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USFS examines 10 years of incidents, fatalities to develop “metareview”

by Bill Gabbert, Wildfire Today |

After a fire or other incident occurs that has an unfavorable outcome, wildland fire organizations typically conduct an investigation or review to cipher out lessons that can be learned. That, of course, can be extremely helpful and can reduce the number of similar accidents down the road. But looking at multiple incidents can uncover trends or themes that could be even more valuable.

The U.S. Forest Service recently completed a “metareview” of accidents and incidents, including fatality incidents in the agency over a 10-year period (2007-2016).

Five themes emerged:
>> Fatalities and injuries: Why are they continuing to occur?
>> Fiscal incentives: How does the current pay structure affect operational strategies and risk management?
>> Society: How do social and political pressures play into the wildland fire system?
>> Ecological soundness: How do ecological health and land management factors currently play into wildland fire decision making and strategy planning processes?
>> Communication/work environment: What do current successes and failures look like in the context of communication and the wildland fire work environment?

The Forest Service regards this metareview as one important step in its learning journey. This tool should be viewed in combination with other interagency wildfire safety products, such as the annual interagency National Wildfire Coordinating Group’s safety gram and the Lessons Learned Center’s annual “Incident Review Summary.”

This fall and winter, the Forest Service’s learning team will host webinars for the fire community to introduce the content and demonstrate how this learning tool can be used to transition from singular incident learning to ongoing, multi-format, iterative, shared learning.