the past century, survivors had been able to fill in crucial pieces of information about on-the-ground conversations and decision making. But the [GMHS] had died without any eyewitnesses” . That is partially incorrect because the two hikers (Joy A. Collura and Sonny Tex Gilligan) witnessed and recorded the fire for the full June 28-30, 2013, weekend with cell phones, cameras, and videos/ And they discerned and heeded those warnings without the benefit of two-way radios and yet they made it safely to their vehicle in Yarnell up to 30-minutes before the GMHS were burned over . Mockenhaupt accurately surmised: “As hard as they tried, however, the [ADOSH] inspectors were unable to answer the question that had stymied the first investigation team: Why had 19 skilled wildland firefighters left the safety of a burned-over area and hiked into a box canyon overgrown with dense vegetation …? . And yet, ADOSH visited the GMHS DZ and Fatality Site with Collura and Gilligan compared to the lordly tunnel-visioned SAIT that never expressed any interest whatsoever to do so.
Figure 7. Bass River Fire July 22, 1977; New Jersey Pine Barrens. Eagleswood Volunteer Fire Department Four Fatalities (the FFs in this photograph all died as a result of the extreme HRV fire behavior in the photo) Source: NIFC Training Library Archive and WFLLC Incident Reviews - Bass Fire. ( https://www.wildfirelessons.net/orphans/viewincident?DocumentKey=ec1e4b8e-3604-4785-bb1d-fa420c7ef43f )
PFD BC Willis during a 2011 South Canyon Fire Site Visit with “the [GMHS] had studied those fires and had even once walked the ground … where 14 firefighters had died in 1994, trying to understand what had happened from the firefighter's perspective. ... ‘We said we’re never going to let this happen to us, … It was kind of like a commitment: we can’t let this happen to us. I can just see another picture here. … ’2013. Yarnell Hill 19.’” PFD Willis admits: “’ … I relive it every day” . The following PFD BC Willis statement is squarely within the confines of the PFD “Prescott Way” of doing things that likely guaranteed their fatal actions . “Like many others … Willis has spent a lot of time asking himself why … ‘They wanted to reengage … Sure, they could sit up there in the black. But if they could try to get back in the game, they were going to. … do we just sit up here and watch it go by? They knew there was an evacuation going on, they knew there were people staying in their houses. So what would the public think? You’re not going to help us? Why did you even show up’” ? A fatal wildfires training poster: “How is your Situational Awareness? Similar terrain, extreme fire behavior, 34 lives” is a common display at most wildland fire resource bases nationally. Compare the sobering Figure 8. NWCG poster and the GMHS DZ and Fatality Site bowl Figure 8. photos (below). But they did let it happen! During an October 2013 YH Fire and GMHS Site Visit as part of the SW Area Hot Shots After-Action-Review (AAR) Integration Phase, one of the senior HS Supts stated: “This was the final, fatal link in a long chain of bad decisions with good outcomes, we saw this coming for years.” With about eight others in the group stating that they had been unsuccessful in their attempted peer pressure to evoke change in the GMHS attitude and behavior . The nagging mystery is why? Or was this “just one of those things that happened, You can call it an accident … they picked the best possible place in this bowl to deploy shelters” times when Willis obsequiously blurts it out at the July 2013 GMHS Deployment Zone News Conference . Crucial proof is still being lied about, impeding YH Fire-informed USFS WFs from legally being interviewed, so then, why were the several BLM employees allowed to be interviewed ?
Figure 8. “How is your Situational Awareness?” (MTDC-NWCG poster) (left) along with a YH Fire bowl 2014 "ground-level view of the deployment site. The deployment site fence and flagpole can be seen in the bowl" photo (right) (Richard McCrea, IAWF, and HN) for a proposed poster to be titled: “Yarnell Hill Fire, 19 deaths. Arizona 2013” as solemnly affirmed by "this will never happen to us" PFD Willis.
1.3. Friendly Fire. See Figure 2. (above) and YHFR website post: Schoeffler, F. (2020) “Credible evidence of June 30, 2013, "friendly fire" incidents in the Sesame / Shrine Corridor area?” [14, 17] Sound suggestive evidence exists that several local, independent WF-FF groups likely fired off the Sesame St. - Shrine corridor areas. And the GMHS short of complying with required LCES (e.g. - without communicating these actions, without a designated lookout, nor notifying Air Attack) hiked without pause, downhill toward the allegedly threatened BSR, to their deaths [14, 17]. NPS WF Weaver said: "Some in the [wildland fire] community believe WUI played a part in the death of the 19 [GMHS] on the [YHF], who were killed as they made their way to defend a home. … basically in their home unit' . Watch Out #4 had to be shouting out to them after working the nearby Doce Fire with quasi-prophetic aggressive fire behavior a week before, but the SAIT-SAIR is vocal about a planned-for and silent about the executed Sesame-Shrine Area Corridor firing operation . However, GMHS Andrew Ashcraft’s mother firmly believes it was a “back burn” - slang for a burn out operation (“I really think there was a back burn set possibly by the trailers [likely in the Sesame and Shrine Corridor areas])” .
Figure 9. (left) Snippet from April 1980 “Preliminary Report of Task Force on Study of Fatal / Near-Fatal Fire Accidents.” Note that Fire Order 4 only covers Escape Routes; No mention of
Safety Zones. WF Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher (WFSTAR) Blowup to Burnover
Figure 10. Google Earth vertical profile of YH Fire Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor upslope virtual slingshot funneling winds and fire behavior aligned from right to left, NE↔SW, directly into the GMHS deployment site. (Not to scale) Juxtapose with Figure 11a. (below) for better clarity.
Figure 11. (left) B. Lauber, WTKTT, Google Earth photo - intense fire behavior June 30, 2013 (1629 hrs.) from Assembly of God church along Hwy. 89 with Google Earth overlay - GMHS location, GMHS-descent point, GMHS deployment / fatality site (DZ) and Helms (BSR) (11a.) (upper right) Google Earth, Collura. Enhanced Google Earth snippet image using Paint, aligned northwest, Sesame - Shrine Corridor leading to parallel twin chutes funneling upslope to GMHS DZ. (11b.) (right) Mary Nguyen Channel 12 News photo - very intense, aggressive fire behavior June 30, 2013 (1631 hrs.) along Hwy. 89. The GMHS hiked directly down into this furiously running upslope fire.
2. Schemed efforts to discredit the Wildland Firefighting Rules and Guidelines - Complicit Wildland Fire LLC and NWCG
Author and alleged former Hot Shot Kyle Dickman exposes a lot: “In January 2014, 11 veteran firefighters from the nation’s biggest fire agencies—the vanguard of fire, as they were described to me—met in Yarnell. They hiked along the route the hotshots had likely taken from the ridge into the canyon where the 19 died seven months earlier. They arrived at a startling conclusion. ‘We could see ourselves making the same decision they’d made,’ said Travis Dotson, a member of the WFLLC, a federally funded organization that helps [WFs and FFs] improve their performance . Around the time of the field trip, Dotson and others formed an underground group called Honor the Fallen. Included in its couple dozen members were some of the highest-ranking firefighters from the various agencies in the wildland fire business: the [USFS, BLM, and NPS]. Their goal was to make sure [the YH Fire], the most publicized event in wildland firefighting history, forced some much-needed changes to the job’s outdated culture. They tried to spark “an age of enlightenment.” (emphasis added) Said Dotson: “Before Yarnell, it was about getting better at fighting fire. After, it’s been about getting better at accepting death.” And this: “They were trying to save lives,” [so-called and self-proclaimed SAIT Lead Investigator] Mayhew says: “They knew people were threatened down there. [And it] must have weighed on them” . Former PFD FF McCarty lock-step with the “Prescott Way” drivel; “I can see why those guys would have gone there to try to get to the ranch house, if that’s what they were doing, to try to make a difference” . Carswell, a non-WF or FF, intuitively also casts doubt on the SAIT-SAIR: “One of the most haunting questions of the [SAIT] commissioned by the [AZSF], … is why they moved. But it will remain forever unanswered. … it is very cautiously worded, drawing no strong conclusions about what should have been done differently. … no one will ever know for sure, the report speculated that the hotshots left the safe zone to ‘re-engage’ -- to try to protect houses in the fire's path” . It appears that Groupthink is extolled there to support the SAIT-SAIR! Carping here on the randomly insipid, yet powerful National Wildfire Coordinating Group, this retired WF accurately stated: “For better or worse, NWCG has taken the position that the 10 Standard Fire Orders are now to be considered guidelines and not absolute orders. … No explanation … why rules that have been in place for 50 years are suddenly guidelines” . This is consistent with the ongoing coordinated movement to discredit the validity of the 10 & 18.
In this Fire Management Today, 70 (2010) article titled: The 10 Standard Firefighting Orders and 18 Watch Out Situations: We Don’t Bend Them, We Don’t Break Them We Don't Know Them. by Former USFS Prineville Hot Shot Foreman Bryan Scholz. And then, because Scholz had the audacity to bravely criticize the Fire Orders, it was dutifully countered by former National USFS Health and Safety Officer Larry Sutton in the same issue titled: From Another Perspective—The 10s, 18s, and Fire Doctrine.
( https://www.frames.gov/documents/usfs/fmt/fmt_70-1.pdf )
Figure 12. Three Snippets of former National USFS Health and Safety Officer Larry Sutton in the same issue titled: From Another Perspective—The 10s, 18s, and Fire Doctrine article. Source: FMT
Lessons From Thirtymile: Transition Fires And Fire Orders - Jerry Williams. Colorado Fire Camp. This article clearly agrees with the tried-and-true Ten Standard Fire Orders and Entrapment Avoidance practice. (https://www.coloradofirecamp.com/fire-origins/williams.htm)
2.1 Honor the Fallen Underground Group, Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center (LLC), and YouTube Video
The video caption disingenuously states: “This video was captured on site of the Yarnell Hill Fire in January 2014. The participants spent the day walking the ground and discussing the challenges facing the wildland fire service as a whole.” On the contrary, this is a specious statement that it is from “the wildland fire service as a whole” . According to author Kyle Dickamn, it is from an unofficial “underground group” which suggests secret societies, subversions, and clandestine organizations. USFS Apprenticeship Academy Program Manager Heath Cota stated: “And the truth is that we try to put it into these little boxes and these rules of the 10 and 18s that cannot ... they're not going to keep us safe. It's been proven time and time again. We can't follow our own rule ... you know, these rules, whatever they are ... this environment is way too complex. Ah, we're really lucky we do a good job at it. And I think that to me, the luck, the whole luck decision conversation, how often is it luck? … The gravity of walking down that [is] where it hit me like a ton of bricks … Looking down, seeing how close it looks, … how far it is. Scurrying through that is where it hit home for me. ... we can all see the path of the friction, the uncertainty, the fluidity in the environment, and how it just shapes it … where [it] is absolutely feasible and possible. Like … at that time. It was good until it wasn’t” . This is a most dangerous group! And the fact that this is coming from the (at the time) USFS Apprenticeship Academy Program Manager that leads those that train new, incoming future permanent USFS employees makes it even more dangerous in the minds of those of us that practice the successful "Old School" endorsed Entrapment Avoidance.
2.2 WLF LLC Kelly Woods and USFS PNF (R5) WF Eric Apland Podcast
In their "official" “Reading, Reflecting, and Changing Behavior” September 10, 2021, podcast (link provided) by the WLF LLC Center Manager Kelly Woods and the Plumas NF Graduate Degree WF Erik Apland talk about Apland's WLF LLC Incident Review Database task to read all of their archived entrapment reports. Woods in a calculated condescending question asks Apland: "focusing on this, this huge deep dive you've done in these kinds of events ...." Deep dive? Really? Regarding his expected and presumed neutral, objective research, he instead provided a very narrow-minded insight on those hundreds of investigative reports to match the YH Fire SAIT-SAIR conclusion of no wrongdoing when stating his own conclusions and findings. Moreover, it is rather significant and telling that he totally dodged the subject of the 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire (AZ) and yet had plenty to say about the 1949 Mann Gulch Fire (MT), the 1964 Sundance Fire (ID), the 1979 Ship Island Fire (ID) the 1985 Lake Mountain and Butte Fires (ID), the 1994 South Canyon Fire (CO), the 2002 Price Canyon Fire (UT), the 2016 Pagami Creek Fire (MN) and then this is what he had to say about the historic 1933 Griffith Park Fire: "There's been things like I've heard of Griffith Park, right, that's it, that's about it. I'd heard it, it, that it had happened but I didn't know really anything about it at all, and there are fires in there that I didn't even know that happened never heard their name before you know pretty major fires, ..." One of my favorites in the podcast (35:17) was this use of a fire shelter: "... if you can improve your conditions, and, you know, prevent some sunburns, or get better air ..." Prevent some sunburns? Are you friggin kidding me? Sunburns! You really can't make this s**t up!
And ever-so-expectedly, there is absolutely no mention in this podcast of the world-renowned June 2013 YH Fire or the GMHS debacle or how effective the tried-and-true Ten Standard Fire Orders and the 18 Watch Out Situations (10 & 18) are toward the goal of Entrapment Avoidance . Once again, the fact that they obviously completely avoided mentioning even once, the most tragic wildfire in modern history is rather significant and disturbing and fully supports our contention that the WLF LLC has clearly lost its ethically objective compass; misusing our Federal tax dollars, and straying far from its mandated roots: "the LLC operates as a national, interagency, federally-funded organization with interagency staffing. The LLC’s primary goal continues to be striving to improve safe work performance and organizational learning for all wildland firefighters." Remember that statements like this one fall squarely within the famous "Three Big Lies" category, i.e. "Trust us, we work for the Government and we're here to help you."
Figure 13. Snippet of Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center Mission Statement. Source: WLFLLC