Wildfire LLC: Texas Dozer Swamper Broken Leg

“I just killed somebody. I just killed my ground man.”


The juniper that the swamper was entangled in. Note the limbs that were removed during the patient extraction. (Wildfire Lessons Learned Center photo)


Wildfire Lessons Learned Center and Texas A&M Forest Service

On Sunday, January 17, 2021, Texas A&M Forest Service (TFS) resources responded to the Tractor Fire in Burnet County, Texas. During initial attack operations, a dozer swamper (ground man) suffered a broken leg after being entangled in brush being pushed by the dozer. The patient was extricated from the tree in which he was entangled and immediately transported to the hospital.

At 1407 on January 17, 2021, TFS resources were dispatched to the Tractor Fire in southern Burnet County. Resources included a type 2 dozer and crew with a DZIA (Eric), swamper (John), and an Incident Commander (David). David arrived on scene at 1611. John and David arrived with the transport and service truck at 1748. This delay was due to a miscommunication on the address of the fire. Unified command was established between the local fire department and TFS. Contact information was exchanged between David and the local IC, and all radio communications were moved to an interoperability channel.

Fire activity was minimal, but due to heavy fuel loading and forecasted winds, it was determined that the northern end of the fire needed to be secured. After briefing, the dozer crew began constructing direct fireline beginning on the left flank working toward the head of the fire. READ MORE


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