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Fires - not to be trifled with!
Depending on your city, the fire hydrant pressure is delivered basically two ways. You use the pressure of the water tower (basically, take the height of the water tower and divide it by 2 (i.e. 120 feet / 2 = 60 PSI). Then comes the lose of the pressure from the pipe friction and size of pipe, which will get most hydrants on this type of system between 40-50PSI.

The second way to pressurize the system is to use inline pumps and for larger cities this is how they maintain their pressure and will run it from 80-150PSI depending on the system.

There is a third way which is a combination of both hydrants and inline pumps. Our city typically uses water tower for pressure, but has the ability to kick on pumps to increase the flow of water if there is a large fire. The reason they don't run the pumps all the time and keep the pressure higher, is parts of the water system is old and would induce leaks.

When you hook to a fire hydrant, you can basically figure 5 PSI lose of pressure for every section of hose (50 feet). Understanding that if you are going up hill or down hill that can change your friction lose.

In most communities, the fire hydrants are on main lines of 4" or greater (preferably 8" or greater) that feed the smaller lines going to houses and business. That is why when they flush hydrants annually, your water turns brown at your house for a few hours because they stir all the sediment up in the lines.

Never have fought a large forest fire, it is hard for me to imagine the amount of water that would be needed. We have had field fires, but generally you get the farmers to cut a row and that creates a fire break and all we would have to do is make sure nothing jumps and the fire is out. We don't have the large fuel sources that the dry brush provides for those fires out west. Plus, it helps that we aren't in a multi-year drought.
One of the big problems we had during the fires of '15 was no power for weeks. In our area there is NO city water, it's all private wells and they need power for the pumps. One of the daily chores we had was delivering fuel to the generators to run the pumps that supplied the sprinklers. This is further complicated by road closures, mandatory evacuation orders, having limited resources and manpower and the strategic coordination needed to get things where and WHEN they needed to be there.

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Our ordeal went along for several weeks. It was small for about five days then the wind kicked up and blew it ten miles to the north and then right back on top of us. It would be calm for a few days then it would be fanned back to life and spread at amazing speeds.

Folks become exhausted as there is always more to do than there are folks to do it. The official response did not arrive in sufficient numbers until most of the damage had already occurred and even then they were burdened with bureaucracy and logistical challenges that prevented them from acting quickly.

My take-away was the need for flexible response. Mike Tyson famously said, "Everyone has a plan 'till they get punched in the mouth." It's how you adapt after the SHTF that makes the difference. If your preparations have redundancies and mobility built into them, even better.

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