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FIRE FACTS: What is mop up?

September 8, 2023
News article

No, our firefighters are not out with mops and buckets, but the concept is the same. Mop-up is a wildland fire term that means "extinguishing or removing burning material near control lines, felling snags, and trenching logs to prevent rolling after an area has burned, to make a fire safe, or to reduce residual smoke."

Large logs can hold in heat for days after a wildfire moves through. If there is any unburned fuel, the residual heat can reignite the fire - which is called reburn.

Mop-up is the "non-glamorous" part of firefighting.But, it's critically important in the wildland firefighting process. Firefighters seek out hot spots and use hand tools to pull them apart, then use water to cool it down. The more mop-up is complete, the lower the chance will reburn or escape containment.