On May 22nd, researchers Neil Lareau and Matthew Lloyd attended field training hosted by the Tahoe National Forest to complete their requirements for fireline certification. They were accompanied by our newest graduate research assistant, Carrie Bowers, who served as a liaison between the “fire folks” and the researchers.
Upon arrival at the field site, all attendees were briefed on the mission for the day as well as the hazards they would be exposed to: ticks, poison oak, mountain lions, hazard trees, and each other. After learning how to properly identify poison oak, the group set out into a field full of the hideous plant and got to work.
The first task of the day was to construct a progressive hoselay along the edge of an imaginary fire. Everyone took turns running out a length of hose and spraying water on the fire. Communication was essential and the group began to get more comfortable with each other.
After a quick lunch, the group returned to the imaginary fire where they learned they had run out of hose and would have to construct fireline with hand tools. Everyone lined out and began working through the brush and vegetation to clear a fireline down to mineral soil.
Throughout the day, small groups broke out into stations to learn how to put together a drip torch, light a fusee and sling weather. Neil, being the resident wise guy, when asked if his group had an opportunity to sling weather, responded “I’m a meteorologist”. Our lab may not be welcome back on the Tahoe.
As the day wore on, the mock fire got out of control and spot fires forced the group to run out their escape route back to the trucks where they deployed practice fire shelters. With everyone safe, the group emerged from their shelters and participated in an After Action Review.
The Fire Weather Lab is very grateful to the Tahoe National Forest for providing training and certification for our members, managing our fireline qualifications in the Incident Qualifications and Certification System (IQCS) as well as maintaining our status in the Resource Ordering and Status System (ROSS).