I am going to borrow this idea from the comments and expand it to a discussion.I know it is reasonably common in urban or suburban areas but out here in my neck of the woods it isn't all that common,but it does happen.
The one incident that pops into my head was one where we had 2 large structures(a large garage and a barn)that were both at least 50 % involved before we ever had any units on scene.It was a windy,low humidity day in the fall.Immeadiately behind the barn was about 25-30 acres of dry goldenrod,brush, and pines.
This was several years ago and I was either an assistant chief or captain at the time(I don't remember) and I was first on scene.Murphys Law started to come into play at this point.I called on location from my mobile radio then proceeded to do a walk around of the scene.I called in an update from my handheld ,at which point it went dead.Before I exited the vehicle I also asked that the next arriving engine set up water supply at a pond within sight of the fire.
The chief at the time then called enroute from somewhere(don't remember where)and asked that the water supply be moved from this pond to a lake approx. 3 miles away.One thing led to another and I was put in charge of the barn eventually.I had all the manpower and hoselines and engines I needed.I actually had guys sitting on junk cars waiting because we didn't have any water.Eventually the Chief of one of our MA depts. jumped me about not having water and I actually grabbed him by the arm and turned him around and showed him the pond.I (not so)calmly explained the situation to him and at least he got it at that point.(We are very good friends to this day).The whole time I'm asking our station for the brush unit because the wind was blowing right out over this giant field of brush and I could just picture having this whole field an fire on top of the two structures.Anyway,the field never did catch.
Point of the story is that initial setup and attack within the 1st ten to fifteen minutes of a call can make or break it.Other point is trust your subordinates until you can get there to see for yourself.
This subject is very interesting, especially for a firefighter in the northeast region where there are multi-family residences (3 deckers as they are called in Rhode Island). Several years ago, we had a job involving a three family residence. The heat was so intense the fire spread onto the exposure to the B side of the fire building (another 3 family residence), and melted street light across the street. This fire also melted siding of the exposures to the A and D sides of the fire building and damaged vehicles parked in front of the B side exposure. When we got there, I requested a deck gun with a variable tip on it, and directed the firefighters to use a fog pattern about 45 degress to only "rain down" on the expose that caught fire. The reason for the deck gun was to leave it unmanned since the electrical wires had caught fire and fell onto the street, and didnt want anyone in that area in case someone had a generator in the area who cut corners and didnt use the proper equipment to supply their home with electricty.
The short story is that this deck gun did limit the damage done to the B side exposure. By using the fog pattern, the fire was not pushed into the home and damage was limited to the exterior.
Here we are programed to use ICS, therefore the incident would have been broken into Divisions and groups, ie the wildland portion would be called Wildland Ops and assigned divisions, the structures would be under Structure Ops and the 2 structures would be assigned a division each, each division reports to the Ops and each Ops reports to the IC, the tasks are broken into managable groups so no one is overwhelmed. During the CA wildland season or during the recent events in NV, this is a common thing, The overall incident may encompass a large area, several sq miles, but each area is made small enghough to manage. Divisions are typically to cover a geographic area and Groups are assigned to a function.
I hope I didnt sidetrack from your intent.