Breaking it down: Fire terminology you need to know

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Fire officials have been giving updates all summer long, and some reports may have some unfamiliar words.

Oregon Hand Crew Hikes Off Fireline - Photo: Mike McMillan - DNR

Here’s a list of some commonly-used expressions and terms used in these briefings:

If officials say that 10 percent of a fire is contained, that means crews have a line around 10 percent of the fire. A line is what fire crews make to stop the fire’s initial spread. They often come in the forms of a dozer line or retardant line.

Rate of Spread of ROS:
The rate of spread refers to just how fast the fire is moving. Tim Mowry, public information officer with the Division of Forestry, brought up an example with the McKinley Fire. The blaze traveled quickly when it first started up because of high winds. Therefore, it had a high rate of spread. The rate of spread lowered once winds died back down.

Fire Footprint:
The footprint of the fire refers to the burn scar left behind. Often officials may refer to something like a “2,000-acre fire.” The footprint of that fire would be 2,000 acres. The DOF said often times that the full amount may not have burned due to untouched patches or landmarks such as lakes.

Ready, Set, Go:
The Ready, Set, Go plan is nationwide. It refers to the status that certain areas are in relating to evacuation efforts. If an area is in the Ready phase, DOF said it is possible that the fire can take 24 hours to get to that residence. At set, the time is now down to 12 hours and everything should be loaded up into the car. Go means evacuate immediately.

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