Recommendations Made After Fla. Wildfire LODDs

Recommendations Made After Fla. Wildfire LODDs

10 July 2011

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USA — Firefighters Josh Burch and Brett Fulton were killed on June 20 while battling the Blue Ribbon Fire.

A report into the deaths of two wildland firefighters killed in the Blue Ribbon Fire last month makes several recommendations in the aftermath of the tragedy, according to The Suwannee Deomcrat.

Firefighters Josh Burch and Brett Fulton were killed June 20 while battling the fire in Hamilton County and dealt with difficult terrain and limited visibility created by smoke.

The two men were plowing containment lines around the wildfire when one of the tractors became stuck on a stump in a dried out pond. The other tractor also became stuck after coming to the other’s rescue.

Burch and Fulton abandoned their tractors, and were overcome by smoke and flames.

“Excessive smoke caused by the fire hindered visibility of crewmen operating tractors on the ground and the pilot monitoring the fire conditions from a fixed-wing aircraft,” the report stated.

Another issue was confusion from traffic and interference on radio communication channels during the incident.

The report also found that fire shelters were not used by the fallen firefighters.

Some of the recommendations from the report include providing refresher training on principles of lookouts, communications, escape routes and safety zones; a review of radio frequencies and an understanding of proper channel and procedures to use; and to evaluate fire shelter equipment and how they should be stored on all equipment, according to the newspaper.

The report was conducted by the Florida Forest Service, U.S. Forest Service, Georgia Forestry Commission and Florida Fire Marshal’s Office.

“We’re considering the recommendations of the review team very seriously and we’ll work to provide the members of the Florida Forest Service with the training and equipment they need to ensure they’re adequately prepared to fight wildfires,” Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam told the newspaper.

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