The Campbell Prediction System
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Ventura County Fire Protection District has recognized a need and capitalized on an opportunity for new and innovative training in wildland fire behavior predictions and tactics development. Doug Campbell, a retired Forest Service Fire Control Officer and Qualified Fire Behavior Analyst had been retained in temporary employment and a beneficial partnership developed. Doug was asked to develop an 8-hour course in wildland fire fighting, for the Captains level. The course is what became called " THE CAMPBELL PREDICTION SYSTEM", or (CPS).

Ventura County Fire Officers recognized the CPS program as an improvement in wildland fire size up and tactics training. The Department tested the 8-hour version on the Battalion Chiefs and followed up by training Captains, Engineers, and fire fighters. The results were such that Chief officers and firefighters would comment about the usefulness of the training on the fireground.

The Department approved for practical application, the 8-hour course procedures and the prescribed burning version of CPS.

How could there be anything new and original in wildland fire behavior training? This department feels CPS is a leap ahead into the light.

Department personnel encouraged Campbell to write the course into a book. Campbell took the advice to heart and early in 1991 the book was finished.

Department personnel have been field testing CPS on wildland fires and prescribed burns in Ventura County for four years now. The training is practical in design and recognizes the situation that fire fighters are in during wildland and prescribed fires.

What began as an 8-hour lesson in the practical applications of fire behavior prediction and tactics selection, has now evolved into a 40 hour course covering the new and innovative system in detail. Scheduled for 1994, the CPS course will be the main portion of what the Department envisions as Ventura County's Wildland Fire Behavior and Tactics course. Having been trained in all the existing wildland fire courses available, the Department has chosen CPS and selected prerequisite basic fire training for their wildland fire training curriculum.

Unique parts of CPS are: the language devised to express the cause and potential of fire behavior changes; the concept of fuel flammability variations according to time and aspect; the potential of fire on fire affects and much more. All predictions made while engaged in action on the fire line. Learning what the fire behavior is telling you and when, where and why the intensity can change. Used on US Forest Service, California Department of Forestry and Fire, Ventura County Fire and National Park Service wildfires, the CPS has been tested on many of the historical wild fires since 1987.

It has been accepted as user friendly by Operations, Plans, the IC and firefighters. CPS is a new leading edge pushing the art further toward science of wildfire behavior prediction and tactics selection. Burnover accidents get a new treatment and are questioned for situation predictability.

Respected, experienced wildland firefighters become excited about this new insight. It enables them to express what they instinctively knew, but had no way to communicate to others. Class evaluations reveal that most agree that the CPS course should be adopted in their training program. In many other ways wildland firefighters have expressed their support for this training. Ventura County Fire Department is considering training qualified instructors to start in service instruction.

CPS is more than a subject taught in the classroom. The author is utilized in the Department's ICS overhead team as their Fire Behavior Analyst. The US Forest Service uses Campbell and his CPS on a regular basis.

Some of the Forest Service's other qualified Fire Behavior Analysts are beginning to use the tools and system on their assignments.

The Ventura County Fire Department endorses and recommends that other Fire Departments evaluate this program.

Campbell has a copyright on the book and it and the course is available directly from Doug Campbell.

Terry Raley
Wildland Fire Officer
Ventura County Fire Protection District

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