BRIAN HEAD FIRE
PIO Lessons Learned JESSE BENDER
Great Basin Type 2 Incident Management Team #4
Brian Head Fire
Timeline of Major Events • • • • • • • • • • •
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
Every incident is complex for some of the same reasons and many unique ones.
Public Impact •
Numerous access points
Residents and visitors
Media Engagement •
High level of media interest regionally and nationally
Social media and traditional traplines
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
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 •
Media staging at ICP, coordinated press briefings, and tours
Analytics and positive feedback
Daily calls and meetings
Situational awareness and safety
Minimized structure loss
Local agency engagement and outside assistance
“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
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; itâ€™s also preparing the public for those coming days, weeks, months, and years.
PIO LESSONS LEARNED
Build the Best Plan
Be Open, Honest, and Personabl e
Highlight the Positive Side Effects
Pave the Way for Success
Look Large Scale
1 Build the Best Plan
FLEXIBILITY How is your plan adaptable? What contingencies do you have in place?
2 Be Open, Honest, and Personable AUTHENTICITY Reliability | Honesty | Humility | Relatability
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 youâ€™re doing?
Have you left enough instruction for a seamless handoff?
5 Look Large Scale
VISION Whether itâ€™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
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.
THANK YOU! 19
By Jesse Bender Bureau of Land Management