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Unit 10: Fire Behavior Affects Fireline Tactics

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Flanking a Fire

The figure below illustrates the basic tactics of flanking a fire burning on a slope or driven by wind. Firelines, starting from the rear of the fire, are located and constructed along either flank as close to the fire as possible. As fireline construction progresses, the line is burned out or the main fire is allowed to burn clean to the constructed line. Eventually, line construction will catch up with the head and pinch it off at an advantageous time. It's essential to have firelines anchored to a safety zone, or to create safety zones as work progresses along the flanks.


The graphic below illustrates locating firelines where fuels are lightest. This is good practice where heavy fuels make line construction difficult; the fire intensity is too great for working the fire perimeter; some acreage can be sacrificed to expedite line construction; and control lines can be made safer. Generally, these tactics reduce the amount of effort required to construct fireline, although this particular situation would require a longer fireline.

Flanking Flanking
Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . admin. (2005, November 11). Unit 10: Fire Behavior Affects Fireline Tactics. Retrieved January 07, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License