Wind-Driven Structure Fires: Adjusting Tactics and Strategies

Issue 5 and Volume 164.

BY KRISS GARCIA Trying to combat the hazards associated with wind-driven fires can be alarming for firefighters. But, wind is nothing new; it has been with us from the beginning of time. It was around as many as 30 years ago when many of us started in the fire service. Why then does it seem like such a new and complex problem? The key is to work with, not against, Mother Nature. Structural firefighters, wildland firefighters, and hazardous materials professionals have learned to adjust to and modify their tactics and strategies to work successfully when winds are prevalent. One of the earliest appreciated records of this is described in the recently released book The Big Burn by Timothy Egan. It reflects on of the largest wildland fires in U.S. history during which weather and the associated wind was used to accurately predict fire behavior, saving thousands of individuals. Early firefighters…

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