Wildland Fire Safety & Health Reporting Network

SAFENET Event Information
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20170720-0002        [Corrective Actions]
Event Start Date:
07/15/2017 0600
Event Stop Date:
07/16/2017 1900 
Incident Name:
Long Valley Fire
Fire Number:
Local Unit:
Incident Type:
Incident Activity:
Stage of Incident:
Extended Attack
Position Title:
Structure Protection 
Management Level:
Resources Involved:
Contributing Factors
Contributing Factors:
Communications, Other
Human Factors:
Other Factors:
Describe in detail what happened including the concern or potential issue, the environment (weather, terrain, fire behavior, etc), and the resulting health issue.
We were part of a task force assigned to structure protection working on the Long Valley Fire which was being managed by a Type II IMT. Our task force was assembled from a different fire that we just initially attacked and were told that we were needed for structure protection for a community that was being impacted by the Long Valley Fire. As far as I can tell, the IMT managing the Long Valley Fire did not know we were even there. Our task force arrived to triage the neighborhood close to 11 o'clock in the evening. While we were getting our briefing, a USFS engine that was assigned to the fire stopped by and managed to clone a few of our radios to the frequencies he was given from the team. We did not have an IAP and therefore had no com plan or weather information. We did not see any fire as the fire was still a few ridges away until the following day. At around 7:30 the following morning we were told that our potential relief was not coming and that we should reassess the community during the day to become more familiar with the area. The day carried on and around 2:30 in the afternoon we were told we were needed at the other end of the fire to protect more structures. The entire task force caravanned over to what appeared to be the head of one of the more active flanks of the fire. We were assigned to drive up the road and help protect a ranch threatened by the active flame front. Our driving directions weren't very clear and we, the task force, ended up taking a junction in the road heading in the wrong direction which led us driving on a narrow one way road in the direction of the fire burning towards us. We later found out that this fire was actually a burn operation from another task force we were supposed to be supporting. At this point we realized we took the wrong turn at the junction and had to make a multipoint back up turn around to head back downhill. As we were turning around we heard the instructions to switch frequencies because we were going to help burn around a ranch. Up to that point we were working on VHF radios using a local tactical channel. The instructions to switch not only changed frequencies but a switch to 800mhz radios we also carry. One of the rigs in our task force didn't even carry this radio type and was left without communication for a 10-15 minute span. The one engine that did not have the new radios was given to handheld radios for this operation, once this operation was complete we returned to VHF but once again changed our tactical frequencies. We ended up spending nearly 36 hours on the Long Valley fire but never checked in with the team. Which also meant we never had an IAP for the incident. There were no injuries or accidents, but the whole operation felt like we were just free lancing on a large fire that was being managed without us in their game plan.
Immediate Action Taken
Reporting Individual : please describe actions you took to correct or mitigate the unsafe/unhealthful event.
We did not really understand if we were attached to the fire officially so we just kept calm and made sure we were all in a safe place. As far as the communication issue, we made sure that the one crew that did not have 800mhz radios was given a few in a timely manner. We voiced our concerns about the communication change and once it was noted we switched back to VHF and did not change frequencies. Our task force worked well together and made sure we were always close and that communications did not become an issue within our group.

Corrective Actions


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