rupted water supply to hopefully allow for higher
flowing fire streams.
I was inspired to write this section by Battalion
Chief (Ret.) Mike Alder from the San Bernardino
City (CA) Fire Department. In a previous year,
the city had a devastating wildland fire called the
Panorama Fire that burned hundreds of homes. Alder
saw a need for a change in tactics to help prevent this
from happening again. He, along with his department members, developed the anchor and hold
tactics. These tactics were proven to be very effective
in the 2003 Old Fire that hit the city, as members
claim they saved hundreds of structures. In doing
my research, I met the chief and got permission from
him to seek improved water delivery capabilities for
anchor and hold tactics.
The anchor and hold tactics covered in this text
were developed using three phases of operations,
keeping safety and maximum efficiency as the goals.
They include the following:
1. Maximizing the water supply.
2. Stream performance.
3. Knockdown capabilities.
The basic firefighting strategy for anchor and hold
operations is to establish a water supply and initiate
an attack on the fire to achieve a quick knockdown
on the involved structures to stop or slow down the
threat of fire spread to exposures. The safest and most
efficient way to do this is with a blitz attack operation. A blitz attack involves hitting a body of fire
with an overwhelming amount of water to achieve a
knockdown as quickly as possible.
Based on the blitz attack concept, as well as the
type of tactics involved with fighting these fires, for
the most part fire streams will be directed from the
outside with the goal of getting quick knockdowns.
Simply stated, the higher the flow, the quicker the
There are two weapons of choice for this operation
when it comes to the attack unit. One is a standard
engine company with at least a three-inch deck gun,
which is the most common. Keep in mind that this
gun can be replaced with a 2,000-gallon-per-minute
(gpm) gun fairly easily and at a low cost, which
will allow for potential higher flows if available but
more importantly higher nozzle pressures because of
the gun being able to handle a 1,010-pound nozzle
reaction vs. a 631-pound nozzle reaction with the
standard 1,250-gpm gun. These high-pressure streams
(150 psi works best) work well in producing better
penetration as well as being able to perform better in
wind, which is almost always present at wildland fires.
The second weapon for this operation is a four-inch master stream mounted to a full-size pickup
truck with stacked tips ranging from 13⁄ 8 inch to two
inch, producing flows from 866 gpm to 1,455 gpm
with a 150-psi nozzle pressure.
The handlines are designed for large flow and
lighter in weight using two-inch hose with 2½-inch
couplings. The flows from the two-inch handlines
range from 250 gpm to 325 gpm. Again, this is based
on the ease of deployment because of the weight of
the hose when charged and the tactics the handlines
will be used with.
An engine company will always be placed at the
hydrant if it is in service and capable of the required
flows. The engine will be set up in a relay to the
attack unit. The reason for the relay is to maximize
the hydrant pressure and flow. Before deploying the
pumping apparatus and the supporting hose evolutions, it is helpful to know how much water is available for the operation.
A quick attack pickup truck flowing 1,455 gpm at 150 nozzle pressure.
(Photo by author.)
The unit at the hydrant should make its hookup with at least two LDH soft suctions. (Photo by author.)