Code 3 Podcast: Are you ready to fight fire in the wildland/urban interface?

Orange County Fire Authority Chief Brian Fennessy talks about the “new normal” of structural and wildland firefighting crossover


If you’re a firefighter working in a city, typically going to structure fires, you’d probably rather not spending much time thinking about wildland fires. “That’s not my problem,” you might think to yourself. But it certainly becomes your problem when the flames reach the wildland/urban interface (WUI), which is happening much more frequently than in the past. That’s when you guys from the cities suddenly need to know all those wildland-specific resources, like the 18 Watch Out Situations, or be ready to go on a run that lasts 12-plus hours.

Welcome to the new normal.

In this podcast, we speak with Brian Fennessy – fire chief for the Orange County (California) Fire Authority, where he’s been at the helm since 2018. Chief Fennessy began his fire service career in 1978, serving as a hot shot crewmember with the U.S. Forest Service, working his way up to crew superintendent. In 1990, Fennessy joined the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department and became chief of that department in 2015. He has held multiple Incident Command System certifications and positions, and has also served on National Incident Management Teams.

Having lead Orange County and San Diego departments, Chief Fennessy has invaluable experience working in WUI areas, and managing the crossover between structural and wildland firefighting.

Listen to "Are You Ready for Firefighting in the WUI? with Brian Fennessy" on Spreaker.

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