"THEY SAID IT" ARCHIVES
||>Howdy Lurker FMO, figured my post would bring out some responses.
I certainly hope you did not take my message to mean I was
air tankers and helicopters at night. The point I wanted to make is
not operate at night so they can't crash and therefore their crews are not
killed. It was not my intent to display a gungho attitude.
provoke some thought about what we are really doing out there in pursuit
the wiley uncontrolled wildland fire. I think the job can be done
at night - I did not say it was without risks. Everything we do has
level of risk attached to it. I personally think the virtually whole
abandonment of night operations is questionable at best.
>And you do raise a very valid point and I should have been a little
specific about the use of mud and buckets early and late. And...
anyone gets after me they do have their place during the heat of the day.
But that place is not dropping load after load and bucket after bucket on
the head of the raging inferno in the middle of no where.
>I think we are pretty close to being on the same page, but typing
into the computer things can get lost in the translation. If night
literally too dangerous then I have no problem. But what I see more
more of is its night - therefore we don't fight.
>7 body bags on the road on the Canyon fire in 1968. I forgot the
treat of also seeing the burned out hulk of a Bell 47 that wrapped the
bucket around a powerline in a portable dip site set up in a parking lot
surrounded by powerlines. Found out later the pilot was
dipsite looked pretty suspect even to a second year firefighter. Be
||For those contractors offering fire employment: I am more than
willing to post your logo and link on the Links Page under Jobs. I
won't go looking for them, but will post them. BTW, Eric, added
yours (Pacific Wildfire) tonight. Ab.
||can anyone tell me where to get some info. on terra torches?
||WP seems overly concerned about the future of the county.
The county commissioners will come through once again, just have a little
||hey L if you are looking for work get a hold of me
looking for eng crews and bosses
The Honor Guard presentation I witnessed was NOT a funeral. It was a
demonstration memorial service to gain agency support for the honor
guard concept. I agree that a Christian version would be appropriate at
a Christian firefighter’s funeral. But, are you suggesting that this
group would be capable of presenting a Jewish, Buddhist or Muslim
memorial ceremony for a Jewish, Buddhist or Muslim firefighter? I doubt
they are. Regardless, there ability to appropriately tailor the ceremony
to the denomination was not explained as part of the demonstration or in
the provided honor guard brochure.
In answer to your comments on business cards, I
can find nothing in
the way of specific direction on Gov’t business card criteria. Instead I
will suggest that it is an ethics issue. I see little difference between
hands clasped in prayer and a political or other ideologic logo. 5 USC
7324-7327 covers political activity. Who can deny that the lines between
politics and religion isn’t just a little muddy? 5 CFR 2635 subpart H,
discusses expression of yourself as a private citizen, not as a
representative of the government. Executive order 12674 - Employees
shall endeavor to avoid any actions creating the appearance that they
are violating the law or the ethical standards promulgated pursuant to
Do any of these references say you can’t have
clasped praying hands
on your business card? No. Do they suggest that federal employees are
obligated to represent the government in a professional and
non-provocative manner? Yes.
Gov’t employees who are asked to print their
own business cards,
should print business cards that represent there agency in the best
light. Anything else is unprofessional and inappropriate.
||L. you can contact Rock at Wood's Fire and Emergency Services @
1-888-309-3473. We are always looking for new folks. And we
putting together a data base of all former fire folks, that would be
interested in working as an AD OH position. Or in suppression.
Or you may email me
at email@example.com. I am the training and safety mgr for the
||One new flame pic on Fire2
(Spanish) and one new pic on Airtanker2
(Wolfskill). Both good shots! Ab.
|| HELL-itorch, The reason for the honor guard is to assist in
fallen firefighter and help the family with the grieving process?
chaplain (of what ever religion) is there for the living, to give comfort
the family. Please do not forget about them and place concerns about
may be offense to some secondary to the aid and comfort of the family.
memorial service our job is to show support to the family, not to object
how they choose to honor their lost love one.
I do agree that religion has no place at work, but at a memorial
it is appropriate.
If a persons personal belief can't be expressed at a
because it might "offend" a small minority, what is this county
And by the way, if that offends you how do you feel about the Pledge of
Allegiance, or what is written on all US currency?
One last comment, you mentioned that one member of the honor guard had
"praying hands" on his business card, it is my understanding
"Gov'ment" does not provide business cards and the employees
have to buy
their own. If that is true, then a person is free to express his or
personal beliefs on their cards. Just like anything else that you
offensive, don't take one, disregard it, take another path. In the
Rodney King, "Can't we all just get along."
This may be a little late, but I've been in Myrtle Beach golfing.
memorial in Colorado Springs is for the International Association of
FireFighters. (IAFF) There are several professional wildland firefighters
jurisdictions that are a part of this union. CDF is one of them. The
memorial in Emmitsburg is in Maryland. Since it is only 10 min. from
house, if you ever want to visit the memorial or Washington DC. post a
listing here and I'll set you up with places to stay and visit.
is real close also.
||Tell me noname/BigBar would you have jumped in that "hole"
gung ho not knowing
the fire perimeter, and if you had any safety zones? How many of the
and 10 would you have broken? I hope you are not an I.C. on any fire
ever arrive to. Sure the fire was poorly managed, but my ass was not
going down their in that "hole" to risk my life for what reason
Risk benefit my man.
||Howdy to all you "regulars" that contribute to this site...my
first time after looking at the archives. I am the vice chair of the
Minnesota Wildfire Fighters Association...a group that was formed several
years ago to give some representation to the temps. that work with the
Minnesota DNR and USFS in MN. We have had some success at getting pro
wildfire fighter legislation passed in MN and substantial pay increases
for temporary wildfire fighters in MN. Last summer we discovered that some
DNR area offices were failing to pass on the names of "ADs" who
were submitting their names for the national availability list...in effect
keeping "their" temps on a kind of unpaid standby...Of course
they were not telling anyone about it as it was a very dishonest practice.
Since MN has a huge blowdown/fire potential in the Boundary Waters Canoe
Area (on our border with Canada) we expect the the practice to continue
through the upcoming season. When our membership found out about the lost
employment opportunities they directed us to try to find some other means
of getting out of state work. So we are currently preparing a list of our
members that are carded and ready to go to incidents that will be emailed
to interested parties . This includes several of the western states who
were screaming for ADs while our members were ready and willing and under
the impression that they were included on the NIFC list. We have a lot of
folks with lots of different types of experience...rotorheads, engine
crews, and groundpounders. If any of you know of any agencies or private
contractors that are interested in receiving this list of resources please
let me know via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will include
them in the emailing which I hope to keep updated weekly during the
upcomming season. Also if anyone is interested in starting a similar
organization in other states, feel free to contact me.
||L, take a look at the "job related links" at this site.
I don't know the hiring situation with Fire Stop, but they're good. To
out, try Ron at email@example.com . Their website is www.fire-stop.com.
||hello my name is mark dudnick and i want to become a real wild land fire
fighter i allready have my red card but the fire crew here in utah is only
tem. service that is not worth the effort. i have allways wanted to
wild land fire fighter so if you could email me with the info on a fire
in my area or in the georgia area or please call me at
thanx for youre time
|| I am a USFWS employee on a national wildlife refuge in TX that
actively participates in as many prescribed burns and wildfires that
time allows (I am a wildlife biologist). As I was surfing the web
this weekend I came across your "logo" page and was over-joyed
find a Texas wildland firefighter logo. The description states that
it was submitted by: Keith. I was wondering if there is any
information for Keith in hopes that I can obtain information
regarding this logo, patches, stickers, etc. Please feel free to
reply to this e-mail address (my home account) or to my work e-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org. I appreciate your time and consideration in
this regard. Thank you!
||AB : I just got done with my pack test, and you know that during that
time you get a chance to do some good thinking and you know after three
years of doing this it has to be the stupidist thing ever, big deal I can
pack 45lb for 3 mile under 45 min and I am 5' 7'' 150lb and 40+, you have
to stay in good shape or you will not be in this line of work.; for people
such as myself who start early and work until november should be tested
more than once, and why not test upper body strength, lotta of hose lays,
gas cans to carry, water cubics people always run out of water. Running
saws most of the day and then have to carry it out, your arms are spent,
no test there(push ups), I know the shots have their own test that cover
these areas, but as far as my crew goes we are all type 1's as well so? I
don't know food for thought.
||to mellie- about the other chicas, we're out here. To pappy- about
you hit the nail right on the head. Im wondering what people know
working for the contract crews. If anyone has useful info Id be
as I wont be going back to the fs this year but cant seem to get
fire off my
mind. Are there any companies that work on a as needed basis so I
attend school? And what do they pay? Thanks to anyone who can
||Here in Michigan (Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources Bellaire field
office) I have worked with a local internet service to come up with a low
cost Fire prevention idea. The local internet service and I made a chat
page for Smokey Bear. Here I sit at a computer as Smokey Bear chating with
kids at school at a pre-arranged time. Kids ask Smokey questions on line
about wildland fires. Teachers are embracing it cause it gives kids time
on line and it give a good message. To take a look go to www.torchlake.com/firesafety/
||I have to reply to (no name ) , I think you forgot why you do what you
As a volunteer F/F I do respond to OES calls for assistance. As MOC4546
stated, many small rural fire dist. do not get enough funding to pay for
proper eqiup. and training. If you feel you were under cut buy the local
gov. equip. in Cal. remember that we operate under the 5 party agreement
and are paid per that agreement. Who represents us during that negotiation
has been the main topic of many late night discussions, ( I still don't
know who but I guess it doesn't matter ) but anyway, we don't make the
rules, we just play by them... Many depts in my small rural county depend
on that money to repair and or replace through the CDF auction the equip.
that helps protect their families the year round. So again I say
" don't forget why you became a F/F."
If it was for the $$$ you don't get it do ya !!!
Not afraid to print my name,
||All this whining about the big bar. The fire should have been put
out in the first couple of weeks. How many days did we sit around on
some piece of indirect line while the fire dicked around in the hole.
What are type one helicopters and type one crews for? Direct attack
maybe? All of these suppression resources sitting around brushing
roads. Following dozers around all day. The marine layer sat
in that canyon for at least two weeks straight and no action was taken on
the fire. What a joke. Indirect line is not the savior.
I guess some people figured that out about two months later when it dried
out again and none of those lines held. Direct line construction, if
possible and when done correctly, is the best form of wildland fire
suppression. It puts fire out. No questions asked. As
for the Onion fire what were those guys thinking? Miles of indirect
handline with no safety zones. Shockingly that fire jumped also.
Go direct. I know it is hard to do when you are the ops chief and
you are on your last assignment before a promotion. It looks so good
on your resume to have engineered a multi-million dollar
"complex". The Big Bar should have been suppressed in the
first week. When you tie peoples hands the taxpayers end up paying
in the end. Nevrmind all the health risks of sitting in that smoke
for weeks on end. (Noname/BigBar)
||ab and all. what do you folks think of using private contractors
in overhead positions
I know of one time for sure this year that i saw that and i've been
questioned by some overhead as to how did he get trained for that.
Ive noticed that some of the fs folks I used to work with seem to think
that I foregot how to fight fire or fill some OH positions because I'm in
the private sector. whats your viewpoints.
||R5 North Ops just re-released the announcement for
type II teams. The initial hope was to create 4 teams
in N Cal, but they did not get enough replies to
create one team. I bet management is scratching its
head trying to figger out why.
I know why I am not applying.
Several years ago,after 20 years in Fire, I
transferred to a timber job for health and personal
reasons. I maintained my red card quals and dutifully
answered the fire call when needed.
Not any more
I am hanging up my nomex and red card this year.
Because of downsizing I am doing the work of two+
people, and the workload is increasing. I am working
10 hours a day, 5-6 days a week this winter. I do not
want to even think about this summer when the work
really kicks in. If I took a fire assignment, I would
face a mountainous work backlog on looming deadlines
upon my return. Now,with the new FFIS system, there
is no fiscal incentives for managers to send the
militia to fires.
Then throw in the mandatory 3+ weeks fire refresher
and currency training (taking me away from my job some
And to top it all off, the bean counters start cutting
off your hazard pay, stop paying you after 16 hours
even if you worked, won't compensate you for out of
pocket expenses incurred on the fire, treat you like
dirt in fire camp, etc. Most of my coworkers are of
the same mind. 'Not Passing' the pack test is seen as
a way to stop going to fires without any repercussion.
The Washington Office has succeeded in creating a
system filled with disincentives to fight fire. I
want to take fire assignments, but the price is just
I am interested in hearing from any FS line officers
or Regional or Washington staff on their take on the
I'd love to argue and tell you you're wrong, but . . .Ab.
||hey eric: I have to respond about the rec trailer idea. the
closest I've seen to that was back in 86/87 was in one camps stagging area
and we had 2 movie theaters set up. Volley ball courts horseshoes,
etc. I want to say that was back at Big Bar complex. It was
definite Deja-vu for me last year getting travel orders to go to the Big
||For everyone's information,
The Honor Guard performs the Honor Guard function, the person doing the
performs the chaplain's function. As Firehorse mentioned, any denomination
be requested, Christian was what happened this time. Seems like this kink
be worked out with the chaplain side of the equation. I'm not ready to get
torch in a swivel over it. Honor Guard, when you have the video digitized,
Ab to see if we can link to it. Then everyone could see what it's like...
Mellie from Five Waters
(PS someone gave me a torch for practicing burnouts! I think I'm in
I'm not so sure any more with all these mixed metaphors. I know I'm not
in the equation I used to be in when I was a statistician!)
||Two new engine photos on the Engine2
page and one new logo to the Logo
page were added this morning. Ab.
||I saw the FS Honor Guard in Reno last week. I believe that there is a
place for this type of production. I whole-heartedly agree that we
need to honor and remember our fallen firefighters. But, the honor guard
concept needs to move in a non-denominational direction. The message I got
out of the ceremony was - If you ain't a christian, you're in the wrong
business. I've known and worked with christian, jewish, Buddhist and
atheist firefighters. (Including at least one member of the "church
of obsolete appliances." Without exception, their beliefs had nothing
to do with the quality of their work. No firefighter should be made to
feel less of a professional because of his or her color, race, or
religious beliefs. This isn't just a good idea - it's the law.
I approached members of the honor guard following their presentation
and asked if they had considered that their strong christian message may
be offensive to non-christians. The response was, "that's okay - we
have a answer to that - and our management has agreed to back us." At
least one member of the honor guard gave me his FS business card with a
logo of hands grasped in prayer in the upper corner.
If anyone believes this is acceptable behavior within the federal
government, I guess the question that comes to mind is: At what point is
it not okay for preaching on government time? How about ending safety
meetings with a little prayer. How about morning tactical meetings with
communion offered on the way to the coffee and donut table. Oh, and if
you're not a member of this exclusive christian club, start throwing down
171's for jobs somewhere other than fire. (Especially in R-5.)
BLM is also moving in the honor guard direction. Like the Forest
Service I believe this is inherently a good idea. But if the honor guard
does not take a non-denominational approach - it is going to need an
honor guard before the idea gets off the ground.
||New logo from Oklahoma Forestry Services on the Logo
||Just got an little update on the 'click the banner ' stuff. From the
Congressional Fire Services Institute newsletter, (see earlier post
from Dave, todays date, Ab.) "Senators Mike DeWine
(OH) and Chris Dodd(CT) coalesced in sponsoring the Firefighter Investment
and Response Enhancemenmt Act, a measure mirroring legislation introduced
earlier in the session by Congressman Bill Pascrell (NJ). S. 1941
would establish a $5 billion grant program for fire departments to
increase their level of readiness. With the funds , fire departments
could purchase new equipment and protective gear, hire staff, conduct
inspections and investigations, enhance safety education programs --- and
address other needs, as well."
By sending the White House the e-mail letter referenced yesterday you
can help the legislature make up its mind, or the executive branch anyway.
Now if they could only do something for the poor ol" FS.
||If prayer by the Honor Guard seems to be a sticking point with the FS or
some individuals out there it is a simple fix. If the family of the
fallen firefighter is contacted and requests prayer, bring in an outside
pastor, priest, whatever the family requests. Don't leave it up to
the honor guard to supply the prayer. If I remember right, Kathy
Holtby (South Canyon) had a Native American background and had a Native
American representative rather than a traditional Christian
While this is not the forum to discuss prayer and the US Government I
am going to mention this anyway since I dealt with it thru the FS for 30
years. Contrary to popular belief, the Constitution itself does not
prohibit a coexistence of the Government and religion, nor does it
mention religion. The only reference is found in
"The Bill of Rights, Article [I.] Amendments to the Constitution:
Congress shall make no law respecting establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof......" This basically
says it prohibits a State sponsored church such as the one the pilgrims
came to this country to escape. Prayer and the recognition of God,
or some other higher being (To each his own beliefs) was very much evident
at the dedication of the Wildland Firefighters Memorial in Prineville,
Oregon a few years ago. There were many FS employees wearing the uniform
and I don't remember anyone having a problem with the fact that FS
personnel were obviously there and the event was backed by the FS, BLM and
several other Government agencies. I believe I heard somewhere that
the Govt was instrumental in helping place crosses at Mann Gulch and South
Canyon. The Govt/Religion/Prayer argument is run into the ground and
weak at best when you consider 90% of the original signatories of the
Declaration of Independence were Christians, Congress opens each
session with prayer and the president holds a prayer breakfast each year.
Prayer at an event honoring dead firefighters is a comfort and part of the
"Closure" to many of the relatives of the fallen firefighters.
If it is presented by an FS honor guard and the ACLU, Liberals or FS
management has a problem, the honor guard should take it to the media and
see what the general public has to say about
||Guys and Gal(s)--
Say, where are the gals out there, hiding behind male aliases? Are
reading or writing besides the web goddess?
I would like to read the Jacobs and Laverty reports. I have the Rains
Also am checking around among my friends to see which one has the Agency
for Fire Management. I know this idea was in full bloom in late October/
November. It's a logical thing to consider, but all the remifications need
be thought through. (It may also be logical to consider letting big fires
the BBComplex burn until the rains come... and protecting only structures/
life in the interim-- just like a huge prescribed burn, maybe? Better yet
be planning and executing prescribed burns and shadow breaks and fuel
of other sorts... Hmmmm, I have a way of wanting to consider even things
seem like the most extreme alternatives as long as we don't get railroaded
a less than optimal solution by one (political) group or another!)
With regard to the Honor Guard, it was clear from the meeting that we
I have found that words often are not necessary for Essential Spirit to
up on a grand scale. Often all it takes is an intention to invite that
in the participants and the space for it to happen. Thanks Honor Guard
and Gals for providing that PRESENCE.
Kelly, thanks for the maps. It's fun to see my home plot on the
Hey, Firehorse, it's good you're safely married. I often go for older
platonic relationships, of course!! As one young firepup friend of mine
"Ain't the internet GRAND!"
PS: I have an extra Division Chief's Workshop 2000 button
if someone who went didn't
get one and wants it. Give me an e-mail at email@example.com. I'd
to give it to someone who was there or was invited but didn't get one. I
they ran out...
There are actually quite a few females posting here, ya just can't
tell from their aliases. . . and I ain't tell'in :-) Ab.
Your gung-ho attitide is admirable, but you missed the boat on a few
of your points. The reason no airtankers crash at night is that they
don't fly at night - and I don't believe they ever will. The risk
outweighs any tactical advantage. Speaking as a former long time air
attack boss, I believe it would be impossible to safely use airtankers
after dark. But I belong to the school of thought that holds that,
large fires, they should mostly be used early in the day when they are
effective. Way too much expensive mud is pissed away throwing it at
raging fires at the height of the afternoon burning conditions when
it's completely ineffective (except maybe for structure protection).
Huge amounts of money are wasted running airtankers on large fires in
the heat of the day.
And here's a little history - in 1977 on the Angeles NF, two
helicopters crashed while flying at night when they collided (two
deaths, I believe). At that time, the USFS in R5 had two
helicopters and LA County had at least one. The ships that collided
were an LA County 205 and a Los Padres NF 212 using night flying
goggles. That was the end of the night-flying wildifre program for
the feds - too dangerous. I'm not sure if LA County or any other
agencies still have night-flying helicopter bucket ops on wildfires.
It's hardly a cop-out to shut down air ops at night, and I believe
that the safety problems for ground troops at night can be pretty
signifigant. Ever had a close call with falling rocks or trees at
night, or nearly walk off a cliff? My hotshot years provided me with
too many of those moments - they're terrifying. It can be impossible
to provide effective lookouts at night. And for what it's worth,
people have been burned over at night - I've seen it on the Angeles
and Los Padres during Santa Anas and Sundowner winds. I'm just
you have to carefully weigh the benefits against the hazards - night
shift isn't all tall cotton and cold beer.
By the way, I'm curious about when and where you saw seven body bags
lying by the side of the road during the day in California. That
seems like a pretty notable event.
the lurker FMO
||In response to the comment about how "R5 seems mostly willing to
and promote the Honor Guard," that's not the case. The R5 front
was adamantly opposed. Maybe the changing of the guard there will change
that. RE: prayers, though, if the honor guard functions just as an honor
guard and deletes any praying, that would be A Good Thing. Any praying
going on is going to kill the idea; read any news or court cases lately
on prayer in the schools???? The political climate and church/government
situation in this country won't stand for it. There are many flavors of
honor guard out there, and some of them who don't touch the religion
subject function quite nicely. (Noname)
Thanks for the clarification. Ab.
||I know you don't like banners and pop up commercials but this one is a
little different. Check it out at www.nfrmag.com/pascrell.php
, and then click on the banner above. It is sort of geared to
structure fire but it does make a point. (nfrmag stands for National
Fire and Rescue Magazine)
I got this note from Dean Dysart who is a Capt. with Ventura County
and a DIVS on CIIMT #2. A good man and a heck of a firefighter.
||I'm looking for any information, investigation report or personel
on the Railroad fire shelter deployment that occured in Utah around July
1999, for my S-230 crew boss class that i am teaching.
I can be contacted by E-Mail E3133@aol.com,
or fax me at (760) 378-3422
|| Mellie mentioned a report yesterday entitled
An Agency Strategy for Fire Management in her post yesterday. In
addition to that report, there are two others I highly recommend reading
for clues to the FS future. Here's an excerpt from the USFS
F&AM News Page regarding the reports and their subjects.
Agency Strategy for Fire Management: The National Management Review
Team’s strategic examination of persistent issues of the last decade,
with recommendations and potential solutions. (Robert Jacobs, Team
Implications of Large Fire Management: A Strategic Assessment of
Factors Influencing Costs: A comprehensive overview of two large, costly
fires in California to determine if there are underlying, unaddressed
causes for such high suppression costs. (Michael Rains, Team Leader)
People and Sustaining Resources in Fire-Adapted Ecosystems: A Cohesive
Strategy: This strategy addresses and provides guidance for hazardous
fuels reduction on National Forest Service lands over the next 10-20
years. (Lyle Laverty, Team Leader)
The same news brief indicates the reports
will be available on the NIFC F&AM web site "soon". If
anyone has digital access to these reports, let me know how to get 'em,
please don't email them without asking, I don't need a hundred of them in
my mail box. I would especially like the Jacobs Report (seems the
reports are more commonly known by last name of the team leaders than
their titles). Ab.
I attended Jerry Levitovs (wrong spelling) Memorial in Westwood a while
and the Forest Service Honor Guard was great, fabulous !! They were proud,
professional, and a great tribute to Jerry and his family. CDF
Honor Guard that goes around the state with Bag Pipes and Drums, the
traditional salute to a fallen Firefighter (make that Warrior).
We must honor our own and some traditions take time to spread.
its great that there's an organized effort to bring an official tribute to
our brothers and sisters who've passed on.
||To Mellie re. the report "Agency Strategy........". It
was presented at
the Florida meeting at the beginning of FEB. Anyone who attended
able to let you read it.
||To those who have responded on the 24 hour shhift, thanks!
ALL California Incident Management Teams (National Type I, CDF, &
Local Type II's) will be meeeting in Mid March in Sacto to discuss many
I'll continute to watch for your thoughts on the issue.
Thanks TO those who have already responded.
On the Honor Guard, I Believe; THE TIME HAS COME TO SHOW RESPECT TO OUR
OWN! Hopefully the type of prayer would become specific to the beliefs
of thje fallen firefighter.
OPSC (yea, I know the acronym is really OSC1, an old habit)
||Hi Ab and All--
Still playing ketchup, juggling my tomatoes of responsibilities and
heading to AZ next week to present, but wanted to chime in on some recent
Thanks, Ab, for providing the link (2/9) to "A fire catastrophe
that was preventable"
about the blowdown that contributed to the growth of the Megram fire
the west. We need to find a new term that connotes "reducing fuel
does not have as charged a meaning as "salvage logging". Any
Also, why is fire considered a "ground disturbing
activity" necessitating Survey
and Manage study prior to prescribed burns. All species on the planet
in the presence of fire! We need to keep questioning the arbitrary premise
we're destroying something with fire! (Never thought this environmentalist
be doing "confrontation" (their term) with preservationists.
They can't believe
I'm not on their "side". I keep telling them that, for me, it's
not a matter
of sides... but of arriving at optimal solutions.)
I also immediately snarfed up Eric's image for my wallpaper. AWESOME!
instruction helps, too, Ab.
Does anyone know where I can get a copy of An Agency Strategy for Fire
(1/12/00) that was presented at a national FMO meeting last month. Was
the FL meeting at the beginning of Feb? Oldboy, any more info since
MOC4546, great info on small rural fire districts! I was getting ready
in a piece I wrote following the Big Bar Complex (and Karen Savage's
that covered some of the funding points you mentioned. You did a much more
post than I could have. I've saved it to my files as a valuable resource!
Noname -- my very own first Lovely Lucifer Lurker (LLL) -- thanks for
to respond to my "issues report". I also agree with most of what
you said, especially
about knowledge of the complexity of the system as one climbs the
ladder. In a discussion with Joe Stuttler last fall, I expressed your
that complex systems are hard to understand and change. This was after he
me and I read the Federal Wildland Fire Management Policy and Program
(1995). He said something to the effect that all that was required was the
to really begin the dialog within the Fire Service and with the public and
to persist in the process. We're engaged in that here. I'm engaged with
public in other arenas. Ab, in your editorial response, you made some
I have made in several presentations on the subject. -- Thanks, I won't
I'd like to know from you, dear LLL, what YOU think are the critical
for FIRE at your level of complexity and involvement. Please, let's get
issues out here and address them. (It's easy to imply, albeit indirectly,
some of us here on They Said or those at the Division Chief's meeting who
not climbed the ladder and affected change are just "bitchers and
we offer opinions. Name calling, however indirectly, doesn't illuminate
current state of affairs or facilitate communication between
We're all in this together. Multiple perspectives "from the engine
of the hose, end of a pulaski, or jump plane door" can add up to a
logistical BODY of knowledge used as input by the HEAD in making some fire
and policy. Similarly, input from all trained-up Shots may provide more
safety info in sizing up fire behavior. I've found that collaboration
and within levels of organization can reduce "group think" or
We who post here on TheySaid are professionals. We are pursuing safety and
assignments. Unless we ask questions and offer comments, however roughly
we don't know what the lessons are that affect safety. Let's get on with
process of illuminating the Lessons Learned together in all aspects and at
levels of the FIRE organization… In one sense, nothing is broken, change
upon us AND things could be better.
(FYI, in my lexicon, Lucifer means "light bringer" and I always
strive to be one.)
||Well I will be honest and admit that I normally do not look foreward to
fire assignment in R-5. Maybe it is because on my first assignment
there I drove by 7 body bags laying on the edge of the road, and they were
not empty. During the day! But, I cannot resist responding to
referring to night shifts in R-5. I believe that is one thing they
got right. When do we have the advantage? It is certainly not
in the mid
afternoon when it is the hottest and driest and the wind is howling.
many folks have jumped into a fire shelter on the night shift. How
folks have been burned over at night? How many airtankers have
at night? How many helicopters have crashed at night? I think
will do anything to hide behind Safety to avoid any risk at all. Of
folks can get hurt or worse at night, but I think we need to rethink the
home at dark way of fighting fire. Any more it is a joke that we
fire agressively and provide for safety first. You can do both, they
not mutually exclusive terms. Yes there is risk in night operations
folks need to be heads up and performing the job they were hired to do
which includes doing it safely. Just because the sun went down does
mean it cannot be done safely. Instead we cop out and end up
on the fires terms. We throw mud all day and drop buckets until
fried - and for what? So we can do it again the next day?
Maybe we should
watch where they go during the day and give them hell at night?
||Does anyone know how to get the text or information on the Fire Line
||A small collection of 1999 California fire maps is now linked up from
the USFS REGION 5 FIRE website at http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/fire
If you have others to contribute, I'd like to add to the collection.
USFS R5 Fire & Aviation
||Thanks for all the compliments on the Rat Creek Photo.
My wife isnt into this business, and doesnt get it. she just sees
in the trees, whats the big deal" Go figure.
As for standing around in the photo. If this were video, it would
taken 30 more seconds to see an empty field!!. I had at least
12 people on
top of my type 4x engine. We went about another 1/2 mile into
to get away from the radiant heat & smoke.
As for patch requests. I have had all of
my logos embroidered directly
onto the shirts. ( less burn through risk w/ nomex thread)
Since so many
people wanted em, I had a hundred made. E-mail an address and
mail one to you. Or stop one of my engines on a fire. Theyll
have them in
the glove box.
As for the 24 shifts. I like the idea. I went through
last years shift
tickets, and found were averaging 17.25 hours a shift anyways. They
have 2 hours of rehabing engine, clean up, eating, showering, etc.
means your up for at least 20 hours. leaving 4 for sleep if your
for pay. it should work out to be pretty close to the same.
what I would like to see at a fire. A recreation trailer!!!!
big screen tv, maybe a hot tub or two (plumb that propane hot
into a portatank!), massage table!!. Just kidding heck of an idea
Never got your Email BC
One other comment I had about the "old timers"
Gov is worried about
losing all the experience to mandatory retirements from fire.
still four-seven years till this "crisis" why not team up
inexperienced IC with the older experienced IC. Kinda like a
program. PLenty of time to implement. Or change
the laws. and allow
these folks to work longer. As long as they are physically safe to
work, why would age matter?
Just a thought.
Heres the Email for the patches.
253 460 7323
see you on the line.
||What is "Controversial" about the honor guard? Did I
miss something in Mellie's note? Does anyone out there have
additional info on them? Are they sanctioned by the FS (noticed they
had FS shield on their shoulders)? Seems like a good idea to me
considering our structural brothers and sisters go all out in the event of
a death of one of their own. With the exception of the folks that
died in South Canyon, a death in the Wildland environment usually will not
be covered outside the local news area. Checked out your picture
Mellie. You look like a real "Hottie" to me; but I am
happily married. Probably too old for you anyway since I have a new
Granddaughter that is the apple of my eye.
||In case you've been wondering what Mellie looks like, check out the
new photo on the Misc
Photo Page, while there, check out a photo of the Official/Unofficial,
controversial Honor Guard. Then checkout the Redhawks logo on the Logo
Tried to make the Rat Creek photo my wallpaper and the image comes out
in "blocks" and unable to tell what it is. I
downloaded that program you mentioned on the bottom of your last note and
now do't know what the next step is. I'm PC illiterate. Can
you help. Don't need to post this to the regular site unless you
think it will help someone else.
No problem Firehorse, here's some instructions for you and all.
There are several ways to create wallpaper, first, the easy ways:
Netscape & Internet Explorer:
1. Go to a photo page, click on the photo, not the name of the
photo, you want to view the actual size. Once the image loads, right
click the photo, then click on Set as Wallpaper. This will make the
image your default wallpaper. Netscape Wallpaper, convert the image
to .bmp format, and place it in your Windows main directory/folder.
The wallpaper images have to be in .bmp format and in your Windows folder
(unless you have "Active Desktop" enabled in Win98).
2. If the photo isn't big enough to cover your full screen, you can
go to the Start Button, Settings, Control Panel, Display, and click the
Background Tab, Choose an option from the Display drop down menu in the
bottom right corner. Win98 has Stretch, Tile, or Center, Win95 I
believe may not have the Stretch option. Pick which one works for
you. If the image doesn't look good "stretched", no
problem, you can change your background color to enhance the photo.
3. While still in the Control Panel, Display window, click the
Appearance tab, then towards the bottom right, click the Item drop down
menu and select Desktop. Move across to the right in the same row
and drop down the Color menu. If you want to see more options, click
on Other, then pick a color and OK your way out of the windows.
Depending on the main color theme of the picture, you can make your
desktop look far better than the default windows icky green.
For those who decided to try Irfanview, do the following.
1. Click here to download the program: http://stud1.tuwien.ac.at/~e9227474/iview312.exe
. Save the program where ever you desire, if you are new to
downloading programs, I suggest you create a new directory called
"downloads" or something similar prior to downloading so you
don't loose track of whre they end up.
2. After the file downloads, use your Start Button, then Run, then
browse to the location of Iview312.exe, click the file, then ok your way
back out. I don't recall the exact process of installation, but
chosing the default settings should be just fine.
3. Before proceeding, if you haven't already, download a copy of the
photo you want to use. It can be saved anywhere and can be deleted
later if you wish, just remember where you saved it. When viewing
the photo, not the thumbnail, right click the photo and choose "Save
Image As", then watch where it goes, or browse and choose a download
4. Crank up the Irfanview program. From the main menu select
File, then Open. Browse to the location of the saved photo and
double-click it. When the files opens, again select File from the
main menu, then Save As..., you can select where to save the image as, and
using the browse features, might as well tell it the Windows directory
now. After chosing the save location, go to the bottom of the window
and use the Save as Type drop down menu to select *.BMP (Windows Bitmap).
Hint: I always put a 1 in front of the file name so when I do
the next step, the files I've converted are always on the top of the list.
Eg: If you are using the ratcreek photo, just rename it 1ratcreek.
5. That's it for the file conversion, although there are many more
things you can do with this program. Another main use might be to
resize the photo to fit your desktop. To do that, just click on
Image on the main menu, then select Resize, choose your new size, then
don't forget to save the photo prior to exiting the program. (File,
Save, or Save As...) Hint2: Until your sure you want to
permanently save the settings, use the Save As. .., you can always shrink
a pic (to a certain point) and have it look ok, but once you do, if you
try to enlarge it, much of the information has been squeezed, so it won't
look as good as the original. Just add a 1, 2, 3, etc. at the end of
the file name to tell them apart when you save them. When you get
the size you want, you can delete the others.
6. If you haven't done so, exit the program, use the Start Button,
Settings, Control Panel, Display, Background tab, then select a file to
use as wallpaper. If you followed the hint above, you should easily
find your new file at the top of the list. Select the pic, then
select the Tile, Center, or Stretch options as above. Ok your way
out and your new wallpaper should be there.
Happy Wallpapering, Ab.
||Dean, thanks for the link. That is an internet site
that all firefighters should check out if they get the
Eric, your picture of the Rat Creek fire is GREAT! I
wish I had that type of talent.
On the 24 hour shift issue, the only place where I
ever ran into that management was in California, and
it really sucked. We were really hammered at the end
of the shift, and were lucky to avoid an accident.
This management, IMO, compromises safety big time, and
will go away from the Federal sector as soon as there
is an accident where fatigue from 24 hour shifts is
documented as a contributing factor.
The overhead team gave us a song-and-dance about
travel times and work/rest ratio, but the real reason
was because of the CDF involvement in the incident. A
couple of points:
1. The travel time, work/rest, etc. issues can be
managed by the use of spike camps, coyote tactics, and
other management practices. If an overhead team can't
figure those logistical issues out, they should not be
allowed off of their districts, much less try to
manage an incident.
2. Most regions have gone away from night shifts
except in initial attack and unusual circumstances on
project fires. The reason? SAFETY! Very few values
we protect are worth having a tired firefighter walk
off a cliff in the middle of the night. Every fire I
go to in R-5 have night shifts. Why? I don't know,
you tell me.
"Fire Behavior Analyst (FBAN) and the Long Term Fire
Analyst (LTAN) are two separate positions" That
change is long overdue! Hope that it really happens.
Tiny, you hang tough, keep working out, and drop me a
line when you turn 18 and want to try fighting fire.
Ab, the more I think about the time and effort this
site requires, the more I am impressed. Thanks for
the great job and all the effort.
||I read with interest Mellies last post in reference to us old salts that
are due to bail out of this line of work - some looking foreward to going
and others going kicking and screaming. After watching your site for
awhile I fail to see a problem. Virtually everyone that posts a
has all the answers to all the problems, so in the natural progession of
things they can move up in their organization and solve all those problems
that are so easily fixed when the only perspective you have is from the
engine window, end of the hose, end of a pulaski, or jump plane door.
Things will never change, those at the lowest levels of the organization
always have the answers. So what has gone wrong, nobody every moved
the organization? Everybody that moved up forgot all the answers
before moving up?? Or maybe once they moved up they found out what
so simple really was not?
Bottom line is although there is a fair number of us old salts
be leaving in the next few years, there is a wealth of young talent out
there ready to step in and get the job done. I have worked with
trained alot of them, and I am fully confident they can and will get the
job done. And they are not the bitchers and whiners!! (Noname)
I'll agree, with a few reservations. There are some fine
firefighters waiting to apply their wisdom to the Battalion and Division
positions, there just aren't as many as there used to be. Also, the
current situations of extremely low national unemployment rates, tour
limitations, lower pay, and lack of good benefits are contributing yearly
to declining retention rates (at least in the USFS). Hopefully, as
in the past, there will remain those who choose a career based on other
than monetary benefits. I observe the same type of
recruitment/retention problems now that I saw in the military during the
two years after the draft was abolished. The other half of the
looming issue pertains to the non-fire employees who have traditionally
provided extended attack and large fire support. There aren't too
many of those left and they are aging also.
There was information requested by North Ops last year concerning
redcarded personnel available by position, retirement dates, etc., anyone
know about the results of that survey? Ab.
||Eric, just looked at the Rat Creek Photo, what were you guys standing
for? I got to Lower Rat Creek the day after you "let" the
fire jump 97.
Thanks to your effort I got to spend 7 wonderful days above the King Ranch
All kidding aside, great picture, I would like to use it in a
||well here we go one more time .. to the guy that is a firefighter in
cal ..not all pvt contracters are useing old logging trucks .. get a
for not being real firefighters most folks that work for us have worked
usfs or blm and are sick of the crap that goes on with them..look at the
down sizeing the firefighting crews..soon all the firefighting will be
up to the pvts..and yes i have seen it now that more and more fires are
takeing care of the pvts..as far as the mutal aid goes it is great to see
fd tender show up when you are on a fire and some of the eqt that has
up looks like it came out of a junk yard..there are a lot of hard working
contracters up in r .6 that have set the standerd for wildland
.. folks like pacificerim wildfireand a-1 fireout.. so let all just get a
long on this thing and do the job and be safe ..some times on this web
just need to get a grip
||i am looking for anyone interested in trading patches or radio
i can trade arizona state parks or emt arizona patches.
i am a wildland firefighter/emt with superstition wilderness fire
rescue team in arizona.
any interested party can either send patches to me and i will send
somew back or vice versa.
surface mail Mike Lanning 325 W. 5th St. #103 Mesa AZ 85201
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
stay safe and hope to hear from you soon.
In reference to your posting regarding if the customers of Mayer
the fact that their firefighters and equipment are out off district
fire, the answer is an ENTHUSIASTIC YES!
First off, my fire district is not out competing for wildland business.
is our job and our duty to provide fire/EMS services not only to the
customers (taxpayers) of the Mayer Fire District, but also to support
firefighting operations throught the State of Arizona.
Arizona doesn't have a large complex state fire agency such as CFD,
even the likes of Florida. Here in Arizona, we have the Arizona State Land
Department (State Fire Management) that does not have the logistical
resources or legislative support to provide the same lavel of services
CDF or other "larger" state wildland agencies can provide. What
does have is interagency cooperative aggreements (IGA's) with ALL types of
fire departments in AZ. That includes city fire departments (like Phoenix,
Tucson, & Flagstaff, who I might mention has a large fire management
division that supports the State Land Department and Coconino NF), fire
districts such as Mayer, Central Yavapai, and even Northwest Fire
who has numerous type 3 engines, water tenders, and even a 20 person hand
crew. As a matter of fact, Northwest Fire sent out a strike team of
to Texas a couple of years ago. I wonder how their customers felt about
that!?!. AZ State also has a contract with the few privates here in AZ,
as Rural/Metro, Johnson Fire Services, and Nezbit's Fire Service, though I
don't know how they are paid.
Due to the fact that AZ is a little different than the rest of the
AS CITY/COUNTY/DISTRICT fire agencies are not only encouraged but
EXPECTED to inter IGA's with the state/feds due to the demographics of our
Your questions regarding the monies. Yes, we do make money in our
but, please understand, this money is acually budgeted into our district
funding. In other words, if we were not able to go out and fight fires for
the state/feds, we would not be able to afford additional equipment,
training, and even personnel for our district. Yes, the old addage is
even for tax supported fire districts and city fire departments, "you
to spend money to make money"! The money we made last year in
alone allowed us to send more firefighters to training, bought EMS
equipment, and gave us the opporunity to purchase 10 sets of brand new
structural turnout gear. For us to go out and fight off district fires is
actually saving our customers tax money.
As far as stripping our district to run into the hills, one of the
things about our wildland program is that it provides us with ADDITIONAL
personnel for the summer. Our wildland program has become one of the
recruitment and retainers of out reserve (volunteer) firefighters. We also
hire 3 seasonal firefighters between the ages of 18-21 who come from
disadvantaged families through a program called the Northern Arizona
of Governments Job Training Participation Alliance (JTPA). This program
gives our disadvantaged youth job skills, additional education, and the
ability to prove to themselves that they are somebody and have purpose in
the community they live in. This program has enveloped a sense of pride
acomplishment not only in the JTPA seasonals that work for us, but in the
coordinators, the fellow firefighters, and our community.
The Mayer Fire District has been honored several years in a row as being
best ran and community supported JTPA program in Yavapai County.
After the fire season is over, 90% of our newly recruited firefighters
JTPA firefighters( most of the recruits are straight out of high school)
have enough $ save up to go to community college and take on fire
science/EMS training courses furthering their endeavors to become paid
firefighters. Again, our program encourages and supports self worth,
and community involvement with our younger firefighters.
And would you believe, because of this support from the community and
internal customers (firefighters), we have more available fire/EMS
to cover shifts, standby's, wildland patrols, and off district fire
assignments than any other fire agency in Yavapai County. Daily constant
manning in my district is 6 year round, but during the fire season, I
typically have 20 in and around the district available to act on a moments
As far as equipmet goes, our department has three type 6 engines, two
water tenders, one type 3 engine, one type 2 engine, three type 1 engines,
two command buggy's, three paramedic ambulances, and an air/light support
truck out of three fire stations covering appromimatly 100 square miles
a population of 8000. Not bad for lil 'ol MFD. Again, we have more than
enough equipment and personnel to handle a multitude of fire/EMS incidents
and any given time during the fire season.
We are a very histroric and proud fire department. This has been provin
our department's attitude, commitment, and loyalty in providing the best
level of service to our community for 30 years. In no way would we
consider taking business away from from a private contractor or their
firefighters or would we tolerate any of our membership in thinking that
are better than any other fire agency, private contractors included.
Remember, we are all in this together.
In closing, I have decided to step away from the handle AZ Trailblazer.
of you know who I am any way. Why don't you do the same, mr/mrs/ms Noname.
Captain Tim Irwin
Dist. Fire Management Officer
I feel I have to respond to the Private Contractor (NoName)
who feels that a fire district is cheating the Taxpayer and the
private contractor out of money. I have been a volunteer firefighter
in Region 5 (Northern California) besides being a paid firefighter
for the Feds. In California and a lot of other states, such as
Arizona, departments like mine and like AZ Trailblazers may be
called County Fire Departments, Fire Districts, or Fire Protection
Districts but the funding from either the state, county, or special
district don't necessarily mean that there is any significant
money involved. Many of these districts, if they receive funding
at all, is usually for the essential stuff for the department
such as daily operating expenses (electricity, water, fuel, worker's
compensation, building and vehicle insurance, etc.) and in most
cases does not provide funding for new equipment or personnel,
these departments have to do fundraisers, raffles, and dinners
to earn and save enough money to purchase new or newer equipment,
and it is miraculous when you can save enough money to purchase
a new piece of fire apparatus instead of buying or begging for
another hand-me-down. For those that have a paid staff, the budgets
are usually so small that they do not have enough for other expenses
or in a catastophic emergency happens (such as replacing an engine).
These departments are in or close to either state or federal
fire protection responsibility areas (known as SRA or FRA) and
respond to wildland fires within thier areas. They work with
these agencies hand-in-hand and are immediately available for
dispatch to local fires. Here in California, and to a degree
Nevada and Arizona, Mutual Aid is heavily used during the summer
fire season regardless of who's responsibility (SRA or FRA) it
is, and its not just the bigger paid departments that are being
called. When they are called to these big fire assignments (Single
Resource, Strike Team, Task Force, etc.) they have to meet specific
requirements just like the paid departments and are expeceted
to work just as hard as the paid and seasonal firefighters do.
When these smaller districts/departments are called, usually
for water tenders, but also for engines and specialty equipment,
these departments are paid a rate equal to or LOWER than that
of a private contractor because of thier status. For instance,
my volunteer fire company used to make $1800 per day for our
4000 Gallon Water Tender 10 years ago, and today that same tender
only makes between $900-1100 (plus paying the crew) per day with
24-hr staffing, the difference is the crew on the tender/engine
are paid individually or by previous agreement. The contractors
I saw on the Northern and Central California Fires this last
season who were there were making between $1500-2500 per day.
This equipment is available to respond within minutes locally,
and within an hour for larger out-of-area responses. This equipment
that these fire districts are certified and ready to go, the
equipment meets or exceeds the requirement that are layed down
by the federal or state fire agencies, the crews, although they
may be volunteer firefighters, know their equipment and their
job already. There equipment is fire equipment, not just a slip-on
unit, or a logging truck with a tank and pump attached.
There equipment is in good shape and a constant state of readiness,
staffed by people who know firefighting not just for the summer,
otherwise it does not respond.
What you may not be understanding is that for these departments
this may be one of the few remaining ways for a struggling district
to be able to purchase new equipment, replace marginal equipment,
and help them to grow to be able to better provide long term
services to there community. Fundrasing and donations for these
small districts has dwindled over the years and the ugly monster
called LIABILITY INSURANCE has prohibided many departments from
having larger fundraising efforts for fear of someone getting
hurt and sueing the sponsoring department. For instance, in my
department we had an old semi-truck with a tank and fire rated
pump on it and it barely met the requirements for a fire water
tender. We operated it for seven years not just for wildland
fires but alos for structure fires, we saved the money we earned
from it, and in one year we were able to replace all of our older
equipment with newer and better apparatus that helped our area
lower it fire insurance and provide better protection.
Over the last six years with our newer tender we have been able
to purchase new Jaws-of-life, construct a new building, and other
things that benifited our community's fire protection and rescue
abilities. We do not recieve any funding from the county or state
other than fuel and worker's comp insurance. We pay our bills,
do our own repairs, and if we break something we pay for it,
and do not receive funding from local government tax dollars.
Because our our reliability, performance record, and equipment
maintenance history my fire company's water tender not only responds
within out county but is called on single resource assignments
each summer. The local National Forest will use it when it's
the closest resource, the state uses it as a first assignment
water tender for all fires. This is equipment that came into
being because of a dedicated group of individuals with community
support wanted better fire protection for there communities where
the government would not or could not provide. I bet you that
AZ Trailblazer's department is similar to my example.
But it's not just volunteer districts either. Smaller paid districts
send out equipment for these fires not necessarily to earn money,
but to help out neighboring fire agencies when called for Mutual
Aid, where a fire has gotten to large or expensive for them to
control. They participate because someday in the future they
may be faced with a large scale fire and need others to help
them control it. They may or may not be reimbursed for there
In AZ Trailblazer's discussion they were reimbursed, and his
firefighters were probably paid for thier time the same way a
seasonal or private contract firefighter would be. As far as
my community is concerned, they support that our equipment goes
out on these fires because it means the money earned goes for
better fire protection for the community, and when our single
tender is out, another tender or engine is either positioned
or staffed in our area to help fill in.
I respectfully disagree with you (NoName) in your opinion regarding
fire districts going to these fires. I understand that you have
expenses and problems maintaining your equipment as a private
contractor, but you also know the nature of the business for
contractors in wildland firefighting. This is an on-call business,
subject to natural and man-caused forces, and it is very competitive
with companies such as yourself, Alpine Wildfire, North Tree,
PatRick, and other contractors throughout the Western U.S.. These
are issues that have to be hammered out with the Forest Service,
But as a contractor, perhaps you should ask these agencies why
they don't follow there own rules regarding the use of the Military
when calling for aircraft and personnel? As I understand it,
before military aircraft and personnel can be used nearly all
government and private resources have to be utilized before such
a call up can be done. I know that over the last decade there
were many contractors who were not called when the military was,
why aren't you contacting these reps about it? In 1997 and 1998
at least a dozen contractors called it quits or folded because
the fire season was poor or the agencies decided not to follow
through with there agreements regarding control burns and fuel
reduction projects. As a contractor you should know this is the
nature of the area you are in. I had this discussion with water
tender contractors on the Kirk and Tasajara Fires this summer
and they understood the nature of the game "Hurry up and wait".
You may want to ask why you were not utilized more, was there
a problem with my crew or performance? Ask why the states have
so many inmate crews doing handcrew work on the fire lines and
how it affects you.
And if you are basing your opinion on AZ Trailblazer, why not
ask hime for a description of how his district operates?
||OPSC, As a crew boss/engine captain I can see the advantage of having
the portal to portal pay for the purposes of controlling your crew while
they are off the clock. However, I do not favor imposing the 24 hour
working shift on my crew or myself. Working in California I have had
extensive exposure to both types of shifts. The problem with the 24
hour shift is the lack of defined protocol for federal employees.
Many say that we are to rest (if the situation allows) between the hours
of 0200- 0600, depending on who you talk to (I believe that CDF stops
around midnight....correct me if I'm wrong), others flat out say "If
your getting paid, get on your feet", both procedures have their
flaws. First of all, one of the first things we teach our new
seasonals are the watchout situations including the one about sleeping on
the fireline. Of course there are exceptions under certain
conditions, but on every shift??? and if we are suppose
to rest someone had better tell everybody. I have been on incidents
where we were working side by side with CDF engines that all of a sudden
left to go bed down for the evening, leaving our handcrew less effective
without the water that the CDF engines were providing us with. The 24
hour shifts also wear on the crew more so than the 12 hour shifts.
When we have personnel working into the 0300 hour and beyond, the morale
of the crew takes a dive, especially when the primary goal is as mundane
as mop-up. I have seen it time and time again. Then the crew
gets 24 (or more like 18-20) hours off in a closed or isolated camp with
nothing to do after they have rested up, leading to a further decay in
morale. The 24 hour shift works great for CDF (because they plan
their rest during the period) and during the first shift of an incident
when things are really gettin' with it, after that though they become a
||this is to the subject of 24's: It's really non productive in my
eyes. I was on a fire on the NV-UT border in early november.
got sent all the way to the Pendola fire (R-5,TNF) get there at 0500 to
attend breifing. finaly get out to my line assignment at 0900.
and sit. mean while there screaming for resources on other
divisions. we were more than 50 hrs, in travel or work staturs.
as more resources came in they were being requested, and some sent
out. the OH said that they were for the next days operational
period. By using 24's the overhead team effectively managed to 1.
use us for 4 days and never once did my engine show up on the shift plan.
2. The overhead was calling out equipment that was to work that
operational period and i'd say that less then 30% of equipment was there.
The standard response was I think that there out on the division already.
Another classic I like is being on standby all day long and already have
14 hrs on the clock and then they call you for a night assignment.
the overhead needs to manage there resources better. It's no fun
trying to work a 24' its not easy in structual firefighting and it's not
any better in wildland fire. I remember when R-3 was doing this
coyote camping routine in the mid 80's and it sucked then. After 24
years in fire and most of it in wildland. The max amount that you
can work and still be productive is 16/18 hrs. max. I really do
belive that the firefighters will be more productive (and have a better
safety record) working "12's" than "24's). great site
I love it.
||Abercrombie and All—
I was invited and went to the Region 5 FS Division Chiefs’ meeting
last week -- an illuminating
experience. Your tutoring on FF training and FF issues here on TheySaid,
my research on acronyms MEL, and FFIS, and my FF1 classes meant that
I could understand almost everything. Often, I had more info as a
result of reading this site than many participants. THANKS to ALL for the
info, tutoring, and beginning wisdom you’ve given me. I feel SO
HONORED be included in your FIRE circle, both here, in southern CA--and
at the Chief’s meeting. Ah, AB, the power of the web! Thanks
for your continuing Vision and Persistence… (and thanks Web Goddess
for your far-reaching nefarious influences <teeheehee>)
Where to begin -- there is so much… Ray Quintenauer (a good guy IMO)
asked, “Do we have the courage to change, to put aside the politics
and BS?” I echo that… and add, “…change in optimal ways.”
FIRST: PROFESSIONALISM, PRIDE and CARING FOR EACH OTHER:
The emotional highlight of the meeting was a memorial service for
fallen firefighters conducted by the Honor Guard from the San
Bernardino National Forest. The multi-media service took place first thing
in the morning and it was listed as “optional” in the schedule. I
expected a handful of people to show up, but EVERYONE came. By the
end, there weren’t many dry eyes in the huge roomful of people. The
honor guard was the essence of dignity, honor, and professionalism.
IMO, this group is doing us a huge service in changing our attitudes
about ourselves and has the potential of changing the public’s attitudes
toward us, as well. Although Christian in their orientation,
“Essential Spirit” (by whatever name we each call that) was present
in all they did. Thank you for your Inspired Actions, Honor Guard. May
there be many more!
NEXT: the DISCONNECT between the BODY and the HEAD of the FIRE
organization (OR “The HEAD cutting off the BODY in spite of
The emotional low point of the meeting came when Debbie Rutherford,
messenger from the Washington office, talked about the issues/changes
facing us in the next fire season and beyond. This blindsided many people
who haven’t read this web site for a heads-up on the issues. I saw/felt
both anger and despair from participants. I will spread this report
and comments over several days, but some issues must be acted on soon
if change is to happen. I’ve picked what I think the group said are the
most critical issues:
1039 waiver -- was only good for the last calendar year. This means
that Forests may not be able to bring on some temps, including some
Shots until the 24/36 kicks in, which could be as late as July. Not good
… Need to get busy to change this right away by submitting an
amendment to the waiver to the OPM (Office of Personnel Management,
Primary Purpose, FFIS -- Fire training is paid by straight fire
dollars, but FFIS is not supposed to change what we do. Many think
that billing straight fire dollars is a change that looks like a double
take of the money to the detriment of fire. Help me out with this one
guys. I’m still learning budget…and haven’t gotten to the cash cow
walking through the corral of jackals…
401 series -- meeting at the end of the month with OPM and the WO. Some
resolution is necessary for this series, especially since substantial
hiring needs to happen at the Forest Chiefs’ level.
24-hour shifts – Someone said this is more of an issue outside Region
5 (I don’t know why) and requires lots of documentation.
OPCS -- Thanks for decloaking from your lurker position and asking for
input from this site! We need people like you tapping the wisdom!
(Also read posts from earlier in February…) Readers, we need some quality
responses on these issues when asked. Take a step back and look at the
pros and cons from a line position. Let’s do our homework and let
14-day limit on incident assignments -- excluding travel time and with
ability to appeal. More cost and paperwork in the opinion of many!
But who asked us? The HEAD is disconnected from this BODY’s wisdom,
R&R -- starts counting from the last day of rest. So people may
come to a fire with 13 days since their last day off, serve one day
and have to take R&R. Crazy! What about an engine crew whose members
have all different time schedules for R&R? Combine that with 14
day limits and what do ya get? Chaos!!!
THIRD: with respect to graying of FIRE FOLK and the loss of
In the South Region, Angeles NF and Cleveland NF have no Forest Chiefs. In
the North Region, Mendocino NF, Shasta-Trinity NF, and LTBMU
(whatever that is?) have no Forest Chiefs. As one person mentioned,
the graying is upon us as evidenced by these unfilled positions.
And it’s CLEAR that WE’RE GOING TO BE IN DEEPER SHIT SOON…. as
the high and intermediate level and fire line people retire. FYI, the
chiefs put up a list on the wall at the meeting. Most people put up their
names, and marked both their optional and mandatory retirement years. The
mandatory (best-case scenario) results are pretty grim:
From the sign-up of 70 fire people on the retirement list, 25 face
mandatory retirement in the next 5 years. That’s 35% of the mid-
and upper-level fire force, brothers and sisters! and an additional 26 in
the next 10 years. So, of the people at the Region 5 Chiefs’
meeting who recorded retirement dates, 72% will be gone in the next
10 years (and many probably will choose to leave sooner)!
Do we have younger people with experience coming up the line? I think
NOT ENOUGH. Certainly not enough with fire behavior savvy to insure
safety of our youth on the firelines! Certainly not enough to step into
higher positions of Incident Command Team responsibility even if the
budget allowed! This does not bode well for the safety and
preparedness of our country. (And what about the oldster shot crew
leaders? We’re loosing the WISDOM we need on the fireground!
COMPUTER PROGRAMS DON’T DO IT!)
LURKERS with WO in your e-mail addresses, don’t just make change for
change sake or because you’re stressed out when faced with the
current fire reality. I imagine you’re not any happier with the state of affairs
than we are. Let’s have some dialogue and change only what has to be
changed. Use this site to get a reality check from those on the
ground before you issue new policy that we have to live (or die) with for
the next year. The BODY OF KNOWLEDGE here is GREAT!
UH, OH my gang is running by with water and yelling from the living
room that there’s been a spot over from the fire in the woodstove
onto the couch. Yikes, they’re yelling that they’re considering
burnout operations on the carpet! Funny how FIRE tends to change
one’s environment! Bye, ya’ll—I need to go deal with a
different kind of FFE (flurry of flying embers)! Stay tuned for other
Ohmygosh, R5Engine captain, I fear I am hooked beyond redemption… and
I still have intrusive thoughts of fire at least every 4 minutes…
And I have to get donning my SCBA down to one minute and 15 seconds…
And it’s time for my PT kicks after dealing with the FFE.
AAAHHHHHH!!! I love it!
Mellie from Five Waters
||Abercrombie and the rest of the wildland fire community:
This is my first attempt to post some information on your site. I
Safety & Health professional who works for an agency which shall
nameless. Remember the directive which applies to all agencies:
the innocent & reward the guilty. My interest in wildland fire
whetted after the South Canyon tradgedy. After looking at the agency
health & safety programs and talking to some you who have been in this
business for ages I have found many holes in the way programs which are
required are administered or ignored. One of the most obvious is
something called HEARING CONSERVATION. This is mandated by OSHA for
employees whose 8 hour time weighted average (TWA) exposure to noise
exceeds 85 Decibels, A weighted scale (DBA). Sorry for technical
from another field but we all have our languages wgich are like Greek to
outsiders. Anyway the specific OSHA standard is 29CFR1910.95.
standard does not differentiate between seasonals, 13-13s or full time
employees. All are covered. Now who is normally exposed at or
DBA? Anyone who is a sawyer or swamper and runs a saw for ~4
helitack crews, those who ride in helicopters, smokejumpers, heavy
equipment operators, some engine crews, slurry mixers at aerial
firebases, etc. What should your agencies be doing besides handing
ear plugs? At least having you take an annual audiometric
at their expense. Wearing the hearing protection will hopefully save
your hearing. The annual audiometric exam which ideally is done at
start of each fire season will tell you if you have lost any hearing.
Why for the most part are the agencies ignoring their responsibilities
to comply with OSHA? They have gotten away with it for years and
no one will call them on it. It costs money to have a proper
audiometric exam. Also if the folks in the field find out that this
a compensible injury/illness their OWCP costs will go up along with
their injury & illness rate. The injury & illness rate is
used by OSHA
for targeting agencies for inspections. So if some of you who are
you are above this 85 DBA threhold want to annoy the establishment you
work for ask for your ANNUAL hearing test and anything else covered
under the hearing standard. Lest you think all I am concerned with
implementing some arcane OSHA standard I know that there are times on
the line where your being able hear that snag as it starts to fall can
be the difference between life & death. You have a choice in
situations, lose a little hearing or possibly your life. I know what
would choose. Whatever you do, do it safely! Life is fragile,
care of yourselves and your crews.
Ab- Thanks for allowing me the space, you have a great website.
right to greet all of your brothers and sisters as heros, unsung for the
most part but still heros.
Something this country is unfortunately woefully short on.
I just opened your page for the first time and
must say that I really like what I see, keep up the good work and thanks
for the effort.
I am surprised at a They Said posting by AZ
Trailblazer, dated 2/06. He is bragging about his Mayer, Az., fire
district competing against the private sector (contract wildland fire
folks) with tax payers' provided equipment. He states that his
District made $50,000.+ last season renting district equipment to the
State and the Feds. I see this as a direct conflict of interest,
using public provided funds and equipment to tap into the Federal fire
budget and growing his department. I have been an engine and tender
contractor for 14 years and one of the biggest problems we have getting
hired is the competition we face with small rural fire districts
"undercutting" contractors. I spend 10s of thousands of
dollars annually on training, equipment upgrades, pre-positioning, and
meeting many insurance requirements with NO taxpayer subsidization and NO
promise of work. Last season we worked only 1 fire in the Southwest
and had to travel North to find fire work. We employ mostly past
USFS and BLM firefighters caught up in downsizing and college students.
I see fire districts contracting services as taking food out of the mouths
of my firefighters. I have to wonder if the citizens of Mayer would
be happy to know that their equipment is leaving their district to make
money, leaving their level of protection lowered. Since when is it
acceptable for the public supplied fire districts to compete directly with
the private sector? (Noname)
||Hi Ab, et all.
Just droppin a line to let you all know I haven't dissappeared totally,
been.. busy. With what I won't say to keep from boring you all to tears,
just making sure your pup has been watching the firework show, and has
enough free time to stop lurking to pen a quick note to some of ya.
Thanks for the vote of confidence, glad to know contributions opinions and
like wise are sometimes appreciated even from the non-trained or partially
trained. After all, would hate for the guards of the forest to not be able
to see the forest for the trees.
To the curious (Yes Mellie, there have been other's asking...) I'm not
as my handle suggests. Currently Im 6'1", 210 lbs. This is to clarify
my previous posts about my handle being my 'affectionate nickname'. I was
given it because I was the biggest guy on staff last summer. (See the
Oh yeah.. To those who sent in acronyms, thanks. I'll have those to Ab,
soon as I recover. *grin*
Tiny, the R-6 Fire-pup
||I am an ex-Hotshot, rotorhead, engine slug, etc who has worked my share
the 24 hr shift. In my experience -- IT SUCKS!!!!
The OT is good. That is the only good thing about it. No
crew, no matter
how physically or mentally fit, can do productive, safe work that long on
regular basis. The best of crews are draggin' after 18 hours or so.
crew, if working at all, is not productive at 3 AM. So you are
and getting little in return. As you noted, 24-24 is really
about the third or fourth cycle the crew is rummy heading out to the line,
let alone doing safe heads-up work once they get out there. The
fatigue is not factored in the schedule. Every Crewboss (and
Superintendent) will tell you they are fine in that situation, but they
not in any condition or inclination to do an honest self-assessment of
readiness. No Crewboss will admit his crew needs more rest. As
there are times you must assess crew condition yourself (or accept the
observation of the HRSP, SOFR, or MEDL) and put a crew down for R&R,
it is a Hotshot Crew, the fire is raging, and there is national shortage
Type 1 crews.
It appears my soapbox wandered into a diatribe against the 21 day
the two subjects are related. It all relates to the effect of
fatigue, which cannot be alleviated by bussing a crew to the nearest town
for a day. During an active season, a crew will often need SEVERAL
consecutive days off after back to back 21 day cycles. One day is
doing laundry, chores, paying bills, etc. Another day off is needed
relax, get laid, go to the beach or pool with your significant other and a
sixpack, and FORGET for a while you are a Wildland Firefighter.
THEN you can go to your next assignment rested and ready and safe.
You'll love this one!
||I've been watching all of you express your opinions on
24/24 or different work schedules, the 14 day
rotation, the pack test, and problems with Single
Engine Airtankers (SEAT's). As well as, your abilities
to express your feelings about capabilities of others
within your own profession and their abilities to
control or not control situations, which are sometimes
beyond human capabilities. Along with all the rest of
the information being exchanged regardless how trivial
or important it is.
I came to a remarkable conclusion: You're all human
and love what you do...and are able to see needs for
improvement and change within your profession,
regardless how much you like or dislike it.
Now for the lighter side. I, like many of you, have
been watching the stats on the fires, which have
already started to add up for 2000. I know it is
still early in the year, although some of you have a
good head start, but I was just wondering what the
rest of you old timers feel will be the two hotspots
for 2000. Two hotspots? Yep, one area with the most
acres or largest fires and one with the most Interface
or the area with the largest amount of National News,
not local, press coverage. I know a lot of you old
timers have a "GUT" feeling, <not to be misunderstood
with a dietary or physical problem that you may have>
as to where the fire season will be this year. And,
for the young’ns, which have been watching the stats
and indicators on the net, I'd like to hear your best
So far up to 2/8/00: 2000, 3,164 fires with 44,594
acres. Compared to the past 4 years during the same
time: 99' 1257 fires w/ 7,275 acres; 98' 447 fires w/
7,436a; 97' 2,104 fires w/ 51,189a; and 96's 1346
fires and 30,602a.
By the way, this Hilbille tips his cap to Ab for
having such a FINE Site
SAFETY needs to be a Personal Attitude and not an
||Hey Eric, tried to e-mail you but was sent back as a bad address. You
check it out. is it true that agencies need to train together before
||Thanks for the kind words. We enjoyed working with ya'll. We try to
treat folks so many different ways their bound to like one of them. Ab
we would be proud to have you and other R-5 folks over any time.
However, you still have to bait your own hook.
||The promised photo from Eric is on the Fire2
page, called Rat Creek. Just an awesome pic. Saved in 1024x768
so it's just right for wallpaper. If your normal monitor rez is
lower than that there are many free software programs available to reduce
the image size without butchering it. My favorite quick image
program is Irfanview, available here: Irfanview
||Yo Fed Wildland Firefighters, a question for those inclined to comment.
If FWFSA is successful (& many are working to make it so) with
portal/portal, would your feelings be about 24 hour shifts be different
(especially on the seiges)? Is downtime or OATS the issue?
My experience with 24's has been: 0500 briefings, on line shift changes
about 0830, and off shift getting back into camp about 1000 the next
day. That's about 19 hours off & 29 hours on) averaging about 15.5
per day. Like the 12 hour shift, folks are committed about 15-16.
course except for some IA hotline, they would be some downtime & may
apply to mop-up, & NOT folks in camp.)
I'm an OPSC on a CIIMT and interested in your thoughts.
Ab, keep up the GREAT WORK!
The National Fire Academy (NFA) is in Emmitsburg MD. The Fallen
Memorial is on the NFA campus. It is very impressive. An
burns, the flags of all 50 states are displayed, bronze plaques listing
names of our brothers and sisters who died in the line of duty for that
Go here for the NFA: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/nfa/index.php
Go here for the Memorial: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/ffmem/
I am an all risk firefighter with 33 years in the service (been there,
that). I have been working closely with federal wildland
the past several years and I have the greatest respect for wildland
firefighters. I am supportive of your need for equitable pay and
working conditions. I suggest that all of you join your labor
and work for it.
||New BIA logo on Logo
|| Thought you all might be interested in changes to 310-1 coming out
this month. The passages below are copied from a CDF memo
summarizing the coming changes. Some sound good, others... (IOSWT
is Incident Operations Standards Working Team)
IOSWT reviewed required training for participants. IOSWT feels that we
are 60-70% responsive to the needs for reduced training. There is still an
increase from the 1993 version, but less than was considered in the March
1999 draft.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns =
Currency standards too high – the IOSWT agreed that some
subordinate positions could maintain currency for a higher level position.
Many currency standards were reduced from the March 1999 version of the
There was a perception of a bottleneck from the Single Resource Boss to
the Task Force Leader position. The IOSWT has made modifications in the
qualifications that allow persons to qualify from a number of subordinate
Fire use vs, fire suppression positions were looked at by both the
IOSWT and the Fire Use Working Team. It was agreed that not all positions
could be combined and both teams have agreed on qualification standards
for these positions.
I have tried to capture the major changes to the 310-1 for the
operations section (where most of the changes are) as well as other
significant changes below:
Firefighter 2 and Firefighter 1 remain unchanged
Single Resource Boss (all types) require Crew Boss (S-230) and
Intermediate Fire Behavior (S-290).
Strike Team Leader (all Types) require Fire Operations in the Urban
Interface (S-215) and Task
Force/Strike Team Leader (S-330).
Task Force Leader requires Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior
Calculations (S-390) and Task
Force/Strike Team Leader (S-330). A person can qualify as a Task Force
Leader in one of two ways.
1. Satisfactory performance as any
Strike Team Leader plus satisfactory position performance on a wildland
fire as a Task Force Leader.
2. Satisfactory performance in any
two single resource boss positions (one of which must be crew or engine)
plus satisfactory performance as an Incident Commander Type 4 plus
satisfactory position performance as a Task Force Leader on a wildland
Division Group Supervisor must be as a Task Force Leader and is
required to have Division/Group Supervisor (S339).
Operations Section Chief Type 2 requires Command and General Staff
In the Planning Section, the major changes are that the Fire Behavior
Analyst (FBAN) and the Long Term Fire Analyst (LTAN) are two separate
positions. The FBAN requires Advanced Wildland Fire Behavior Calculations
(S-490) and Advanced Fire Behavior Interpretation (S-590). The FBAN needs
to be qualified as a Division/Group Supervisor. The LTAN requires S-490,
S-590, and Long Term Risk Assessment (S-492) and FARSITE: Fire Growth
To become qualified as a Situation Unit Leader, a person needs to be
qualified as any Strike Team Leader or in any two single resource boss
positions (one of which must be crew or engine) plus Incident Commander
I thought fire people would be interested to know that early this week
Wildland Firefighter Foundation, the new Firefighter Fund administrators,
gave a check for $5,000 to Dick Blood's widow in a small ceremony at the
firefighter memorial located on the campus of Boise Interagency Fire
Dick Blood was killed while serving as a crew bus driver on the Big Bar
Complex and was working for Special Operations, a fire service contractor.
Blood was killed at the Anderson, CA Fairgrounds by an unknown person or
persons. The investigation of this murder is being handled by the Anderson
Police Department, and while no suspects have been named or arrested the
Department is still actively working on the case.
The long delay for the Firefighter Fund to respond to this sad incident
caused by the problems of moving the Fund from the National Forest
to the newly established Wildland Firefighter Foundation that is also the
"keeper" of The Wildland Firefighters Monument at the Boise Fire
The Fund was established to help firefighters and their families when
things happen shortly after the Storm King Incident, has a goal to provide
financial help immediately when a firefighter or family needs immediate
We hope the new administrators of the Fund will help make this fund
the goal of immediate and humanitarian assistance when needed without the
problems that were encountered in helping Mrs. Blood. Money for the fund
comes from fire agencies and private donations.
We are pleased to support the fund, but the similarity of names is
coincidental. We are separate organizations.
Wildland Firefighters Magazine
||Dean, "I understand that you limit this board to
Wildland Firefighters." There is a differance between
limiting a discussion to Wildland Firefighters and
wildland firefighting. Both Mellie and Tiny have
contributed many insights to these discussions, and I
owuld hope that S-130/190 are not required to give an
opinion. (Ab, correct me if I am wrong!)
Non-wildland firefighter views/opinions help keep the
blinders off and help us keep persceptive. What state
is the NFA in Emmitsburg in? I did check out the
National Stuctural Firefighter Union (or whatever they
call themselves!) memorial in Colorado Spring, CO and
noticed that if you were a member of a Federal agency
or a VFD that you were not important enough to make
their monument. I guess that it takes specific
requriements (none of which the Storm King 14 met) to
die in the line of duty. The memorial is on public
property, owned by the City of Colorado Springs!
||The only time "Success" comes before "Work" is in
||Ab, yours is the first website I launch when I come on line. I
always go to
the "They Said It" to see where the heat is being applied.
I understand that
you limit this board to Wildland Firefighters. I have been to the
Emmitsburg where the Fallen Firefighters Memorial is located and have seen
the flags at half staff for Wildland Firefighters as well as for the
Yours (Wildland Firfighters) are a very large part of the national
collectively called the Fire Service. Please pass this rather
(if you can't use it all, then cut it up) below on to your large and
following. We can stand on the curb and bitch about how bad the
or we can step off into the street, road, trail or what ever, and become
of the parade and make it better.
The letter from Dean can be found here: National
Fire Academy Alumni Association, Ab.
I have been dispatching SEAT's in Arizona for 8 fire seasons now and am
also a SEAT manager, I see the benefits of SEAT's here but I think you
should be using the right tool for the right job.
SEAT's are designed to fly in close to a fire, be reloaded at a
base and should have at maximum 10 minute turn arounds on a fire. I see
this resource mis-used all the time, mostly by folks that get hung up on
Fixed SEAT bases, they want the planes to fly over big mountains and
have 45 minute turn arounds, not acceptable, move those small planes to
within 5 or 7 minutes fly time of the fire, that is what makes them so
SEATs can move in and help heavies tie off or reinforce lines, help
structure protection and a multitude of other things.
Make sure you are using SEAT's in the capacity in which they are
designed. Dont piddle on your fire with one SEAT all day when a heavy
drop or two will do the job. Dont try to mop up hot spots when a
Helicopter is much better, use the right tool for the job.
||There's a nice new airtanker photo on the Airtanker2
page, which is also a new page. Ab.
doesn't really pertain directly to fire but I thought you might be
interested in this report. Covers the concerns regarding employee safety
Ties to the Forest Supervisors resignation over employee safety.
Thanks Bob, it does make for some interesting reading. If you
readers think you work in a hostile environment, read what others put up
with. It reminds me of the hostility between forest dwellers and the
USFS during the late 70's over the use of brush killing chemicals.
||R1 Engine Foreman,
'Every firefighter has the right, and maybe even the
responsibility, to keep a personal and private
(PRIVATE, Jackson, PRIVATE) list of
"overhead that shout watch out".'
I think that you are correct, except that we should
feel free to share bad experiences with other
The problem that I have with what Jackson did is that
his insinuations were not based on personal
experiences with Tom, they were based on
circumstances. If the people who worked for/with Tom
felt that he was unsafe their opinions would be spread
all over this site like wallpaper. I don't see that.
I do see alot of support for him, and that says
something. I have worked with Tom and would welcome
the opportunity to do so again.
Based on Jackson's logic we could blame the Civil War
on Wilmer McLean.
HeloDriver..Geez, mello out! ..I should have said "the ground folks
HERE cant wait for the SEAT..." Im well aware of how much the seat
program has grown the last few years. In fact I was in favor of getting
them (like my opinion from the bottom rung of the ladder mattered).
However I have since realized "IN OUR SITUATION" even a
206 with a small bucket in most cases can put more gallons per minute on
the fire and "from our experience here" a lot more accuratly
than a SEAT. To be fair to the seat program, the last few years have
been really wimpy so there has not been much in the way of a
challenge for them or an opportunity to prove itself "LOCALLY".
OUR reasonings for the seat were two fold, a hell of alot cheaper than
helicopters (strictly from a monitary basis) and the bigger initial impact
on an initiating fire with a larger payload.
and besides.. I wasnt attempting to slam SEATS. Ive been around long
enough to realize that it takes all kinds of resources to accomplish THE
(as in everywhere) fire mission, from aircraft to leaf blowers and garden
rakes depending upon what works in your local area. I was simply asking
for an opinion on the navagation question...but if you still have a mind
to, slam away.. Ive got thick skin.
||Anyone read a copy of "An Agency Strategy For Fire Management,
discussed at the national FMO meeting last month?
It discusses some very interesting plans for our (FS) future and the way
mobilize and fight fire. Specifically a new "Pathway" is
to the Chief that as I understand it will create a "National Incident
Management Organization" or teams of employees whose only job is to
fight/manage incidents nationwide. IA and extended attack is left to
Forests with local only resources. When a fire goes beyond extended
attack, these teams will come in and "manage" the incident.
Sounds sort of
like what we have with Type I & II teams now but with several
twists. IA resources go back to IA and do not participate in the
and it sounds like they always stay local and don't travel. Lots of
questions in the report but as usual with any new idea all questions are
answered and we are not to worry. Get a copy of the report, I am
is a topic for discussion.
Wasn't agreeing with what Jackson implied, just defending his right to
say it. Free speech and all that. No, I haven't been there, done that. Far
from it. But I do think I owe it to my crew and my family to be as
safe as I can. Primarily through training and learning something on
every fire, but also by knowing as much as I can about the people who
might one day be making decisions that impact me, my crew, and my family.
That's why I (and I suspect, hundreds of "lurkers") check this
site out every now and then, not to look at somebody else's glory shots or
buy used computer parts. If you've never worked for a cull overhead, or a
lazy one, or an inept one, or a just plain dangerous one, then may your
luck hold out forever. I haven't been so fortunate. If you re-read
my last post, you might discover that I too disagree with name-dropping
and smearing, and was defending Jackson's right to an opinion, not the
substance of his comments.
Ab, the logo page is definitely coming together. You've got to
get the Carson HS, R-3 logo, the coolest I've ever seen.
R-1 Engine Foreman
Abercrombie suspects there are thousands of lurkers out there who
check the page every day! Most of them belonging to
organizations without a patch on the logo page! Abercrombie
doesn't use logos unless someone else thinks they are important enough to
send him. Send 'em in. Ab.
||I have to agree with WP on Pacific's patch I would love to get ahold of
one for my patch collection.
Uh oh Eric, I hope you made plenty. Ab.
||There are three new logo's on the logo
page. Thanks to Engineer Emmett. I'm working, as you read
this, on a great photo from Eric to be posted on Fire2 page. Stay
tuned, it's wallpaper material!. Ab.
||Hey Pulaski !
It's one thing to speak your mind, but are you authorized to speak
everyone elses? "...The vast majority of the ground folks are ready
waiting to get rid of the SEAT program and go back to strictly
helicopters..." Oh really? I guess that's why the use of that
particular resource has tripled in the last couple of years, the numbers
of them have apparently doubled, and they are in constant demand. If
your corner of the world doesn't need them, why did they contract for
them? Oh, maybe that would have been a management decision based on
initial attack needs, activity planning, dollar allocations, etc, you
know, all that boring stuff. Next time make sure they consult you first!
(Or maybe you just meant the vast majority of the ground folks sitting
at your table).
Sounds like you've got yourselves one crappy SEAT contractor. I also
aviation and personaly know that everyone out there in fire and EMS
has compasses, GPS, and something that relatively new out there, MAPS!!!!
No, not aviation sectionals, but honest to goodness topo maps. :)
the more progressive guys and gals out there have the ability to take the
LAT and LONGS and enter it into a computer program (like the DeLorme
program) and wha lah, have a topo map of the area that they are flying
What a concept. These contractors that have this ability are the ones I
working for me, they're safe, they get there in a timely fashion, and most
of all, no excusses and no BS!
Now, I understand your feeling about not having a SEAT proram, but give
season where you have no heavies or rotor support, and a SEAT is as good
gold. I too had the same attitude about seats a few years ago (more like 7
years ago) but believe me, they have saved my district a time or three.
Here in Northern AZ, we are a little "air attack challenged".
We have a
couple of heavies (three this year)in Prescott, our closes rotor ( Bell
L3, just who in the hell contracts light helos in the heat of the AZ
is beyond me!!)will be coming out of North Phoenix.
Most of our IA fires are state fires, in which they have a contract with a
few SEAT folks out of Phoenix, Safford, and Buckeye. They have proved
worth over the years up here, and in all fairness, we are dealing with
heavier fuels and foot hills than the typical flatlanders with cheatgrass.
Our Heavies are, for the most part, available, but when shit starts
toarching off in the rest of the west, we start loosing air tankers. I was
on a IA fire a couple of years ago on the Tonto, and our closest heavy was
coming out of Silver City NM. What the f*ck is up with that sh*t! 2 Seats
from Phoeniox came in and knocked the crap out of the fire and IC
canceled the DC6 somewhere over the White Mountain Apache Nation. Go
Hope that your SEAT program, if you still have it come game time, does
a good of a job as our has. If you have the authority to do the
or at least have some say so over it, do you and your district some
and check out the contractors PRIOR to the season and signing their
Just like some of those crews and engines that have no business out there
the line, so true are the SEAT and Rotor contractors that have no business
laying salvo and bucket drops all over the place.
Talk atcha all later.
||I was down in Texas in March of '96 as a Safety Officer when I first ran
into Boo Walker. I met him over breakfast at Dennys on a Sunday
After some grub and coffee, Boo asked me what I thought about
I figured this was an introduction to local hazards etc. He
told me about
a place west of Abilene I think called Sweetwater that "probably
Safety Officer today". Well it turns out it was the 39th
Jamboree in this town and seeing as how it was Sunday " you probably
to check it out". Well you don't have to ask me twice, so me
guy spent the morning there buying souvenirs and eyeing Miss Rattlesnake
and eating our fill. What a trip! Got back to Abilene that
went to a fire. The hospitality was great for the next three weeks.
came home and then went back in April. I'll take Texas any time.
||Eric, Pacific Wildfire
I think you made a mistake by posting your logo/patch on the site.
going to cost you lots o patches. Now that we know you have them I
will dog you until I get one, when we meet again. It is one of
ones out there.
||R-1 Engine Foreman & Jackson
I dont think your responses or little quotations are appropriate.
Obviously you have both been there done that, I hope that you will never
go through what Tom went through with his crew on Storm King Mtn.
were so many things that went wrong on that mtn top that day, and you
think that he deserves all this shit you are throwing at him. You are
I faught fire with several members of the Prineville Crew in the past.
The folks that did not make it off the mtn were not stupid. They
fire behavior and they were top quality individuals. In my opinion
did not know how serious the situation was until it way too late. It
all happened so fast they did not have a chance.
While I was on the Prineville crew we had a death also. In this
was a drunk driving accident. It was a very difficult time for the
crew, and that was the loss of one individual, not 9. Have a little
heart, and get off your high horse. We are all participating in this
type of forum to prevent this from happening in the future. No one
wants to make that phone call home. We all participate in fire
it is in our blood, and we love it. Face it you either love it or
it, there is no inbetween.
There is a lot involved in being great at what we do, this forum will
help, it gets people to talking about issues, and how to prevent
tragedies, not to smear good people.
My father was on a fire as FELB, one of his fellers was hit by a widow
maker and he died. Did that make it his fault, no it made it an
unfortunate accident. Could he have prevented it? I dont think
happened so fast there was not enough time to get the faller out of the
way. Did he feel responsible for those people sure he did.
still bother him after 16 years yes it does.
Thanks Ab for the site,
Thanks "dispatcher" for a quality post. Ab.
||Pack Test vs. Step Test...
The individual merits/pitfalls of each test aside, at least there is
sort of filter for the physical ability of each FF.
I know that regardless of which test is used, folks still die from
attacks and exertion while fighting fires.
Personally, I like the pack test. It not only tests your exercise
it also tests your determination to do a task. Your MENTAL ability
perform a task over an extended period of time. Granted, it's not
science or an algebra problem, however, if you lose your focus, daydream,
get in a rut (throwing off your pace) you won't pass.
I think it's better than the step test, but there isn''t a perfect test
i'm aware of.
There is a screening for it, and BC Davis they make you sign the form
you take the test (or should have). I know they do this in NJ, for a
2 week assignments... I'm for it, except when they send us out as
strike teams. I think that if your shipping our engines then it
should be at
least a 3 week assignment. Unless there is a plan to rotate crews
same engines over 2 two week tours.
||However uncouth his way of broadcasting his opinion, you can't deny
Jackson the right to put two and two together and say,
Every firefighter has the right, and maybe even the responsibility, to
keep a personal and private (PRIVATE, Jackson, PRIVATE) list of
"overhead that shout watch out".
R1 Engine Foreman
||about the 24on 24 offf. My experience with this is that even
though they are
trying to get us more rest by having 24 hour shifts the same problems
that dont allow you to get back to camp on time. I have never only
the 24. Just as you never end up working a 12. And towards the
end of the
shift you cant help but be less aware of safety There is also the issue of
being stuck in camp and not getting paid. I guess that is probably
part is a bunch of tired grumpy people who have been away from home being
stuck in a camp not getting paid. In my opinion it is asking for
With the 12 hour shifts you dont have time to get in touble and your too
tired. Not that we're a bunch of trouble makers but you know waht
about idle hands. Great site by the way. -L
||hey ab, hey GP,
just read the
latest on "they said" and GP says there is a
screening for the pack test? never heard of it or never have been offered
could it be that someone is pulling the wool over fire fighters eyes here?
guess i will have to start some sh__t over this! this is why i love this
site. when i don't know something and i cant get some answers from my own
agency then i know i can come to a place where fire fighters really give a
thanks BC Davis
||New photos on the Fire2, Logo, and Engine2 pages. Check 'em out,
the engine featured in the rollover story from Eric yesterday is shown,
also added a link to the photo inside his story. If you haven't read
it yet, it's worth the time. Ab.
||Well every one knows what they say about opinions but as usual I can't
hold back any longer so here it is from a old vollie eng. puke... Who the
hell every worked 12 hrs on a 12 hr shift ???
From someone that has worked for CDF and the USDA on OES responses PLEASE,
give me a 24 hr shift any day. On 12 hr shifts you drive 3 hrs to the
fire, when your sent back to camp its another 3 hrs. By the time you do
the 3 S's and get you Eng. in ship shape you might get 5 hrs sleep then
its up and at em the next morn. But on 24 hr shifts its go to the
fire, Do what you gotta do, (even if it IS all night long) but in the
morn. you get to get off the fire and get some real
rest. Get your Eng. stocked and be ready to save the world again.
Give me a 24 hr shift every time.
Been there, Done that, Bought the T-shirt...
||I dont have a big opinion one way or the other on the 24hr shift thing,
however the idea is not new. We did it in R5 in the early 80's and it went
away fairly quickly. The biggest problem for the ground troops was
what the heck do you do in fire camp for 24 hrs? Im surprised there isnt
more talk against it as thats 24 hours that you wont be on the clock
(unless they are planning on doing the portal to portal thing)
From what I observed during several large fires I worked 24/24 was
that my crew ended up working 28-32 hours instead of 16-18 hours as is
normal on a 12/12. Same old problems were evident for the 24/24 vs
the 12/12. Your relief on the line is late because; crews don't get
ready in time, the briefing is late, the chow line is too long, the
traffic routes to the line are clogged. I thought the extended hours
were ok for mopup status, but production during the last 10-12 hours or so
of a 32 hour shift on hot line dropped to unnaceptable levels while safety
seemed to take a tired back seat in everyone's mind. From the line
perspective, staggered shifts might be suggested, but I wouldn't want to
suggest that to Plans or Logistics. Ab.
Ok, here is a question for ya, or at least something to give your
opinion on. We (who shall remain nameless) will again have a SEAT this
year. We are a small world here and have gotten by just fine with a
helicopter as we have quite a bit of water for bucket drops. Since we have
virtually zero roadless areas there is not a big need for GPS,
consequently we get by just fine with "legal descriptions" and
our dispatch or ground folks do not have the capability to easily utilize
lat & longs. When the seat came on board we had a hell of a time
getting them to a fire...a simple bearing and distance was not good
enough. My feeling was GEEZ! dont ya have a dang compass in the
plane? We are relatively flatland as well, so as soon as the plane
is up or in the general area you would think he would find the
fire....nope, wrong again. And it hasnt helped matters that he has
yet to hit the target (although there hasnt been much opportunity to)
This is the last year of the contract with this vendor. The vast
majority of ground folks are ready and waiting to get rid of the SEAT
program and go back to strictly helicopters (we can still get heavy air
support when we need it). My question is, is this typical in the aviation
program? or is it a problem with this contractor? ..I realize that most
folks fully utilize GPS and everyone is used to it...but man, they cant
follow a simple compass bearing?
||Boo, Thanks for the info on T-440......I was in Lufkin year before last
ATGS..Never did get a chance to thank all the Texas Forest Service folks I
worked with for their hospitality. I appreciated their professionalism,
attitude and willingness to educate a Fed R5 Forest Service firefighter on
the regional differences in both tactics and customs...also where the best
bass ponds were!!!..Thanks!!!!
What? Boo tooka ya fish'in? That's it, I'm go'in to
Texas this year. "Warm winds blow'in, chasing blue skies. .
||Jackson, hate to bust your bubble, but Tom was to young to have been the
shooter on the grassy knoll in Dallas. I'm not sure what Jackson's point
was about Tom being a safety officer in Texas. As far as I know he did
an outstanding job and we would be happy to have him back.
||Was just reading through the archives. Found some disturbing
would like to address concerning "Private contractors"
As A private contractor I have to tell you folks that not all
equipment you see on an incident is contracted. When the shit
hits the fan
some equipment can get on as AD. This is a loophole that most of the
associations are working hard to close.
It embarresses me when I spend 30-40 grand on an engine, another 10 on
inventory, and train persons to worl them, acquire the
liability required by law, go through the pre season inspections(where
of the AD trucks are dumped), and stress professionalism. As for
the bars. That would be the AD trucks, I have personally seen
it. I am 26
in good shape, but after fighting fire all day, the last place I want to
is a bar. I Pay my guys 175-220 a day + expenses. I feel
for that pay I
can control their off hours, THEY dont go to the bars either.
As for "shoddy equipment" I do my best to
maintain the gear. We have new
hose, new clothes, new radios. 99% of the contractors in R-6
excellent job. Dont let a few rotten apples ruin the barrel.
To tell you
the truth ive seen plenty of agency gear that was less than par.
count there was 326 engines/tenders on the EERA. Every one of them
inspected, inventoried, and tested. All of the training
records of they
Contractors employees was PERSONALLY INSPECTED by a FS contracting agent.
Hell where do you think 90% of our people come from. THE AGENCIES.
where. They choose to work for us,because theyve moved on,
carreers but still love fire.
As for Keith wanting to get into this. Be prepared to have
expensive hobby for the first couple years. And dont quit your day
wasnt until 98 that I could make a living at this, and feed three kids,
a mortgage. ( ive been doing it since 94's Rat Creek and firestorms
Central WA) that was my first season.
I hate to say this also, you wont be able to make much profit with one
engine either. There is just too much overhead. If I had
to do it again.
I would put the same amoun of money in Microsoft or Amazon, and be retired
truthfully though I would go into base camp support or
dozers, there is a
lot less competition there. Whatever you do do it clean,
right from the beggining. distance yourself from the BL type of guys
(Bottom Line $$$) Try to have fun, and work hard. That way the
will see you, know you, and call you. I have yet to
receive a bad
evaluation, and dont intend too. Check out our website, (kinda
it was my first attempt Trying to get AB to clean it up)
Pacificwildfire.com email me Pacificrimwidlfire@email.msn.com and
you where i can keith.
Have a safe ond and see on the line Eric
||Yo, BC Davis, your must be 12th man on the deal team. There is a
full and total pre-screening test for the WCT. There is even a
detailed one for those of us over 40 (45+). There is a ton of
literature out on the WCT, go into your local federal fire agency and ask.
||Tony, That's T-440 taken on the Jack fire in May of 1999. It was the
first drop he had made on a fire in Texas. He is on contract in Amarillo
Texas at this time. Sorry, it took me so long to get back. I've been up
at the Grand Canyon taking helibase manager course. Saw lots of smoke
traveling I-40 back to Texas. Looks like OT may start early this year.
||I didn't mean to lead anyone astray with my response to Jackson.
almost correct. I was the Supt at South Canyon as well as Division Q
Sadler. I really thought that was common knowledge so I didn't
in my message. Sorry if there was any confusion. I'm not sure
intended by making that statement but it sounded quite derogatory to me,
hence my response. As far as Texas goes, yes I was in
Texas as a Safety
Officer. I worked three wildfires and a dog-bite incident.
Jackson if you've
got a problem with that, I'd sure like to hear about it.
||every time i visit your site it is incredible. How do you
find the time to
do this? I Appreciate the work your doing for all of us, and
others feel the same way. Heres a couple pics for you.
The first is a
picture of our logos. took pic of the door, the second is tree
out on the Repeator fire, Brookings OR. september 99.
I also have an award winning photo I took of a
running crown fire, that
put all of us (300+) in the safety zone with shelters in hand.
estimated at 45-55. I scanned it AT 1200dpi so ill
rescan it to a more
The last is a picture of an engine that rolled then tumbled on
The fog on the repeator fire was like pea
soup. you couldnt see ten
feet. It rolled in like that about three -four times a night.
and I were following another engine off of the mountain at about 0400.
almost 0 visibility (first gear idleing) When we saw
headlights from the
day shift strike teams. We pulled over to the right side of the
was the downhill side. Four or five strike teams later
they were gone,
and we were ready to go again. The fog at this point was clearing so
maybe 100 feet visibility. Engine 96 was directly in front of
me at this
point, maybe eight feet bumper to bumper. When he began to pull
road started to slide out from beneath his rear duals! he gunned it
spun the wheel to the left, no use over they went! My partner
and I let
out a non stop stream of 4 letter words that didnt do any good. We
the engine roll at least three times, and heard it smash through the
Then it was silent. I stuffed our rig
into the ditch on the high side
of the road, and slid down the bank on my rear. The slope was so
had to cut toy hose to use as rope. My partner started
relaying info on
the radio to IC. When I got within sight of the truck I could see it
to rest on its roof smashed against a 6" thick alder tree.
I heard the
driver yelling for help, so I scampered around to the driver side, which
now facing down slope. The driver was pinned half in and half out of
window, with the steeing wheel pinning him in. He had multiple
scalp lacs. I assumed the passenger was dead, as it was crushed even
I thought " christ I need a first aid kit"
At that point i looked down, and on top of a stump waist high
first aid kit! It had landed there! I thought that was
convenient and went
to work doing what I could.
About this time I saw a torn up firefighter busting
through the brush from
below. He looked like death warmed over, and was huffing and puffing
the climb. I assumed it he was from another division down
below. When I
saw his face I realized he was the passenger! I told him to
sit down as he
was obviously in shock.
My partner told me it would take Brookings VFD 60
min to get up to us
to extricate the driver. He was in extreme pain from the parts
him, and hanging out the window sideways five feet off of the ground.
Thats when the truck shifted from that alder tree
giving out. I yelled
to my partner to get our tow chains and get them down here. He
rig to a couple of other trees and tensioned them with some load binders
Thats when we decided to cut the steering
wheel out, to relieve some
pressure from the driver legs, It took about half an hour to cut through
that hardened steel with a hack saw i had. When it broke loose though
driver felt ten times better. He then stated he could get out, but I
him wait. The Incident medics arrived aty this point and started in
their gear. By the time we got everyone stabilized, and backboarded
was 1000. Took six of us, and eight more pulling us up with toy
pull em out of the ravine.
They turned out ok, spent the night in the
hospital and were released
the next day. Sore as hell, and cut up to prove it.
Had three more hours of paperwork, and interviews to do. No sleep
Also, that same night within minutes of our accident. A
backed his rig over the edge and slid down 100-150 feet. He was
and couldnt climb out. Radio signal wasnt going anywhere. So
he sat. He
was found around noon if i remember right? There were at least
accidents on the repeator fire. Had a good time though.
glad no one was
Thought you would like the story. Later and have a good
I did indeed enjoy the story Eric and am sure all readers will too.
The pics are great and I will get them posted asap. As far as time
goes for the site, sometimes it rushed (as evident by spelling errors and
broken links), sometimes I'm up late or up early, never both. And it
takes a very understanding wife. Ab.
||Jackson, where have you been? What's your point? If you'd just taken a
few moments to browse back through last month's They Said, you'd not
look so damned ignorant. Check 1/9 through 1/17 for starters. Let Tom
Shepard off the hook!
Mellie from Five Waters
||One more logo entry for the Logo
Page. From Keith in Texas. Ab.
||There was a lot of discussion about going to the 24-on/24-off
schedule by CDF and a lot of other agencies during the fires
in northern and central California this last August. The crux
of it was that CDF wanted to go back to the old 24hr schedule
with some modifications in that by working 24hrs each crew on
their part of the line can get familiar with the weather and
fire behavior for the area for one burning period, rather than
the 12hr shift which did not allow crews to see the expected
changes that are passed down by off-going crews. Another reason
is that there was a lot of time wasted with crews trying to travel
to and from their division and the base camp, thus this cuts
down on the traffic and travel time for the crews by 1/2.
Many people were objecting to it because they thought their
leader would work them to death during the 24hr shift. In reality,
the crews would work hard during the day, have thier meal breaks,
work through the first part of the evening then put the crews
on a semi rest period where they could get some sleep, then begin
again prior to sunrise and the next shift change. The supervisors
would determine when to rest the crews based on what the fire
was doing. In our discussions it was brought out that the crews
were very fearful of having a tyrant try to run them into the
ground, when in fact it would be set up that in the 24hr shift
the crews would be coming off the line much less harried and
would have time to get they're crews and engines revamped and
ready to go before going off-duty for the next 24hr period. This
also gave the IC a better rested group of resources that would
be ready to go if an emergency arrived that required an immediate
response of resources.
I myself was against it when I heard about its possible return,
but when I looked and the last large fire I was on where there
was significant travel to the fire from the base camp and found
that for an average 12hr shift I was spending between 14 and
20 hours between refueling/resupplying and travel to/from the
fire, I was ragged by the time I returned to the fire. This is
what is being considered again for the next fire season and it
is recieving some positive feedback from the engine crews, hand
crews, and others that are not restricted to daylight operations.
This last fire season where travel distance was long handcrews
were being sent out for 48 hours at a time.
But this 24hr schedule is not just for the line forces, but it
also goes for the overhead and administrative staffs also. The
reasoning is that it increases efficiency where delays and errors
occur when trading off on the 12hr shifts.
The Command Staff has better information about how the fire is
going and what is going on behavior wise when they work the entire
burning period. Again, schedules are moved around enough that
the staffs can do the tasks and still get a measure of rest,
then have a longer rest period during the off-period.
Allowances are made when serious fire behavior is going on such
as interface fires and uncontrolled spotting where resources
need to be utilized for more than 24hrs, such as the first two
or three days of a very active fire.
Again, this is what I have discussed with people this summer
and it sounds like many agencies are willing to try it. The problem
comes in with federal and contract crews as to how they are paid
during the 24 hours off period. That is what everyone is currently
I for one know that the first two days on a major campaign fire
are the busiests until more resources can be brought in for the
battle, and these are the hardest times to work when you start
putting in active firefighting for 24, 36, sometimes 48 hours
or more. I'm willing to try it again if the pay situation can
be worked out.
||To Jackass,umm, I mean Jackson. Sorry, I was just thinking about a
was on a couple years ago with that name. Don't remember anyone
on that one. Nor do I recall too much in the way of injuries or
on any of the other three hundred fires I've been on. Oh, wait a
there was a drowning on the Curren Mountain Fire. And I remember a
tech who was killed in a helicopter crash on the Lost Fire. I was on
those incidents. Let's see, I was also at Dude the day after six
firefighters were killed. And, get this, I was a Division on the
Creek Fire back in 1985 which was started by a helicopter crash that
three people. I've helped haul out my share of injured victims, too.
remember one time I had a trainee crew boss who fell down and broke his
about an hour after I turned the crew over to him. I helped load him
the back of an Alouette III while it held hover cuz there were absolutely
helispot possibilities. You ever had anybody on your crew give birth
fire? Well I have. So what's your problem? I've
got enough grief to deal
with already, I sure don't need you and your kind dumping any more on me.
||New Texas Wildland Firefighter logo on the Logo
Page, thanks to Keith. Ab.
||all right! enough is enough about the pack test! we all have to take the
thing to play in the woods. i am 37 years old and i have no problem with
i plan on fighting fire for a long time. if you take care of your body
your body will take care of you! its that simple. i am no Greek God but i
to watch what i eat, exercise a little and stay away from the alcohol
worry-I aint no saint). the only complaint i have is there should be some
of medical screening before the test is taken. the reason the pack test
suspended was because a few people dropped dead. if these people had some
kind of physical this might of been avoided. ya, i know- who is going to
for this? fire fighters have always been resourceful so we need to put our
heads together and work something out. i had a brother fire fighter go
through triple by-pass in Kentucky because he had no idea there was a
problem. this could have been picked up by a physical. make sense?
||hey there I had heard rumors that the feds are talking about going
24on/ 24 off shift system?
reasoning being that when you scheduled for 12 hours rarely does that
16-18 average is about right. that leaves 5-6 hours off between
counting time it takes to eat, shower, clean up, etc.
If you worked 24 hours on, you would have half the mob time
to and from
fires, get more work done, get more sleep, and get the same pay. Any
I think it would be a great idea.
have a safe one, later MDMF
||I wonder if everyone here knows that Tom Shepard, the Hot Shot
Superintendent of the Prineville Hot Shots during the South Canyon Fire,
also the Division Supervisor on Division Q on the Sadler Fire---the
that got burned over where 5 firefighters were sent to the hospital with
burns and smoke inhalation injuries? And, last year Mr. Shepard was
Safety Officer on a fire in Texas.
||Can someone help me locate Maclean's article on the Sadler fire?
former Alaskan firefighter from the 1970's. I left fire to go into
but I guess fire will never leave me.
||Yo, Jeff, my friend-
So I succeeded in pushing you into a bit of a knee-jerk reaction: did
Didn't read my post too closely, did ya? Hmmmm, I see some of your
being expressed here (Like, let the old farts get out of the way, maybe?
couldn't save me in a pinch. The second is a valid concern, but not what
What I am talking about is having compassion for firefighters who
because of your physical endowments (hmmm) and youth) do have to TAKE
TO TRAIN-UP in a different way then they're used to. From reading earlier
in Dec and early Jan, it seems to me that my older firefighters were
about the UNCERTAINTY and UNPREDICTABILITY of the changing physical
not whether the pack is a better or worse test of preparedness for the
I'm sure that all firefighters here agree that fitness is paramount when
have to rely on each other for safety. However, they and I (being new to
want to know the following: what is the test, what are the requirements,
can I prepare for the requirements, packing what kind of apparatus, on a
or in the hills, is it really going to happen, do others have strategies
pacing and going the distance? The uncertainty and unpredictability of not
this information is stressful. The most common and valuable response to
kind of stress is to seek and find the answers, so that we can make plans.
we make plans and begin training, stress is reduced and we're on our way
I wasn't talking about the merits of the step vs the pack test. I don't
know what the step test is and I'm not worried about passing the pack
I'll be prepared, as will many firefighters who have known only the step
We're not whining...
Once again, I'm mighty glad to have TheySaid to ask the questions and
answers, so that I can feel like the plans I'm making will be enough.
With regard to your concerns about safety, I've also started working
for upper body strength in case I have to drag some poor soul out of
way. Jeff, maybe my pack test should be dragging you 3 miles in 45
by the heels (but not uphill yet)? <big grin> Whatcha think?
Jeff, you know I love ya! <grin> It would be my pleasure to drag
How about the Shelf Trail?
Good job on that review. I work on the White River NF and drive
by Storm King frequently, in fact I can look out my office and see it.
1994 was my first summer here and I came from Burns, OR. Knew a
couple of the Prineville's enough to say hi. At that time was a type
III IC and Divs, been doing it since 1974. It was not a good
scene. You hit the basics on the head, particularly OBTAIN weather
forecasts. The forecast was there, I saw it at 6:30 AM that day.
The cold front had been in forecast for at least one day prior. We
had two fires staffed on the forest, and I can clearly remember the two
IC's planning their shifts around that weather forecast. Fortunately they
were in conifer timber at a bit higher elevation and fuels were not as
critical as in the PJ and oak. I tell ya, the orders and 18
situations are definitely words to live by. Folks get casual, and
you get away with it fairly often, then the worst case hits you and your
screwed. Anyway good website, had a good time reading it.
||There may be a few readers who spent time on the Big Bar Complex in
NorCal this last summer interested in this article from the Sacramento
fire catastrophe that was preventable". Ab.
||A new logo from Tim, aka AZ Trailblazer on the Logo's
page. The page is beginning to look respectable! Send more,
||Just want to let ya'll know that Structural Firefighter Hickman and I
few words and have decided to give peace a chance. <grin> 'Sides,
than me and can do the pack test in less than 41 minutes.
Phew, getting your e-mail, Hickman, was a relief. I had concerns in the
of the night that you might be one of my structural instructors for S130
S190. I had told them about that powerpoint program... :0 Yeoow, loose
do tend to come back to haunt me! ... glad you weren't one o' them and
you're a nice guy!
||Mellie, w/all do respect, let met speak frankly on the pack test! If you
the pack test because you have felt that the "step test" is a
accurate barometer of a firefighter's physical apttitude to do the job.
then, I'm sorry but you are extremely mislead! In fact take a look @ other
agencies and their physical examinations. They for one dont't step up and
down for five minutes so they can work on the pavement, let alone the
on @ least 50% slope mostly ! We however have an even more arduous
our counterparts and require at least the same standard! So firefighters
be physically able to perform in an emergency situation and
will not become
part of the problem. Please do not take my word just go out and deploy
and cut 12 hours of line anywhere on the fireline and then tell me that
step test is still a good indicator of physical ability to perform the
occupation and not the pack test! " my guess? "you probably
won't put the
fire out but manage from the incident base camp in some fashion! If i'm
then why have the feds adopted it finally? Liability or discriminatory?
I've been away for a week and have been catching up on the current
Gosh, I missed you guys, but I was having the most marvelous time down
Here are a few personal catch-ups, bad, good, and titillating:
Jeffsz: Regarding your comments on the pack test or any other physical
for that matter, look at yourself in the mirror sometime and compare that
Greek image to the rest of us. (well, shorten the sideburns first!) Then
me that we've all started on a level playing field here, m'boy! Have a
compassion fer your elders as we do our PT! (Yeah, yeah, I know you work
so do I, but gimme a break! <snerk>)
Spencer: To my mind those "authors" of the new South Canyon
book are perpetrating
worse crimes than selling snake oil! Hey Ab, where's that review you
us!!! I want you to kick their sacrilegious asses HARD! (OOOOPs, Ab, I
myself there… Soooorrrrryyyy <little breathless wail>)
Regarding the Acronyms List: THANKS to all who are filling in holes.
to Kelly for her additions, to adftr (what's that acronym stand for?) for
suggestions, and to Tiny who has made it look o-so-professional in its
form. I'll write a letter of recommendation for you anytime, little
Thanks for keeping it up, too!
Hey Hickman, you truculent structural guy: Here, you come on our web
for a handout in Powerpoint S-130 and you badmouth us. Well, you can just
your derogatory comments in the nearest dark place-- e-mail me at
for suggestions. Ab won't let me post anything that crude here. (Hey Ab,
tell him where to find it anyway?)
Well, that's it for now. I'm still doing ff classes (and making you
structural stuff right now, and working on MEL (thanks for the info guys!)
I'm not off doing my PT "kicks" to get in better shape. Yeah,
Jeff, do your
thighs ever burn? I think we should make you do 6 miles in 45 minutes with
lbs as a handicap! Hey, I'll kick with you the last 3!
Mellie from Five Waters
||It's true, the USFS has the pack test back for 2000. And the R5 Fire
strategic plan has been approved and posted, along with a new format for
the R5 Fire website. See
http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/fire/ for details.
I'm BLM and for the pack test we just went down to REI with the gov't
credit card and bought a comfortable day pack that we threw some bags
of sand into. The pack we got was made by Eagle - it has thick,
straps and good suspension - but I suggest you just shop around and
get whatever feels okay with 45 lbs in it. A good wide waist belt
helps. REI will give you 10% off list price for a government
discount. Also, there's no reason you can't use your line gear if
want, just get some plastic freezer bags or something like that and
fill them with sand.
Some advice for you piss-firs first-timing it - PRACTICE for the pack
test so that you have an idea of the pace needed, and so you don't
keel over because you're not in the shape you thought you were. Read
||Ab: A little info on how we use the packs, we bought some good backpack
metal frames and took 4" pvc and filled them with 45lb of concrete
capped them off and the tied them to the frames with heavey duty
electrical ties works great, test starts for us feb 24,send me your adand
I will send you some cool pics I was suppose to send you last year sorry
||A few new images on the "Logos"
page. Thanks to WP, Mellie (especially for her perseverance), and
Kelly for the latest clips. Ab.
||Whats the best aftermarket pack to use for the pack test and who makes
them? The LPF may buy some as we get on with the test.
Thought you might want to know that the link to Fire Scout goes to a
site that is no longer updated or maintained. The content is old and not
being updated at all. It so states so on it. Might be one for you to
drop off the face of the web.......lol
Keep up the good work on your page, as usual it draws many different
view points on all aspects of wildfire......Mike
Thanks Mike. I depend heavily on reader feedback for the
"Links" page (also for broken links). Ab.
In response to your comment to "AGE 55" collateral firefighters
do not have a
mandatory retirement age of 55. We are not covered under 6c.
10-4, I modified my response a bit. Ab.
I have sat here and read most of what is on the current letters u have
received. I sent a letter regarding Jerry Levitoff last week and yet
all these people can do is bitch and whine about each others attitudes and
arrogance. After attending Jerry's memorial service
today, something came to my mind that Jerry told me a lot this last summer
and I think that maybe other people need to be reminded of this one thing.
As I sat and I listened to many people remember Jerry, I remembered one
thing that Jerry did do and that is He ALWAYS treated EVERYBODY FAIR!!
He practiced what he preached about safety and fairness too. He
taught me many things too in the short time I did work with him and one of
the other things was how to handle things in a DIPLOMATIC manner. He
never liked to see people fight and he was always willing to lend
his advice whenever needed to anybody. He left his mark for many
people not only in the community, but also he was one of the people behind
taking a stand for the MALE CLASS ACT that affected the policies of
FAIRNESS in the Forest Service as well for many other agencies.
He was a very good man and devoted to his beliefs, it is true that
there are people that make us look bad, but if you stop and look at it,
there are people like that everywhere u go, not just in R5. I
have worked with so many people on this region and I have always found
that there are many people who are able to teach from their experiences,
but it's the people who they are trying to teach, who are not open or
willing to learn. Open your minds people and try to get alond and
see how quick you all will accomplish your goals quicker.
Thanks Jerry for teaching me that it is possible to learn new stuff and
that everyday that u are alive is a SPECIAL OCCASION. So live a
little and try to open your minds and then everybody might find that team
work will happen. Jerry was a good one to teach TEAM WORK
because he was a TEAM LEADER. The whole point of team work is that
everybody has to get along no matter what.
In JERRY's MEMORY At least TRY, PEOPLE..
Mayer is doing fine. I will finaly have a chance to get out of the
office. I have been playing acting fire chief for the last 6 months as
of you might have known or guessed. We just interviewed 5 well and not so
well qualified candidates and have narrowed it down to two. I would hope
assume (and we all know what that means) that the new guy will be riding
desk by the first of March, if not sooner. I lost out on too much wildland
OT trying to keep our fire district together last summer during all the
termoil and subsequent termination of our last fire chief. I'm looking
foward to getting out of state quite a bit, but as things are turning out
here in AZ, we might not be getting out of state until we receive some
hopefully during the monsoonals!
Let me bring some of up to speed as far as the northern Az goes....
We have received a bit of moisture in the way of snow and rain back in
January, but not much to consider measurable. Currently, fire danger in
moderate to high, depending on local winds or dry frontals. KDBI's are
running 400+ with live fuel moistures at about 70% (Manzanita and oak).
Dead's are between 3%, 7% & 15% for 10's 100's and 1000's respecfully.
Az is a arid state, so these type of fuel moistures are common for the
dead's, but during late winter early spring.
We have lost the helicopter on the Prescott, but the helitac crew is
remaining in place. BLM-Phoenix will still have their ship up and running
little early this year. The Phoenix Air Tanker ( Tanker 00) will no longer
be at Phoenix Sky Harbor. It will be placed at Prescott Love Field, giving
us 3 tankers, YES!! The engines and Prescott Shots look as if they will be
coming on early this season, and there has been talk of shutting down the
forest as conditions worsen. Those of you who were lucky enough (yea
to spend the summer with us back in 1996, well, pack your swimming trunks
and sun screen, because it looks as if it's going to happen again.
We here at Mayer Fire are ready to go. We have 3 Type 6 engines, 2 type
water tenders, 2 command buggy's, and 20 (fulltime and reserve) crew
carded for the season. We will be looking to hire 6 seasonals by May 1st,
and looks as if my proposal for a type 3 engine will be voted unanimously
next fire district board meeting.
So far this fiscal season, we have collected $50,000+ in off district
wildland billing. This coming up season should be even more lucrative for
I'd like to know what the other fire district's or fire departments are
doing out there to prepare themselves for this years fire season......Talk
||Someday You too will be "55" --
"55" used to be just a driving speed limit -- It
is now the AGE LIMIT for
wildland firefighters for National Park Service arduous duty, red-carded
wildland firefighters and for those non-"6.c." wildland
(collateral duty firefighters). WHO WILL BE NEXT??? Forest
Wake-up and smell the "smoke"....you know what they say,
smoke....!" Check this web-site for future information: http://sites.netscape.net/twooldforfire/homepage
Too late for the FS. It's been 55 max, then mandatory
retirement (for primary ff positions) since I can remember. Ab.
||A few new logos on the Logo Page. Thanks to Kelly for
suggesting a direct link to the resource home page for each logo.
||Saw where the Forest Service finally did something
FEBRUARY 4 -- BOISE, ID: The Forest Service will be
implementing the Work Capacity Test (WCT) for the 2000
wildland fire season. Interim direction for
implementation was issued on January 20, 2000.
Currently, Forest Service regions are in the process
of preparing for administering the testing. Check with
your local fire management office for implementation
details in your area.
The following four categories of physical fitness have
been established in the Wildland Fire Qualification
Subsystem Guide PMS 310-1,
For details on the test itself and physical fitness
information see the Pack Test,
and Fit to Work brochures online,
Additional safety information is available on the
Forest Service Safety website.
Good Luck to all and heads up.
||A new page consisting of red-carded positions is now on site here: Red
Card , thanks a lot to Tiny for his work and a couple new logos on the
courtesy of Mellie! Ab.
||Lost it and can't find it again...
Found where you had an S-130 on powerpoint somewhere in 'TheySaid',
thought I bookmarked it. But now I can't find it..Where'd it go?
By the way enjoy reading the post from all the Wildlanders...They sound
like a bunch of Wimpy Structural Firefighters....Problems, Complaints,
GRITCHES (Gripes and Bitches)and all the other stuff that goes
wrong..only they're in the woods and we're in house. ?Question?
firefighter in the woods complains and no one hears it, do they make
noise? Ahhhh...but now there's CiberSpace..
The S-130 PowerPoint program may now be found on the Programs Page.
Thank's for the input. As a matter of fact let me thank Boo and
everyone else that has been helping out. If I could get as much help out
of the private sector (bankers, etc......)I would be a whole lot closer to
ready. HA!! I have located some equipment that I am trying to acquire. I
am still looking for a 7G dozer in the east Tx or La. area. I may not be
ready by this spring but I will be as quick as I can. My main focus is
going to be dozer response. In regards to your advice a while back; myself
and anyone that is associated with us will be trained to NWCG guidelines.
I am T/O for our local VFD so I try to keep on top of training. I'll stay
in touch, Keith
||AZ Trailblazer Tiny and AB,
Just one slight correction for your folks on the acronym list.
SWIFFT - I don't know nuthin' about.(Might ask Moleskin) But SWFF stands
for South West Fire Fighters, Used to have an "I" in it but
since they have others such as the Spanish crews of Northern New Mexico ,
the Pueblo natives and some Apache crews etc they decided to drop the "Indian"
designator a long time ago. Hey AZ hows things in Mayer these days? Betcha
Prescott's going like a weed.
Thanks Dave, Ab.
Great picture of the Air Tractor...was that last year or the year before??
Great job on the acronym page. I noticed a few that needed some touchup,
here it goes.....
under DOI, don't forget the folks over at the Fish & Wildlife
SWIFFT-SOUTHWEST INDIAN FIREFIGHTING TEAMS, meaning type 2 crews mostly
from AZ and NM
There was a reference to an acronym .....ENG-B and I believe that
marked down as a engine type B. Under some juristictions ENGB stands for
engine boss or under NWCG quals code, CRBE
Glad to see that everyone is pitching in to come up with some great
Kieth, how are your endeavors with your new business going in Texas??
Thanks AZ, corrections/additions done. Ab.
Here's one for your photos, of a SEAT
Air Tractor 802 dropping in brush on a fire in North Central Texas.
||Would like to welcome Kole B. back to the world of
fire after a 2 year F.S. imposed vacation. I have
worked with Kole for a number of years when he was the
Supt. of the Boise I.H.C. and can say without
reservation that he is a true class act. His crew was
always safe, efficient, and had a great attitude.
Pretty good on the acronyms. Here in TX the CDL with the ? beside it
stands for Commercial Drivers License issued by TX DOT. Class
"B" CDL is good for Gross Vehicle Weight Rate of up to
26,000#,Class "A" is rated for 26,001# and up. Class
"C" CDL'S are for buses and limo's. Our politicians in their
ultimate wisdom have exempted volunteers from having to have CDL's while
responding to emergencies, however after the call it is no longer an
exempted situation, therefor we require our drivers on Nurse tenders to
have "A" CDL's., Later, Keith
You are absolutely right and I plead guilty. I am intolerant. But
only of prejudice whether it be geographical or otherwise.
I seriously doubt whether there is anything I might have done differently
than what Mr. Bacon's team did. All things considered I also seriously
doubt that any suppression action that took place on the Big Bar Complex
was effective enough to change the final fire size. I mean at that time
and place and under those conditions those fires did what they wanted when
they wanted. Probably the only actions that mattered where those
that protected places of human habitation, and those only mattered to the
||Millie, have been following your postings and am glad to see the
are taking in the "profession." Would you say the events
of last summer were
a "life defining moment"? It is good to see that you
involvement is not fading. I was at a conference several years ago
heard a lady speak from the Bend Or. area after wild fires almost got her
house, she was trying to enact change in her community and was having
challenges. She made a statement that has stuck with me through the
"The interest in fire prevention is directly related to the heat of
ashes." In the words of some famous person (take your pick) YOU
keep one foot in the black and the wind at your back!
It seems that same mind set is found in fire funding, if an area has
fire season it tends to be fully funded or extra funding seems to find its
way to the districts. Doesn't matter what the upcoming fire season
shaping up to be, only matters what happened last year and how much ash
produced and how it is holding the heat.
|| I'ts here folks. The new addition of
the promised acronym page has been posted: Fire
Acronyms This will be a dynamic, living document that I predict
will become the definitive, goto site to interpret the strange language
used by those in wildland fire. Everything you ever wanted to know
about fire acronyms will be on this page! I would like to extend a
deep heartfelt thanks to Tiny and Mellie for their suggestion and efforts
in creating this page. It's easy for some of us to forget how often
we abbreviate our speech and especially our writings. Thank you Both
very much! Ab.
Regarding your questions about the hot air, long winded, so called
the union address...(I hate politics) I think that it really is a sad
thing that any President could brag about reducing federal
(Yes I had serious thoughts about forcefully removing the CRT's from my
television when he said that.) I know full well where a lot of that
goes.. right to where it's percieved there is no use for it (I hate
politics), or what a few of yonder firemen call their pockets. I just
LOVE (sarcasm present in large amounts for those who don't catch on) how
this president works. Education I admit is lacking, but not to the point
where it should be given top priority... A highschool drop out can enlist
most any military branch, get a GED and even a College Degree in about
years if they work hard... Typical government, allocating funds where
is plenty already, and neglecting other necessairy areas. Did I say I
By the way, my troop acquired (probably FEPP, but I'm not sure) A set
four old Pulaskis and one bladder bag (Or piss bag for you old school FS
types) still in usable condition for use at our camp ground, and the youth
leadership wants to make me the Fire Warden of our camp ground. Pretty
IMHO... (Egads another Acronym!) Any suggestions from the crews about how
minimize the risk of a forest fire would be appreciated so I can build up
some knowledge and be somewhat effective.
Tiny the R6 Fire-pup, who still hates politics...
||For Mellie's list, she may want to look here. They are probably
available elsewhere but, a large list can be found at www.r8web.com/sacc
under fire management. adftr
Thanks adftr, that's a good one with all the fire overhead/resource
Know you are reading this bro, we will miss you!!
Tony @ SBA