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«Glossary of Wildland Fire Terms Aerial Fuels: All live and dead vegetation in the forest canopy or above surface fuels, including tree branches, ...»

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Glossary of Wildland Fire Terms

Aerial Fuels: All live and dead vegetation in the forest canopy or above surface fuels, including

tree branches, twigs and cones, snags, moss, and high brush.

Aerial Ignition: Ignition of fuels by dropping incendiary devices or materials from aircraft.

Air Tanker: A fixed-wing aircraft equipped to drop fire retardants or suppressants.

Anchor Point: An advantageous location, usually a barrier to fire spread, from which to start

building a fire line. An anchor point is used to reduce the chance of firefighters being flanked by fire.

Aramid: The generic name for a high-strength, flame-resistant synthetic fabric used in the shirts and jeans of firefighters. Nomex, a brand name for aramid fabric, is the term commonly used by firefighters.

Aspect: Direction toward which a slope faces.

Backfire: A fire set along the inner edge of a fireline to consume the fuel in the path of a wildfire and/or change the direction of force of the fire’s convection column.

Backing Fire: Fire spreading against the wind or downslope. A fire spreading on level ground without wind is a backing fire.

Backpack Pump: A portable sprayer with hand-pump, fed from a liquid-filled container fitted with straps, used mainly in fire and pest control. (See also Bladder Bag.) Bambi Bucket: A collapsible bucket slung below a helicopter. Used to dip water from a variety of sources for fire suppression.

Behave: A system of interactive computer programs for modeling fuel and fire behavior that consists of two systems: BURN and FUEL.

Bladder Bag: A collapsible backpack portable sprayer made of neoprene or high-strength nylon fabric fitted with a pump. (See also Backpack Pump.) Blow-up: A sudden increase in fire intensity or rate of spread strong enough to prevent direct control or to upset control plans. Blow-ups are often accompanied by violent convection and may have other characteristics of a fire storm. (See Flare-up.) 1 Board of Inquiry: These committees are used to follow-up on serious situations, and can make recommendations ranging from no action to termination of employment. They can also clear personnel of responsibility or charges of wrongdoing or neglect.

Board of Review: A group of individuals selected to review results of fire suppression action on a given unit or the specific action taken on a given fire in order to identify reasons for both good and poor action and to recommend or prescribe ways and means of doing a more effective and efficient job. Reviews the results of a safety/accident investigation.

Brush: A collective term that refers to stands of vegetation dominated by shrubby, woody plants, or low growing trees, usually of a type undesirable for livestock or timber management.

Brush Fire: A fire burning in vegetation that is predominantly shrubs, brush and scrub growth.

Bucket Drops: The dropping of fire retardants or suppressants from specially designed buckets slung below a helicopter.

Bump-up Method: A progressive method of building a fire line on a wildfire without changing relative positions in the line. Work is begun with a suitable space between workers. Whenever one worker overtakes another, all workers ahead move one space forward and resume work on the uncompleted part of the line. The last worker does not move ahead until completing his or her space.

Burn Out: Setting fire inside a control line to widen it or consume fuel between the edge of the fire and the control line.

Burning Conditions: The state of the combined factors of the environment that affect fire behavior in a specified fuel type.

Burning Index: An estimate of the potential difficulty of fire containment as it relates to the flame length at the most rapidly spreading portion of a fire’s perimeter.

Candle or Candling: A single tree or a very small clump of trees which is burning from the bottom up.

Chain: A unit of linear measurement equal to 66 feet.

Cirrus: A form of high cloud, composed of ice crystals, which seldom obscures the sun.

Cold Front: The leading edge of a relatively cold air mass that displaces warmer air. The heavier cold air may cause some of the warm air to be lifted. If the lifted air contains enough moisture, the result may be cloudiness, precipitation, and thunderstorms. If both air masses are dry, no

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Cold Trailing: A method of controlling a partly dead fire edge by carefully inspecting and feeling with the hand for heat to detect any fire, digging out every live spot, and trenching any live edge.

Command Staff: The command staff consists of the information officer, safety officer and liaison officer. They report directly to the incident commander and may have assistants.

Complex: Two or more individual incidents located in the same general area which are assigned to a single incident commander or unified command.

Contain a fire: A fuel break around the fire has been completed. This break may include natural barriers or manually and/or mechanically constructed line.

Control a fire: The complete extinguishment of a fire, including spot fires. Fireline has been strengthened so that flare-ups from within the perimeter of the fire will not break through this line.

Control Line: All built or natural fire barriers and treated fire edge used to control a fire.

Coyote Tactics: A progressive line construction duty involving self-sufficient crews that build fire line until the end of the operational period, remain at or near the point while off duty, and begin building fire line again the next operational period where they left off.

Creeping Fire: Fire burning with a low flame and spreading slowly.

Crew Boss: A person in supervisory charge of usually 16 to 21 firefighters and responsible for their performance, safety, and welfare.

Crown Fire (Crowning): The movement of fire through the crowns of trees or shrubs more or less independently of the surface fire.

Cumulonimbus: The ultimate growth of a cumulus cloud into an anvil-shaped cloud with considerable vertical development, usually with fibrous ice crystal tops, and usually accompanied by lightning, thunder, hail, and strong winds.

Cumulus: A principal low cloud type in the form of individual cauliflower-like cells of sharp non-fibrous outline and less vertical development than cumulonimbus.

Curing: Drying and browning of herbaceous vegetation or slash.

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Deployment: See Fire Shelter Deployment.

Direct Attack: Any treatment of burning fuel, such as by wetting, smothering, or chemically quenching the fire or by physically separating burning from unburned fuel.

Dispatch: The implementation of a command decision to move a resource or resources from one place to another.

Dispatcher: A person employed who receives reports of discovery and status of fires, confirms their locations, takes action promptly to provide people and equipment likely to be needed for control in first attack, and sends them to the proper place.

Dispatch Center: A facility from which resources are directly assigned to an incident.

Division: Divisions are used to divide an incident into geographical areas of operation. Divisions are established when the number of resources exceeds the span-of-control of the operations chief.

A division is located with the Incident Command System organization between the branch and the task force/strike team.

Dozer: Any tracked vehicle with a front-mounted blade used for exposing mineral soil.

Dozer Line: Fire line constructed by the front blade of a dozer.

Draft: Drawing water from static sources such as a lake, pond, cistern, river, etc. into a pump which is above the level of the water supply.

Drip Torch: Hand-held device for igniting fires by dripping flaming liquid fuel on the materials to be burned; consists of a fuel fount, burner arm, and igniter. Fuel used is generally a mixture of diesel and gasoline.

Drop Zone: Target area for air tankers, helitankers, and cargo dropping.

Dry Lightning Storm: Thunderstorm in which negligible precipitation reaches the ground. Also called a dry storm.

Duff: The layer of decomposing organic materials lying below the litter layer of freshly fallen twigs, needles, and leaves and immediately above the mineral soil.

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Engine: Any ground vehicle providing specified levels of pumping, water and hose capacity.

Engine Crew: Firefighters assigned to an engine. The Fireline Handbook defines the minimum crew makeup by engine type.

Entrapment: A situation where personnel are unexpectedly caught in a fire behavior-related, lifethreatening position where planned escape routes or safety zones are absent, inadequate, or compromised. An entrapment may or may not include deployment of a fire shelter for its intended purpose. These situations may or may not result in injury. They include “near misses.” Environmental Assessment (EA): EAs were authorized by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969. They are concise, analytical documents prepared with public participation that determine if an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is needed for a particular project or action. If an EA determines an EIS is not needed, the EA becomes the document allowing agency compliance with NEPA requirements.

Environmental Impact Statement (EIS): EISs were authorized by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969. Prepared with public participation, they assist decision makers by providing information, analysis and an array of action alternatives, allowing managers to see the probable effects of decisions on the environment. Generally, EISs are written for large-scale actions or geographical areas.

Equilibrium Moisture Content: Moisture content that a fuel particle will attain if exposed for an infinite period in an environment of specified constant temperature and humidity. When a fuel particle reaches equilibrium moisture content, net exchange of moisture between it and the environment is zero.

Escape Route: A preplanned and understood route firefighters take to move to a safety zone or other low-risk area, such as an already burned area, previously constructed safety area, a meadow that won’t burn, natural rocky area that is large enough to take refuge without being burned.

When escape routes deviate from a defined physical path, they should be clearly marked (flagged).

Escaped Fire: A fire which has exceeded or is expected to exceed initial attack capabilities or prescription.

Extended Attack Incident: A wildland fire that has not been contained or controlled by initial attack forces and for which more firefighting resources are arriving, en route, or being ordered by the initial attack incident commander.

5 Extreme Fire Behavior: “Extreme” implies a level of fire behavior characteristics that ordinarily

precludes methods of direct control action. One of more of the following is usually involved:

high rate of spread, prolific crowning and/or spotting, presence of fire whirls, strong convection column. Predictability is difficult because such fires often exercise some degree of influence on their environment and behave erratically, sometimes dangerously.

Faller: A person who fells trees. Also called a sawyer or cutter.

Field Observer: Person responsible to the Situation Unit Leader for collecting and reporting information about an incident obtained from personal observations and interviews.

Fine (Light) Fuels: Fast-drying fuels, generally with a comparatively high surface area-to-volume ratio, which are less than 1/4-inch in diameter and have a timelag of one hour or less. These fuels readily ignite and are rapidly consumed by fire when dry.

Fingers of a Fire: The long narrow extensions of a fire projecting from the main body.

Fire Behavior: The manner in which a fire reacts to the influences of fuel, weather and topography.

Fire Behavior Forecast: Prediction of probable fire behavior, usually prepared by a Fire Behavior Officer, in support of fire suppression or prescribed burning operations.

Fire Behavior Specialist: A person responsible to the Planning Section Chief for establishing a weather data collection system and for developing fire behavior predictions based on fire history, fuel, weather and topography.

Fire Break: A natural or constructed barrier used to stop or check fires that may occur, or to provide a control line from which to work.

Fire Cache: A supply of fire tools and equipment assembled in planned quantities or standard units at a strategic point for exclusive use in fire suppression.

Fire Crew: An organized group of firefighters under the leadership of a crew leader or other designated official.

Fire Front: The part of a fire within which continuous flaming combustion is taking place. Unless otherwise specified the fire front is assumed to be the leading edge of the fire perimeter. In ground fires, the fire front may be mainly smoldering combustion.

Fire Intensity: A general term relating to the heat energy released by a fire.

Fire Line: A linear fire barrier that is scraped or dug to mineral soil.

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Fire Management Plan (FMP): A strategic plan that defines a program to manage wildland and prescribed fires and documents the Fire Management Program in the approved land use plan. The plan is supplemented by operational plans such as preparedness plans, preplanned dispatch plans, prescribed fire plans, and prevention plans.

Fire Perimeter: The entire outer edge or boundary of a fire.

Fire Shelter: An aluminized tent offering protection by means of reflecting radiant heat and providing a volume of breathable air in a fire entrapment situation. Fire shelters should only be used in life-threatening situations, as a last resort.

Fire Shelter Deployment: The removing of a fire shelter from its case and using it as protection against fire.

Fire Use Module (Prescribed Fire Module): A team of skilled and mobile personnel dedicated primarily to prescribed fire management. These are national and interagency resources, available throughout the prescribed fire season, that can ignite, hold and monitor prescribed fires.

Fire Weather: Weather conditions that influence fire ignition, behavior and suppression.

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