Conditions and Circumstances Leading to Fire Entrapment
1) Human Factor
2) Non-Human Factors
Non-human, or natural factors that may contribute to fire entrapment, cannot easily be changed. However, the Human Factor can and must be!
Some basic Human Factors that may contribute to Fire Entrapment:poor physical conditionnot having adequate sleep or restpoorly trained - general lack of knowledge about fire behaviouran attitude of a "know-it-all"an attitude that it simply won't happen to me/usa show-off, hero, mind set with a "Rambo" type of thinkingfear - of being criticized for evacuating prematurely - being thought of as a "chicken"fear - of being looked upon as being generally incompetent and thus jeopardizing one's personal careergeneral inexperience (not recognizing what certain, fire sounds, wind shifts, etc. can mean and HOW SO VERY QUICKLY a fire can "blow-up")not following the basic SAFETY ORDERS when firefightinghaving a reputation of not sincerely caring for the well being of all crew persons under you command. (thus your crew may not obey and follow you in an emergency evacuation situation)having poor communication skills - this is rarely assessed or taught (this type of communication has nothing to do with how well the radio communication may be working)not following LACESnot having or maintaining TWO USABLE ESCAPE ROUTESNEVER POSITION CREWS OR LOCATE ESCAPE ROUTES ABOVE A FIRE!
REVIEW - THREE FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE FIRE BEHAVIOUR ARE:
FUEL; WEATHER; AND TOPOGRAPHY
Dangerous Fueldense, close fuels such as blowdown, logging slash and debrisfine fuels such as grasses, small branches, twigs and needles - and again, logging slashdead standing fuels such as dead pine trees and especially more so if "red-dead" (dead needles still on the branches)fuel moisture - DRYany unburned fuel between fire crews and the fire edge
Winds gusty, downdrafts, cross-winds - thunderstormsincreasingdirection changesTemperature - increasing, hotrelative humidity - lowering, fuel becoming drier
15% R.H. is very low, - (I have personally recorded, 3% and seen the resulting, grasses burn like they had gasoline on them!)extended periods (several days) of dry, hot weather
Dangerous Topographymountainous, steep slopesgullies, ravines, box canyons, "chimneys", saddle backs, even small "draws" or swales aspect - direction slope is facing South is more dangerous because it is "warmer" and "drier"
Semi-Non-Humanmechanical - vehicle breakdownrotary aircraft forced landing in danger zonesburned or damaged bridges or cattle guardsdead-end roads or insufficient space to turn a vehicle around