Control Lines: Step - Up method
- Published: Saturday, 27 December 2014 06:08
- Written by Lance Hartley
- 4 - 8 crew
- Crew Leader
- Rake hoe
- Personal protective clothing
- Uneven and unpredictable terrain - provide adequate rest and fluids
- Fatigue/dehydration/heat stress - rotate areas frequently
Assemble Control Line Crew
- No member of the team will pass another on the control line to preserve safety of members using hand tools
- Keep the control line as straight as possible. This will enable you a good view along the line and will enable firefighters to move with greater ease
- If it is necessary to have corners, widen the line at such points, as the fire will tend to increase in intensity where it is driven into a sharp corner.
Position the crew
- Space the crew members along the proposed control line approximately 6-10 metres apart, depending on the type of vegetation and topography.
Working the control line
- Crew Leader gives order to begin clearing the control line.
- Move at a slow walking pace removing vegetation as one goes, without pausing in the walking movement
- Scrape all the section to a width of "x" metres from the line (distance depends on fire intensity next to the line)
- Pay particular attention to areas where there may be a build up of fuel
- Always look up when cutting a line to make sure that the fire will not be able to cross the line by burning through upper storey vegetation
- Keep lines clear of dead trees, or, trees with rough bark, as the bark may spread burning embers across the line.
- Maintain a steady work pace and take liquid refreshments frequently.
Moving to the Next Section
- On completion of a section by any individual, that individual calls out "step up".
- The signal is repeated all along the line in both directions.
- Each person moves along the line at a brisk walk, not a run.
- No person passes another, i.e., crew members maintain their relative order in the line. Each person then finds some fresh (an uncompleted section) work to do. This may be an entirely new unraked section or a partly raked section.
- The person at the head of the line crew on the "step up" command, should move up and leave a work space vacant for the member behind and then begin work.
- If two individuals complete their sections simultaneously and call out "step up", then one should call "step up again" to progress all members to work place segments.
Completing the control line
- Traverse all sections of the control line ahead continuing to remove vegetation and litter without pausing in the slow walking movement
- Maintain relative line position in the crew at all times
- If members have to move along the trail without raking (for example in fuel barren areas) then each person moves along the trail holding the rake-hoe, near the base of the implement, with the blade facing down and behind the carrier. Movement is a brisk walk, not a run
- The last person at the end does not join the "one lick" crew, but works as required to complete the control line.
- The last person is the quality controller ensuring the control line has adequate width, has been cleared to mineral soil and sections have been "joined up". All stumps should be suitably marked or removed for safety (remember the trail may need to be traversed at night.