MAY 2000


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05/31 My first fire experience was near my home in the woods of Northern Minnesota. Generally speaking when residents see smoke they grab a shovel and come running and so when I saw smoke a few miles away I did so. My second fire was when my wife and I were on our way to town for a dinner and movie and about half way there we saw smoke drifting across the road and nearly hit a young man darting across the road frantically running for the home phone to call in that his brush pile fire was out of control. I stopped and reached in the trunk for a gunny sack, wet it in the ditch and ran into the woods to start slapping fire...which was really only crawling through the woods and thick brush with one foot flames. Soon other neighbors were showing up and doing the same...and about 30 minutes later the DNR rigs showed up and put it out. I went back to the car but my wife was not there...she soon came crawling out of the woods with a gunny sack. She HAD been wearing a white dress, heels, and makeup...now her appearance was dramatically changed. That dress was never white again! 

After a few fires where I helped...the local forester tread to recruit me...but I was too busy for firefighting. After persisting for several years I finally agreed, took the basic fire classes, and began fighting fire for the MN DNR. Those classes really did not prepare me for fire fighting but they did prepare me for learning how to fight fire. Luckily I was paired up with an "old timer" and he soon taught me how to aggressively fight fire in a safe manner. Some times the way he did this was by giving me the hose nozzle and telling me to go for it...while he pulled hose and watched over me. I would aggressively fight fire until I would feel the hose pull back...and would look back to see what the problem was. Usually it was Rich waving and pointing or motioning for me to get out! 15 years later I was the "old timer" doing the same thing with new firefighters. This is how it used to work...as the ranks of firefighters get greener and greener I am afraid that this is no longer the way it still does. 

It is a fine line one treads to aggressively fight fire and be safe doing so. I have seen a lot of new firefighters that were either too cautious to effectively fight fire or too gung ho to be safe. There are so many things wildfire fighters have to learn on the job that I often wonder what will happen if the current trend of greener and greener troops makes them a less effective resource. I have recently been told by older overhead that they have been taking for granted that the crews they have on fires are experienced...and have found out later that many had never been on a fire before. This was after the fire spotted over the line of course. I wonder if the recent prescribed fire breakouts were in some part due to inexperienced/not fully trained crews being placed in positions where they were expected to run autonomously...by supervisors who took for granted that they could. In such cases the responsibility lays squarely on the shoulders of the supervisor. 

I think it is important to keep experienced firefighters on the job as long as possible...but as long as the AD rates (and current state rate) of pay are so non-competitive I fear the trend of greener and greener troops will continue. Who is responsible for that? 

Dana Linscott

05/31 well just got home last night 5-29-00 from new mexico. santa fe nf. pecos ranger district. just got demobed on the evening of my 14 day. shocked the fmo on that district!!!!! he thought that I'd be around till 5-31-00. to bad about the escaped fire that they had. maybe they should hold all crews/engines minimun. then extend for threat of life and or property. 
P.S. Just got ordered back to the Santa Fe N.F. 

AB. hope all is well with you and yours. please be safe. have seen some real explosives fire conditions already this season. 

05/31 T

Your post of 5/30 was right on. I supervised California Adult Inmate (California Department of Corrections or CDC) crews for eight years in So Cal. Some crews are top notch and some are so-so. Much of their ability relies on their Crew Sup, a CDF Fire Captain, and how much experience they have. 

For those of you outside R5 I'd like to explain a little about California Convict Crews. With 41 camps housing over 4000 inmates and wards (Youth Offenders) all over state, you have a hell of work force. 33 of those camps are CDC with 31 being male crews and 2 being all female. Training for both adults (inmates) and youth (wards) consists of a 64 hour basic Firefighter program before going to a camp. This training is close to what CDF Firefighter I's receive, without SCBA training. Numerous hours are spent on tactics and strategy, fire behavior, Safety, hand tools, hose lays, (so they can assist engine crews), and some on basic first aid. During the training, the inmates are also hiked hard over lousy terrain to bust out those that can't cut it, and required to actually cut line for a couple of days. During that time they use all the hand tools from Mcleods to Pulaski's and combi tools. We generally still even train them with Brush Hooks and some camps carry them as backups if a saw goes belly up. 

The longevity of an inmate doesn't usually lead to a long career as a crew dog and this has been pointed out as a draw back. Generally to get them in camps (remember this is very minimum security as camps have no fences) they must have around seven or less months to go until they are released or paroled. Occasionally inmates may be in camps for up to 2 or 2 and 1/2 years, under special circumstances and they're generally very experienced, strong hands. Sometime we have repeat offenders who've had 4 or 5 fire seasons on a crew, but at different camps for different crimes. In general, I'd say the short time on a crew is not so much a drawback as an inconvenience. Yes, they don't generally know a lot of tactics or fire behavior or how to change their line width as fuels and conditions change like a 2 or 3 season 'Shot, but their Crew Sup does and they're really good at following the Sup's instructions. Why then do you see so many "freeways"??? Well, in going from one end of this state to the other, they're in every type of fuel you can imagine and to expedite and simplify the operation, we use 1 and 1/2 times the height of the fuel for line width, unless the Sup is worried about fire behavior or predicted conditions and then they'll instruct the crew to go wider. Remember that like most type one crews, most of the CDF crews seldom go back to the same stretch of line and one thing we can't stand is someone telling us our line didn't hold. If your a Div Sup and you want scratch line or a thin holding line, just tell the Crew Sup and you'll get it. They'll build anything you want. 

A general crew make up ("Hook Line Order") in most So Cal areas for an 18 person crew is as follows and I'll go position by position. 1st saw, 1st puller (Some places call this position a saw swamper), 2nd saw, 2nd puller, 1st Pulaski (leads the Pulaski folks and is an strong experienced hand) and 4 to 6 more Pulaski's, 1st Mcleod (leads Mcleods same as 1st Pulaski) then 4 to 6 Mcleods. Next comes the "Drag Spoon" with a shovel or modified combi tool. Last is the Swamper with a shovel and on most inmate crews, a radio so the Swamper and the Crew Sup can keep in contact. The crew will generally total, without including the Crew Sup, 16 to 18 or 19. How many folks carry grubbing or scraping tools depends on the fuel and terrain. Unless some of the Mcleod section are equipped with modified combi tools, the crew generally has three shovels, the Crew Sup, Drag Spoon and Swamper. The 1st Pulaski and Mcleod are generally experienced folks with a lot of time on the crew. these individuals should watch what their section is doing and keep the line width, stob removal, and clearance up to what the Crew Sup established for that section of line. The "Drag Spoon" is also experienced and has the experience to fill any position on the crew. This person is sort of a Swamper Trainee. The Swamper is chosen by the Crew Sup for knowledge, strength and ability. This person takes care of the Crew Vehicle, rides up front with the Crew Sup, issues the crew their supplies, gets what the Crew Sup wants and takes care of the general routine stuff. As the last person behind the crew and being in comunication with the Crew Sup, this person is responsible for pushing the slow folks, watching the line construction and that its to spec, watching for problems behind the crew, and when doing undercut line supervises the folks doing the job till the Crew Sup comes back and checks it. At times the Swamper and one other inmate may be left at a look out point to observe the fire as the crew works a particularly hairy section. You will always try to have another lookout but most times there's no one else other than you and your crew. 

As to safety on the line, CDF Crew Sups generally have quite a bit of line experience, 10 or 15 years in active fire. Once in the Camp program, Crew Sups can generally expect most of the summer to be on the fire line. Big Fire, little fire, mop up and patrol, floods, extreme high tide sand bagging, earthquake recovery, and project work, and during all that their always training the crew members. I went into the program with 22 years of line experience, with 16 years in So Cal and 6 in Nor Cal (Shasta Trinity), including training and experience to S-490 (FS class not CDF). The Crew Sup spends a lot of time training the crew to do exactly what he says, and in the event their in an exciting situation they'll generally place one of the more experienced and level headed crew members with a newby or have that newby be their shadow. 

Yes, CDF Inmate Crews possible don't have the ability to be as flexible or have the years of experience of an active hotshot crew, but they do have good training, for the most part good experienced supervision, and a giant desire to do good. The time off their sentence they earn and the money they make (compared to what they'd get working in the prison) are powerful driving forces, but the ability to be out fighting fire is another. And as some of you know, when they get out, a lot of them make good shots when you let them. 


P.S. Summers heating up and don't get into any situations so exciting you don't survive. Play safe, LCES 

05/30 I was just watching CBS news coverage of the current state of fires. 
There seems to be a movement in congress to double the Forest Service 
fuels budget. Hopefully that will also translate into more personel 
and equipment. 

There will undoubtedly be a lot of opportunities in fuels management in 
the years ahead. (Everybody loves stacking sticks)


05/30 New Firefighter, 

From a fellow new firefighter, welcome. Regarding your question about "bad" crewleaders, seems you've touched a nerve. No one wants to admit that there might be some egocentric SOBs in charge out there, but there might be. On the other hand, why alarm newbies unnecessarily? Seems when I was reading through the archives for the acronyms list, there was one post that Ab edited out the names. The poster seemed to be describing some jerk of a crewboss. So maybe there is one. Before you start this season, check out your crewleader's reputation. This summer, those in my FF1 class are going to find the person most savvy about fire behavior and learn all we can. 

I also heard from experienced fire friends that multiple looks at fire in all its raging and quiescent forms in many types of fuels, topographies, and under varying weather conditions are key to understanding fire behavior on the line. That's why type I crews, who see more fire under varied conditions, have better knowledge of fire behavior than type II crews. Used to be that people got a lot of fire experience doing Rx burns. (Maybe that's coming again.) Given their exposure, some R5 convict crews may well have as much fire experience, as T suggests, as some shot crews. 

People who have never been on the fire line don't know what that's like at a gut level and how that impedes clear thinking. The first time I came up close to BIG fire on the Big Bar Complex, was at night. The whole hillside above us was engulfed in fairly tall flame with some big snags torching and rolling over for as far as I could see. The beast was popping and cracking and crashing LOUD and ROARING -- and was so bright we could read my maps by it -- and hot, although it was a chilly autumn night. The dragon was afoot! I was not afraid. I was awestruck! Damn the risk. I didn't even think of risk! I just wanted to stand jiggling on one leg and then the other and watch it. What a rush! 

From what I've learned since, my initial reaction is not uncommon but is, undoubtedly, dangerous. I was lucky to have firefighters experienced in fire behavior around me watching out for me, that first time. And, yes, I will always feel a bond with them. That night, much as I wanted to stay, I left fairly quickly because I thought I might distract them from their work. Recently, one sup on the Hoopa side of the Megram said that as the fire spotted over the line up on Devil's Backbone, you could tell the first season shots from the vets. The newer members were the ones who stood enamored of the fire and missed the spots crossing the line. 

In retrospect, I am thankful that I had already had my first experience with big fire when my brother and I fought fire at our mailbox. I was not mesmerized, I was nervous, I was watchful, I was respectful. I knew I didn't know enough to stay safe. (My dad was talking in my ear.) When first the field observer, and then the safety officer came by and gave us instruction, we took it, gratefully. We got hardhats, we practiced diving under the truck, one of us acted as lookout. We were at risk. We knew it. Given how little we knew, we could have ended up dead. 

CF5945 and Hoepig, I think that firefighters are rarely put at extreme risk intentionally by their leaders. However, there might be value in fire-savvy crewleaders introducing their crews to the dragon up close when it's relatively safe, so they would know it again and perhaps be able to think more clearly when it's not safe. 

What I wonder is who is going to teach fire behavior on the fireline as many of the experienced crewleaders retire? We newbies need courses that provide a more experience-oriented and/or hands-on approach. Anyone out there willing to tell us some stories? What was your first fire experience like? Who taught you? How soon before you felt you could stay safe? This board is anonymous, remember...


05/30 Ab,

I know you probably do not want this to become a trade day page but, since there was some of it going on I thought I would offer my team patch to any one who is interested. E-mail me at linescout@hotmail.com and I will give you an address and discription of the patch. Would also like to say hello to "Boo" while I was on. Soon to be gone again. Everybody stay safe.


05/30 Talked to NWCC. they sent many overhead to Florida over the weekend.
Planning on sending more. Told me they were looking for hand crews. 

Loooks like its heating up. Getting anxious to be back on the line. 

WP any chance you could see if i they have updated the WA State Cooperators guide. It seems my gear is listed about half of the time. Id appreciate it. Email me an address and ill send you that T-shirt and some other things (hats, patches) 

So far ive sent out about 40 patches to you guys. If you want one, email me an address. 

Later and be safe. 

253 221 6903
800 704 4594

05/30 There seemed to be some questions earlier about the Cerro Grande Fire in New Mexico. The in depth report on the conditions and decisions made was released on May 18th at 
Interesting reading. 

On another note, the 14 day rule has directly affected our business, even though we are exempt, according to our contracting officer, B. Brown. We have a tactical engine/tender contract that is being accepted as a nationwide contract...except of course for region 5. Guess we'll have to do more educating of the FMO's on up before we'll be considered exempt. Meanwhile while in New Mexico my engine crew was cut loose at 14 and three days later (Sunday) a new fire blew up on the Pecos district they were doing IA for. That district fought hard to keep us on but....ah well, it's an early season. 


05/30 It is comical that some do not think R5 con crews should be considered type one. If you do not work in R5 why should you care? If you happen to be in R5 from out of region you would soon figure out that R5 con crews aren't the best in the world, but the sure do see more intense fire year in and year out than any Hot Shot crews outside of south zone. Remember that in LA county >100 acre fires don't always make the sit report as they do in other areas. Those inmates are on those fires every day. It is funny to watch an out of region (5) Hot Shot sawyer's jaw drop the first time he looks at the hellasious shrubs he has to cut. Those cons do it year round. In the winter they are put to work clearing brush on breaks, etc. Wearing a bitchin T-shirt does not make you a Hot Shot, rippin through the bushes and putting out fires does. Don't think I am a big fan of con crews, because I am not. I do see who is productive when it comes to putting in fireline and understanding fire behavior. (especially in light and flashy SoCal stuff) 

PS: I exclude all female and juvenile inmate crews from consideration as Type one crews. Although some of those juveniles are going to make good Type One crew members when they get older. Some of those cons may have more experience than you think. 

5/29 Re: what our new firefighter said.
Whoever told you that oldtimers put their crews in jeopardy to "train"
their crew needs an attitude adjustment. Their head was obviously in the
wrong place.
Perhaps they should train shpelunkers or proctologists instead of inform
new firefighters about the old days.
Oldtimers watched out for their crews and we lived to teach others.
5/29 I just got back from my second tour in Florida. By the way things are
going I could be headed back in awhile. They are drier than this time in
I'm no fan of the 14 day rule, however FOBSIF, there are provisions in
the new rule that allow for extensions of critial resources. R-3 made
this exception for one of the overhead teams and IA smokejumpers. In
Florida we got a seven day extension for aviaiton resources. However, it
was just for seven days, then back home. There was no R&R allowed. You
did your 14 or 21 then had to go home for at least two days.
The bad part about the extension was that you had to get a fax signed by
your line officer back home to get the extension, then it was signed off
by the Fire Staff and Forest Supervisor. The whole process is a pain.
More later.
5/28 We have had some problems with our ISP, but that is behind us. Would you
add the International Helicopter Firefighters Association
http://www.ihogman.com/ihfa/index.phpl to your links?

I enjoyed your "They Said it", but there are some important things left
unsaid by some posters.

Anything for a good cause!  Glad your got your ISP problems solved.  Ab.

5/28 As of 1400 on 5-27-00, R-6 Coordination Center was sending out requests for 
resources to go to Florida.  Have not heard what type or how many,  just was 
informed that the local center had received a call and were waiting for the 


05/27 To MOC4546, 
I am curious on what kind of stuff CDF has pulled and gotten away with? I started my fire carrier in'79 on Del Rosa H.S. and can remember some of the stuff we pulled on CDF. In 1984, I went to work for CDF in BDU and still see stuff that BOTH sides pull. I guess what I am saying is that theres fault on BOTH SIDES if we really want to get down to it.


05/27 Health Benefits for Federal Firefighters 

Within the Bureau of Land Management, past attempts to include short-term, (less than six month appointment,) career conditional Federal Firefighters in the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program have not stated the correct issue and have subsequently failed. The issue is NOT simply that the employee's agency is excluding them, the issue is that the law is not clear on their inclusion to the program. The bottom line is that the law needs to be changed. 

Here are the key points to address in any correspondence. 

• At present, career Federal Firefighters in appointments that do not guarantee more than six months of annual employment are excluded by federal law from receiving government provided health benefits. 

• There is conflict in the law. One CFR (Code of Federal Regulation) says that all permanent employees with regularly scheduled tours of duty are eligible to enroll in the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program. Another CFR says that employees who work less than six months are not. 

• Almost all of the Firefighters presently excluded from coverage under the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program work on a full time basis. Many work continuously for more than six months, but because they are not guaranteed six months of employment, they are excluded under the law. 

• Firefighters work in an arduous and hazardous profession. Most receive pay at the lower end of the General Schedule, (GS-2 through GS-7.) Private health insurance companies often charge a higher premium when their occupation is disclosed. Most can not afford private coverage regardless. 

After stating the issues, ask the question: “Was the intention of the law to exclude this group of employees? If the exclusion of this group was simply an oversight, the law needs to be changed to allow participation in the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program.” 

Here's how to change the law: 

Everyone affected must get everyone they know involved. A ground swell of support from you, your co-workers, your friends and relatives is required. Get on the Internet. Get people - a lot of people - fired up about this. Tell them they need to write to their Federal representatives and describe the above points in their own words. 

As far as your elected representatives are concerned, the message is heard louder depending on the medium in which it is delivered. A personal visit is better than a telegram, which is better than a registered letter, which is better than 1st class mail, which is better than an e-mail, which is better than a “form-letter.” Everyone needs to pack as much punch delivering the message as they can afford. 

Correspondence to your Senators and Congressional Representatives should be professional, state the issues, and invite them to contact you to answer any questions. 

The more elected representatives that hear about this issue, the more it becomes important to them, and the better chance of generating necessary change. 

Is this a problem in the FS too for less than 13/13 appointments? 


p.s. Change doesn't just happen. Do something. Do something. DO SOMETHING.

05/26 To FOBSIF and the 14 day rule. I spent my whole career
with the Shots. The shots I have spoke with (for the
most part) believe the 14 day rule is going to benefit
them dollar wise in the long run, but tax them
physically because of lack of rest. Previously the 21
days included your travel. On average a total of 3
days travel to and from an incident thats out of
region. Now the 14 day rule doesnt include travel. Now
to get two days R&R you need to work 34 days(including
Travel), and wahoo the 2 days are not together. Engine
folks I can see complaining about the chance of
loosing money, they drop to the bottom of the
rotation. depending on the size of your forest it may
be awhile or you may get stuck covering. For the Type1
crews they are at a premium covering may be a relief
by the end of this season. I am curious how the stats
will end up at the end of this year. For the team in
R3 that held people to the 14 day rule. My only
question is was "Life" or "Property" still threatened?
If not they made the right decision. If it was shame
on them. 
Sign me: Getting tired thinking about it
05/26 Ab thanks for the heads up. When are you home again? i figure your 14 days are about up!. lol 

WP thanks for the offer. I still have plenty of NEW t shirts, give me an address and ill snail mail you one up. I figure you work in the NW region of Washington? 

Talked to my buddies down south (we sent an engine to grand canyon) they arent to impressed with the 14 day gig. you can only sit around so long in the desert heat, at a motel pool, resting. They also got a lot of flak from the locals, looking at a large type 4X engine sitting in a parking lot ready to go when the media is showing crown fires on the 1700 and 1900 news. 

I'd rather see the 24 hour shift implemented. The report i read looks like this.
0500- up, dressed, coffeed, fed, briefed.
0600- Heading for your assignment ( opposite shift comes in eats, rehabs debriefs, sleeps or relaxes until evening then sleeps at night, eat when your hungry, have time etc. see your terrain in daylight, then know the hazards before you have to go out in darkness.
Come in at 0630 the next morning, do it again the next day. 

Thats the report i saw. I would suggest starting shifts at like 1800, that way guys coming off of the line can sleep first then take it easy next day. 
as for hours: 7 shifts @ 28 hours each = 196 hours
14 shifts @ 14 hours each = 196 hours

im probably being optimistic on the hours youd get working 24 hr shifts, but they would be pretty close.

On another note. I picked up a 98 Freightliner FL70 4x4 anyone out there know of any good used service bodies for this size rig? appreciate any help.

Later and have a good one.

253 221 6903

05/26 Hi Ab and others... 

I just got back from a fire in New Mexico. We had a chance to see how this new 14 day policy is going to impact our business. I want to emphasize that these are early season fires. We will probably learn many new things as the season wears on. 

First, if you read the R3 fire website that tracks National IMTs and their assignments, I found it interesting that R-3 reassigned Bateman's Type I team to the Cerro Grande fire on day 15, after they had been assigned to another fire. I guess I missed the statement where Naitonal IMTs are "exempt" from the 14 day policy. 

Now, this is what I saw and heard about this 14 day policy from firefighters on the line... 

1. Most of the firefighters do not like this policy. They want to get as much overtime in as possible when they are sent to a fire. 

2. Some firefighters are using this policy as a reason to leave a fire once the "action" is over. Hot line is fun, sure. But our whole job includes mop up and rehab. As much as we may hate to do that kind of work... 

3. The 14 days pretty much limits use of fire modules for two 1-week assignments, if they get reassigned from one fire to another. (During this assignment, some of the 14 days were spent staging in El Paso. They only had a few days left when we got them to the second assignment be And the travel in between DOES COUNT toward the 14 days. R3 did not allow any negotiation to extend beyond the 14 days. This type of inflexibility will kill us later in the season. 

4. We don't have enough resources to change people around every 14 days. We're losing veteran skills faster than we can train up new firefighters. This trend is only getting worse. 

5. Tactical strategies will be impacted because we won't have enough resources to attack these fires directly. This will result in larger fires and increased expenses. 

I know there are more impacts, but I don't want to go on forever. Although, I invite you to add to this list. Our experiences can only provide feedback about impacts that I'm sure no one thought about when they made this policy. Policy makers, are you listening??? 

It's obvious that I'm not a fan of this new policy. So, I'm putting my bias right on the table for everyone to see. I personally think we're fixing the wrong problem. I'm not even sure the people who raised this as an issue are sure what the problem is. 

If the issue is tired firefighters, then deal with that. Take a look at how we work and rest firefighters on incidents. There still isn't any good way to rest night shift firefighters during the day. Take a look at how we set up R&R mobilization centers. Rotate crews and let them go home after 21 days so they can get business at home taken care of, get some rest, and pack up to go someplace else. 

If the issue is that we don't have enough resources to handle multiple large fires, then deal with that. Although, it's too late to "start" dealing with this. We're already in the mode of losing more than we're bringing in. 

Take a look at contract crews. I worked with several of these crews who have excellent work records, and are just as professional as our "internal" fed crews. Sometimes, performance issues on the fireline are related to management and supervisors who don't clearly define what the control objectives are. I'm not excusing poor performance. I'm just saying there are many aspects to putting a fire out safely and efficiently. 

The whole idea of "permanent" large fire organizations is a joke. We don't have enough people to dedicate to this idea. Let's start dealing with the real issues, such as portal-to-portal pay, professional firefighters, year-round work, and things that will make it worthwhile for people to support large fires. 

I am a member of the Wildland Fire Service Association, and I've been working with the Association's leadership to get more attention paid to these issues. I challenge any and all of you to do the same. 

It's only May folks. If we thought we were tired last year, you ain't seen nothing yet! This 14 day policy may not seem like a big deal, but from what I saw the past couple of weeks, the implications are huge. 

Be safe out there. See you on the big one... FOBSIF (Feisty Old Broad Still In Fire) 

05/26 Hey Ab and All, 

Back when we were doing the acronyms list, you suggested doing a list of national forests, etc. At that time, I didn't see a need for that. I was focused on acronyms such as NWCG, RIF, and IMHO! Last week, I needed the "unit identifiers", a list explaining the abbreviations in the MOB Guide and elsewhere (sit reports). This list goes beyond acronyms for the national forests. 

Thanks Dispatch Dude and Just Another Dispatcher for identifying what I needed and sending in the URL for finding them. Ab, might we want to put a permanent link to this info. Lots of fire people use the mob guide and probably stumble over the identifiers as I did. 

Fire Girl, great heads-up on the newly-released 6 Rivers Burnout and Retardant Report. Thanks! You obviously know me or know someone who knows I was looking for it. I am still reading it. To Lucy Salizar and the 6rivers group, great job on the WA! May it be a model for future fire research and rehab! (Hope I didn't let anyone down in not attending that slide show meeting to support our position. It was FF1 graduation and I needed to go drinking with the guys and instructors afterwards! Local rumor has it that I'm secretly on the payroll of the FS now [lopsided smile] and that's why I take a different perspective than some environmentalists I supported in my former life. As I've told them, they have the FOIAed documents and should look everything over carefully before they go spouting off nonsense.) 

All of you stay safe on the fires or on the road on this vacation weekend.

05/26 Hey--Thanks for the humor! I read some of them off to my roommate this
morning, but I pretty much had to explain them. Oh well. I'm breaking
down my computer Sunday, and I can hardly wait to leave Wednesday. I've
been going crazy fighting academia, and one of the guys I work with on the
DOE project has been trying to talk me out of a career in fire into a
career in public relations or something where he seems to think I'll be
able to put my "talents" to use. Don't think anyone quite gets the
complexity of the fire organization... how it's not just a bunch of guys
with shovels (although there are one or two). I guess working on an engine
isn't too glamorous to a lawyer-PhD type, but I can't wait to get out of
here and check out the engine and play in the woods (or the desert, as it
looks like I'm headed to). Who would have ever thought I'd be interested
in trucks? I'm guessing I'd really scare the hell out of these old
academics if they saw the way I drooled over the new Becker we had last
year. They seem to think I need to spend my time in the library. Ick. 

Anyway, thanks for all the advice from everyone, and conversation. I'll be
feeling slightly disjointed without a computer for a week or so during the
move, but I reckon y'all will survive without me! Just kidding. Just
don't do anything interesting while I'm on the road. Another week or so,
and I'll be taking the old pack test (egad! sitting at a desk has not
helped me prepare for that...) and packing my bags (wait-they're already
packed! I was procrastinating on the school stuff...). Hope to see you
all out there, and maybe catch up with some of you south CA types when
things are quiet. Sounds like I may need to do some networking when I get
out there, as the fire program is fairly small in my location. I guess
we'll see. Take care, and I'll see ya out there...


05/25 To the new firefighter asking about how it was in the old days. Who ever told you that, was a camp slug, I've been on the line for 18 years (all handcrew) and for a crew boss to put his or her crew in danger to prove a point. Would be a fool and should be black balled from the business. To answer your question I hope not, at least not around me. 


05/25 Rochelle, here's a funny for you; hope this catches you before you take off for R5... Safe trip! See you on the fireline. 

Wen I grow up, I wanna be a wildman firefiter

I wanna be a wildman firefiter wen I grow up cause my Daddy is one and he always has lots of fun. 

My Daddy goes to work in a barn everyday and shoots hot things...he says he is workin with the Hot Shots again...maybe some day I can go and shoot the hot things too! 

My Daddy says he drives to places all over and gets to make his oats when the fire bell rings, I hate oatmeal, so I don't think I will follow him around to eat those oats. 

My Daddy says he works with big planes that drop retards on the fire, they must be brave to jump out of a plane and help out....maybe that is those fire troll people he says go in the plane. They must be small to fit in a hose and get pumped in to the tank. 

Daddy must drink a lot of water on a fire cause he says he had to piss on the fire with a pump, maybe that is why he takes so much gatoraid and water with him. 

I may be afraid to go with Daddy on a fire cause he says there are coyote's in his camp, sometimes, when he is shooting at something hot, he misses and kills a coyote, then everyone eats a coyote meal for dinner. 

I am also scared to go with Daddy cause these things keep attacking him from the sky...just yesterday daddy got an air attack! 

I would like to ride on the whip cream trucks tho...they spray whip cream all over the houses and trees! 

My Daddy says that the helacopters use a bucket that belonged to Bambi...I think we need to give that bucket back! Bambi might get thirsty. 

Daddy says that there are these guys that walk around the forest and jump on smoke! These people must wear out a lot of boots cause they are always jumping up and down on smoke...they have special boots just for this jumping job! 

There is a big warehouse where they store cash!!! I wanna go with Daddy someday and get some cash for me, he says it is only used on fires! How do you spend money in the forest where there are no stores? 

Daddy says sometimes the fire is a perscription? There must be a big fire Doctor and he gives the forest medicine when it is sick..sometimes tho, the Doctor says to take away the scription and the fire gets away! I wonder where the fire goes when it gets out? When they catch it, Daddy says they have to put it in a container and hold it with a lime! Wow! I didnt no you could hold a fire with a lime! Even when there is a lime on the fire, it can still excape and run away! I even heard Daddy says he put a crown on one once! Maybe the fire burned a Burger King! 

Yup someday I wanna be a wildman firefiter and help get those fires back in the box again!

05/25 Thank you for the hotshot list. 

I heard from an old shot leader that in the early days, some bad crew bosses used 
their knowledge of fire to bond their team to them. What they did was wait 
until the last minute as the fire threatened and then pull their team out. 
When the team was run out by the fire, it cemented the bond between team and 
leader and among members. Any of you old dogs out there know anything about this?
Could anything like this happen today? 

A new firefighter 

05/24 Re: Just another Dispatcher: 

Here is the e-link to the latest version of NFES #2080 Unit Identifiers 1999 version


Dispatch Dude

05/24 When are the media finally going to get their act together? On CNN last 
night and a local station in Medford, Oregon tonight still continue 
to state that Los Alamos was a Forest Service Controlled burn. NOT! 


05/24 I dunno about you but in my playbook it says the Burn Boss is in charge and probably should have just said "No" But didn't and thats the Cerro Grande story. I was on the La Mesa fire in 77, came out of Bandolier,escaped campfire, and we held portions of Hwy 4 and we cut line between bunkers at the national lab. But that was a mistake, this was an on purpose.

Speaking of mistakes, a couple of what I think are glaring mistakes in Jim Avila's article about RX fire, one is the main photo has a caption that mentions the burn the 'forest service' let get away. Although guilt by assosciation is not usually considered court-room proof , it certainly seems to have been accepted by the public and their media. And the second is about how prescribed fires have been sucessful, with no fatalities. Depending on how broadly you paint with the prescription brush it could be said that most burn outs on large fires these days may be nothing more than summertime prescribed fires, often these kinds of things are not as well thought out and therefore have undesireable results. I mean there are days to throw matches and there are days not too but if it has the potential to become a fire, please don't throw gas on it. Now where did I put hat beer?

Later, Dave 

05/24 Eric, checked the 2000 mob guide, communications center says they are not out 
yet. I can get you a 1999 guide, want to trade for a used last years Tee-shirt?


05/24 Lake states update: well, ..I guess I spoke a little too soon. While things are greening up, northern MN & WI are not quite there yet. I see MN (state I think) had a prescribed fire get away last friday. 


With winds of 20+ mph today we had a good crown fire this afternoon (tuesday 5/23) With the help of 2 CL215's it was held to around 100 acs, however several buildings were lost. Should be some excellent photos comin when I get some film developed. 

Winds are predicted for 20+ again for tomorrow. 

In the mean time, Found this archive of info and photos on No Pablo fire in Michigan in the R9 area site. 



Press release: 



Lake States info is always appreciated. Ab.

05/23 Hey AB: 

I have been looking at your Wildland Fire Association logo for some
time, is there a place to get info on joining? 

I don't know about all of you other "Staters" but I am sure tired of
getting 40% less than our federal partners in wildfire to do the same
job! The only way we survive is to work ourselves to death to gain
enough overtime during the "fire season".... 

Let me know how it is in other states... 


Click on the FWFSA logo to link to the web page. Read about the organization and sign up. Ab.

05/23 Mellie, 

The "Firing Operations and Retardant Use" document is now 
available as a .pdf & .rtf file at the Six Rivers webpage --

Happy reading! 


Megram Fire Watershed Analysis here also, and on a link, photos of the blowdown, fire effects and firefighters. Ab.

05/23 Greetings, 

Hey Mellie, great link to the NBC prescribed fire story. I hear you about
changes coming, but remember this is the federal government we are talking
about, it will be interesting to see what sort of time frame anything
happens in, if anything happens at all. Personally, I think a lot will
depend on who is elected this November. 

Did I hear you mention the word Permanent, as in permanent fire positions?
What a novel idea, maybe all of those exploited seasonals will actually get
the job security they deserve. I don't think I would bet the farm on it

Sorry to sound so bitter, I'm not really, but I have decided to pursue other
avenues in fire, In fact, I will probably be heading to the Nature
Conservancy to do just that. I guess I have grown tired of the seasonal run
around, didn't seem to be getting me anywhere. Best of luck to everyone
else though, I will be pulling for you guys. Look forward to dropping in
from time to time. 

As Eric asked, I too am curious to hear of any more predictions on hot spots
for the season. Heard it was up over 100 in central valley CA (Sacramento).
I suppose, only time will tell. 

A Fellow Fire_pooch 

05/23 Lo ab, hey guys 

Sorry to hear about your experiences with the unnamed contractor. 

Any one know where i can get a copy of the 2000 mob guide? Ill trade company sweatshirts, tshirsts, hats etc for one. Also have an extra eagle harness set ill trade fer one.

Any more predictions on the hot spots for the season? excluding the obvious southwest? 


253 221 6903 

05/23 Hi All-- 

Thanks so much for the wealth of info on S130 and S190. There's much more variation in the system across the country than I thought and perhaps less within/among federal agencies. Sounds like we're working toward a unified standard. Good info from CO, UT and PA. Thanks BLM Bob, and ya'll from the NPS. I would appreciate any info from other states than have reported in. Lurkers, hop in here! 

I also saw the NBC fire report that Ab mentioned and Tiny recorded. It was good and may be a "heads-up" for things to come. The Forest Service is asking for money for Rx burn of 14 million acres in 11 western states similar to what's suggested in the Laverty Report. Interestingly, the amount reported is $500,000,000, not the $850,000,000 we heard was needed. Another case of 60% of MEL for the project? If this were the scientific community, we'd ask for a cool billion and accept $850,000,000 and we'd maybe break even! WO, whatsup? The ...000,000 make you nervous? 

In fairness, I've heard that there is a WO push to actually get 70% of MEL for all forests and that forests that can't make it on that amount should show a deficit rather than massaging their budgets for hidden monies (that no longer exist)! This could be a move to a more realistic look at costs as the new accounting system settles in. We'll see. As I ask for 100% of MEL again, let me point out that it would also be nice if the budget process wasn't such a tooth-puller every year. Just get the money and be done with it and let people teach and train... Cudos to everyone who teaches. We need you! 

This push for Rx burn probably also means the new IC structure suggested in the Jacobs Report is coming. Flamethrower, are these the more permanent positions you're talking about? Summertime fire and wintertime Rx burn-- But in the Jacobs Report structure, I don't see where BLM fits in! We should all be studying this. We need to include all fire folk regardless of agency. Stability for fire overhead could be good, but where do these people come from? Changes are afoot, my friends! 

For those interested, here's the URL for the online NBC Report:


Thanks, Milway, you lurker! Isn't Ab the greatest! What a service! As for me, I still cherish the stellar CD you shared with me during the BigBar and look forward to more encounters on the firelines this summer. Please e-mail me. I lost my address list and you, when I revamped my computer a while back. 

Did well on my FF1 final today. (Had a great time on the wildfire field day, too, pulling hose.) Thanks for the tutoring everyone! Hickman, some of your review questions were HARD! They did get me thinkin' on the material the class covered when I was out of town in Feb and March. Thanks! I didn't get a perfect paper, but almost. 

AZ Tim, you BRAT, I want a picture of that CAT!

Love you all!

05/23 Here's the link to the hotshot crews from BLM Bob. Thanks Kelly for the page and links! Ab.
05/23 To the letter concerning the contract crew that went south on a promise of money, 

You have been had, my friend. No resource should ever go to a fire without a Resource Order in their hand. I realize it is too late for you now, but in the future ask to see a copy of the resource order before you "Board the Bus"! Overhead Teams should not accept any resources on their fire if the resources do not have the required resource order in hand. NO MATTER HOW BAD THEY MAY NEED THAT PARTICULAR RESOURCE! When they accept them with no orders, they are slapping the face of those contractors that are playing by the rules and rewarding the fire mercenaries that are still roaming around out there trying to circumvent the system. Those of you that are on overhead teams need to take this to heart. When you accept resources without orders you will indeed "Reap what you sow" at the time when you least need it! When something goes to hell in a handbasket and that contractor you hired with no orders is involved, guess who takes the fall. The contractor is too "spookm" and you are left holding the bag. 

My suggestion concerning this wayward contractor is to contact Washington DNR and Oregon Department of Forestry and let them know what has transpired with this joker. Not sure about Washington, but in Oregon the contract crews fall under the jurisdiction of the ODF and the contract engines fall under the USFS. Would also contact the Better Business Bureau and your local state Representative. Those folks love to rake the state and federal agencies over the coals for not following established procedure. Can't remember the name but there is a contractors group in the northwest that might be of assisstance bringing this fella back down to earth. I think it is something like the NWFA (Northwest Firefighters Association)? There is probably someone reading this that belongs to that organization and can tell this person who to contact. 

Good luck next time Dude! Find and sign on with a reputable contractor. There are alot of good ones out there. 


05/22 Hello Ab, 

I shall break from "lurk only" mode just long enough to tell you how much I enjoy reading the items posted on the board at "They Said It". Your commentary and screening expertise make the board a great place to share, inform and even vent a little! I was prompted to send this when I noticed the teriffic responses to the two questions posed by Mellie of Five Waters fame. The questions were timely, thoughful and they contributed to the "conversation" the way in which only our dear Mellie can do. I would love to again spend an hour amidst the big trees entranced by her intellect! 

As this summer's season continues, I will be both at the internet and on the fireline with the joy of participation in a wonderful occupation... lurking notwithstanding. Keep up the great work! 


05/22 Oh dear, 

There seems to be a lot of confusion out there about who is a 
hotshot(tm) and who isn't. Before any of the readers here get 
bamboozled out of their phone number by a sweet-talking young thing 
claiming to be a squad boss on the Cowdungas Hotshots, they might want 
to check the list I attached to this e-mail. It's the list of "TYPE 1 
INTERAGENCY HOTSHOT CREWS" from Chapter 60 of the 2000 National Mob 
Guide. I'll leave it up to Ab as how best to put it up on the site. 

Though some agencies, notably Califonia state and counties, call their 
crews "Type 1" and/or "Hotshots," those on this list are the 
NIFC-listed, interagency crews. And frankly, some folks will blow a 
little smoke, so accept no substitute (especially when you're asking 
what it will take to get one of their T-shirts). 

For the chronologically gifted among us, that list sure looks a lot 
different than it did back in the day. 

I'm not sure what 6 told you, but I just didn't want you to get the 
idea that BLM was very different than any of the fed agencies. In 
fact, if it weren't for our sixth toes you could hardly tell the 
difference at all. And all cats are gray after dark... 

Anyway, all the fed agencies represented on the NWCG have taken the 
310-1 standards as their own. They may make their guidelines more 
stringent than those in the 310-1, but not less stringent. Also, the 
agencies can make their own standards for positions not covered by the 
310-1, though qualifications for fed working positions (such as 
dispatcher, engine crew leader, or FMO) are currently being addressed 
in the document "Interagency Fire Program Management Qualifications 
Guide." I know, I know - lots of paper, but what can I say? Them's 
the roolz. If you wanna play the game, ya gotta know that roolz. 

I just spoke with someone on the Fire and Aviation Staff in the BLM 
California state office and was told the BLM has at least a half-dozen 
people on the Type 1 and Type 2 overhead teams in California. I still 
haven't gotten ahold of a California Mob Guide to look for myself, but 
the unit designators for BLM usually end with a "D" or an "O" such as 
"BBD" or "CSO" 


Is that chronologically gifted or chronologically challenged, Bob? Ab.

05/22 RE: KMD780's question about the R5 fire page: 

The webmaster is not on a fire assignment; that page was developed when kellywebgoddess was on a 3-month contract with the R5 fire shop. There has been some talk about having me train someone else in the RO to deal with the page, but so far it's just talk and no action. 

They know they need a fire page, and I'm glad you liked what was developed, but at this point there's nothing more I can do to help them. 

It's not just R5 -- the USFS has a monumentally difficult time hiring people to do what needs to be done. Unfortunately, recognizing the need does not automatically confer upon them the ability to hire someone to fill that need. 


05/22 KMD, 

That site was useful once upon a time. Sent people there often... Maybe I need to give RQ a call. Have other things to discuss with him anyway, but his office is slackin' on that site! Opportunity missed! And what are they going to do when real fire hits R5 this summer? The way we've linked to sites in AZ for info during these last weeks shows how important this forum is for the public and for firefighters. 

So RQ, saw you on the tube during the Los Alamos heat. Nice job, you handsome man! But, better get this R5 site ready for when we have CA heat and flame this summer! 


05/22 Hey Ab, 

I ain't no detective, but it looks like your in or around Region 5, so
what's up with the R5 fire page? It hasnt' been updated in well over a
month. It was doing a real good job of keeping your firefighters and
cooperators up to date with important fire info. Now it looks like an
old rusty car up on blocks in the front yard in a ritzy neighborhood.

Is the webmaster on fire assignements or does the region think the site
updates itself?


05/22 Tim the trailblazer, Thanks for that excellent report from R-3. That's 
what I thought was happening. Are they staging many resources in the region 
of sending most of them home?

As to NPS Shot Crews. Last I heard (5 years ago) They used to have a shot 
crew (Alpine) in the Grand Canyon. However, In the late 80's, They moved 
them to Colorado. The park service started their shot crews in 81. Staffed 
mainly by Forest Service refugees. (Anybody remember the consent degree?) 
PBS even did a documentary on the Alpine shots.

Hope to hear more real news from R-3.


05/22 Hey Ab & All,

Does anyone know if the NFES 2080 book, "Unit Identifiers" is available
in electronic form or on the net? 

Just Another Dispatcher

05/22 Tim the AZ Trlblzr - Did Alpine IHC get disbanded? They were the other NPS crew 
out of Colorado. 

Rochelle - I worked for International Technology Corporation on the LANL cleanup 
gig. They were a big, heartless corporation trying to get a foot in the door in
the Los Alamos area, competing with Kaiser-Hill. We were subcontracted through 
NES (whatever that means), who was subcontracted through the University of
Ca, who was subcontracted through the DOE. "Big fish eat little fish..." 
Did you work for Art & company last year? Good group of folks. 

Drying out in UT,
Yet another Tim

05/22 Hi all--

During a massive filing/packing project this weekend, I came across the 13 Rx Fire Watchout Situations. These are from The Nature Conservancy, but I think they're the same ones someone was asking about recently... 
1. You are burning with a plan that has not been approved by the appropriate officer.
2. You are not a qualified burning boss but have been told to go ahead and burn.
3. The objectives of the burn are not clear.
4. There are areas of special concern within the unit that cannot be burned.
5. Private land or structures adjoin the burn.
6. You are uncomfortable with the prescription.
7. Personnel at the burn have not requested a spot weather forecast or taken weather at the site.
8. A test fire is deemed unecessary or is not conducted.
9. No briefing is held and you think it's okay because you are all experienced.
10. Escape probability is so small that contingency plans haven't been made.
11. The burn boss and/or the firing boss are not in control of the igniters.
12. Mop-up and patrol instructions are not specific or understood by the mop-up boss or crew.
13. You haven't lost one in a long time and are starting to feel smug. 

How come there isn't ever a watchout situation about snags? I'm adding one:
14. Snags within the fire perimeter have not been felled orlined. 

I edited them a bit so they aren't just focused on burn bosses, but on everyone involved. Hope this helps... must get back to the packing and filing!


05/22 well it goes like this. (edit) likes to hand out red cards like candy . he called some folks in the washington state area and told them that they had work in new mexico. so off they went .. little be they knowing that he one more time he has pulled a fast one and has no work anywhere... so after sitting for a few days in the heat of south cal, most of his crew split .. (edit) was trying to get work for his crew but was turned away becuse he was not dispatched by r.6 .. well his crew went back to washington and now are filing many lawsuits to get the money they where told that they where going to make ... THIS MAN NEEDS TO BE TAKEN OFF THE FIRE LINE ALL TOGETHER .......and now (edit) is still trying to go back down there to work . how do we stop him? he has some ex usfs and odf folks that went with him and now they know what a joker that man is... WE NEED TO GET HIM OFF THE LINE NOW. AND YES, I WAS ONE OF THE FOLKS THAT WENT DOWN THERE UNDER THE ASPECTS OF WORKING. COME TO FIND OUT HE HAS BEEN BLACK BALLED... WELL YOU TELL ME, HOW DO I FEED MY FAM AND PAY RENT .. I HAVE BEEN IN THIS WORK FOR MANY YEARS AND HAVE NEVER BEEN TREATED LIKE THIS. AND TO (edit) IF YOU FEEL LIKE TREATING MY WIFE AND MY FAM GO FOR IT. GOD IS FORGIVING, I AM.....
05/21 Hello can anyone tell me the story on a1 fireout? whats the deal with hoskins and his company

Fireman B

05/21 Good morning all, 

I was very sorry to learn about the untimely deaths of Leo Kupomen and
Sam Tobias. Not sure we will know what happened for awhile. I am not
sure who is investigating the crash, FS, NTSB, FAA. 

I was in Albuquerque on TDY when it happened and just back to my
computer. Nothing new or different on the fire news. The media have it
about half right. There are no surprises and nothing is being hidden or
left out. It may be reported wrong but I don't think anything has been
left out. 

I am not real sure about the air quality regarding the contamination of
the area around Los alamos and whether the truth is being reported. I
live directly Northeast of LANL (about thirty air miles) and according
to the neighbors we had heavy smoke for two days of the fire. The trees
are still greening up and the wildlife is still moving around on its own
so we will see. Our local government (Mayor) requested monitoring
units but they were turned down (may be a rumor on the denial or the
request, I am not sure if it was a fact). 

I have been monitoring the State Forestry frequencies (local, not the
big show) and I am hearing traffic (call signs) from a lot of different
out of state units, Oregon, California and I believe Idaho. Thought I
would toss that in. 

I am running a Situation Unit this upcoming weekend (Memorial Day
weekend) for the Village of Red River, they are expecting up to 5000
bikers and it gets sorta wild for four days. Normally we have bad
weather and it drives them into the bars and the motel rooms and is
fairly quite but with the fire restrictions in place they won't want to
camp out without their camp fires so they will be on their worst
behavior, I fear. I need to get to work on my part of the IAP (same as
last years with a few changes). Anyone want to come help let me know. 

Nothing else to report . 

Keep it safe! 


05/21 AB,

Just to let those new and perhaps older firefighters know, as far as CDF firefighter training goes, the older CDF 40-Hour Basic Forest Firefighter Academy, and the new CDF 67-hour Basic Forest Firefighter Academy are both considered acceptable substitutes for the Forest Service 32-Hour Forest Firefighter Academy. If you have this form of training that is good enough for an immediate hire and not requiring an immediate 32-hour Course. That applies to engines, crews, and special resource. The additional hours in the course cover SCBA, First Aid, Haz-Mat, and some structural fire training. If you have someone at a lower level telling you that the State or Community College Fire Training Certificate for CDF's version is no good, they are wrong. This person may be trying to get back at CDF through you. If you have any doubts, take it to the Forest/District FMO, Training Officer, or AFMO. Recently a newer volunteer for my area had taken a great deal of time getting that training, and was told by a forest service employee that it was no good, he had to take the Forest Service version if he expected a job with them, and that any training done by CDF did not count. 

Well, thats not true. And if any of you newer firefighters have been told this or something like it, advise whomever told you this that you would like clarification from a District/Forest/Park Fire Management Officer. And if they tell you something along the line "Thats not how we do things here." don't be afraid to call the State/Regional Fire Training Specialist and get an opinion from him. Come on, guys!! Its now the year 2000, and this kind of B.S. should have stopped by now. You have a hate toward CDF that's fine, I'm right there with you for all the stuff they have pulled and gotten away with, but when you try to stop someone because you personally don't like where they got there training, or who they used to work for or are affiliated with, you need to decide if you want to stay in Fire or move on. There is no more room for these kind of opinions. 


05/21 Hey all, 

Safe and sound back from the raveges of the Coon Creek Fire on the Tonto 
(ya, right). Pretty boring assignment, in all reality, buthad the potential 
to hurt some folks. Real rugged country in Central AZ. 

Severity fire patrols are up and running here in the Central West Zone of 
AZ. FS dispatch centers are starting to to stay open late at night, and the 
local FMO's and fire chiefs are trying to figure out what to do if the "Big 
One" hits our local. After seeing the carnage over in Los Alamos, folks are 
shitting all over themselves up here. Our wonderful governor has allocated 
roughly 3 million for fire prevention (in reality, a contingency fund for 

Lost a couple of residences on a 350+ fire down in the Southeast side of the 
state near Sierra Vista. Beautiful country, hasn't seen real fire out there 
since the Ramsy Canyon Fire in the early 90's. 

All of our vehicel fires on the interstate are escaping into the wildland. 
Nothing too bad, wind has been in our favor on all 13 starts this week. 
Weekends are getting real bad for us. 40 thousand vehicles per hour on north 
bound I-17 out of Phoenix right smake dabed into the wilds of northern AZ. 
Our patrol caught 5 abandoned camp fires today alone. Memorial Day Weekend 
up and comming. Lots of contigency planning with the local fire agencies and 
highway patrol. We will be pre positioning 2 type 6 engines and a water 
tender for the weekend. More EMS folks on for the numerous auto accidents 
and staging a medivac helo just for giggles. 

So, what in the world have the rest of everyone been doing??!
Haven't seen all of the previous weeks postings (sorry Ab!!), but what I did 
read about the NPS folks and their experience/training, most have hit it on 
the nail. All are carded just like the rest of us (NWCG) and if RX burns are 
schedueled without the properly trained folks, they are good enough to send 
the right folks out to do the job. NPS has been real big on their RX 
modules. Sagauro and Whisky Town NRA has both been leaders with their staff 
about RX burns. Can't say what the hell happened in NM, but the Outlet fire 
on the Grand Canyon has been burining since last fall. Fire statrted as a 
PNF. I know tyhis to be fact, because I sent my folks to that fire last 
October, but they were re-deplyed to the Boundry PNF on NPS land. Go figure. 
As far as the NPS having Shot Crews, the ONLY shot crew the NPS has is the 
Arrowhead Shots located out of Sequoia-Kings Canyon. There is NO NPS shot 
crews from HI or the Grand Canyon. I'm sure that their short crews may think 
they are IHS crews (hot shits) but believe me, they are not. 

Hope everyone is staying real safe out there. 

Mellie, when are you comming out again?!?!?! Kell, lost another fire chief. 
Fire Board terminated him this last Monday, just as I was walking in the 
door from the Coon Fire. That put's me back behind that damn desk! :( 

Tim the AZ Trailblazer

05/21 Will wonders never cease? Just found out today the Oregon Department of Forestry sent an Engine Strike Team and a couple miscellaneous overhead to Arizona. That is a major accomplishment for ODF. They will not regret that decision. ODF has some excellent firefighters here in Southern Oregon and it will do the wildland community well for ODF to finally interact with agencies outside the Oregon borders. 

CONGRATULATIONS ODF! (They may have wanted to all along and the politicians or governing boards may have been putting the stops on.)


05/21 Contract crews have been burning in Oregon for years without one structure loss. Sure they have some slop over but who hasn't. Contract crews are not what they were ten years ago. They are becoming crews of pro firefighters, I crewboss a hand crew in the Northwest, and I come from 15 years of fed service R4 and R5, and have seen my fair share of fire. If the fed crews feel threatened they should. I am sorry that the feds fell the way they do, but I have seen contract crews that are highly trained pro's with years of fire experience and I mean on fire experience not sitting in fire camp talking fire. 


05/21 Two sides to every story!

The Santa Fe New Mexican - Local News This is how the dispatch really handled the requests that came in. A little different than the reports stated. Dispatcher disputes fire report by BEN NEARY in The New Mexican, 5/20/2000: 


Sent to me "From an insider"
Dispatch Dude 

Ab sez: The New Mexican is undergoing changes. When the page I linked to above comes up, go to the bottom to the Search the New Mexican, enter keywords box. Type in Neary, the author's name. Punch Go. A new page with a list of articles will appear. Click on the article at or near the top of the list, entitled "Dispatcher disputes fire report." 

05/21 Mellie,

In WA. "red card" training is optional for FPD folks. The law states that if a FPD takes suppression action on a wildland fire, then thier personal who take suppression action, must be 'red carded' (trained to NWCG standard WLFF 2). BUT, the law also allows for suppression action for upto 1 hours by untrained (red carded) FPD personal. The way around the training issue by some departments is to platoon their folks on and off the fire, this also has to do with working in turnouts and the heat stress, this is allowed by law. 

05/21 Mellie 

In the Ozarks, the State of Missouri, Conservation Commission, offers the S-130/190 annually at the local Jr. College in our community. I'm not sure if there are other offerings of the courses within the state, although I am sure that there are. The program is offered to all state agencies; Department of Natural Resources, Fishery, Wildlife, Forestry, Local Fire Department personnel, and other individuals which need the training and general information to preform their duties. The State of Missouri requires the training for individuals which do Rx burning and for those who wish to do Out-of-State Fire Duty. I do believe that the state is in the process of redoing the program to meet more of the needs for those individuals working in Missouri and not going on the Out-of-State Duty. They are tring to gear the program to meet those needs dealing with the hardwood problems, which we deal with. I am sure that the Basic 10/18 will be included in the program, but maybe not to the extent they are covered in the 130/190. It will be interesting to see what the State of Missouri comes up with. 


05/20 Here in Tx the VFD's are way behind in training according to NWCG.As a matter of fact,3 of us in our dept. are the first in the county that we serve to complete S130/190.The Forestry service on the other hand seems to have an excellent grasp of NWCG Standards.

I do need to admit though the TFS has done an excellent job of training Volunteers to save both themselves and property.Their training was more equipment based though and did not encompass as much in regards to the use of aerial attacks or hand crews.They see now as do I that NWCG is the way to go.It gets everyone on the same page in dealing with situtations.I've been a Vol.FF for 11 years and only worked around my first aerial operation in '96.They were just never needed.The need is definitely there for us to know what is expected of us on a large scale incident,because the fires here in Tx seem to be getting hotter(seems like an odd statement doesn't it).We had an engine crew lose an engine in a burnover here year before last and that has just never happened before.As the the fires continue to get hotter and more frequent we will have more help from out of state as well as our VFD's will have to have a good working knowledge of what is expected of them at an incident.

IMHO we(the vol's)are behind in the process of getting up to speed with the rest of the country,but we are catching up albeit it seems painfully slow to me.

Sorry I tended to wander a little bit,

05/20 Mellie southeast US has a long history of "light burning" or "woods burning". particulary in southern pine from east Texas to Florida it is a neccesary tool. if you have not read his book," Fire in Ameica ", by Stephen Pyne, you need to do so asap. it is an excellent resource on the history of fire use in the states. he has several other books out on fire including the very enjoyable "Fire on the Rim". 


05/20 Wow... 

With the past two weeks of coverage of Cerro Grande, I would have never thought I would hear /POSITIVE/ media about fire, especially from a national source. I tip my hat to NBC for their piece Friday evening supporting Rx burns. There are a few goodguys in the media after all... and as a plus, I got the numbers I needed, and I have it on tape too! (grinning broadly) 

Well, the pup's faith in media has been partially restored, time to go hit the woods for the weekend. Stay safe all, 

Tiny, the R-6 Fire Pup

05/19 Mellie,

All crew members coming out of Pa have to have s-130 and s-190 
to go out of state. Pa also offers chain saws, pumps and other
s-200 level courses for certain crew members. Some of the other 
classes rotate as needs require. 


05/19 re: mellie

WI follows the standard NWCG training for all positons (IE S130, 190, 290 etc) but we usually amend or add-on information and topics that are specific to our world. an example is the when speaking in fire behaviour terms, the canned courses typically refer to low humidities as below 20% while here in the lake states we can have significant fire behaviour at 30% and in southern states such as florida they have significant behaviour at even higher humidities. It all has to do with the fuels that you are dealing with. Another thing is that they are geared toward a hand crew or engine in steep terrain. This just simply isnt the case all over. While ya cant please everybody, the courses that have been revised in the last 5-10 years have improved trememdously in trying to cover the different suppression senarios in the US. 

On a side note, I was able to sit in on a small part of the NWCG safety committee meeting which, of great shock to me, was held locally here. There is a new publication that has previously only been availible in 490 or 590 which does an excellent job in discussing behaviour parameters for all the different geographic areas. While I havent seen it (except from across the room) this sounds like an excellent resource for folks that are hopping all over the country fightin' fire. 

On the resource typing thing, yup, it wasnt that long ago that you could order an engine and get anything from a pickup with a 50 gallon slip-on unit to a full blown structural engine. Overall the typing thing has worked pretty good but there still are some holes in it. In WI's case specifically, our main suppression equipment is a type 3 tractor plow unit that is towed by a type 4 engine...where do the resourse folks put us? *L* A good example of the dificulties this has caused is in 98 when we sent equipment to florida. They asked for our tractor plows (and this is a little bit of assuming on my part, but Id bet my next paycheck that I am right on), but when we asked if they wanted the engines as well (meaning the transports to us) they replied no..we want the dozers...so..thats what they got, our dozers with no transports. The ground support folks had to round up transports for them once they got down there. Another small example is water tender/engines. In our small world, due to a lack of numbers and the immediate need during a large fire, the f.d. "water tenders" (typically 1500 - 2500 gallons) are used in structural protection but the by the book guidelines rate water tenders as simply that with no implied suppression value.


05/19 Hi there--

Mellie--for your info, there are no standards in my state. But, it's cute someone asked (if you were from here, you'd know why...). I am one of the few qualified red-carded folks in the state... most others do burns from their own experience, or I guess trial and error. There is a movement in the state, in county conservation boards, and with the DNR. Who knows what will happen. So far, we aren't even tied in with ICS. Looks like the Nature Conservancy is the farthest along here and might set the example for a good burning program. That's good, cuz they've got a lot of experience, and a great burn program. 

Wonder if the policy folks have thought about flamethrower's point--that more permanent, year-round positions might be cheaper than lawsuits. Makes me grin, but it's a bittersweet one. Lots of things would be cheaper than the amount of money the feds will be dumping into los alamos in the next year or two or so. 

Yet another Tim--interesting info on the lab site. Out of curiousity, was Kaiser-Hill the cleanup contractor? Or who? I can see where you have less confidence in the DOE. I sure do, lately. However, they are making lots-o-stuff public anymore, and you might be able to get information off the los alamos site. I haven't seen it, but I bet you can get it through the DOE. I can't believe how much stuff they have made public, so you might be surprised at what you find. Good points about erosion, etc.... 

Good luck on your ex-firefighter career, there, firepooch. I don't know of any 12-step programs for withdrawal, but if you find one I could use it in the off-season. The park I worked in last year allowed something like 800 acres of WFURBs, plus a few good RX burns and some pile-burning when it was raining. Had a real tough FMO, and stuck to the rules like glue. We had a fire effects crew too, and an RX module, and I'd say the fire program was in excellent shape. Park service seems to have a few issues with law enforcement still hanging onto control of wildfires, but I think each park is different. It's hard to have full time fire management staff, and still fight with the LEOs over who's fire it is. Anyway, for my money, I think it's a good solid program. Maybe not as militant as the FS, but from what I've seen, very very cautious. I don't think we could have lost a burn if we tried. Kidding... 

Anyway, good to see some input on the media coverage. Unfortunately... I know darn well what the media covers. What's frustrating to me is that people are suffering from property loss in other places, but they only covered it this time when it was the government's fault. And, not one word about urban interface issues... probably a bad time in either case, but in many other disasters, the media seem to dish out preventive advice. For example, a tornado takes out a town or two, and next thing you know they're talking about what you should do to be safe when a tornado comes through. House fires: they tell you to practice your family evacuation plan, etc. Wildfires: nothing. Anyway, that's what I see so far. Missed opportunity to educate. Not that los alamos is a good case in point..... 

Got some interesting news today... apparently folks are getting awfully nervous about seasonal hires this year, and probably everyone in general. Double checking quals, increasing emphasis on training, etc. Guess I can't give specifics, but I didn't realize how widespread the effect of this thing last week would be. Good to see, but I think we should be careful all the time, not just the week after a catastrophe. Take care all--I've got another week or two and I'll be out there with ya. 


oooh--some good news I forgot. Something good did come out of Florida's 98 season, by the way. Seems they decided to hire something like 13 Wildland Fire Mitigation Specialists within their division of forestry to educate the public and work closely with the media, so that future fire events would not be so reactionary. Sounds like a good plan, and not too bad of a job for those of us with media hangups (too bad I think I want more field time first....). This was in an article in one of the fire magazines last September.

05/19 Ab, et all 

Finally I have enough time from final studies to finalize this post... err Okay I'll stop using that word and it's variations. 

WP, thanks for keeping me in-line... I owe you one..and then some more... 

fire_pooch, Hey, glad you found us here, and don't worry none about confusing anyone, I've found it comes normally, if worse comes to worse I can always just sign Tiny 

Mellie, what about Hawaiian crews? My dad's part Hawaiian. which makes me part Hawaiian... etc.. I still love it when my tan sticks around through the winter months. It'd be cool if I could go back to Hawaii this summer. 

Erhrm... Read Babitt's report... but I got lost somewhere in the bureaucratical speak and I need to re-read the first part to find out what the third part says the second part should state to defend the fourth part. Okay so it really isn't that bad, but I still need to review it. 

I wrote an argumentative essay today for my English class defending the use of Rx burning, but I need some work on numbers... With Rx being scrutinized, I'm curious (to defend it's use) as to how many times Rx fire has been used within the context it was meant to be used. All I seem to find is accounts of incidents in which it fails or escapes. Maybe I'm not looking in the right spot? 

Well, enough from the pup for a while. 

Tiny, the R-6 Fire Pup

05/19 Millie, 

I've been asking myself the same question about positive 
rx burns for the last week. The media caters to people 
who want bad news, after all, who cares that the Southwest 
successfully complete 88,607 acres of rx burns when
332,171 acres of wildlands have been DESTROYED by wildfires 
already this year? 


Good piece on NBC news tonight on the need for Rx burn. Only 1% of more than 900,000 acres burned under prescription by the USFS since 1968 has escaped. Babbit was interviewed saying that Rx burns were necessary. Ab.

05/19 As we all shake the poop out of our nomex after the Bandelier Affair,
we should all take a little time to contemplate our futures should
anyone of us have to walk in the shoes of our Parkie brethern in the 

The job of RX burning is not for the faint of heart. It is also not 
for the fool hardy cowboys of yesteryear. Documentation and an adherence 
to our plans is essential.

What is also essential is experience. We have to retain our experienced 
RX fire practioners. A few more permanent positions are in order. (They 
are far less expensive than lawsuits).


05/19 Everyone, 

Thanks for straightening me out on the NPS, BLM, etc. Still seems that experience is paramount and good info about weather and resources are critical. Glad to hear everyone gets training or calls on someone who has it. I thought I’d hear what you’ve shared regarding the risk of Rx burning and the solidarity of the fire community, but you know I’ve been surprised before. [rueful grin] On the Big Bar everyone seemed to belong to one big family with a focused goal and constant reevaluation. From my Buddhist perspective, fighting fire oftentimes seemed like stillness in the midst of motion with the whole family participating in the dance. I love that. Since then I’ve learned of the varying perspectives and occasional rivalries, which are OK (even good) if they don’t compromise safety. We do need to critically reevaluate in times like these, but the finger pointing pisses me off too. I’m glad we’re all in this together. 

A while back, 6 said that NWCG guidelines take precedence and that agencies follow their own standards otherwise. (BLM Bob, info in some of those posts is why I thought safety regs might vary.) I’m still concerned that some of my friends will be picked up by CDF without passing fire behavior (S190). Do other state fire departments require fire behavior class? (WP, what about WA? Rick, can you find out for me about OR? Moleskin and BC, NJ? Hickman, Ozarks? Keith, Boo, and Linescout,TX? Rochelle, IA? Pulaski, WI?) In a sense, maybe we’re all still trying to get on the same page with respect to unified standards and what works in this day of downsizing, etc. I just learned in I100 that until fairly recently there was not even standard terminology for resources! 

The variation in firefighting across the country is interesting, too. Hickman, your description reminded me of “fighting fire” with my grandad on Lake Tawokini (sp??) kinda near Dallas and the fire swatter and leaf rakes we used on the burning deciduous leaves! [inhales deeply] I can still smell the smoke and taste those smoky marshmallows! 

If you want to read Babbit’s Report, go here: 


Thirty day suspension of Rx burns west of the Mississippi doesn’t make sense when you look at drought and fire danger levels in the northwest and elsewhere: 



Strange that our reps who are talking to the media don’t say that there have been 88,607 acres of good Rx burn in the Southwest and 951,00 in the entire US. Only 15,405 in CA!!! but 610,240 in Southern R8!!! [raised eyebrows, mouth an O??]

Ab, I guess your comments didn’t make an impact on that knee-jerking, blame-placing, high-up bureaucrat, but then you didn’t mention reasonable Rx burning!!! If you run into him doing a press conference where you are, give him a twirl and a little boot in the be’hind from me! [falls off seat laughing] Which big dance you at? Say hi to the rest of the family out there! 

BLM Bob—thanks for your comments/clarifications. FYI, I don’t have a National Mob Guide. If anyone wants to send me one from last year, even, please e-mail me at five_waters@hotmail.com. [appreciatieve nod] From what you say, there ARE more BLM people on teams in R3 than in R5. I researched the sit reports to find abbreviations for BLM Districts, FWS National Wildlife Refuges, NPS Parks, BIA Agencies, and USFS Forests. Then went back to the ’99 CA Mob Guide. There were no BLM team members and only 5 NPS, but 21 from the Kern Co. interface. 

To the Hotshots. I couldn't risk making a downward mistake in case that Hawaiian crew were Shots for fear of getting pissed on! Way cool joke,BTW. Anymore? Hotshot stories? Someone said there were hotshot song-chants, even... Wanna share? On your day off, maybe? I know most of you are a little busy right now! 


I still ain’t sayin’. ;) Ab. 

05/19 Mellie - I had a list of watch outs for RX, but misplaced it. Only one I remember off hand is "You've never lost one and are feeling rather cocky." 

Ericpw and Rochelle - I worked winter of 96 at the Los Alamos National Lab as an "environmental technician" (a haz-mat cleanup idiot in full containment PPE). The site I worked on was where they built the Little Boy bomb (Nagasaki) and then bulldozed the contaminated building and dumped depleted uranium, PCBs, asbestos, lead, radioactive detonators, big brown bottles containing non-descript fluids, and construction debris that made a gieger counter scream. Gunk was dumped at that site from 1946 to the mid 70's, then left sitting under the NM weather for 20 years. The company I worked for was bidding on 3 other cleanup sites, and there was a few others we were too small to handle.

The vegetation sampled on our site had normal levels of radioactive elements (yes, there's some in all of us). There was also an independent study of elk tissues performed in the 70's and 80's that showed no increased rad levels in animals ranging on lab lands. But working there left me less than confident in the DOE and LANL. Does anyone know if data on recent particulate sampling at LANL is available to the public? 

I don't mean to incite panic or lull anyone into complacency. There's always post-fire erosion and the Rio Grande to worry about. 

Yet another Tim 

05/18 Mellie, 

I've worked for the NPS fighting fire for 11 years and spent the same amount of time as a FS firefighter. The Park Service follows all the same rules and regulations that all the federal wildland fire fighting agencies do. Just like all the other agencies we have our good and not so good people. I don't know the Fire Staff at Bandelier so I can't say what their experience is. It would be inaccurate to paint the Park Service as incompetent based on a few people's actions, just like it would be unfair to paint the BLM after the Lowden incident or the Forest Service after the Mack Lake Rx burn as incompetent. With prescribed fire unfortunately things do go wrong. We as firefighters or managers need to really look at what we are doing and be very sure it's the right thing. We also need to make sure we follow our policies to the letter or our butts are going to be hung out in the media (as evidenced by various incidents lately) and we'll be wide open for civil lawsuits. 

I agree one of the previous respondents who said that finger pointing is not the way to go. It is definitely not very productive. I have been heartened by the interagency response in not jumping on the NPS with both feet for this tragedy (at least publicly). This unfortunately affects all our programs, the moratorium is too much of a knee jerk reaction for those areas in the country that are not in drought and have burns planned and are unable to do them. 


05/18 Ab, 

Congratulations, looks like you make it to the "big dance!" 


No comment. Ab.

05/18 hey disgusted! i feel your pain! i think we both belong to the same agency. we do seem to miss out on the western fires. i guess i was lucky to make it to kentucky last year. i was told that we are going to have training for the guys who go out west june 10th. i have been asking for this for 5 years! we will see. we have some good people in our agency. we have a lot to offer. you know how things work here by now. a state agency at its finest! well, just wanted you to know that you are not the only one who is pissed. at least we are not from minnesota! talk to you later. 

bc davis

05/18 First.. thanks AB for the forum. I have been a long time lurker and this will be my first season NOT in fire:( ( I shoul actually be packing my bags this weekend to return to my crew) I am a bit sad over this and think I need counseling and a 12 step program to go through my mourning period, hopefully I will prevail in my new job. A job with benefits, a "real" salary, etc. The lack of benefits, promotion etc. as a GS-5 seasonal is what is drawing me away. Wish me luck. 

Ok, Here goes... I'll jump in as an ex-NPS firefighter and answer Mellies question. Yes, park folks follow all guidelines (NWCG) etc as BLM, FS. In fact having worked for the Forest Service in a past life, I actually found that the Park Service was a tad more stringent on people producing evidence of actual qualifications(ie, certificates, task books etc) than the FS. Although I think this overall proof of qualifications is probably tightening across the board following the '94 season. 

The park I worked in last year allowed 18,000 acres of WFURB (Wildfires for Resource Benefit aka. PNF's) to burn through the summer without incident and few complaints from park visitors. The parks are probably a little more progressive in their fire effects research and I think have actually lead the way in bringing prescribed fire back from the dead. I find it ironic that it is the NPS that may have that very same policy shut down for awhile. 

Tiny...(Funny, my internet handle is fire_pooch, hope this doesn't confuse anyone) I think you are right about recent press on Los Alamos, hopefully emphasis will be placed on the importance of continued reduction of fuel loads.. I suppose only time will tell how politically it shakes out. 

Wish me luck in my new life as an ex-firefighter. I'll be thinking about you guys. Stay Safe! 

A fellow fire_pooch.

05/18 Ab 

Was up in Weaverville, Ca. a few weekends ago for and oil fire school. Lots of fun and fire. But that's not what this is about, met a lady that works for the U.S.F.S. at a bar-b-q place and we chatted. They are still rather upset at BLM for the Lauder fire. But the best part was when I started talking about the stuff I've read right here on "They Said". Her eyes got big and she asked me who the H*!! I was and what the H@() I was doing there, like I was a spy or worse yet a supervisor snooping around. I told her I was a nobody local volunteer firefighter and that most of my info came from the internet. She still didn't believe me and didn't talk to me much any more. Just a guess, I think I hit a nerve. Just goes to prove this is a great trove of info you got here!

Local Agency Volunteer Engineer 
P.S. Keep up the good work. Be safe out there boys and girls!

05/18 Hey Old Fire Guy, 

I certainly understand the MN DNR feeling that they have an obligation to keep MN green. And the apparently traditional way to do so is to keep MN firefighters (casuals) in state by not making them available for out of state duty until the DNR feels fire danger is over in MN. In past years they have done so by misleading us into believing that when we were signing up for the national availability list our names were being passed on to NIFC. We discovered last year this was not the case. If they want us to stick around for in state duty they need to do so in an honest and legal manner. They have a lot of other ways to keep us around including paying us a stand by fee...or scheduling training. We beg each year for more training...to no avail. 

This year we (the MN Wildland Firefighters' Association) were directed at our annual meeting to give our members an alternative to depending on the MN DNR for our employment prospects...and developed an alternative availability list. So to thwart our ability to get fire employment independently they withheld our red cards. Next year we will arrange an alternative way to issue them ourselves. OFG, this is not merely "adventure" to most of us experienced casuals, it is income...employment, food for our families. I agree that the MN DNR is very generous with us when they don't need us...but smokechasers are neither chattel nor slaves...they are free men and women according to our National (and state) constitutions. The fact the MN DNR feels free to essentially treat them as property is very disturbing to me...

As for the blowdown area in the BWCA...that will have to be an airshow, to send ground troops in would be suicide or more accurately murder. I have seen the stuff...you cannot move in it...you could not run...there are no safe zones. If they send in folks on the ground people will cook.

05/18 Back to Mellie's question about the NPS; Do Park Service folks get the training/experience in fire that the other fed fire folk get?

I have had the opportunity of working with the NPS on a couple of small prescribed burns. Our local national park does not have the properly trained individuals to perform a Rx'ed burns. They needed to contact another park from another state, which did have the properly trained individuals. It was a rather amusing sight to watch the process. The individuals brought in their normal burn control equipment: ATV's with a small water tank and pump, burning equipment, Rx. burn plan, weather monitoring equipment, and communications equipment. I was able to look over the burn plan, which appeared to be complete and properly filled out. All information on fuel mods and loads, fuel moisture percentages, calculated rates of spreads, and weather conditions needed to achieve the proper burn effects needed to enhance the soil and vegetation. All safety information was filled out, from location of closest hospital to the use of proper safety equipment, fire shelters included. They had contacted the local fire department, as well as, the local state forestry office. They requested the use of water units and personnel from the local forestry office since their units where not of sufficient type or size to control a break-over or escaped control. Control lines were established and burns were preformed. 

The group was well versed on communications and safety procedures, with each individual carrying a radio and in constant communications with each other and the "Burn Boss". Had the situation been a real fire, they would have talked the thing to death. Being somewhat unfamiliar with their procedures, the entire procedure was not only amusing but enlighting for both them and the locals. The hand tools used were from different terrains and used differently. The burn crew came into the park concerned about not disrupting the "Ecological Balance" of the parks ecologic system. But, after a short time when they found that their tools would not work in the terrain, they were ready to trade their fire swatters for broom rakes. The local forestry group reminded the burn crew.. "That they didn't want to disrupt the Natural Ecology of the park property by disturbing the Ecological Balance between the surface and ground fuels." And, besides they needed something to lean on while they watched. 

All be Safe

05/18 Hey Ab, 

Found something positive regarding NM. Washington State DNR has finally sent folks out of state! Read, Yeeeeee Haaaaaa! I have found that my agency will go on and on about mutual aid, yadda yadda yadda, but the reality is that DNR will accept but seldom give unless it is local. Step in right direction for DNR, as we sent a strike team that left on monday. Thanks for the chance to vent. 


05/18 Mellie -

I expect some real Park Service guys will respond to your question but I can assure that even though the FS and Park Service have different missions we all pretty much put our nomex pants on one leg at a time. 

The Park Service has at least two real Hotshot crews, Arrowhead from California and I believe the Grand Canyon hosts a shot crew ( There is no real shot crew in Hawaii). The Park Sevice has a much longer history of accepting and implementing natural fire than the FS. They participate in Type 1 and 2 teams, have the same Red Card hoops to jump through, and have heavy participation in national level course instruction at Marana and other training centers. Their Fire Use Teams are the envy of many FSers including myself. Many parkies have worked for the FS in their careeers and vice versa. Check out this link 


The entire Bandelier burn and fire management plans are here, something that is sure be a part of Thursday's review. I haven't read them in detail but they seem to touch all the bases and pass the weight test. What they do not have is the budgets and staffs of the FS. 

I don't know what really happened at Bandelier but I figure 'There but for the Grace of God go I.' I know that neither the burn boss (former hotshot by the way) nor the BLM Lewiston burn boss last year, nor the scores of FS burn bosses who have had escapes over the decades thought that something like that could happen to them. We need to pull together as a fire community to get through this thing, make some changes and get our matches back. 

I will tell you what I don't like about the last week. Too much finger pointing - "This wouldn't have happened if the Forest Service had given us contingency resources.", too much talking to the media in detail about what might have happened on the burn. Good jumping off spot:


Nor Cal Fire Believer

The Bandelier burn and fire management plans require Adobe Acrobat Reader (pdf files) and it takes some time to download the different parts. The wildfire coverage from yahoo is extensive. Ab. 

05/18 Mellie, 

The NPS folks have the same training and experience requirements for fire as all federal agencies. The quality of training and experience may vary from location to location - just as it does among FS and BLM units. 

BLM policy does NOT supercede the NWCG training and experience requirements. Where on earth did you get that idea? I don't have the CA Mob Guide handy, but I'd be surprised if there were no BLM members on the teams. Can anyone verify this for me? There are a number of BLM members on all the Soutwest Area overhead teams and one of the Type 1 team's IC is BLM - the one that took on the Cerro Grande - and so is the IC of one of the Type 2 teams. 

You see fewer BLM and NPS people on teams because there are fewer BLM and NPS people. The FS has probably at least 4 times as many people as BLM. 

There are NO hotshot crews from Hawaii, NPS or otherwise. Refer to the National Mob Guide for Type 1 crew locations and agencies. 


05/18 Pup,

Interesting perspective on the media, but in reality the bottom line is to sell advertising and make a profit for the shareholder. The media interest in a fire is directly related to the heat of the ashes. Los Alamos is what the general public is interested in, it has a top secret facility, charred foundations, and some very hurt residents, all the elements of a good news story. The other fires in the state are most likely missing one or more of the elements so they only get a passing mention in the press. Now as soon as some other disaster/serious event occurs in the world, the media will drop this story as if it were a hot rock. 

Remember it is all about the bottom line, but we need the press, without the media doing stories about our work, the legislators who control our funding would soon forget us. If we have two slow seasons in a row budgets get squeezed, one good season and the money comes rolling it, no matter if it rains all season long nation wide (fat chance of that happening). Then if we don't spend the money, we can't bank it for the next season, they take it away. When we ask for more funding, they say we did not spend the money we gave you last year. It is enough to make you crazy. 


05/17 Everyone, two questions: 

Got to thinking about Moleskin's question about the NPS as I did my kicks today. Do Park Service folks get the training/experience in fire that the other fed fire folk get? I don't mean this in any derogatory or finger-pointing way, just trying to get the big picture of how agencies in the fire world fit together and how that might impact safety. I presume that to be redcarded in fire, NPS has to follow the NWCG Guidelines, but maybe agency policy supercedes those requirements as it does with CDF and BLM. I don't know anyone from the NPS but a neat shot crew from Hawaii who were on the Big Bar. I got to know BLM groundpounders and overhead on our fire, but don't remember anyone else from NPS. The '99 CA Mobilization Guide tells the unit that the members of the 5 teams come from and there are no NPS or BLM as far as I can tell. There are a lot of folks from Kern Co. (Bakersfield area) and I know from them that they follow the NWCG redcard guidelines. So, is this lack of NPS folks among the overhead common at the national level? 

Second question: Does anyone know of any watchouts for Rx burning? Like the watchouts for overhead that Dave contributed last Jan. One I could think of is "the burn boss proposes a burn under the same changing weather conditions (cold front coming in) that resulted in an escaped burn last spring..." (the one this year escaped also! fancy that!) At what point does the ranger on the forest get a clue and fail to approve the burn under those conditions. I know we are shortstaffed in fire. I agree with Firehorse that we're trying to do too much with too few... but I still wonder about the pressure of meeting the targets that Too Many mentioned. And I know how easy it is to quarterback on a Monday morning. Sorry. Just trying to sort out how it all works... 


05/17 The pup is back... 

My thanks to WP for putting up with me throughout finding which colleges in the area would cooperate, and for encouraging me to continue to be doggedly persistent. Eric? Tried your email, you are the one at Pacific Wildfire right? Well regardless, it looks like I might be able to work my way into the S-130/190 course this coming winter. 

Ahem... Now then.. to the boards... 

Rochelle, you asked some very good questions, so I'll take a swing at them. Youth and wisdom may be rarely combined, but who said I had to be wise? So, here goes: 

The media is not focused on the so-called "other" fires. The media has the Cerro Grande Fire on the Bandolier National Monument near Los Alamos, New Mexico on stage. Why you ask? Well it could range from the historical significance of the area, but I believe that it's the most reported on because of the sheer volume of tragedy. It has been my finding in almost 17 years of being exposed to information, that media types thrive on the tragedy of life. They appear to live to do anything to bring doom and gloom to our homes. They stop at nothing. They will investigate and interrogate until they can't find any more information, then they will begin to mock, scorn, ridicule the subject until their efforts yield more information, the information they couldn't get from politely asking. The media is notorious for this. 

Therefore, I believe that Scott-Able and North Rim will join the media ranks sooner or later, when the coals from Cerro Grande have been put out, the blame is assigned and the crews have all been shipped home, and the dogs of war remain, sniffing the ashes for more, digging up what it can and brandishing it for all to see. Needless to say, Cerro Grande has been etched into America's memory, however will fade from it long before the likes of boat boy and the impeachment trial. Fires are funny with the media.. they make a big impact, but then blow away as quickly as ash, forgotten. Not one person in my history class knows what force threatened the apple industry of Washington State in 1994, no one knew what happened in Yellowstone Park in 1988. But ask them, they know all the details of Los Alamos, it's a hot topic, forgive the pun, but its as if I step into a room at school and I hear something about Los Alamos. I asked them about Scott-Able, and North Rim, they looked at me blankly as I just nodded and walked by. No one knows. Maybe it's better that way. Maybe it's not. 

Tiny, the R-6 Fire 

05/17 Was playing around in the Southwest Div. homepage and ran across the address for Los Alamos AM Radio station. Tuned in and been listening, lots of interesting information. May need Real Player to listen: 


This is the homepage to the radio station then down on the bottom is the listen in button. 

Tell'm all heads up..

05/17 Dana,
Obviously you have a lot of experience, and a lot of frustration with perceived (or maybe even real) slights from the Minnesota DNR. You complain that they are withholding your red cards this season, and demand "let my people go". So........repeating advice you received earlier from another contributor, set up your own private company for "your people", red-card them yourself and quit whining. You CAN work on western fires......but maybe the MN DNR just doesn't want you to carry their banner when you go. 

The DNR has an outstanding record of responding to national needs. Remember '96 when there were more than 20 type II crew out at one time? I understand it is still fire season in MN. Maybe the DNR figures their first obligation is to protect the state (don't forget the 400M acres of blowdown), and providing you with every adventure opportunity just ranks a little lower.
Old Fire Guy

05/17 State Resources are being held up in New Jersey. We took the pack test about two weeks ago, and were told that we would be listed "on the board" and available come May 15th. 

Come to find out that isn't the case. The information has to get to Trenton, where it is then processed (takes a month i'm told!), and then the card's have to get typed... hopefully, (i'm told) that means we'll be available for out of state assignment JULY 1st!?!?!?!? 

We usually send out a few type II handcrews and have sent out up to two strike teams of type 6 engines. These resources are just sitting in puddles (we've had lots of rain recently), surrounded by VERY green fuels. 

Sorry to the folks in the south and west.. but if you need help, please take a number and we'll see you in July. 

Sign me, 

05/17 If national resources are low why are so many MN firefighters still waiting for their red cards...oh yeah...MN doesn't want to share "their resources" right now. I wonder how many other states are sitting on their smokechasers? Don't they all sign interagency agreements that require them to make these resources available when needed? Why are they allowed to hoard them? 

In MN it is even worse than that...the DNR is withholding our credentials so we cannot leave on our own...isn't that interference with interstate trade? Let my people go.

Dana Linscott

05/16 AB & All 

Are there any plans for the honor guard to be at the 
funerals of the two fallen heros?
I would think it fitting. 


05/16 Ab, 

Some new updated fire news and links to other sites with info on the fires:


Condolences to the families of Leo Kupomen and Sam Tobias. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. 

Everyone, please be safe out there. We need each of you with us!


05/16 Here's the link to the Southern Region's sit report. They're at a level III with very high KBDIs spread around from Alabama to Florida.


The southwest area is at a level IV today.  Take care of yourselves out there...

Also, here's a link to another story about the plane crash from Monday.


Anyone know why the Scott Able fire, which burned up 64 primary residences, is not receiving any media coverage while NBC/CBStoday all did 2-3 minute "packages" on Los Alamos residents returning home? Nothing either on TV about the crash. They also covered the Grand Canyon (Outlet) fire, and my only guess is that the fires they are covering were "set to control dry brush", in their words.


05/16 AB and anybody else:

        maybe this is outrageous, but we had a fire a couple districts away and
        tried to get some crews in...and they said EVERYBODY was commited???
        if this is true, man are we in for a long summer!
        by the way, this was the cedar something fire in SW VA.

can anyone confirm or deny this?


05/15 Here's one news article on the air attack plane, have no other info at this time, Ab.
05/15 Ya'll have probably seen it on the tube by now, but a recon plane went
down with two on board on a fire in NM (not the Los Alamos fire). I
don't know any details other than a FS employee and pvt. pilot were on
board, and no survivors. Unfortunately, this IS reliable info, not like
the rumor mill in previous posts that were cleared up by the NM SAR
person (by the way, NM SAR, don't apologize for adding your two cents
worth. You don't have to hack fireline to belong here. We fireline
hackers--and former fireline hackers-- need a lot of support on the
ground and in the air, too, don't we Ab??)  Everything else aside, say a
prayer for their families of the two in NM and the SEAT pilot in
Texas--they're the ones that need it most now.

Heads up. Everything has been focussed at the SW lately, but I have a
gut feeling that this is just a beginning of a long season everywhere.
Florida is getting right back to where they were two years ago (a al
Yogi Berra, it's like deja vu all over again). They dropped retardant
there today, and also in Virginia, which is normally out of fire season
by now (yes, Santa Claus, there really is a Virginia, and it burns some,
too). The difference is that in '98, Florida was basically the only game
in town, and got a lot of resources that wouldn't normally be available
if the west WOULD have been burning (like more aircraft than have EVER
been mobilized for fire suppression).  Well, the west is burning now,

Finally, regarding the 14-day thing, I think that "they" went a little
too far with it. I feel that there should be a 14-day MINIMUM commitment
(vs. 21) when you take an assignment --  i.e., you're here for 14, but
if you can go 21, great.  You will get more people to commit in the
first place.   Some people (e.g.misc. overhead folks that aren't
full-time fire and want to help, but have a different 'real' job,
uncooperative boss, family, etc., have a hard time committing for two
weeks, let alone three).  As far as full-time fire people -- shots,
jumpers, engine crews, helitack, contractors, etc., -- this is what they
hired on to do. This is their real job. Give'em 2 off and 21, and keep
going. This is what they want   When I was still in that category (
since I started this game 20 years ago, I'm now, supposedly, an old
fart), I didn't care how long I that was.

'nough said for tonite,


05/15 I'm sad to report the loss of a lead plane this afternoon on the
Scott-Able fire.  The pilot and observer lost their lives.  Don't have
names yet.  The real world can be unforgiving.  Be careful out there.
We need every one of you.


05/15 Anybody else feel spoiled by last year's amazing fire info sites provided by
ICTs? I know I am. I have been expecting
daily perimeter maps and spiffy GIS graphics as provided on the Big Bar and
Kirk complexes, but they have yet to show up. I guess it takes a little time
things must be busy and chaotic in R3. I wonder if the 14 day deal will
affect fire information outputs. 

Yet again we must honor fallen firefighters and offer solace to their
families, friends and coworkers. An air attack plane went down on Scott Able
fire on the Lincoln this morning. This isn't supposed to be happening. It
has beena terrible week.

NorCal Fire Believer

05/15 Ab -
I talked to a friend tonight on the Scott Able fire near Alamogordo, NM (very reliable source).  He told me that air attack crashed today near West Alamo Canyon Both the pilot and air attack sup. on board were killed. That was all the information he had. Has anyone else heard anything? We're worried about a friend who was working that fire as Air Attack Group Sup.
My prayers go out to both families.
05/15 Received news this afternnon of the death of a pilot of a CWN air attack
plane from the state of California.  He was flying Air Attack on a fire.
near Alamagordo for the Forest Service.  From all of us who knew him and
flew with him, so long old friend - vaya con Dios.  You were a great
pilot who loved the Sierras, and we'll miss you terribly.      RTH
05/15 Ab,

Sure wouldn't want to see all rx burns go private.  Assisting agency rx
burns on contract is a lot less stressful than "owning" a contract for a
unit.  However, there is a greater potential for profit "owning" a contract.
As far a insurance rates rising for private companies if all rx burning went
private,  I would hope that rates would be based on each company's
performance and not on the results of major government errors!  Increased
rates would be reflexed in the bid price.  (Maybe agency rx burns SHOULD BE
REQUIRED to be insured!)


05/15 Good evening Ab,
We spent the last weekend at the Wildfire academy held by TFS in Lufkin. Started off with plenty of instructors,but by dinner they were mobilizing crews for N.M.They were headed for Wheat instead of Los Alamos.They sent 6 eng.crews Sat. and called up several Sun. as well. I've been fighting fire for 11 years and am just getting with the program according to NWCG.We are fixing to try and get the area VFD's here in eastern Tx to get with the program.
05/15 AB read the lowden ranch report cover to cover.

The investigation team chastised the lineman, engine crews, and anybody else
thaty voiced concerns after the fact.

I wonder how many newbies,  or even a seasoned veteran  are going to voice
their concern about conditions  to the burn boss/ management?    I know
ideally  they would, but lets face it  he who rocks the boat doesnt come
back next season.

Also as for contractors doing prescribed burns.  Ive done a few up here in
washington, and up in British Columbia.   for a total of about 10000 acres
over the last five years.   To tell you the truth I dont like doing them.
It is too much responsibility  I have 10 mil worth of liability on the small
jobs i do, and fear thats too little.   thats why i keep them small.    Any
burn i do I break up into plats no bigger than 10 acres.  I may take longer
than my counterparts,  but thats the way i do it.  I feel more comfortable
that way.  Without the CFR's protecting me, and limiting liability i am not
doing it any differently.

I also just read a report concerning fuels reduction.   Prescribed burns
cost 6-30 per acre.   Thinning costs 200-400 per acre.   and fighting a
forest fire is a around a thousand an acre.     I opt for the prescribed
burn.   No matter what though some are going to get out of hand.  its
inevitable.   But in the long run its still better for the whole picture.


05/15 Since this is annonymous, I'll ask the question.  I'm from the east coast, 
and most of the RX burning is done by the state agencies as we have a very 
small federal presence in our forest. 

However, one of the last RX's that got away was at an NPS area nearby. 

Is there an issue with the NPS fire management policies or personnel. I 
realize that it is probably not fair to make that assumption, especially due 
to the fact that other agencies have "lost it" on RX's.



05/15 Outlet Fire Info:


Wait'in by the phone.

05/15 no way i want to put my guys on a nuclear reservation to fight fires.   The
government has proven time and time again that these areas are far more
polluted than they let on.

Look at Hanford, in eastern WA. (the most polluted site in the country)  I
know some firefighters in the area,   and they are AFRAID to fight fires
there.   It looks like any other reservation,   rolling hillls tranquil
waters.   Dont forget about the Cesium lacedplants,   or the toxic chemicals
in the million gallonstorage tanks.   Many of these tanks have been there
since the fiftys!.
in fact they have no idea what is inside of some of the tanks, as no records

The firefighters i know live near there, and are expected to respond to
incidents.   Can you blame them?   No one wants to die fighting a brush
fire.   especially of cancer,  leukemia, toxic poisoning etc.   Im willing
to bet Los alamos is no different.  ask the front line firefighters how they

Maybe im being overly cautious.  But id rather lose some  major acreage
rather than breath contaminated smoke.  On the other hand it needs to be
suppressed so there is no contaminated smoke to begin with?   vicious little
circle huh?

just my thoughts on that one.

have a good one - later


I caught the tail end of a segment on a local news channel showing a map of asbestos deposits around the state last week.  Only caught a flash of it, but I know I've been cutting line in some of them.  Just another "watch it" situation to worry about.  Ab.

05/15 Hi there--
I just finally finished catching up with the new posts after 2 days away... holy cow--good to see such great discussion.  I have to say I
loved the "restroom" humor, and it was good to see the big chief add his thoughts for the greater good.  Just got my spring grades and
pitifully enough, that science reporting class was my worst grade!  Egad!  And I've been saying I wanted a career talking about fire to
the media.  Here's my problem, however:  I hate journalism, and I can't write like that.  I have been working seasonally in parks and
forests for 10 seasons now, started as an interpreter, etc, til I got the fire bug.  Getting information to the public has been a big part of
what I do for some time.  Two years ago, I got a job through school working at a local news station, an ABC affiliate, and it just
about made me sick every time I had to go in there.  I was an assignment editor--my job was to decide what we should cover locally,
where to send reporters, etc.  I took the job because the media infuriated me, and I wanted to know more about why.

I started in May of 98, and not much later Florida started on fire.  Once again, we saw fire in the news and all over everything for
almost a month--homes burning up, people wondering about their cats (liked your comment about the dinner menu, Tiny),
evacuations, etc etc.  The problem with the media is that they have no concept of how science works, and all they care about is
action, head fire, a personal angle, and creating issues where there weren't any before.  Plus, they spend next to no time researching
their stories, except for looking at the pile of press releases they were handed, and they rely on the word of one person as the final
word from the "experts". 

Nothing changed after Florida, I don't think, on a National level... so how do we guess anything will change this time around?  I realize
it's an election year blah blah blah but I seriously doubt congress and all of politicaldom will at all be able to put their finger on the
problems of underfunding, massive fuel buildups, etc.  Is this what's going to come out in the report?  As I recall, I don't think the
Lowden fire report said anything about stretched resources on a larger level, the difficulty of training and retaining good,
knowledgeable folks, the lack of knowledgeable fire weather forecasters, etc, which leads me to wonder if this "national investigation"
will dig up anything similar.  Not seeing many changes as far as funding, etc either after the 94 season, but I wasn't working in fire then
either so I don't know.

I do have to say though that it does seem a bit like a tidal wave.  I've been asked about NM by everyone I've seen too, and hell, I'm
in the midwest and not even working in fire yet this year.  However, I am half-considering changing my thesis (it's on "completeness"
of reporting of fire incidents in the media) to study this year's season rather than Florida's 98 season.  Egad, then I'll never get done. 
Not working real hard on it anyway, since I'm headed out in two weeks for a season on an engine in CA.  Can't stand being inside this
long--sitting at the computer makes my back hurt.  What it needs is some pulaski work and I'll feel better.

Oh-just a little aside.  My job this spring has been working with the Department of Energy and the university trying to figure out if one
of the communities near a former nuclear weapons factory was involved in the cleanup decisions... ie: how it will be done, to what
extent, etc.  (another job I accepted out of sheer curiousity).  Anyway, I've been learning that the dept of energy's version of reality
and risk is apparently quite fluid, and it doesn't appear to be related in any way to the public's ideas of risk.  My point is that the folks
at the Los Alamos facility do say it's safe and all and in no way threatened by wildfire, but I just wonder what we would think if we
had all the facts.  A planned spring RX burn for hazard fuel reduction at the Rocky Flats facility near Golden, CO was protested and I
think people even actually held a protest.  The fear was because there are some areas of the site that have "wind-suspended"
plutonium or uranium particles on the site and people were concerned that firefighters and themselves would be exposed to these if the
burn was carried out.  Of course, there were soil tests etc but the DOE said there was no contaminated soil in the area.  Still, makes
you wonder.  Not sure how excited I'd be about being around a burn or a fire in a nuclear area... especially something like los alamos
(first nuclear weapon exploded there?), although I know lots of folks are involved with DOE doing burns or fire suppression on their
sites.  Just wondering I guess what the risks are or might be to firefighters, and if this is an issue or not. 

Thanks for your collection of quotes, Tiny (and Dave, and everyone)... it's great to see someone else thinking about a life working
with media and fire together.  And thanks to NM SAR aka "snoopy" also for such great information.  I hope you don't feel like you're
intruding!  It's good to see some actual real-looking information.  How stupid would you have to be to say a plane crashed over
yonder hills and started a fire which burned up your camp?  Any word on how much beer the campers had been drinking?  I mean
seriously... wouldn't you think that someone would eventually notice that no plane had crashed ("no aircraft parts lying about")? 
What's really sad is that Jay Leno's missing the really good material on this fire with these two guys... did anyone catch his opening
Thursday night?... he said they lit the olympic torch in athens, and they're on their way to run it out to new mexico to loan it to the park
service.  Pretty sad when fire makes the late-night comedy scene.

Still laughing about the four guys and their sanitary habits (do you have more where that came from??)--

05/15   I have spent the last couple of days, trying to draft an intelligent post, (about Los Alamos), while constantly coming up with new ideas
daily  from all the media info...and every time I get on to post it, I find someone eles has already said it.  Which, is cool, no need to be
redundant.  I have to say though, I haven't laughed this hard in ages, but when Dave said, "intelligent life has yet to be discovered here on
earth", I laughed so hard, it brought tears to my eyes, not to mention I nearly fried my keyboard, when I spit out a mouthful of coffee. It has
been good to see the humor in all of this, the last couple of days, and still important things have definately been said here, ...I've enjoyed
the comedy of it all, as we wait....for "Thursday's" big finger pointing report...... dead man walking, at the top of the list, will be the burn
   I just read BLM's report on the Lowden Ranch RX fire, in Lewiston, Ca. last year that got out of hand and burned up 23 homes. It's 
important to note that...no one on that fire was left unscathed. Even those on the fire (crew sup's and engine capt's), who voiced their
concern's that day, about it not being a good idea, considering,at the very least that it was hot,dry, windy and an extreme fire danger day,
they were chastised by the investigation team for.... Not, doing something about i!!  Catch 22, there.
  Today, while we all wait to burn, I am glad it is raining and nothing will light anyway.  Think of it as  Mother natures way of telling Babbitt
what to do with his moratorium. 
  Congressional rep. Joe Skeen (of New Mexico)said..."the federal government's controlled burning policy is out of control." and is now
saying, that logging should be reinstated to thin excessively thick, fire prone stands of timber and that logging is a safer way to forest
health.  I vote for a moratorium on 
brain dead politicians who say, what their latest local polls tell them to say.


05/15 American's homes burned due to escaped rx fire.  Why the go of the go/no go was allowed, only the investigation will tell.  Bad weather forecasting? 
Maybe.  High confidence level in employee's ability?  Possibly.  Funding and accomplishment targets?  Probably.  As an American, I am pissed off.  I
want heads to roll big time.  As a fire manager with 27 fire seasons, I understand how this sort of thing can happen.  I attended a local parade
yesterday, and I was asked how I felt about the issue.  That's my answer. 


05/14 Yet Another Tim,

You have it right except for the "we gave you the money."  On contracted
units, the only money comes AFTER the unit is burned and 100% out!  All the
prliminary work to prepare the units, at this point, is NEGATIVE income.  No
burn, no money!  (Local agency fuels people are not exactly happy about the
ban, but at least they have a guaranteed income.)

On the brighter side, "there is profit in chaos."  Thank you NPS.


Perhaps the gov't will begin allowing ONLY private contractors to complete rx burns across the nation.  Think your insurance rates would rise?  Ab.

05/14 Damm, how things are a-changing.  I just got back from a training session and 
it was not too many years ago (or it seems) the hot topics were:  which 
district had the best looking staff, who was on thier lips last night and 
made the biggest ass of themselves, how much OT was made or who is getting 

Then I seem to remember the topics change to:  which district has the best 
looking staff, how people did not used to get so hung over, who had a new 
baby and how the OT was going to help with the down payment on a house.

Last week I heard about: grand kids, medical procedurs that uses long rubber 
hoses and who could retire when.

We will all be there soon, so never forget we all have an obligation to pass 
the knowledge we have gained over the past years to the people just starting 

Think Safe, Be Safe, it looks like it is going to a long hot one. 


05/14 Good evening all,

The latest word from the usual unreliable sources (a state forest fire
fighter who is a close friend), who was the first person on scene at the
origin of the start of the Mulanuelitas Fire.  He advised me that there
was a group of loggers who claimed that it wasn't their camp fire which
they started/built to make coffee that started the fire.  It was they
claimed an aircraft that flew over the ridge that started it and it
burned back to their camp.  They lost all of their camping gear, most of
their chain saws, a truck load of logs and the truck and a large
tractor.  I am assuming they got a citation for the start and hopefully
one for lying about the airplane.

Any questions, just ask.


NM SAR Mgr. - AKA, Snoopy

05/14 Ab,  et al.

    Pretty bad business down south.   I feel for the NPS officials whose
names appear any where on that Burn Plan.   I can hear the footsteps of the
process servers now.

    I love that   "reduce fuel loads without logging/ prescribed burns"

     I spoke to one of the PR folks in R3  and they told me that the media
is having a hayday with this.   Since there is nothing else of this
magnitude going on in the US (school shootings, Bombings,  Presidential
BJ's)  this makes great news.   Ive got an article hear that quotes an
unnamed source saying there is nearly a billion dollars in PROPERTY
damage!!!!   fools   big scary numbers.

Just me ranting about the idiots that are employed by the media.  They even
showed a anchorman on the fire line in yellow shirt with loafers, and suit
pants on.   The yellow shirt looked like something they bought at goodwill!
obviously not retardent.   He was berating the line crew for not "being on
the line"   (the winds were excessive, RH bottomed out - and they were
obviously exhausted)   thats when one of them told him to shove it up his
ass  (sorry school teacher).  They censored itout,   but it was obvious what
he said!!

later all, and have a good one.


WP  heard you guys had a four acre start on the peninsula last week?  any

05/14 Here's a link to LCES training in MS PowerPoint format:
Additional training materials (.pdf) files for the class are availble here:
Will add this link on the PC Programs page also.  Ab.
05/14 Extraordinary statements are made by journalists, politicians,
university professors, etc. on a regular basis.  An actual press release
from the Wilderness Society stated "There is no correlation between the
amount of fuels in a forest and fire intensity."  (Obviously made by an
experienced firefighter.)

>From the Forest Guardians "Controlled burning destroys wildlife habitat
for endangered species like the grizzly."  (Been to Yellowstone lately?
The '88 fires created bear utopia.)

Here's one I saw on an environmental chat room "The Forestry Service
(sic) needs to reduce fuels without logging or control burning" (I guess
we just could beam it up into outer space).

 To illustrate the scientific ignorance of the populace go to this
tongue-in-cheek web page:


Now don't spill the beans.  Most of us know dhmo ( dihydrogen monoxide)
by another more common name.

On another somewhat related note I was watching a rerun of Larry King's
interview of Dr. Stephen Hawking.  When asked if he believed there was
intelligent life on other planets, Dr. Hawking answered, "It has yet to
be discovered on earth."


05/14 NM SAR Mngr - Thanks.  Got so much conflicting info from the media, couldn't decipher.

Stu - You know, of course, that the very same senators/assemblypersons/otherelecteddudes that have shut down your burns during
your best window will pressure you next year to show results.  ("We gave you the money, what the hell have you been doing all this
time?")  And should you buckle to that pressure and ignite when it's not right, they will publicly drink your blood while pulpits are
pounded for media-enslaved voters.  I don't mean to exonerate the responsible parties in NM, just standing upon my soapbox (like
the view from up here).

Warden - The public has also been asking me to explain the Cerro Grande.  I use the philosophy of "If it can burn, then eventually it
will" to begin RX fire education.

DD of 5/12- In defense of RX burning in northern NM, a history lesson.  In 1976 the Los Alamos National Lab (LANL) was
somewhat burned from the La Mesa Fire.  The old fire dogs told me it didn't burn down the town due to lucky wx at the eleventh
hour.  In 1996 the Dome Fire might have taken out the town and LANL if we had gotten the typical west winds.  It was definitely dry
enough.  Logging or thinning is not possible on NPS land (illegal) or LANL land (they shoot you for walking there).  Much of the fire
dependent ponderosa pine stands had large pockets of "unnatural" dog-hair thickets of unmarketable 5" DBH.  The only treatment left
is RX fire west of the lab.  Of course this is no longer an option.  Mark your calendars and water up for the Los Alamos reunion in

Delurked Northern Cal Fire - Excellent points, all.  I believe Mr. Weaver has finished his 30 yrs.

Rochelle - I renege on my aforementioned responsibilities, I'm too small a fish to swim these currents.  Unfortunately, this
latest BLATANT error in judgment will haunt the careers of us all.

Ab- the two anonymous posts on 5/13 and your responses made me openly guffaw.  Should I post it at work?
Yet Another Tim

Tim, my duties here don't include trying to influence anyone with my personal opinions.  With that in mind, I can only assume were you to post anything you see here that caused you to smile, perhaps it would cause others to smile also.  Which certainly couldn't be a bad thing.  With tounge firmly in cheek, Ab.

05/14 All:

These are a string of recent snippets I've heard on the street and on radio, have read in newspapers or have seen on broadcasting related to

"Hey Tiny, you going to be gone to New Mexico soon?"

This guy should be a comedian... I swear I almost decked him... not to mention he's in the sheriff's explorer post... long standing rivalry

"...and the United States Forest Service Employee who ordered the fire ignition..."

Bad reporting... it's the Park Service...

"...The fire has torched one home, but left the others standing..."

Bad writing.. a lot of homes have been reduced to ash...

"...Fire fighters are unable to contain the blaze due to illiterate terrain..."

More like illiterate proofreading...

"...One evacuee said "I hope my cat is all right!."..."

So that's what the Overhead Team was eating for dinner...

"...The fire came within 300 yards of a test lab at the Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory, however all of the materials were kept safe inside a
bunker "designed to withstand a 747 crash, therefore, our nation's nuclear power is secure."..."

Oh yeah.. the nuke stuff is secure, but the forest isn't.. glad we have such bright (not to mention sometimes pompous) minds in charge of
radioactive material...

"...And in other news, Vladimir Putin is now officially President of Russia; the entire population of Los Alamos has been evacuated; the
Trailblazers lead the series 2-0; Deliberations in the Microsoft..."

Just shows how important fire is to this disk-jockey... thankfully I have a broad taste in music...

"...Officials in the national fire service said..."

Bwah? Huh? National Fire Service?... Did I miss something?

"...In New Mexico and throughout the West, prescribed burning has been a misjudgment of the Forest Service..."

Ohhh boy... let's not go there...

"Hey hey, Tiny, sounds like they could use you in New Mexico..."

Ohhh yeah..I know they could.. but back off buster, the people assigned are professional and know what the hell they're doing. They'll get
my help when I'm able to be of help.

With these quotations, and many more I assure you, I find it amazing half of the population is still breathing. If I EVER write or say
something like these quotes and the other's I've heard, somebody club me with a MacLeod or something. 

I do, however, maintain the goal of accurately and truthfully reporting.

Stay safe.

Tiny, the R-6 Fire Pup/Journalist

05/13 RE:  BLM & USFS Halts All RX Bruning:
Greetings fellow fire people.  As part of an effort to prevent this recent decision from being misconstrued or misrepresented, the lobby doorman insisted I share with all of you the considerable thought, experience, and wisdom present in composing this recent anti-burning directive.  Yessireee, and Mam's, I have the utmost faith in my little aides.  First though, I want to tell you I am not personally responsible, in fact, I am unable to find anyone in Washington willing to accept any part of the blame for this or other recent fire related tragedies.  Be calm and rest assured however, we will assign blame, ouch!, and ensure anyone unable to defend themselves are punished.  Ouch!, oh no!, ouch, both knee's have began erratic, uncontrollable jerking, ouch!.  Where's my helmet, I'm loosing control. . . I musn't bump my head again.  "Get me the Joint Chiefs of Staff!", ouch, dammit!  I want a committee formed NOW!  Send in the ATF, HELP!  I'm can't tink clearley, can't wryte&*%0, must end disconvurssashumnnn............

Thank you sir for your time!  Ooopsie, watch the corner of that big old desk.  We knew we could count on your support.  Uh, sir, um. . . excuse me sir, if it's not already too late, would this be a good time to remind you of our yearly requests for more firefighters, more equipment, better training, newer technology, more EXPERIENCED FIRE WEATHER FORCASTERS?  After all sir, it is an election year, I think the voters deserve, sir. . . sir (no response)?.  Still can't hear me can you sir?  Well, I'll leave through the side door now sir, it sounds like a bunch of angry folks pounding on the front one.  Bye-bye for now sir.  Abercrombie

05/13 S-190 in MS PowerPoint format has been archived on this site for your convenience.  It's link can be reached from the "Programs" page.  It has been separated into two parts for easier downloading.  Part one is around 3.8mb and part two is around 2.5mb.  Some of the backgrounds have been stripped to help make the files smaller.  One way to enhance them after downloading would be to use the same background pic for other slides.  My thanks to Jim for taking the time to upload these so they may be widely shared.  Ab.
05/13 Ab, 

This thing In NM will likely ruin a good thing for awhile.  Figures... just when my state is on the verge of joining the Rx burning, along comes this. 
Have had a great time when able to join my fed conterparts with their projects.  Pile burning just isnt the same after natural fuel reduction.  I'm finding
the public asking me about NM everywhere I go.  Ripple effect may be more like a tidal wave. 


05/13 Hey Ab - is this story true??

Four guys were using the men's room.  The first one
finished and went to the sink.  He soaped and scrubbed
all the way to his elbows, and used a thick wad of
paper towels to dry off.  He turned to the others and
said, "I am a biologist, we learn to be careful about
introducing organisms where they are not wanted."  As
the second one finished, he washed up using just 1/2
of a towel.  He said, "I am a forester, we learn  not
to waste paper products."  The third one just wet the
tip of his fingers.  He said, "I am a hydrologist.  We
learn to conserve water."  The last one zipped up,
stepped away from the urinal and walked right past the
sinks.  As he walked out the door he said, "I am a
Hotshot.  We learn not to piss on our hands."

Yes.  Ab.

05/13 WP, PacWildfire Eric,

WP, well yer guess is close enough as to where I live, let's leave it at that for the sake of the forum. Thanks for the names etc, I'll start in
that direction soon as I can. Lot of work round here for me, final prep week begins Monday and trying to juggle this too.. ah well.. we'll see
how things work out. 

PacWildfire Eric, thanks for the offer, I will be in touch regarding that, it is an interesting proposition and I wouldn't mind a bit, from what it
sounds like it'll be kind of like what I've done for two summers, just the setting is different and the jobs are changed, but I once upon a time
was tasked with making sure camps and campers had everything they needed, fixed stuff, so on and so forth. But again, as both of you
gentlemen have foreseen, the parents must approve, as well as the pencil-pushin' legal beagles.

Thank you again gentlemen, for your interest and support.

Tiny, the R-6 Fire Pup

PS To save Ab the trouble of posting our conversations, you can email me in the future with my campstaff email address,

05/13 Good morning all,

I am a Search and Rescue Manager for the State of New Mexico.  In the
State of New Mexico, the New Mexico State Police have the overall
authority for all SAR missions on land, air and water statewide.  I was
the AC on call when the Manuelitas Fire got its start . I had been on
scene advising the Mayor of Espanola on evacuation procedures of his
city at the time of the start  and another AC took the the initial call
of the possible crash of a airplane as the cause.  The initial reports
were that it was a Forest Service Aircraft and a quick check with the FS
Operations People quickly put that rumor to rest.  They could account
for all of their aircraft at the time.  Another quick check with the
F.A.A., the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and other sources
quickly (three hours) convinced us that no aircraft was involved in the
Fire Start.  No military or civilian aircraft are reported missing or
overdue.   We quickly dispatched an IC with SAR Hasty Team to the scene
to talk to 'eyeball witnesses' and the Sheriff of San Juan County where
the fire started (he is still convinced that it was started by an
aircraft impacting the earth) and interviewing the two CAP Pilots who
were dispatched to the area to look at the fire origin area, two
separate National Guard Black hawk Pilots and crews, the Channel 13 News
helicopter crew (Local CBS affiliate) and a Forest Service Pilot who was
on scene to evaluate the fire for the upcoming fire suppression
effort.   They all, according to the report filed by the IC, looked at
the area thought to be the start of the fire and no one could say that
there was an aircraft involved.  No aircraft parts lying about.  As I
under stand it from the usual unreliable sources (SP District 2
Headquarters in Las Vegas, NM) that the FS people sent a crew out
(information flows one way with the FS, I am sorry to say) and
determined that the start was at a sawmill and the people there were
involved in the start.  Nothing official yet but unless the FS is
covering it up, there was no loss of life of a FS Pilot or crew or
aircraft at the start of this particular fire.

Most of the networks along with the Weather Channel are still reporting
that the start of this fire was caused by an aircraft crash in spite of
the fact that the State SAR RO has given the local affiliates a press
release telling them what went on. Quick to report the bad, slow to
report the good (my opinion only)!

As a sidebar, I spent most of yesterday morning and afternoon chasing an
ELT (Emergency Locator Beacon, goes off when an aircraft crashes or
lands hard) in what appeared to be a FS Lead plane or Spotter flying
(or it could have been a charter to fly folks around the state to get a
birds eye view of what is going on, they charge people to climb Everest
now , you know) around the state.  The fine folks at the Air Force
Rescue Coordination Center in Langly  called and informed me that they
had and ELT Going off (picked up by one of the satellites) and gave the
coordinates as the Albuquerque International Airport and then the next
hit was out towards Clines Corners (OTTO VOR) then a shadow hit close to
Mora (new fire) then on up towards Taos (we had a new report of heavy
smoke in the general area, turned out to be nothing) and down towards
Los Alamos.  We had a major media event in the state (all the wheels
from DC out to get some TV mug time, buy some votes and fry someone) and
it could have been a FS flight to show the wheels what they were up
against.  Anyway after a good number of hits it went away and we will
never know who it was but we are grateful it wasn't a bona fide crash.

I hope this puts to rest some of your fears about the FS Pilot and the
loss of life.  We are all hurting for all of the people who have lost
their homes in the various fires, particularly the SAR Responders of the
state.  We have been very lucky in that no one has lost their lives or
been badly injured and it has for the most part been a very safe
involvement for all responders, paid and volunteer.  I can't say enough
good about the firefighters, they do it all.

Yesterday during the ELT chase the SAR Community of NM managed to
coordinate the rescue of a 15 year old foreign national from the heights
of Hermits Peak (10,000 feet), not to far from this same fire scene.
The group (15) was from United World College and had hiked up to the top
the evening before to get a look at the fire.  The area is a safe
distance from the fire line, 15 or so air miles and is still open to the
public.  Fellow developed Pulmonary Edema and went into respiratory
distress and the quickest way to get him out and down was the Lifeguard
unit in Albuquerque.  The SAR Ranks are stretched rather thin at this
time, we have SAR responders at all four fire scenes throughout the
state providing evacuation assistance, communications, and whatever else
is needed.

Anyway I hope this intrusion into the ranks of the firefighters doesn't
offend anyone and if I did I apologize profusely.  I found this site one
day while I was looking for something else and have been an avid
reader.  I have learned quite a lot about wild land fires etc. and have
up until this time never felt that I had anything to contribute.
Anyway, sorry if I intruded.

Best Regards to ALL,


05/13 we have been busy here in south jersey. most are small nuisance fires but its 
fire none the less. a couple of weeks ago we had over a 100 acres caused by a 
train in a wildland/interface area. a large amount of structural protection 
was dispatched. as usual things were poorly organized and the command 
structure lacked direction. on of the local brush trucks got turned around 
while fighting the fire in the woods and almost got over run.the brush truck 
was led out of the woods by a new jersey forest fire helicopter. a close 
call! when will these people realize that we have the same problems that you 
folks have in the west!!!!!!! the "it wont happen to me" attitude is alive 
here and it pisses me off. i guess people have to die and structures have to 
burn before people get the idea. the other day we had a small fire in a 
swampy area. i had to cut a path through fragmites to get to some snags. the 
water came up to my crotch and the saw felt like a 100lbs by the time the job 
was done. i have a lot of respect for the sawyers out there!! later that day 
we went out for brush and set up structural protection and it went smoother 
since i used my own department. training is everything. we knew what we 
wanted as far as resources and had good communications with the state 
forestry. the fire never came close but it was nerve racking. we have jump 
suits, the proper footwear and headgear. when will these other departments 
get the clue? anyone else running into these problems? what can be done to 
encourage these other departments to remove the blinders and get with the 
program? well enough of this. looking forward to going out west and fighting 
fire with my western brothers this season.
BC Davis
05/13 Babbit and Glickman finally pulled our matches today. No prescribed fire for a month at least. This effectively shuts my program down for the year.  We who carry the torch and know  the importance of fire as an abiotic process in virtually all ecosystems need to view this as an opportunity to further our cause, a la Sun Tzu. I read that Mr. Weaver, the Bandelier Superintendent welcomed a national level investigation rather than lowerlevel internal agency reviews. While I think Mr. Weaver's ass is political grass no matter what he did or knew, I think that a national dialogue may serve our cause. I hope he has his 30 years in.

The land management agencies in Agriculture and Interior have made much noise over the last few years over the scientific and resource management reasons for managed fire. I hope it will be difficult to retreat from this stance despite the unfortunate week the Park Service has had. My hope is that the dirty secrets of underfunding and understaffing, counterproductive accounting processes and a ridiculous dollars for acres funding mechanism will come to the surface as being part of the problem rather than the solution. We should either burn on a scale to make a difference or put all our money into shiny engines and never-ending hazard pay for all.

Of course allied against this will be the usual pyrophobes, well meaning and not so well meaning folks who ignore how the natural world really functions while professing to protect certain species of flora and fauna, politicians looking to embarrass this administration at any opportunity, and the unfortunate New Mexicans who have suffered immeasurably as well as anyone else who lives or has property near future planned prescribed fires. Thislast group of folks deserve some serious answers but we should be prepared to defend our vision.

We need to protest the sometimes crappy media coverage we have seen this week. Last night CNN did a lengthy bit on prescribed fire, interviewing a LA County fire guy who spoke responsibly on prescribed fire, unfortunately the video portion of the bit was all South Zone type wildfire footage, guys in sneakers and garden hoses against seas of chaparral and burning houses, utter chaos. The typical viewer now has the Malibu fire as their image of a prescribed fire.

As a Forest Service guy I have always envied the Park Service for being the first to get on with it and do the right thing with fire in the wild. I suspect the parkies may envy the FS for having jillions of people and toys. I hope the finger pointing I have already seen this week ends and we seize victory from near defeat on this.

Northern Cal Fire

05/13 Ab,

Yesterday's question was answered today during a meeting with the FS
concerning 5 or 6 more units under contract and a FS underburn.  Right in
the middle of the meeting, "news flash," thirty day moritorium on all RX
burns on federal lands.  (Washington's knee jerk reaction.)  Exceptions to
be made by "upper" management.  (Region, Washington?)  Conditions near
perfect, trees in the cooler, NO LET'S WAIT!  Thirty days will put us into
fire season and less than ideal conditions.  There is always next Spring!
After all, what's another year of curing (they stopped curing a decade ago)
to units that are nearly old enough to SMOKE?


05/12 Pup, OK enough with this dicking around, now that I have figured out that you are going to Skagit running start and live in Whatcom Co. Do a little by-pass of your counselor, go talk to (don't call) Jerry Anderson the head of the fire program SVC. Tell him what you want to do and he will tell you the straight sh--- er -- stuff. He is the person who makes the final decision on who does or does not get into a class. Do it soon I understand he is pulling the pin at the end of the term. If the rules say no, he might find a way to help, as you should be 17 by the next time a class is presented. 

If you want an immediate answer on the WCC program, call the local State DNR office and ask to talk to the Crew Superintendent or go down to the Employment Security Office and get details of the program. I suggest a call to the crew sup first. The phone number is in the blue pages. Also the fire person at the DNR office might have some leads for you, ask for the fire training person. Employment on a State crew is not possible until you are eighteen, Just found out 18 is minimum for WCC, but still call and make the contact. 

Good luck, if all else fails, looks like PW Eric might have a place for you if he can create a position that meets with L&I and OSHA regulations. 

Good Luck 


05/12 Dispatch Dude mentioned the false sense of accomplishment with rx burns. I personally think that this problem of escape and perhaps some contained rx burns shows the folly of extreme environmentalists. Two things come to mind: the first is that they try to exterminate the logging industry and second, when these fires "get away" they damage the old growth and other natural resources creating a bigger problem; not to mention property damage and personal safety.... DD
05/12 Tiny. I feel for you It must be difficult to get turned away. Im glad to see your not too discouraged. If your parents would let you I could take you to a fire as a base camp support person. Not too glamorous or exciting but itll get you close to the action. You can see the people, the gear, experience camp life. 

I have no idea if its logistically possible ( you may not live near one of my engines) but its an avenue we could explore. Call me and well discuss it. ill have to check with the feds to see if its ok too. Ive seen young-uns out there helping in camp. Cleaning up dozers, filling and rehabing engines, rolling hose, doing laundry, getting supplies, getting sack lunches, keeping camp orderly, and so forth. So it must be acceptable. 

Mellie, enjoyed our chat this morning. Remember to take what people say with a grain of salt. Ill send AB the Interagency contractor list maybe he could post it somewhere so anyone could verify that sort of thing. 

Later all and have a good one 

NEW NUMBER 253 221 6903 started carrying that damn cell phone again. Its that time of year :(

05/12 Hi all--

I've been away from the computer for a day or two and got totally behind on the fire scene... next thing I know people are asking me what's going on with that fire in New Mexico burning up all those houses? So, I watched the news last night finally, and this morning, and was, as usual, absolutely disgusted with the media coverage. CBS had a reporter saying that the Bandelier superintendant "must not have checked the weather report before he lit that burn" because apparently the meteorologists as CBS said it was supposed to be windy as all hell this week. They also did all the usual stuff... called NPS the forest service and the fire service, and had the usual residents on saying how firefighters "didn't even try to save any of the houses on this street." No mention of why... no explanation of triage in the UI, and they didn't tie it at all to the lack of water/pressure, although I'm not sure if there was a link in that case. To their credit, they did a good piece with a CDF guy explaining generally the process for lighting an RX burn, and that was good, but then they totally bashed the park service again. Not that it wasn't uncalled for... obviously all the facts aren't out yet to make that call. However, I'm not so sure that a park superintendant actually lit any fire, even though he/she is held responsible for it. Who knows. It will be interesting to see what comes out... does anyone know how soon a report will be done/undertaken? 

I also heard on the news that a tanker (was it a helicopter?) went down, and that it started the 2nd fire on the "other side" of Los Alamos. However, there was no mention of the pilot's condition, just that the fire it started burned up the other side of town. Just like the news... never mind that someone was hurt or killed, but Ohmygosh! houses are burning! Woe.... there's my bitterness coming out. Guess we've all got our issues. 

Hickman--I see you got your level III you were looking for today. And in regards to yer last paragraph... it makes me homesick to hear someone write with a drawl, after living in the southeast all year last year. 

TS--a guy I knew was working on putting together a photo collection of lime green flagging in various fuels, especially in the spring in the southeast, to make the same point to NIFC/NWCG. Last I heard/saw in some safety brief, they were considering changing it as the safety zone color, but that was like last summer, and I don't know when/if it will change. 

Also, for anyone who is interested, I was actually able to download the S-190 off the FL link the other day. It took forever, on a 56K modem, and it was hard from the screen that it was actually downloading anything. However, my connection shows how many bytes are coming in, so when I checked that I could see it was up to something. 

Yet another Tim--I loved your diatribe on RX burns--it's big of you to take responsibility for this tragedy! The last burn I did involved a post-doc, 3 PhDs, another master's student, and one of their kids wearing shorts. Guess how many of us were wearing Nomex, and had even bothered to check the forecast, ask about fuel moistures, etc etc? I was the only currently red-carded person there, in full PPE, there was no RX, and no one else could get the darn thing to even light because they don't know squat about fire behaviour and ignition techniques. Egad. And, it was a university burn on university property, next to a farm! That will be the last burn I do with them. My major prof calls them pyrobotanists, which is hilarious, because like many folks in these parts, they don't base any of their burns on much fire effects research etc. Just think fire is good, which I agree on, but planning, safety, and reason should come into play at some point. You should have seen me when they handed the kid in shorts the driptorch. In case you're wondering, the reason I went (I knew they conducted burns poorly) was to document what process they were using, and to make reccommendations for improving the RX burn process. We'll see if anyone changes. One day they will lose one, or one kid in shorts, anyway. 

Thanks for the note Mellie--sorry I haven't got back to you! And sorry my posts are so long!

My condolences to Boo, and to Carl Paine's family and friends.

Don't apoligise for the length. Ab.

05/12 FPLR, 

Your question was raised by the WO sometime back. They determined that I was not!!! [neener, neener, were they wrong?] Truth is that I've had some really super annonymous teachers who have led me through the NFMAS process equation by equation. I figure that by next year budget time I'll have all the Los Alamos residents and other irate interface homeowners organized into the formidable Citizens' Group for Fire Funding at 100%MEL. With a few pulaskies we may break down the doors of Congress! 

So, were you in Sacramento at the meetings this week? Was I lurking in the back there? Could be... See any blue notebooks?

Sign me, 
The Melliegal formerly known as MEL. 

05/12 Hey, Ab, any truth to the rumor that the handle "Mellie" uses is because
she is an expert at NFMAS and Mel (most efficient level)? Is she a current
or ex- nfnerd in disguise? Hmmmm, coincidental? 

sign me, FPLR

I know, but I ain't sayin'! Ab.

05/12 Ab, just got off the cook ranch fire yesterday. my enb said this 
morning they lost it yesterday,5/11. backed off to hiway 385 and
started firing off the road, no anchors, just trying to buy time. 
it's sage, pj, and grass, with significant elevation changes. 
plan today was fire the road,cut line, and fire some more. 

later, Biz 

05/12 Mellie,

Boo pretty much summed it up. When we were still there, the fire had only come close to two ranch homes and burned down a cabin. Burnt pasture pales in comparison to what is going on in Los Alamos in terms of loss, so you are not going to see much about on the national news. They said last night that the fire was bumping Highway 385 but don't quote me on that.


05/12 Yet another Tim:

Your right the feds are into the acres game with Rx fire. And yes the easy acres are the first tackled. Reporting large acre targets accomplished to congress makes the politicians feel good about spending all that money. It'll be tough one day when the easy is over and costs go from $6/ac to $260/ac. Until that time, you get done what you can. It's fairly obvious black acres are the focus. Out here we are doing large scale projects 1,000 to 10,000. Are we concerned about the implications of everything in the news last year and now this round? You can count on it.

By the way since it's still snowing occasionally here we've sent Type 4 engines to NM & AZ today. Hope they enjoy.

Dispatch Dude

05/12 I suspect that the 14 day provisions may also be a legal move to avoid paying overtime to casuals. I went to federal court last winter claiming the USFS owed overtime according to the "7k exemption" of the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act and came very close to winning. Set up the groundwork for a major class action suit by casuals..our estimate with penalties was 200 to 300 million dollars plus legal costs. By switching to 14 day work assignments the liability will be cut in half this year and gone in 2 years. There is a 2 year limitation on FFLSA claims. And the posting on injuries going up dramatically after 14 days is correct...that is why the "7k exemption" was implemented in the first place...and then totally ignored by the USFS.

Dana Linscott

05/12 Ab, Hickman, PacWildfire Eric and WP and others: 

Grammar? I know not of what you speak. 

{gets thumped by the web-goddess} Okay so I do... 

Ahem erm ahem... My wonderful high-school counselor incharge of running-start activities has given my hope the fell swoop of death. According to her, the wildland course offered through running start is not an acceptable course for a high-school student to take through this program. Undaunted, I'm making an appointment to see the college running start coordinator as soon as it's convenient for her to meet with me, as I think I'm getting a wall of flak from the one at the highschool. Yes I'm stubborn, especially when I think something doesn't add up. 

Wrote to the WCC yesterday, am waiting a response on that front. I might just end up working as a volunteer at a local park again. I might convince the guys 'round here to let me tag along on an engine when they get summoned... IF they get summoned. Last time I heard of fire where I am was in the visitor center historical talk by a voluptuous...ermm..okay so I wasn't paying much attention to the talk, but it was back when the ranchers and farmers used fire to clean out parcels of land of trees and underbrush. Hell, I'll trade my classroom desk for building picnic tables if it'll mean I'll be outdoors. Maybe when I go back to Camp this summer I can visit with the lonely smoke spotter up on the mountain. Who knows.. the future remains as obscured as the sun is through a thunderhead. 

Chompin' at the bit to get outta school, 

Tiny, the R-6 Fire Pup

05/11 Ab,

I just got back in from a fire assignment in Florida. We worked two fires near Bristol Fl. and it is still dry there. The worst maybe yet to come.

I checked in with our folks out on the Cook fire in West Texas. It's going to go over 50,000 today. Mellie, Texas is a bigger state than you might think. So far the fire has only effected six landowners.

I'm not sure about the helicopter going down on the Los Alamos fire. However, I'm very sad to report that last Sunday we had a contractor die in a plane crash. Carl Paine was attacking the Cook fire with his 802 Air tractor, when he hit a radio tower guy wire. The funeral will be this Saturday. Carl had been flying fires in Texas for a number of years. Last year he was carded by OAS and was doing an excellent job for us. He was a good friend and a heck of a firefighter. I'll miss him.

More Later,

05/11 To Ab and the rest of U'ns: 

As the old saying goes:..."If you can't run with the Big Dogs, Stay on the Porch." I've been sitting reading all the post and all the information about this years fires since January and going nuts. (And yes Mellie, we've had a few fires in Missouri, but I want...FIRE...) One where you have to sleep under the stars, wake up to a mountain chill (not crazy about warm desert breezes), cram down a morning breakfast (if nothing more than a cup of coffee and a biscuit, you can keep the begals), work my rearend off all day, and crash in a Coyote for a few hours and getup and start all over. Now that I can handle for a couple of days, but then even I need my beauty sleep (even if the beauty part doesn't work). 

As I look at my work schedule with part of my vacation time coming in June and the rest in August, now how can I get to one of them fires? Hoping, by the way things look, August should really be 'A Hot Time' in more ways than one. Reading the post on the 14 day or the 21 day assignments, makes me wonder if I could stretch 24 days of vacation into two 14 day assignments, one in June and one in August. Or one 21 day in August, which would be no problem. We're still waiting on my state to decide if they will put a crew together and when and for how long...Guess things really haven't gotten bad enough yet. But it's only to a Preparedness Level II, usually still two levels to go before someone in our state finally starts to move. Still can't understand it, we should be ready at Level III, but that the way it's worked in Missouri. Hopefully, that may change this year (Hey Ronk, take this as a HINT to any of the 'Brass' in Jefferson City, if you're reading this). And with that statement, there when my chance at this years crew.. 

Anyhow, I'm still on the porch, tail wag'n, drool run'n, and wait'n for the right car to come down the road. When it gets here, I don't care how big them other dogs are, I plan on get'n in my hits. I might even have to have some help dig'n a hole big enough to bury the thing in, cause I ain't going to let it get away, at lease not if I can help it. And, if it should so happen to be two cars so be it, I'll still be there gett'n in my hits. (Pup: note the last paragraph is by no means grammatically correct, that just the way I talk, minus my other second language.) 

All of you be SAFE..

05/11 Newest internet new updates on the Southwest Fires: 

Southwest Area Fire Info

Southwest Area Sit Report 

Other area sit reports 

National Park Service Morning Reports 

Southwest Area Fire Intel 

Albuquerque Journal update on the fires. They request your patience for loading due to high volume. It's worth the wait! 

Updated photos of the evacuation of 11,000 people of Los Alamos 

7 burnout photos Bandelier National Monument taken Tues afternoon 

Ten stories about the Los Alamos Fire from the Santa Fe New Mexican 

6 min. audio clip of Roy Weaver (Park Service Superintendent of Bandelier National Monument describing how 
the Cerro Grande Fire escaped and has progressed. Need Realplayer

05/11 Hi Ab and All-- 

I’m going to do a list of URLs to various newspapers, etc as a separate post. There is still no information in the media about the TX fire that has consumed more than 39,000 acres. It’s located near Ft. Stockton in west TX south of Midland/Odessa. Flat, sagebrush, BigSky populated largely by roadrunners, horney toads and rattlers. Love that country for horseback riding. I checked those online papers last night. All they have is info about the Los Alamos Fire! Seems to me that this fire really should be bumping up against, if not in, R3. Will have to check. Amazing what a vocal constituency does for boosting media coverage! 

Regarding the 14-day assignments. When I was with Quintanar last month at CIIMT, I got the impression that 21-day assignments might be allowed more than initially thought, just would take a little negotiation. He didn’t say, but I think the 14-day is to help with assignment of resources especially as the season goes on and it’s harder to get the non-firefighting crew to commit. I remember some poll showed that most men wanted 21 day and 2/3 women wanted 14 day. 

The 24 hr shift was used on the Franklin in northern CA this spring. Reasoning was that the fire was so far from camp and the road so narrow that it was safer. Larry, Terry, anyone else want to comment on how that went? 

Pulaski, with regard to Denny, things have changed, like night and day. Your description of the community during the 80’s was right on, mostly because of the evictions of the really old miners when the wilderness area was formed in the 70’s and then because of herbicide issues, etc. Much of the recent positive change can be attributed to change in attitude of the Forest under Joyce Anderson’s direction. At the ground level, the two people who were instruments of change during the fire were Larry Wright (Branch) and Candy Dillingham (liason/info person). I can say that were it not for the fire and for Larry’s attitude/ persistence/ willingness to educate me, I would not be here now. Hey, Larry you lurker, I appreciate you Dude! [smerk] Do you have a red face? 

Please be safe out there!

05/11 Mellie thanks for the info on 14 day assignments. I think it sucks, but what the hell. 

Seems like logistics is going to get hammered. Ill just have to rotate people in-n-out seems like a waste. 21 days seemed just about right for an assignment. 14 seems too short. especially when fires like big bar take more than 100 engines, 30-40 crews - and TWO MONTHS to put to bed. thats a lot of phone calls, and gear moving back and forth. Gotta go with the flow though. 

Earlier in the year I had heard the fed talking bout 24 hour shift assignments. any truth? that is something i do like. Ive worked em before and found the 20-24 hours you have off more relaxing. you can clean up, shower at your leisure, eat, sleep, rehab engine, and still have an hour or two left for swapping lies, and breifing. just one slugs view. 

Also working on another engine If anyone knows of some nice FL70 /60/50 or International 4800-4900 4x4 cab/chassis call me. Im tired of converting two wheel drive to four wheel drive. Not rocket science but takes forever. crew cab would be most excellent. thanks for your help guys. 

Dispatch Dude. The guys at Boeing Surplus, have no idea where the material comes from. It is surplused out of their space/ military projects division. But they do have tons of it available from them. email me your address and ill send you a sample 2'x3' chunk i have left. if it meets your needs ill go up there for you and get you some larger rolls. ( you can put this stuff in your hand and put the acetylene to it, and feel no heat on the other side. take the heat away and two seconds later you can touch where you just had the torch!) pretty impressive. If its good enough for NASA it should work fine on a cat. 


05/11 Ab:

Heard a helicopter went down and the pilot was killed on 
the Los Alamos incident, any one out there with any info? 
Also any word on the crew that got burned over in Ruidoso 
N.M. (old home territory)? God speed and be safe to those 
on the Fire Line, next it could be us. 

Local Agency Volunteer Engineer.

05/11 Firehorse,

I empathize with your RX woes, have the same problems here (BLM). However, there does seem to be pressure from above the fire offices to just make acres black. NOW! Couple that with the resource dude's inner desire to annihilate every single tree with 1-15" dbh and you get burns performed at the hot end, or prescriptions to be written quite variable. Just saw a map of the Cerro Grande and, wouldn't you know it, I spent a few months in 1996 prepping that one. OK, it's all my fault! Five years of working for the NPS often meant spreading your holders out real thin, chasing spots, and just barely catching slopovers, while highly educated individuals got steamed because "it's not hot enough". (Got in a heap of dung for telling a Phd he needed to spend some time driving a shovel so he could learn something.) 

I think the "use it or lose it" funding issues do sometimes cause people to push the high end. In BLM, acres are the barometer to measure the success of RX programs, rather than the complexity/necessity/objectives of the burns. It's kinda funny, since the must complex (and most necessary) burn I've been on was 4.3 acres of flat terrain in the southeast, but who would want to brag about that? 

Getting snow in northern Utah tonight. yippee. 

Yet Another Tim

05/11 Power Point Programs are coming when I get a chance. Thanks, contributors. Ab.
05/11 Hey ab just sitting here watching cnn showing pictures of Los Alamos burning hot, looks like the winds are blowing pretty good. hope everybody is safe and ok. Bet the NPS is going to catch hell over this one. Just think this is what the environmentalists wanted to try and used Rx burning instead of logging to reduce tree densities and fuels. I think the giant sequioa groves are going to eventually burn like this and take out all of the trees including the large speciman trees. Same with the Sierra Framework its just setting us up for even larger fire's in the future. 
Well gottta go take care 

Will post your pic when I get a chance. Ab.

05/11 Ab & All

You might want to put your Mother's Day plans on hold. Looks like we are going to lose about 60 % of the structures in Los Alamos. This is a major rager that started about a week ago as a 300 acre RX fire on Bandeleir National Monument. Somebody is in trouble now! Fire has spotted about 15 miles and is now close to Espanola. Red Flag was up all day and winds may be stronger tomorrow. To windy for tankers to work. Structure engines were running out of water in Los Alamos because of the # of engines all pulling on the town system. R3 assets are all committed to this and other fires so I suspect some you will get to visit New Mexico soon. Probably any shot crews that are up can look for a visit to the Land of Enchantment. Welcome! Be careful out there! 


05/11 14 day assignments are lame. Who wants to go out for 14 days come home for one day (not enough time to have too many beers) and drive back to the same hole the next day. Suck it up! Also who's idea was it to make lime green flagging used to mark safety zones. Sounds like an office worker to me. How are you supposed to see lime green flagging at night on green bushes? Give me a break!


05/11 Ab, et all... 

You know fire season is in full swing when wildfire makes the five o'clock news in Seattle. 

Apparently the fire burning near Los Alamos, New Mexico has forced the evacuation of that entire town. The nuclear equipment there is safe in bunkers, however the citizenship of Los Alamos (11000 people as I heard it) was instructed to leave at earliest possibility. More news on this can probably be found from other sources tied deeper into this than I am, however lets hope for success for our fellow firefighters assigned to this, and all other blazes. 

As ever, 

Tiny, the R-6 Fire Pup

05/11 I work with a state agency in the southeast. Get the opportunity for a western fire dispatch on a fairly regular basis unless its a slow year(or we are busy with hurricanes in the late summer/early fall). I have been limited to 14 days plus travel ever since I started doing this in 1984. I guess its all what your used to. The reasoning by our agency was that most accidents happen after 14 due to cumulative fatigue etc (I'm not saying this is true, we were never given data to support that claim).I've had trips where I wanted to stay longer and couldn't, trips where I was glad to leave after 14. It never went over too well with the Demob Unit when I told them I was only out for 14, and I undertand why, it will also increase the expense of mobilizing and fighting fire, just now I don't have to feel like a dork about it because everyone else is in the same boat.............sorry, make the most of it while you can. Of course a wave of the magic wand from our director and it can be extended for us(only time that has happened has been in the context of a Southeastern Compact Activation such as Florida '98)................
05/10 Tim, Eric, Everyone -- 

Here’re the newest R5 guidelines on the 14 day length of assignments
(to be in effect until the WO issues the final word, expected before
fire season here):
1) Desired length of commitment on incident assignments is 14 days
(excluding travel) and no assignment will be more than 21 days (except
for military).
2) Extensions past 14 days must be approved by the IC when there is
an imminent threat to life and property. (and as a friend said a month
ago, when is there not on a fire???)
3) First day of an assignment begins the day you check in at the
FIRST incident and if you’re reassigned to a SECOND incident (or more),
travel time between them COUNTS towards the 14 days.
4) For assignments more than14 days, R&R as defined in the NWCG
Business Mgmt Handbook is implemented.
5) Existing agreements regarding length of commitment for
cooperating agency resources take precedence over these guidelines.
6) These guidelines apply to everyone managed by R5 (ie, federal
personnel, federal contractors, state and local cooperators, AD casual

Hope this helps. Any word from the other regions? If you want to
send any info, I’ll summarize it and post.


PS -- Thanks, Linescout! Question: How could there be 30,000 acres
burning in TX yesterday and nothing on the internet news! Kelly, is
there anything today???? Do I need to call my TX relatives and get them
to start raising holy hell over the lack of media coverage!!!! What’s
with that? Boo, Keith, Linescout, all you TX folks, stay safe!

05/10 Pulaski & eric, contact me or post the info about the
fire curtains for our JD-750. I would appreciate the
name/phone of the vendor or source material. D.D.
05/10 Ab tried the S190 PP link no luck, 

Since everyones looking for :Power point programs. I could really use 231 and 290 SRB/engines and Intermediate wildland fire behavior. Thanks much guys 

One other issue I need addressed. 

Since this is the slow time of year I list one of my home numbers with my email. 

When you guys call for job apps, hats, and patches. Understand my wife and I answer "Hello" not "pacific Wildfire" many of you guys hang up thinking you got the wrong number. Hell it was so bad after i offered patches that my wife thought i was cheating on her!!!!!!! lol 

anyways catch you guys later. 

253 460 7323
800 704 4594 for business

05/10 Too Many, 

Not sure how things are done elsewhere in the FS or with BLM/NPS but I can speak from experience in SW Oregon NF's. It is much more an issue of all the work to be done and less people to do the job, than it is a "Don't spend it- lose it" issue. The FS is so short of personnel with all the donwsizing that the local district cannot burn a small unit without bringing in outside help in the form of other FS folks, or contracting out the work at greatly incresed costs. There are no longer the BD crews we once had, and the folks outside Fire/Fuels that used to be relied upon to help are so behind the power curve they can no longer be available and still get their targets accomplished. Many of them are very "Bummed" because they cannot burn anymore. 

Along with less people to do the job are the many restrictions on "Open Windows" of opportunity to accomplish the burns within the burn plan and prescription. When all you had to do was reduce the hazard there were lots of open windows to accomplish the burning. Now you have to retain a certain % of duff, or a certain % of a certain diameter tree of a certain species, or kill a certain % of trees by species, or ????????????????? It goes on and on and on! Fuels Management is truely a science in the Pacific NW. 

Add to this the fact that the weather never seems to do what the Weather Service says it will do. Forecasting weather is not an exact science no matter where you are from. I am sure the burns that have gotten away would not have been lit to begin with if the folks had a clue that they would have gotten away. I would certainly hope that they followed the Burn Plan to a "T" and am fairly certain at some point, something caused the burn to go out of prescription and now they are chasing it all over the place. Burning outside the prescription is a real good way to end your career in this neck of the woods! 

ANOTHER "JUST ONE MORE TIME": I would like to go out on a broadcast burn that is lit after dark! 


05/09 Dear Ab,

Just in from another day at the Cook Ranch fire just south of Ft. Stockton Texas. 30000 and growing and it is resisting all our attempts at containment. If this is any indication of things to come (and I think it is) we are infor a very long summer again in Texas. I have lurked for along while and just thought I had something important enough to say finally.

Everybody stay safe! 


Glad you have something to say. Share on! Ab.

05/09 Hey Ab... 

Something odd with the site today? I can't load it from either school or my house, so I got to thinking maybe it's just something screwy on the island, but I called up one of my Pop's work buddies in Burlington and he said he wasn't getting through to the site either. 

Hope this is just something temporary, Ab. It'd be a shame to have such a good site go poof forever. 

Take care, 


Never fear TinyPup that this will all go poouf. The ISP was blaming PacBell on the problems. Fixed now. Ab.

05/09 Dylan (and all) 

The Florida Div. of Forestry has S-190 on Powerpoint that you can download at http://flame.fl-dof.com/down/S-190.ppt (it is a 14 meg file, so it will take a minute or two to download). I haven't used it yet, but looks good at first glance.


Thanks Houston, I know Mellie wanted that one too. Ab.

05/09 Don't know if I have missed a post, but was thinking a page for wildfire cartoons and jokes would be nice. After all the Bit%$ing and whining it would be nice to leave with a smile on your face. Was thinking of doing it myself but I don't have the recognition like this site. I would like to see some of the more humorous IAP covers and other cartoons associated with wildland firefighting. I'm sure you are busy enough as it is, so if folks want to Email me some stuff I'll start working on one and maybe we can link it here. Just a thought.

I know there are some excellent cartoonist and want-to-be comedians out there, so send me what you can. Wildland fire related only. And I will see what I can do.

email me at: firetoons@excite.com

05/09 Hard Charger
I worked for the Plumas IHC the last few years, I picked up the apprentice academy this year for the San Bernardino NF. I will be working on the the helicopter at Heaps Peak this year.I don't write many things on this web site but it's good reading.Charger if your around the helicopter stop buy and say hi or email me my address is esmitty@mail.com.Hey Tonka I have some photos you might like to see
PS. AB you have a great site,also I totally agree with you about that teacher.
05/09 Just to drop all a line, we're getting busy! Our agency had a 3 fires in 10 minutes last week.... and all were threatening structures! We ended up losing 3 outbuildings, but 5 homes were saved! Thanks to some fast moving VFD's...I would not hesitate to say that it is DEFINITELY fire season in good ol AZ.... 


05/09 If you're looking for info on the Southwest fires, here's a menu: 

Southwest Area Fire Info 

Southwest Area Sit Report 

Other area sit reports 

National Park Service Morning Reports 

Southwest Area Fire Intel 

Albuquerque Journal story 

Photos from the Albuquerque Journal 

Los Alamos Monitor (killer photo!!) 

Six - count 'em - six stories from the Los Alamos Monitor! 

Alamogordo News story 

Three stories and a photo from the Santa Fe New Mexican 

One little story about two little fires from the Silver City Daily Press 

The skinny on the Cerro Grande Fire and LANL, from the Los Alamos Monitor 


p.s. the Chicago Tribune (at www.chicagotribune.com ) has not only a good story, but also a couple of dandy photos.

05/09 Was just wondering if there was anyone from Southern California that stops in on the site. I work on the San Bernardino NF at Del Rosa IHC. So leave a message on the board if your out there. 

Hard Charger

05/09 As I sit here drinking cold beer readying myself, I continue to wonder why we (FS/BLM/NPS) continue to RX burn when Ma nature warns us not to. R-3 has had a few RX burns "get away" so far this spring. Does not anyone of these managers/ignition specalists/burn boss/whoever it is ever look at an extended forecast? 

I understand we all get dollars to burn and these RX burns must be done to meet objectives and keep the almighty RX dollar flowing. But at what cost are we trying to meet these objectives? The NPS RX on the Bandilier, what up? Or the one in New Mexico? Come on guys let's LOOK at an extended forecast and put firefighter safety and public safety first. It won't be long before we have another fatality on what started as an RX and became an actual incident and we lose a firefighter because we "HAVE TO MEET THE OBJECTIVE AT ANY COST, OTHERWISE WE LOSE OUR MONEY NEXT YEAR!" I am not knocking the R-3 groundpounders they do a good job but you folks giving permission to light without thinking and using common sense..... come on! I continue to hear how dry it is in AZ & New Mex. but yet we still light it up and still lose it. Let's stop and check things out guys. 

Signed, Too Many 

05/09 Hey ab just wanted to get your thoughts on a couple of cicumstances the organization has gotten themselves into. First 14 day assighnments WHAT ARE THEY THINKING?? it seems to me that the people making these decisions are not using there head, dont you think it will cost more money to send resources home and try to order new ones every 14 days instead of every 21 days. i did three consecutive 21 day tours on the kirk complex last year on the Los Padres, and it was a nightmare for the logistics trying to figure out all the 21 day crews and trying to get them back at the same time the BIG-BAR COMPLEX was going on. It just seems to me that having the resources 7 more days is that much more beneficial to the team and the resources. 

Which brings me to my second topic Portal To Portal Pay for Feds, There are some benefits to this and possibly some downfalls of this as well, bringing this up because i heard from the powers that be that this could be implemented at the end of fiscal year 2000. I think that the benefits are we (the supervisors) will have total controll of are first year firefighters that use there time away from home to get drunk on there time offf, with portal to portal they would be on the clock 24 / 7 so they will no longer have that option. the downfall that most sticks out on me is no more overtime and hazard pay, dont know if anyone has crunched the numbers but i think it would come out hurting us depending on the gs level and step. 

Let me know what you think or what you have heard on these two topics , i will be talking to you soon, thank you for having this web site and if you need support let me know, I will tell all my buddies about this site as well, Look forward to hearing from you, 

Thanks again, A California Firefighter 

05/09 Hey everyone, this is my first post and I hope I can find what I am looking for. I am an ECB for the Winnemucca, NV BLM in the summer and I work as a 7th-9th grade science teacher during the school year. I was wondering if anyone knew where I could find a PowerPoint program to go along with S-190. I was hoping to do a mini-unit on wildland fire for my earth science class being that fire season is just around the corner in northern NV. I have already found one for LCES and S-130 on your site. S-190 would really compliment those. 
Thanks for the time. 

Dylan Rader

Welcome. Glad you found two-thirds of what you need here. Readers, know anything about S-190 in PowerPoint? Ab.

05/09 I lost track of a few close friends (brothers) Dave, Russ, Red, and Tony. We shared some good times together (trusted each other with our lives) If you guys are out there contact me At CROWNFIRE5945@aol.com. P.S. I am a crewboss on a handcrew up in Oregon.
05/08 WP-- 

[laughing hard]
[beating head on desk] [ouch] 

Touche (with an accent on the e)
WP, m'dear, you win the AWARD for the current *BEST* all-round comeback! You made my day, you made my week, maybe my year! 

So, do I get to voice excuses for such a hugging opportunity lost, or do I simply swallow my words and hope that fate will grant me another chance? 

I think I'm in love... (ahem, even, WP, if you turn out to be a girl!) 

('S OK Ab, I still love you. It's just that that was verrrry good, verrrry funny!!!) 


05/08 mellie, no problem. Say I was on a fire in denny in the early 80's. Cant remember the name right off hand, but I do remember  that we had rocks thrown at
our vehicles and heard gunshots on the way to and from the fire, and we had armed gards on the line for our protection.  There were also stories that
the FS station had been burned down a few times. I always assumed it stemmed from the FS & locals feuding over "mining" claims or some such thing. 
Has the attitude changed much?

on another note, Well, this may be it for the spring fire season in the lake states (except maybe for the blowdown areas) things are greening up pretty
well and a big storm comin in tonight, are expecting over 2 inches by monday nite. But...had a start yesterday (sat) that was in a prime location for a big
one. As soon as I crossed the tower shot on the map in my truck my foot hit the gas full to the floor and hardly left there. I was the closest one and
knew I would get there first.  Was shaking like a leaf as we ordered up resources big time. Fortunatly it was right on the lake in a persons yard that had
been brushed out and moderatly mowed. It hardly got a chance to get going before I got there.  A great feeling to get there in time to make a save on a


05/07 Milli,

Back in November, when you were just a FNG to the site (so was I) you pushed 
my button in that comment about food being late to Denny.  In reflection, I 
think you were just hearing ground grunt pissin and moaning and did not 
understand that they have to piss and moan as a way to pass time and blow off 
frustration.  In time you will learn what is real and what is not.  I am 
better now, and if you ever get to work in a support roll you will understand 
how much effort goes into supporting and supplying the operations side of an 

By the way I must have passed your place a half dozen times last summer on my 
way to and from Denny camp and don't recall you waving once, (or stopping my 
rig to give me a hug) what's up with that?


05/07 Several new photos and a new logo posted this morning.  See pages Fire3, Helicopters3, Handcrews2, Equipment, and Logo2.  Ab
05/06 Eric, WP

Thanks to the two of you for your continued interest/support. Beginning Monday I'm going to go pull teeth from my high school counselors.
I'll check back with you two on what transpires probably next week Saturday, if I'm able to make any head way. Finals are coming up pretty
quickly and I need to get my head screwed on straight for that, or else I might not have a head later... ahem.

Well, enough from the pup for a while...

Tiny, the R-6 Fire Pup

P.S. Ab: Just as an added quip, if you add a page for the goofy stuff that flows in you might end up putting half of the stuff I send to you on
it... <laugh>

05/06 WP forgot to tell you the 14 day rule applies to contractors too.  I spoke
to one of our Contract reps at inspection the other day.   She doesnt know
how hard they are going to enforce it though.  have to see on the line.

As far  as Showers, Caterers,  etc.   I thought that R&R rules applied only
to line personnel.  Base camp support was exempt.  Just what i thought
Have no idea what the real truth is.


05/06 Dispatch Dude:

  I have no idea where you live,   but if you have access to Boeing surplus
they sell fire retardent material in bulk rolls.  Its cheap, and comes in
five foot wide rolls - various lengths.

    It is an extremely heavy weight product,  probably 3/16 of an inch
thick.    One of the guys there said they use it to insulate the insides of
the engine compartments from the turbine heat.    It is aluminized on one
side, and looks like heavy duty muffler wrap- only heavier.

I use it too wipe up my tears from dispatch woes.   J/K    Call or email me
Ive got a little in the garage and  ill send it too you.   If it is what you
want ill grab you a roll the next time i am up there.

I also talked to a fella who wrapped the cab of his Hitachi excavator.  He
uses it to  feed slash piles and to reposition the logs.   Before he said
that the vinyl and rubber would soften, and smoke ( he used to wear bunker
gear to operate)  Now he can wear normal clothes.    He uses large brass and
steel grommets he installed in the edge to fasten it to the excavator.

Any more news on Coon Creek?

One last question  How close did the fires get to the Big Blow down in the
boundary waters?   Also any numbers on fuel moistures in the Blow Down?  Ive
heard its a catastrophic fire waiting to happen - its inevitable etc.

Later all,   have a good one.
253 460 7323

05/06 DAN, 
I'm trying to get the investigative report on Karen Savage's death. Karen was
a friend. The investigation was done by the Humboldt-Del Norte Ranger District,
Fortuna CA. The CDF person in charge was Dave Hebert. He'll be back in town
on Monday and will give me a call. I'll let you know what I find out. 

Thanks for the info. If anyone else wants to see the stats on the eastern forests
(R9), check this out. Thanks web goddess! Hey HICKMAN, seems like lots of stuff
burning in Missouri, although in different jurisdictions.

You watch yourself, ya'hyear! Don't have too much fun and stay safe out there!
Here're stats on the southwest (R3) fires. Oh, what I said to Ab about city
engines doesn't apply to yours! It's clear now that I've visited that Mayer
is wildland and not city in any way, shape, or form! <smile> <hug> Take care...


I am sooooooo glad you didn't "let" that hose burn up! Good job, WP, on making
him come clean! We were all holding our breaths!
Oh, WP, don't I know you? Seems like back in November you ragggged on me when
I thought food being late to Denny was an overhead watchout! <smerk> So many
of you answered my questions then. Thanks for your answers, DAVE…


05/05 re: abs reply to Mr. Davis,
Yup this site is not geared toward younguns, and I wouldnt change it a bit... but, holy cow ab! settle down!  :)

A while ago (quite a while ago) the Wildfire website (related to wildfire magazine) had a great idea of a "ask a firefighter" message board geared toward
school kids. They had several folks lined up (including myself) ..somke jumper, engine person, firefighter from china but unfortunatly with no
promotion the idea died.  I still think this is a good idea...wish someone would take up the torch and carry it forward.


I'm settled.  I feel better now.  Lest anyone form the idea this site is neglecting its civic responsibility, I would like to point out yesterdays polite and corteous posted request from Shannon Vitols requesting a firefighter to become a career mentor.  Has anyone responded yet?  Ab.

05/05 Dispatch dude:

Contact Jim Roth (brother of Roger?) who perished at south canyon. He has developed a shelter material that puts the standard GSA shelter to
shame. Althought It might not be feasible for people to carry on the line yet (weight and size) he is making them for dozer curtains.  We are having a
couple made for our 450's to test. While the price is still a bit steep, it has come down considerable since he first started putting them on the market. ...I
have his address at work, will try to post it for you tomorrow.  I also have a pdf file that shows it.


05/05 WP.   I though i knew you!!

let it be known,   I did not "let" my hose burn up.   LOL    Remember the
tuesday when they demobbed 60 -70% of resources?   That night it got a
little out of control,
and while working on about a two acre slop over I was running low on H20  I
called another engine too tie in to our line and continue nailing this
bugger.  We had about 1200 feet out of 1.5"   and a couple of laterals.
It was about 30 min round trip for water at the skagit river hatchery.

Upon my arrival back on scene,   I find piles of incinerated hose chunks.
my entire hose lay with nozzles, wyes, 1200' of 1.5" fittings, and about
600' of 1" GONE!   Brand new stuff too,  Yellow Jacket from National FF.

It seems that Brock  pulled all the crews from the line with the erratic
winds and low RH.  good decision.  lost lots of acreage that night.

whew I feel better.   now youo guys know the truth.  I even have the IIR to
prove it!!

Thanks for helping with the mound of paperwork WP.

Tiny keep trying.  when i put my guys through courses i see 16, 17 year olds
there all the time.  I dont know if their getting out on the line?  but they
are getting certificates.

    Another way on the line at 16 is to get convicted of a crime and get
sent to one of WA DNR's juvenile camps.  Mission Creek, Nacelle, etc.    I
wouldnt recommend it,  but hell i see a youth crew at about 50% of the DNR
fires im at.  Youd also get to see all the RED engines and ride around in a
red DNR crummy.  Just foolin with you.  Call me and ill tell you which
agencies let younger guys train.

AB  Laughed my ass off reading your response to Mr. Davis.  thought you
nailed it on the head.  This is your site,  we all appreciate it.   Dont
change a thing.    I remember you said you get about 100-110 hits aday
maybe a chat room would be cool though.

Later all.

253 460 7323

05/05 Pup, 
I talked to someone today and they thought that if you are in Running Start 
you could take the WFF courses as an elective.  It is something to check out. 
 Some of the FPD's in your area are presenting wildland training and if you 
hang around enough they may let you attend, but I think all the courses are 
over for this season. 

One other short cut may be the WCC program, Washington Conservation Corps, 
they are sent to Guard School each year and used on local fires.  I am not 
sure if the eligible age is 16 or 17.  Something to check out. 

I will be out of town teaching all next week, see what you can find out, I 
will check the page in a week.


05/05 Could not help but notice that once again the feds have dropped the ball
on a fire in my backdoor. In todays world one would think that instead
of hauling crews from one end of the country to the other they would
rely on resources that are closer. Oh well, same old story, fires
burning and some of us are let sitting on the sidelines........imagine
that..... makes one  think that instead of spending time on training it
would be better spent elsewhere.....sound like sour grapes? ...your
right, not only that, really getting pissed off....m

Check out the archives and do a search for messages from "stay at home".  To get any real support or notice from "those with power who lurk instead of post" here you will need to provide more detail.  We don't mind generic sour grapes here, we all eat them from time to time and like to talk about them. You may notice and others may already have, I've began attaching some kind of "signature" to each message posted that does not have a name attached.  If you dislike me providing the sig's, make something up so I don't have to.  The old "noname" was getting confusing when other readers responded.  Ab.

05/05 There's a new feature on this page I'm trying and will maintain if it seems to help.  I'm sure many of you have noticed the timing of the updates on this page varies a great deal.  In order to help you avoid downloading the entire page each time you log on, only to find it hasn't been updated since you last visited, keep your eye on the upper left hand corner when the page first begins loading to view the last update time.  This should help those of you with slower connect speeds, especially towards the end of the month when the page is largest.  Ab.
05/05 Hey all,

News from the Coon @ss fire line.

Things for the most part calmed down a couple of days ago. Tankers went 
available to IA some additional starts here in R-3(eastern AZ). Lost 200
folks to demob, and just about got demobed ourselves. Of course, the 'ol 
Trailblazer did some finagaling, and got to stay, just assigned to another 
part of the fire.

Today, all hell has broken lose again. With the low RH's and the strong 
winds from an approching front, fire picked up again. Up to about 6500 acres 
as of this am's briefing. Goin' to throw some indirect in and burn out. May 
increase the fire area by 25%. Just trying to keep it out of the Fort 
Apachie Res. May be looking to call back some folks if it gets really scary.

Hope to have some pic's available by the next time I post.

I would like to thank Russle Failkner of Tonto Basin for the quick use of 
his lap top computer/sat-com and internet site for allowing me to post while 
I was on lunch.

R-3 is HOT and DRY. Approaching cold front will play havic on current fires 
and BI's. Another Red Flag day for my guys at Mayer Fire.

PLEASE, all be real carefull out there. Talk atcha later

AZ Trailblazer (Tim)

05/05 Anyone, (probably R-5er's) know of a source of PPE curtains for dozers?
We'd like to check out something for our JD-750B. The DOZ1 claims it
tends to get a little "heated" in the seat.
Dispatch Dude
05/05 AB, Wnated to let you and all the lukers out there know that selections have been made for a few jobs here on the beautiful Plumas. The
new Hot Shot Sup will be Jack Sevelson and the new Helicopter Manager is Don Hamilton. I don't think we could have gotten better people
for these jobs. My Congratulations to Jack and Don.
05/05 Ab, 

Been trying to download the Sadler report from NIFC's website and it will not work.  Mellie thought you might have it in your archives or


You can find a copy on the Hot Air Page linked from the main page.  Ab.

05/05 Ab, you asked me what the site was for?

<Standing up to lecture, soap box unnecessary for the "Tiny" pup...>

The purpose of the site? The purpose is to provide a space for the wildland firefighter to express his mind without fear of reproach from
superiors and the public. A sounding board of the concerned hero, and the /ONLY/ place I know of that would be willing to let a very eager
pup have a chance to learn all he can about a piece of his dream. Maybe I've just not looked around enough, but countless mouse-ticks
later, I've yet to see a site, much less a bulletin board of sorts, /DEDICATED/ to the soot-stained hero of the wilderness. (yes that's one of
my favorite phrases...) To paraphrase my favorite webmaster,
"This site is, has been, and forever will remain, dedicated to those men and women who leave the paved roads and highways to fight
wildland fire at it's source. It is also similarly dedicated to those courageous men and women who support the wildland firefighter."

I remember getting hammered down for trying to bring a bit of sensibility into the postings, I for one was getting a headache trying to
decipher a few postings, however I can understand that half the time (and probably more) no one gives a flying rat's arse about how well a
WLFF  can write, so long as he can work a line well and stay safe doing it. Although I must say I've noticed remarkably improved postings.
I've also had to take less aspirin! (just kidding, I really never had to take any... okay..once...)

In short, the pup has found that there are only three rules: State your mind, Defend yourself in kind, and attack ideas rather than people. Oh
yeah, Ab, you kinda broke that last one to a point, but it was justified...very very justified... at 16 I know enough words to make a sailor (and
probably a few firefighters) blush with shame, and I know I can word myself in the right order to give an effective dressing down. I had to give
one yesterday, minus the expletives, to a few freshmen. For some reason they couldn't grasp the concept of putting the State flag right side
up on the flag pole. How hard is it to realize the balding spot on George Washington's head is the top of the flag?!? Any how, back to the
topic at hand: Youth today are exposed to information at far greater rate then they were 5 years ago, much less 10, or 15, what you think
we don't know we know, and then some. Please, harness our willingness to take in information and use it to society's advantage. Don't
make us into mindless drones, the innocent, the ignorant, and the arrogant, by shunning our curiosity.

<sitting back down, since he doesn't need a soap box to lecture with>

Ahem.. sorry that took so long.

Ask a direct question of me, I tend to answer directly.

Tiny, the R-6 Fire Pup

Thanks Tiny.  I knew you'd remember.  And yes, I realize I sometimes break my own unwritten rules, though I try to avoid it.  I suppose a really good, professional webmaster would always be calm, cool, and collected.  Then again, most of those kind of folks are employed full time in other fields.  Most of the time I'm able to simply read and delete disagreeable mesages, sometimes I'm more suceptible to having a button pushed.  Ab.

05/05 Ab, et all.

I'm lagging behind in the conversations again, but here goes, I hope you don't mind the length of the post, however I think it's worthwhile.

Tamer's Ode

Surging through a forest tame,
Brighter, brighter grows yonder flame.
Taunting the firefighter, as if by name,
Until surrounded by man-made frame.

His face is blackened by the soot,
His foot is clad by enduring boot,
He heads where man ne'er set afoot,
Into the line, his best effort put.

And through all his protective gear,
Undoubtedly his death draws near,
Despite the danger, he shows no fear,
Oh, who will be those left to hear?

Hear the spoken words of men?
Spoken at the hero's end?
With what mortal words can hearts mend?
How fragile is our comfort rend?

And so to our hero, tried and true,
To our lapels cling ribbon blue,
The duty marches on lieu,
The duty, now, rests with me, and you.

Yes, all, your pup does have a soft side. He doesn't like to show it too often but it is there. My deepest condolences to the Liston family in
their recent tragedy. My apologies for not posting on this earlier, however I felt it better to post something meaningful.

For those unfamiliar with ribbons, a light blue ribbon is common for mourning of a close friend, I thought it fitting given how closely knit the
fire community can be. We cannot afford to forget the lessons of the past, or we bind ourselves to repetition.

Respectfully and humbly,

Tiny, the R-6 Fire Pup

05/04 Hey Eric,
    Just to let you know, as far as my feeble knowledge goes, we do not
have any FL 70's in service....for the most part we exclusively run
Navistar 4800-4900 series crew cab 4x4 in the CDF model 14 style...If
you want pics/specs of the units, drop me a line...Al
05/04 Hi Mellie-
There is (was) a 4000 acre wildfire in Michigan.  My husband went there Monday.  He said they have it about rapt up but all the states around them now have fires.  He'll be staying to help with initial attack for awhile. 

Enjoy reading your messages.  Keep posting and don't let anyone deter you from speaking you mind.


05/04 Mellie, Yup, but typical of lake states jack pine fires, the terrain allows the heavy equipment (ie: tractor plows) to get a line around it pretty quick. Las I heard the fire is controlled and they are in demob already. MN was burning up wednesday too, one fire close to the big blow down area in the boundary waters. We are sitting at VH-extreme here as well. WX is ripe for a major fire if the wind kicks in like it did wednesday and supposed to tomorrow (friday)

Our pilots are now taking digital photos on all our fires. Usually we have photos from the fire sitting in our email by the time we get back to the station.
If I get some good ones I will post them.


You'd better "P", and I want to see flames, big ones too, not just a lott'a smoke! Ab.

05/04 Yes Eric, we have crossed paths in the past.  I was the guy who handled your 
paperwork to replace the hose and fittings you 'let' burn up on Jordan Ck a 
few years ago. 

Does the 14 day assignment apply to contractors?  I don't think so, look at 
the kitchen and shower units, they are on the incident for the duration.  I 
would have to read the 'engine/tender' contract when it comes out to be sure.


05/04 Hello,
I work for an Education Website company called Brainium.com, which produces
the site, www.brainium.com, aimed at students and teachers, K-8. One part of
the Science Brainium site (found under 'Zine and Careers) highlights
different people with jobs that relate to science. This means anything from
microbiologists to dairy farmers to winemakers . We feel that any job
relates to science in some way - you just have to find it! 

Ultimately, I want the site to have a variety of jobs, genders and
backgrounds for kids to explore and learn about. So, I'm searching for
people who would be interested in becoming part of the site as a Career
  I'd love to highlight firefighting as a great career focus on our website.
Please let me know if you, or anyone you know would be interested.
Thank you in advance,

Shannon Vitols
Content Creator
Tel: 604.601.8063
Fax: 604.687.7118
 Come by booth #339 & 438 at CA Cue in Palm 
 Springs, California, May 11-13 to find out
 more about Science Brainium's engaging 
 online science content. 

05/04 Good morning AB,

Last Oct. Near Redding Ca. a Vol. F/F died in the line of duty on the Jones Incident. Normally we get an "official" report or results of an investigation. But I have searched high and low and cannot find one. Does anyone know where I can find the CDF report on the death of Karen Savage ? I am surprised that the Shasta R.U. has not made it available. (It is possible that they have but I just can't find where... )  Hopefully we can learn from Karen's story just as we have from the Susan York Story to keep our family of F/F safe out there.

Being from a small and very rural Fire Dept., sometimes I have to do battle with the "that will never happen in sleepy little "Ord Bend" attitude. Good luck to everyone out there this summer. 


05/04 Eric, WP, Volunteer Engineer and others.

To all, thanks for pointing out to me the rather blatantly obvious. Sometimes.. not to often.. I can't stop to see the forest for the trees and I
need an occasional slap upside the head. Humbled thanks to you all.

Eric: Thanks for reading it, but I have to stop and wonder, what story? Hopefully you mean the article Ab's hosting, if not the young pup can
get much more easily confused than he lets on.

Volunteer Engineer: Thanks for all the info and support. Just sent out a couple of emails to the Scout district chairs etc asking about the
Explorer Program. From my experience here, the Explorer program didn't encompass firefighters/firemen because the County had its own
youth volunteer program for the RFPD. Which reminds me, yesterday I picked up a piece of mail from the RFPD, seems they've found
some budgeter to fix out the book work and can restart the youth volunteers again, however it still looks shaky from the figures they sent
out. Not to mention I'm not entirely sure I really want to spend the time going through the academy again. I still have some time to decide
on that though.

Ahem... back to this world. WP - According to Skagit's college catalog FFT (which is their acronym for Fire Fighter Training I believe,)
courses are 18 years and up. It'd be really awesome if it wasn't. If I could take the courses I'd bash down the doors to my counselor's office
faster than Smokey can say "Only you can prevent forest fires." I'd appreciate the info you can give me in this regard, even from a different
college than Skagit. My parents have some educational contacts with a few colleges and I might be able to get a few strings pulled, or at
least a few bits of information. 

Well I'd better head off to school. One thing I love about being able to walk there is not having to sit for two and a half hours at the end of the
day waiting for the student body to file out of the parking lot. One and a half more months till summer by my calendar. 

Take care all, that's probably the only order this Cadet Ensign can give that any one will follow, I'm just too nice of a guy! <grin>

Tiny, the Northwestern R-6 Fire Pup

05/03 Hi All--

I've heard there's a 4000+ acre fire burning in the Huron NF in Michigan. Pulaski,
or anyone know anything about this?

For the benefit of all of us, stay safe out there, on the Tonto, in Michigan,
and everywhere else!


05/03 AB
still looking for more crew persons and engine bosses

Weve expanded and will have engines In Winnemucca NV,  Flagstaff AZ, and
Tacoma WA.

I need dozer operators,  one more FLE certified blaster, and engine

I guarntee you will not be treated better anywhere else.  Just ask last
years guys.

I dont BS, and pay at demob.  less/ what uncle sam wants
Drive time at 100%

I need SS card, photo ID, drivers abstract for ENGB, Dozer op, and FLE.
The FLE needs an explosives purchasers license, and user license.
DWI's cant drive.  Pre employment drug tests.  Insurance is picky that way

If the 14 day rule is implemented ill need lots more folks than last year.
So well have to see.

Pay is as follows
Engine boss 200 per day + expenses
Crew 175 per day plus expenses
FLE Blaster    at least 250 per day, more based on qualificcations
Dozer OP  225 per day + expenses (must prove you can operate and drive

all positions include year end bonus based on performance.
Were going to have a dinner / pre season party in Silverdale, WA this month.

this is where id like to meet all new prospects, and educate in the way we
do things.

Have a great one, and catch you later

253 460 7323
800 704 4594

05/03 tiny,  enjoyd your story.

The boys/ and gals in red are our friends at Washington Department of
Natural resources.   All of their engines are red.

WP  do i know you?   it seems we live in the same neck of the woods, You
know gary up in sultan, as do I.   You seem to do a lot of fires i do.

anyhow, have agood one,  and later.


still trying to buy some pics/ dimensions of NDF nevada div forestry's type
4 FL70.

05/03 If you can get into an Explorer program attached to the Fire Department this
will be a great training ground.  In California there are a number of
Explorer Posts, I know I was and advisor at one time.  They have an Explorer Academy, it
recently ended, which is a week long and teaches both structural and
wildland firefighting.
A large number of young men and women who have gone through our Post now
have jobs in C.D.F. and numerous city fire departments as well as
paramedics, and even dispatchers.  This is another avenue to (pardon the pun) explore.  My
experience is that perseverance pays off, if you keep banging away some one
will notice and let you in.  If for no other reason to shut you up, keep plugging and
you will get there. 
Ab. thanks for the site its very informative and down right fun.
Local Agency Volunteer Engineer
05/03 Hey State Guy,
The MN Wildland Firefighters Association is not a contractor...we are a professional association. Many experienced wildfire fighters quit working for
the MN DNR in disgust due to the manner in which they are treated...others join the association. Last fall our members having discovered they were
(unbeknownst to them) on a kind of unpaid standby status...when they thought they were on the national availability list directed the association to
develop and distribute our own availability list. We developed one and many contractors, states, and others signed up to begin weekly updates via
email. We established the system based on red card qualifications and set up a process by which the National Emergency Wildfire Resource List could
be updated daily via a national 800# by the participants...we sent a test message to the subscribers in anticipation of the red cards being issued to all
MN firefighters as they have been in the past. We are all ready to go...literally..but the state DNR is withholding our cards. The red card is a
smokechasers credentials...they work hard to get the qualifications...and the MN DNR is once again playing dirty pool by withholding them.

I have nothing but respect for nearly all of the DNR personnel I have worked with over the past 17 years...but the few at the top in forestry have very
little in the way of moral standards...and even less understanding of fire. In MN wildfire fighters are "employed" under an arcane law which allows
conscription of citizens to fight wildfire...and even though it is probably unconstitutional is used to avoid all of the fair employment laws which have
come into being since 1924. For the past several years the DNR has been unable to replace firefighters as fast as they have quit due to the abuse of this
law and how the top DNR folks apply it. This year fire fighters plan a mass exodus to better working conditions and better employers. The DNR chose
to withhold red cards in a last ditch effort to prevent them from doing so. Of course they could simply talk to us and work out a more honest
relationship where we are treated like all other employees...with a modicum of respect...instead of conscripts. But heads will roll when the people of MN
discover the shabby way that firefighters have been treated and those heads currently reside on the shoulders of top MN DNR Forestry officials.

The MNWFA has been attempting to "mend fences" for several years....it was time to go.

05/03 Ab and All,

For the OBITUARY FOR DAVID J. LISTON,  Smokejumper with the Alaska Fire 
Service, go here: http://fire.ak.blm.gov/docs/newsrels.asp

I was lucky to have been able to work directly with the Smokejumpers on an 
incident last year in northern CA.  There were two sets of jumpers from USFS 
and BLM in my assigned division .  I am not sure if David was in the BLM 
group but I would like to think he was.  I continue to be impressed with the 
high degree of dedication and quality of work that is the trademark of the US 
wildland Fire Service.

It is a very dangerous occupation that we have chosen, as this accident has 
proven again.  Take the time now to think about David's wife, Kristin by 
contributing what you can to his memorial fund.  The address in listed at the 
end of his obituary. 

Stay Safe,

Hunter '45

05/03 Fire Pup, Who else drives Red Engines?  Go to the photo page - Engines 2 and 
check out the pic titled "northwest." 

As far as the community colleges go, I thought there was no age limit on 
vocational courses, I may be wrong.  I will check things out with my local 
fire instructor at the community college and get back to you.  WP

05/02 Ab, WP and others...

Ab, thanks for the links pages... I almost looked that over earlier today when I had some time to browse, some good stuff you keep there.

WP, Guys in red engines? Only guys in red engines I know of are the City Fire Department and/or the Rural Fire Protection District (Yep
Keith, that one's for you!), who else drives red engines? I know of the fire (both structural. and wildland) courses offered by the tech/comm.
colleges in my area, but unfortunately for me, I'm not quite old enough to partake in those courses. Even through the Running Start
Program I'd be unable to take those courses until I turn 18, well that's according to my high school career counselors. Any how, Feds or
not, I'll find a way to the fireline... with hopefully enough sense not to pose a hazard and enough knowledge to be an asset and not a
hindrance to the suppression efforts. (Of course, suppression is probably the wrong term.. containment probably fits in better... that's what I
get for having been in turnouts first! <grin>)

Yes Kelly, my writing really is that bad before I stop to edit or have an editor look over my work etc... just ask Mellie! <grin>

Take care all,

Tiny, the R-6 Fire Pup

05/02 An account has been established to which donations may be made in memory
of David Liston,  the Alaska Smokejumper who died in a parachuting
accident on April 28.

Checks should be made payable to: In Memory of David Liston

Checks should be mailed to:  Ft. Wainwright Federal Credit Union
     Attn: Tracy Jessen
     P.O. Box 35025
     Ft. Wainwright, AK 99703

Here's a short news article found online:
"Smokejumpers in Alaska and Idaho are temporarily suspending all parachute activities until investigators find out why a
28-year-old man's chute failed to open during training Saturday.

The man, David J. Liston, of Girdwood and Rainbow Valley, whose name was released Sunday by the Bureau of Land
Management, fell to his death at a training exercise on Fort Wainwright. Fellow smokejumpers came to his aid but to
no avail.

"I wouldn't say it would be unusual to take such a step given the uncertainty of the nature of the malfunction," said
Alaska Fire Service information officer Andy Williams.

A national investigating team is looking into the cause. Liston was among 68 smokejumpers in the state. The specially
trained firefighters are the first to respond to remote fires by parachuting into the area.

Williams said he didn't know how long the ban would go on but that U.S. Forest Service smokejumpers, who use a
 different type of parachute, could jump into fires for the time being.

"There's nothing to stop smokejumpers from going on helicopters or taking ground transportation to fires," Williams

Liston, a smokejumper since 1998, came to Alaska from Oregon in 1995 to work with the fire service, said a BLM
statement. His wife, Kristin, works for the fire service."

05/02 Dana Linscott:  There is not a "law" that requires you to go through State 
Forestry Agencies to get your redcards.  As a contractor association you can
follow the NWCG 310-1 standards and do your own red carding. Many do in other 
states.   But... having a red card doesn't mean "jack squat" unless you have 
agreements with the end users of your services;  i.e.  Federal and State Land 
Management Agencies. This means your organization has to go market its wares 
to these agencies, including those in other states, and hope a dispatch will 
arise from it.  Maintaining a poor relationship with MN DNR is certainly not 
a positive step toward dispatch heaven.  If you go sign a rental agreement in
another state, who do you think they might call to check on your past 
performance?  My guess would be MN DNR.   Is there any other reason that MN 
DNR does not put you on overstat?  Has your group had poor performance, or 
substandard equipment?  Do you try to fast-track people into qualifications 
(such as qualifying someone as an engine boss after five fires and one 
season).  Are your rates too high?   Have you overbilled for your services? 
Have you jumped fires?  Do you call their dispatch office twice a day and 
tork off their dispatchers?  Have you ever posted to a web site saying MN DNR 
screws firefighters?   If  you resemble none of the above, then maybe MN DNR 
foresters are truly swamp scum, but I truly doubt all of them are.  My 
suggestion is to mend some fences before you start looking at new pastures. 

State Guy

05/02 PW Eric, the pic was taken on the west side, notice the clouds?  If you are 
looking for engine designs, contact the contractor in Sultan and have a look 
at his rig, truly impressive.  He is listed in the National Contract and the
only one in Sultan.

Fire Pup,  have been following your posts, it seems you are looking for 
employment with the Feds, don't sell the guys who drive red engines short. 
You have two seasons to look around, do some comparison shopping.  Depending 
on where you live you may be able to get S-130/S-190, plus a few other
courses, thorough a community college, the more training you have the more 
"employable" you are.  On the West side: Lower Columbia, Olympic, Skagit CC 
and Bates Voc Tech offer wild land courses.


05/02 Dana there are several ways your association could issue Red Cards.

The best way, would be to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding. The
MOU is used by associations in Region 6 (WA OR) to certify private, and non
state/federal firefighters. You must certify that the people received
nationally accepted training, from Nationally certified instructors. You
have to keep good records, perform the 3 mile hike,  and standards for
survival yearly.

Contact your region contracting officer.  if they couldnt issue an MOU they
would know who could.

05/01 Hey firefolks,

Can anyone tell me how we can get our red cards issued without the cooperation of our state forestry organization?

Firefolks from MN had decided that since the State of MN was failing to pass on our names to the national availability list we would make our own list and send it out via email to interested parties...and there were many that were interested in our trained experienced members. Unfortunately we based the "qualifications" on those listed on our red cards...which we thought at the time was a good idea. The state however decided they could prevent us from leaving before they were "done with us" by refusing to issue our red cards. Dirty pool. 

My apologies to all waiting for our list (NEWRL) to be sent for the first time we are apparently stuck at this phase due to the red card issue.

So can anyone tell me how our organization "The MN Wildland Firefighter Association" can take over issuing red cards from the state? Are there any
alternatives? Our state DNR has been screwing its' firefighters for so long they think its' their right...that they own them. Last year they could not keep
up with attrition...this year they were in worse shape. If they would just wise up and treat our members as required by law they would have more
firefighters than they know how to use...But as it is they have so many quit in disgust after discovering they have been screwed that they are getting a
greener group all the time.

Any way...we have lots' of folks ready to work on fire...nearly anywhere else but MN...we just need to get our red cards issued.

Dana Linscott
Vice chair

05/01 Let us take a moment and send prayers for Dave Liston, his family and friends.

Dave Liston, a 3rd year jumper in Alaska, was killed today, when on a practice jump, both his main and reserve parachute failed to deploy.
From what could be determined from the impact site, Dave had pulled all the correct rip-cords, but to no avail. Needless to say his crew is devastated.

I didn't know him, this message was sent to me from a friend who worked with him, but regardless, it still brings tears to my eyes. Life is short, no matter how hard we try to be safe, sometimes it is just taken away, with no reason. m2

05/01 AB. I noticed some talk a little while ago about an alarming rate of failures at a recent s-190 course. Kinda scary to me. But the other side of this coin is that if they fail that basic course then they may not endanger the rest of us on the line. 

I would like to thank and recognize the cadre of s-490 for bravery above and beyond the call of duty. With three sessions this year and a total of 81 students statewide they only had 6 people who did not pass.  It probably isn't anymore but 490 used to be the toughest class out there, those of you who have been can vouch for that. There was even a fella from the Texas Forest Service down at Lil T. Anyway my thanks to those folks on the cadre for a job well done !!
Later, Dave

05/01     New Jersey fire crews manage 400 plus acre fire in the Southern Division 
Div.C Section 4. Crews were hampered with radical justy winds and warm temp 
with low hum. Initial crews of 3 type six engines and a dozer unit were 
unsuccessful at containment when fir jump their lines numerous time. Crews 
abandoned positions and retreated to a wildlife management feed strip of 
approx. 200 ft wide fire jumped the strip and headed for Estelle Manor Rd. 
crews stopped the fire on Estelle Manor Rd and contained numerous spot fires. 
3 fixed wing drop plans, 1 helo, and 12 power wagons, 3 dozer units along 
with the local fire companies contained the fire at 20:15 hr. on Sunday the 
fire Started at !4:10 Sunday. Sorry a little shakey tonight just got off the 
line  E.
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