Reading the Fire 5

Application of the B-SAHF (Building, Smoke, Air Track, Heat, & Flame) organizing scheme for critical fire behavior indicators to photographs or video of structure fires provides an excellent opportunity to develop your knowledge of fire behavior and skill in reading the fire.

This post uses a short video clip from Providence, RI to provide an opportunity to practice reading the fire.

Taxpayer Fire

Download and print the B-SAHF Worksheet. Consider the information provided in the short video clip. First, describe what you observe in terms of the Building, Smoke, Air Track, Heat, and Flame Indicators. Second, answer the following five standard questions:

  1. What additional information would you like to have? How could you obtain it?
  2. What stage(s) of development is the fire likely to be in (incipient, growth, fully developed, or decay)?
  3. What burning regime is the fire in (fuel controlled or ventilation controlled)?
  4. What conditions would you expect to find inside this building?
  5. How would you expect the fire to develop over the next two to three minutes

In addition give some thought to the following four questions focused specifically on this incident:

  1. Where do you think the fire is located? Why?
  2. Do you observe any changes in conditions? What might these changes indicate?
  3. What avenues of fire spread would be of concern? How does this relate to building factors?
  4. It appears that horizontal ventilation is being conducted by interior crews on Floor 2, Side A. How is this likely to influence interior conditions and fire behavior?

Master Your Craft

Ed Hartin, MS, EFO, MIFireE, CFO

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