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Thursday, June 28, 2012

CAL FIRE GREEN SHEET: Private Hire Bulldozer Rollover


California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE)
Informational Summary Report of Serious CAL FIRE Injuries, Illnesses, Accidents and Near-Miss Incidents

Private Hire Bulldozer Rollover – Non Injury

Private Hire Bulldozer Rollover – Non Injury - Pond Incident 12-CA-MEU-003941                                                    
June 14th, 2012 Pond Incident 12-CA-MEU-003941

Pond Incident

Dozer Incident
CA-CNR - A Board of Review has not approved this Summary Report.  It is intended as a safety and 

training tool, an aid to preventing future occurrences, and to inform interested parties.  Because it 
is published on a short time frame, the information contained herein is subject to revision as 
further investigation is conducted and additional information is developed.

The following information is a preliminary summary of a near miss dozer incident that involved 
a private operator in the Mendocino Unit. The dozer rolled over on a steep, heavily wooded slope 
in thick smoky conditions while cutting dozer line on the Pond Incident. 

Location: The incident occurred on the east side of Highway 101, two miles north of Laytonville. The 
physical address of the property where the accident occurred is near 184 Pond Road, in Mendocino County, California. 
Temperature: 84 Degrees Fahrenheit
Relative Humidity: 25%
Winds: 12-15 MPH 
Fuel Type: Brush /Timber 
Loading: Fuel Model 5 and 8 (Manzanita and Needle Conifers)
Continuity: Contiguous fuels.
Topography: Heavily wooded, steep terrain.
Slope was estimated to be 88% at rollover site.
Fire Behavior:
Moderate Rate of Spread in ground fuels with occasional torching of Needle Conifers.
Significant short range spotting based on wind and receptive fuel beds.
Make and Model of Equipment:
2006 John Deere 750J
ICS Type II dozer

The fire occurred in an area of steep slopes, heavy fuels in a Wildland Urban Interface/Intermix
setting. The fire was spotting in areas due to winds, steep slopes and receptive fuel beds.

As the dozer operator took action along the road, he observed the fire had extended below the
road at a bend.

The operator attempted to flank the fire and tie a dozer line in between the two
road segments.

The operator stated the visibility was very poor due to heavy smoke lying down
in the area.

The operator stated as he began to climb uphill to tie the line in, the slopes became
very steep.

Due to the steepness of the slope, the operator made three unsuccessful attempts to
connect the line to the upper portion of the road.

On his third attempt to connect the line, the operator encountered a log in his path. As the
operator attempted to move the log, his dozer slid perpendicular to the slope, reducing the dozer

The operator then stated he attempted to make his way off the slope. As he
moved down the slope, he encountered a soft spot of soil which caused him to slide a short
distance downhill (approximately 10 feet).

The operator stated the slide caused his downhill tracks to settle on a loose root wad mass.

The operator said as he began to move the dozer the root wad mass acted like a fulcrum and flipped the dozer onto its side/top. The operator said he shut the dozer off and waited to ensure the dozer was done moving. Once he was confident it wasn’t moving any further, he released his seat belt and exited the dozer without any further incident.

The equipment operator self extricated himself from the dozer and did not complain of any 
The dozer has a bent grab handle on the right side of the cab. No other cosmetic damage was 
noted. The extent of the mechanical damage has yet to be determined.  

2006 John Deere 750J
ICS Type II dozer
• All firefighters need to continually weigh risk versus benefit in their strategy and tactics.
• Dozer Operators assigned to wildland incidents need to continually evaluate tactics and 
slopes when conducting direct or indirect line construction.
• Dozers should maintain constant communication with personnel on foot to assist in 
monitoring the slope and terrain.
• Hand crews, fire engine crews and other personnel on foot during fire line suppression 
efforts must remain aware of rolling rocks, debris, machinery and other hazards. 

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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