Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Honor & Learning - Rattlesnake Staff Ride

Cross at Rattlesnake fire memorial

Looking Back and Remembering Our Fallen

Rattlesnake fire staff ride

Rattlesnake fire staff ride

In preparation for the 2016 fire season, the Carson City District BLM took its entire fire staff to the Rattlesnake staff ride on the Mendocino National Forest. This idea came from the District’s operations group that was tasked to come up with a team building exercise to help prepare our on the ground leaders for the 2016 fire season. Justin Cutler, Assistant Superintendent for the Silver State Hotshots coordinated with the Mendocino Hotshots to make this happen. Chris Markey, Superintendent for the Mendocino Hotshots facilitated our staff ride. 

Rattlesnake fire memorial

On July 9, 1953, a brush fire started Northwest of Elk Creek, CA on the Mendocino National Forest. That evening 24 men were sent to contain a spot fire. The wind shifted and the main fire jumped containment lines. Nine of the men made it to safety, however 15 men were overran and perished by the quick moving fire.
Rattlesnake fire memorial

What We Learned from the Rattlesnake Staff Ride
  • Remembering and learning from history helps bring the importance of what we do closer to heart.
  • Helped create District cohesion by going through the staff ride as a team.
  • Helped see where we have been and where firefighting is now.
  • Helped see the importance of good communication between resources. 
  • Helped show the importance of having clear escape routes to sufficient safety zones.
  • Helped show the importance of being aware of local weather influences.
  • Helped identify areas of focus for the 2016 fire season to bring back for our seasonal staff.

Rattlesnake fire placard

A special thank you to Shane McDonald, Jon Palma, Justin Cutler, members of the Carson City District BLM and Chris Markey. All pictures are compliments of the Carson City District BLM.

For more information, check out the Rattlesnake fire in the Staff Ride Library

Staff ride map

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