Fire at Party Rock, Glossary of Terms

Aerial Fuels
All live and dead vegetation in the forest canopy or above surface fuels, including tree branches, twigs and cones, snags, moss, and high brush.

Aerial Ignition
Ignition of fuels by dropping incendiary devices or materials from aircraft.

Air Tanker
A fixed-wing aircraft equipped to drop fire retardants or suppressants.

A fire set along the inner edge of a fireline to consume the fuel in the path of a wildfire and/or change the direction of force of the fire's convection column.  

Blow-up: A sudden increase in fire intensity or rate of spread strong enough to prevent direct control or to upset control plans. Blow-ups are often accompanied by violent convection and may have other characteristics of a fire storm. (See Flare-up.)

A collective term that refers to stands of vegetation dominated by shrubby, woody plants, or low growing trees, usually of a type undesirable for livestock or timber management.

Brush Fire
A fire burning in vegetation that is predominantly shrubs, brush and scrub growth.

Bucket Drops
The dropping of fire retardants or suppressants from specially designed buckets slung below a helicopter.

Buffer Zones
An area of reduced vegetation that separates wildlands from vulnerable residential or business developments. This barrier is similar to a greenbelt in that it is usually used for another purpose such as agriculture, recreation areas, parks, or golf courses.

Bump-up Method
A progressive method of building a fire line on a wildfire without changing relative positions in the line. Work is begun with a suitable space between workers. Whenever one worker overtakes another, all workers ahead move one space forward and resume work on the uncompleted part of the line. The last worker does not move ahead until completing his or her space.

Burn Out
Setting fire inside a control line to widen it or consume fuel between the edge of the fire and the control line.

Burning Ban
A declared ban on open air burning within a specified area, usually due to sustained high fire danger.

Burning Conditions
The state of the combined factors of the environment that affect fire behavior in a specified fuel type.

Burning Index
An estimate of the potential difficulty of fire containment as it relates to the flame length at the most rapidly spreading portion of a fire's perimeter.

Burning Period
That part of each 24-hour period when fires spread most rapidly, typically from 10:00 a.m. to sundown.

 Command Staff
The command staff consists of the information officer, safety officer and liaison officer. They report directly to the incident commander and may have assistants.

Dead Fuels
Fuels with no living tissue in which moisture content is governed almost entirely by atmospheric moisture (relative humidity and precipitation), dry-bulb temperature, and solar radiation.  

Defensible Space
An area either natural or manmade where material capable of causing a fire to spread has been treated, cleared, reduced, or changed to act as a barrier between an advancing wildland fire and the loss to life, property, or resources. In practice, "defensible space" is defined as an area a minimum of 30 feet around a structure that is cleared of flammable brush or vegetation.  

Drop Zone
Target area for air tankers, helitankers, and cargo dropping.

Drought Index
A number representing net effect of evaporation, transpiration, and precipitation in producing cumulative moisture depletion in deep duff or upper soil layers.

A situation where personnel are unexpectedly caught in a fire behavior-related, life-threatening position where planned escape routes or safety zones are absent, inadequate, or compromised. An entrapment may or may not include deployment of a fire shelter for its intended purpose. These situations may or may not result in injury. They include "near misses."

Escape Route: A preplanned and understood route firefighters take to move to a safety zone or other low-risk area, such as an already burned area, previously constructed safety area, a meadow that won't burn, natural rocky area that is large enough to take refuge without being burned. When escape routes deviate from a defined physical path, they should be clearly marked (flagged).

Escaped Fire
A fire which has exceeded or is expected to exceed initial attack capabilities or prescription.

Extended Attack Incident
A wildland fire that has not been contained or controlled by initial attack forces and for which more firefighting resources are arriving, en route, or being ordered by the initial attack incident commander.


Fire Behavior
The manner in which a fire reacts to the influences of fuel, weather and topography.

Fire Behavior Forecast
Prediction of probable fire behavior, usually prepared by a Fire Behavior Officer, in support of fire suppression or prescribed burning operations.

Fire Behavior Specialist
A person responsible to the Planning Section Chief for establishing a weather data collection system and for developing fire behavior predictions based on fire history, fuel, weather and topography.

Fire Break
A natural or constructed barrier used to stop or check fires that may occur, or to provide a control line from which to work.

Fire Intensity
A general term relating to the heat energy released by a fire.

Fire Line
A linear fire barrier that is scraped or dug to mineral soil.

Any sudden acceleration of fire spread or intensification of a fire. Unlike a blow-up, a flare-up lasts a relatively short time and does not radically change control plans.

Flash Fuels
Fuels such as grass, leaves, draped pine needles, fern, tree moss and some kinds of slash, that ignite readily and are consumed rapidly when dry. Also called fine fuels.