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EUFIRELAB

EVR1-CT-2002-40028

D-09-06

http://eufirelab.org

EUFIRELAB:
Euro-Mediterranean Wildland Fire Laboratory,
a “wall-less” Laboratory
for Wildland Fire Sciences and Technologies
in the Euro-Mediterranean Region

Deliverable D-09-06

Toward methods for wildland fire suppression planning

Compiled by Francisco RODRIGUEZ y SILVA; Amador MORENO ROBLES

The views expressed are purely those of the writers and may not, in any circumstances, be regarded as stating an official
position of the European Commission
EUFIRELAB

CONTENT LIST

1 Fire behaviour: basic concepts for suppression activities analysis ....................................................................1


1.1 Topography ...................................................................................................................................................1
1.2 Fuel................................................................................................................................................................2
1.2.1 Fuel loading.........................................................................................................................................2
1.2.2 Size and shape ...................................................................................................................................3
1.2.3 Compacting .........................................................................................................................................3
1.2.4 Continuity ............................................................................................................................................3
1.2.5 Density of the wood.............................................................................................................................3
1.2.6 Chemical substances ..........................................................................................................................3
1.2.7 Fuel moisture ......................................................................................................................................4
1.2.8 Time lag...............................................................................................................................................4
1.2.9 Fuel models.........................................................................................................................................4
1.3 Weather .........................................................................................................................................................5
1.3.1 Temperature........................................................................................................................................5
1.3.2 Water vapour in the atmosphere.........................................................................................................6
1.3.3 Atmospheric pressure .........................................................................................................................7
1.3.4 Pressure and wind ..............................................................................................................................7
1.3.5 General circulation of the atmosphere ................................................................................................7
1.3.6 Local phenomenon..............................................................................................................................8
1.3.7 Fronts and air masses.......................................................................................................................10
1.4 Tables..........................................................................................................................................................12
2 Human and material resources ........................................................................................................................13
2.1 Materials resources .....................................................................................................................................13
2.1.1 Tools..................................................................................................................................................13
2.1.2 Heavy machinery ..............................................................................................................................14
2.1.3 Retardants.........................................................................................................................................14
2.1.4 Fire trucks .........................................................................................................................................15
2.1.5 Fire special vehicles..........................................................................................................................16
2.1.6 Aerial resources ................................................................................................................................16
2.2 Human resources ........................................................................................................................................18
2.2.1 Fire brigades .....................................................................................................................................18
2.2.2 Personal protective equipment’s.......................................................................................................18
2.3 Figures.........................................................................................................................................................19
2.4 Tables..........................................................................................................................................................21
3 Forest fire suppression .....................................................................................................................................23
3.1 Introduction..................................................................................................................................................23
3.2 Basic procedures to obtain the suppression of the fire ...............................................................................23
3.3 Line of defence ............................................................................................................................................24
3.3.1 Basic considerations in the construction of the line of defence ........................................................24
3.3.2 Construction of the line of defence ...................................................................................................25
3.3.3 Burning of widening...........................................................................................................................26
3.3.4 Organisation of the personnel for the construction of lines of defence.............................................26
3.4 The line of control........................................................................................................................................28
3.5 Methods of combat......................................................................................................................................28
3.5.1 Direct method....................................................................................................................................28
3.5.2 Indirect method .................................................................................................................................29
3.5.3 The backfire ......................................................................................................................................29
3.5.4 Decision between the different systems of assault...........................................................................29
3.6 Combat phases ...........................................................................................................................................30
3.6.1 Examination ......................................................................................................................................30
3.6.2 Evaluation .........................................................................................................................................30
3.6.3 Planning ............................................................................................................................................30
3.6.4 Tactics used in the resources mobilisation .......................................................................................31
3.6.5 Control of the fire...............................................................................................................................31
3.6.6 Extinction...........................................................................................................................................32
3.7 Figures.........................................................................................................................................................33

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4 Inicident command system ...............................................................................................................................34


4.1 Operational requirements............................................................................................................................34
4.2 Components of the incident command system ...........................................................................................34
4.3 Elements of the incident command system. Organization ..........................................................................35
4.3.1 Command..........................................................................................................................................35
4.3.2 Operations.........................................................................................................................................35
4.3.3 Planning ............................................................................................................................................35
4.3.4 Logistics ............................................................................................................................................36
4.3.5 Finance/Administration......................................................................................................................36
5 Bibliography......................................................................................................................................................38
5.1 References ..................................................................................................................................................38
5.2 Internet links ................................................................................................................................................39

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SUMMARY
Wildland fire suppression is a complex and difficult task, involving serious risks and requiring both physical and
mental skills, professional attitude and an organized approach.
The officers at every level of the fire fighting organisation have to work under constant pressure because fire is
a complex, dynamic phenomenon and its evolution often involves unexpected behaviour.
In this environment, the key to being successful in fire suppression is planning.
Planning in fire suppression refers, at least, to two different levels:
First is the general planning at organization level, as the organization is striving to get ready for the next fire
season and beyond.
This necessarily refers to pre-suppression planning, which serves as the link between prevention (since it takes
place before the eruption of fires, and fire suppression.
Second, fire suppression planning refers to planning for a particular situation, either as the organization strives
to face the eruption of a particular fire or multiple fires in various stages, or as specific forces work on the
suppression of an individual fire.
Obviously, the requirements are quite different between these levels, but the basic knowledge in regard to the
fire and its behaviour, is common and absolutely necessary.
Of equal importance is the knowledge of firefighting methods and techniques, as well as the capabilities and
limitations of the various types of resources.
However, although this knowledge is a prerequisite at every level of fire suppression, the detail and required
depth of understanding may be quite different.
The same holds true for the ways in which this knowledge is integrated in planning.
In this document, the basic knowledge is addressed first, so that the reader is informed or reminded about the
principles on which the planning is built.
In this first part, there is a concise presentation of the most important fire behaviour considerations incorporated
in fire planning.
Also, there is a quick reference to the human and material resources that may be involved in fire suppression.
In a second part, the concepts and methods of suppression planning are discussed further, and the reader is
exposed to some current ideas and approaches, often from non-European countries, that may allow him/her to
identify opportunities for improvements of the planning methods used in his/her organization.

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1 FIRE BEHAVIOUR: BASIC CONCEPTS FOR SUPPRESSION ACTIVITIES ANALYSIS

- Low part: it includes the bottom of the valley. In this


Fire behaviour is determined by the topography of a
zone the temperatures are high and generally it is
particular area, the types of fuel and weather
more combustible. The fire can reach a great
conditions.
intensity and usually can reach the opposite
hillside.
1.1 TOPOGRAPHY - Middle part: This zone has less quantity of fuels. It is
The topography is the most constant of the three a very dangerous zone when a thermal inversion
factors that determine the fire behaviour. occurs.
It take part notably in the modifications of the other - High part: Fire spread is slower because of the less
two factors. availability of the fuel, but it is sometimes the most
troubled zone because it is there where changes of
Topography and weather wind, erratic winds and whirlwinds can be
The topography has a great influence in the general produced.
winds, modifying its speed, direction and behaviour. - Aspect: The fire behaviour can be very different in
It is the cause of the formation of local phenomenon the hillsides of sunlight zones than in the shady
that concern notably the fires. zones due to the differences of intensity of local
winds, temperatures and relative moisture, and due
Topography and fuels to the quantity of fuel.
The topographic factors such as altitude, aspect, - Relief: The configuration of the area has a great
slope and configuration of the area are directly related influence in the behaviour of the fire:
to the class, quantity and moisture of the fuels. - The relief of a mountain influences the
- Elevation: the elevation is a decisive factor in the behaviour of the wind; rounded summits
development of the vegetation. In relation to the change the flow of the wind, being able to
topic of the forest fires, it can be generalized that develop waves of mountain. Nevertheless if
the quantity of fuel diminishes when the altitude the summits are abrupt it is easy that
increases. turbulences with numerous whirlpools can be
- Aspect: It have a great influence in the development originated.
of the vegetation. Generally the orientations of - The speed of spread is multiplied by canyons
sunlight are drier and have less quantity of fuels and chimneys due to the ascending and
than the shady areas. intense winds.
- Slope: it has a great influence on the vertical - When the wind follows the sense of a canyon
continuity of the fuels. whirlpools can be waited in the curves.
- In narrow valleys the hillsides can have in
Topography and fire behaviour case of fire a quick warming, being able to
The different topographic factors together with the give place to very dangerous situations.
weather and the fuels influence in the fire behaviour in - In fires at the bottom of valleys or depressions
the following form: with thermal investments, the fire can
- Elevation: In the hillsides with homogeneous tree originate explosive situations.
masses the fire behaviour can change notably - Slope: It is the main factor. With strong slope the
according to the zone due to the different degrees spread is accelerated, because:
of exhibition to the wind of the fuels of the shrub - The fuels are nearer the flames.
layer. - The warm-up of the fuel is quickest.
- The speed of the wind increases.
Exposed Fuels: - The column of convection is rapidly
- Fuels under the woodland without leaves (falling developed.
leaves).
- Fuels without wooded cover above. The slope has a great influence in the spread of the
- Fuels under the woodland but near to great clear fire.
areas or areas with logging slash. In plain areas and without wind the spread has a
- Fuel on the summit where the woodland does not circular form.
offer protection against the wind. In sloping areas and without moderate wind,
replacing the wind direction with that of the maxim
Partially exposed Fuels: slope.
- Fuels under dispersed woodland.
- Fuels under woodland in the middle of the hill with In areas with slope and with wind the fire is spread
wind blowing directly. in fan with edges parallel to the wind direction and to
the maxim slope (up).
Protected Fuels: The speed of spread of the fire is directly related to
- Fuels under lush woodland, in areas with low slope the slope.
o near the bottom of the mountain with high slope.
- From the point of view of the fire behaviour of the
fire, the hillsides of valley are divided in three parts:

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1.2 FUEL Availability of the fuel


Fuel can be defined as every matter of vegetable When the forest fire happens not the whole
origin that can burn. vegetable material that exists burns and is consumed.
Evidently the vegetable matter is always Rarely the thickest fuels are totally carbonized, in
combustible, nevertheless its inflamability changes with the majority of the occasions simply they are scorched.
its content of moisture. This indicates that not the whole fuel that existed in
the fire is in conditions to burn.
From the point of view of the forest fires we
establish the first classification of the fuels: For it we distinguish among:
- Dead fuels: Fallen branches, dry leaves, dry - Total fuel: all vegetable matter that is located in the
pasture, etc... place of the fire. It can be alive or dead.
- Alive fuels: Grasses, bushes, plantations. - Available fuel: fuel that is in condition to burn and of
be consuming in the fire.
The characteristics of the fuels depends on:
- Remaining fuel: that fraction of the fuel that is not
a. Aspect: the fuels that are located in shady areas will
available to burn, and it stays after the fire.
have a greater level of moisture.
Probably it has not be burned due to the high fuel
b. Elevation over the level of the sea: elevation is a
moisture (for being alive or wetted), for being too
decisive factor of the development of the
big (trunks, stumps, etc) or for being out of the
vegetation. Generalizing we can indicate that the
scope of the flames. For the fire-fighters the most
quantity of fuel diminishes when elevation
important fuel is the available fuel, because it is the
increases.
one that is hot and helps to increase the calorific
c. Latitude: it determines fundamentally the climate
intensity. Major quantity of available fuel exist,
and therefore the type of vegetation that develops
there will be obtained a combustion of major
in the area.
duration and linear intensity of the fire.
d. Climate: it regulates the species and the
environmental conditions such as the water regime The availability the fuel changes according to:
and the temperature, therefore it regulates the - The hour.
quantity of vegetable matter that can exist. - The epoch of the year.
e. Soil: The edaphic characteristics that identify it. - The location.
f. Age of the vegetation (density and specie): they - The atmospheric time.
determine a great extent the characteristics of the - The vegetation.
fuel. - The intensity of the fire.
g. Activity and previous management: the utilization
The main characteristics of the fuel are:.
that should have been effected on the mass will
- Fuel loading.
determine the quantity of existing fuel.
- Size and shape.
In the fight against fires not only it is important to - Compacting.
distinguish if the fuels are alive or dead and which are - Horizontal continuity.
its characteristics depending on the previous factors, - Vertical continuity.
but it is necessary to know the spatial disposition of - Density of the wood.
these fuels; this is, to identify them for its location and - Chemical substances.
the effect that this could have in the beginning and later - Fuel moisture.
development of the fire. - Time lag.
a. Undergrounds: Roots and other materials that can
1.2.1 Fuel loading
be found in the mineral soil.
b. Superficial: Composed by leaves, needles, It is measured up for the load or weight of dry fuel
branches, shrubs or young trees, trunks, etc. All by surface unit (kg/m2, Tn/Ha).
those fuels that can be found below 1,5 m of height Grater quantity of fuel exist greater intensity the fire
on the soil. will burn.
c. Air: Branches, foliage, moss, etc, that is over 1,5 m Approximately, when the fuel diminishes to the half,
of height on the soil. the intensity diminishes to the fourth part.
The quantity of fuel changes of one type of
Also it is important to establish the continuity
vegetation to other one.
(horizontal and vertical) that exists among the diverse
- Desert: 0-3 Tn/Ha.
strata.
- Pasture and shrubs: 2-12 Tn/Ha.
The horizontal continuity will facilitate the spread of
- Bushes: 20-100 Tn/Ha (in moderated latitudes the
the fire in a certain strata.
usual thing is 5-30 Tn/Ha, with a maximum of 60
The vertical continuity produces the spread of the
Tn/Ha).
fire to the different strata.
- Slash: From 70 Tn/Ha up to 250 Tn/Ha.
An underground fire can turn into an air fire,
originating a crowning (sporadic ignition of the crown of
some tree) or even in a crown fire if the wind and the
topography are favourable to this phenomenon.

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1.2.2 Size and shape - The speed of spread. On having had more air the
fire has more oxygen to propagate with more
The size of the fuel gives us the relation between
rapidity.
the superficial area of the particle and its volume.
For example a bucket of wood of one cubic meter, 1.2.4 Continuity
each one has six faces of a square meter, then the
Horizontal continuity
superficial area adds six square meters, therefore the
relation of the superficial area to the volume is equal to It is the distribution of the fuels in the horizontal
6 m2/m3. plane.
If we divide the bucket the total volume does not It is a principal factor in the spread of a fire, because
change, but if it increases the superficial area. it is going to define where the flames will propagate and
The relation area surface/volume will be bigger now. it will influence the speed that reaches the fire.
Some interesting examples of the relation superficial There is a great variety of conditions of continuity
area/volume are: nevertheless it will be enough to recognize two classes:
- Little branch of 13 mm of diameter: 308 m2/m3. - Uniform: there is no interruption in the fuel the
- Pine needles: 5600 m2/m3. flames will propagate without barriers.
- Pasture: 6000 m2/m3. - Not uniform: the fuel is in dispersed form. It is
surrounded with a clear area or with inflammable
The water and the heat pass through the superficial
vegetation.
area. It is known that the thin fuel has a high relation
area/volume, as it they will have a major surface across Vertical continuity
which:
- They absorb or expulse waters down, this way they Distribution of the fuels in the vertical plane.
It influences the probability of which a vertical fire
change rapidly the fuel moisture.
- They absorb heat from the ardent adjacent fuels. Of transforms in a crown fire.
this form they will reach more rapidly its If the fuels are in staggered form, a great vertical
continuity exists if the forest is pruned well and without
temperature of ignition.
remaining, there is no vertical continuity.
The thin fuels, not only they ignite easier, but also
they burn rapidly and are burned completely. 1.2.5 Density of the wood
The most important thing is the calorific capacity,
Categories of the fuel for its size:
- Thin or light: (<5mm of diameter), verbiage, graze, that is to say, the capacity of the wood to absorb heat
cap of decomposition, needles of pine, pasture. without changing its temperature.
The dense wood, for example from the oak, can
- Regular: (5-25 mm), small branches, small stems,
(shrubs). absorb more heat that a lighter wood like that of the
- Medium: (25-75 mm), branches. pine, before igniting.
- Thick or heavy: (> 75 mm), shafts, trunks, thick The fuels with few density, since they are the trunks
branches. and rotten stumps, have a very low calorific capacity.
Therefore they do not accept a lot of heat without it
This classification makes sense, since the particles
of a given category cause similar effects in the raises the temperatures up to the point of ignition.
behaviour of the fire. These are ignited by many facility and turn out to be
dangerous where there exists the possibility that they
To evaluate the influence that exercises the size of
the fuel in the behaviour of the fire, it is indispensable fall fly ashes and generate secondary areas.
to know the quantity of existing fuel in every category of 1.2.6 Chemical substances
size.
The form of the fuel determines to a great extent the Some fuels contain certain volatile materials
facility of this to cause secondary areas. together with the cellulose.
These chemical substances such as oil, wax and
1.2.3 Compacting resin do that the fuel that contains them, is available
It is the spacing between the particles of the fuel. under conditions that do not allow to burn to other fuels
That is to say, inside a quantity of fuel, it determines that lack them.
The chemical substances can concern the linear
that percentage they are particles of fuel and that
percentage is an air that one finds between these intensity of the fire, the difficulty to realize the
particles. liquidation, the speed of spread, etc.
While higher it is the chemical content, more high
A more compact fuel, it would have a minor quantity
of air between its particles. places will be the mentioned factors of the behaviour of
A less compact fuel, it would have a major quantity the fire, that is to say, linear intensity and speed of
of air or of space between the particles that compose it. spread.
Therefore, the compacting concerns to:
- The rate of drying. While there is more space or air,
the fuels dry off more rapidly and vice versa.

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1.2.7 Fuel moisture During the season of fires it can go down up to 80


%. When it lowers to 60 % the vegetation it is arranged
Content of fuel moisture
to a conflagration of major proportions.
Probably, it is the most important factor at the
The content of moisture in the dead fuels always
moment of evaluating fuel.
fluctuates, day after day, hour after hour.
It influences the probability of a fire begins and in
It is necessary the balance between the fuels and its
the behaviour that will adopt as soon as it has begun.
environment.
Before the fuel start to fire is necessary to evaporate The moisture of balance is the condition between
the excess of moisture that it contains. the fuels and its environment.
Therefore the fuel moisture determines the heat The balance moisture is the condition where a fuel
quantity needed to ignite the vegetable matter, as well neither wins does not even lose dampness with its
as the heat that the ardent fuel can move to close environment or for every molecule of earned water the
needles. fuel, it will lose one.
If a particle was exposed to a constant condition of
It is the water quantity in the fuel expressed as temperature and relative moisture in an indefinite, at
percentage of the dry weight of the fuel.
the time term it would reach a balance with the same
environment.
Wet weight - Dry weight x 100 = Fuel Moisture(%)
The thin fuels earn and lose moisture very rapidly.
Dry weight
In contrast the thick fuels are slower in this aspect.
This explains the reason that a serious fire in
It can change almost from 10 even more than 300 pasture a few hours after having rained can be
%. produced.
Also it is the motive for which the trunks burn with
The alive fuels, as well as the shrubs, trees and many intensity in the night, while the pasture is too
green pastures, have a very high fuel moisture, so that much wetted by the dew.
they can act like retardants of the fire.
Because of it the relation between alive and dead Some of the factors that can cause changes in the
fuel is very important in certain combinations of fuel. content of fuel moisture are:
1) Condition (alive or dead) of the fuel.
1.2.8 Time lag 2) Season of the year.
It is a measure of the rapidity with a particle reaches 3) Temperature of the air.
the content of moisture of balance. 4) Relative moisture.
It is defined as the time needed to loose 5) Days without rain.
approximately 63 % of moisture, or 2/3 of the content of 6) If the place is sunny or shaded (due to the effect in
current or initial moisture and the content of moisture of the temperature and in the relative moisture).
balance. 7) Wind.
This time depends principally on the size or 8) Proximity of ardent fuels.
thickness, it is to say, of the relation superficial 9) Aspect and slope (received radiation).
area/volume) of the particle. 1.2.9 Fuel models
To summarize, the light fuels manage to be more
rapidly in balance with its environment that the thickest Combustibility
ones. In order a forest fire exists is not enough that the fire
The content of fuel moisture changes very much begins, a spread must exist.
anytime, and from one location to another. This spread will be very different depending on the
In general, the fuel moisture diminishes along the type of vegetation that is burning.
season of fires, in relation to the number of days The study of the spread of the fire depending on the
without rains. fuel that burns is called as combustibility.
The dead fuels dry off due to the days of high The combustibility can be analyzed by means of
temperatures and few rains. structural visually identifiable models where it is
It has been determined, that when the fuel moisture possible to predict the behaviour of the fire.
goes down to orders between15 and 25 % the fuel is in The method developed by ROTHERMER considers
availability of burning. thirteen models distributed in four groups: pasture,
The alive fuels also dry off. bushes, verbiage under woodland and remains of
While the dry season starts , the soil also is drying felling and silvicultural operations.
off for lack of rains. Every model represents a structural type of
The water of the leaves of trees and shrubs is vegetation independently of the species.
evaporated, and is not replaced since the land does not
have with that to give them. In epoch of flowering the
shrubs have a content of moisture superior to 300 %.

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Factors that influence in the spread 1.3 WEATHER


In the development of the fire influences besides the Meteorology is important in forest-fires because:
structure of the vegetation, the wind and the relief of - The weather forecast is a risk factor and determines
the area. the state of the forest fuels.
Nevertheless the disposition of the plants on the soil - Current weather has a chain effect and determines
stops in major or in minor degree to the wind and the probability of ignition (lightning, combustion).
favours or disturbs the movement of warm air - Future weather, once a forest fire has broken out,
originated by the fire. determines the development and propagation of
the fire.
The fire is supported by the fuels that they are on
the soil. When a forest fire breaks out a double action with a
Therefore the speed of the wind that it has to be reversible effect is presented:
considered to be on having predicted the advance of
METEOROLOGY ↔ FIRE
the fire is the correspondent to low height (<2m).
On grasses, for example, the wind is not stopped by
any obstacle, so that it will advance with the maximum With the following repercussions:
- Due to the dryness of the brush and grass (because
speed, having the relief in mind.
of a high evaporation) and arid environmental
Nonetheless the rubbing on the grass will do that conditions (up to 50 consecutive days without rain
the wind does not overcome 60 % of the speed that in summer), the vegetation covering is stressed
goes in height (over 10 m.). and is vulnerable to conditions which create a high
On the contrary inside the closed woodland, the risk of fire. In these cases, adverse meteorological
wind falls down up to 10 % of its speed in height. variables, like: dry weather, sun at high
temperatures, low moisture, land breezes, etc; or
To medium slope, though the forest is closed, the
either favourable conditions, like increased cloud
wind penetrates easier than at the bottom of the slope,
cover or a chance of rain, acquire great
by what the fuels of the soil must be considered to be
importance.
only partially covered.
- When a fire breaks out, it also disturbs local
On the other hand in the summit, the woodland is
meteorological conditions: vertical currents,
scarcely an obstacle and the fuels can be considered to
increased temperature.
be exposed.
- After the fire, when the vegetation covering has
The wind favours in general the spread of the fire, disappeared, the ground conditions change: colour,
though it could stop it if it blows towards the burnt albedo, water-retention capacity, etc. Runoff and
areas. erosion greatly increase. Under these conditions it
The same thing that happens with the relief, the up is likely that the local climate changes.
slope favours the spread, and the downwards slope
Among the main elements of the climate that
muffles it.
influence on forest fires are:
Wind and relief exercise in general an action
combined (sum of vectors). 1.3.1 Temperature
Criteria for the identification of the fuel models Temperature is a measurement of the heat of a
body and is determined by its caloric energy, which is
The criteria to carry out the identification of the
manifested in the movement of its molecules.
models are the following ones:
- Potential fuel, in very general terms they are: Vertical distribution of temperature
a. Pasture.
Heating of the atmosphere is the result of the action
b. Bushes.
c. Forest. of solar radiation on the ground and on the
d. Slash or remains of felling. atmosphere.
Air temperature and its variation is closely related to
- Fuel that probably will spread the fire.
- Height and compacting of the fuel. three elements: latitude, altitude, and the differing
- To determine the fuels that are present and its thermal behaviours of land and sea.
influence in the behaviour of the fire, that is to say, Regarding solar radiation, temperature diminishes
the fuels are: with altitude vertically from a point up to the level of the
e. Green or dead fuel. tropopause (the troposphere-stratosphere separation)
f. Thick or thin. at a constant rate of 6.4ºC per kilometre on average.
g. Healthy or rotten.
h. Existence of little branches, have or not Observation of temperature through meteorological
leaves,... sounding allow for tracing the “curve state” in
thermodynamic diagrams, which are not always
rectilinear.
Sometimes a zigzag is seen which corresponds with
thermal inversions, in which temperature increases with
altitude, in an air strata.

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Geographic distribution of temperature The maximums are found during the months of July
and August, and the minimum’s during January and
The horizontal distribution of temperature on the
February.
terrestrial globe, as can be observed on isothermal
maps (lines that connect points of equal temperature), 1.3.2 Water vapour in the atmosphere
is principally determined by latitude and by
Water vapour is one of the atmospheric gases that
configuration and distribution of land and ocean.
presents more variations in space and time with regard
Latitude determines terrestrial insolation. to how much is present in the air.
The intertropical area receives higher insolation per Effectively, water vapour enters into the air from the
unit of land, as it perpendicularly comes into contact sea and humid areas on Earth through evaporation,
with solar rays. while it leaves the air through condensation and
posterior precipitation.
As we head away from the Equator and approach
the tropics, while average temperatures remain high, For the Earth as a whole, it seems to be evident that
both daytime and annual temperature ranges (the the amount of evaporated water should be equal to the
difference between the average temperature during the total amount of precipitation, on average about 100
hottest month and the coldest month) become more litres per square metre per year.
pronounced. This amount varies greatly from one area to
Temperature differences between day and night another.
begin to be noted. Generally, it can be observed that annual
This implies that the temperature pattern of these evaporation diminishes rapidly from the Equator going
areas is less regular than at the Equator. towards the Poles, as well as from the coasts towards
the interior.
On the middle latitudes, the solar rays come into
contact with the Earth’s surface with more obliqueness, The variation in the amount of water vapour
which determines gradually lower average contained in the air of the lower atmosphere is a
temperatures. function of the type of land, the time of year, the
ambient temperature, and other factors that affect entry
Higher temperature range and deficient solar
(evaporation) and exit (condensation and precipitation).
radiation reach their limit at the area of the Poles,
where three factors are united: In no case does atmospheric air appear as devoid of
- -the transparency of an atmosphere with a low water vapour.
content of water vapour, That is to say, it is never completely dry, at least in
- the reduced quantity of radiation received when the lower layers of the troposphere.
solar rays very obliquely come into contact with the However, the degree of moisture can be very
Earth’s surface (in winter there is zero insolation) variable, as it oscillates between very low values—
- and the high albedo at the Poles. when very dry air is spoken of—and very elevated
values, until what is known as saturation is reached,
Great irregularities are produced with latitudinal
which is to say, the maximum amount of water vapour
descent of temperature, due to:
that the air can contain at a given temperature without
- Distorsions brought about by the distribution of
condensation taking place.
continents and oceans. The thermo-regulating
effect of the oceans is due to: There are many ways of expressing Moisture.
- Greater specific heat of the water. - Absolute moisture: the amount of water vapour
- Heat is not distributed only by conductivity, but contained in one cubic metre of air, expressed in
also by convection. gr/m3.
- The transparency of the water permits a higher - Relative moisture: its value is obtained through a
penetrability of radiations. quotient between the amount of water vapour
- Evaporation contributes to a lowering of contained by a certain volume of air and the
temperature at the hottest times of day. maximum quantity that it could contain until
saturation is reached, in both cases at the same
Variations in the weather
temperature. It is expressed in an amount out of
The heating up of the ground during the day one hundred so that 100% relative moisture
experiences a two-hour delay with respect to the represents saturated air, and 0% totally dry air,
position of the sun. without water vapour.
In other words, temperature maximums are reached - Dew point: it represents the temperature at which a
on land two hours after the zenith. determined air mass containing a certain quantity
Due to the almost regular radiation, the minimum is of water vapour reaches saturation. The way a dew
found shortly before sunrise. point is reached is generally through isobaric
cooling at a constant pressure; from which its name
A similar effect is produced in seasonal variations.
is derived, since dew is produced when the air
Maximum and minimum temperatures come within a reaches 100% relative moisture during nocturnal
month and a month and a half after maximum and cooling, and the water vapour that the saturated air
minimum light.
mass does not retain condenses on grass and
other surfaces.

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1.3.3 Atmospheric pressure 1.3.4 Pressure and wind


Air, like any other body on the Earth’s surface, has As seen in the previous module, horizontal pressure
weight. differences exist on the Earth’s surface, which implies
The approximate weight of the air that makes up the the necessity of a compensatory movement that
atmosphere is 5,500 trillions of tons. displaces air from areas of high pressure, anticyclones,
The discovery of this fact points to a notion that is to those of low pressure, depressions or areas of low
very important from a meteorological standpoint: that of pressure. In this way, wind can be defined as the air
atmospheric pressure. that is displaced to compensate for differences in air
pressure.
Pressure is not constant at all points and presents
two types of variations. Wind, as it moves from areas of high to low
pressure, does not follow a rectilinear trajectory, as
In a vertical direction, pressure diminishes as
would be the norm, at least in theory.
altitude increases, quickly at the lower layers and more
Instead, it follows a spiral trajectory.
slowly at upper layers.
The rotation of the Earth on its axis introduces the
This is due to the fact that, as mentioned previously,
factor of inertia, known as Coriolis Acceleration, which
over half of all the air present in the atmosphere is
makes a straight-path trajectory impossible, and a
concentrated in the first five kilometres of the
deviation is produced that is significantly parallel to the
troposphere, hence there is a decreasing variation.
isobar lines, though they are slightly crossed due to
Pressure variations in a horizontal direction have friction with the ground in the lower layers of the
greater irregularity and importance, being directly atmosphere.
related to the distribution of solar radiation and different The wind therefore goes from high to low pressure,
areas of warming of the Earth’s surface. following eccentric elliptical trajectories in anticyclones
These horizontal variations in pressure allow for and concentric in depressions or areas of low pressure.
meteorological conditions and different types of climate In the upper layers of the troposphere, wind is
to be understood. parallel to the isobars, and because the reason for this
is unknown it is known as geostrophic wind.
If we consider 1013 mb to be normal pressure at The air is directed with increasing velocity towards
sea level –0 m. of altitude-, it can be observed that on
the centre of the depression, rotating counter-clockwise
Earth predominately there are areas with pressures in the Northern Hemispheres, and clockwise in the
higher than this (high) and others where normally the Southern Hemisphere.
pressure is lower (low).
In anticyclones, the direction of rotation is inverse to
The persistence of an area of high or low pressure that of depressions and the wind velocity is very low in
over the greater part of a year determines two very general.
representative types of climate: dry, when high
pressures predominate, and humid, when low 1.3.5 General circulation of the atmosphere
pressures predominate.
The mechanisms of redistribution that tend to
When pressure values are graphically represented equalize thermal and pressure differences on Earth
on a map and isobars are outlined, we obtain an image require wind circulation on a global scale, a
of the area of pressures in which a series of figures or phenomenon known as general atmospheric
individual isobars are repeated. circulation.
The most important are the anticyclones (A) or high, In order to understand atmospheric circulation on a
and the depressions (B) or low. global scale, what occurs close to the ground as well as
in the open atmosphere must be considered.
In the anticyclones, pressure increases towards the
centre. If the Earth were homogeneous and remained still,
They are usually larger in size than depressions, the more pronounced heating of the Equator would
and, can be of dynamic or thermic origin. cause air to rise, which would be replaced by the cold
The former result from air compression achieved air from the Poles.
through a movement of dynamic subsidence (descent) The circuit would be closed with a current at the
of the as in subtropical anticyclones. upper layers that would go from the Equator to the
The latter originate from a strong cooling of the Poles.
lower layers of the atmosphere in contact with a very In this way, we would have two convective cells, one
cold ground. for each hemisphere.
They are therefore cold anticyclones of lower levels.
Because the Earth is neither homogeneous nor
In summer, as the ground temperature is increased,
motionless, the rotation of the planet should give way to
they weaken and even disappear.
a deviation to the right of all the wind trajectories, which
Anticyclones that form in winter above continental
prevents the Polar air from reaching the Equator.
regions of the Northern Hemisphere are of this type.
In depressions or areas of low pressure, pressure
decreases towards the centre. They are the result of
dynamic increases (fronts) or thermic (air convection).

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In this way, on the ground, and on the Earth which is When these molecules cool down, they acquire
hypothetically homogeneous but which rotates on its higher density and due to the effect of gravity a descent
own axis, several rings of pressure are formed: one of is produced.
low Equatorial pressure, two of high subtropical Atmospheric conditions at night tend to stabilize,
pressure, two of low pressure connected to the polar due to the descent of cold air that is produced.
fronts and two of high Polar pressure.
Duration: from the initial hours of the night until 4-
The wind circulates on the ground between the high
5:00 a.m. when atmospheric conditions are more
and low pressures according to the schemes described
stable.
when dealing with pressure.
At high altitudes, a wind system appears from the Speed: 5-10 km/h.
east from the Poles to the tropical latitudes, in which
the jet stream is included, and a second system of 1.3.6.2 Valley winds
winds from the East above the Equatorial zone. These winds are produced between two facing
Both are separated by the upper part of the slopes that are connected at their base.
subtropical anticyclones. The basis for air movement is identical to slope
winds.
1.3.6 Local phenomenon
When a valley is compared to a plain, it can be seen
Local phenomenon are defined as convective winds, that the valley contains approximately half the volume
of small scale and of local origin, that arise due to of air of the plain, and its surface is between 20 and 30
temperature differences. % greater (depending on how it is closed off) and
therefore the effects are more noticeable than on an
They are caused by:
isolated slope.
- Convection due to daytime heating.
- Unequal heating and cooling on the ground. Ascending (daytime)
- Gravity, including descending winds due to the
effect of the topography. Duration: from 11-12:00 until sunset, or when both
slopes become shaded.
Local winds affect forest fires in a direct and
immediate way. Speed: 16-30 km/h. It reaches maximum values at
15:00.
Local winds are:
The ascending air layer is deeper than slope winds.
- Slope winds.
- Valley winds. The winds ascends the valley being feeding by all
- Thermal inversion. the deviations of the secondary valley.
- Breezes. Descending (nocturnal)
- Föhn winds.
- Storms. It begins at the first hours of the night and ends
- Mountain waves. before sunrise.
- Whirlwinds. Speed: 5-12 km/h.
1.3.6.1 Slope winds A narrow layer on the high part of the valley and line
Ascending slope winds (daytime) of peaks, progressively widening as you descend to the
bottom of the valley.
When the sun comes out, the ground of the slopes Airflow in valleys and can be seen to be very
turned towards it begins to heat up, and the layer of affected by existent vegetation in these areas, which
cold air in direct contact with it also heats up. markedly slows down its movement.
Air particles expand, making themselves less dense
than those that are at the same horizontal level, but If ascending or descending airflow is evident, they
more separated from the slope. should be kept in mind because of their effect on forest
A circulation of slope wind is created above and fires, since their intensity and direction of propagation
parallel to the surface of the slope. can change, although the fire always tends to go
upwards.
Duration: from 11-12:00 until sunset, or the slope
remains in the shade. Frequently, cold air accumulates in the lower parts
of the valley, causing an inversion.
Speed: 6 – 12 km/h.
1.3.6.3 Thermal inversion
The ascending layer is narrower on the lower part,
widening at the crest (here turbulence can be We know that as we increase altitude, temperature
produced). decreases 0.65ºC/100m.
It is possible that at a determined altitude, the
Descending slope winds (nocturnal) temperature instead of diminishing begins to increase;
When the sun stops radiating its energy on the this indicates to us that that we are in a layer of
slope or when night falls, the ground on the slope cools inversion.
down, causing a cooling of surrounding air molecules.

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In a closed and sheltered valley, the cold air that It is initiated at mid-morning, 12:00 and ends during
descends down the slopes acts as a wedge under the the last hours of the afternoon, with a speed of 5-10
layers of air that are more separated from the slopes km/h.
and that therefore have more difficulty cooling down. Its thickness can be between 400 – 1,000 m. It can
As the night advances, more cold air accumulates at penetrate the earth up to 50 km in very flat coastal
the bottom of the valley, making the upper layers slowly areas.
move upwards until it stabilises.
Nocturnal effect (land breeze)
The hot band is known as a thermal belt and is
usually situated at two thirds from the bottom of the As the sun sets, the land begins to cool off much
valley. more quickly than the sea, which produces above the
latter a centre of low relative pressures and therefore a
In inversions of 75 m. of thickness, temperature
movement of air from the land towards the sea.
differences of 13ºC have been measured from the belt
(hotter) to the bottom of the valley (colder). It begins two or three hours after sunset and
- Under the thermal belt there is a mass of cold air, brusquely ends after sunrise.
which is very humid and almost saturated.
A soft wind is produced that is much less thick than
- In the thermal belt, temperatures are clearly higher
and have a relative moisture lower than the colder the previous (500 m) and is centred 10 km at sea and
surrounding layers. becomes weaker with distance.
- Above the thermal belt the air is more unstable, with 1.3.6.5 Föhn effect
normal moisture progressively descending with
altitude, similar to those existing during the day. We are to suppose that two strong fronts of high and
low pressure exist that are separated by a mountain
When daytime advances, the slope and the bottom range.
of the valley heat up, the ascending winds push until If we find ourselves in an area of stable balance, the
the inversion layer is broken, and descending in the mass of humid air from the high pressures will be
central part, by convection until the bottom of the displaced towards the area of low pressures.
valley. For this to happen, the obstacle that the mountain
- Fires above the thermal belt burn equally during the range is assumed to be must be overcome.
day, as a function of the moisture and air The mass of stable and humid air will begin to
temperature. ascend.
- Fires in the thermal belt burn more violently; higher As its height increases, its temperature will
temperature and lower relative moisture. decrease, and therefore the water vapour it contains
- Fires below the belt behave in a slow manner, and condenses and is discharged in the form of
with low intensity. Great accumulation of gases in precipitation.
the lower layers exists, a slow drying of the
brushes, deficiency in oxygen supply. Temperature Once the obstacle is overcome, the air mass will
in this area is usually low and moisture is usually begin to descend, suffering an adiabatic compression.
high. Gravity, the aerodynamic effect, and the flow of high
pressure to low pressure will produce an accelerated
When the inversion layer is broken, the effect descent of very hot and dry air (subsidence).
produced is similar to that of when a pressure-cooker is
opened. Föhn winds of 145 km/h have been measured and
relative moistures of 4%.
The inversions can also not be in valleys. On cold land with snow, cold Föhn winds can be
This is produced when a hot front is elevated as it produced as in the Bora case.
rides on top of a cold front.
Sea inversions at coastal areas are also caused. Föhn winds have great important in forest fires
because they are generally associated with heat
1.3.6.4 Breezes waves, which produces conditions of highest danger.
Different heating speed and equal radiation received A Föhn blowing during a fire may make it
between land and sea bring about high and low uncontrollable.
Föhn winds are known in all regions of the world,
pressures which cause breezes.
with characteristic names assigned to them.
Daytime effect (sea breeze)
For example in Spain the most important Föhn
During the day, the air on land heats up more winds are:
rapidly than the air over sea, living rise to low pressure. - Levante: from the Strait of Gibraltar, that blows
The air mass located over the sea heats up more towards the Mediterranean sea, very hot and dry in
slowly due to the difference in specific heat between summer.
the land and sea, which causes a high relative - Poniente: blows in the region of Valencia.
pressure. - Terral: blows in the north of Málaga.
- Tramontana: blows in the north of Catalonia and
Therefore, low altitude wind is generated that blows
Baleares. It comes from the Ródano valley and
from the sea to the land.
loses all its moisture when crossing the Alps and
the Pyrenees.

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- Cierzo: blows from the NW in the valley of Ebro. A Diameter can vary between 3 and 30 m, and heights
cold and dry wind. The persistence of these gusts can be reached of 2 to 1,300 m in extreme cases.
of wind bends plantations of trees according to its Tangential velocity is usually 30 km/h, up to 80
direction. km/h.
The ascending speed can cause a reactivation of
1.3.6.6 Storms
the fire.
Storms of a convective type that are produced in hot
The same fire, giving off a great amount of heat, can
weather play an important role in the development of
be a triggering cause as the air rises in an unstable
forest fires.
atmosphere.
- If lightning is produced, these may be the causative
If this phenomenon is produced in an area of
agent of the storm. If the storm is dry (there is no
flames, a swirl of fire can be aroused, of great violence
precipitation) and the lightning is intensified by wind
and with extremely high temperatures at points in its
currents produced by the storm, a storm of great
interior due to the intense supply of oxygen and
magnitude may break out.
combustible gases.
- If, during the course of the fire, vertically-developing
It may be so intense that it pulls burning branches
clouds appear, they are happily (erroneously)
upwards, throwing large sparks on top of the flame
received by the fire-fighters, with the hope that the
front, which cause significant and dangerous secondary
rain reduces or completely puts out the fire. In the
hotspots.
majority of cases, these clouds do not extinguish,
but instead do just the opposite—they intensify the Whirlwinds can also have a horizontal axis when a
fire by discharging vertical currents over the centre flow of wind vertically comes into contact with a linear
of low pressure that characterizes a large-scale elevation of land (mountains, trees, etc.) on the leeward
fire. side a rotation of the layers of air is produced, which
remain between the obstacle and the flow, similar to a
These storms of a convective type are caused by
huge horizontal roller.
very dangerous clouds known as cumulonimbus
clouds. As the incident angle separates from the
perpendicular, reaching over 30º, the axis of the roller
1.3.6.7 Mountain waves
can begin to rise, becoming vertical.
When a mass of stable air is rapidly displaced, and
1.3.7 Fronts and air masses
comes into contact more or less perpendicularly with
the edge of a mountain range, without losing its The air of the troposphere, especially of its lower
stability, a front of waves on the leeward side may layers, is not homogeneous.
originate, and which continues moving along with the In other words, it has different characteristics with
air mass. regards to temperature, moisture, and degree of
stability as a consequence of the distribution of solar
If the wave crests touch the ground, a hot, dry wind
radiation and pressure on the ground.
may be produced by subsidence, with characteristics
These factors make large air masses have
that are similar to the Föhn but much more
individually distinct characteristics, so that they do not
pronounced.
mix together and are separated by a continuous
Even if the ground is not touched, the first wave surface.
adjacent to the mountain may produce turbulence on When this surface undulates due to the pressure
the horizontal axis, blowing on its lower part in a one exerts on another, a front is formed.
direction opposite to the upper flow. If mountain chains Generally, the characteristics of an air mass are
exist, there may be an increased effect due to a determined by its place of origin.
phenomenon of resonance. Therefore, two different types can be distinguished:
Polar air masses and tropical air masses.
The formation of very noticeable clouds called
The former are always cold and the latter warm. If
lenticular clouds is an indicator of the presence of the they form over continents, they will also be dry; and if
waves. they form over the ocean, they will be humid.
1.3.6.8 Whirlwinds This fact does not influence its degree of stability,
because in order for an air mass to acquire the
In summer, whirlwinds of air can be seen rising characteristics corresponding to a region, they must
unexpectedly above dry, reheated surfaces. remain over it for a long enough time, which would
These whirlwinds pull dust, leaves, etc. upward. require a situation of stable weather.
These whirlwinds arise when an unstable Once formed, air masses do not remain at their
atmosphere exists in a much hotter area, which place of origin, but instead tend to be displaced, thus
generates a brusque ascending current. Its axis is producing a modification of their characteristics.
practically vertical. Therefore, a mass of cold and dry air, formed in a
They are more or less stationary and last only continental winter anticyclone, becomes warmer, more
briefly. humid and more instable as it crosses the ocean.
They can have any direction of rotation.

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This is the case for Polar air coming from the


anticyclone of Canada, which after crossing the ocean
produces rain on the occidental coast of Europe.
As a result of their origin and posterior
modifications, the two large tropical and polar air
masses can be subdivided into maritime tropical,
continental tropical, maritime polar, and continental
polar.
If even more thermal characteristics for polar air are
required, one must distinguish between the air masses
formed above the Glacial Arctic Ocean and Antarctic
(Arctic and Antarctic air) and polar air formed at lower
latitudes.
The collision of two air masses with different origins
and characteristics creates a front.
The surface of contact of the front always features
large waves, each of which corresponds with a
depression.
Therefore, the depressions associated with the
Polar front generally appear in groups of between for
and six, forming families.
In the area of the front where these waves are
produced, ascensions of air are created which produce
precipitation.
Disturbances of the Polar front – the most important,
as they separate the tropical air mass from polar air
masses – as they evolve, they move over great
distances.
The principles governing this displacement are still
not well understood; but without a doubt, they are
closely related to overall circulation, and, more
concretely, with the jet stream.
Specifically, because they are related to overall
circulation, air masses and fronts experience a
seasonal fluctuation towards the hemisphere where it is
summer.

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1.4 TABLES
Table 1-1: Classification of the fuel for size and time of delay. (Time-lag)

FUEL CLASSIFICATION

SIZE (mm) TIME-LAG

<5 1 hour

5 - 25 10 hours

25 – 75 100 hours

> 75 1.000 hours

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2 HUMAN AND MATERIAL RESOURCES

- Hoe: The hoe is one of the most versatile tools


2.1 MATERIALS RESOURCES included in forest-fire fighting. It is composed of:
- Sheet of steel, sharpened at its end.
2.1.1 Tools - Wood handle of adjustable length.
2.1.1.1 Manual tools This tool can be used in direct and indirect assaults.
The principal manual tools destined for the fight - Pick: Tool formed by a somewhat curved iron or
against the forest fires are the following ones: steel bar, sharp on one end and with an eye in
- Axes - hoes. (Pulaski): Tool consisting of a plate other for inserting a wood handle. Used in the
reinforced with two steel edges projecting in extinction of forest fires in indirect assault.
perpendicular planes, and a central hole where a 2.1.1.2 Light machinery
wood handle is inserted. One sheet has the form of
a hoe and another the form of an axe. It is used Light machinery used in forest fires includes the
equally in direct and indirect attacks: following:
- Direct attack: the contribution of excavated - Chainsaw: Light machine made of an explosion
loose that is thrown on the flames or embers. engine, with precise devices of carburetion, ignition,
- Indirect assault: opening and amplification of refrigeration, fuel supply, precise cutting and
lines of defense by cutting and unclotting the greasing apparatus, all of which are incorporated
fuel. together and distributed in such a way that its
balanced and ergonomic design facilitates its use
Elimination of the fuel for excavating and scraping and a maximum world yielded with only one man.
up to mineral soil, prescribed burning, backburnings,
It is provided with a single-cylinder two-cycle
control of secondary areas, fire mop up and explosion engine that is air-refrigerated. It is
construction of water points. provided with a membrane carburettor with an
- Rakes - hoes (McLeod): This tool is composed of
incorporated bomb for its functioning in "any
the following elements: position". It has a generating system for feeding the
- Flat and rectangular sheet of steel, in which ignition, protected from moisture. Refrigeration is
one side has a simple edge, whereas on the
carried out by forced movement of air by means of
opposite edge there are six teeth on the interior a turbine.
part. The clutch device is automatic and of a
- Steel ring in the form of a plate, which is joined
centrifugal type of long duration, and is
to the plate by means of four clinches placed in appropriately protected from the entry of fats, oils
the center of the sheet. and mixtures of spilled fuel. It incorporates a hand
- Steel tip welded to the plate, on which the protector, automatic chain brakes, anti-rebound
handle is mounted. devices preventing chain breakage, vibration
- Wood handle.
absorption, low noise level, and light-weight unit.
It is used in extinction in indirect assault. It is a very important element for the fire crews,
Amplification and consolidation of lines of defence whose mission is to cut branches and thick bushes
by cutting and raking light and scraped fuels, removal as well as the knock down trees in order to help to
up to the mineral soil; prescribed burning, create firebreaks.
backburnings, secondary areas and mop up tasks. - Brushcutter: is a device used for the elimination or
- Axe: Tool consisting of a plate of steel on its anterior reduction of fuel. It is formed by a two-cycle engine,
edge and hole on the posterior edge to be inserted whose movement passes to the cutting organ by
perpendicularly into a wood handle. It is used in means of a centrifugal clutch, a transmission axis
indirect assault, destined for cutting and unclotting and a conical couple. Its handling is directed by a
of the fuel. few adjustable grips fixed to the tool-saddle tube
- Shovel: Tool consisting of steel plate, formed in a covering the transmission axis.
concave way with edges on the lateral borders, and
It is used in the elimination or reduction of fuel by
a tubular hollow formation ending its top central part knocking down of small trees and clearing ground
which allows receipt of the corresponding wood shrubbery and bushes.
handle. In forest fires it is used both in direct and
It is operated by a single workman, who carries it in
indirect assault. a shoulder bag, which is held to the shoulders and back
- Direct assault: Throwing land on flames or with a harness.
embers for their extinction by suffocation.
- Indirect assault: Opening and amplification of 2.1.1.3 Fire tools
lines of defense by means of elimination up to - The main tool is:
mineral soil of the fuel that has been excavated, - Drip torch: Device destined for carrying out
scraped, and cut short; prescribed burning, controlled fires like widespread burning and
backburnings, secondary areas, liquidation of backburnings. It is mainly composed of:
fires, preparation of water points. - A deposit with a five-liter capacity for liquid fuel (1/3
of petrol and 2/3 of diesel oil).

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- Closing ring. - Stopper that hooks the fuse and encloses it


- Air valve. in the liquid.
- Lance, mouthpiece and burner.
Once the fuse is extracted, explosion fire-
2.1.1.4 Oxigen elimination and combustion retard extinguishers or “extinguisher bombs” are placed as
tools prudently near the edge of the fire as possible.
As soon as the fire arrives, lights the fuse and
It can be distinguished the following tools:
explodes the fire-extinguisher, a bubble is created that
Fire swatter: is lacking in oxygen from the effects of the explosion,
Manual tool used in fire extinction. irrigating the contour with water and retardant, cooling
It is indispensable in suffocation (consisting of the nearby fuel and dispersing the vegetation of the
displacement of existing air). environment.
It is used in incipient fires, on light fuels and in
2.1.2 Heavy machinery
secondary areas during direct assault.
This tool is formed by a metal or wood handle, and a This type of machines are used generally in indirect
completion in a surface approximately rectangular in assault in order to create lines of defence.
form (spade).
Among these types of machinery it can be generally
The spade is formed by two or four sheets of rubber
distinguished three types: bulldozer (tractor with a
of 3-5mm thick, including a textile weft in its interior
movable front blade), tractor-plow (dual purpose device
which is vulcanized to fuse to the rubber.
to spray water and scrape line) and the trucks with
The fire swatter is beaten on the base of the flames,
hydraulic plows (tanker-plow).
and is retained momentarily on the soil to suffocate
them. These machines can also be used for direct attack.
The blow must go towards the burned surface so
that the flying embers fall into it. 2.1.3 Retardants

Backpack pump: Retardants: Under the generic name of retardants it


is known that additives mixed with water notably
Deposits that have a capacity of between 15 and 20
litters and that can be flexible or rigid. improve the intrinsic properties of the water used in
They are transported on the back by means of a extinction.
This applies to both aerial and terrestrial resources.
harness.
A rubber or cliché is connected to the deposit and Two types of retardants can be distinguished:
ends in a manual pump, through which the liquid is - Long term retardants
- Short term retardants
driven.
It is finished with a scion and a mouthpiece. 2.1.3.1 Long term retardants
According to the type of drive the fire-extinguishers are
classified as: Long-term retardants: are composed of ammoniac
- Of a simple effect: They are driven upon salts of the sulphate, phosphate, or poli-phosphate
moving back. group.
- Of a double effect: They carry out the drive with The resultant watery dissolution used in extinction
forward and backward movement. maintains its effectiveness once the water has
- Of a constant effect: They constantly drive with evaporated, though logically, its fire-extinguishing
forward and backward movement without effects are less pronounced than when fuel maintains
intermittence. They are slightly imprecise in the moisture-content.
their launch. Apart from the main component, long-term
retardants, carry, or at least should carry, a series of
According to the type of mouthpiece, they are additives that permit viable application.
categorized as: These are:
- Thread-interchangeable mouthpiece. - Viscous agent: With the purpose of obtaining fuel
- With deflector and continual pulverization. adherence and discouraging dispersal of the
- Adjustable mouthpiece when turned. discharge.
- Colourings: Indispensable in application with air
It is used in direct assault in weak fronts, incipient
fires or in light fuels. It is also used in indirect assault to means to emphasize the surface wetted by the
refresh fuel. It can be used with retardants. discharge.
- Corrosion inhibitor: It avoids the corrosive effects of
- Explosion fire-extinguisher: Tools of approximately 5
kg in weight and composed of: ammoniac salts.
- Plastic container with cylindrical form. 2.1.3.2 Short term retardants
- Plastic cylinder that houses the explosive.
- Rapid fuse covered with plastic protective Short-term retardants: retardants whose effects last
case. until the water evaporates; principally used in foams
- Explosive of 15 to 40 grams of gunpowder. and viscous retardants.
- Fluid in the interior composed of 80 % water
and 20 % chemical retardant.
- Fastening cord that allows for transport.

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2.1.3.2.1 Foams - Water cisterns with a capacity between 500 and


1500 litres, generally made of aluminium or
The different foams commercialised for use in forest polyester and glass-fibre reinforced.
fires are of the “detergent” type, but are specifically
made to treat the forestry fuel. 2.1.4.2 Heavy fire trucks
The foam has a dual effect in fire-extinguishing: it The following are common parameters
isolates fuel from the air through the resistant and characterising these vehicles:
continuous cap of bubbles covering the treated - All road vehicle (4x4)
vegetation and adds the most moisture of this - Power ranges between 170 and 270 C.V.
vegetation, since the tensoactive water penetrates the - Cylinder capacity between 5400 and 6500 cubic
pores of stems and leaves better. in other words, the centimetres.
fuel stays wetter and is also obtained with a smaller - The cabin is simple for 2-3 people.
quantity of water. - Deposits or cisterns that the vehicles are provided
2.1.3.1.2 Viscous elements with for the purpose of water storage have a
capacity ranging between 3000 and 4000 litres.
Viscous retardant: are products that notably
increase viscosity when mixed with water. These units are conceived under the same
Initially, their use was motivated by two main parameters as those mentioned previously,
reasons: that discharge from planes would not suffer differentiating in the hydraulic systems, the major
dispersal, and that water with viscous products or mixed dimensions of chassis and the cabinets for housing and
with retardant adheres to vegetation to obtain an protection of the material.
impregnation of fuel and to prevent the mixture from In this way, the pumps have a major feature in
being lost upon fallen to land. capacity of aspiration and drive, including a system of
Clays, gums, mucilage and powder polymers are exterior self-defence through high-pressure water
used as viscous retardant. sprayers, in-cabin anti-flip bars, automatic lifts for
2.1.4 Fire trucks changing wheels, and reels for immediate automated
aid.
Two types exist. Conventional vehicles (trucks) with
a tank and pump assembly that can be removed from or 2.1.4.3 Suppliers fire trucks
added onto a vehicle. The following are the main characteristics of this
The second category consists of integral units which type:
have the pump built into the engine system of the - The vehicles do not have all-road frame.
vehicle and the water tank constructed as part of the - They have over 300 C.V. of power.
entire body. - Cylinder capacity is more than 9000 cubic
Water can be substituted with chemical retardant, centimetres.
wetting agents, or foam. - They have a simple cabin for 3 people.
These vehicles are provided with a cistern for storing - Storage capacity of its water tank or cistern is
water, and with a centrifugal pump driven by the approximately between 9000 and 11000 litres,
vehicle’s engine, which allows for both filling of the made of polyester reinforced with glass-fibre.
cistern and launching of water. These units were initially conceived, for the “in situ”
Regarding vehicles with water-transporting supply of light and heavy vehicles.
capabilities, fire trucks can be classified in the following Over the course of time, these units have shown
ways: great versatility, as they can carry out functions similar
- Light Vehicles: are provided with a deposit with to heavy vehicles, except in very rough areas and on
approximate water capacity between 300 and 600 narrow paths, where its manoeuvrability diminishes.
litters. 2.1.4.4 Hydraulic material
- Heavy Vehicles: whose deposits can store between
3,000 and 4,000 litters of water. Hydraulic material is destined for the uptake,
- Supplier Vehicles: with between 9,000 and 11,000 conduction and projection of water and retardant. The
litters of capacity, supply heavy vehicles during fire- principal and more used in euro-mediterranean
extinction. countries elements are the following ones:
- Hydraulic pump: Made of bronze, of centrifugal type,
2.1.4.1 Light fire trucks located in the back part of the fire truck, and driven
The main characteristics of this type of vehicle are: by its integral power taking. Connections are
- All road vehicle (4x4). adapted to allow the emptying of all the alveoli of
- Power ranges between 64 and 112 C.V. the bomb and circuits. It can work to low and to
- Cylinder capacity between 2495 and 3000 cubic high pressure. A equipment with automatic
centimetres. regulation of pressure of water exiting of the pump
- Cabin can be simple or double, with capacity for 3 or is included, which allows for selecting the pressure
5 people. demanded for any water flow.

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- Hard suction hoses: They are uptake pipes made of 2.1.5 Fire special vehicles
semi-rigid rubber material with a diameter between
Among this type of vehicles can be distinguished the
70/110 mm; are 2/3 metre-long non-collapsing
following ones:
sections with interior metallic reinforcement, with
- Incident command vehicles.
Storz-type joint nut.
- Medical aid units.
- Foot valves with filter: Made of corrosion-resistant
aluminium-alloy, with incorporated uptake joint nut, 2.1.6 Aerial resources
and with filter preventing the passage of particles
larger than 5 mm. Aerial resources are mainly used to locate fires, to
- Flexible hoses: Pipes of flexible material that allow deliver fire-fighters, and to drop supplies, retardant and
ignition devices. (Figure 2-1)
water uptake from the cistern or motor-pump to the
nozzle. Two types of aerial resources can be distinguished:
They are habitually constructed of material that - Fixed wing units: Aeroplanes.
is resistant to deformation by heat, abrasion, or - Rotary wing units: Helicopters.
chemical products, as it generally consists of four Aeroplanes are used for carrying heavy payloads
layers composed of nitrile rubber, textile over long distances, and for reconnaissance when
reinforcement, nitrile rubber and RLH rubber. Those circumstances require prolonged flight times.
that are widely used in extinction efforts have: The manoeuvrability and accuracy of helicopters are
- 25 mm. diameter in 20-meter sections. greatly appreciated in forest-fire fighting.
- 45 mm. diameter in 15-meter sections. They are limited to small payloads.
- 70 mm. diameter in 15-meter sections.
- Couplings: They are the metallic pieces making up When aerial resources are used for taking personnel
the connection system of the hoses between and water to the fire, the time it takes for an assault to
themselves and with the various equipment used in begin after a fire breaks out is minimized.
extinction. The material used for its construction is 2.1.6.1 Fixed wing
composed of anodised aluminium alloys. More
used dimensions of their diameters are 70, 45, 25 Planes can be distinguished as being of the
mm. following groups:
- Bifurcation’s, T derivations and reductions: They are - Transport planes with an adapted fixed deposit. (F-
the connection elements of the pump exits, with 27, DC-6, Firecat, Macavia and many other old
main function being in the ramification of flow in models are adapted for this use).
hose laying, which are made of aluminium, - Military transport planes with back inner door loading
corrosion-resistant alloy. In short, are fittings for where modular deposits are loaded by a pump or
interconnection of hoses. gravity loading system (C-130, G-222, CN-235,
- Nozzles: They are devices usually connected to a 25 Transall).
mm. or 45 mm. coupling, depending on the case of - Agricultural planes provided with a lockgate for rapid
the hose endings, which direct water in a jet or unloading (Thrush Commander, Grumman Agcat,
pulverised stream, with long-distance propulsion of Air Tractor, Dromader PZL).
the latter. They are made of copper or aluminium - Single-engine amphibian planes expressly designed
alloy, and have a valve for opening and closing. for in-flight loading and for releasing at low speeds
- Portable water tanks: They are circular containers, (CANSO PNY, Canadair CL-215).
with inflatable and self-sustaining mouth ring, made The preference for some groups over others
of highly-resistant synthetic fabrics and covered essentially depends on:
with rubber RLH. On their lower parts they are a Its previous availability.
provided with intake and exhaust openings, with b Its needs for infrastructure.
fast-connecting section valves of section. Its
capacity generally ranges between 1000 and 8000 The first group is very frequent in North America,
litres. where there is an abundance of planes restricted for
It serves a purpose of facilitating water general use, which are adapted for fire-fighting.
placement into reserves that are found at strategic They need airports with long landing strip and
points and are difficult to access. They are used assistance.
complements to the portable groups of pumps. The second group is more widespread due to the
- Portable motor-pump: An essential element with support given by the Armed Forces in the fight against
which all units of heavy vehicles are provided. They forest fires.
are generally made of a light aluminium alloy and Nevertheless, their extended use is limited by the
have a two-cycle double-acting engine. Their main high operation costs of these planes and their restricted
function is the self-supply of heavy vehicle units, as availability, being military devices.
well as possible use in other auxiliary functions in Some modular equipment like that of gravity for
extinction efforts. Transall are no longer manufactured due to low
demand.
These planes have big needs for infrastructure.

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The third group, agricultural planes, have extended 2.1.6.2 Rotatory wing
through countries like Spain, where a large fleet exists
They can have several applications:
for fumigation tasks.
Its great advantage is their low need for Observation and alertness:
infrastructure. The smallest devices have an advantage over the
They usually do not have maintenance problems planes in these missions, due to manoeuvrability, as
either. well as the possibility of landing in small clearings,
Additionally, they are very manoeuvrable. which also allows them to be used for prevention
Their main limitation is their loading capacity. purposes.
These devices, like the first two groups, must return Unloading:
to the base to load water and to return to the fire. The bamby buckets, allow for precise unloading.
(Figure 2)
They are therefore required to:
The ventral tanks with curtain-style unloading,
a. Establish a reduced area of performance, generally
recharged in flight with a pump placed in the helicopter,
a 30 km circle around the base.
increase the possible pace of unloading.
b. Use retardant of long effect (ammonic) or foam. The
The helicopters can unload in very steep zones, on
latest PZL devices come equipped with a foam
almost vertical inclines and in deep valleys.
blender, allowing its release as an alternative to the
Nevertheless, they cannot approach the most
ammonic retardant, according to the type of fuel.
intense areas of the fire and have higher meteorological
Another limitation is its vulnerability to extreme limitations than planes.
meteorological conditions. Regarding this function it is necessary to analyze
They also cannot approach the most intense areas both operability and cost, in comparison with planes. In
of the fire. general, with the same load the cost of the plane is
several times lower than that of the helicopter.
The fourth group, single-engine amphibian planes, is
Only the lack of infrastructures for planes can make
specifically designed for forest-fire fighting.
for a clear decision in favour of helicopters.
Its greatest advantages are the low land
Other than water, helicopters can be used to
infrastructure that they need and their ability to fill the
transport brigades to barely accessible zones.
cisterns in flight without losing time in landing.
In North America and Australia they are also used
Logically, its use is possible only if natural or artificial for lighting backfires with a device called a “helitorch".
lakes or coastal points with calm sea are abundant near
Transport of personnel.
the forest areas, where loading is possible.
For this function it is evident that the helicopter is
The limit for water capture is within a radius of 50 km
unrivalled.
from any point.
In areas of 30 to 40 km radius around the base
These planes have an advantage over the first helicopters allow to shorten the assault time to less than
group of being able to unload at low speed with fifteen minutes in all cases, placing equipped personnel
comparable capacity for load (more than 3000 l. for at the most suitable point.
PBY and more than 5000 l. for CL-215). Additionally, for this purpose, big devices are not
needed.
The main power of the amphibians allows them to
It is enough when five people with tools and crew
act in more adverse conditions than light planes or are able to be transported.
helicopters. The main disadvantages of helicopters are their high
In all devices it has been observed that the expertise
operation cost and their complex maintenance.
of the pilot decisively influences manoeuvrability and In this regard it must be kept in mind that the
precision in unloading. turbines must have protection against dust, as
operations develop anywhere in the forest and always
in dry weather.
2.1.6.3 More used planes and helicopters.
In the following the more used in forest fires
applications aircrafts are shown:

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2.2 HUMAN RESOURCES Extinction goggles:


Instrument used for protection of the eyes, are made
2.2.1 Fire brigades
up of a mount and a wide-field visor, with strap for
A basic unit is composed by an specialists' squad, fixation to the head that binds it in front of the eyes.
formed by 5 workers and a foreman. (Figure 2-3) This element allows protection of the eyes from
They are professional and have a helicopter for their emitted gases, smokes, embers and particles in
transport and rapid mobilisation in the works of suspension, originating from the forest fires.
extinction.
Extinction gloves:
2.2.2 Personal protective equipment’s Element integrated into the personal protective
equipment of obligatory use for integral members of the
The different elements that compose personal
reserve squad, who intervene in the extinction of forest
protective equipment are: fires.
Fireproof trousers: It is defined as an element designed for protection of
Clothes garment for personal protection made of the hands and elaborated in leather, designed with the
inflammable fabric, which is fitted to the body at the same shape as the hand, and allowing the inter-digital
waist and extends down to cover the leg up to the movement, with sufficient roominess that avoids
ankles, where has an ankle-fitted closing. scratches and bothersome pressures.
Generally the trousers will be of a straight type with Other:
two pockets in the front and two back in the back.
Other than the elements mentioned previously,
Fireproof shirt: personal protective equipment can also include:
Clothing garment of personal protection, made of - Canteen: Hermetic container that is highly
inflammable fabric, which covers the torso and the arms impact-resistant, of limited size with capacity
up to the wrists, with a neck closed with a row of of no more than two litres. Its purpose is the
buttons. transport and storage of drinkable liquids for
It has a ‘haberdasher’ neck and on the chest are two the soldier’s personal use during forest-fire
pockets. extinction. The container is kept in a felt
case.
Fireproof overall: - Helmet torch: Torch for personal use of
Clothing garment for work, designed for personal limited dimensions, with great lighting power
protection, elaborated in inflammable fabric that under adverse conditions, destined for the
uniformly covers the trunk and the upper and low personnel intervening in extinction: nocturnal
extremities, allowing access through buttons on the efforts or during dim solar light, condensation
front. of smoke, particles, fog,...
Extinction boots: - Self-filtering antiparticle mask: Protective
Safety footwear made of leather, with hard-rubber device for the respiratory tract that is
sole with high fusion point, sewn with highly-resistant adaptable to the face by means of fastening
thread to the body of the boot, which is provided with straps, covering nose and mouth, to basically
half a leg. prevent inhalation of suspended particles and
The ankle and the lower part of the leg must be well- pollutants by means of filters.
protected and fitted by means of a closing with fireproof - Personal first aid kit: Unit of reduced size and
cords and metallic eyelets. of a rectangular bag shape containing
The heel and the toe will be reinforced with leather, medicines and products used in carrying out
and will have an internal insole of material that insulates emergency first aid.
from heat possibly encountered when passing through
burnt areas.
The sole is made of nitric vulcanised rubber.
Helmet:
Element with a hemispherical form, made of a rigid,
resistant plastic material resist, used to protect the top
part of the head and especially the cranial cavity.
It is composed of the hard shell of the helmet and of
the harness or headband, which serve for adjustment in
attachment to the head.
It is provided with a chin-strap for binding it to the
chin.
Fireproof hood:
Made of inflammable fabric, its main function is to
protect workmen’s necks from thermal radiations and
establishing an air chamber between the nape of the
neck protector and the skin.

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2.3 FIGURES

Figure 2-1:

Figure 2-2

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Figure 2-3

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2.4 TABLES
Table 2-1: More used planes
Model Canso CL-215 Dromader GRUMMAN
Piston Turbo 164-B 164-C
Type
Amphibious Amphibious Amphibious Land based Land based Land based
Payload 4000 l. 5500 l. 5500 l. 2200 l. 1500 l. 1800 l.
Engine
Power 2100 CV 2200 CV 967 CV 600 CV 750 CV
Number 2 of piston 2 of piston 2 of turbo 1 of piston 1 of piston 1 of piston
Fuel consumption 700 727 840 140-160 180 180-200
l/hour
Autonomy (hours) 4 4,5 4,5 3 2 2
Cruise speed 300 304 380 205 210 240
(km/h)
Operacional speed 145 144 146 170 165 210
(km/h)
Type of runway Cement Cement Cement Land Land Land
Minimal lenght of 800 A 799 A 835 A 458 400 400
runway (m)
750 T 707 T 777 T

Model AIR TRACTOR TRUSH COMMANDER


AT-502 AT-503 AT-802-A S-2R T-15 S-2R T-34
Type
Land based Land based Land based Land based Land based
Payload 2900 l. 3000 l. 3500 l. 1800 l. 2100 l.
Engines
Power 750 CV 1198 CV 1424 CV 680 CV 750 CV
Number 1 of turbo 1 of turbo 1 of turbo 1 of turbo 1 of turbo
Fuel consumption l/hour 180-200 200-210 200-250 180 195
Autonomy (horas) 5 4 4 4 4
Cruise speed (km/h) 280 280 330 190 197
Operacional speed (km/h) 225 225 320 160 160
Type of runway Land Land Land Land Land
Minimal lenght of runway (m) 400 400 450 400 400

Table 2-2: More used helicopters


Model BELL 47 BELL 206 LR BELL 204 BELL 205 Tank BELL 205 BELL 212
Personnel
Type
Monoturbo Monoturbo Monoturbo Monoturbo Monoturbo Biturbo
Payload
People 1 5 9 - 11 13
Water - - 800 l. 1300 l. 1500 l. 1500 l.
Engines
Type LYCOMING ALLISON 250-C T5311 A T5313 B T5313 B PTST-38x2
20B
Power 305 CV 420 CV 1100 CV 1400 CV 1400 CV 900x2 CV
Fuel consumption l/h. 70 300 330 325 325 360
Cruise speed km/h. 137 204 200 200 200 260
Model

BELL 214 B BELL 214 ST ALQUETTE ECUREUIL BK 117 SOKOL Mi-8


350B-2
Type
Monoturbo Biturbo Monoturbo Monoturbo Biturbo Biturbo Biturbo

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Payload
People* 14 18 6 5 8 11 22
Water 2400 l. 2400 l. 500 l 500 l. 5 l. 1500 l. 2500 l.
Engines
Type LYCOMING GENERAL ARTOUSTE ARRIEL IB LTS 101 650 PZL-10W ISOTOV
T-6508D ELÉCTRICA IIIB ASTAZOO Bix2 TV2-117ª
CT72A XIV
Power 2930 CV 1625x2 CV 870 CV 641 CV 592x2 CV 900x2 CV 1700x2 CV
Fuel consumption l/h. 360 400 210 130 240 325
Cruise speed km/h. 222 240 200 217 230 235 200

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3 FOREST FIRE SUPPRESSION

3.1 INTRODUCTION 3.2 BASIC PROCEDURES TO OBTAIN THE


SUPPRESSION OF THE FIRE
After a fire has been detected and the veracity of its
existence has been confirmed, the person in charge of The basic procedures undertaken during
the co-ordination centre carries out the mobilisation of suppression should be focused on the elements in a
necessary resources according to an organised and triangular relationship of the existence of combustion
technically hierarchical system. that keep the fire going and define a forest fire.
Criteria for number, types and categories of human - Actions on the oxygen.
and material resources that are released for the fire - Suffocating flames by isolating fuel from the air.
depend on the fire’s level of evolution and the degree - Covering fuel with soil.
indicating the characteristics of the fire’s dynamical - Covering with water.
spread. - Using a fire-beater.
- Violently and momentarily displacing the air
mass that is in contact with the burning fuel
- Causing an explosion.
- Beating collections of branches.
- Using a fire-swatter.
- Increasing the proportion of oxygen in the air
and increasing water vapour.
- Spraying pulverised water.
- Actions on heat: Through of cooling and reducing
the temperature of the burning fuel.
- Applying of pulverised water.
Heat is absorbed in the processes of changing state.
For liquid to convert to vapour, 540 Kcal/litres is
needed by the water, therefore this appears to be an
effective element in capturing energy originating from a
front of flames.
In the absence of water, applying mineral soil is a
possibility, though this
- Actions on the fuel.
Given that the presence of oxygen is permanent and
water is a scarce resource of only temporary effect,
extinction efforts are more intensely focused on the fuel
present.
- Cutting off the continuity of the fuel in the
fire’s path by establishing a band that is fuel-
free between burnt areas, and that is wide
enough to prevent ignition by radiation and/or
convection.
- Modifying moisture content by spraying
water.
- Preventing combustion by covering it with
chemical products.

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3.3 LINE OF DEFENCE - Type of fuel.


- Characteristics of the soil.
A line of defence is a line that is constructed in the
- Daytime.
path of the fire, in order to break or cut off the continuity
- Aspect.
of the fuel.
The ways in which it is accomplished are: Actions for the construction of a line of defence
- Mechanised
Location: It consists of defining the path and location
- Bulldozer (of different types).
that will have the line of defence (or lines of defence),
- Graduated forest steps.
as well as the different types or forms chosen to
- Manual
proceed to its execution.
- Created by fire-fighter using special tools for
forest-fire management. The location’s task relies on the person who has
depending on the type of fire, the role of Chief of
Therefore, strips of land of varying length and width
Extinction.
are constructed in the path of the fire where necessary:
- Cutting and extracting all the atmospheric, surface The one with the task of locating the line of defense
and underground fuel. is called “line locater”
- The ground is scraped up to the mineral soil.
- The fuel is deposited on the exterior (far) side (to the Any line must be located beginning and ending at
opposite side of the fire). the “points of anchorage”, that is to say, at the existing
barriers or at extinguished parts of the edge of the fire,
- The intermediate fuel is burned, between the line
and the fire, in order to extend the area that is in order to prevent that the fire penetrates the line
devoid of fuel, this type of burning is known as through areas with fuel which has not been removed
yet.
“widened burning”, which hopefully facilitates
creation of strips of land scraped up to the mineral The “line locater” functions are the following:
soil. Its contribution to the line of defence: - To mark the drawing of the line.
- Efficiency. - To evaluate every situation, taking advantage of the
- Security for the fire-fighters. opened places which facilitate and guarantee the
- Increases the production rate of the construction work.
process - To pay attention to the safety of the personnel.
- To lead the group of fire workers through the path
3.3.1 Basic considerations in the construction of
which saves time and energy.
the line of defence
- To control that the right distance is kept between the
It must be planned in such a way that: line of defence and the border of the fire, in order to
- The line of defence can be constructed before the prevent that the fire penetrates the line.
fire comes to it.
- It must be effective in the retaining process. 3.3.1.1 Forms and development of the line of defence

The following factors must be taken into account: It can be distinguished the following:
- Size of the fire: The magnitude of the area to be Vertical line to advance
worked at the extinction will determine which
longitudinal dimensions and special distributions In procedures by means of indirect attack first of all
will have the line or lines of defence to be a vertical line to the advance of the fire is located and
constructed. built, in those areas where it is checked that the speed
- Speed of spread: Knowing the speed of spread, as of spread of the fire in relation to the speed of
well as to predict its increase or decrease will allow construction of the brigade is superior.
determining to which distance it must be located. It is necessary to leave enough area in the middle in
- Operative Capacity of the personnel: It has great order to allow that the burning of widening which are
importance, since the ability to confront the executed in parallel by the opening of the line should
challenge of the work and its effective development penetrate a safety distance in the fuel before meeting
will determine the success of the career in time and the front of advance of the fire.
in space to be established between the front of
advance of the fire and the brigade. As soon as the line has been built and the burning of
widening advances in a safe way consuming the fuel in
Main factors: the middle, the following phase consists of separating
- Level of training, formation and specialised training the brigade or work team into two units in order to
of the members who compose the group of fire- accomplish the work of the lines of defence on both
fighters. sides, staying on the main one, this one must be drawn
- Team work spirit. like the vertical line with the direction of head of major
- Adaptation and knowledge of the area where the advance.
construction works of the line of defence are being
developed. On each side, if the conditions allow it, the
- Previous knowledge of the personnel’s performance construction of the lines can be carried out by major
against different circumstances: proximity to the border, since the speed of spread and
- Slope. the linear intensity of the fire are minor on the sides.

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The work continues until the lines get together. - Cutting and scraping the superficial fuel up to the
Eventually, if the fire allows it, it will be possible to mineral soil.
change from indirect assault to direct, completing the By means of tools of scraped such as PULASKI,
line of control at the very border of the fire. MCLEOD, hoe and spade of cut, one the fuel is to be cut
and dragged, cutting the roots and digging the area up
Indirect line (oblique assault)
to the mineral soil. This latest operation is very
If the front of advance is wide rather than narrow important to avoid the spread for humus or roots.
and moves relatively fast, the line of defence is to be The extracted material must be settled on the
built in angle with regard to the front. exterior edge. The width of the scraped and smoothed
area varies from 1 to 2 meters depending on the
This procedure will allow that the front of advance
situation.
does not meet the line before the burning of widening The lines through the bushes (fire model n º 4) must
has been completely fulfilled in the whole route of the be wider than the lines in opened forest. To major wind
drawn line. speed major width will have to have the line of defence.
This performing way allows that the squad of work The line of defence at a slope and on the sides is to be
has more time to build the line at he same time that wider than the one at the bottom of the fire.
controls the possible appearance of secondary focuses. With heavy machinery
Two feet line (Two feet method) The use of heavy machinery presents relative
This procedure corresponds to a direct assault limitations to:
executed to two feet at the border of the fire, that is to - Existence of the type of machine needed.
say, the line of defence applied to a fire which advances - Enough time to carry out the transfer from its original
inside the safety parameters (slowness, small height of place up to the “waiting area”, defined in the
flame), (little radiant energy); typical of zones with proximities of the fire.
absence of slope, wind and load of fuel for unit of small - State and dimensions of the access roads up to the
surface. waiting area.
- The topography, the best performances are obtained
Segmented line in plain area and in slopes up to 15 %. With
It consists of an indirect simultaneous assault on situations of slope, the building of the line of
several focuses and directions of an irregular front of defence must be started at the top of the slope.
advance. - The structure of the soil.
- The type of machine to be used for the building the
The personnel is arranged in small units and each of of lines of defence consists of: a bulldozer tractor
the units constructs a line perpendicular to the advance with hydraulic shovel, ripper, capstans, reverse
of every fire. gear, protected cabin and with lights to allow the
In a second phase these lines get together to form a work at night.
constant line along the whole front. Application:
The third phase of the assault consists of the normal - Integral construction of the line of defence, support
movement around the sides, with both lines joining at by means of squad chainsawers.
the bottom to complete the control line. - Enlargement and widening of a line of defence made
manually.
Auxiliary line - Clearing of fuels placed in the line by means of the
Against certain conditions of the fire’s performance, tractor shovel.
it is possible to choose to locate a line of defence in a - Recovering of fuels at the exterior side of the line of
certain place, still knowing that it will not be able of slow defence, by means of dragging and contribution of
down the fire, but at least this provides a delay in the land (half or full shovel).
advance of the fire, enough time to build the second line - Enlargement of preventive lines of defence and
safer than the first one. preventive existing strips in the region, as
infrastructure of support in the extinction works.
3.3.2 Construction of the line of defence
Constructive procedures
With manual tools and chainsaws
A. One line
This procedure includes the following phases:
- Cutting of the aerial and superficial fuel. This is to be The light fuel and the weather conditions allow
carried out with cut tools like axes, chainsaws… working at the proximity of the fire. If it is not of a great
The cutting does not consider the removal of heavy intensity, there is no possibility of secondary focuses.
fuels, since the “line locater” will have to plan the path B. 1+1 + ... line
of the line of defence, surrounding the dense
accumulations of fuels to reduce the works of cut to the Conditions similar to those mentioned before with
minimum, saving with it time and energy. the risk that it expands to bushes.
The extent of the cuttings, among 1 and 4 meters, The parallel lines are to be built 4 meters away from
will depend on the fuels. each successively.

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The dynamic spread will be diminished crossing The burning of widening will have to be carried out
every line, providing its control as the line is constructed, avoiding burning ground
which still does not have the support of the line nor to
C. Two lines
delay the ignition to do it later in a hurry, creating an
When the load of fuels is major and the weather interior edge with abundance of fire difficult to monitor
conditions of major adversity to those described on the and control.
previous methods: two parallel overlapped lines are to
If the line of defence presents its path according to
be built, remaining any vegetation between them.
an ascending slope, the burning will have to be done
The drawing of the second line must be finished
from up to down.
before the fire reaches the first one.
With the burning of widening in its advance the
D. Two lines + burning
spread of the fire must be watched in order to prevent it
If weak secondary focuses appear due to the low from provoking the ignition of the fuel in the exterior
speed of the wind, the moisture relatively high and to edge, exceeding the line.
the structure and distribution of the vegetation: a
Fire swatters, shovels and backpack fire
burning of widening of 20 to 50 meters is to be carried
extinguishers are to be used in order to control the
out, leaning on the first line of defence.
irregularities which could arise in the development of
It has to be monitored until the front of advance
the burning and consequently it can be necessary to
meets the burning of widening.
correct the development of the burning. (Figure 3-1)
E. 2+2 lines
3.3.4 Organisation of the personnel for the
If occurs an increase in number and intensity of the construction of lines of defence
secondary focuses, in this case:
A. Mixed method
- Two pairs of separated lines (3-5 meters) are to be
built, the fourth line must be finished before the fire Sections of the line to be built are assigned to the
reaches to the first one. fire-fighters, in order to make specific jobs for example
- Sometimes it can be advisable to make a burning of cutting or scraping.
widening in the strip from 3 to 5 meters which
Since the tasks need different tools, the brigade is
separates the second line of defence from the third
divided into two groups each group is to be headed by
one
the fire-fighters carrying the cutting tools.
- When the secondary areas present major intensity,
and if a burning of widening is made from the first The men are arranged quite separated from each
line of defence to the front of advance, the meeting other, and each one executes his job in his part of the
of both fronts provokes an increase in the line.
appearance of secondary focuses, so it must be
tried that this so called meeting appears at the When the fastest one arrives to the section initiated
double distance where the secondary focuses first by his partner next to him, he walks and advances up to
appeared. the head, passing the rest of the colleagues and
restarting his job in the new position.
F.Multiple lines (3-4 overlapped lines)
The exchange of positions makes that all men
The construction is similar to the double lines when rotate, except the “line locater”, who must go to the
the conditions of the fire get worse progressively. head choosing the location.
The consolidation tasks of lines must be carried out Advantages
by means of the tidy and sequential work of: - It is simple and easy to supervise.
- Workmen's brigades. - Every worker knows which his task is.
- Vehicles of surveillance. - It allows to use members who do not have
- Vehicles of extinction. knowledge and experience, since the individual
- Land based planes. variations in efficiency can be compensated,
- Heavy machinery. changing the extension of the line assigned to him.
Disadvantages
The tractors are to be manoeuvred at tandem, when
- The persons' movement carrying the tools is
it occurs in a fire with rapid advance.
dangerous.
3.3.3 Burning of widening - The movement from the finished section up to the
new position implies waste of time.
It is carried out to extend the zone deprived of fuel
- Fires with a fast dynamic spread can exceed the line
without additional work of the brigade or machinery.
before it is finished.
It begins from the internal edge of the line and there
B. Progressive method
are in use elements and technologies of ignition similar
to those in prescribed burnings. In this procedure of opening and construction of the
line of defence every fire-fighter advances without
having to change his relative position in the row, in this
way the squad advances as an only unit.

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Every fire-fighter moves on as he executes the work - Given a situation, which forces the personnel’s
which corresponds to the tool assigned to him. reorganization, difficulties can arise due to the
distance between the fire-fighters.
The work is done based on a few hits of his tool and
- It is only appropriate in fires which present a very
then he moves on.
slow spread, more or less static.
In this way the line is drawn as the personnel
advances, the last fire-fighter finishes the work.
This method is based on the following principle: “If a
worker needs 10 tool hits to build a part of 2 meters
line, this can be built by 10 men giving each one an only
tool hit every 2 meters as they move on".
Personnel’s organization
1) “Line locater”.
2) Cut tools, executing the cutting or removing.
3) Scrapping tools, digging up to mineral soil.
4) Elements of ignition, for the burning of widening.
5) Tools of extinction controlling the fire in the burning
of widening.
Characteristics
6) The number of cutting tools depends on the type of
fuel.
7) It is faster and less flexible than other methods.
8) It requires an intense supervision in order to keep a
suitable progressive speed.
9) The fire-fighters can change their position in line
organization, but the tools’ position does not
change.
10) In rough areas and with dense vegetation this is the
fastest method to construct the line of defence with
hand tools.
11) For safety reasons there must be a minimal
separation of 3 meters between the fire-fighters.
12) As methodological combination, the squad can be
divided into teams which construct parts of the line
in a progressive way, at the same time they move
on alternatively.
C. Individual assignment method
The fire-fighters are arranged in intervals at the
border of the fire, each one of them stays in an
assigned zone, and there every fire-fighter is entirely
responsible for his own work, doing every necessary
task.
Advantages
- It allows an immediate and simultaneous work in a
major perimeter.
- Each fire-fighter has his own responsibility, what
stimulates his interest.
- If the personnel is experienced, beside needing little
supervision or any supervision at all, good
performances are obtained.
- It reduces the possibility of damage when managing
tools, since there is space between the fire-fighters.
Disadvantages
- In mixed fuels two or more tools are needed by
every man.
- The supervision can present difficulties, due to the
personnel’s distribution through the whole area.

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3.4 THE LINE OF CONTROL 3.5 METHODS OF COMBAT


It is defined as the very set of natural and artificial Not only at the beginning of the action, but also
fireproof barriers, as well as the extinguished borders of during the surrounding process of the fire in the control
the fire which are used to fix the closing predictable line, line, and even in some moments of the extinction, the
where depending on the activities to develop any action against the fire can be performed in two general
possible progression would remain paused, remaining ways, depending on the distance of the control line at
therefore the perimeter of the surrounded fire, being the the fire’s border, that is, its perimeter.
existing fuel statically consumed in the inner part.
3.5.1 Direct method
One or several lines of defence are part of the
The control line is established when acting at the
control line.
very border of the fire, when acting mainly on the
A line of defence is built, and the control line is set.
flames and on the fuel immediately next to them.
Possible elements for a control line:
This method implies:
- Natural barriers: rivers, rocks, sandbanks, etc.
- To cool the fuel with water, chemical products or
- Artificial barriers: reservoirs, paths, railways, fences,
land.
etc
- To remove the air oxygen, covering the combustion
zone with land.
- To cut the running of the fuel close to the flames, by
means of a line of defence, in this situation this is
not widened through a burning of widening.
Use
- Beginning fires.
- Superficial fires.
- In small focuses of a bigger fire when there is not
too much energy loosening. (Heat / surface) and
smoke.
Tools to use:
- Cutting tools.
- Scrapping tools.
- Suffocation tools
Advantages
- It allows reducing the fire damages to a minimal
surface.
- The work is effective and leaves a cool border which
does not require an intense clearance.
- In those fires which have developed occupying a
great area, it presents a major safety for the fire-
fighter, since in case of emergency situations
resulted from fire explosions (i.e. break of the
thermal belt), the fire-fighter can reach quickly the
burnt and cooled areas behind the fire.
- Having water, it is as an effective method.
Disadvantages
- The fire-fighters are exposed to the smoke and to
the heat radiation.
- In rough areas, the personnel’s movement is
dangerous.
- The arising of embers can give rise to the
appearance of secondary focuses which can
surround the fire-fighters between two fronts, this
increases the risks increase when this happens in a
slope.
- More effort is needed when following the fire
borders.
- Grouping the personnel in small areas can cause
accidents and the risk which it implies in the tools’
handling.

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Attacking the critical areas 3.5.3 The backfire


It consists of giving prior attention to the areas which Based on the method of indirect attack, it consists of
threaten with moving the ignition to new fuels. creating a fire of great magnitude, which leans on a
safety fence or from a line of defence, trying that the
It is about reducing or stopping the spread and the
created fire moves towards the main fire.
linear intensity of the fire to make the situation easier to
handle, before establishing the control line. Since in each fire arises a type of low pressures, in
which ascending streams originate, with suctions up to
Cooling the edge border
the superficial level, it takes place when both fronts are
When the fire at the border has been extinguished close to a reciprocal attraction what accelerates the
for some unfavourable reason, the combustion (night meeting between them, with a strong consumption of
moisture, slope changes...) a review is must performed the fuels in the middle, what provokes the complete
in order to extinguish heat centres, which could be extinction of both fronts.
suddenly reactivated.
It requires a careful planning, as well as a strict
3.5.2 Indirect method control of very position of all human resources and
existing materials in the fire, as well as of those material
Procedure by which the control line is established at
goods different from the forest ones which could exist in
a certain distance of the border and using the fire is the area where the backfire will be developed.
considered a tool to remove the fuel in the middle.
3.5.4 Decision between the different systems of
Use
assault
- When the smoke and the aroused caloric energy
disables the personnel’s job next to the border. Not only at the very beginning of the attack (incipient
- When the area presents complicated developments. attack), but in any other moment, even in the last phase
- When the vegetation is dense and the types of fuel (liquidation), modalities of direct and indirect attack, will
are complicate from the energy and dynamic be used, depending on the different conditions in the
spread point of view. fire’s area.
- When the perimeter of the fire is very irregular and
It can happen that in a part of a flank a direct attack
forces to an excessive work, without guarantees to
may be used since it represents minor difficulties,
reach successfully its conclusion.
whereas in other zones an indirect attack may be used.
- When the fire spreads fast, and there is a wide front
and constant continues of embers. The decision, taken by the fire leader, may consider
- When there is an intermittent crowning progression. when and where each attack system may be
performed.
Advantages
This decision must be solidly based on two previous
- Safer work for the fire-fighters.
phases of great importance:
- The work conditions are more comfortable for the
- Recognition. Evaluation.
personnel what guarantees keeping the productivity
- Planning.
for a longer time.
- Location of the control line.
- With this method advantage is taken of every natural
- Definition of the lines of defence to construct.
and artificial barrier, when missing fuels, lines of
- Quantification and qualification of the human
defence are constructed which are necessary to
and material resources needed develop the
close the control line.
jobs.
Disadvantages
- Loss of the nearest vegetation.
- Bigger perimeter of the control line, to which major
attention must be paid in order to avoid that the fire
could go beyond it.

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3.6 COMBAT PHASES 3) Consideration and location of potential threatened


goods in the direction of the fire’s spread
The phases than composed the fight against forest
4) Consideration on the fire-fighters’ safety, material
fire are:
means to be used and the local inhabitants.
1) Detection. Communication. Automatic send of a fire-
5) Calculations of the current and future fire potential
fighters’ squad by helicopters.
behaviour, depending on the expected direction of
2) Examination. Evaluation. Initial Planning. Incipient or
the active fronts of the fire.
initial attack.
6) Assertion of how the size and the behaviour of the
3) New examination. New evaluation. New planning.
fire, will determine the quantity of human and
Decision to perform the extended attack (major
material resources to be used.
number of forces).
7) Making of an attack plan based on the previous
4) Control.
evaluations, establishing a period of time for its
5) Liquidation.
performance and development.
6) Complete extinction.
8) Production of an alternative attack plan, in case of
7) Demobilization of human and material resources.
different conditions, when it becomes impossible to
3.6.1 Examination continue applying the initial plan.
9) Accomplishment of the evaluation continued on the
Phase which aims to a knowledge of facts, “in situ”, results obtained from the application of the
a knowledge of facts of what is happening, in order to
approved plan.
act consequently. 10) Permanent communications established and
The examination must take into account: assured with and by the head office.
- The exact location of the fire.
3.6.3 Planning
- Type of fire:
- A superficial fire. Any activity aimed to the extinction of forest fires,
- A crown fire. must belong to the designed plan, what means, that it is
- A subsoil fire. included within the sequence and order of actions that
- Size of the fire. determined to be developed in a certain time forming
- Speed of spread: the total of actions planned to get the control and later
- Slow (<20 m/min.). complete extinction of the forest fire.
- Middle (20-30 m/min.).
Composition of the plan
- Dangerous (30-80 m/min.)
- Critic (> 80 m/min.). A. Strategy
- Threatened goods.
Decision of the aimed objectives that implies saying
- Affected surface.
clear and concise declarations of what it is to be done,
- Weather local conditions.
in order to achieve the fixed purposes.
- Area.
The aims must be:
- Burning fuel.
- Measurable (fixing the maximal surface affected by
- Fuel which will probably enter combustion.
the fire in 40 hectares).
- Access routes and the size of these.
- Recognizable.
- Other information of interest.
- Communicable, to the whole personnel for the total
It is important to communicate the result of the knowledge of the facts of the designed plan of
examination to the head office. actions.
3.6.2 Evaluation B. Tactics
In every work aimed to extinguish forest fires, the Procedures used to perform the actions or the aims
activities linked with the evaluation are constant, since of the strategies.
through them will be done the study and analysis of the Example: on the left side of the line of defence will
fire current conditions and those foreseeable conditions be carried out by two tractors and the cooling of the
which could possibly arise. right side will be carried out by the amphibious planes.
The responsibility of this analysis relies on fire C. Schedule
leader, since the future actions to be taken in order to
The fire leader must to organise the quads
control the forest fire are based on the conclusions
according to the chosen tactics and strategies, in order
obtained from the evaluation.
to reach the aimed objectives.
Considerations
A schedule must be fixed for every section, what will
1) Past, present and future weather conditions
allow that the interventions can be executed in a
(weather forecast).
systematic way.
2) Evaluation of the existing resources for the attack.
a. Squads, air resources, terrestrial means, level Second interventions will be carried out when the
of experience of the different types and steps. first ones have been concluded.
b. Characteristics of the equipment’s.
c. Estimated time of arrival at the fire.

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It is important that the planned schedules are 7) The backfire must be developed in a the suitable
fulfilled; for example: after the opening of a line of speed, in order to get the necessary width of the
defence manually built, a widening will be made by burning so that the consequences of having built
heavy machinery and thirdly a backfire. the backfire can be kept, The backfire should not be
overcome by the characteristics of dynamic spread
3.6.4 Tactics used in the resources mobilisation
of the front flame, which is aimed to extinguish.
Principles for the location of the line of defence 8) To take advantage of the draughts created by the
1) To locate the line to a suitable distance of the fire so main fire and the slope. Depending on the daytime
that there is enough time to accomplish the total of the local winds.
extinction and the fire could be eliminated under 9) To begin the backfire in the highest sector of the line
previously conditions foreseen. of defence, so that the action starts slope down.
2) To leave enough time to allow that the available 10) To avoid the closed angles in the line, given these
forces construct the line of defence at the same circumstances the burning must be performed in a
time that the secondary focuses are extinguished paused way.
and possible heavy fuel is removed. 11) Auxiliary backfires must be used if the weather
3) To make the line of defence as short as possible. conditions are unfavourable.
4) To use the easiest route when the drawing the line 12) The burning must be stopped if it is observed that
without covering for it too many surface. the backfire does not progress in the aimed way.
5) To avoid the biggest dangers when constructing the 13) To guarantee that the whole personnel know the
line of defence, trying to establish a safety distance plan and it is totally clear for every one before
between the line and the dangers which must be beginning the backfire.
left in the fire’s area. 14) To have a safety plan, in case unforeseeable
6) To avoid winding lines and closed angles. circumstances may provoke a wrong behaviour in
7) To use, where possible, the natural barriers, to the backfire.
improve and make easier the construction of the
Principles to use of the water
line.
1) To use the water rationally, in a fire always water is
8) To use machinery in the construction of the line
always considered to be a short resource.
providing that it is possible.
2) To throw the water directly to the base of the flames,
9) To care about the personnel’s safety, in every
to win efficiency.
phase of the line construction.
3) It is needed that the personnel with manual tools
10) To restrict the area where the secondary fires are
work next to those who handle the hoses, to make
so numerous that it turns out impossible to get the
the use of the water more effective, with major
single extinction.
intensity in the extinction.
Principles of construction of the line of defence 4) To establish good communication between the
1) The line should not be wider than needed, since it personnel who handle the hoses and those who
could delay the construction of the line itself, being handle the motor-pump.
possible due to such a delay that the fire passes 5) To count with the set of utensils and accessories to
the line for certain part of its course which was not change the conditions of the (throwing water,
ready yet, ruining all the work previously done. according with the characteristics fire
2) To clear the line up to the mineral soil. characteristics).
3) To scatter the embers and materials which burn 6) To watch that the water supply is permanent.
inside the fire area. 7) The access roads must not be blocked with vehicles;
4) To increase the line’s efficiency, cooling the nearest hindering the emergency exit in cases of danger.
fire with land or water. 8) The use of the water needs constantly the use of
5) To reduce the fuel’s height near the line, if the time manual tools for tasks of support and consolidation.
allows it, before the fire comes closer.
3.6.5 Control of the fire
6) To build deep ditches with a high rim to stop the
rolling substances. Realisation of critical situations
- Change in the wind’s speed.
Principles in the use of the backfire
- Change in the wind’s direction.
1) To recognise the location and the suitable moment
- Increase of the fire’s spread’s speed.
to make the backfire within the safety parameters.
- Change in the speed of the wind’s motion’s
2) To use qualified personnel.
direction.
3) To locate and construct the line of defence correctly,
- Embers which could pass the control line.
where the backfire will be leant on.
- Change in the environmental temperature.
4) To measure the time of the operation correctly,
- Change in the linear intensity of the fire.
establishing the place where both fronts meet.
- Acknowledgement of technical investments.
5) To take advantage of the current weather conditions
- Dangers of fire explosions.
as well as those foreseen for the next hours.
6) To determine the right sequence to reach the aimed Surveillance of the fire situation
goals, with the achievement of the backfire, paying - Location of fire front.
attention to the personnel’s co-ordination within the - Characteristics and influences of the fuels.
fire different sectors. - Weather consequences.

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- Work routes. - Assignment of resources.


- Communications. - Leadership.
- Location and availability of the attack forces: - Personnel.
- Human resources. - Equipment.
- Specialised material resources. - Aerial resources.
- Land resources.
Estimation of the type of action to carry out (type of
- Radio communications.
work)
- Plan of changing positions.
- To supply a map of the area of the fire considering
- Holding communications between the head
the sequential perimeters for every period of time
office of operations and the control position in
(t).
the fire.
- To forecast the speed of spread for every active
front, inside the perimeter of control. Foreseeable 3.6.6 Extinction
influences:
It involves the whole combing of the area, checking
- Slope.
and eliminating the heat points or elements of
- Aspect.
combustion, inside the perimeter controlled at the forest
- Fuels.
fire. It means a hard, dirty and necessary work.
- Wind.
The phase of extinction can represent even more
- Relative moisture.
than 50% of the attack’s time.
- Natural barriers.
The purpose of the extinction is to avoid the
- Daytime.
possibility of the appearance of new outbreaks.
- Needed time for the arrival of the changing
human resources for the work of control. Applied technology
- Planning of the attack: 1) The extinction can begin at any moment during the
- To divide the fire in different areas/zones. attack against the fire, if the front of the fire burns
- To decide where to build the control line. intensively; it is possible to begin the extinction at
- To decide the order and priority of the lines the bottom area, sides or at those zones which
of defence to be built. seem to be calmed.
- To set the construction methods. 2) It is necessary to select the most important and
- Estimation of needs for every area/zone: dangerous zones to concentrate there the efforts.
- Human resources. 3) Stages or phases.
- Material resources. a. Allow that some of the still burning fuels get
- Setting of waiting areas. consumed, paying special attention to those
- Setting of camps. which are close to the control line of control,
- Time of arrival of the requested resources. since these burn in fast and safe way.
- Safety for the personnel and for their b. Construct defence secondary around the islands
actions. and / or not burnt arms. (Application burning of
- In the changing operations of the leading widening).
position of the extinction, the next leader must c. Go around the trunks outside its location leaving
be provided of: them parallel to the slope to prevent them from
- Guidance about the fire general situation. rolling.
- Location. d. Cut any dead burnt tree to ascertain if there is
- Area. internal combustion.
- Fuels. e. Mix every burning material with mineral soil until
- Location of the resources. it gets extinguished.
- Updated summary of the different phases f. Dig and to scrape the stumps up to the roots
which the fire has gone trough, including the and mix the embers and the coal with the
state of control. mineral soil.
- Forecasts of behaviour. g. Monitor externally the control line checking that
- State of the dynamic spread. there are not secondary focuses.
- Weather consequences. h. Inspect the lines of defence, checking that there
- Threatened goods. are not roots in combustion which they could
- Plan of aimed actions. cross them.
- Tasks assigned in every area/zone. i. Constant vigilance of the perimeter, at least the
- Type of tasks. eight daytime hours after the complete
- Location and development of the tasks. extinction.
- Method of intervention, strategy and tactics. j. The liquidation work must be carried out by a
- Special safety measures. personnel different from the one doing the
- Safety plans established in extinction extinction.
general plan.
- Precautions.
- Specific potential dangers.

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3.7 FIGURES

Figure 3-1

Figure 3-2

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4 INICIDENT COMMAND SYSTEM

The Incident Command System (ICS) is a


4.2 COMPONENTS OF THE INCIDENT
management system used to organise emergency
COMMAND SYSTEM
response and was designed to offer a scalable
response to incidents of any magnitude. Incident command system works properly thanks
It is an operating system that can be adapted to fit to nine fundamental components.
any type and size of incident.
The system can expand or contract as the These components are the following:
situation changes. 1) Common terminology: Everyone involves in the
fight against the fire uses the same language. All
the resources which take part in the fight are
4.1 OPERATIONAL REQUIREMENTS
defined and all their functions are properly
- Level of training, formation and specialised
designated and named.
training of the members who compose the group
2) Modular organisation: The system is modular and
of fire-fighters.
its organisation expands and contracts according
- Team work spirit.
to the size and complexity of the incident.
- Adaptation and knowledge of the area where the
3) Integrated communications: The system must
construction works of the line of defence are
arrange an adequate communications plan. This
being developed.
plan must contain several communication
- Previous knowledge of the personnel’s
networks such as a command net, a tactical net,
performance against different circumstances:
a support net, an air to ground net and an air
- Slope.
tactics net.
- Type of fuel.
4) Unified command structure: The system must
- Characteristics of the soil.
have a unified command structure where general
- Daytime.
incident, objectives and strategies are set.
- Aspect.
5) Consolidated action plan: The system must have
an operational plan which includes the objectives
and strategies to be used in order to control the
incident.
6) Level of control: The level of control for
emergency management personnel goes from
three to seven.
7) Designated incident facilities: The system must
have a special infrastructure in order to manage
the emergency. This infrastructure must be made
up by the following elements:
- Command post: Point from where the
emergency is managed.
- Incident base: Location where the support
actions are carried out.
- Camps: Areas where the personnel in charge
of the fight against the forest may eat or rest.
- Staging areas: Temporary areas where the
personnel wait for their exit to the fire.
- Helicopter base: Areas from where
helicopters can operate.
- Heliports: Areas where helicopters can land.
8) Fire fighting resources: Single resources, task
forces or strike teams.
9) Resource management: The system must allow
knowing every time the status of the different
resources.

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4.3 ELEMENTS OF THE INCIDENT COMMAND The sections are normally set out in the following
SYSTEM. ORGANIZATION cases:
- When the number of divisions/groups is higher
The incident command system is made up by five
than the advisable supervision level from 5:1 for
organisational elements:
the Operation Section Chief.
- Command: Person responsible for the
- When the nature of the emergency requires a
information, safety and confidence.
structure of functional sections.
- Operations: Ground and air resources.
- When the emergency is multi-territorial.
- Planning: Incident, resource status and technical
specialists. In case of establishing different sections in order
- Logistics: Service, communications, medical and to manage the emergency, these sections are to be
food supply and facilities. distinguished through numbers (“Section 1, Section
- Finance/Administration: Time records, cost, 2”…)
wages and procurement.
The means employed in the scheme in the ICS
4.3.1 Command can be used in the following way:
- Individual means: These work in an individual way
The command unit is in charge of the control,
normally like a unique mean in the initial attack.
management and supervision of the general tasks
They can also be used in later attacks or in
which include the extinction of the forest fire.
situations when big fires occur.
The command unit is led by and incident - Task forces: It has to do with the combined work
commander who directs the complete management of every type of different means, joined to
of the incident. manage a concrete temporary task.
This command unit is completed by: - Attack equipment’s: This is a specific number of
- Safety Unit: It is in charge of analysing and means of the same type and class which are to
assessing the hazardous and unsafe conditions. perform the attack jobs.
- Information Unit: It is responsible for compiling all
The staging areas are areas placed inside the
the information related to the fire.
emergency area which are defined by the Operation
- Liaison Unit: It is responsible for co-ordinating the
Section Chief in order to allow the temporary setting
different agencies and organisations which take
of the available means.
part in the incident.
The Operation Section Chief is responsible for the
4.3.2 Operations
management of the staging areas staying under his
Operations are in charge of carrying out the control every means with an availability interval of
incident action plan. three minutes.
These are directed by the Operation Section
The air operations are firstly organised by the
Chief.
Operation Section Chief.
Its basic structure includes sections, The organisation, size and use of the air
divisions/groups, air operations and staging areas. operations will basically depend on the necessities of
the emergency and the availability of the air
Divisions and groups are set up when the amount resources.
of resources (individuals, task forces, attack
equipment) are more than those recommended by In case of emergencies of a bigger significance,
the Operation Section Chief. the Operation Section Chief can assign an Air
Operations Chief.
In these cases the fire perimeter is often divided
into sections in order to divide the emergency in the This is justified when:
operation areas, taking advantage of the natural - The complexity of the air operations requires
separations of the ground, as well as the geography additional support and effort.
and the fuels, the same happens with those areas - The emergency requires the use of the air means
where the resources can be used in a more effective for tactical and logistic activities.
way.
The air support supervisor is responsible for the
On the other hand the groups are to be setting, keeping and operation of the infrastructures
established in order to divide the emergency, in this supporting the air means.
case, into functional areas (rescues, structure
4.3.3 Planning
protection, etc).
The Planning Section is in charge of the
Divisions and groups are normally named with
compilation, evaluation and dissemination of the
letters (A, B…) and they can be started under the
tactical information related to the emergency.
same emergency.
This section is also responsible for the
Sometimes sections can be established which development of the Incident Action Plan.
group together divisions and groups.

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In order to fulfil its functions this section can count The organisation of the logistics section is divided
on four main units as well as on several specialists into the following units:
who co-operate with the evaluation and analysis of - Supply unit: This unit is responsible for arranging,
the emergency situation. receiving, storing and processing all the means,
personnel and necessary supplies. At the same
This section is led by the Planning Section Chief,
time, this unit is also in charge of providing the
who is responsible, as we have seen before, for the
facilities and the personnel, who get, process,
compilation, evaluation and analysis of the whole
store and distribute all the arranged supplies.
information concerning the emergency, as well as for
- Facilities unit: Its responsibility is that of
the development of the Incident Action Plan for every
managing, operating and demobilising all the
phase of the operation.
facilities used in the support of the emergency
The Planning Section Chief is also responsible for operations, as well as its maintenance and
the development of the possible alternatives and the safety.
leading of the planning meetings. - Ground Support unit: Its main responsibility is that
of the maintenance and repair of the tactical
This section can normally count on the following
equipment, vehicles and mobile equipment for
units: the land support. This function is fulfilled, during
- Means unit: This is responsible for the control of the emergencies of big significance, by keeping a
the assigned means. The unit will keep the state
transport centre (cars, trucks, minibus, buses…)
of the means up-to-date. in order to transport the personnel from one
- Situation state unit: This is responsible for the place to another.
compilation, processing and organisation of the
- Communications unit: This unit works with the aim
information concerning the state of the fire of developing the plans in order to make more
situation. Summaries about the situation are to effective the use of facilities and communication
be supplied, as well as maps and information.
equipment’s.
- Documentation unit: This unit is responsible for - Food unit: Its main aim is that of providing the
keeping the emergency files complete and right food service to the emergency troops.
correct.
- Medical unit: This unit is in charge of all the
- Demobilisation unit: This unit is responsible for the medical services, developing an adequate
development of a demobilisation plan for the medical plan which will be integrated in the
emergency. This plan includes the specific
Incident Action Plan.
instructions to be followed by the whole
personnel as well as the necessary resources to 4.3.5 Finance/Administration
demobilise.
The finance section is justified when it is
- Technical specialists: Together with the four units
necessary on the side of the agency or agencies
previously analysed, the planning unit can count
responsible for establishing a financial service.
on technical specialists who can co-operate
The possible units which can compose this
directly with the Planning Section Chief, in this
section are the following:
way the technical specialists can join any of the
- Time unit: This unit has the responsibility of
four units which compose the section, helping
controlling that the assistance documents are
any other section of the ICS or forming an
correctly filled in. This unit is also responsible for
independent unit inside the section. Among the
the time documents of the different means used.
main specialists who can co-operate in the fire
- Shopping unit: Its task is to manage and run all
emergencies the followings must be enhanced:
the financial information concerning the contracts
specialists in fire behaviours, specialists in
of the suppliers.
environmental impact, specialists in meteorology,
- Compensations and indemnities unit
or specialists in costs analysis…
- Costs unit: This unit is established in order to
4.3.4 Logistics obtain, register and analyse the costs resulting
from the emergency as well as to calculate the
The aim of the logistics section is to supply the costs estimations.
necessary support to the rest of the units and
sections which compose the ICS, except for the air
support.
The logistics unit is responsible for the supply of
the facilities, transports, provisions, maintenance and
fuel for the equipment as well as food and medical
services.
The logistics section, led by the Logistics Section
Chief, is made up of six units which in case of big
emergencies or emergencies with many facilities and
equipment’s, can be grouped into two branches
(Service Branch and Support Branch).

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EUFIRELAB
Graph 1: Incident Command System Structure

COMMAND

Information Safety

Liaison

OPERATIONS PLANNING LOGISTICS FINANCE ADMINISTRATION

Air Operations Branch Resources Unit Service Branch Support Branch Time Unit

Air Support Group Situation Unit Communications Unit Supply Unit Shoopping Unit

Air Tactical Group Documentation Unit Medical Unit Facilities Unit Compensation and indemnities Unit

Staging Areas Demobilization Unit Food Unit Ground Support Unit Cost Unit

Branch 1 Technical Specialists

Division A

Division B

Division C

Branch 2

Division D

Division E

Division F

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5 BIBLIOGRAPHY

GONZALEZ CABAN, A. 2000. Sistema de manejo de


5.1 REFERENCES
emergencias (SME); funciones. Estructuración.
ANDERSON, H.E. 1982. Aids to determining fuel Coordinación. In VELEZ, R. (ed) La defensa
models for estimating fire behaviour. USDA, contra incendios forestales: Fundamentos y
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ANONYMOUS. Decreto 71/1992, de 5 de mayo, por HAMILTON, L., MORGAN, G., WILLIAMS, J. 2003.
el que se aprueba el Plan de lucha contra los Paper for the 3rd International Wildland
incendios forestales en la CAA, y se dictan Conference. Guiding principles for wildland fire
normas para su prevención, extinción y management.
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ICONA. Curso Superior de Defensa contra Incendios
ANONYMOUS. Ley 5/1999, de 29 de junio, de Forestales. 1987.
Prevención y Lucha Contra los Incendios
OLLERO, A., ARRUE, B., MARTIEZ DE DIOS, J.R.,
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ANDALUCIA). BOE número 190-1999 Sección I.
GIROUD F., BOVIO G., CAMIA A.
CASTELLÓ, J., TEHAS, P. 2003. Multicriterio Riesgo FRANCESETTI A. 1999. “Fire suppression
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CHANDLER, CHEHEY, THOMAS, TRABAUD,
WILLIAMS. 1991. Fire in Forestry. Vol I,II. Krieger RODRIGUEZ TREJO, D.A. 1996. Incendios
Publishing Company. Malabar, Florida. Forestales. Mundiprensa. México.
DOMÍNGUEZ VILCHES, E. 2002. La utilización de RODRIGUEZ y SILVA, F. Class notes of the subject
los medios aéreos en la conservación de la Forest Fires.
naturaleza. I Symposium Nacional Técnicas de
RODRIGUEZ y SILVA, F. 2000. Ejemplos de planes
los Medios Aéreos en Incendios Forestales.
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defensa contra incendios forestales:
DUDFIELD, M., LATAPIE, B. 2003. Paper for the 3rd Fundamentos y Experiencias. McGraw-Hill.
International Wildland Conference. Incident Madrid, pp 11.17-11.56.
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RODRIGUEZ y SILVA, F. 1998. Local evaluation of
EGMASA-JUNTA DE ANDALUCIA. Comportamiento the forest fires risk through danger indices,
del fuego. 1998. Sevilla. application to the forest regions of Andalusia. In
VIEGAS, D.X. (ed) III International Conference on
EGMASA-JUNTA DE ANDALUCIA. Dispositivo de Forest Fire Research – 14th Conference on Fire
Incendios. 1998. Sevilla. and Forest Meteorology. ADAI, Luso-Coimbra, pp
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Sevilla. RODRIGUEZ y SILVA, F. 1994. Modelos de gestión
EGMASA-JUNTA DE ANDALUCIA. Maquinaria y ordenada de la defensa contra los incendios
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FULLER, M. 1991. An introduction to wildland FIRE.
Behavior, management, firefighting and TEIE, W.C. 1994. Firefighter’s handbook on wildland
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socioeconómico de incendios forestales en áreas McGraw-Hill. Madrid.
mediterráneas. Salamandra. Barcelona.

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5.2 INTERNET LINKS http://juntadeandalucia.es


http://www.boe.es http://www.madrid.org
http://www.comadrid.es http://www.proteccioncivil.org
http://www.focverd.net
http://www.incendiosforestales.org
http://www.iawfonline.org/
http://www.forestfighting.com

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