Wildland Fire Safety & Health Reporting Network

SAFENET Event Information
Create Agency Corrective Action

Event Start Date:
07/07/2017 0630
Event Stop Date:
Incident Name:
SH Creek Fire
Fire Number:
Local Unit:
Apache Sitgreaves NF (ASF)
Incident Type:
Incident Activity:
Stage of Incident:
Extended Attack
Position Title:
Safety Officer and Operations 
Line Construction, Firing Operations, Holding, Structure Protection 
Management Level:
Resources Involved:
Overhead, Crews, Engines, Aircraft 
Contributing Factors
Contributing Factors:
Communications, Human Factors, Other
Human Factors:
Decision Making, Leadership, Risk Assessment, Performance, Situational Awareness  
Other Factors:
Attitude and unwilling to accept responsibility for errors 
Describe in detail what happened including the concern or potential issue, the environment (weather, terrain, fire behavior, etc), and the resulting health issue.
The Ten Standard Fire Orders and LCES require that we maintain prompt communication with all Resources

The local Forest (ASF) and the Type 3 Organization discussed establishing their own Communication Plan to reduce the impact on their Unit due multiple Initial Attacks and a local arsonist issue

The SH Creek Fire Incident was assigned Command and Tactical frequencies by NIFC as part of the Type 3 Organization preorder

These same frequencies were also assigned by NIFC to the Hilltop Incident (AZ San Carlos Agency), managed by a Type 2 IMT, 40 air miles away

Most importantly, there was a clear lack of communication, coordination, and planning of Command and Tactical frequencies being assigned by NIFC related to geographic location of neighboring fires and geographic separation of frequencies to avoid interference and bleed-over

Due to the exact same frequencies being assigned to these neighboring Incidents, the SH Creek Fire experienced significant bleed-over on all frequencies during the implementation of critical firing operations

This resulted in a potentially significant communications safety hazard

The IC, Operations, Safety, and COML made a mid-shift Command frequency change to the local ASF Forest frequency, which impacted the Local Dispatch (ASF had specifically requested the Type 3 IMT to refrain from utilizing the ASF frequencies)

Moreover, the local ASF radio communications negatively impacted the SH Creek Fire

The following day, the COML recloned all radios with newly assigned Tactical frequencies, thus reestablishing the "C" in required LCES

This was the THIRD attempt to establish Incident communications free of the neighboring Hilltop Fire radio interference
Immediate Action Taken
Reporting Individual : please describe actions you took to correct or mitigate the unsafe/unhealthful event.
IC, Operations, Safety, and COML made command decision to assign local Forest (ASF) frequency (Forest Net) to maintain LCES

COML requested another radio repeater kit from NIFC

NIFC supplied the different repeater kit within 12 hours and the COML replaced and implemented a new Communications Plan

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