A method for evaluating the effectiveness of firefighter escape routes
Document Type: Conference Proceedings
Author(s): Bret W. Butler; Jack D. Cohen; Ted Putnam; Roberta A. Bartlette; Larry S. Bradshaw
Editor(s): Bret W. Butler; Kyle S. Shannon
Publication Year: 2000

Cataloging Information

  • escape routes
  • firefighters
  • ROS - rate of spread
  • travel rates
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: December 13, 2016
FRAMES Record Number: 2085


A general method of comparing escape route effectiveness in any terrain using any fire prediction method is presented. Information gathered from the South Canyon fire that burned in Western Colorado during July, 1994 and the Mann Gulch Fire that burned in central Montana during August, 1949 is used to estimate the average rate of travel of firefighters over rough terrain. This information is compared against predicted fire spread rates to gauge escape route effectiveness as a function of terrain slope, wind speed and fuel type. Type I, II and III track driven tractor travel rates are include in the analysis. It is intended that this analysis be used by firefighting crews to evaluate safety zone effectiveness for their specific situations. It is also envisioned that the method could be used by fire operations specialists to assess relative risk associated with alternate firefighting tactical options.

Online Link(s):
Link to this document (6.3 MB; pdf)
Butler, Bret W.; Cohen, Jack D.; Putnam, Ted; Bartlette, Roberta A.; Bradshaw, Larry S. 2000. A method for evaluating the effectiveness of firefighter escape routes. Pages 42-53. In: Butler, Brett W.; Shannon, Kyle (editors). Proceedings of the 2000 International Wildfire Safety Summit.