Last Wednesday some of the members of my little rural volunteer fire department went to a planned meeting with the Forest Service at the station of Larger Volunteer Fire Department.
But when we arrived, we found about thirty people watching a Texas Forest Service video about fighting range fires. Summary: "Attack from the black."
There was someone from the TFS talking with disdain about how their rural volunteers would attack fires while riding on the outside of moving fire apparatus directing water onto the fire. Well, unless you have the latest models with cab-controlled nozzles on the bumper, sometimes you have to do that.
There was also the chief of one little department who, thinking that a paved road was enough of a fire break, had taken his brush truck to make a direct attack on the head of a moving fire—while wearing a short-sleeved shirt and no gloves.
He was wrapped in gauze past his elbows, and his face was a mosaic of peeling skin.
"Attack from the black" means get behind the flames and come up on them from the burned-over ground.
Meanwhile, it turned out that the Forest Service had rescheduled their 2011 fire-management presentation and had not told our chief. Maybe we will do it next week.
Via Wildfire Today, here is a slide show of a big range fire burning in grass and brush in Stonewall County, Texas. Commenters lament the lack of protective clothing: "Obviously this is how business is conducted in Texas."