Agassiz Refuge Fire Tactics Explained
Incident: Silo Fire Wildfire
Middle River, MN - The firefighters managing the Silo Unit fire burning on the Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge are employing some non-traditional tactics on this fire.
The smoke being produced is primarily coming from fire burning in tree litter and peat. The most effective tactical response used so far is to cover with water.
According to Incident Commander, Lee Nelson; "Surround and drown is how we're describing the tactical situation."
"On most wildland fires we're taught to conserve our water - on this fire we're using as much water as we can. Traditional practice on fire burning in typical agricultural peat land would be to use big equipment to dig, stir, and mix the smoldering peat.
Because of the tree litter, or duff component, on this fire we can't use real big equipment. We're using a tracked backhoe to make safe entry into the groves of trees allowing the smaller, specialized tracked firefighting equipment to drown the smoldering peat/duff layer.
Yesterday we applied about 21,000 gallons of water. That's roughly the same as having 42 structural fire engines or 7 heavy air tankers applying their loads on this fire."
The plans are to continue to apply massive amounts of water on the small areas of heat until they are no longer producing smoke.
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