"THEY SAID IT" ARCHIVES
||Hey all! Its been a while since I have added my 2-cents worth. As one of
the folks from the east I am taking all the comments about the
conditioning and experience with a grain of salt. Yes there is some truth
to it! In 94 it took 2 days to get used to the higher altitude. Since here
in South Jersey with a elevation of maybe 300 ft above sea level, the air
density might be a little different. At 36 I can still bark with the young
dogs. It all boils down to physical conditioning. If you live in the
highest moutains and are out of shape how are you going to survive in a
firefighting environment? Next, I would like to agree with the comments
about crews not having enough experience in western fires. TO A CERTAIN
DEGREE! Many brother and sister firefighters have been going out
west for years. The problem lies in the fact that these people are now
advancing to higher positions.I have had 2 14 day tours out west .
Does that make me an experienced wildland firefighter? Maybe not in
terrain or other aspects of the west. I have been fighting wild land fires
for 15 years in the east with some fires becoming just as dangerous in
there own respect. We firefighters in the east do need the opportunities
to gain experience in the west. The only way is to go there! In 94 we
worked along side a hotshot crew from Oregon and was able not only to keep
up but successfully complete our objectives! From the many comments from
people here on this web page it seems that there is a lot of inexperience
with your own ranks in the west with retirement and people leaving the
fire service. When you folks started out is there any diffence than when
we started out? NO!
||Here's the main site to the Big Bar Complex: http://www.r5.fs.fed.us/shastatrinity/fire/big_bar_complex/big_bar_complex_index.htm
||To MOC 4546 concerning CDF crews being rotated out. CDF received a
Hazard Assessment and Sampling Plan from the USFS. This plan identified
ambient air quality issues within the Big Bar complex. It also included
daily readings obtained from air quality monitors located within the
surrounding fire areas. This same type of prolonged exposure to
firefighters last occurred in 1987 during the Klamath and Happy Camp
fires. Many CDF and USFS firefighters suffered sever respiratory
infections, pneumonia, and heath problems lasting many months after the
fires. After reviewing the hazard assessment and visiting the fire
area,the Deputy Director made the decision to rotate the CDF employees
on a 24 in / 48 hours out plan. After a 24 on the line the personnel
would be rotated to a clear area for 48 hours and then back for their
24. The Deputy Director advised the USFS of his intentions and indicated
that it would be invisible to them. ie CDF would provide all logistical
support required to make a smooth/invisible transition. It was important
to CDF to make this a non-disruptive as possible yet take care of its
employees health. USFS decided they were not interested in this
rotational plan and made arrangements to have CDF personnel replaced.
CDF also advised them we would continue to provide any and all resources
they needed. However they would be assigned on a rotational basis. USFS
several weeks ago discussed health hazards to its firefighters. They
looked into providing O2 tents for rehab of its personnel. However they
felt the expense was excessive. Thank you for your time. RC
||Hello all! Its been quite a long time since I've written;
life has been very busy working back to back to back 21's. I
too just made it home from the Big Bar. And I still have no
idea why I was there. I made it a little late in the game,
but what was the deal on this fire? For 2 1/2 weeks we did
nothing productive. Our crew sucked in so much smoke we had
to fill out exposure forms. I have never seen such low
morale levels in my life. It seemed like no one (management)
knew what was going on. The right hand had no clue what the
left hand was doing.
Another thing that bothered me about this fire was
safety. For those who were there, we worked in divisions
CC,CB near DP44 & DP30 areas during the night shift. I have
never seen so many vehicle accidents (I saw 5). The cause?
Asleep at the wheel. The first week, we averaged 2 to 3 hrs
of sleep. No one saw a problem with this untill we threatend
to pull our units off the fire for lack of sleep. I myself
almost fell asleep at the wheel; which I thank God nothing
bad happened. Not to mention my crew and I joked around one
night about the 10-18's. The first night we made it to the
line; we counted 7 watchout situations right in the spot we
were working. I think I heard somewhere if you count 3 (or
maybe its 4) you are in a very high probability being
injured. We had over 10 crews working in this area.
When we arrived in camp the first FIVE crews we talked
with to get some inside info and opinions literally all said
two words. Cluster F-. I don't mind dealing with the smoke,
living conditions, etc. I think that's WHY I do this. But
I've never left a fire feeling so confused. What happened?
The horse you talked to didn't tell you the truth. Big Bar and the
Alps are FS AND CDF country. CDF has a 4 crew camp above
and 4 or 5 engine stations up there. The word from CDF' s
Director on 24 in 48 out had nothing to do with terrain or how the fire
acting. It was the air quality/ smoke. In '87 they had air quality devices
taken to the fire that showed how bad it was. This time the quality
sampling was done by FS and showed it was as bad or worse. Sounds to
like a good decision re: safety and long term effects on permenent staff.
To bad every one wasn't as careful or apparently concerned.
||Thanks to Pathfinder for a mighty fine pic of a sturgeon on the Rec
||I have never heard of a dispatch center telling fire crews after they
arrive at an incident that they are not to take action. I don't
that we are getting the entire story about this incident. I agree
the statement that the blasting crews may have prevented them from
taking action if there were still live blasting caps or other explosives
in the area, that would make sense. As we all know there is nothing
worth risking your life over. I believe that dispatchers across the
country would take offense at the statement from Benefield. We do
provide a lot of information and resources for you, we do take care of
you, and we do try to look out for the best interest of the fire
fighters on the ground. I know from being on the ground myself,
a good dispatcher look out for you can mean a lot. There are a lot
us who have been on the ground and know what is needed and when you are
going to need it the most.
I have also worked with some great firefighters from the east, and yes
some have boots with out lug soles, but we all do it because we love
what we do.
I participated in the Seige of '87 in California, it sucked, the smoke
the steep terrain, the drug plantations....We all survived it, and we
all still talk about it. I think we should thank the ones who
endure it this year, and wish all that are still there "God
getting home to their families safe and sound, and hopefully healthy.
|| Hi Ab, just got back from the Big Bar
Complex, saw all the new posts and just had to say something. First, If I
am a captain on an engine, I
roll up on anything, be it a fire, accident,
public assist, I will stop and act, regardless of the jurisdiction, that
is what is expected of me by the
public, whom I serve. If someone wants to get in
my face, fine, I will know I did my job, I can take abuse, I just wont
take it personally. Second,
the east coast vs. west coast debate. While
the east coast can field some fine troops ( I myself worked in NH for the
FS for 2 years) they lack
the experience and sometimes the lungs for our
terrain. Example, as a strike team leader in Oregon, I had 2 FS type
II crews from Oklahoma,
though they were a great bunch, they just couldnt
handle the elevation and the higher I got them up the hill, the quicker
they were dropping.
Another aspect was the crewbosses, they had good
management skills and met all the quals, they still had too little
experience to be thrown
into more than moderate fire conditions. As an R5
firefighter for 15 years, you cant tell me that with 1, maybe 2 trips out
west every year, these
folks are going to gain the kind of experience to
deal effectively with our fire conditions, I wont buy it. Though I love my
eastern, southern (
yes I sweated my buns off in Florida, but I did
what you do there too, I turned on the AC in my truck!) and midwestern
bro's and sisters, We
are different and the only way to find out is to
come out here for a few summers, work on a shot crew, engine or rotor
wing, and just compare.
By the way I have been to fires in Maine, NH, NY,
FL, WI and every state west of the divide on fires. How about getting us
out on some
eastern fires so these westerners can know what
black flies, chiggers and fire swatters are all about?? We are all
in this together, just remember
||re: Derek letter.
I suspect not all the facts are on the table here. He said a
crew accidently started the fire. Was there a possibility of some
explosive remaining? Was the area secure from now unstable trees or
At military firing ranges across the country fires frequently start.
Almost all of them have a 'no ground attack' policy. The best nomex
won't stop shrapnel from an anti-personnel weapon. Derek may have
encountered a similar situation.
The common saying among all fire agencies is there is not bush or tree
worth someone's life. If Derek's crew was prevented from direct
on the fire I wonder if Derek was briefed on the whole situation. I
have a strong disbelief it was a turf battle.
Here's what I found out. CDF told the Forest Service
that they would
send resources to the Big Bar incident, but only if the crews were put
on a 24 hr on, and 48 hour off shift schedule. A lot of it came down to
how nasty that country is during the day or the night and what was being
done on the fire. That is what I heard from the horse's mouth. Although
after last night's rains, it may be a moot point.
||I've heard a few question whether or not an IHC crew would actually say
"Don't send us back to Big Bar". Well, it is true, a friend of
on an IHC crew just returned home for R&R after their second trip to
the Big Bar. The superintendent stated that if, after their R&R, they
were offered an assignment to Big Bar he would most definitely (his words
are unprintable) turn the assignment down.
To tell you the truth, I'm damn glad I'm not there. After sucking all
that smoke for days on end and now with the rain, there will most
definitely be some very sick firefighters.............firegirl
||I agree that you are a product of your enviroment, but if you are in
physical condition then it won't take long to adjust to the changes in a
different environment. The point I'd like to make about the Eastern
that if you can cut line in the rocks, Mountain Laurel, Grape Vines and
anything else you can think of in Pa, Md, etc. than you can cut line
anywhere else. There's alot of us here in the East that are itching
||Wow! To stereotype all eastern crews on a single event 22 years ago is
unreal. To follow up by recommending to western managers to
before filling resource requests with eastern crews is even ridiculous.
in the Southeast could typify many western crews by observations in
a couple years ago, but after a few days of adjustment to the oppressive
humidity and wet, swampy terrain...it's all good for everyone.
I hope all the eastern crews that sat fire-ready at home this year were
victims of regional prejudices.
That's my .02
Some interesting information just came my way about the Big Bar
It was just like the Klamath and Happy Camp in '87 with the same bad
it be said almost deadly?) smoke concentrations for Firefighters.
Apparently this information was contained in the USFS Hazard Assessment
Sampling Plan. One set of samples came out like this for 21 October;
hrs. 450 ppm, 1200 hrs. 439 ppm, 1600 hrs. 610 ppm, 2000 hrs.
2400 hrs. 852 ppm, 0400 hrs. 822 ppm, 0700 hrs. 702ppm.
What does this
mean? According to the source the standard air quality index
Hazardous at 429 ppm. and "....potential health effects are serious
respiratory symptoms and aggravation in sensitive people; respiratory
effects likely in others." it further states "The health
list, everyone should avoid any outdoor activity and remain indoors or
Apparently the USFS discussed the health hazard to fire fighters
weeks ago and looked into providing oxygen tents. It was felt the
A quote from the original info source continues In '87
employees suffered severe respiratory infections, pneumonia, and other
health problems lasting many months after the fires."
Brothers and sisters, when you finally get home, take it easy and
your strength, take your vitamins, eat nutritious foods, and go to the
doctor at the first sign of respiratory problems. I didn't in '87 but did
when I started coughing up blood and my sides hurt so bad I thought I'd
broken some ribs.
||Has anyone else read the Aerial Delivered Firefighter Study (ADFF Study)
? I find it just a little disturbing. A 2 to 1 cost advantage of jumpers
helitack. I can not help but wonder if there are serious flaws to the
study. I realize that jumpers have cheaper transportation and generally
more jumpers per fire, but more often than not how do they get picked up?
What about the work helicopters do upon arrival to fires. ie: bucket work,
cargo transport, or transport of local personnel to the fire. I really
have a hard time reasoning how the addition of one airplane and 30 jumpers
have a 2 to 1 cost advantage over 3 helicopters and 30 rappelers. I hope
someone can explain this. Maybe I'm just an old rotorhead worried about my
||OK, all discussion is off, why you ask?...because it's raining.
at my NFDRS station in 8 hours and still going. Katybar the door
and turn out the lights....the fat lady be singing. It may indeed
this week, but not enough to start things up again. Good news for
Bar effort. Looks like the rain line is about Bay Area and north.
Yessss. . . Ab!
||Uh-oh, Ab---I'm sure you've hit a nerve with many eastern-types,
did say "at the risk of offending some folks..." I think
it's not offense
has come across, but misunderstanding of eastern fire situations.
wildfire I've been on this year in the east has been in extremely steep
country. In fact, on most of these fires as we were breathlessly
way uphill we were heard more than once to say "and they say we don't
slopes in the east. What the &$%*#@ is this??" You
may have us on the
elevation, but we've got steeper slopes and hillier country than you might
imagine. Awfully big assumption too to say, "most of them had
never even seen
mountains like those on the Klamath which loomed 7,000+ feet above
us", or to
base all of your knowledge of eastern resources on one crew. The
met and worked with in the east are conditioned to the humidity here, in
addition to the rugged terrain, and perform at or near the same levels
seen on several Type II crews out west. Plus, large numbers have
west on many details before, many come from western fire backgrounds to
with, and certainly more than a few of us have seen mountains over 10,000
I'm surprised after all the talk on this site about "interagency
and how firefighters need to get actually sent to fires to get experience
you would make such comments about easterners. In fact, I'm sure
Florida both this year and in 1998 got a kick out of seeing
western firefighters sweat and groan in what was, for them, low humidity.
I will give you that we may not see as much fire, but we are not out
training and conditioning and maintaining our equipment, caches, training
programs, and so on so that we can sit here and watch when the country has
nasty fire season. 1994 saw many eastern crews head west, but for
we didn't seem to see this in 99 (probably because we were too busy with
own fires). I think it's a shame that we have so much time, talent,
experience waiting around, and people who may hold the same assumptions as
yourself nervous about ordering eastern crews. I'm not speaking for
east coast, and I can't vouch for every eastern crew or overhead person or
anything, but when everyone in your side of the country is dead tired and
out from a busy fire season is it safe to keep relying on those same tired
resources? Or maybe it wouldn't hurt to look at another area of the
where firefighters are chomping at the bit to get some experience, to see
fire, to fill task books, and to see exactly how different your steep
are from ours, cuz I bet they're just as wretched.
I'm not trying to sound argumentative, but with so much emphasis on how
wildland fire should be an interagency effort, it seems like that's what
ought to be. I was just very surprised to hear such divisive
all the talk on this site seems focused on getting away from that
and we're-better-than-you stuff. Thanks for the board, though...
lots of us
out here in the southeast check it regularly--since we've got so much free
time! : )
Ouch! Thanks firechick, for your well written, friendly, and
slightly pointed message regarding my post this morning.
Let me clear a few things up. First, I refute the inference
that Abercrombie promotes or said anything encouraging divisive,
interagency comments. Although I neglected to mention it in my early
morning post, the Hog fire was a USFS fire and the Southeast crew I
refered to was a USFS Type II crew. No inter-agency bickering or
divisiveness going on here, the crew I observed just wasn't prepared.
I also appreciate your reference to "steep" slopes and
"hilly" country from the fires you've been on this year! I
think all wildland firefighters can appreciate the reference to
"difficult terrain" when they see it in a SIT Report, and even
first year firefighters know that escaped fires mainly rely on either
slope and/or wind. My point on this subject was that some hills are
much higher than others and can take a lot longer to climb.
Finally, I appreciate your helping me out on my main point wherein
your message you state that the folks in Florida watched the "western
firefighters sweat and groan" the last two years due to the humidity.
I'll go down now and cut & paste a statement from my post this
morning, here it is, "you gott'a remember you're a product of your
environment". With this statement I was addressing the
issue of a prior message here on the board where the author wondered why
NICC doesn't sent more requests to aquire additionial Eastern resources.
Although my focus in this statement was on East coming to West and the
possible difficulties awaiting them, I'm informed and in this same
"They Said" space I have relayed stories of the differnces and
difficulties of Western crews/engines deploying in the East.
||I found the Derek letter rather interesting.
Obviously a situation whereby the initial attack resources should have
employed a little more situational awareness and a little less
"incident command by dispatch console" (that's ICBDC for
those who need another acronym).
The moral of the story is- stabilize the situation when it is easiest and
safest to do so, then
you can play the political games. This requires another acronym to
be employed-OG (Operational Gonads). OG requires experience and a
strong sense of situational awareness,that can withstand both external and
internal scrutiny. If our initial attack IC's fail to command, based
upon their first-hand xposure to the incident, then dispatchers will
continue to do so by braille. This is not to say that dispatchers
are evil people, many are outstanding at ICBDC.
But that should not excuse us from our responsibilities to promote reason
and sound fire suppression tactics.
The way I read Derek's letter is that there were USFS personnel
"on-scene" preventing them from taking action. When Derek
said they, "would not let us take action", I can only wonder how
far the crew would go to enforce their statement, perhaps there was a
grader or dozer parked across the road. A younger, inexperienced
Captain might not have the chutzpah to tell a grizzled roadcrew gang with
a truck load of dynamite to get out of the way. If the events
happened as Derek saw it, I suspect, and hope the impeding crew are still
picking tar & feathers off their arses! Ab
I continue to enjoy this page.
However there have been disturbing topics. To be specific the one from
concerning the ODF and FS situation.....I was under the impression that we
all have graduated to interagency cooperation and mutual aid agreements,
this is disturbing , not only in the fact that someone failed in initial
attack, failed to do just whats right , failed to do something no matter
whos juristiction. Whats up here?
Have we not graduated from the old thinking of its MINE dont touch it.
Although Derek didnt say WHO told them not to take action I still have a
difficult time believing........
Another is the topic of the Shasta T fires and resource orders....
Yes there are orders outstanding, for multiples of everything.....
when was the last time you remember this magnitude of ordering to North
in October????? Not in my career, South yes but north.....no.
I have crew
persons who have taken layoff at the end of the last Pay period saying
this has been long enough, I need to go on with life" and they have
OT from a northeast cali engine crew!!!!!!Im in use or loose time now
and we have 1000's of acres slated for the fall burn season (if it
Burnout is a factor!!!! I urge the overhead and NORTH OPS to go the NICC
get em from east if they are available!!!!
This may be their chance to come west! Who is left that hasnt had a fill
the 99 season????? And yes some ranger units have said no to sending
resources to the Shasta, either on reassignment or initial orders, why?
Your guess is a good as mine except for the desire to go on and get the
log of work done , rain and weather permitting.
I agree that we all need to do our share and I have with filling 7 OH
positions and 5 off forest assignments with my engine this year. Now I
to take time off to get myself and my home in shape....Winter is coming
it will suprise us all if we dont get it together.
I send my gratitude to all that have sacrificed thier personal lives and
time to support the efforts the year, believe me it had been a unique
here in north zone, one we will chalk up right there with 87 and all of
Above all.... remember our brothers and sisters who have given the
sacrifice, they are the heart and soul of us.... Do not forget that
can happen, at any time...... Be safe all of you, my brothers and sisters
fire suppression where ever you may be.....
R5 Fire Capt
Thanks for your open and honest letter Cap'n! Yer right about
the shortage of resources and the burned-out look I've seen in quite a few
firefighters lately. On my forest, most of the non-suppression
personnel have been pulled or withdrawn from the ranks of availability.
There's a huge backlog of work waiting for these folks and on that note,
I'd like to personally congradulate them for all their efforts this year.
Without the myriad effects of their support, a fire camp could be a very
ugly place. Lot's of of hungry, tired, dirty firefighters facing
lack of equipment and pay problems (I know, this scenario may seem
typical, but it could be much, much worse).
Regarding your and Firehorse's comments on handcrews to the Big Bar
Complex, I can believe there are IHC crews who would rather fight fire
elsewhere. But, I find it difficult at best, to believe any IHC
Superintendant would be overheard saying they didn't want to go.
Also, the idea of requesting handcrew resources from the east may
pose additional problems. At the risk of offending some folks, and I
don't mean any disrespect, I recall taking a bus ride from fire camp to a
drop point with a crew from the extreme southeast during the Hogg fire of
1978. As I was noticing their footware, which consisted of older,
wornout, non-supportive brands, I also watched their faces as they saw,
for the first time, the terrain we would soon be ascending. Most of
them had never even seen mountains like those on the Klamath which loomed
7,000+ feet above us, let alone spend the day hiking up them. Their
jaws were literally dropping in amazement as they were given a last minute
briefing prior to departing the drop point. Within the first hour of
the hike their crew was beginning to slow, after the second hour they were
lagging behind, by lunch they were a memory, punctuated with occasional
radio requestes for volunteered moleskin deliveries. While they all
appeared to be tough looking and in good shape, you gott'a remember you're
a product of your environment. Topography, altitude, and weather, in
addition to daily conditioning combine to prepare resources to complete
their objectives. I'm sure this crew performed admirably on their
home unit, but it ain't the same in the Northwest as the Southeast.
The point is. . . there just aren't enough of the proper resources to meet
the needs and ya can't just go grab a crew and throw 'em on the line
without evaluating their abilities. Now you probably knew all this
already, but I think it bears rememberance.
Word of moderate to heavy rains in the far north of R5 yesterday
with some spreading to the lower north today, although longer range is for
more above normal temps without precip. Ab sez, "let the rains
||AB - Looks like fire season is finally over here in SW Oregon.
Rained fairly good last night and today. More rain predicted for
tomorrow. Most of the
ODF folks will probably be laid off by the end of this week.
Talked with one of our FMO's that recently returned from the Kirk Complex
(DIVS with NW IMT). He said some of the IHC crews (Did not say which
ones) on the North Kirk were asking not to be sent to the Big Bar complex.
Kinda ties into what MOC4546 was saying earlier? Rumor up here in SW
Oregon is the La Nina is going to make for a dry Fall/Winter in South
Zone. What is the word from Southern Cal? Was last there
in '93 for the
Firestorm (Not to be confused with the sorry movie of the same name!
Made me embarrassed to be an ex-jumper.)
Currently, initial attack activity in So-Cal is light. . .although
Santa Ana season looms. Ab
||I think your web site is great. I love firefighting, I am currently a
Volunteer firefighter/EMT-B in Sullivan County Pennsylvania. I have
never seen the kind of fires that are pictured on your site, but I have
seen some wild stuff. We believe that we should attack the fire, when on
scene. Its better not to wait for the air tankers from the PA, DCNR (
Department of Conservation, and Natural Recourses). The largest fire we
have ever seen was a 500 acre forest fire, that burned 5 days before it
was finally realized that it might be a serious problem. Our area is
very rural, and heavily wooded. We rely on a single Fire Lookout tower
for our 450sq mile area. I noticed that your page did not include a
tower. So I am sending you a pic. It is located on the SGL 13, in
Ricketts Glen State Park. This is one of eleven area towers, that are
still active. We also drive around the mountain tops with glasses,
looking for spot fires, and spotting smokes. The only wildland
firefighting equip. is about 6 Indian Packs, three fire rakes, and a few
fire swatters. I tried to send a view off the cab, but the panorama did
not load. Well, there is tones coming off the receiver, so I better go!
Thanks for reading my letter, and I hope my pic is helpful.
Enjoyed your letter C.M., but the pic didn't arrive with it.
Please send again. Ab.
||Sonoma County sent a strike team (planned need) out about 2:00 am
Sunday 10/24/99. The report from
up North is that the team is supporting
a firing out operation, location is unknown. Have no idea how long
will be up there. (Keep up the good
Local agency vol. eng.
||I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction. I am
currently a student at Lake Superior State University finishing my
bachlors in fire science. I am doing a study on the monitary value
prescibed fires vs. wildland fires. If youhave any info please
||On Saturday October 16 a volunteer fire fighter (Karen J.
fatally injured in the suppression efforts of the Jones Fire in Northern
She left behind two small girls Anna (10) and Emme (6).
Donations are being accepted at :
North Valley Bank
Weaverville, Ca. 96093
Lets remember that anything
can happen, heads up brothers and
want to go to another funeral!
||I just heard a bizarre report from my fellows in CDF, that fire camps
and agencies are withholding resources from going to the Big Bar Fire in
California (Region 5). It was told to me that resourse requests for the
Big Bar Incedent (which has been going since August 23) are severely
backlogged in being filled. A large reason is that other fires are able
to release more engines and crews, but have told them you can stay here
and mop up until its finished or you can go to Big Bar. Crews and
engines are being held for less important reasons it is said because of
how nasty the terrain is and other reasons. I hope this is not true,
because we are now in the season where crews are beginning to be laid
off. If you need engines and crew for this fire start pushing harder, or
start calling the smaller agencies who are starting to lay off people.
Some parts of your comments sound a bit dubious, but other parts I
know are true. There are many outstanding requests for
resources for the Big Bar Complex. I also saw Saturday that two R5
Hotshot crews had been disbanded for the season, one being the Lassen, but
I forget the other. I'm not sure how this happened when I'm aware of
another R5 Hotshot crew returning home for two days r&r, then going
back to the Complex for another 21. However, one reason could be
that gov't agencies and private agencies alike are finding it difficult to
field complete modules due to a shortage of qualified crewmembers. A
large percent of them have returned to college. I can't comment on
resources being given a choice of mopping up or being assigned to the Big
Bar, sounds kinda silly though. Ab
||I'm looking for a web site or info on how to order s-series level
books for home study prior to taking the class. I work for a
fire dept. so I have lots of reading time. I'm trying to learn all I
prior to taking the class. If anybody can help me and my crew would
grateful. Ab, keep up the good work on the site.
Doorsmaurer@hotmail.com or Blunders12@aol.com
Thanks Doorsmaurer. .
The following text was copied from
"For self-paced courses in S-260, 261, 262, 263, 264, 266, I-100,
248, 252, 253, 256, 259, 342, 359, 362, 363 and D-105, contact Cindy
Steger, Northeast Area Training at (715) 365 8931"
||In response to Jim Gobel WI-DNR, Boise will as they update courses put
them into powerpoint. I talked to them last week about getting the
slides from S-290 into CD-Rom and that may happen when they update the
course. Otherwise it is each of us doing each of the courses
ourselves. I just spent 4 days doing S-190/S-130 converting into
Power Point, have other classes somewhat done, but time is money and as a
FS employee have little of either. Best guess is to trade back &
forth for courses at this point.
Training Battalion Chief
Los Padres NF
||You know that old saying: ....no good deed goes unpunished? Well,
agoI put together (with the gracious assistance of some of you out there)
power point programs for all or parts of the S130 & S190 courses. They
out well enough that now I am tasked to do the same with 290 & 390.
anyone you have anything with these courses in ppt that you are willing to
share? Im also wondering, for anyone who is in the loop, if the fed
government is gonna start putting together their standard courses in
powerpoint or similar formats.
Thanks, and be safe out there
810 Maple St.
On the forest I work, we rely heavily on cooperating agencies for IA
suppression resources. These agencies include CDF, BLM, and two
adjoining forests. While there have been mutual aid agreements for
years, two years ago we went a step further and initiated a policy we
termed "automatic aid". Now, during an initial dispatch in
previously agreed upon areas, the responsible agency may directly dispatch
anothers resources. All that is needed logistically is for the
individual resources to monitor the different agencies frequencies.
For example, when another agency dispatches one of our engines, the
requested engine simply advises our dispatcher of the response as they
begin rolling. We've found this to decrease the getaway time lag
compared to a formal telephone request by as much as 10-15 minutes.
It should be known without saying, but yes, the first unit on scene
attacks the fire!
The main hurdle to implementing this policy during opening discussions
were a few Battatlion and Division Chiefs who felt they were losing
authority for some of their protection areas. As they now realize,
all that's happened is they're getting more resources arriving a lot
quicker than they used to. It took several meetings and a new formal
agreement, but now all shared resources have maps delineating exactly
where they can be dispatched on each agencies auto aid areas. In the
case of our forest being on a district lightning plan, the cooperating
agencies are advised of the situation and that all requests will need to
go through our dispatch office. Works for us. Bear
I have found over the last decade that it is usually one person near or at
the top that can propagate the type of rediculous "that's our fire,
touch it!" kind of attitude. In most every case, whether I have
an incident that is ODF protected, FS, or BLM (I work for BLM) action is
taken immediately. In one ODF area of the state, however, the head
very territorial. I was once told to take no action on a little 10 x
lightning struck fir and wait for a state engine to travel the 2 hours it
would take to get there so they could extinguish it. Now it was no
deal. It certainly was not going anywhere. But the head guy in
is just very hard-headed. We could have taken care of it in an hour
and saved them a headache of a 4 hour round trip. Everywhere else I
been it is always the closest resource dispatched and a state engine may
released from a BLM fire after other resources arrive, but would certainly
never be told to wait until a BLM engine arrived on scene to take action.
So what I have seen is a lot of good people being forced to follow one
person's misguided leadership.
I'm curious what unit you were working for where the story you
described happened. Having worked in R6 since 1985 before migrating to
R5 this past year, I had the opportunity to work alongside many different
agencies -- ODF being a key partner in fire suppression efforts in
my 'old' stomping grounds. We had an excellent interagency program and
cooperative efforts were vital to meeting objectives, regardless
of who was supplying the firefighters and equipment (fed, state, private,
I have never come across a situation as you have described, and if
there were anything I would whine about it would be the 'white trucks'
failing to let us know when and where they suppressed a fire on our turf,
and not inviting us to the party on own forest. However, my
experiences are limited mostly to the eastern portion of the state.
||Regarding portal-to-portal pay. I understand this is a dead
issue......but, if p-p were implemented as straight time only (no H
or overtime) then a 21 day assignment would result in 504 hours of pay.
As an alternative scenario, 21 days of 16 hour shifts with Hazard pay
every day will yield 528 equivalent hours of pay (do the math).
Question is: When is the last time you had that kind of 21 day
Subtract the days of travel, R&R, short (10-14 hour ) shifts,
mop-up shifts......and you come no where near the portal to portal
yield. Feds figure 2086 hours make a year's pay. As a
fire staff officer, if I could offer the troops the equivalent of
one-quarter of their annual salary for a single 3 week detail, I
would not have recruitment problems, I would have to beat them off the bus
In the meantime, stay safe out there.
Fire Staff Officer
Hiawatha & Ottawa NF's
||I am fairly new to the PC/Internet world and only recently stumbled on
your "They Said" page. Have found some of the commentary
Guess I am out of touch with the apparent FS/CDF controversy that seems to
take up a considerable amount of time and space. The last time I
with CDF was on the Specimen fire on the Klamath NF in '94. All the
personnel on my Division were CDF (I was FS) and they were all outstanding
individuals, both overhead and crews. At that time I first heard of
"Portal to Portal" and the motel issue. We happened to be
too far from the nearest
motel so all the CDF folks stayed in camp. Did not hear a complaint
from any of them. Checked on the "Portal to Portal" issue
when I got back to my
home unit. Our Fire Staff was very familiar with it having been
involved in a study for the FS. According to him, in the long run it
would not only save
the government money, it would also cost the firefighter on the line money
out of their pocket. No OT and no hazard! No, I do not
remember all the
details, nor do I bring this up to keep this burr under someones saddle.
Just some food for thought and to let folks know things are not always as
I recently read the book "Fire On The Mountain" and found it to
be an excellent book. It confirmed some things I had previously
heard from a close
friend familiar with the problems between BLM's Grand Junction District
and the Western Slope Coordination Center (Pg 25). Would highly
recommend this book to anyone currently in the wildland fire business or
anyone that thinks they may want to get into the business. If
nothing else it
has taught me the very important need to document, document, document!!!
This leads into the letter from Derek concerning the Thomas Fire and his
concerns about being first on scene and being told it was FS land and to
stanby. Although I do not know all the details, that sort of
not be tolerated in any wildland fire organization whether it be federal,
state, city or private. In the area I work the FS and Oregon
Forestry work very closely together. Our dispatch center is staffed
by ODF personnel and dispatches for both ODF and FS out of a federal
When I was the AFMO, the first engine onscene for a Forest Service fire
was the IC. Made no difference if it was FS or ODF. 80% of the
time in a
mutual aid block, the ODF was first to fires on FS land. The public
does not care if the fire is on ODF protected or FS protected land, nor do
who puts the fire out. All they know is they are paying for a
service and they could care less who provides it. Whether it is a
green engine or a white
engine means nothing to the public. They simply want the fire put
out in a safe and cost efficient manner. If what Derek says is true,
should roll; but I would not hold my breath. This is the first I
have heard of this and would be interested if anyone out there has more
Your web page is now "Number One" on my list of favorites and I
check "They Said" a couple times each week. Keep up the
Thanks fer yer response Firehorse! I found the Derek letter
pretty disturbing and have bit my tounge several times today awaiting any
informed response from other readers. I'm still waiting
for any authoritive response. I want to have a hard time believing
the events Derek described, but I fear it may have happened. I agree
with your assesment of the public not caring who puts the fire out.
It's certain they don't care who does it, but they pay taxes for someone
to do it! Unfortunately, most of the general public pays little
attention until their own house is threatened.
It seems to me, with the obvious increase in fire and fuel danger
due to "past fire policies" the budget should be increasing, not
disappearing. What's happening here? Is the current Congress
going to punish the taxpaying public for the mistakes make by a prior
Congress? The old Congress reaped the short term benefits of
supporting jobs in the timber industry. Who's the real loser here
now? I'm sick of hearing and seeing articles such as, "past
federal policies of wildland suppression have lead to the accumulation of
vast amounts of fuels in our National Forests"! Who created the
directives for the Forest Service managers during those "past
years"? Why don't we have enough resources anymore to protect
the public" Then again, perhaps there's even more unanswered
questions than initially apparent. I refer to the House Subcommittee
on Appropriations for the Interior and Related Agencies as they question
Mike Dombeck, Chief of the Frest Service, at a hearing earlier this year.
This document resides in the Hot Air page and is available here: Dombeck
3-99. My forest last year was at about -57% of maximum effective
level. This year, who knows. Ab.
||More new stuff! Have added a page for links to important archived
mesages and/or documents. For now, the only link is from the main
page under Hot Air. As I was browsing through the site today I
noticed there were many documents I considered highly important and would
prefer they remain available for quick perusing. Rather than leave
them wasting in the archives of "they said it", I created a new
page wherein I will maintain ready access to items I consider crucial to
the future of the wildland firegfighter, regardless of when they were
written. As I have time to scruinize the archives of "they said
it" I suspect I will be adding more to the page. See it here:
That is an interesting problem, and not very effective if an agency
means to "hit e'm hard and keep e'm small". I would ask
officers if there is a problem with your local agreements in regards to
authority and pay. I hate to think two engines are sitting with a
starting to escape control right in front of them. The prudent
course, would have been to attack the fire. Unless, the value of the
is not worth anything, then, of course, the prudent thing would have been
to go home and watch football.
||With a couple of days off, I've done some redesigning of the web site.
Main events include overhauling of the photo pages, updates to pcprograms,
correcting bad links, and a new Recreation
page. The main photo page now just has links to the other photo
pages instead of having to wait for all the misc. photos to load.
There is also another guest page (guest3)
with a few new pics. I apologize, but I lost the information for the
first three photos. If the person who sent them in will advise, I
will give credit on the description page. The Recreation page is a
page I thought might generate interest during the off season when there
isn't much fire info worth discussing and/or ya just want to brag about
something by showing off a pic. I'm also working on a logo for the
site and a design for t-shirts/hats. Ideas for possible designs are
||This summer I worked on an engine crew for the Oregon Department of
Forestry. It was a great experience for me yet being around fire my
whole life I was dissapointed by the way that all the different agencies
bicker back and forth and try to place the blame of a mistake on another
agency. The Thomas Fire which broke on July 6th I belive was a prime
example of that. It was the first large fire in the west this
My engine was the first to arrive on scene. We found that it had
started when a Forest Service blasting crew had blasted out a tree and
their equipment malfunctioned and caused the blaze. When we arrived
fire was at about a quarter of an acre. But because we worked for
state instead of the forest service, and this was on Forest land, they
would not let us touch it until a fed engine showed up. well the
engine to show up was another state engine, so it took almost an hour
for a fed engine to show up. By that time the fire had reached 10
and was un stoppable. If the Forest service had let us hit the fire
when we arrived it would have been stopped at 1 or 2 acres, instead it
burned of 2000 acres and tied up almost 4000 personal, 7 air tankers, 7
dozers and 7 helicopters. Aren't we supposed to work as a team not
seperate agencies. I thought that is what our Inneragency was all
ODF firefighter type II
An incredible tale Derek! Anyone from the FS wanna give their
||A link to Doug Campbell's website, www.dougsfire.com
is now on the Programs page. Doug is the inventor of Campbell's
Prediction System. New on Doug's site is a paper on the Storm
King Fire. Ab
||Updated: Items to dispose of: Microsoft Windows 95 ver.A,
full version. Never registered, $20. Also, have Microsoft
Windows 95 ver.B, full version. First 30$ takes it. Complete
package, never registered, with manual (such as it is). The
difference between the A & B version is basically USB, FAT32, and an
updated driver selection. I'll pay shipping to any of the lower 48
states for either product, other locations are negotiable. Ab.
||A draft report of the Aerial Delivered Firefighter Study has been
released. The ADFF Study assesses the size, location, and trade-offs of
smokejumper and helitack programs in the West, and also examines
decentralized versus centralized smokejumper base configurations. The
results indicate the aerial program makes a significant contribution to
initial attack fire suppression. The study team analyzed program levels
and trade-offs, and used two $1 million budget increments and decrements
for both helitack and smokejumper programs. Trade-offs were examined
with and without the use of call-when-needed helicopters. Alternatives
are presented in the report, and a management options team will report
their recommendations to Forest Service fire directors in March. The
draft report of the study is online at http://www.fs.fed.us/fire/adff
and comments should be sent to Greg.Greenhoefirstname.lastname@example.org
USFS Fire & Aviation Management
Just finished reading Fire on the Mountian and I must say that the
author did a great job in digging up the facts and passing them along to
the rest of us. To everyone in the fire world, get the book and read it.
It is well worth the time to look at the facts therein and think about
similar situations that we have all been in. It brought back a few
memories of mine that I had long placed on the back burner. Do yourself
a favor and get the book. It not only is informative but it also pays a
tribute to our brothers and sisters that fell on Storm King Mountain. Be
safe folks and lets learn from tragidies of the past to prevent them
from happening again. We have lost to many good folks already.
I'm convinced, and now that I have some time to read I'll drop by
amazon.com and get it coming! Ab
||What's your outlook on Cali. fires? My fiancee' is there and I
haven't a clue (nor does he) when he might come home!!!!!
-The Lost Wife
The two large fire complexes are winding down, resources are
rotating out and being replaced on a daily basis, but there is much work
remaining. Warm days, but cool nights have reduced the amount of new
large fire activity, but initial attack activity remains fairly active.
North winds forcast for Fri-Sat, anything could happen. Ab
||This has been the frist time Ive visited your site! Well done!!
I have to say that the only place I've seen such whining about R5, CDF and
the FEDs is in a fire camp with nothing to offer, food shade or
Get a grip folks!!! Do any of you remember C-rats in cans? Carry as much
water as you will need for the duration or paper sleeping bags for that
matter?? Yeah I have enjoyed the bonus of rainbow strike teams with
gotten to spend the off time after 36 hr+ shifts in a nice cozy motel,
a cold one at hand, its a pleasure and not the norm but we enjoyed it,
and every time. However, any of us that have been around the block for a
or two realize that we have differing agency regulations and pay scales,
you dont like the one you're with, see if you can cut it another. I for
have enitrely too much time invested in a career to change, so I will
my benefits when they come and suck up and tough it out when they are'nt
As for eastern crews sitting at home...... I had the great pleasure of
working with NFS & NPS crews from the east on the MHRD Complex, they
outstanding jobs, were interesting to talk to and dedicated to their jobs.
By the way when will you all invite me east to fight a fire?? 20+ years
I've been only to Texas...........
To those who complain about R5....... If your region, station or area
does'nt get it then come on to the west. We're always looking for good,
dedicated, intelligent fire staff. Watch the net..... seasonal jobs are to
be had and we are also flying DEMO positions on engines starting at the
level. Want the experience?? Apply or quit whining.
Yeah there's always room to improve ICS and IMT's, but you folks have got
be the ones to do it!! So get off the stick and get your butts in
Dispatch whiners.......... do a stint in your local ECC and see if you can
handle multitasking, resource ordering, 911 and all of the other duties
these folks take on day to day, I speak from experience as a trainee
dispatcher in an interagency command center.
AB... thanks for the good work and keep it up!!
R5 Fire Capt.
Thanks for the positive notes Cap'n! Come back often and help
spread the word about this site. Ab
I apologize for anybody thinking I was pointing fingers or callling names,
but it was my interpretation that this no-name person was very unhappy
their job and their current struggles with the R5 Fire Management
I totally understand about all of the other things that people see in a
situation. I was just stating my opinion on what I thought of the
damn thing. I wasn't out to call anybody names or even point
just wanted this person to quit putting down these folks who have been
all that they can with the resources and funding that they have.
As for my opinion on the rest of the folks who are out there working
giving it their all year after year, I just wanted to tell you all that
are appreciated and recognized by many people out here. there are
positive and negative opinions on the Forest service as well as other
agencies and their management, I was only voicing my positive opinion
your performances as well as for all that you do and all that you try to
My apologies to all who thought I was too opinionated and biased. I
only trying to lend my support to these already stressed out managemnet
No harm done, and you're right, there are still a lot of dedicated,
committed, (and overworked) fire managers trying to make cookies out of
||Thoughts on some of the Email; I'm completely green but, the CDF
bargained for it, if you want it join the union or apply there. They
have a right to request motels, and the IC has the authority to just say
NO. After looking at the performance of some this summer I can
say the we're reaping the results of SOCIAL promotion, nuf said on that.
Overall a great season so far, lots of OATS and lots of Fire.. CBork
||Regular readers know that occasionally I aquire computer stuff, try it
out, then sell it. One reader has just saved herself a bunch of
money by buying a brand new USB Visioneer Onetouch 5300 scanner for $77.00
with shipping paid. I've got another package I need to sell.
It's a Diamond Homefree Phoneline Network. It's basically a network
that uses existing phone lines without interupting your phone service.
I tried it out for about two months, it works great, but I really never
needed it, I already had a full NIC/HUB network wired throughout the house
. I just wanted to see if it would perform as Diamond MultiMedia
advertised, and it did. For the home computer users who want to
share printers, fast modems, cdroms, or files, it works just fine.
Here's a link to more info: http://www.thedigitaldreamhome.com/mainframe.cfm?products
I have the Phoneline Network Homepac Combo, and an additional HomeFree
Network PCI card to sell. The Combo Pac is currently lowest priced
at Pricewatch for $122 with the extra PCI card going for $40. These
prices were obtained from www.pricewatch.com
tonight. I'll drop 20% off the price of these items cause I've
installed them, (the combo pac, not the extra pci card) but they remain
unregistered and still have the original warrantee. That puts the
price at about $130 for the set, and I'll pay the shipping anywhere in the
US. These item need to go fast, so if your feeling miserly (haven't
bumped up your OT in R5 yet) and don't want to meet my suggested price,
make me an offer, the worst that can happen is I'll turn it down..
I'd really rather sell all three cards as a unit, so don't ask me to break
them up. If you don't have three computers in your house yet, just
wait. . . you will! Ab
||Roses & Noname, I've enjoyed, and have strong personal feelings
about each of your perspectives, but please try to keep your messages
impersonal, factual, and hopefully, informative. I'll speak for
myself and the rest of the readers readers here to say that we enjoy
hearing each of your opinions without the name-calling. That's why
this site is here! You can say damn near anything you want, but lay
off the personal attacks, else I'll begin using my editorial sword.
||Regarding the shortage of resources for western fires.
I know that two Missouri state crews have been waiting since August to
be called. In the past the call for Missouri crews was predictable, but
not so this year. I do not know what is different, it may be because we
are also dry. But the impression I get is that someone has decided it is
too expensive to transport crews from the east. Or maybe they think we
do not have adequate experience.
If a percieved lack of experience is the reason then a serious
miscalculation has been made. Most members of these state crews have
been on hundreds of incidents, including initial attack in several
western states during other years when there was no hesitation to call
us. The number of qualified crew bosses on the crews outnumber the few
that have not been out-of-state before.
So if there is a need for more resources, do not say there is a
shortage. Find another reason, and if you find out why share it with the
rest of us.
It may be that your managers consider it's too dry to let you go.
There are many crews in R5 that have traveled further than Missouri.
||I am responding to the person who obviously has a problem with the
who are the Fire Management Officers in the R5 for the U.S. Forest
If you think that these folks are being unfair and you feel you are being
treated wrong, there are union representatives who you can go cry to.
the amount of work that these guys have been doing this summer, they are
using their all and yes, they have to always consider the cost of
because they get it from their superiors. It is not their fault if
not performing to your fullest potential. It has been my experience
these guys that they are always willing to hear what you have to say and
griipes you might have too. All of these guys work hard year around
sure that everything is in order for fire season and to make sure their
employees are receiving the training needed to perform their jobs in a
manner. Their main concern is always, SAFETY FIRST. If this is
maybe you need to re-evaluate yourself and your wanting and need to be a
firefighter. If you ask many of these firefighters, they will tell
SAFETY is their number one concern.
Personally, I think you are just whining and you need to go somewhere else
if you think you are being treated unfairly in any manner or take it up
your union representative.
This Fire Season has been a very trying and hectic time for all agencies
with limited resources and funds, I feel that all these guys have done the
best that they can do. You have to remember, these guys have
well. Sometimes, their decisions are not always their own.
do get the chance to voice their own opinions with their bosses to see if
maybe there might be a better way at doing things or performing their job
more safer manner.
I think you need to give these guys a break and To All of YOU FIREFIGHTERS
who have been out there working your asses off and putting up with the
political Bureacracy this Fire Season, YOU ARE THE UNSUNG HEROES!!!
let little peons like these people rain on your parade. YOU ALL
BIG PAT ON THE BACK!!! Keep on fighting with all that you got in
hearts and souls. Saving lives and Cheating death is not an
easy job. And
some of us out here in the REAL world, do recognize all that you
So to the person who keeps whining about the Fire Management Folks in R5
USFS, You need to get a grip and stand back and look at the whole picture.
It is people like you who give all of us a bad name....
|| To Roses, I think you missed the point. It wasn't about animosity
R-5 employees. It was about the limp dicks in overhead positions who
never were struggling seasonals or have forgotten what it's like.
That flag waving crap sounds good when spike camps are a distant
Just don't try and close the door behind you.
||I am just sending my comments after reading some of the comments about
USFS employees. I just wanted to say, that I have worked on many of
fire assignments in small capacity, but my other half is a a firefighter
has been on many of these fires this summer. I have worked with all
agencies such as BLM, CDF, USFS, and BIA and I have seen everybody work
together as a team to get the main objective accomplished. I have
lot of animosity towards the USFS employees from others, but all I have
witnessed is the want and need for everybody to get along.
A fire can bring out many emotions with many types of people, some are
and some are not so good, but I do believe we all have the same
So, I think we need to quit pointing fingers at who is doing what and
looking at what we all did together... Fatigue can do a lot to a
head too and even the little people suffer from fatigue while in fire
I saw a lot of fatigue while visiting my other half at the Plumas N.F.
camp and many CDf'ers and USFS and BLM'ers were all gathering together
getting along and just trying to cool off and rest up. As for these
whine about CDF getting this or USFS getting that, they need to quit their
whining. Those guys got there by working their way up the ladders.
them all started from the bottom and have had their fair share of sleeping
on the ground, in tents, in engines and they never whined until they got
home. And even then most of them never whined about it.
So, I guess what I am saying is that we all need to look at the positive
side of a fire situation and quit looking at all of the negatives.
are always negatives to a positive, but fighting fires is a job that most
those guys love. It is in their blood. They love what they do
don't sit around pointing fingers at each other and especially in the R5
area, we are very active in making sure everybody gets treated fairly.
have had nothing but good experiences working in the R5 region. So I
YOu folks out there who think we are so bad, need to wake up and smell the
||To the person at NCC...
Thanks for letting us know you're making orders for resources... it's been
a frustrating season in the southeast making it onto lists of crews that
never go anywhere. I know you mentioned that those running the crews
to recognize that there is a shortfall of resources... and that those of
with "book training" need badly to spend some time on some
it doesn't seem to be happening anywhere or at least not often enough.
Hearing from the folks in the Northeast that there is no training offered,
and being in a location that has sent few (if any) crews out the whole
year, I'm not feeling as if myself or others out east gaining a whole lot
of valuable experience that will supposedly be needed as the experience
leaves the field. And, I'm a person trying to move up in the fire
trying to get the experience to someday move into more management-oriented
positions. I realize that it doesn't do any good to gripe, so I'm
wondering if you have any ideas, or if anyone does, about what can be done
at the lower levels to make some changes. Who do we talk to?
It is enough
to be a seasonal and to fight to get training when you only work six
a year, and during high fire danger for most of those months (so they're
afraid to send you). The seasonal system in itself is troublesome,
heard just today that supervisors who hire seasonals for NPS now have to
justify why they are hiring them, rather than NPS having to justify why it
can't hire full-time permanent fire or other otherwise
to improve efficiency, training, consistency, and safety. Realizing
system is too big for everyone to sit down and have a talk about it, there
have to be other alternatives. Those of us at the ground level have
of ideas and frustrations, but how do we let the people running the fire
show know what they are? Just thought some of you all might have
ideas... I would appreciate them and I'm probably not the only one.
fascinated by this field and I love it, but it's spelling disaster and
danger to let things continue as they are.
To those of you still on the line or headed there soon, my thoughts are
with you and with those we've lost recently. Take care....
This is in response to that dispatchers comments regarding shortage
qualified personnel. Where to begin?
First off, The best wildland firefighters come from California
BLM, etc.) This is not to say there aren't some great people from
regions, But by and large California is the hottest place in the world.
However, over the years I've seen some great young talent rot on
and find other careers.
This is due to the fact that Forest Service fire management staff
doesn't treat temps very well. They simply don't care. Few training
opportunities are offered to temps. The standard response is "If we
formal training and details to temps, someone might file a grievance"
These people have been dragging their feet
on training new people to
fill overhead positions. They also don't seem to realize that most
seasonal's priority is to get as much overtime as possible, since many of
these people have families to feed.
Management seems more concerned with budgets, retirement
funds, and brown
nosing than they are with the welfare of the people who make up the back
of the organization.
If Management isn't willing to exert some leadership
and take risks, they
get the hell out of the way. Because there
are plenty of people out
there who still have the balls to put the good of the outfit ahead of
feathering their own nest.
On the matter of supposed resource shortages,
Look at the Plumas
national forest. As I speak, there are many engines crews chopping
bit on the Plumas. The fire staff has this inane policy of only
resources from the forest at a time. Right now there are plenty of top
crews confined to their stations for 8 hours a day. (No overtime) While
On the matter of resource shortages, It
would be interesting to see how
many helicopters were committed to heli-mopping controlled fires while
good people were dying at south canyon in 94.
Anybody want to dispute that?
Took this from the Associated Airtanker Pilots web site;
"Gregory Pacheco, the Penasco 5 Crew member who was criticaly
injured by a
falling tire size boulder at approximately 12:00 am October 3, 1999 while
working the La Jolla Fire, Palomar Mountain, CA, passed away at 10:32 am
October 5, 1999. Gregory's family was with him when he succumbed to
Gregory was 20 years old and is survived by a mother, 2 sisters, and a
brother. He had three years of firefighting experience.
Gregory lived in
a rural community near Picuris Pueblo in New Mexico.
Donations to the Gregory Pacheco Fund can be sent to;
Carson National Forest
208 Cruz Alta Rd
Taos, New Mexico 87571"
A moment of prayer for our fallen brother.
Be safe and look out Brothers and Sisters
||I can appreciate your problem at NCC trying to fill orders.
sucks. Here is what really happens. California really needs help,
region calls local, local says we dont have any, region tells you sorry.
wont tell you that they have 40+ private engines under contract boxed up
hidden away. Call us direct next time. I can put 25 engines on
one hr from now if you would just call.
The real problem is this. Agency down sizing. suckering us
that you really need us. so we spend lots of money to buy equipment, train
people,adhere to very thick and onesided contract on a take it or leave it
basis. If there is any work, the low ball bid with the crappy
and untrained crew gets it( so your not impressed) Try the middle bid and
you will get good equipment and properly trained Firefighters. If we could
get more work
we could even lower our price.
94 was the only year that I can call profitable. There is no
have not used us in 98. there is no excuse to not have used us this
We are ready willing and able but You dont know we are here becouse we are
So very soon agency resorces are depleted becouse of shrinking budgets
retirements and the privates are bunkrupt. Who is going to fight the
Maybe through NAFTA we can hire forgners and export even more money.
As long as I'm not working, your not out of resouces. (Noname)
||I have news there was a Southwest Indian Firefighter that was hit in the
head by a rock and tomorrow will be taken off life support..
We all need to take a moment and make sure we are all looking out for
each other and be as safe as can be.. Be careful out there!
||I am sitting in the National Coordination Center processing orders to be
filled for California fires, and I have read many letters of
dissapointment from crews and overhead that have not been called out to
I can only say that we ( dispatchers) have been crying for help to all
of the geographical areas and not getting much filled.
For the folks running the teams on the fires, you need to stand up and
recognize that there is a definate shortfall of resources! We have to
start allowing more firefighters to go to fires in a training mode, or
in a few years when all of the old fire dogs finally lie down and
retire, there will be hell to pay! Now is the time we should be thinking
about our future and allow these trainees to come in and get some real
It is hard to fight fires from a book!
||I was just going through the training being offered through the
different agencies that list with MATS and came across a very disturbing
fact. There is not a single "S" class scheduled to be offered in
North Eastern United States. I understand why the emphisis is placed
west of the Mississippi and down along the gulf states but there is a
high interest for training in the North East and Great Lakes region. I
was just wondering if this iss because of budget restrains or someone
with-in the region not doing their job to get the training scheduled? MN
||In regards to "Fire on the Mountain" by John Maclean: I
agree that the writing is well worth the read for firefighters and
supervisors alike. I
haven't finished reading the book yet, I'm now well into Part 2. But, from
what I've read already, John has done a great job of researching
the 'truth' and the facts, as an outsider looking in. It is apparent that
the author did his homework, and made some viable contacts before
publishing the book. This book (so far as I've read) is not a storyline
intended to attract Hollywood, however I wouldn't be surprised to see it
hit the big screen.
There is a lot to be said and lot's to be learned from Maclean's book.
He has made it a point to highlight the repeated misconceptions in
the days that led up to the burnover; and has included much of the 'dirt'
that was stirred in the days prior to the tragedy.
If nothing else, reading the book will answer many questions for some,
and I'm sure it will also torment others -- especially those within the
administration over seeing the fire after it's initial report; John
obviously isn't too shy to mention names.
I have to wonder what the long term effects have been on some of the
folks who were directly and indirectly associated with the burnover.
Personally, I know of two suicides, one was a hotshot in Colorado at the
time, another a very close friend of mine who was also a hotshot
in Colorado at the time; and a third individual (who was a survivor of the
burnover) who's death was not suicide but it has been questioned
as to their desire to live. Any thoughts from anyone out there? Any other
information anyone would like to discuss? (Noname)
||Subject: Willow Incident, California 8-28-99
I am seeking to reach firemen who were involved with fighting this
fire. Firemen were there from as far away as Michigan and the states
Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, etc. I would appreciate hearing
their experiences on the line. My email is email@example.com.
||Ab, NJ just made two crews available for duty (i'm told) northern cal...
Any chance this may happen? I know that it is very rare that we
to california for many reasons, (distance being one of them).
told that a lot of type I crews have lost their seasonal people to college
I think there's a damn good chance, we've (Region 5) already hosted
most of the available crews this side of the Mississippi, along with quite
a few on the other side, and haven't even entered into the Santa Ana wind
season yet. Ab.
||A good source of information on wildfire effects on wildlife go to:
Navigate the menus down to the particular species of interest and you
will get a short summary of known effects with links to the citations.
You should be able to obtain the specific technical papers listed from
your university library.
The drawback to this database is it focuses on species specific
not plant and animal communities in whole, and the summaries are often
heavy to techno-jargon.
Just finished John N. Macleans book "Fire On The Mountain",
the sad story
of the South Canyon Fire. I have just reread his dads book
Maclean) "Young Men And Fire" and the writing is
eerie. This will be the
definitive story of how and why our brothers and sisters died there on
Hells Gate Ridge. Over and over again during the story I found my
seeing the vivid memories of other fires and situations I'd been in during
the last 30 years. You will too. It brought tears to my eyes more
once as I read the true facts as discovered by an outsider, but it seemed
brother no less. Those facts answered many of the questions I'd had
1994, and unfortunately discribed the same conditions I had imagined as
reasons for the tragedy. As Tommy pointed out in his 9-12 E-mail,
losing the Firefighters to age and retirement and being overwelmed by
administrators, to busy to walk the line, swing a tool, or sleep in the
dirt. I feel very lucky to have had the experiences I've had but
fortunate to have supervisors like my current Division Chief who is a
Firefighter more than anything else. What happens to those we're
today, the "newbe's", rookies or what ever your area calls em
when the old
Firefighters are gone?
I digress, but the book brought back many memories and current
I hope Fire On The Mountain becomes required reading for every wildland
fire fighter, AND anyone who might supervise us or support us at any level
all the way to the President.
Every one, From California to Texas, this seasons not over so be extra
May be one day we'll meet in Glenwood Springs and place our keepsakes on
the markers. I'll buy.
||Hi! My name is Tanya Linnell (Jeff is my boyfriend and he set up
e-mail account w/o thinking of putting my name on there also). I am
looking for some info that I can get on the web about fire suppression,
rehab, how wildlife is affected, etc... For one of my assignments in my
computer class (I'm going to school for Elem. Ed.), I have to come up with
a subject and a lesson plan. We also need sites that the students
visit and find their own info. Since I live in Nevada and we've had
numerous acres burn, I thought that this would be a good idea. If
could point me to some sites, I would greatly appreciate it. Jeff is
wildland firefighter, too, but I thought that you would be able to get me
more info. Maybe, Maybe Not. But I would greatly appreciate it
Check the links page which will take you to many more link pages. Ab
||You know, I just can't get over this attitude about "them vs
When I first got involved in the world of fire 13 years ago, I had this
vision of traveling through out the west, fighting big fire, and having a
great time doing it. I like to believe that I still have that "fire
belly" attitude about running out the door everytime the alarm goes
regardless of what type of fire or where it's at. I have worked for the
feds, city fire, and now a county fire district. Right at the present
I'm riding the desk as an interim fire chief. Knowing that I have my own
guys out there in California having fun as I sit here as a carded strike
team leader pushing paper and running EMS calls, it concerns me that there
is still this animosity between agencies, especially in R-5.
Here in Northern AZ, we all work together, and quite well if I don't say
We all have a common goal to protect life, property, and natural resources
(At leat that's what the Fed fire policy said). I have had my guys ride on
the "green trucks as summer AD's and have had state guys give me a
auto accidents. I currently have 3 forest service guys in my department
sponsored regional fire academy. See, we get along just fine here. So,
the hell is wrong with you guys over in R-5.
The concerns that I have with my folks over on the Kirk Fire is that they
will come home with a different attitude (negative) about working with
crews in an interagency fire assignment.
Who truly gives a sh*t if CDF or NPS or BLM or even FS gets to hang out at
the lounge after a long day "at the office" and gets to sleep in
a comfy bed
with fluffy pillows. Lets remember why we got in this business to begin
with, to have fun, make some $ for school, see big fire, travel the west,
and meet some great people out there. Lets try and keep the politics off
fire line, O-TAY?!?!?!
Be safe, Be nice! Thanks for your time!
From the mail received so far regarding the "us vs. them"
discussion, it looks like there are just a few whiners looking across a
fence with envious eyes. I suspect a couple of things about these
folks; they will never have the guts to cross the fence, if they did, they
wouldn't be any happier, and they would continue to whine. The
overwhelming opinion seems to be there is no problem, quite the opposite
in fact. I wouldn't worry about your crews coming back with anything
but a positive attitude and hopefully a high regard for the way
suppression activities are conducted and how well folks in all agencies
cooperate here in R5. Ab.
||Here is the link to the Mulit-Agency Training Schedule.
http://fire.nifc.nps.gov/mats/matsframe.asp it contains the course
listing for all agency wildland fire training. The site is
maintained by the National Park Service in Boise, Idaho, and training
managers from all over submit their information to this site. Clay
||Regarding the idea that only CDF is authorized motel rooms. As I
understand it, when a federal employee is on a fire they are in a
perdiem status. As such, they are authorized a certain amount
of money per night for lodging expense, the actual amount being
dictated by the geographic location they are in.
During the Fountain Fire in NorCal in 1993 (I think), I was a strike
team leader for 5 green engines. After pulling several 36-40 hour
shifts, we returned to the fire camp one night at the Anderson
That night they were hosting stock car races at the fairgrounds.
Needless to say, there was no sleep to be had at that location. I
polled the engine captains to see who wanted to take their crews to a
motel. Three of them decided they would and two were afraid that
would get into troubl when they got home. I first tried, with no
to get the motel manager to assign rooms. While I knew that wouldn't
I thought I would go through the motions. I then went to a nearby
with the captains and obtained rooms for myself and the three crews.
spent the rest of the assignment staying in the motel, sleeping in clean
in quiet rooms . When we returned from the fire we all filed our
perdiem forms with attached motel receipts and nothing was said, nay,
there were no questions asked.
This is an option I have continued to use whenever I deem the sleeping
accomodations unfit for a positive rest period. (If, of course,
anything locally available). Interestingly enough, while I make no
secret of this
practice, I am never questioned! Yes, I am a regular FS employee.
||I just returned last week from a 21 day stint on the Plumas N.F.
Hough Complex. After reading several of the comments concerning CDF and
there motels I felt the need to share this. I work for the federal
goverment in wildland fire suppression for the last 13 years. In that
time I have experienced both good and bad situations from both fed. and
state agencies. I believe if you looked hard at the people working for
CDF you will find a lot of them with past USFS,BLM and NPS background.
They chose to take a different path than the rest of us. I venture to
say that most of us would jump at the chance to work for more money and
better benefits. While assigned to the Mt. Hough Complex I worked with
several CDF personnel that slept in tents on the ground like the rest of
the federal folks. I one case a guy from CDF who had been sleeping in a
motel every night offered me his room in return for my tent. I asked
him why the offer? His reply was that we were both firefighters and
shouldn't I have a good nights sleep in a clean bed. There is an
attitude out there between some feds and state employees and it seems
to destroy that Interagency fabric that bonds us together. I can
say that I treat any other agency personnel as I would want to be
treated and have never been let down yet. Just my thoughts on the
i am doing a school project, and i was wondering if
you could tell me how much money the average fire
fighter makes. thank you for your time.
||Here is a quote for you from a CDF firefighter to reiterate my point to
Grey Davis. "I will be thinking about you when I am sitting in
Embassy Suites sipping a drink raking in the overtime."
"Where are you going to be."
I don't know wether to cry about the waste or be happy for my buddy?
I guess it depends on what side of the fence you are on.
||Anyone know of the url for the listings of "S" course' on the
thought I had it but must have been lost........thanks..Mike
||Ab made a mistake, I ordered a USB scanner by mistake instead of a
parallel port for a gift and it will cost more to send it back and pay for
the restocking fee than I wanna pay. The shiping package is
unopened, it's a Visioneer One Touch 5300, check out the specs of the
scanner here http://www.visioneer.com/products/flatbed/onetouch5300/
Check out the price of it here http://www.pricewatch.com/
. I'll sell this scanner at 5% below any advertised (rebates
excluded) cost and I will pay for the shipping anywhere in the US (UPS
ground) before I pay the return shipping and restocking fees to the vendor
I purchased it from. If ya want it just click on the Email icon at
the top of this page and let me know. This is a pretty decent
scanner, all pics on this site that I have personally scanned have been
from a similar, although older, Visioneer scanner. Abercrombie.
||RE: Last Post
All I gotta say is "Ditto".
||Just a quick comment on the discussions concerning
the CDF pay issues.
The gentlemen was right on when he described the situation the CDF was
in in the 60's when I started out working for them. The straw was
Contract County takeover in Orange Co. in 1970. That started the CDF
union push at collective bargaining which has improved their livelihood
for themselves and their families. When 13 of us started the FWFSA
1989 it was at the CDF union hall in Sacramento. Their help was
essential in getting what is now our foot into the door to Congress.
What many of the folks that write CDF bashing letters here do not know
is that it was President Kennedy in 1961 that passed the law that does
not allow Federal Employee's to have the same collective rights that
many state and private organizations are allowed to do. It is
imperative that all of the Federal Fighters realize that your city hall
is Congress and the way to get your message to Congress is through the
FWFSA which is an association afflicted with the IAFF and the CPF.
other words you have to pay to play. We have the potential to be the
single largest local in the entire IAFF structure. However at this
we are only 189 members strong. If things like true portal to portal
pay elimination of the pay cap and hazard pay included in your
retirement calculations, then instead of complaining about what the
other guy has, improve your own life by taking the exact same action the
CDF did starting 28 years ago. Get it!!!. The FWFSA web site
have the results posted on what happen in Washington DC this last week.
And remember allot of folks say they are members who are not. For
over 150 folks who have pay in over $1800.00 each into the coffers in
the last ten years my hat is off. In my opinion these are the
professional wildland firefighters that everyone is always taking
about. For those of us who donate 2 days a month to making this
operation run as smooth as possible plus fighting fires I would like to
say that we are all Safety First Baby's who have seen the institution
from within the organization of the Red Card system, ICS and Type 1
helicopters. However the gains we are looking at trying to achieve
have to come from outside the organization. Its your choice but
complaining about what the CDF has gain will not help our situation.
fact their gains can only help our fight. If portal to portal pay
been in placed during the 1996 fire season which had an FFF expenditure
of $994 million, we have estimated that only an additional $50
would have had to been authorized by Congress. That's the exhaust
of just a few Scuds missiles sent over eastern Europe last year.
||Here's a jpg of the last three active fires on the Plumas cropped from
an Arcview project. Ab.
||Just a note, I've received a few new pics to be posted. I haven't
forgotten them, or a couple of links I've been requested to post, just
haven't had the time to do 'em. Please be patient, it's day 21 of
the local siege and time for updates to the pages is limited. Ab.
||FWFSA reported that on 9/14 our bill was suppossed to be introduced in
house, has anybody heard any information on how it went. Senator Pombo of
California was to follow up with detailed legislation. All eyes are on us
today per the media and congress on why the retainment and
issues have plagued the federal agencies. People get ready!!!
Haven't heard anything yet, though I do know Granite Man is back
there pushing! Ab.
||To Whom it may Concern:
My name is Kris Hamilton and I am a junior At Ohio Northern University.
major is Civil Engineering with an option in Environmental Engineering.
am involved in our schools co-op education program wihch takes your 3rd
4th year in school and mixs your schedule between work and school.
Currently I am working in my 8th month with BP Chemicals. I
found forest firefighting highly interesting and as of late I have
researched a good deal on the internet. I am highly intersted in a
job involved in this field. The only problem I foresee myself
is, although I am in excellent physical condition I have diagnosed asthma
which I take medication for daily. This fact made me ineligible for
and this is also why I feel I will have problems getting into this field.
guess what I am asking is 1) would my physical condition keep me from
working on a fire crew, and if so, 2)are there other positions in this
of work that I would be eligible for. I am a highly ambitious person
also a quick learner. I would greatly appreciate any information you
||July & August comments have been archived with a link at the bottom
of this page. Ab.
I would like to know
who is checking the credentials of the people
acting as divisions supervisors? More and more I am finding division
that seem to have little or no experience in wildland. They're all chiefs
some local city fire department. Most can't even read a topo. map and
even leave their car to walk the division they are assigned. I find myself
constantly explaining to these weekend warriors what needs to be done.
I have been in the fire service in southern California
for 30 years, 8
yrs on an engine and 22 yrs ether working on crew or running a crew. I
wildland fire fighting is a way of life. It takes years to develop the
experience to be a safe productive wildland firefighter. Experience is the
key from where I stand. How some flatlander can come to 2 or 3 fires a
and think he is qualified to be a division supt. is beyond me. How many
people will we have to kill or hurt before we decide experience is a key
factor in wildland fire fighting. As an experienced qualified wildland
division supt. I would no more think I could run a high rise or Hasmat or
S. A. R. division then help with a space shuttle launch. How many
Calabasas's Inc. do we need? Sense when did a gold badge make a person an
expert? Those people who work for CDF and USFS are the people with the
experience and should be used as div. supts. regardless of their rank.
Sorry I'm so mad. Be safe and watch your back side
I think it's a well known fact that some local agencies promote their
people beyond their level of compentence. What has worked for me in
the past when I'm unable to make a supervisor see the error of their ideas
is to nod my head, smile, say "ok" a few times and then, when
they go away, complete the assignment the right, safe way. Since
these types of sups are seldom on the line anyway, at the end of the shift
you simply tell them the job is done and why you were unable to do it the
way they wanted. If the sups are totally out of line, try to grab
some time with the ops chief and let them know your thoughts on the
qualifications of the div sups. A good ops will send them packing!
I read the comments about CDF
below and felt a need to post a
message. Like Mike, I come from an interagency background. I have drawn
pay checks from USFS, BLM and for the last seventeen years, from CDF. I
think all of us who have worked in an interagency setting know that
culls come in all colors, red, green or yellow, and in about equal
proportions. When it comes right down to it, work ethic, experience,
intelligence, training and physical conditioning are what make a good
wild land fire fighter, not the color of his ride or the paycheck in his
pocket. Yeah, we get motel rooms (only when available) because our union
fought for them. I, like most anybody will take advantage of that
victory any time I can. On the other hand, I don't start earning
overtime until I've worked 84 hours in a week. True, I sleep during that
84 hours, but I sure can't have a cold one and at night a pager lives
next to my head.
I feel really bad for the outstanding
professionals in the Forest
Service who have had to weather that agency's terrible cuts and changes.
On the other hand, BLM seems to have changed for the better since the
days when I worked there ("That's a pumper not an engine" and
jeans are acceptable instead of Nomex"). The bottom line though is
all the agencies have always had good folks and not so good folks.
On Monday, September 13, our Battalion Chiefs
will begin wearing
white shirts, instead of our old khaki greens. The word on the street
is, that by July next year, all of our ground pounders will be in blue
uniforms. This is a hard pill for many of us to swallow, but it appears
inevitable. I suspect this change will increase the possibility of
interagency dissension. I sincerely hope not. Please remember that it's
not the uniform, but whose in it.
Thanks for the response Craig. BC's in white shirts huh?
Hadn't heard that yet. I can only wonder at the underlying
motivation for such a change. Perhaps there's a well intentioned,
but misguided attempt by the heirachy to signify separatism from the
ranks or maybe a larger, more sinister assimilation process into county
fire plot in progress. I'll watch with interest.
Your other comments addressing one agency vs another also present
valid points and read well. Ab
|| Can anyone help me? I would like to find out what the rules
federal engine crews covering CDF stations. The interagency
for 24hour staffing. However, federal timekeepers are insisting that
personel go off the clock for 8 hours every day. Consequently, these
are ordered to remain at the station and be available while not being
CDF dosen't have a problem with paying these cover crews 24 hours a day.
It's the forest service bean counters and fire management staff that are
requiring 8 hours of volunteer work a day.
My question this: What takes precedent? Fair labor
standards act, or opm
rules requiring a two to one work rest cycle? If the feds are going
into these kind of interagency agreements they need to clarify the rules.
Some f.s. engine crews have been known to rebel against this by leaving
station and walking to a nearby bar while off the clock. On
they've been punished by their own dispatch by being sent home.
This problem isn't going to go away.
Are their any plans to resolve
I am a student in a firefighting training course for high school
students. I am involved in a cadet program here in Indianapolis,
Indiana. I have been given an assignment to research wildland fire
suppression. It appears that this is a very broad subject with
of information posted to the internet. I was wondering if you could
help me find some specific information on the subject or at least point
me in the right direction. Any assistance you can provide would be
greatly appreciated. You can e-mail me at:
firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
Don't know if I've met you but hope so and would like to. Your bulletin
board is a great site and a place I goto get a different perspective.
can post this if you wish but its mostly to you. I'm 30 years CDF
Riverside, Orange County, Shasta-Trinity, San Luis Obispo, and Butte.
spent 5 years in the Joint Command Center in Redding and worked the seige
of '87, among others. Many times at night after Curtis and John went home,
the voice the Green trucks heard over the radio was a Red truck operator.
In San Luis Obispo I was a hand crew Captain for 8 years. One year on the
Arroyo Grande Helicopter (USFS). My entire career has been side by side
with Green truckers. Most of the folks I've worked with have been great
Firefighters and I'm proud to have learned from them and call them
CDF or USFS. As any where there will always be bums. Right now I'm
Butte at the Air Attack base. A joint CDF/USFS base with no USFS staff. I
am You, sort of.
The comments I've seen about CDF can be echoed about Fed Crews. The
hotshot crews I've fought fire with were mostly top notch, but you know as
well as I that with the number of crews you can field from across the
there are a lot of crews who don't spend their time cutting line.
the green by a quiet piece of line, day or night, using their lady shovel
as a frying pan for their sack lunch. Granted most are not your "full
crews, most are type 2 oc crews, but just like us, some are our first line
Once upon a career I remember when we used to complain about your wages
benifits being higher and better than ours, but now its the other way.
Why? Because we organised and worked hard in a small area (California vrs.
the Nation) to better our conditions. Even though we've changed the
and benifits we get, we gave up a lot for the "frills" I've seen
by folks here. Yes, we use motels, we gave up a 4% pay raise we wanted but
the state didn't want to give, for it. It didn't change the fact that we
ALL carry a sleeping bag and ground pad with our war bag. When I was
pushing crews I slept in a spike or base camp, by the Federal folks, many
night . On camp assignments more nights than not I've curled up
cache trailer or inside a cardboard box from the sleeping bags from
to get some sleep. When all you've got time for is 3 or 4 hours, who wants
the travel time wasted. When the situation dictates we're just like
I've never seen any body give up fire pay, or availability pay or
other perk cause the other guys can't get it, we're no different. Remember
we're on hard time on all assignments so when you folks are having a cold
one once in a while during a 21 day siege, if I do it I'd loose 5% of my
salary for 6 months. All I can do is drool when you folks rub it in.
The prime reason for this e-mail is to thank you for this site.
primarily for me or any State person but I feel it's for FireFighters,
especially those of us who've climbed the mountains the engines and dozers
couldn't and cut the line, when and where it had to go. A pulaski,
McKleod, chain saw, or combi tool would recognize your hands and mine, and
many of our brothers and sisters can't say that. In that we're the
Now I manage the tanker base or fly as the ATGS and I hope we can get
together, as its all the same fire, just different places.
Thanks for your viewpoint Mike and I agree whole heartedly with many of
your comments. As I've mentioned before, I've also worked both
agencies and continue to work hand-in-hand with CDF and many other
agencies. I would love to expound on some of your letter, but I've
about 15 minutes each morning to update the page, so will have to do it at
a later date. Ab.
||Here's a link to the fire information on the Plumas NF. http://www.r5.pswfs.gov/plumas/NewsRelease/TOCfires.htm
I took a look at the Willow Fire temporary web site with interest.
The page has 3-D maps with the fire perimeter on them that show the scope
fire and the problem they faced. The fire perimeter when contained
of alignment with the slope, that is it is entirely burning down slope.
is where the fire behavior became within the threshold of control.
An indirect attack using cat lines, roads and firing out gave the
firefighters the advantage while the fire spread went against the
of forces. This is the tactic that made the stop. Good work Joe and
Joe Stutler, the IC is and old work partner of mine and the
addition of the
web page is a great idea.
I make a binder and view graphs of the information on the page for use in
demonstrating successful fire behavior tactics. I hope the idea
we that are left to watch can appreciate the work from the perspective of
the fire team and not just the news media.
||Went to the Butte Fires on a type 3 relief crew spent 36&>
the engine from falling off.
We were released Tuesday the 31st of August and sent
home. Had 18 fire dozers and upwards of 9 strike teams,
; San Bernardino was
at 40,000 acres plus, but we returned to Sonoma County.
Now today 9/6/99 the rumor is that they want type 3's for
a 14 day commitment back up in Plumas, supposedly on
one of the fires, Beane Fire, in the Butte Complex. Makes one wonder
it. P.S. enjoy the web site to the MAX.
Local Agency Vol. Eng.
As one who is also from the east and trained I have been waiting for
"THE CALL" myself. The only reason I can give for the east not
getting called is
the drought conditions here. At least that is the answer I got when I
asked here in New Jersey.I still haven't figured out how the whole
dispatching system works.
If you check out the Incident Situation Report it will show we have a
snowballs chance in hell in going out this year! I can sympathize with
you, We ( NJFFS) got
sent to Florida and Texas last year but I got screwed out of both
assignments. Training is tough to get beyond the basic courses so even as
a single resource it
is impossible. I know how you feel! I feel your pain! I haven't been out
since 1996 and I am not getting any younger (ha,ha). A lot of guys are
and dont want to be bothered with western assignments. Well maybe next
year we will get our shot. Be patient and keep safe!
Mike who do you fight fire with?
Been sitting here wandering why we are here and not out there. Can
anyone enlighten me as to why crews up and down the east coast are
sitting wondering why they took the time and money to get trained and to
be available only to be left sitting on the sidelines when the west
coast is experiencing numerous fires and a shortage of trained folks?
Hate to grumble but been watching the sit reports for the last week and
a half and can't help to be disgruntled. If there is still a need I hope
someone puts a fire under the backside of the system and gets the rest
of the trained folks involved, even if they are not from the western
third of the country.
Sorry for my demeaner but I guess I am venting the stress of sitting on
the sidelines knowing that the folks working the trenches need the help
and we sit by idle.
Makes one wonder about those that are calling the shots.
There's a lot of fire crews west of the Mississippi and not too much
else is happening between here and the east coast. I did hear a
Minnesota #2 crew on the radio today, so there may be hope yet. The
current type I team assigned has discussed the possibility they may not
have a handle on the fires when their 21 days is up. If that's the
case, we'll get another team and also be needing handcrew replacements in
a big way. It's now day 13 of the complex. I was in the
expanded dispatch office during the initial ordering phases of the two
complexes and met three new overhead as they arrived, one from Colorado,
one from Missouri, and one from New Hampshire. Course, that's
overhead, not crews. Not sure of the outstanding orders for
handcrews at this time, but as mentioned else where here, forest policy
dictates type I crews only in the North Fork of the Feather.
However, there are needs for type II crews in some of the areas and both
type of crews have already begun rotating out. Reason being is that
many of them came here from other fires so their 21 days are already up.
It's kinda like throwing a rock in a pond and watching the ripples expand
outwards, they don't start at the edges of the pond.
The "system", as I see it, is working as fine as it can
with what it has left to work with. Visualize if you will, a one
legged, one armed blind man in an ass kicking contest. Pity his poor
crippled body, then take note, the one legged, one armed blind man, who
used to have the full use of his senses and extremeties, remains a master
blackbelt. He ain't what he used to be and he may absorb some extra
punishment, but he never quits, never whines, and eventually wins the
When this lightning strike complex of fires took off
two weeks ago) I was staffing my volunteer engine while on day's
off from my paid fire job. We staffed out of the Jarbo Gap CDF
station off of Hwy 70, and one of the first things we were assigned
to do was go down and check smokes being reported up the Feather
River Canyon. My team went as far down as Rock Creek and Hwy
70 where we spotted three smokes one above the Rock Creek railroad
tressel, and the other two were on the south side of Hwy 70.
I got a rough coordinate on all three fires, but I could not
find out what happened to them after they were reported to Quincy
ECC from Butte CDF. I understand that they did get very large
and were both located in "goat" country along the south canyon
wall, in fact to the point that rolling and burning debris caused
the highway to close for a time. Can you give me any more detailed
info on these fires than what is being given off of the Morning
See the reply to sunash a couple of messages down. Due to lack of
resources, these fires were allowed to remain unstaffed for quite a while.
I anticipate a day off coming up and will try to put up a few maps here to
show the situation a little better. As you mentioned, this is indeed
"goat country" and indirect attack with burnout operations is
the only way to containment. I've led crews up these canyons many
times to attack fires and suffered injuries to the crew on some of them.
This is type I, read "hotshot" terrain only! Ab.
||As we get ready for the week end, as our weather in Southern Idaho bring
a little cool weather and rain we think of the folks still working in
California on all the fires. Hopefully this will be a good weekend
will bring control of the fires.
Everyone be safe out there
||I think it is more than obvious, that we are
reaping the "benefits" of downsizing in the
FS. First we had the consent decree, which
drove many of our brighter firefighters to
other organizations and left a bad taste in
the mouths of many who remained. Then
Clinton and Gore came in with their
downsizing of government. Crews and engines
and aircraft were cut. The miltia was cut
back. No longer were we fully staffed. We
have fire planners, but their advice is
ignored in favor of making of FMTs' goals of
cutting budgets. Their version of going
along with the flow. This fire, which isn't
over yet, is not the mother of all seasons.
This many starts is really a fairly normal
occurance. The difference this year is the
lack of resources to attack fire. Now days
we are unable to support multible large
fires. The numbers are not there. Also, I
have noticed a great deal of hordeing of
resources. I am afraid that things will not
get any better. After this season is over,
nobody in congress, nobody in the media will
remember or even give a fu*k. What makes it
worse is the lying to the media that our
public affairs folks and forest
supervisors. On my forest we have been told
to not let the media know how bad the
Hi sunash, good to hear from you! Don't worry, me and
"coach" are doing fine. We've beefed up our staff with
some fine folks from Alaska who are doing us a great job. As things
smooth out a little, we're down to around 13-15 hours duty a day.
You weren't talking about us hoarding resources were you? We
do have a lot of handcrews, I think I heard 36 type I along with a mess of
type II. We are gearing up for a massive burnout for the Bucks fire
the next few days and will be using every crew we have available.
Two fires have burned together in the area southwest of Buck's Lake to
around 8,000 acres. Due to a lack of acceptable fireline locations,
the complex may reach 40,000 acres before containment. The two fires
were called the Big fire and the Buck's fire which is now just called the
Buck's fire. There was some adamant administrative adversion to
calling the new gobbler the Big Bucks fire, although it certainly is.
I have a brand new Robwen fire pump with a 13HP Honda engine and a
Blizzard Wizard foam injector for sale. $2,100 including hose, foam
nozzles, and various accessories. It was built for a residential
protection system, but the &$@# never paid for it! Any suggestions
where I could advertise this on-line or elsewhere? I would REALLY
appreciate any thoughts you might have.
Here's a good place, then try a message to alt.wildland.firefighting
new group. Ab.
||A bunch of us "over the hill types" read your essay about the
sharing your frustrations and shaking our heads over the short sightedness
many of today's leaders. When the fall rains come we'd like to buy you at
least one beer.
Wildland Firefighter Magazine
Thanks John, I've noticed myself glancing at the long range forecasts a
little more lately seeing if there's any rain in site! Nope. . .Ab.
Thanks for the note on links.
I just heard about news of a shelter deployment in Idaho that
the Sadler fire. It was posted on the internal e-mail of the USFS.