Date of Award

Spring 2004

Document Type



Communication Studies

First Advisor

Rick Moritz

Second Advisor

Linda MacCammon

Third Advisor

Dennis Wiedmann


Using the Thirtymile Fire Incident of 2001 in Washington and the Cramer Fire Incident of 2003 in Idaho as case studies, I investigate the communication between crews on each fire. I focus on the Thirtymile Fire Incident and how the deaths of four young firefighters resulted in a congressional hearing based on the rules and regulations firefighters must adhere to when on duty. The one major regulation implemented by firefighting agencies after the Thirtymile Fire Incident was based on officials blaming the deaths on the wrong causes that resulted in the creation of new regulations that would not prevent deaths at all. The proof that the new regulations did not prevent future deaths can be found in the Cramer Fire Incident, in which all persons adhered to the newest regulations, and still lost their lives. This paper’s focus is on how the vital role of communication in fighting fire is often one of the last things considered, especially as communication affects interaction.