Personal tools
You are here: Home Wildland Resources Wildland Fire Management and Planning Unit 10: Fire Behavior Affects Fireline Tactics

Unit 10: Fire Behavior Affects Fireline Tactics

Document Actions
  • Content View
  • Bookmarks
  • CourseFeed

Management   ::   Control Lines   ::   Standards   ::   Attack Planning   ::   Planning   ::  Exercises

Exercise 1

Fire behavior and line construction

Identify those precautionary measures which might be used to reduce hazards to constructed fireline. More than one may apply.

Hazard Precautionary Measure
Spotting across line a. Falling trees
Rolling firebrands b. Moving or scattering fuels
Creeping under line c. Wetting fuels
Reburn inside line d. Building a cup trench
Radiation across line e. Removing fuels
Crowning near line f. Burning out fuels
Dust devils g. Clearing to mineral soil
  h. Limbing lower branches

Exercise 2

Fireline location and standards

Using the following fire situation, complete the items below.
Situation: A 60 acre fire is burning on a west aspect in fir thinnings, light slash, and tree plantation areas. The time is 1200 hours on September 1. The summer has been very dry and fuel moistures are below normal. Young pine trees have been torching out and fire has sprea down slope by rolling pine cone firebrands today. The weather forecast for today is for daytime temperatures in the low 90's, low humidity 26%, winds southwest at 15 mph, and continued warm and dry.

Exercise 2

  1. At what point on the fire would you expect fire spread to be the greatest (give letter)?
  2. In which area(s) might you expect spotting to occur today?
  3. Where would you place a control line for the head of the fire? Why?
  4. Where would you place a control line on the rear of the fire (give letter)?
  5. What heat transfer factors need to be considered in establishing fireline standards?
  6. Give standards for construction for fireline to be built on the head of the fire.
  7. Give standards for construction for fireline to be built on the rear of the fire.

Exercise 3

Fire attack methods

Match the attack methods with their proper descriptions.

Attack Method Description
Hotspotting a. Setting fire to more than one strip of fuel and providing for the strips are fired first to create drafts which pull flames and sparks away from the control lines.
Wet line b. Fire set between main fire and backfire to hasten spread of the backfire. (Also called counter fire.)
Flanking c. A method of controlling a partly dead fire edge by carefully inspecting and feeling with the hand to detect any fire, digging out every live spot, and trenching any live edge.
Draft fire d. When attack is direct, or parallel with the control line tied at points of the fire, intentionally setting fire to fuels inside the control line to strengthen the line.
Cold trailing e. Constructing a control line in light fuels by applying water and/or chemicals on or near the fire's edge, and firing or allowing fire to burn clean to saturated fuels.
Burning out f. Checking the spread of fire at points of most rapid spread or special threat. Is usually the initial step in prompt control with emphasis of first priorities.
Strip firing g. Attacking a fire by working along the flanks either simultaneously or successively from a less active or anchor point and endeavoring to connect the two lines at the head.

Exercise 4

Initial attack planning

Using the following fire situation, complete the items below.
Situation: You and your initial attack crews (handline crew, tanker crew, and tractor crew) arrive on a fire burning in grass and scattered brush at 1400 on August 5. You observe the fire to be burning on a 1% slope, west aspect, and to be about 15 acres in size. The fuel type is continuous with no readily usable barriers. The fire is spreading upslope at an approximate rate of 70 chains per hour. Flame lenghts at the head are estimated at 7 feet, the flanks 3 feet, and the reat 2 feet. No spotting is evident at this time. You take weather measurements at this time and determine DB temperature to be 88 degrees, relative humidity 20%, and wind westerly at 6 mph at eye level. The sky has scattered clouds with large cumulus buildups a few miles to the north. You are informed that the probability of ignition is 65, and fine fuel moisture is 4%.
The fire control policy in effect for this area is to suppress fires within the first burning period.

  1. Do you have enough weather information for planning purposes? What more could you do?
  2. Assuming continued warm and dry weather today, how do you expect fire behavior conditions to change throughout the afternoon and the evening?
  3. What unusual or extreme fire behavior could occur this afternoon?
  4. What limitations to suppression forces do you recognize on this fire?
  5. How would you assess the spotting potential today?
  6. Describe the tactics you would use to suppress the fire, i.e., attack methods and control ine location.
  7. Describe standards for control line construction.
  8. How would you initially locate each of the three types of crews on the fire?
  9. What safety precautions would you give to crews?

Exercise 5

Planning on multiple-day fires

Given the following fire situation and the fire activity planning chart, complete the items below.
Situation: You are on the planning staff of the Cherry Creek Fire. It is the third day of this large fire, and the Fire Behavior Officer has provided you with fire behavior data and calculations in a fire activity planning chart (see above). It is 2200 hours on August 24, and you are planning tomorrow's fire control activities. The terrain is flat to gently rolling hills. The fuel model is number 2, open timber with grass/small litter.

Exercise 5

  1. What is the expected average hourly rate of spread betweeen 1500 and 1800 hours? How far could the fire travel during the three hour period if spotting is not a factor?
  2. What period of the day or night (give hours) might you expect spotting to occur? Explain.
  3. What period of the day or night (give hours) might you expect a crown fire to develop? Explain.
  4. What hours of the day or night can handline crews work the entire fireline? Explain.
  5. What periods of the day or night (give hours) are desirable for burning out operations? Explain.
  6. What period of the day (give hours) might indirect atack be the only safe method? Explain.

Copyright 2008, Michael Jenkins. 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