Los Padres National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
Goleta, CA 93117
Whittier Fire Backhaul – A Retrieval Task
While firefighters make the final push towards full containment of the Whittier Fire, they must fulfill another extremely important however non-glamourous task. During initial attack and subsequent fire operations, all fire equipment’s GPS location is recorded. Now that containment has increased and the weather is favorable, firefighters must be on the lookout for equipment in the field that is no longer needed for current operations. GPS locations are confirmed, the amount of equipment is noted and arrangements are scheduled for ‘backhaul.” The Whittier Fire is no exception.
In a wildland urban interface setting, there is a monumental amount of equipment utilized. An example of equipment to be removed is the structure protection for the Cold Springs Tavern area. The 25 sprinkler heads, hundreds of feet of hose, nozzles, gated Y’s, miscellaneous hose fittings, pumps and 3 pumpkins (2,000 gallon water bladders) have served their purpose.
All equipment that must be retrieved will be ‘backhauled’ by truck or helicopter depending on the location on the fire. At a local warehouse workers will clean and refurbish these assets and send them to the South Zone Fire Cache located in Ontario, CA for use on the next incident. This job of accounting for fire equipment is taken very seriously in order to reduce costs on wildfire incidents.