When you say high ranking chiefs. What does that mean. High ranking from a large city where they have high rises & have or may have fought a high rise fire.
Or there high ranking chiefs in small dept. with no high rise experience. Could you tell us what depts. they are chiefs with.
As for the question. Both fires are hard ones to fight.
Depends, on the competence of the IC and other command staff working the wildfire, if they have no knowledge as many structural firefighters don't on all the variables that will effect the wildfire then yes it will be very dangerous, having experienced structural officers try to run a wild land incident often times I find it scary, with impending weather, wind, RH, Fuel type, Fuel Load, topography, fire activity, doing the basics: Anchor-Flank-Pinch, etc. are not utilized or taken in to count and monitored through the duration of the incident. However when your command group for wild land is experienced, and has quality person working under them, then most incidents are very safe. As far as a high rise goes, not ever having the opportunity to work one, just train, and preplan, again it depends. If your department trains on it, preplans for it, and has physical fitness as a high priority then I would say they are no more dangerous, but if your department is the opposite, has overweight out of shape FF's, no knowledge of the building layout, potential high risk areas, locations of standpipes and their condition, not utilizing the proper size equipment then it will be the departments worst day. Listen to or read District Chief Dave McGrail of Denver Fire Department operations of high rise fires, they have it planned to the T and train constantly, utilizing, 2.5inch hand lands for all high rise ops with physically capable FF's able to advance the lines. Like I said it all depends.
i believe a person does best at what they are comfortable with in my case i was born a wildland firefighter but i have just as many years in on the structure side as well but i still love my wildland and more comfortable doing it.
I would rather be, and in fact have taken part in, wildland firefighting. Then again, that's the area of expertise that I've been trained in. I guess it's all in what you get used to.
I think that there is no such thing as a safer fire. Any misstep along the way can get you killed. That being said, being from rural TX, I am comfortable in the wildland setting. Almost 90% of our calls last year were wildland. But I spent 20 years in the Navy and am comfortable (was anyway) fighting shipboard fires. It's all about training for what you have to deal with. For our department, our overriding concern is always water supply.
I don't see how anyone can really give a legit answer to this question. We can answer what we think is better as in what we prefer like a few have mentioned. Familiarity definitely helps. However like you've witnessed with the replies, no one can give a flat out answer about which is safer because it depends on the fire. A ripping high rise fire involving multiple floors is more dangerous than a small wild land fire in the middle of no where with easy access. However a giant out-of-control wild land fire involving a large area with lives and property being threatened is more dangerous than a high-rise that has a desk and small trash can lit up. So it will depend on the fire. You can't give a general answer.
In my city specifically, a high rise will typically be more dangerous because it can happen. A wild land fire is possible but very unlikely due to the fact that the majority of the city is extremely urban. We surprisingly had some brush fires this year but they would make those of you than do wild land for a living just laugh at the size. High rise fires are more common here being that we have the third largest downtown in the country and a population of 1.5 million during the day. There was actually a high rise fire in the city today where the department made multiple rescues from the third floor. They did a great job because that's what they are used to running. We aren't built for wild fires.
It makes no difference to me as long as I don't have to fight a wildland fire on the upper floors of a highrise building.
Now before someone jumps me about that comment...Yes it was meant to be humorous.
Man the world is a stupid place when we feel we need to explain humor so people won't lose their minds.
Heck Don I laughed at your first sentence before reading the rest.
No more stupid Don that a chief officer stating that he would not fight a wildland fire... There is many climate changes that have changed weather patterns and created dry arid climates that were once exempt from wildland fires. Many fire departments have been forced to rethink tactics and response capabilities, which yes includes being prepared and trained for wildland response.
Side Note: Love your humor! It's good to see that you have not changed Don.
The funniest part to me is the new fire station where I work has a grass roof. A LIVE grass roof. Could you imagine the call for a grass fire on the roof of the firehouse? Up goes th aeril and the ladder pipe to knock down the fire!!