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BRIAN HEAD FIRE

PIO Lessons Learned JESSE BENDER

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Great Basin Type 2 Incident Management Team #4

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Brian Head Fire

Timeline of Major Events • • • • • • • • • • •

Human caused

Town of Brian Head, Iron County, Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, Dixie National Forest, and Color Country District Bureau of Land Management

17 June – Brian Head Fire starts midday 19 June – Great Basin Type 2 Team #4 assumes command, 957 acres 20 June – Fire triples in size, 2,761 acres 21 June – Fire makes 8-mile run to northeast, quadrupling in size, 10,950 acres 22 June – Fire makes another 8-mile run, nearly tripling in size, 27,744 acres 23 June – Fire grows another 10,000 acres, 37,560 acres 26 June – Zoned fire with Great Basin Type 1 Team #2, 43,436 acres 3 July – Full command transitions to Team #2, 60,301 acres 9 July – Team #2 transitions command to Great Basin Type 2 Team #7, 71,571 acres 16 July – Team #7 transfers command back to the local jurisdictions, 71,673 acres 25 July – Brian Head Fire reaches 100% containment, 71,675 acres

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Challenges

Every incident is complex for some of the same reasons and many unique ones.

Public Impact •

Multiple communities

Numerous access points

Residents and visitors

Holiday weekend

Media Engagement •

Political Interest

High level of media interest regionally and nationally

Social media and traditional traplines

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Involvement from multiple local, state, and federal agencies Numerous cooperators Several VIP visits

Fire Environment •

Dry, dense fuels

Critical fire weather conditions

Unprecedented fire activity

Two teams, one

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Victories

Every challenge is an opportunity to work together and overcome.

Public Impact •

Local personnel assistance

Escorted trips to homes

Public meetings in two communities

Brian Head soft opening

Media Engagement •

Fire Environment

Political Interest

Media staging at ICP, coordinated press briefings, and tours

Analytics and positive feedback

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Resource availability

Daily calls and meetings

Situational awareness and safety

Early coordination

Minimized structure loss

Cooperation and

Local agency engagement and outside assistance

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“It was interesting, heartbreaking, frightening, really, to fly over the fire and see how close it came to these beautiful structures, to this community and communities on the other side of the mountain… Thank you and God bless these firefighters.” —Congressman Chris Stewart, Utah

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FACT ! 100% of Fires Go Out However, the effects of the fire will linger for days, weeks, months, and years afterwards. Our job is not just providing information on the emerging situation; it’s also preparing the public for those coming days, weeks, months, and years.


PIO LESSONS LEARNED

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Build the Best Plan

Be Open, Honest, and Personabl e

Highlight the Positive Side Effects

Pave the Way for Success

Look Large Scale

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1 Build the Best Plan

FLEXIBILITY How is your plan adaptable? What contingencies do you have in place?

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2 Be Open, Honest, and Personable AUTHENTICITY Reliability | Honesty | Humility | Relatability

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3 Highlight the Positive Side Effects REGROWTH When most people look at a wildfire, they see devastation and loss. They can’t imagine the rejuvenation of the landscape because that’s an intangible future in the midst of the violent present. 13


4 Pave the Way for Success

FLUIDITY Can the next person do what you’re doing?

Have you left enough instruction for a seamless handoff?

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5 Look Large Scale

VISION Whether it’s a planned event or an emergency incident, communications plans should look beyond the foreseeable to the unimaginable, beyond the immediate to the unpredictable, and beyond the controllable to the unrestrainable. 15


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PREPARE If the worst happens sooner than you expect it to, can your organization successfully respond?

IMPLEMENT Carry out the plan better than it was written on paper.

EVALUATE Anything worth doing is worth doing better next time.

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QUESTIONS?

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THANK YOU! 19

Profile for Utah Division of Emergency Management

Brian Head Fire: PIO Lessons Learned  

By Jesse Bender Bureau of Land Management

Brian Head Fire: PIO Lessons Learned  

By Jesse Bender Bureau of Land Management