Six Rivers National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
118 Fortuna Blvd. Fortuna California 95540
Eureka, CA 95501
The Klamath and Siskiyou Mountains are known for two things: rugged terrain and wildfires. Neither are forgiving elements and when combined can create one of the more dangerous working environments available for wildland firefighters.
Given the recent run of wildfires during the past years, and the area’s long relationship with fires throughout history, the Six Rivers National Forest is a fitting place for a Rapid Extraction Module (REM) as part of the Orleans Complex and currently is operating as part of the efforts to support the firefighters.
The REM, a 3 person team assigned to the Orleans Complex, provides firefighters a safe, effective and efficient method of egress off the fireline in the event of injury or illness. The REM teams, are highly trained rope rescue specialists. While REM is not intended to replace ground or air transport, they work in tandem with existing emergency medical transportation. The Six Rivers National Forest and forests in the region are unique with weather inversions, low lying layers of temperature with variances often found in this area. This often prevents the use of helicopters for an air extraction as well as the steep terrain and lack of landing zones.
This additional extraction method for wildland firefighters in this type of terrain, allows for immediate transportation to medical facilities. As with all injuries, for a firefighter or any patient, the sooner we get them to a higher level of care the better.
REMs provide incident managers additional options to reach, assist and transport injured firefighters. Ropes can be used to hoist the patient up or out, sometimes using portable Jaws of Life, along with preparing a patient for transport via stokes to appropriate medical care. Incidents that the REM teams respond to are collapsed structures, confined spaces, collapsed trenches and they belong to Search and Rescue teams (SAR).