Report: Washington Assistant Chief Killed in Burnover

Johnson was caught without his coat and was overtaken by flames


(Spring Coulee Fire Facilitated Learning Analysis)


Spring Coulee Fire Facilitated Learning Analysis

Sunday, September 1, 2019 dawned a beautiful day in the Okanogan Valley. Many of the area’s volunteer firefighters, including those from Okanogan County Fire District 3,were enjoying Labor Dayweekend with family and friends. When their pagers sounded, they were “toned out” to respond to a quick-moving fire in grass and brush, just off B/O Road and south of Okanogan, Washington. Within the joint jurisdiction of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources(DNR)and Okanogan Fire District 3, resources from both entities, partners, and neighboring districts responded.

The entire incident moved rapidly. The fire was reported just before 1600. Upon size-up by the Incident Commander at 1609, the fire was 5-10 acres in size, located in grass and brush, and spreading rapidly. Assistant Chief Christian Johnson arrived in B341(a 2012 Ford F450 Type 6 Brush Truck) at 1615. The MAYDAY was called at 1626 and a second radio call for assistance from a separate location was made at 1655. The fire was contained at 107 acres at approximately 1730.

Assistant Chief Johnson was seriously burned during the incident and succumbed to those injuries on October 2, 2019.

A Facilitated Learning Analysis (FLA) was initiated jointly by Okanogan County Fire District 3 and DNR shortly after the incident to help identify and share lessons that could be learned from the event. Personnel involved in the Spring Coulee Fire highlighted six core lessons.These lessons are focused on communications, training, medical pre-positioning and medical evacuation coordination, vehicles, access, and personal protective equipment.

The decision to develop and share the incident story was not made lightly. Ultimately, personnel involved in the incident, fire managers, and the family and friends of Assistant Chief Christian Johnson undertook this process to honor the life of a man deeply loved. We share this story and the emergent lessons in the spirit of growth from tragedy—we honor through learning.

Read the Report:

Spring Coulee Fire
September 1, 2019
Facilitated Learning Analysis


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