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Subject: A cold front hits the Woodlands Fire rss

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Ryan
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Scenario: Cold Front Passage Day
Map: Woodlands
Fire burning in: timber, grass
Size: 210 acres (85 hectares)
Perimeter: 26,246 feet (8,000 meters)
Fire detected: 1500 hours
Fire escaped: 2100 hours
Resources used: 10 IA squads, 2 engine crews, 1 dozer, 1 air tanker
Budget: $20,000 expended of $20,000 allowed.
Structures lost: none
Resources evacuated: 1 IA squad
Resoures lost: 3 IA squads killed
Outcome: Escape (Fire Escaped)

In the following pictures, cubes (not included with the game) were used to augment the counters in the game. Black cubes are used to note fire that has been extinguished (in game terms). Yellow cubes are used to show smoldering hexes when I ran out of smoldering counters.

After Action Review
The duty officer had an engine and 4 initial attack (IA) squads positioned in the Woodlands response area today in anticipation of the passage of a cold front. The cold front passed around 1300 yet aerial detection and ground patrols couldn't find the reported smoke. Fresh winds were blowing out of the NW. Shortly after the cold front passed a smoke column was detected by aerial recon near the center of the response area. Initial attack crews moved swiftly to respond. Three IA squads, with support from an engine crew, moved to secure the heel and establish a solid anchor point. A fourth squad positioned itself to reinforce the road where the fire was predicted to hit. The incident commander (IC) ordered four additional IA squads, an engine, a dozer, and a retardant drop.

The wind switches direction, now blowing out of the southwest. This throws the IC's plan to hell. An IA squad is caught by the fire behavior due to the sudden wind shift. They knew they were in a risky position. The squad is able to flee but is shook up and will spend the rest of the shift out of harm's way collecting themselves. As the fire makes the surprise run to the north east and the river, the IC begins repositioning resources. Instead of strengthening the road southeast of the fire, most resources are redirected to the north flank to assist with securing the heel and flanking the fire. Much of the fire is now burning in an area inaccessible to engines. The only safe place to locate the dozer is where it will be least effective. The only good thing is that the river may check the fire's growth.

The head of the fire and the left shoulder are held up by the river and the retardant drop. The right shoulder advances to the river and stalls out. Flanking fire adds acres to the southeast of the head. IA squads tie in the left flank of the fire to the river, mopping up a bit where they can. The dozer begins reinforcing the handlines on the north flank. IA squads near the heal begin advancing up the right flank with handline and mopping up the heal, securing the edge to prevent something from breaking out behind them.

The wind dies down a bit but the right shoulder of the fire continues to flank to the right and the head pushes further to the river. The fire is hung up where it previously hit the river. The right flank sees some more flanking activity, though the growth has slowed bit. Crews on the left flank continue to mop up and secure the edge. Crews on the right flank keep adding handline up the flank and moving fast. If the wind doesn't shift the fire is likely to stall out and may give our crews on the right flank time to pinch the head off at the river.

With humidity rising and temperature slightly decreasing, the fire behavior is slowing down a bit. Unfortunately the wind picks up a bit again. The head continues to push to the right, following the river to the east. Two additional IA squads arrive to help progress up the right flank. Crews on the north flank have mopped the fire's edge up to the junction with the river. Some hike fast up the left flank toward the head, hoping the river holds the fire behind them and intending to meet up with crews working up the right flank. With the north flank relatively secure, two IA squads on the north flank bump back to their vehicles on the road so they can reposition to the right flank by driving around the fire. Crews on the right flank make more good progress mopping up, moving from the heel up the right flank. A few squads are able to advance with handline further up the right flank. The IC is confident that if the wind doesn't shift in the next couple hours, they should be able to successfully pinch the fire off at the river and stop it's growth.

Wind shift, from out of the northwest! Much of the hard work the fire crews have put into containing this fire is lost all of a sudden. The right flank, previously showing manageable fire behavior, becomes the head and pushes hard to the south east. In multiple places halfway up the right flank, the fire slops over the hastily dug handline and spots across the line. Three IA squads are flee for their lives but are cut off. Radio traffic from their flank ceases. The right flank is now completely lost and nearly half of the hand crews are apparently out of the fight for the rest of the shift. The fire is now within 100 yards of some primary residences. It has crossed the management action point. The IC, in over his head and pushed beyond his span of control, contacts dispatch and orders a more qualified IC to transition command to. This one is gone and he knows it's time for new leadership. Late that evening after the fire behavior had abated somewhat, search parties found the three missing IA squads. They were found where they fell, fleeing for their lives.
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Mike Hoyt

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Nice write up! How ugly to have the wind turn on you twice like that, and both times steering away.

You sure you got your IA crews out safely? Those guys on the SE (right) flank look awfully exposed in the second to last picture.
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Ryan
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blockhead wrote:
Nice write up! How ugly to have the wind turn on you twice like that, and both times steering away.

You can probably feel both the hope and dread I felt when I rolled the wind shift. It was akin to coming down to a coin flip to determine the results. What a moment.

blockhead wrote:
You sure you got your IA crews out safely? Those guys on the SE (right) flank look awfully exposed in the second to last picture.

They're overrun. I wasn't paying close enough attention to the evacuation rules. A far worse outcome than I believed. Thanks for seeing that.

Better go edit the results...
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Mike Hoyt

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Ouch. Sorry about that.

But great game eh?
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Ryan
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blockhead wrote:
Ouch. Sorry about that.

Nothing to be sorry about. Better to be playing the game correctly even if only because someone publicly called me out for a mistake!

blockhead wrote:
But great game eh?

Yeah, once I got over my inability to separate work from play in regard to this game I found it to be a very fun game. And quick playing, too.
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Esteban Beltran
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Vuelvo mar, montaña, vuelvo puerto. Vuelvo sur, saludo mi desierto. Vuelvo, vida vuelvo, a vivir en mi país
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Guys, your session reports made me buy this game, read the rulebook like a boss in one day (my English reading speed and comprehension has improved 150% thanks to boardgaming) and SURPRISE!!! it reminded me to my MSc thesis!!! (Only with cardboard counters and dice) (my thesis was related to fire modelling in a mountainous area).

I'm really happy to have bought this game. Thanks for the motivation!

Post Edit:

I even started thinking on rules about crews with portable pumps to pump water from rivers (same 5 hexes limit as trucks), make the retardant to only stall the fire instead of completely hold it, subterranean fire rules (way more difficult to fight because airplanes are no help at all), even a set of scenarios with firewise communities and voluntary crews!! (still working on that thought).

Cheers!
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Ryan
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I've been getting my butt kicked again recently. Played using the Parkland County map twice and I wasn't prepared for the spread rates in the grass. No formal AAR but tales of my recent failures can be found here: Average Day - Parkland and Gusty Day - Parkland.

Quote:
I'm really happy to have bought this game. Thanks for the motivation!

Cool! Glad to have played whatever small part I did. I'll GM you soon about this stuff:

esbegan wrote:
I even started thinking on rules about crews with portable pumps to pump water from rivers (same 5 hexes limit as trucks), make the retardant to only stall the fire instead of completely hold it, subterranean fire rules (way more difficult to fight because airplanes are no help at all), even a set of scenarios with firewise communities and voluntary crews!! (still working on that thought).
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Esteban Beltran
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Punta Arenas, Chilean Patagonia
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Vuelvo mar, montaña, vuelvo puerto. Vuelvo sur, saludo mi desierto. Vuelvo, vida vuelvo, a vivir en mi país
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Ryanmobile wrote:

Cool! Glad to have played whatever small part I did. I'll GM you soon about this stuff:

esbegan wrote:
I even started thinking on rules about crews with portable pumps to pump water from rivers (same 5 hexes limit as trucks), make the retardant to only stall the fire instead of completely hold it, subterranean fire rules (way more difficult to fight because airplanes are no help at all), even a set of scenarios with firewise communities and voluntary crews!! (still working on that thought).


no problem
 
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