Newhall Fire: Valencia, CA

A 2-3 acre fire was reported around 7:15 a.m. near Newhall Ranch Road and Copper Hill Drive in Valencia, California on April 15th. The fire grew to 33 acres by 1:00 p.m. due to 25 mph winds in the area. Helicopters were on scene to support firefighters on the ground.

No buildings or houses were damaged, but nearby Albert Einstein Academy was voluntarily evacuated due to the fire. Fire officials have stated that they have the fire 65% contained and have stopped forward progress. Firefighters were expected to extinguish any remaining hot spots in the area throughout the day.


A screen capture from RedZone’s RZAlert Dashboard


RedZone attends risk management RIMS Conference!

RedZone joined over 400 other exhibitors from around the globe at the RIMS Conference on risk management in San Diego on April 10th – 13th. Attendees were able to learn about RZRisk and RZAlert products and how these tools could benefit their companies. RedZone CEO Clark Woodward and VP of Business Development Michael Flannery represented RedZone’s Headquarters from Boulder, CO, accompanied by Intel Analysts from the RedZone Intelligence Center in San Diego, CA.

RedZone Team at RIMS 2016.

RedZone Team at RIMS 2016.

Exhibitors and attendees came from diverse backgrounds such as Property/Casualty Claims Services, Risk/Loss Control/Safety Services, Workers’ Compensation, Physical and Mental Health Services and Providers, and Human Resource Solutions. Additionally, several attendees were from the educational fields and product delivery services — risk assessments, analysis, and mitigation are necessary for all industries in some capacity. Several visitors to the RedZone booth discussed their need for monitoring the safety of employees during natural disasters as well as non-naturally occurring crisis situations.

If you’re attending the conference, stop by booth #3501 to speak with the RedZone Team about your needs.

Michael discusses RedZone's capabilities with an attendee.

Michael discusses RedZone’s capabilities with an attendee.

Up next: Look for RedZone’s Michael Flannery as he visits San Antonio, TX, for the PLRB Claims Conference, April 17th – 20th.

The First Professional Fire Department in the United States

On April 1, 1853, Cincinnati, Ohio, established the first professional and fully paid fire department in the United States as a result of a devastating fire that occurred in 1852 at Eagle Ironworks. Interestingly, Miles Greenwood, who owned Eagle Ironworks, served as the department’s first Chief. The business losses he suffered as a result of the 1852 fire prompted him to seek new and better ways to fight fires several months prior to his appointment as Cincinnati’s first Fire Chief.

On March 2, 1852, Greenwood, along with Abel Shawk and Alexander Bonner Latta, began construction of the world’s first practical steam-powered fire engine. Shawk was a locksmith, and Latta was a locomotive builder. Eagle Ironworks manufactured the engines. Earlier inventors had manufactured steam-powered fire engines, but the Cincinnati version proved to be much more practical, as the steam engine could begin pumping water out of a water source in 10 minutes. Earlier engines took significantly longer.

On January 1, 1853 the three men demonstrated their finished engine to the Cincinnati City Council, and the Council members quickly contracted for an engine. The first fire engine was presented to the Cincinnati Fire Department on January 1, 1853, making Cincinnati the first city in the world to use steam fire engines. The engine was named “Uncle Joe Ross” after a City Council member. In 1854, Cincinnati residents raised enough funds to allow the Fire Department to purchase a second steam fire engine named “Citizen’s Gift.” The steam fire engine forever changed firefighting in Cincinnati and by 1863 Cincinnati had replaced all of its hand-engines with steam fire engines.

Cincinnati Fire Department

Cincinnati's First Steam Fire Engine

Cincinnati’s First Steam Fire Engine

Anderson Creek Fire nears containment in Kansas and Oklahoma

The Anderson Creek Fire continued to burn through Kansas from Oklahoma, but was nearing full containment as of March 29. Erratic weather over the preceding weekend prevented daily perimeter flights and hindered firefighters’ efforts. On Monday the 28th, aerial attempts were finally successful, allowing crews to gain a more precise acreage measurement of 367,620 and containment up to 95%. As of Tuesday, March 29th, twelve homes had been reported as destroyed. Blackhawk choppers, along with rain and snow, helped the firefighters improve containment lines and make progress on the fire. The Anderson Creek Fire is the largest wildfire in Kansas history.

The Oklahoma Forestry Service released this fire progression map on March 28th after receiving flight data. The bright red portions in the eastern area show the most recently-active areas of the fire. An unfavorable weather system passed west to east over the area throughout the 28th and 29th, and crews were optimistic about the firefighting plans for the subsequent days.


Anderson Creek Fire - OK & KS - Fire Progression by Oklahoma Forestry Services

Anderson Creek Fire – OK & KS – Fire Progression by Oklahoma Forestry Services


Anderson Creek Fire


Hundreds of firefighters battled a wildfire that burned over 400,000 acres in Kansas and Oklahoma, with about two-thirds of the burning occuring in Kansas. The governor of Kansas declared a State of Emergency on March 23rd, after 45 mph winds caused the fire to grow rapidly. The grass fire was first reported around 5:45 p.m. on March 22nd, in Woods County, Oklahoma. The fire was so large that radar sweeps picked it up, as winds helped spread it north into Kansas.

A statement from the Kansas Adjutant General’s office early March 24th declared the fire “under control” in Comanche County, but not yet to the east in Barber County. It added that voluntary evacuations had ended in the Lake City and Sun City communities. Fire officials stated that numerous communities and structures (800 to 1,000 homes) remained under threat as of March 25th. Two houses to the north of Medicine Lodge and two bridges in Barber County were destroyed by the fire.

Fire officials in Barber County anticipated that the blaze would continue through March 25th and were hopeful that they could get better control of it over the subsequent days. The National Weather Service said 25 mph winds are forecast in the area until noon on the 25th, when they were expected to drop to 15 mph and then to 10 mph by sunset. Humidity levels were also expected to improve throughout the day, making progress on containment more likely. As of March 25, the cause of the fire was still under investigation.

Image of the Anderson Creek Fire courtesy of the Oklahoma Forestry Services


Brushfire consumes 2,500 acres on the island of Oahu

Oahu Brushfire Burns 2,500 acres

On Thursday, March 17th, Oahu Fire Department responded to reports of a brush fire near the community of Nanakuli. Arriving units reported a fast moving fire burning in light to medium fuels with limited access. The fire was driven by steep, inaccessible terrain and gusty winds. As of March 22, 2016, the fire was reported at 2,500 acres and 80% contained. No homes had been reported as damaged, though early on in the fire there were voluntary evacuations in place and some road closures.

For further information and updates, follow the story on




Wildland Fire Engine Types

A wildland fire engine is specifically designed to assist in fighting wildfires by transporting firefighters to the scene and providing them with access to the fire, along with water and/or other equipment. Most parks are located away from urban areas and maintain their own wildland fire protection and suppression equipment, including wildland fire engines. There are multiple types of wildfire apparatus which are used by the United States Forest Service depending on the scenario at hand. They come in different sizes (Types) depending upon how many gallons of water they hold and the gallons per minute (GPM) the pump can produce. Most wildland fire engines are four-wheel-drive and have off road capability and can thus climb hills and make it through rough terrain.

2354445_orig.jpgProduction Bulldog 4X4 Extreme Brush Truck
Image courtesy

Depending on where the engine is positioned in relation to a fire, it may carry as much as twice the national standard in fire hose. In areas where there is rugged terrain that keeps engines from driving directly to the fire, large hose lays are installed to transport water to the fire area. In desert areas with moderate terrain, less hose is used as it is easier to access the fire. Often the technique of pump-and-roll is used where the vehicle drives with the pump engaged while a firefighter uses a hose to spray water on the fire. This pump-and-roll feature allows the engines to make “running attacks” on vegetation fires, a tactic that can help minimize the rate of spread by having a firefighter walk the edge of a fire with a hose line and the engine trailing close behind. One advantage of engine crews is the ability to build “wet line”. A wet line is a fireline that uses water or foam in place of digging to mineral soil. This minimizes the impact to vegetation and limits erosion.

In the fall of 2007, the National Wildfire Coordinating Group agreed on a set of standards for all fire engines that are used for wildland firefighting. As structure engines are sometimes used on wildland fires, though primarily for structure protection, they are also included in the NWCG engine typing. Per the standards there are 7 types of fire engines.



Wildfire 101: Incident Command System (ICS)

When working a wildfire incident, knowing who you report to and who is expected to report to you is imperative to maintain effective and efficient incident management. A system has been developed and honed by wildland firefighters over the years into what is known as the Incident Command System (ICS).

ICS is typically broken out into five major functional areas:

  • Command – Controls overall incident management
  • Operations – “Boots on the ground”, accomplishes objectives
  • Planning – Manages planning process
  • Logistics – Provides incident support, ensures Operations has what they need to do their job
  • Finance/Admin – Manages funds for the incident

The Incident Command System was developed by CAL FIRE following a series of catastrophic wildfires in the 1970s. The studies of these events concluded response problems related to communication and management issues, rather than a lack of resources or skills and knowledge. Now, ICS has been implemented in Emergency Operations Centers across the country, as well as in other fields such as healthcare and business.

The structure of ICS is easily adaptable to many types of incidents. As an example, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) relies on ICS when responding to disasters. As an incident develops, more units and divisions are added based upon functional or geographic need. The adaptability and flexibility of ICS allows for efficient expansion and seamless transition throughout the duration of an incident.


 (Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency – ICS Resource Center)

Although these Sections (known as General Staff) are lateral and report up to the Incident Commander, they rely on each other to achieve the common goal and support each other. Operations needs Logistics to provide resources (people, machinery/vehicles, food/water) to achieve the incident objectives that the Planning team documents and tracks to make sure everyone is working toward a common goal.  Meanwhile, Finance/Admin keeps the incident within allowable budgets and ensures proper time tracking. All of this is overseen by and reported to the Incident Commander.

Depending on the incident, some timelines are longer and more developed than others. A small wildfire may be put out within a couple hours whereas others may last days, weeks, or months (such as the Chelan, WA fires of 2015). Throughout the incident, roles can easily be added or closed down as needed due to the flexible nature of the Incident Command System.

For further information on ICS and available training courses, please visit: FEMA’s ICS Resource Center.