Get Gephardt | Stories -  Good Question: What does it mean to 'contain' a wildfire?
Friday, August 30 2013, 10:54 PM MDT
Good Question: What does it mean to 'contain' a wildfire?
(KUTV)When you ask a ‘Good Question,’ we give it to Matt Gephardt who on Fridays finds the answer on 2News at 10.

This question came to me from Debbye Boe of Clearfield. She writes, "With all the wildfire reporting recently, how do they figure the containment percent?  What does that mean?”

When a major wildfire breaks out there are a few things we all expect to see: Huge flames, helicopters dropping water and planes retardant, and news reporters and fire fighters all using the same word: “contained.”

Over and over, percentage contained is used to address how good or bad a handle firefighters have on the fire.

"To contain a fire we have what we call a fire line around the fire," says Annette Woodhead, a battalion chief with the Sandy City Fire Department.  She says they guesstimate containment based on what percentage of the fire they have surrounded.

"That can be a road or it can be natural fire-line such as a river, or we can cut the fire-line by hand," she said.

Cutting a fire-line by hand is the job of the wild-land firefighters who fight the flames, not with water, but with shovels and pick axes.

"Those wild-land firefighters, my hats off to them,” Woodhead said. “They work really hard. That's the hardest work I’ve ever seen in my life."

Woodhead cautions that having a fire 100% contained does not mean the fire is out. A typical fire-line is about the width of a one lane road, 10-12 feet. That means, in the wrong conditions, a fire can go from 100% contained back to out of control very quickly.

"If the wind is blowing hard enough that the fire can jump over that fire line or say a piece of timber falls across that fire line, the containment would no longer be in effect," Woodhead said.

Wildfire season this year has been particularly bad. In fact there are so many fires that the feds are preparing to fly in fire-fighters from Australia and New Zealand to help out strapped U.S. resources. That will mean more men and women who will be working to ‘contain’ wildfires. And now, when they do, we will know what they are talking about thanks to Debbye’s good question.

If you have a question, email or call (801) 839-1250.

By Matt Gephardt

(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)
Good Question: What does it mean to 'contain' a wildfire?

News Photos & Videos - Submit Your Photos Here

More Gephardt Stories

Fighting Facebook Fraud
Cost of Business Goes Up and Kraft Recalls Mislabeled Wieners
Good Question: Why Do Winners Of The Masters Get Green Jackets?
Michael's Security Breach Update, Coffee Production Being Threatened and General Mills' Forced Arbitration
National Mortgage Settlement Payments Delayed to Thousands
GM Dodges Recall Responsibility, Returns On Rented Property and Employee Rest Tied To Dishonesty
Fine Print Reveals a Company is Behind Tax Lien Notices
Computer Scam Alert, Congress Weighs In On E-Cigs and Beef at an All-Time High
Good question: What's the figure eight printed on globes?
Amazon Offers Employees $5,000 to Quit, Most Common I.R.S. Mistakes and Flyers in February Arrive Late
Chimney Sweep Folds with Consumer's Deposit
Heartland Virus Threat, I.R.S. Fields Your Calls and the Big Mac Budget Demonstration
XP Support Gone. What Now?
"Or your money back" Offer not Honored
Get Gephardt: Man Lands in Collections Despite Fully Paid Utility Bills
Good Question: How Were the Aquarium Fish Safely Moved?
GM Wins Crash Test Honors, FTC Cracks Down On Weight-loss Claims and CVS In Hot Water
Two Utah Men Brought Up On Tax Fraud Charges
Home Automation Failures Frustrate Customer
Yahoo Increases Email Security, SLC Marathon Set For April and Microsoft Introduces Its Siri
Wendover Casino Blocks Handicapped Stalls for Promotional Giveaway
New Scam Alert, Chrysler Recall and Amazon Joins the TV Market
Good Question: How do Taxpayers avoid being audited by the IRS?
If the IRS is Unresponsive, Try the Taxpayer Advocate
Mudslide Scammer Alert, Nissan Recall and New Trader Joe's Location in Salt Lake County
Insurance Mix Up Keeps Woman From Lifesaving Meds
E-Book Refund, College Tuition Increases and Unclaimed Tax Returns
Billing Bundle Bungled
Flood Insurance Increases, IRS Cash Crunch and Possible Apple & Comcast Partnership
Good Question: How is the Moment Spring Starts Determined?
Defiance May Soon Pay Off for Couple Fined Over Negative Comments
PS4 Announces VR Headset, Google Makes Smartwatches and 2010 Tax Returns Still Available
GM Spokesperson: Loaners, Rentals Available to 1.6 Million Drivers Impacted by Recall
Google Wins Viacom Lawsuit, Walmart Wants Used Games and Microsoft's Stock Surges
Fake IRS Auditors Attempt to Rip Off Taxpayers
Retailers Asked to Stop Selling Tobacco, NYC Requires Sick Time and New Expiration Date Labels
Good Question: Are E-Cigarette Commercials Legal?
Low Utah Unemployment Rate, Graco Recall Expanded and High Tax Return Average
ACA Marketplace Confusion Leaves Adults Signed Up for Pediatric Dental Care
Target Continues Damage Control, Staples Closing Locations and Facebook Blocks Gun Advertisements
Popular Provo Road-Race Organizer Stiffs Winners
Gov. Gets Wiretap Bill from Sprint, Guns Are Selling Well and F.T.C. Cracks Down
Fur Coat Storage Company Vanishes with Several Expensive Coats
Utah Benefits From Reopening Parks, RadioShack Closing Locations, EPA Regulations and Potential ATM Hacking
Semi-Pro Football Players Question the Disappearance of League Fees
Drought Affects Grocery Prices, Free Checking Disappears and Bill Gates On Top Again
Good Question: "How Do Search Engines Determine Search Result Orders?"
Airlines Cut Bereavement Fares, Internet Usage Goes Mobile and Wells Fargo Cuts Jobs
Stolen Debit Card Used at Days after Victim Shops at Target
Delta Changes Frequent Fliers Program, Sprint in Trouble over Nude Pictures and Min Wage Battle Continues
California Scheme Leaves Utahn, National Hispanics out Hundreds
Target Breach TimeLine, Facebook Email Says Goodbye and House Prices on the Rise
Lifetime Warranty Abruptly Cancelled
Taco Bell Breakfast, Disney Resort Price Increase and New Alumni Tracking Software
Man Injured At Amusement Park Awaits Damages
Credit Restored for Consumer Fined for Negative Online Review
Postal Service Issues, Hot Pocket Recall and Netflix vs. Verizon
Ex-Federal Worker: Someone Forged My Official Gov. Documents
Alarm Customer Moves But Cannot Cancel Service
Improving Medication Information, Groupon Deal and I.R.S. Tax Update
Advertise with us!


Pay It Forward
Fresh Living
Family Matters
Road Trippin
Hooked On Utah

Advertise with us!