Part 2: CPS Rx


Many veteran fire technicians rely heavily upon “intuition” to accomplish prescription-burning operations. But the intuition of experienced personnel is not a good teaching mechanism. In order to progress we need to discover and describe the knowledge contained in the intuition of the experienced fire officer.

We can’t teach others what the outcome of putting a torch to the land will be, without being more specific about the cause and effects of the variations in fire behavior. We can’t do many prescribed burns without having some costly and dangerous failures. One prescribed burn that escaped near Corona California destroyed some homes and the owners are seeking compensation. The Lowden Ranch prescribed burn of July 2,1999 escaped near Redding California destroying 23 homes. The Buchanan prescribed burn ran over a crew putting 16 in their shelters and killing one firefighter. If these events were truly unpredictable then that is one thing but they weren’t. There are people that know and perceive the dangers but are unable to communicate effectively enough to avert the situations.

In’ tu i tion
1a. Revelation by insight or innate knowledge:
2a. Immediate apprehension or cognition.

Planning and carrying out an RX burn operation is quite complex. Improving our ability to identify the caused of fire behavior variables can add assurance that what is planned will be accomplished. CPS incorporates valuable evaluation methods that many fire officers rely upon; their basis for that prized “intuition.” Along with this technical information and some practical applications for it, CPS presents a language to communicate this intuitive knowledge. The CPS is unique in that it brings together knowledge on several subjects and presents this information as it relates to the fire fighters and planners. In the following text you’ll see how proven techniques are especially helpful when planning and performing the common prescription burn. This new resource is critical to those who have a job to do. I, for one, wish this information was available for the prescribed burns for which I was responsible many years ago.

Contents: Part 2

Copyright © 2010, 2017 by Doug Campbell.

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