The Case of Mann Gulch
The case of Mann Gulch fire was a tragic one that left many with diversified views about its occurrence. It was assumed that the smokejumpers were highly trained crew well equipped with skills to stop raging fire of any kind. This was shown by the level of rigorousness applied in the recruitment and training process of the crew. However, the crew did not manage to contain the fire. Of the fifteen that were on the crew, only three made it and twelve perished in the incidence.
The cause of this tragic incidence was directed towards several reasons. By careful analysis of the case, it is clearly seen that the leadership of this crew was faulty. In this case, Mr. Dodge is seen to portray poor leadership in a number of ways. First and foremost, he took out his team to a mission without even proper familiarization with his crew members. He never knew even the names of the crew members but was supposed to command them. He only came to learn of their names in the field. Secondly, he was a quiet person which even made it had for him to build mutual and collaborative interactions with his crew. Thirdly, he never kept his crew intact by providing unified leadership. There were many cases of disunity that he was not sensitive to. Lastly, he was supposed to make his crew aware about his decisions which left them wondering the reason why he was lighting a backfire. Their decisions were out of ignorance.
Some other people see the fault to this problem in poor training of the crew members. Despite the fact that smoke jumpers are highly trained individuals, the crew on the Mann Gulch fire case lacked experience in fire fighting. Most of the people on the crew were young people who had lacked any form of experience in firefighting fire. This explains the reason why they panic was too high for them making them come up with wrong decisions. In this case, research made by urban fighters on performance of firefighters showed that experienced firefighters have their performance improved under high stress and uncertainty while those inexperienced have their performance decline under such conditions. This level of panic was also amplified by the level of disintegration witnessed in the crew. In such a case, it is very difficult to follow orders.
On matters of recommended approaches, it is important that crew leadership familiarizes with crew members and agree on collaborative operation before setting out on a mission. There is also need for the organizers to ensure that the selected crew comprises of a majority of experienced people as opposed having many of them new people to the task. There should also be rescue mechanisms put in place when a crew sets out for a mission of this kind regardless of the approximated seriousness of the fire incidence. This is because there are cases where the seriousness of fire incidence can be initially underestimated as it happened in this case. With this approach, such a tragic incidence will have less chances of occurring in the future.
Kottler, J amp. Englar-Carlson, M 2009, Learning Group Leadership: An Experiential Approach, Sage Publication, London.