The video, America Burning: The Yarnell Hill Tragedy and the Nation’s Wildfire Crisis, describes the tragic incident of 19 firefighters perishing in a wildland fire outside of their hometown. Many of the fire managers that spoke about this incident described how wildland fire is becoming more dangerous for numerous reasons. Such as, urban sprawl, the changing climate, and the fact that fires are burning faster and hotter than we’ve seen before (Weather Films, 2013). The Yarnell Hill fire is just an example of how fires are becoming even more unpredictable and dangerous to firefighters than ever before. To help improve the safety of our firefighters and communities congress initiated the Flame Act. The Flame Act of 2009 created a cohesive wildland fire management strategy to try and create more resilient landscapes, fire adapted communities, and safe and effective wildfire response for fire fighters (Forest Service, 2018).
Fire season is now 70 days longer than it was in the 80’s and we’re losing more homes, infrastructures, critical habitat and people (Forest Service, 2018). Urban sprawl is a growing issue, wildland firefighters are not to trained to deal with burning structures. In fact, they are taught to never go near or deal with burning structures. Homes and infrastructure pose many more threats to wildland firefighters. The cohesive wildland fire management strategy is an umbrella concept that asks all fire agencies and communities to work together to create these safer environments for everyone. The strategy needs community support to pre-treat large areas to build lower fire risk (Forest Service, 2018).
Fire managers are also working to create safer environments within firefighting by using natural and already existing fire breaks. The strategy was used on the Cow Fire of 2019. Managers of this larger fire used a strategy called “boxing”, where they utilize fire breaks like past burn scars and large forest service roads as control lines. This is managing the forest and fire rather than battling fire itself (U.S. Forest Service, 2019). This alleviates stress on fire handcrews to construct large fire breaks by hand. Fire crew’s thin edges of roads and create backburns that burn fuel towards the wildfire leaving nothing for it to continue to burn with. This is helping create safer environments for all our firefights and communities.
Forest Service. 2018. Cohesive Strategy Stakeholders Perspectives. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=433&v=Xy06f0YZPt8&feature=emb_logo
Forest Service. 2019. Cow Fire: Proactive Fire Management in Action. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=74&v=VBr3zBSBxP0&feature=emb_logo
Weather Films. 2013. America Burning: The Yarnell Hill Tragedy and the Nation’s Wildfire Crisis https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=953&v=begTiksUwqc&feature=emb_logo