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Minimum Impact Suppression Strategies & Tactics Wilderness Resource Fire Advisor February 28, 2008 Albuquerque, New Mexico
Objectives Understand the difference between a strategy, tactic, & method How to effectively assist in the development and implementation
Strategy Limit Fire Spread to the North General Objective Protection or Benefits
Tactic Construct Line Appropriate Management Response or Fire Use Protect Arch Sites
Methods Cold Trail Fire Perimeter Construct Handline
Tool Kit for AMR Decisions: Fire history maps Weather forecasts Forest fire behavior characteristics Minimum Requirement Decision Guide
Selecting the AMR Surveillance / Monitoring. Lining to halt fire spread. –Use of aerial support. –Use of burn-out associated with natural barriers, trails, etc. –Wet line. –Dry line. Minimal or extensive mop-up.
MIST Tactics Without compromising firefighter safety, minimum impact tactics should be used for all fire activities, including: –Line construction –Mop-up –Helispot construction –Spike and coyote camps –Rehab work –Introduction of invasive species
Minimum Requirement Decision Guide Consider basic analysis in each incident, at least informally. Are there other less intrusive actions that should be tried first? Develop alternatives, using motorized equipment and mechanized transport, not using these, or some combination. Assess biophysical, social, political, health and safety effects of each.
As the Fuel Situation Increases: A decision to stop growth at fire edge or to use natural barriers. Use of more intensive fireline. Use of more intensive burn-out tactics.
Locate line in minimal fuels. Use only the width and depth necessary to halt fire spread. Widen minimal line by burning fuels between the line and the fire. Limb or fall only when necessary for safety and to prevent fire spread.
Minimize clearing fuels next to the fire edge. Roll logs rather than buck, or reroute around. Scrape fuels from the base of snags. Consider explosives.
When applied from natural barriers, burn- out may reduce the need to build handline. However, mass ignition from aerial applications may be: More extensive. Higher intensity. More expensive.
Fire Behavior Considerations depend on the time of day – minimum management tactics may be more successful at night or in the morning than during the heat of the day.
Considerations Mop-up standards are a decision negotiated between the forest, the team and the line overhead. Strive for the minimum necessary to secure the line from escape, based on anticipated weather. The standard is a balance between resource values and our ability to mitigate for safety. Minimizing mop-up impacts requires longer patrolling.
Use cold trail techniques. Use water rather than tools. Minimize soil disturbance. Cool, remove or burn fuels. Allow fuels to burn out. Fire line around problems rather than fall.
Tree Cutting There is no question safety is paramount, but why do firefighters need to be there? Snags are important to a functioning ecosystem. Stumps are not natural in appearance.
When building line, locate away from snags where possible. During mop-up: –Identify hazard trees with flagging or glow sticks. –Extinguish burning trees with water or dirt. –Consider blasting.
Precautions Around Water Avoid use of retardants, foams and surfactants near live streams. If chemicals are used, pump from fold-a- tank 200’ from water. Provide spill prevention and containment measures for pump operations.
During planning consider the objectives. If primarily as crew support, longline. If primarily for crew shuttles: Use natural openings. Avoid construction in high use areas. Are there others within reasonable walking distance? Provide specific instruction for construction.
During construction: Flush cut stumps. Limit bucking and limbing. Use directional falling so trees will be crisscrossed in a naturally appearing arrangement.
Spike Camp Management
Use existing and impact resistant sites. Avoid clearing and trenching – and NO bough beds. Change location, if impacts are unacceptable. Locate latrines 200’ from water and 8” deep. Evaluate coyote camp impacts vs. travel. Avoid wildlife (bear) attractants.
Be involved in selecting sites. Be there with the spike camp manager before the crews get there. Define expectations for camp.
The objective is to mitigate or eliminate resource damage to as natural a condition as possible. The standards applied can significantly affect the cost of a fire.
Rehab of fire line. Fill in berms and provide drainage, if necessary. Scatter bone piles. Slant cut large logs at degrees on bottom side. Naturalize.
Helispots –Consider burning piles at later date. Spike Camps –Cover latrine. –Pick up all litter and naturalize. IC, Staging Areas and Drop Points –Rehab commensurate with resource values.
Before Leaving Walk through to once again eliminate any remaining evidence of human presence.
Review MIST applies in & outside of the wilderness “Work smarter, not harder”
“ Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over- civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity; that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.” John Muir