BC Wildfire Service / WorkSafeBC

S100A Online Annual Fire Safety Refresher Training Outline

  1. Course Introduction / Overview
  2. Wildfire Detection and Reporting
  3. Fire Behaviour
  4. Fireline Organization
  5. Fireline Safety
  6. Emergency Fireline Communications
  7. Fireline Suppression
  8. Ignition Operations Safety
  9. Hand Tools
  10. Heavy Equipment
  11. Water Delivery Systems
  12. Helicopter Use and Safety
  13. Fireline Aircraft
  14. Wildland / Urban Interface Safety
  15. WHMIS / TDG Awareness

BC Wildfire Service / WorkSafeBC

S100A Annual Fire Safety Refresher Training - Part 1

1. Course Introduction / Overview

The S100A Annual Fire Safety Refresher training course is a four-hour training course designed to annually review the safety aspects of the S100 Basic Fire Suppression and Safety training course. You need to have successfully completed the S100 previously to take the S100A training course. You must have an S100 course completion card signed by an endorsed instructor to be considered as having taken the S100.

Both S100 and S100A courses are good for one year from date of delivery. If a person has taken either course within the last five years, they would only need to take the S100A to be considered trained for the following year. If more than five years have passed since a person has taken either course, they would need to re-take the two-day, S100 course again.

The S100A Annual Fire Safety Refresher training course is adapted from and utilizes the S100 Basic Fire Suppression and Safety course's Student Workbook. [ 1 ] external_link If you no longer have your copy, we recommend that you obtain a copy of the workbook, which is available for purchase at the end of this course, and keep it available for reference during the fire season. This workbook expands and details the information reviewed in this annual safety refresher.

Course Learning Objective: Upon completion of the S100A course, the participant will have refreshed their basic safety knowledge of the wildland fire suppression organizational structure, the wildland fire environment, suppression and safety procedures used in British Columbia to effectively and safely respond as a basic wildland firefighter.

2. Wildfire Detection and Reporting

When a wildfire is discovered, promptly and accurately report the fire to the BC Wildfire Service Provincial Forest Fire Reporting Centre at 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 from a cell phone.

When reporting, it is important to provide the emergency centre the following key details about the fire:

  • Exact location and size;
  • Colour, density and volume of smoke;
  • Wind speed and direction;
  • Type of trees / ground vegetation and spacing;
  • Terrain (is the fire on a hillside, in a canyon);
  • Values at risk (people, communities, buildings, powerlines);
  • Access (road, 4wd, ATV, boat, helicopter);
  • Firefighting resources currently in use fighting the fire.

Under the BC Wildfire Act:

  • Duty to Report Wildfires: "It is every person's legal obligation to immediately report an open fire that is burning on, or within 1 km of forest land or grass land and appears to be burning unattended or uncontrolled." [ 2 ] external_link
  • Duty to Perform Fire Suppression: "A person carrying out industrial activity must immediately start fire suppression efforts and report any fires starting at, or within 1 km of the work site. Industrial activities must have, fire suppression equipment, as required by law, available for fire suppression efforts." [ 3 ] external_link

3. Fire Behaviour

Forest Layers

Source: British Columbia S100 Basic Fire Suppression & Safety Student Workbook [ 4 ] external_link

Wildland forests in British Columbia have three main layers: the overstory canopy, the understory and the forest floor. The forest floor includes the duff layer which lies on top of the soil layer.

Forest Fuels

Source: British Columbia S100 Basic Fire Suppression & Safety Student Workbook [ 5 ] external_link

Any material that will ignite and combust (burn) is a fuel. The three types of forest fuels are:

  • Aerial fuel: all combustible materials higher than 1 metre above ground level;
  • Surface fuel: all combustible materials less than 1 metre above ground level and 1 year's litter accumulation; and
  • Ground fuel: all combustible materials below the surface litter of the duff.

The Fire Triangle

There are three components that must be present to start and maintain a fire: fuel, oxygen and heat.

In a forest fire:

  • Fuel is provided by forests;
  • Oxygen is present in the air, and
  • Heat is provided naturally (lightning strike) or is introduced by people.

Source: British Columbia S100 Basic Fire Suppression & Safety Student Workbook [ 6 ] external_link

The three components, fuel, oxygen and heat, can be viewed as a triangle with each side representing one component. If any one of the three is modified, the fire will react differently. If one side of the triangle is eliminated, the fire will extinguish.

Factors Influencing Fire Behaviour

There are 3 primary factors that influence the behaviour of a fire: fuel, weather and topography. Their related factors are:

  • Fuel: moisture, size, spacing (continuity), fuel loading;
  • Weather: wind, precipitation, relative humidity, temperature;
  • Topography: slope, aspect, terrain, elevation.

Fuel moisture is the most important fuel-related factor that influences fire behaviour. When fuels have lower moisture content, fire can ignite easier and spread quicker.

Wind is the most important weather-related factor that influences fire behaviour. Wind can:

  • Increase or decrease fuel moisture;
  • Bend flames ahead and heat, dry and ignite new fuels;
  • Carry sparks and embers (firebrands) into new fuel sources (spotting);
  • Feed additional oxygen to a fire;
  • Drive a fire's direction.

Slope is the most important topographical factor that influences fire behaviour. It impacts fire behaviour in these ways:

  • Flames are closer to fuels on the uphill side, and they heat and ignite new, unburned fuels;
  • Rising heat (convective heat) from a fire travels up the slope, and heats and dries new fuels;
  • Convective air can carry firebrands, which may ignite spot fires above a main fire;
  • Burning embers and larger burning materials can roll downhill and ignite new, unburned fuels below a fire;
  • Firefighting efforts on slopes are hindered and slowed;
  • Night time cooling and weather changes can force winds to blow down slope.

Fire Intensity Ranking System

Fire ranking is a very helpful way of rapidly assessing a wildfire.

It is essential that firefighters understand the Fire Intensity Ranking System which assists them to communicate a standardised assessment of fire behavior.

Source: British Columbia Wildfire Service - Wildfire Rank [ 7 ] external_link

Rank 1: Smouldering ground fire

  • No open flame;
  • White smoke.

Rank 2: Low vigour surface fire

  • Visible open flame;
  • Unorganized flame front;
  • Little or no spread.

Rank 3: Moderately vigorous surface fire

  • Organized surface flame front;
  • Occasional candling may be observed along perimeter and/or within fire;
  • Moderate rate of spread.

Rank 4: Highly vigorous surface fire with torching, or passive crown fire

  • Organized surface flame front, disorganized crown involvement;
  • Candling or torching observed along perimeter and/or within fire;
  • Short range spotting;
  • Grey to black smoke;
  • Moderate to fast rate of spread on the ground.

Rank 5: Extremely vigorous surface fire or active crown fire

  • Organized crown fire front;
  • Moderate to long range spotting;
  • Independent spot fire growth;
  • Copper to black smoke.

Rank 6: A blow up or conflagration; extreme and aggressive fire behaviour

  • Organized crown fire front;
  • Moderate to long range spotting;
  • Independent spot fire growth;
  • Presence of fire balls and fire whirls.

Candling (Torching): When the foliage of a single tree or small clump of trees ignites and flares up, usually from bottom to top.

Spotting: When a fire generates firebrands (embers) that are carried by surface wind, a fire whirl and/or a convective column and they fall beyond the main fire perimeter and create spot fires.

Our Core Business

Our roots are in forest resources management, and managing forests and woodlands successfully is our core business.

"Natural resources management is the practice of land stewardship of both public and private primarily forested lands for the outcome of reaching a balance of ecological sustainability, economic viability and societal acceptance. It is a science-based approach with a foundation in ecological health, best business practices, professional ethics, traditional values, transparency and multi-stakeholder participation."[1]