"THEY SAID IT" ARCHIVES
AUGUST 2000

 

DATE
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08/31 Kellybob,

The tridat wildland firefighter safety awareness study called for creating a PROFESSIONAL environment to improve FF safety awareness. You should read it. Regardless of why the current series was chosen in the 1950s, how can FF today be considered professional if they are not even tecnically called firefighters? If ALL firefighters had a designation other than firefighter, then maybe we could just call it semantics and the status quo, but wildland firefighters are one of the few groups of firefighters who do not get credit for what they do. I say, give us our name! We are WILDLAND FIREFIGHTERS and we want the world to call us that!

Rod

08/31 To MOC4546,

Amen! Well said.

firegirl.net

08/31 HI AB,

INFO guy, first I want to say that this is a good and open forum for all to air their opinions and feelings regarding wildland fire. I support your right to say how you feel even if we disagree, and I hope you will respect my disagreeing with you on this point.

Wildland Firefighters in the Federal Agencies under GS Series 0462, 0455, 0303, and others should have their own series and pay scale similar to the Federal Structural GS Series 0081. Wildland firefighters are listed as forestry and range techs so the government doesn't have to pay the proper benifits or wages for the job done. We fight fires, we put out fires, we get injured fighting fires, and we die fighting fires. WE DON'T DIE AS FORESTRY TECHNICIANS!! WE ARE FIREFIGHTERS!!!

In 1994 Department of Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt eulogized the 14 who died on Storm King Mountain as "Firefighters", not forestry technicians, not range Techs, not silviculturists, not timber markers, not recreation techs, but as firefighters. Over the 18 years I have been a firefighter, I have seen the crap the federal firefighters have put up with as far a pay disparities, unscrupulous supervisors cutting fire time to make themselves look better, lack of benefits and retirement, people being led on "just hang on another season we'll get you made permanent next year", and it hasn't been different until the last few years with the single Grade upgrades to the USFS fire crews (ie a GS-05 AFEO became a GS-06 AFEO) which took a real long time to accomplish.

From what I have seen, just because we would get our own series (say GS-0082) doesn't mean we would be doing only fire missions. In my own personal opinion, we should be doing fire-related missions, not being free labor for someone's BS spotted owl-deer reservoirs-timber cruising tasks that are others' responsibilities and who use fire staff as a way to get them to do their jobs for them. If Fire had the resourses they needed and were allowed to their jobs with adequate year-round funding and far less intrusion by overhead, things would get accomplished. More people would get the training they needed. Fire Management could start getting more Pro-Active projects going such as hazard fuel reduction that would help reduce the acres burned and marketable timber lost to wildfire, and interface protection programs within both state and federal lands.

So INFO, I'm glad that you like being a Snow Ranger, and a Recreation Tech, and whatever non-fire tasks you may do, but it doesn't sound like you like Fire, and if so, why don't you get out of Fire and go and do these things full time. Could it be that if you do you'll lose a lot by changing positions and may get far less in retirement benefits?

Getting rid of federal wildland firefighters and replacing them with Contractors is NOT THE THING TO DO! You lose control, quality management, and accountability without having the Agency Fire Programs. Contractors fill a lot of needed missions that free up government fire crews and there will always be a need for contractors, but to turn contractors loose and say "here, run Fire Management with no controls" is not the solution.

Guess what else INFO, with the progressive changes in expanding our scope of responsibilities (ie Medical Aids, Traffic Accidents, Haz-Mat, and Structure Fires) like the BLM and NPS have been doing, we need to be better at it, we need to be prepared for it, we need to do it, and the taxpayer expects it from us because all they see is a fire engine with red lights and sirens and they expect us to take care of the problem regardless of engine colors being red, yellow, white, slime green, or puke green. The people who work in wildland fire and in municiplal fire agencies are not "lazy asses" and have a lot of responsibilities, training, skills, and constant testing they all have to do besides responding to fires. They are in good shape all the time and ready for battle because if they are not, there are a thousand guys waiting to take their place.

Guess what, change is what's coming. It sounds like you're one of these "We only do brush fires" people who are so entrenched in their dinosaur ways that they won't accept any kind of changes. Is it because you're afraid of taking on more responsibilities that can be easily learned? Are you like the guy who 13 years ago said, "This is a Forest Service fire, and I only want Forest Service fire units on it. Not BLM, not volunteers, not CDF, not NDF, just Forest Service." And low and behold he lost the fire and caused over 2 million dollars in property damage and an estimated 10 million dollars in marketable timber. All because he wouldn't accept help from other agencies. A supreme court case finally settled things two years ago and ruled that the forest service WAS AT FAULT because he made that decision. Are you one of these people? Have you been the one who's gone to a family who's about to lose a home in the interface and said "Too bad, Mr. Homeowner. You're going to lose your house to a wildfire and even though you did your defensible space I'm going to let it burn because I only do brush fires and I'm going to teach you a lesson for building out here." Is this you? If you're not prepared to accept the changes coming or are trying to stall the changes you're the one who's going to be left behind.

I've been all over Region 5. I spent my first paid season in San Bernardino and I worked with a lot of people from Southern California. None of the people I worked with (either engine, hand crew, helitact, or support) were lazy or trying to get out of work. You may have seen these crews get discouraged because they have to deal with managers who play games rather than shoot straight and support their employees. But when it comes to responding to the fire they are jack up, motivated, and want to get the fire out.

If you don't want to support your fellow firefighters who want better pay, better benefits, and better working conditions then that's your choice. But don't try to take these people down because you're not happy.

I support and encourage you all to support a professional wildland firefighter series for better pay, better benefits, and progressive changes so that we may become a more professional fire organization. What needs to happen is Wildland Fire Management needs to be completely taken away from the Forest Service, BLM, the National Park Service, BIA, and US Fish and Wildlife Service and merged into a single federal willdland fire management service where those outside fire can't play games with the budget or with staffing. That would solve a lot of problems fire management agencies are all going through.

We all need to stop taking two steps forward and three steps back.
I've added my share for this month. Thanks.

MOC4546

08/31 -- The earlier post about the firefighter series is RIGHT ON, and I'm glad to see someone finally point this out. The current job series were initiated back in the late 1950s in order to recruit and retain firefighters. The report's online.

"Career limitations in the present fire control aid series result in the loss of well qualified fire men to woods and other industries, state and county protection agencies [still a problem in 2000], and other jobs where better careers are available. This situation makes it difficult to recruit and develop additional suitable men in this category. There is in-service competition in that better careers are available in the timber management jobs of the forestry aid series. The men involved in these positions are the people who provide the local experience and stability which is important in the fire control job."

You can read about this in the 1957 report to the Chief, posted on the R5 FIRE site at www.fs.fed.us/r5/fire/1957 and learn WHY firefighters are forestry techs and so on.

.... And back to L.A.V.E ---- you say Clinton "robbed the USFS budget to acquire more land." Izzat so? And on what do you base this harebrained idea? Clinton doesn't mess with the FS budget. Why don't you take a short course in government and find out how the budget process works?

Then you talk about the "tippy top managers" and you mention Interior Secretary Bruce Babbit and Secretary of the Interior Dan Glickman. Jeeeeez, dude, read a newspaper or something. You say "these gentleman are heads of a large organization." Well, yeah, two departments, actually, Ag and Interior. You say they may not know what is what. I can guarantee you that you don't get to be a Secretary without knowing what is what. You say they aren't listening to their advisors. On what are you basing THAT?

If you want to just bitch, then just bitch. But if you want anyone to take you seriously, find out what you're talking about before you go off half-cocked.

kellybob

08/31 I don't think that the US Government should create a new pay series for wild land fire fighters. It should stay the same. 0462 for Forest Service employees. If we didn't have this series then I wouldn't be able to work in other fucntions during the winter months. I've been a Snow Ranger, Rec Tech and filled other jobs during the winter months. If we had a series just for fire fighters then I wouldn't be able to do this. For those of you that havn't been around a while the Forest Service use to have it's own fire series and it was changed for the above reason. So it already exsist. If I remember right it was the fire control series. the other reason I don't want to see the series change is because I don't want to see the wildfire agenices become like municipal departments and do nothing. We still have to throw dirt, swing tools and lay hose. I've seen all the Southern California Engines become "lazy asses" except for a handfull becuase they want to be like municipal departments. I also feel that Region 5 is the brunt of all this. I say that they contract out to save tax payer dollars and get rid of the fire organization except hotshot crews.

No firefighter pay series!
INFO

08/31 Kellybob,

As to some of the tippy top managers who should be leaders, first and foremost is Bill Clinton. The man robbed the USFS budget to acquire more land and that left less for fire suppression. Second, Interior Secretary Bruce Babbit and Secretary of the Interior Dan Glickman. These gentleman are heads of a large organization and may not know what is what but they have, at least I hope they have, trusted advisors who "should" know what is what. And DAMN IT they should be listening to these folks. If they aren't, as seems to be the case, we get a real mess, i.e. insufficient coverage for crews, forests, engines, etc., and that results in not being prepared for an extreme Fire Season 2000. As I said in my last post, maybe I am an idiot but as the old sixties saying goes, "You don't have to be a weather man to see which way the wind is blowing."

I will admit I don't know everything and I sure don't pretend to have all the answers, but at the very least I am trying to be part of the answer! Be Safe and watch out for your brothers and sisters out on the line.

L.A.V.E.

08/31 Check out GeoMAC http://wildfire.usgs.gov wildfire.usgs.gov (public web site) or geomac.usgs.gov (wildland fire manager web site) for an on-line mapping application. Detailed maps with current AVHRR data, sit reports, fire perimeters, fire light (DMSP data), aviation hazards, shaded relief, roads, city names etc.... Pass the word!!!!!

BB

Firescribe introduced this to us on 8/21, but it is amazing and deserves another look. BTW, CIIM Team2 has what appears to be a permanent link to it on its current assignment page. Ab.

08/30 Hey Pappy and "they said" gang,

I couldn't agree more about the Dateline or 20/20 idea. I can see it now, Tom Brokaw doing a "fleecing of America" segment on firefighter pay scale/benefits disparities.

You are right about the general public having absolutely no clue about how the fire organization/pay scales etc. work. I sat next to a guy from Maine while flying over the fires in Idaho and started explaining what actually goes on on the ground. He was amazed and had no idea that the majority of firefighters were seasonal. Too bad I wasn't sitting next to some congressman.

What an AMAZING view from 35,000 feet above Idaho and Montana. A much different perspective than I am used to from a helicopter.

Thoughts and prayers for our fallen breathren. Stay safe out there everyone, it could be Californias turn next, don't let your guard down.

firepup21

08/30 Reply to Als comments on fuels reduction:

I would to second that comment about SERIOUS FUELS REDUCTION by LOGGING and PRECOMMERCIAL THINNING and RX BURNING. As a foreman on a thinning crew since 1993 I can attest to the changes in fuels thinning has on a stand of trees, the key is tractor piling as much slash as possible following the thinning. I have had the opppurtunity to view both kinds of thinnings in precommmercial size (2-10" DBH) and commercial sized trees (greater than 10" DBH). Our district is being currently logged with a CTL (Cut to Length Harvester) this machine works very well on thinning commercial stands but is a bit expensive to operate. It falls the tree, delimbs it and bucks it to specified lengths to be picked up by the forwarder which takes the logs back to the landing. To date this type of system has been used on 2000 acs of ground on our district. There are currently 3 more sales that are going to be logged using this system, all the stands are second growth timber that has grown up from heavily cut over ground during the railroad logging in the 1930s. After logging, the slash left can be underburned or tractor piled. I am very curious to see how the public reaction will play out following this fire season. Maybe the politicians will finally take notice and free up some $ to do some management instead of watching it alll burn up. Everyone keep heads up out there.

Burt

08/30 Hello everyone--

I am noticing the there are a bunch of people that read this site every day and many of them, like myself, have a sincere interest in seeing the federal firefighter classification series passed. We need to get our message out NOW!!! Every night in the news wildland firefighters are portrayed as heros that are willing to risk limb and life to save our nations resources. While the recognition is nice, we need to redirect the public's attention to the issues that really concern us. In two months from now the snow will start falling and the focus is going to be on all the things that the Forest Service and other land agencies DIDN'T do in order to prevent the fires of 2000. I believe that Ab here hosts a forum from which we can start this.

Some of the ideas that I have include getting someone, that is a little more techno saavy than myself, to come up with an electronic form (that states the signee's desire to have his/her representative or senator to support bills HR 2814 and S 1498) that can be filled out online and forwarded to the politicians electronically. This form could then be filled out by not only those of us on the firelines, but by friends and family as well. It would be a good way to get a great number of people involved.

Another thing that could really help out is getting the issue into the press. Can you imagine the public support that we could gather if we had 48 Hours or Dateline do a segment on the sham that federal wildland firefighters are receiving? This could start even at the local level. If anybody knows any local newspaper reporters, why don't you take them out for a beer sometime and tell them about the situation. It would be an interesting story for the public. I am sure the majority of the public has no idea that our politicians, though they claim to support us, have been avoiding the real issues here.

I would be interested in hearing what the rest of you think. Until then...Be SAFE!!!

Pappy

08/30 Photo Contributors:
I think I'm caught up with the credits for the photos that I've put up in the last few weeks. Thanks. If you've sent in a photo, check to see that I gave you credit for it and let me know if you do or don't want your name on the descriptions page.

For the many non-firefighters who have been writing to ask about firefighting:
There was a phone number for wannabe FF to call at the end of the article KellyBob gave us. The area code for Missoula is (406). Ab.

08/30 Firescribe: Clarification, The meeting was July 26, 2000 with the Civil Service/Govt reform sub-committee. Regardless of the Past, The administration did not support the Bill. The Agency's Reps did not attend and the meeting was cancelled. How about South Canyon, Interior and USDA were to "correct the pay & classification issues"? The Federal Wildland Fire budgets have been in the news for five years. It's an election year, so now the Administration supports lifiting the pay cap. Thats nice, kinda like a hot meal instead of an MRE. Thank You Mr. President. I hope the folks on the Hill keep working toward a fair Wildland Firefighter classification. Hope that clears up the message! Thanks for the Web site info............
Neadermeyer
08/30 Hello,

I am looking for a 40-50 second clip of a fire to use in a video my son and I are preparing for my youngest son's 40th birthday this October. He is a safety engineer/fire trainer at Hanford.

The scene we have in mind is one where my birthday son is standing in the foreground teaching. My older son will 'morph(?)' in the mouth and the sound. While my birthday son is 'bragging' about how safe the area is thanks to his diligence, a fire, or several fires, spring up in the background. He keeps talking and doesn't notice.

We need a stationary scene, not one where a camera is panning the area. Can you provide me with such a scene or direct me to a site where I can download one?

Thank you in advance for any help.
MKW

08/29 Blue Red Card in Dixie:

Contact your regional (in state) deputy fire marshal?? or directly contact the Kansas State Fire Marshall. He/She will most likely be the POC for getting your apparatus committed to an incident. Also you could contact the regional (Eastern Coordination Center) (this one most likely) to see if you can get a contract/assignment with a federal agency to an incident.

It sounds like you need to some majoring pushing to the state level to get things moving.

Zimm

08/29 I have nothing against the USO, but isn't this a little bit overboard?
Maybe the Forest Service could use some cheerleaders...
www.uso.org/news/press_releases/081700.php

Hickman

08/29 -- To the local agency volunteer engineer who wondered why the "Gov-mint" isn't using pickup crews. Read the story about this in the Missoulian about this. And which "tippy top leaders" exactly do you think are shy on management skills lately?

kellybob.

08/29 To Jeff in Kansas,

You need to talk to Daniel Tune, Fire Protection Specialist, he works for the Kansas Forest Service in the state office. You can get his phone number and email off of the Kansas Forest Service web site. He is a get something done kind of guy and I know that he would love to see you get the experience. Let him know that Pappy from Las Vegas said "Hey!!!".

Pappy

08/28 Check out CIIMT Team 2's fireline photos at the bottom of the page under Fire Photos. A surprise here. Ab.
08/29 Danny,

You talk about the Valley Complex being so large and asking how we slay a monster. I'm in briefly from Idaho. Big fires there, too. I don't think we can slay the beast. I think Stutler and most ICs know that all we can do at this point is herd it around, away from interface homes and businesses, away from towns where possible -- and keep our people safe in the process. I've heard also that there's been an effort to pick-up new fires on IA, so we don't have more unstaffed fires. We just don't have the resources to focus on any more beasties. Winter is probably the only thing that will finally put down these fires, as it did the huge Kirk and the Big Bar fires last year. Those rains may be months away.

My guess is that we're in a new fire era. Either we catch fires on IA, and/or let the big ones burn, or institute SERIOUS fuel reduction processes with selectively logging mid-sized trees and Rx burning.

God, it's great to be out of the smoke. As others, I echo, stay safe my friends.
AL

08/29 Maybe I'm an idiot but why hasn't the Gov-mint put out a call to all local agencies and collect a few bodies here, a few there that meet the Red Card requirements for what ever they need. Make ad hoc hand crews, Type II crews or if you have enough raw resources, leaders, etc. make some Type I crews. I know what some people will say but drastic times call for drastic measures. (By all means I am not for sending any unqualified or inexperienced people to the front lines, just a thought on resource management. Something the Gov-mint seems to be shy of these days ( at least the tippy top "leaders")). Well someone else can have the soap box now.
Thanks, be safe out there, God be with our fallen brothers and sisters and lets not kill any more of us.

Local Agency Volunteer Engineer

There's a shortage of hand crews, but even more important, a shortage of leaders. Ab.

08/29 Neadermeyer--
Are you saying that Clinton cancelled meetings since he recently promised to remove the caps? If not, your post is a little misleading.

All--
There's an explanation of the overtime pay cap deal on the USFS FIRE NEWS page, along with links to the Fair Labor Standards Act and related reports.

Firescribe

08/29

Dear sir,

We are GIFTEX CORP. located in United Arab Emirates dealing with government departments in Gulf Area countries. We are looking for a FIRE STATION MANAGMENT CONSULTANT in USA. If you can help us and give us a list of MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT OFFICES in the USA, U.K, and Canada. This is very urgently needed.

Your immediate reply will be highly appreciated.

Best Regards
Manager for the Giftex Corp.

08/28 AMAZED,

I hope as you do that no one gets killed or injured by the arrogance of the governor that you describe. But since he wants all the credit for all that he is doing, by all means be sure to do all that you can do to see that he gets the blame for whatever goes wrong.

True, equipment can be replaced but the operators that are on them are just as human as any of us and they have families at home also. It would truly be a tragedy for the loss of a life because of arrogance or lack of knowledge.

Just wanted to add my "two cents". I greatly admire the work that most everyone is doing (except this fellow Gov. Janklow).

We are staying plenty busy fighting our fires here in TX so
everyone please Stay Safe,
Keith

08/28 Just got back today from Montana (Monture/spread fire) no resources, big fire. They worked the handcrews to death but that is what handcrew do, the southside of the spread was held with two handcrews (3.5 miles of hand line) with 40 mph winds, pucker factor was 10. I am taking a few days off and then back to the grind. Hello to all my friends and to all my brother and sister firefighters. Stay safe and upwind.

CF5945

08/28 I tuned into C-SPAN today for over 3 hours of hearings on Wildfire...which were very interesting. They took place on 8/14/00 and were being rebroadcast.

In one particularly well prepared segment the General Accounting Office was testifying regarding its' investigation of the Cerro Grande/Los Alamos fire.

The GAO seemed to be pegging the responsibility for the Cerro Grande fire on several things: The inexperience of the burn boss. The unwillingness to use chain saws and bulldozers to build adequate firelines prior to lighting the prescribes burn and for too long after it was evident that it was "out of control". But most of all they seemed to place much of the responsibility on the refusal of the dispatch center to provide resources until the prescribed burn had been declared a "wildfire" due to interagency discrepancies on the definition of "wildfire".

The agency lighting the fire had received assurances that adequate resources were available to control it should it slop over the prescribed burn perimeter from the dispatch center prior to lighting the fire. But when they actually requested that resources be dispatched to the out of control fire the dispatch center refused to dispatch the needed resources since the agency running the dispatch center had a policy of not dispatching resources to a "prescribed burn" only to wildfires. Since the agency requesting the resources were unaware of this policy, they kept requesting resources to help control a "prescribed burn" rather than a "wildfire" and so were repeatedly turned down. According to the GAO, the requesting agency finally "pulled an end run" by requesting resources for a nearby wildfire and then diverting them to the "prescribed burn".

This circumvention of policy did not escape the attention of the dispatch center for long and later requests for resources were dispatched with a 9 to 12 hour delay. Coincidentally the need for resources always exceeded the resources sent. Until it was too late.

What a bureaucratic nightmare. Previous testimony had been given that, due to the ponderous bureaucratic institution that fire suppression agencies now are, it is all but impossible to unify them enough to avoid a succession of catastrophic wildfire seasons. He suggested that the legislature earmark funds specifically for retention of existing experienced firefighters as they would inevitably be needed in upcoming seasons and at least that money would be put to good use.

I couldn't help but notice that the chair kept threatening repercussions to folks fairly high up in FIRE for funds designated for fire and fuel control never making it to the fireline. That seemed to make those folks squirm around on thier chairs quite a bit. Its' about time!

Fireronin

08/28 Studebaker's Team 2 CIIMT website is up!

www.fs.fed.us/fire/teams/studebaker/team2-current.php

They're on the Thompson Flat Complex, Superior District, Lolo National Forest, Montana. If you click on the current assignment page, there are pictures of camp. Pictures of fire soon to come!

Firescribe

08/28 The governor of South Dakota, Bill Janklow, is at it again. He, the State Forester, and the General in charge of the state's National Guard are attempting to personally make tactical decisions about the management of the 62,000 acre JASPER fire (which is in the Black Hills near Custer, SD). He has no inclination to work with the organization of a large fire, and frequently takes independent action regarding ordering resources.

Volunteer Fire Department engines are showing up on the fire that have not been ordered through the system. They just head for the smoke, find someone who looks like they are in charge, and go to work. There is no accountability for these engines, no thought about how they fit into the organization, no thought about span of control, no thought about priorities, and little or no timekeeping. There is even a report that a high level state employee, who was not part of the fire organization, was planning a backfire without the knowledge of the Incident Management Team.

He apparently has a strong dislike for anything Federal, and is taking 100% of the credit for all the work that has occurred on the fire so far. He will not acknowledge that there are any resources on the fire other than South Dakota state resources. He does everything he can to discourage interagency cooperation. The Governor, the State Forester, and the high level state fire people are arrogant, demanding, ignorant about wildfire, and extremely uncooperative. They make it very unpleasant to have to work in an environment that includes these people. Some highly qualified Federal firefighters have said they hope they never have to work on a fire again that involves high level State of South Dakota personnel.

Janklow's big thing is dozers. He personally dispatched 17 National Guard dozers to the fire; most of them D-8 and D-9's, that are great for building roads and runways, but lousy for building a fireline on the side of a hill. They spend a lot of their time stuck--immobile--near the fire.

Professional wildfire management requires a dozer boss for every 2-3 dozers. The governor says that is not necessary, and that if a dozer gets burned over because the operator knows nothing about wildfire, he will just buy another one. When asked, "What about the operator" that gets burned over, he said, "Anyone can outrun a fire".

This governor is making a dangerous job even more dangerous. I hope he does not get someone killed. The question is: how do you stop an idiot like this? If we wait to vote him out of office, it might be too late.

Sign me, AMAZED

08/28 We know Mr. Clinton has knowledge of the Classification and pay issues. He had the chance to present his views before the House sub committee's. He declined to have the agency reps show up. He cancelled the meetings!

The FWFSA President should just be called to the White House by Mr. Clinton. Im sure a Very Professional Wildland Firefighter could give the President a real world, ground pounder's viewpoint of the issues of maintaining a highly skilled wildland fire service.

So........ If Mr. Clinton Really reads "They said"....... invite FWFSA to the White House.
Ok........ the other answer........ Little Jimmy Pisser has the right idea.
Meanwhile........ alot of Professional Wildland firefighters are bustin their butts, because they are "Wildland Firefighters" called forestry techs.

Senator Burns and Congressman Pombo are leading efforts to remove the pay cap and classification issues. I would suggest Clinton takes notice of the bills and support them by signing. That action would go along way. Let's see the Washington Post print "Clinton Cleans Up Pay Issues"!

Neadermeyer

08/28 Dear Ab,

I am the Fire Chief of a medium sized municipal fire department. We are full time paid firefighters. Although I and my troops have never fought a Western-type wildland fire, we don't live in a concrete jungle, in fact, we find ourselves in the woods quite often. We want to help. We are not seeking money or adventure. We want to help because we are firefighters.

It is perplexing to us to see soldiers, marines, and foreign firefighters thrown into a fight that has been referred to as a national emergency, and yet, we sit at home. WE HAVE RED CARDS! I've looked at the battle boards and see that my state has not committed any assets to the fight. I suspect this may be the problem. If my state is to C.S. to deploy us, should we deploy ourselves? What do you advise? We are more than willing to do WHATEVER needs to be done. We'll sling hash in the base camp mess hall if that's what's needed.

THE EXPERIENCE CONUNDRUM: You don't have experience!
If you don't ever go, where exactly do you get it?
Thanks.
Blue Red Card in Dixie

08/28 Well this is a common request I bet. We are a Fire Department in Kansas looking to use some of our equipment on the fire line. I have people trained to FFII level, but no Engine Bosses. How do I find some and how do I contract these trucks to get them out.

thanks,
Jeff

08/27 Ab, here are my thoughts on one incident:

Future outlook: We can expect continued winds today out of the west. A Red Flag Warning is in effect.
Valley Complex contains more than 200 miles of uncontrolled fire perimeter. 197,570 acres @ 15% containment w/no fixed wing assets. Would this possibly be a worst case senario?
The info above is today's report from the Valley Complex in Montana. How in the world is this thing ever going to be contained/controlled? How do you slay a monster?

Danny

08/27 URLs complements of Firescribe:

Blowup in Idaho, all are alright.
www.missoulian.com/display/inn_news/news02.txt

Montana Community doing its share to be prepared:
www.missoulian.com/display/inn_news/news01.txt

Update on the Storrie Fire in CA
www.fs.fed.us/fire/news.shtml

08/27 Hi all-

Just wanted to drop a line in to say hi and all. I've been thinking a lot about this fire season, knowing you all have as well, wondering what will come of it. My eyes well up when I think of the people we've lost this year, and I'm scared to see what other news will come across the wires. In this small community, someone I know seems to know every one of the people we've lost, or know of them. With so many new people working (military), and people working (and managing fires) who are out of their normal element, the risks are high.

I've tried to follow the media on all of this when I'm not at work, but I have few chances to. From what I see, it's not paid much attention. CNN's Headline News today has some pretty pitiful coverage, with Glickman saying most fires are occurring in areas with roads that have been logged or exposed to logging, rather than occurring in wilderness areas. Is this really true, I'm wondering? They also said 1.6 million acres had burned for about 3 hours, until someone corrected them with 6 million, then 5.8. I'm not sure how to better cover this stuff, but in my mind we are at some sort of national crisis level. NIFC is working with FEMA to advise them that we ("the fire service" as we're so often called) won't be able to contribute much at all to any hurricane problems, and California hasn't even started to burn yet. I was thinking about all of this the other night, and about the incident command system. For years, I've been such a fan of the whole thing, explaining to all my non-fire friends and relatives how cool the system is to be able to expand and contract according to what is needed.

However, we're all expanded out. Looking from a worldwide perspective, the U.S. is simply out of fire resources. The U.S., military powerhouse, supposedly the toughest, best-off country in the world. But, we're stretched thin. We're getting resources from American Samoa, from Canada, from Australia. What happens if it gets worse, or if the hurricane season is bad, etc. etc. Can FEMA pick up the slack? Is the groundwork in place to tie in local and volunteer FDs and emergency services nationwide to pull even more resources? To me, it seems like something we work on sometimes, but for the most part, a lot of the potential falls to the side as people are wary of moving to the incident command system and giving up a system they are used to. Et cetera, et cetera.

Well, I don't know much about the state of the whole thing, but I've been trying to learn as much as I can about emergency management and disasters the last few years. The more I learn, the more I see there is to learn (like anything), but I also see that what looks like a perfect set-up is not necessarily. Clearly this year a system that should be effective is not as good as it should be, whether it's because of slowly eroding budgets, severe training deficiencies, lack of full-time/year-round staff, or the "100 years of logging practices" (did you mean fire suppression??) media keep talking about.

Guess I could ramble on for hours about this. I'm sure everyone else's buttons have been pushed as well. Last week I saw an article about a thinning program started near Flagstaff that Babbit suggested could be used all over. Okay, now that's a good idea. Throw out ecosystem management, and bring in something that works in the arid ponderosa pine ecosystem for the entire country. I'm more than a little nervous about the policy and management practices that come out of this season. So, do we go to nationwide thinning, and throw out RX fire? Log everything and turn the rest into "fire use fire?" Why not try to stop insurance companies from insuring people who have pine trees hanging over their shake shingles, and make laws and ordinances to prevent UI (urban interface) problems so we don't have wildland firefighters stuck without the right gear or the training defending structures? So that we don't spend more time defending structures than fighting the fire? How about some practical policy?

Wow, now I'm really on a roll. Forgive me for ranting. Be safe out there, and enjoy yourselves for those of us who are office-bound this season...

--still watching (just from a different perspective)

08/27 Here is our Durango Fire logo. Post it on the logo page if you like.
C Shift
Durango, CO

Done. I put it on the Logo 2 page. Ab.

08/27 Ab--
here is a scan of the pins that were made in rememberance of our fallen bros here in utah. if you would post this or make a link for it so others may view it. you may feel free to add any message to this. i feel that it speaks for itself and thought others may want to see it.
thanks again
PC

I put it on the miscellaneous photos page. Ab.

08/27 DH,

This is my first time posting to theysaid. What prompted me is your post. Thank you for that. You said it all so very clearly -- I was touched. Relationships are hard for firefighters and their families. Firefighters, especially in this season, often feel split loyalties -- between their responsibility to fire and their need for and responsibility to their family. I think we guess well at what our families go through. It often seems there is little we can do when we're on the fireline. Many relationships cannot withstand the pressures. Thirty years and some relationships later, I agree with you that ultimatums do not work. Thank you DH for sharing your insights and thank you all fire families for keeping the home fires burning. We need your support.

Firewolf

08/27 To Firescribe, and the author of the wonderful free verse on politician pandering a few posts back--

The President must be reading theysaid and the Washington Post. Check out the sit report for today. Here's what it says!!! (Ab, please post the quote, since it will be updated tomorrow and readers may not get to see it.)
"President Clinton announced yesterday that he is granting immediate authority to appropriately compensate employees of the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture for "working long, stressful hours" in support of wildland firefighting efforts throughout the country. Federal employees who generally fill supervisory and management positions, are limited under the Fair Labor Standards Act, from receiving full overtime benefits. By granting this authority, those federal employees will now receive full time-and-a-half of their normal base salary for hours worked beyond their normal schedules. The agencies are currently establishing processes to meet the President's order."

I SAY, "RIGHT ON!"

To our President, Mr. Clinton--
Mr. President, this is an honorable move, a FAIR choice and action. Firefighters who work at all levels of the Fire Service are PROFESSIONALS. Thank you for acknowledging that by your actions toward pay equity for management. I would also ask that you right another inequity: Forest Service people who work in fire should be called "Firefighters" and given their own professional series. Currently they are designated as "Forest Technicians".

Overhead Smoke-eater

08/26 With tears in my eyes, I read of two lost firefighters, struck down by lightning. I would like to express my deepest and most heartfelt sympathies to the families, however, I am not sure that I have a way of communicating this to them.

I know that this time is very hard for those two families. Our family went through a recent, very sudden death of someone with great promise and hope for the future.

I can only say to the families, that they can hold their heads high and be proud of these two men.

Someone that I love dearly is out in Idaho right now fighting, along side his team members, to keep a town intact. I know that there have been times where they didn't think they would make it out alright. I know that they are sleeping in tents or in sleeping bags on the ground and that is only when they finally get to go to sleep for a couple of hours.

I know that when Mike knows fire season is coming up, it brings his spirits up high with anticipation and when the call comes in, his eyes light up and you can see his love for this job just as you can see your own face in the mirror.

The families of these great men and women also go through a hell of their own. Worry is one of our main focuses. But I can tell you right now, if something were to happen to Mike out there, I know that it was deep within his soul to do it and that he was doing it with great passion. He goes to great lengths to get the right training for it, but that doesn't mean things don't happen. I am so proud of him. Proud of the fact that he does what he does, no matter how dangerous the situation is. In fact the danger probably being one of the highest appeals about it.

And before you say it, it's not easy for me to say if something happened to him what I would think. We lost Mike's son three months ago, and we were able to say that no matter how young he was, he lived life to the fullest, attempting to live out all his dreams instead of just sitting on them and saying I wish I had. I would be more likely to be angry at myself or Mike if something happened to him and he had not attempted to do the things that he loved, to fulfill his dreams. I worry day and night about him. When he finally calls in the wee hours of the morning and I hear that he is okay, my heart jumps with happiness that is not matched by anything else. I can't wait until I get the call to come pick him up from the airport and he's holding me in his arms again. I miss him greatly. However, he's doing something that he needs to do, in his heart he needs to do it. I'll be damned if I understand it, probably never will. I imagine that is something that you have to go through to understand. But I do support it, and always will for as long as it's something that he is passionate about.

To any families that are dealing with this separation right now, keep your chins up, don't worry them with what you are going through when they call. Deal with it by talking to your family and friends that are at home. Your firefighter needs to be able to concentrate fully on the job at hand. Make them think that you are doing just fine and those tears aren't there, but that you are there when they come home.

Don't threaten them with leaving them if they ever go on another fire, it won't work! They love you, but they also have a very serious drive to do what they are doing and you can't stifle it with your fears. Tell them you love them every time they call, tell them you miss them every time they call, tell them how you have been keeping busy, ask them how things are going. Most important of all, make sure they know that you are there for them and support what they are doing even if you don't understand it.

Okay, I have taken up enough of your time, I just wanted to see if this could be put in the they said it page. I know that it's a page for the firefighters, but I don't know of any pages for the families to go discuss this and I wanted to express sympathies to those families and to let other families know how this one deals with a man in love with fire.

DH

08/25 I remember back in the 1980's when experienced firefighters were dropping out
like flies.
No need to retain firefighters, we had to finance Star Wars and other such BS.
I always wondered how a profession such has wildland firefighting could survive
after being gutted to that extent.
Would we ever see the consequences?
Would anyone even care?
As I look at the smoke in all directions and notice how fire seasons seem to
keep getting worse,
the answer seems obvious.
Our nation needs to wake up and smell the smoke.
You get what you pay for and the bill always comes due.
The time has come for a national fire and fuels management trust fund that
finances fire programs above 90% MEL and also provides
for national training academies for fire management excellence.
As politicians play ping-pong with our lives and our profession, they proclaim
that "Government is the Problem".
I say that government wildland firefighters are some of the best in the world.
I say that we need real support, not political and philosophical pandering.
Never again should we allow pin-headed politicians of either party to roll us
like they did during the 1980's.
And then wave a phony banner of support when smoke fills the sky.
Look at the record of your member of congress.
Did they support fire management in the budget process?
If not -- piss on em the next time they want to shake your hand on the fireline
for a good photo op.
Little Jimmy Pisser
The Fireman's Friend.
08/25 It's nice to see that at least the Forest Service got the spelling of the Flame-N-Go crew right. The major news stories have screwed it up lately, calling them the Flame-In-Goes, and even the NIFC website has it wrong. Have pity on a couple lost brothers, ya know, and a bit of respect for the crew. One of the fire magazines printed a story about the crew, and I can't find it online now. If anyone knows where it was, please post it here for us.
   .  Utah FF
08/25 As a contribution to the thread about pay inequities, here's one from the washingtonpost.com:
"Staffing, Pay Issues Catch Fire in Struggle to Fight Western Blazes"

On the Big Bar, the guy who drove the meal truck from firecamp to Denny made more money than the IC and many other overhead on the Incident Management Team. (I think anyone over a GS10.1 looses money on overtime.) I was incredulous when I found out that the IC took more than a $20/hr cut in pay when he worked late into the night! The buck stops with him with respect to safety and many other issues; he can't just quit after an 8 hr day. Who would want that kind of job? I'm dedicated to fire, but I might start to feel a little used! (OK, I know I usually don't comment too much. Musta pushed one of my firefighter FAIRNESS buttons!)

Firescribe

And whoever it is at the USFS Fire News is still pumping out quality articles like they're as easy as 209s!

08/25 Ab, please post this for the firefighters who died:

those who died i had shared the line with for over nine years. 2 years ago they were the ones who took care of me on the line when i was the one going out on the lifeflight. it's always a somber moment when you hear that one of our brothers didn't make it off the mountain. the media is making a circus out of this event and it's sad to see them do that. (one exception is the FS fire news with its report on the FLAME-N-GOS: thanks for the human approach. you are a good role model.)

what should be important out of all this is the fact that our brothers made the ultimate sacrifice for a public who in the next 2 months will have forgotten about the firefighters and the sacrifices that we make doing our jobs. i will miss my brothers on the line and am grateful that more didn't die on that mountain. for all those who continue to walk where the devil dances, may god be with you. never forget those who didn't make it home.

Ab, thanks for doing a great job on this site. it means alot to the firefighters.

PC

08/25 WOW, what happened to the USFS Fire News? It's great! I was off yesterday. Didn't look, and today it's a whole NEW, very professional site with interesting articles chocked full of fire information. Thanks WO/Boise for the change -- maybe thanks to Dennis Pendleton or Mike Apocello? A good site containing timely, interesting information for firefighters and the public makes my job a whole lot easier.

Firescribe

08/25 Deepwoods...

Thanks for the link and instructions on accessing the IBMM... I figured someone would know where this was.

Thanks again,
g

08/25 Ab, Could you please make a link to the FS News? I don't know the address, but a firefriend showed it to me and there's a good story about my friend who died and his team. Thanks for what you do.

Not a firefighter but still very sad

Sorry for your loss. Here is the site: www.fs.fed.us/fire/news.shtml. If you loose track of it again, it's easy to find. Notice the pattern of fs.fed.us/fire. That's our main USFS fire site. When that page comes up, you can click the NEWS button. This is a very well-written tribute that makes all firefighters proud in the midst of sadness. Ab.

08/25 Hola Ab and all you ground pounders.

I hope that those of you that had an opportunity to visit Pattee Canyon Staging near Missoula had a good experience. Our contract Resource Management Team busted their butts in order to be good hosts.

Since our team took over from the Type II team 8/1 we have provided all fire camp services to over 229 crews, 125 engines and over 400 overhead. We have also had our share of media and other interested agency folks thru our gates.

I'm leaving after a month here for another assignment. We have asked for comments from our guests. If we missed yours let it fly. Our email address at Pattee Canyon Staging pattee@micro-mania.net

We took over for an excellent Type II team headed by I.C. Swope. His folks made our job a whole lot easier. I also think we proved that a team of old farts along with some highly experienced OFs in training could get it done.

Have fun but stay safe.

Bob Alvord
Pattee Canyon I.C

08/24 To FR: Regarding AD's.
Yup. Interagency Business Management Handbook lists "crew member" as an AD-2. Training for a crew assignment is at the AD1 rate, once you pass the training AD-2 applies throughout your assignment. Manual also states that The rate appropriate for a specific skill shall be established at the point of hire......changed if the new area has established a higher rate. Unless there's more to the story, there is no justification to lower a rate. Find all you need to know on the nwcg web site.
Thoughts and prayers to those who lost loved ones yesterday.
Old Fire Guy
08/24 for those who havent got the news yet 2 firefighters were killed today (8/23) in utah. about 1400 hours. 2 firefighters lost their lives and reports of up to 5 more injured. i am sure the news will run with this but i thought you all would like to hear it from a firefighter first. maybe a few moments to reflect on those who have left us while in the line of duty.
god be with you
PC

Report of 2 firefighter deaths and 4 with injuries due to lightning in the morning sit report. Condolances. These are sad times. As facts can be confirmed, we will post or link to more information. Ab.

08/24 Hi Ab,

Tim in R-6, had to respond, think you need to get some facts straight. Burns had 5 task forces about 2 weeks ago, we also had fires. We used the task forces on the fires, worked pretty damn good. We had 3 type 3 incidents going, one was 2000+, one 880, and one 50 acre fire in the timber, that would not have stayed at 50 acres if we would not have had the resources we did. We had about 16 type 2 crews and 1 type 1 crew on zone, along with dozers, tenders and misc overhead. We had one shot at a caterer, and decided it would be best to deploy it central so we had it at the fair grounds, and brought everyone in at night so they could shower up and have hot meals twice a day. Sack lunches were getting pretty old after about 5 days in a row 3 meals a day. The region requested us to stage the crews after that until they could get orders, we placed resources into task forces, partly to put out side resource with zone people who had local knowlege and experience to keep the outside resources safe. It made sense, and it worked very well, we had type 3 IC's & TFLD's with each one, and a complement of local engines, dozers and tenders. When they got orders for the crews then we dispatched them to the fires, Montana, Idaho. The reason they did this was to keep crews together, and keep them closer to the border.

The task force in the Redmond Mob center was one of the National ones they put together for the Big Wind Event that Montana was suposed to get last weekend. They returned yesterday and the region kept them together. Several of the task forces that region 6 sent are still there, because it was the right thing to do. I believe that 13 were requested total. R6 sent 4 or 5, the region asked units to drop below critical draw down level to help those in need and we did.

The reason the region is staging crews and equipment on severity is because the Nation does not want any more large incidents that they can not support. Makes sense to keep them as small as possible and hit them with every thing we have. When you consider all that we have sent away in support of the efforts in Montana and Idaho, we are pretty lucky that we dont have large fires in this region. We currently have 6 engines off zone, and a lot of misc overhead, you have to support the fires that are burning, but you can not send everything and expect to be protected at home.

Central Oregon was hit with dry lightning tonight, they are pretty damn thankful that they had the task forces and misc. crews in the mob center that they had. The mob center will be cleaned out by morning. I talked to the night coordinator and they are going to be looking for more crews and equipment tonight to staff the fires they have. Helicopters and SEATS will be busy in the morning, so the stuff is not there to just look pretty.

Lets hope the president does not have to make another trip out west, it just slows the progress, they had to close the BOI airspace due to him being there, and then in McCall also. To me that does not seem very helpful. It just means that retardant can not load at the closest base, or jumpers dont get deployed. Would be nice if they could travel like the rest of the poor souls that get there by school bus.

For those of you on the front lines, hang in there and be safe, for those of you who have not yet gotten there, be safe when you do.

Inside track from one who experienced severe conditions in Montana when the rh hits 25: be very aware of your surroundings. Fire will be in the trees and moving rapidly. When it hits 17 or below, it will go nuclear, and you better know where your crew members are and where the safety zones are. This comes from a hotshot sup. who has been there.

Thanks again AB,
dispatcher

08/24 There is mention of resources being held back (hoarded) in Oregon and also of "Let's send 'em to Montana or Idaho" .....Well you won't find much action there either. A 19 man crew (R5) was sent to Montana 2 weeks ago; halfway there, they were diverted to Idaho. 19 men and a giant helicopter. They used the helicopter for bucket drops and left the crew behind doing nothing. They were told that they won't be fighting any fires unless a new one breaks out. Meanwhile on the home front the Storrie fire rages out of control..... Kind of frustrating to the guys who are wanting to do something but can do nothing.....

Firedawgsbabe

08/23 Hi All,
Just back from firecamp. Nice to be in a smoke-free environment and have a regular bed, even if briefly. (Not as young as I used to be!)

President Clinton cut loose of $150 million a few weeks ago. Seemed like big money then. But at $15 million a day that I heard the fires are costing us, doesn't last long. About time for another presidential visit? Guess not. Wouldn't want to draw too much attention to how costly this fire season is.

Babbit has promised that the Treasury coffers will continue to stay open. In his visit to NIFC (08/18), he said fire had an open draw on the Treasury to cover overtime, lodging, and transportation for fire crews.

Rumor has it that the fires might go as high as $1 billion. That's a thousand million or 67 days at 15 million a day. The Big Bar Complex started exactly a year ago on August 23 and continued until November, 76 days or so. If we have the same pattern of late fires this year, this season could easily cost us $2 billion or more.

Hmmmmmm... Would have been much smarter to plan for full fire funding at 100%MEL, have those monies actually reach the ground for fire (instead of being siphoned off in some forests by FS management), and to have some fuel reduction processes in place across forests of the US. Will we ever learn?

Fire Money Juggler

08/23 Yeah, FR,
You have one kind of problem with pay. We who live here near St.Louis MO have another. The State renegotiated the contract with the USFS and settled for *LESS* than the Federal wage! F/F from MO will only get paid the Missouri STATE wage for 40 hours and then time-and-a-half after that, not what others get who face the Dragon! I have some friends going out from here as STL qualified, one of the most needed categories of firefighter. These guys will get shorted at least $1700 on a two week tour! Obviously most of us don't fight fire primarily for the money, but this doesn't make sense to me! Any of you Missouri F/F know if guys that are hired on an hourly basis get paid for working only a regular shift (even if they work overtime) under this new pay plan? I'm almost afraid to ask...
Wildman, a MO F/F
08/23 why is R6 telling folks they are not needed to fight fires? ... well i am looking! red card engb, crwb, ict4, class b faller... i have been working for a pvt. contractor but i am now home. i have ppe and line gear.
...let me know
slookout69@aol.com
08/23 Hey,
Just got back from the Valley Complex. caught some good fire (BIG blowup on Sun 8-6, burnout w/Bitterroot HS, burnout at Lost Trail Ski resort, etc.).

For the Pa crew member that was complaining that they could not go out, there is a good reason for it. It's simple, if you could not pass the pack test then you can't go out. Get in shape and don't ruin the good reputation that the rest of us Pa crew members worked so hard to get.

To Brian Hicks, it was great working with you. Didn't get a chance to say goodbye. Thanks for letting us burn right up to the last minute. (We could have stayed till the end of the shift.)

Another question, How are the Canadians qualified? Do they have the same courses as us? It seemed that the guys in the yellow jump suits were really good, but the guys in the red jumpsuits needed some help.

Anyway, really beautiful country, and had a ton of fun.
DoorsMaurer
Pa crew #4

08/23 Anybody notice how many shot crews and other resources are being staged in the less ravaged parts of the West? I know here in Oregon most of the shots are at home and the region is hording resources like you would not believe. Several task forces and type 2 crews are also being staged in places like Redmond, with nothing to do. My BLM district has had two helicopters all year, and a SEAT just arrived!! I was told today that 5 task forces are being staged in Burns as well. With fire conditions here as bad as they are, there are no major fires burning in the NW. I know they are scared about "what if", but this is rediculous. Yesterday, I aided the local rurals on a 2 acre fire, and dispatch sent 3 contract engines, both helocopters and asked if a task force was needed. This is how badly these crews need something to do!!!!! I say send them to Montana and Idaho and deal with our fires if and when they happen!!!!

That is my 2 cents worth
Tim

08/23 Some stories of interest, complements of Firescribe.

Firefighter safety, a legacy of Storm King:
www.ravallinews.com/display/inn_news/news1.txt

Backfire saves a home:
www.mtfires.com/headline/backfire.php?id=3

Not a kind, understory burn.
Why our Congress might find it cheaper and safer to fund fuel reduction via prescribed burns and shaded fuel breaks. Look at the alternative:
Payette NF, Burgdorf Fire thanks to CA Team5

08/23 Could you please tell me how to find out the link to or information about the CIIM team? Was told you had a link for that, but can't find it.
Thanks.
PV

There are 16 Type I Incident Management Teams in the nation. CA teams 1, 3, and 5 have websites here: Vail's Team 1 (look for new photos here on heli-rappelling)
Gage's Team 3
Dague's Team 5
In addition, a site for Studebaker's Team 2 is under construction. We'll link to that when it's ready. There are also numerous Type 2 teams that are truely excellent. The large fires have websites or information available through the forests on the fires. If other teams have websites, would people let me know.

One useful site created by Region 1 (Northern Rockies) is this, which is worthy of bookmarking if you're following fires in this region: www.fs.fed.us/r1/pgr/fireinfo/summary.phpl.
This table is derived from the current national Sit (Situation) Report. Among other things, it tells fire name and Incident Commander's name. The nifty and very user-friendly thing is that you can click on the fire name to link to the info on the fire, sometimes photos, etc. Nice job, whoever designed that one! Wish the other regions or the WO would follow suit. Ab.

08/23 Are there any photos of fires in the Skalkaho complex? Thanks to all firefighters - be safe.
CM

This is all that I've been able to find.
www.fs.fed.us/r1/bitterroot/fire/skalkaho/images/8_20_skalkaho_photos.php
But click on some of the links to see other nearby fires, the terrain, etc. Also, see my reply to the next post. The Skalkaho is in R1. Ab.

08/23 David Wittkower is offering the video he produced for the Learning Channel called FIREFIGHT: STORIES FROM THE FRONTLINES for a discount (less than the 19.95 price) to theysaid readers. Just mention that you read this board when you order. E-mail him at Ctch22@aol.com for ordering details.
Firegirl
08/23 Ab,

MIFC (MN Interagency Fire Cache) is now trying to attract emergency firefighters by promising AD2 pay as the lowest pay rate to anyone who will go out west. Is this happening in other areas? I think it is a good idea...but hope that it isn't retroactively changed after they return. I have had several friends who after they returned from fire duty have had their pay rates changed on their red dogs retroactively. When they try to explain that they were hired at a higher pay rate and show the unchanged copy they came home with they are told tough luck. Who would want to return to fire after such an episode?

FR

08/22 This picture is of the Fork Fire and taken on the U.S.F.S. Engine 21.

Shane

08/22 g,

In answer to your question, yes, the Interagency Business Management Manual is available online in pdf format. Go to the National Wildfire Coordinating Group site at-
www.nwcg.gov

Click on the "publications" tab in the upper right corner of their home page. Then click on the publications button on the new page. There are 20 publications available on the page, the Bus. Mgmt. manual is one of them. There is also a button on the page that will lead you to a free download of the Adobe Reader needed to read the publications (if you don't already have it on your computer).

Deepwoods

08/22 Check Team 1's site for updates on the CA Plumas fire -- the Storrie. There's a new CIIMT site coming soon. I'm sure Ab will link to it as soon as it's up and running.

Here's a new satellite shot on the Storrie. Takes 3-4 min to load, but worth it!
www.osei.noaa.gov/Events/Current/FSMHSusCA233_N2.jpg

Firescribe

08/22 Here is a picture of a CL-415 Superscooper that you can add to your site!! The photo's you have of the airtankers are great. I am a CL-415 Captain in Ontario, Canada.

Al Hymers

Nice one! Welcome to our board. Now don't just fly off ya'hear! Ab.

08/22 Hey Ab--

One more pic of the Martin Mars, just to give you some perspective of how big that thing is. I was privileged to fly up to Sprout Lake where it is based, a few years ago and take a tour, we got to see the inside and climb out on the wing. Take a look at the pic and see if you can guess which one is me?

WP

The guy whose face we can't quite make out? Glad you're back! BTW, working on getting new pics up on the photo pages today. Ab.

08/22 In regards to Darren's question on 8-18...Who the best firefighters are in the world?? Every single one of you brave enough AND crazy enough to get out there to face that hot, all consuming stuff under the toughest extremes to keep us non-firefighting people safe.

THANKS TO ALL Fire..Men and Women and my own Fireman who is currently in Idaho.....STAY SAFE!!

Firedawgsbabe

08/21 The Storrie Fire is smokin' em out!
www.sacbee.com/news/news/local03_20000821.phpl

The fire season is smoking Washington out! But I don't think it was just Clinton's fault! www.washingtontimes.com/national/default-2000821222737.php

WOW, check this out! LOOK WHAT SOMEONE DID FOR FIRE MAPPING! It's an internet world! geomac.cr.usgs.gov/spo/viewer.php?Title=Strategic%20Planning%20Overview

Up at the top right, pick a fire (like the Storrie or Thompson Flat, for example). Let it load up. Then click on the fire on the map and the image will zoom in and zoom in to show the current fire perimeters, how much it grew in the last 12 hrs, where fire is when viewed by satellite, etc. Don't rush the process or it may freeze up. (I tend to get impatient when excited!) Very amazing!
Firescribe

08/21 AB,

Got the word Saturday from Albertson College, Caldwell, Idaho that those personnel on the fire line would have a chance to be as late as two (2) weeks for school. They will be following the same things as those across the State of Idaho for students. The email also I think talked about NWN in Nampa, Idaho.

Zimm

For those who are looking for the requirements and dates for firefighting students going back to school late, look at the post on 08/17. Some deadlines for calling in are this Friday. Ab.

08/21 To follow a crew from r8, goto www.r8web.com/sacc/ and click "crew activities" that will take you to crew reports. Most are updated daily. You may know where your firefolks are before they do.
adftr

Or you can go right here. www.r8web.com/sacc/crewrpt.php. Ab.

08/21 CIIM Team 1 on the Storrie is up and running again with photos after moving camp yesterday as the fire doubled in size. Thanks Jim, great effort on everyone's part to get camp moved (and get online again). Stay safe.
Firescribe
08/21 Dear sir,/////// FIREFIGHTERS;

I have just completed training at Camp Riliea, Oregon along with 117 other soldiers of the 2nd 218 F.A. Portland, Oregon. This is my second ceriftication as a CLASS II Wildland Firefighter, but I must admit that it was a refresher course too.

The reason for my contact is to get the daily site address. That is the one that has the weather and pics/ and the new fire locations. The web address is the biggest thing rght now; so I may send pictures to some of the others fighters.

Thanks for your time;
SSG. SEWELL      O.R.A.R.N.G.

Here are several URLs you might try.
If by site, you mean the sit (situation), this is the national sit report. www.nifc.gov/news/sitreprt.phpl There are no photos there, however, merely listings of the new fires, personnel, resources, acres burned, weather forecast at the bottom. Photos are available on our site and others that we have linked to in the past few days. Click on the "photos" heading at the top of the page and then choose a category. Click on the thumbnail photos to enlarge them. If you're working on a pc, you can right mouse click on the picture and choose the option "save image as". This will allow you to make a copy to your hard drive to send to your guys or to print for a "fire board" for your office. If you want to use the images for profit, please contact us before doing so.

This site has a map of all the fires burning in the west and the statistics that go along with them. www.nifc.gov/information.phpl Click on large wildland fire map. There are also some pictures of the Bergdorf Junction fire and the military.

Here's the fire weather site where you can enter a location and get more specific predictions. www.boi.noaa.gov/firewx.php

Ab.

08/21 In answer to "what kind of tankers" for the 8/20 post on the Handford fire. Handford bomber 2 picture is Tanker 133 based at La Grande Air Tanker Base in La Grande OR. It is a C-130..................RS

Thanks. Ab.

08/20 Information on the Storrie Fire, sad days of 1910 revisited, and commentaries in the news.
URLs complements of Firescribe:

Storrie Fire update here at the R5 fire index website:
www.fs.fed.us/r5/fire/

Storrie Fire according to the Chico Enterprise Record
www.chicoer.com/display/inn_news/news7.txt

Sacramento Bee: Storrie Fire jumps the Feather River
www.sacbee.com/news/news/local08_20000820.phpl

We must be sure this doesn't happen again anywhere as it happened 90 years ago today in the Northern Rockies!
www.missoulian.com/display/inn_news/news01.txt

If we're going to defend structures as the public perceives is one of our missions, we should have money in our budgets for doing so!
www.missoulian.com/display/inn_news/news06.txt

08/20

Pictures came from: Don Zimmerman, Captain with the Hanford Fire Department, operated by DynCorp Tri-Cities Services, Inc. for the U.S. Department of Energy, Richland Operations Office.

Check out these new pics of the 24 Command Fire from the end of June:
Hanford bomber 1 and Hanford bomber 2
We had as many as 9 AT in sky with Air Boss and 2 leads I think. It was a busy 4 days. Amzaing fire behavior, some saying nothing like it before in fire growth. Moved 20 miles in 90 minutes, it was off the chart of App B in FLHB. I figured 1000+ chains per hour, 1173 feet per minute.

Zimm

Sorry it's taken me so long to get these up, Zimm. Anyone know what kind of air tanker this is? Ab.

08/20 Photo of the CERRO GRANDE FIRE plume LOS ALAMOS, NM. MAY 10 2000 AT SUNSET
Socket
08/20 Photos of the Martin Mars working a fire in California. Click these also for Mars 2 and Mars 3 photos. Look for these and others on the Airtanker Photo page soon. Thanks JW. Ab.
08/20 Just back from 14 day detail in Wy. Noticed lots of cubie discussion while gone. Saw hundreds of them, moved several. Two points to make. A cubic foot of water is somewhere around 7.4 gallons. Three firefighters were being treated for E.coli (bacteria) from cubies filled from a tank truck. We drank bottled water only. Used the cubies for coffee etc only after it was boiled.
adftr
08/19 Ab, Here is a photo of the Storrie Incident taken near the Chico airport, as the raven flies, about 35 mi away.
Stu

Impressive pile of smoke. Ab.

08/19 Made it back from Emmitsburg.
Have a couple of pictures from the Firefighter Memorial, that I've been thinking could possibly be used for a memorial page, if I can get my oldest to help me. Now I'd like to come up with a couple of good pictures from the memorial in Idaho, since these two I would guess, are the two primary ones which deal with both the Wildland and National Firefighters.

Hoping to get out there yet..
Got word that they maybe trying to put together another crew from Missouri.. Butt's getting tired of sitting on the porch..

Hickman

08/19 Well, you CA ff who are still at home.

We got us a big one on the Plumas! Yesterday the Storrie Fire went from 3500 to 6200 acres -- blowin' and goin' in steep rugged terrain (sw of Quincy--Feather River) with numerous cliffs and canyons -- heavy oak and fir. Rolling rock and debris are hampering access and there have already been four minor injuries from rolling material. Scott Vail's Team, CIIM Team 1 took control of the fire last evening. A significant spot fire is causing problems about one mile ahead of the main fire. PG&E facilities/powerlines, Pacific Crest Trail, some structures, and Highway 70 (closed) are threatened.

Hey, Jim, get us some pictures! Watch the Team 1 website for updates. BE CAREFUL!

Mellie

08/19 Darren,

Of those working with the Americans, I think the Canadians are the best! We're more easily understood than you Aussies. COMMUNICATIONS in LCES...

It's great to be fighting fire in the USA!
Kevin

08/18 Photos of many fires in the Bitterroot of Montana. (Click on thumbnails to enlarge.) URLs complements of Firescribe:

Bitterroot Shots on the Valley Complex. Lots of flame here:
www.fs.fed.us/r1/bitterroot/fire/valley/images/8_14_valley_complex_photos.php

Flame here too on the Sula Complex:
www.fs.fed.us/r1/bitterroot/fire/sula/images/8_02thru13_sula_photos.php

Extremely rugged terrain of the Blodgett:
www.fs.fed.us/r1/bitterroot/fire/blodgett/images/blodgett_081100_sh_08.jpg
Photo by Sue Husari

Nifty aircraft here:
www.fs.fed.us/r1/bitterroot/fire/blodgett/images/8_15_blodgett_photos.php

and Skycrane water drop among these:
www.fs.fed.us/r1/bitterroot/fire/blodgett/images/8_13_blodgett_photos.php

Geeks on the Blodgett last week:
www.fs.fed.us/r1/bitterroot/fire/blodgett/images/blodgett_081100_kc_05.jpg
Deputy IC Ron Raley and FBA Sue Husari prepare to move camp to the fairgrounds. Photo by K. Coulter

08/18 hello there,
just interested in who everyone see's who are the best firefighters in the world.have heard many times that the australian's are regarded the best,agree???
all the best
Darren
08/18 Some images, helicopters on the Burgdorf Junction Fire on the Payette National Forest, Idaho.
www.r5.fs.fed.us/fire/team1/burgdorf/photoshelibase.php

Know any of these helitacks?
r5.fs.fed.us/fire/team1/burgdorf/photoshelibase2.php

Blackhawk Army Helicopters.
www.r5.fs.fed.us/fire/team1/burgdorf/photosblackhawks.php

08/18 AB, here is a very interesting chart I found this morning.
www.nifc.gov/fireinfo/nfnmap.phpl

Danny

Interesting stats. Could be the worst year in history the way we are going. Ab.

08/18 Serious hazmat problems on the Blodgett in Montana: www.neveryweek.com/News/News.asp?no=1144
Fighting fire is not a simple matter.
08/18 Check out the new fire photos from the Manter Fire on the Sequoia National Forest taken by DND.
08/17 WOW !! wasnt expecting that kind of response. Nice to know that there are persons out there that care so much for us.

To answer some emailed questions. My engines carry double everything. That means a type four engine of mine will have 6 shelters. We used two to wrap the cab by tearing the ends and making a big blanket. We then shut them in the doors, after locking them in place under the wipers, and the magnetic mounts on our light bar. worked very well. Ill send ab some aftermath pics the investigator took.

How could it have been better?

Ideally we would have never been there. But we had plenty of time to accomplish our task. COMMUNICATION that was the key. I wish we were informed that the teams below were battling some slop over. I could have pulled out and assisted, or at least have gotten out of the way.

Lookouts? Michelle at Wildland Services in Reno should be given much credit. She is the one that informed me of the conditions below. She was with the dozers i mentioned, and although she couldnt see us directly, she could see the canyon mouth and the fire wrapping around the corner. Big hugs later that night.

Mellie Thanks.
Also I saw your name on a timekeepers shirt. She was an older lady and you signed her right arm. Thought that was neat.

Be safe all, and Scan your radio, I heard the pull out order for the other gear below us on an intercrew channel.

later
eric
Pacific Wildfire.

08/17 AB, w/reference to the 1910 burn season, is there somewhere on the net to read some data for that year? Also I have recently read { I think on the FS news site} that this year {Y2K} may exceed the worst year on record {1988}. I was almost certain that 1996 was the very worst w/almost 6 million acres burned. Any one care to comment?

Thanking You in advance
Danny

08/17 Eric,
Thank God you are safe ... so did you tell your wife about it? Im glad you are OK.
Steven
08/17 I've been asked to post this info for IDAHO and MONTANA STUDENTS on the fireline:

Universities in Idaho and Montana have extended enrollment deadlines until 09/25 for students on the firelines and acting in fire support positions who are *already enrolled* (pre-enrolled/registered) for fall. If you are not yet pre-enrolled, you should do that so a place can be saved for you. You should let your universities know by Friday 08/18 to be on the safe side (Montana is 08/21; dates in Idaho vary). If you know you will not attend in the fall, you should let your universities know that also. Here's who to contact:

IDAHO: www2.state.id.us/gov/pr/2000/August/Pr0815.phpl

MONTANA:
University of Montana, including UM-Missoula, Montana Tech of UM, WMC-UM, and Helena College of Technology -- all hours call 406-243-6550 (message phone) or if that's busy, call 406-243-2939 (0900-1700).
Montana State University, including MSU-Billings, MSU-Bozeman, MSU-Northern, and Great Falls College of Technology -- 0900 to 1700 (MDT) call 406-994-6650; after 1700 call 406-994-5543.

You need to tell them your name, ss#, campus, when you'll be back at school, where you're working fire. No late fees will be charged, places will be held in classes and dorms. Oh yeah, they'd also like a phone number if you can give them one. Right..... Ab.

08/17 Eric and Crew - All my friends,
Really am thankful you all are physically unharmed. I kinda got the shakes when hearing about it the second time and the implications sank in at the visceral level that firefighters know. You were very lucky -- but you also had some other things on your side.
1) You're in shape. Thank you, Overhead, for requiring the Work Capacity Test for the Redcard, much as we might gripe about it!
2)You're trained to deploy your fireshelter outside or in your engine cab. Did you take them out and hold them against the windows as we were trained? Did you have them with you while you were away from your engine?
3)You try to follow LCES (Lookouts, Communications, Escape Routes and Safety Zones). Sounds like this worked except for the communications. But you were paying attention and noticed that the other engine was ordered to get out. What about lookouts? Was it pretty smokey? Can't see much at night. Had you consciously reviewed LCES when you got on-site? Faced your engine out, keys in, windows rolled up? I know you help teach refresher classes, etc. Were these safety considerations just automatic and part of your awareness? Light sticks help. Leaving the engine lightbar on saved your lives! How long before it runs your battery down? We can all learn from this.

It is clear that training matters and helps prevent panic. Automatic physical responses. Did you throw down your tools? If not, should you have? Smart to loose the spare gas tank! God, I'm thankful you're OK!

Safety zone size-- an issue. You knew to look for a better one. By definition a safety zone is an area which is large enough that fireshelters do not need to be deployed; adequate size is considered to be some proportion of the flamelength -- 2X the flamelength? So 80' flames -- 160' diameter safety zone would have been better (if you'd known ahead of time what the flamelength would be). I know others have moved vehicles around in the safety zone to minimize the radiant heat impacts -- but again that shows you were thinking, not panicked.

Experience also helps. You have that. Knowing how fire acts in varying fuel types, the shifts in wind up and down-canyon associated with time of day, the fact that winds may change direction and speed as fire alters air flow and creates its own fire weather, that fire can also burn hot and fast at night if conditions are right.

So, as I am wont to do, let me ask. What could you have done differently to remain safer than you were? You acted with the integrity of your fitness, intelligence, training, and experience. You survived. Is there anything additional that you learned or that you would share with us that could keep us all safer in similar circumstances? Any other heads-up?

I've been talking about physically surviving. I know that the psychological stuff is likely to haunt you and/or some of your guys for a while. Call me if you need to. I love you guys. Imagine this: Mellie hug -- just standing, arms wrapped completely around, melting into each other -- for a bit, for as long as necessary -- just being in that place of the moment of the hug with all the comfort, pain, security, alrightness that is. Love you Eric and Crew.

I love the rest of you out there doing our important work on the firelines, in camp, in the offices around the country. Thank you... Please be careful! The season is far from over. Life and coming home to our families is more important than any resources we might be protecting!
Mellie

08/17 L.A.V.E.

The National MAC Group was briefed last Monday or Tuesday on the conditions and how they compared to 1910. Many of them were pretty shaken up after the briefing. Main thing missing was wind, which is predicted for this week end.

Look for some strange things to come from our politicians and the Governor of Montana.

J-Bob

08/17 hey Eric,

Glad to hear all's well with you and your bunch. (whew) what an ordeal. Have you seen the storey about the fire raws unit on the fire in Colorado? It's at www.fs.fed.us/raws and outlines how the new units can be set up ON THE FIRELINE and not just at the ICP like other RAWS units and it can actually radio the guys on the line about situaitons like you describe. Do you think this could have helped in your burnover situation and would it have made a difference in comms there?
RIGTT:
retired IC glued to THEYSAID,.
thanks AB!!

08/17 Ab and Crew-

Thanks for the birthday wishes. From you and everyone else.. guess it means the countdown is on.. I wonder if I can schmooze my way into the basic S- courses this fall.. well, we'll see what turns up.

Eric.. be careful... Communication is undoubtedly the lifeblood of an army...

Stay safe, have fun, and be wary.
'Ranger' Tiny, the R-6 Fire Pup

08/16 AB, WP, Tiny, Mellie, et. al.
Thanks to everyone who expressd their concern on our recent burnover.

Pacific Wildfire Engine 38 was entrapped on the Mourning Dove fire, Oldroyd Complex -- in Scipio Utah.

Story goes like this.
At 2000 hours engine 38 was ordered to scout an existing dozer line up mourning dove canyon and tie in with current operations coming down the ridge at night. My two crewmen and myself drove the engine to the end of a road and began the scouting operation. Things were going well until a radio messge came across saying something like "weve lost the burnout, Engine 57 pull out" (that was the engine number we had passed earlier) at the neck of the canyon. I called in for a current sit report, and found out that the canyon was on fire at the neck. We started hightailing it back to the rig, when the winds shifted 180: From downslope 4-5 knots to upslope 30-35 knots. When we got to a vantage point to see the canyon entrance, we could see the flame front racing towards our engine. We were approx 3/4 mile from the engine at this point. We werent sure if the engine was gone at this point, so we began to jog through the thick PJ at night in hopes of reaching the better of the safety zones.

Luckily one of us left the light bar on the rig running, and we had placed a few light sticks out. We all spotted the rig at the same time and began our sprint for the rig. When we got there, the flames were 100-120 feet from the rig on the passenger side the flame height was around 80 feet and roaring.

We had to blast through some brush, to reach a better safety zone. I radioed my intentions to burnout and deploy if necessary. We didnt have time to light a fuse or flip the top of a can before embers the size of your fist began raining down on everything. We pulled two 1-inch softlines and started our aux pump. We didnt have time to pump 20 gallons before the radiant heat forced us back. We tossed the torches, and I ripped the aux fuel tank from the rig and tossed it. We spent ten minutes moving the rig around our 100 foot safety zone, trying to avoid the radiant. Ultimately, we had to deploy in cab.

It was determined that lack of communications was the primary cause of this incident. NO ONE was injured and the truck only took moderate damage (orange peel paint - melted air lines - and charred steer tires).

Got to go. Night shift starts in 20 minutes.

Eric,
Pacific Wildfire

Very glad you all are alright. Please be safe, people. Ab.

08/16 To Firepup21,

I realize that it is still west of the Mississippi, but the Tx Forest Service has a wildfire academy coming up next month in central Tx near Austin. It is a little closer than Cal. You should find some more info here.
ticc.fws.gov/brochure.pdf
Ab: as always I appreciate the site and all you do.

Stay safe,
Keith

08/16 How does this year compare to the BIG BURNING year of 1910? I have a book on the subject but no one has made a comparison as of yet. Be safe out there, the Dragon's teeth are sharp and it breath is wild this year!
Local Agency Volunteer Engineer. (just waitin to go!!!)
08/16 To MOC4546, Still here and EX-FS now LGBC,

Thanks to for the info on non-fed employee training opportunities. I have been a seasonal helitack for four seasons but never got an opportunity to take any classes, so I figure if I want to get back into the game I better chase down a crew boss class etc. I don't think I can bear to sit out another season. I hoping next season will bring about a bunch of oppotunities. (although I guess I should know better then to get my hopes up)

Anyone know of academy/classes on the east coast (North/South Carolina, VA, GA)? Since I am stuck east of the Mississippi, I'm not sure I can make the trip to Cali. Although if I had a job to go to, I think I would pack my bags tomorrow. Thanks for the help.

MOC4546 - I hear you on the fact that folks aren't getting the trainee assignments that they should this season, I know of 3 people who need crewboss assignments and haven't gotten them. That seems crazy for a season like this one!!

There must be some sort of 12-step program for folks who have left fire. Maybe this was never a problem before the internet, now there is just too much damn information available and I know what I am missing. Never again!!

firepup21

PS Happy Birthday Ranger Tiny!!

08/16 Those concerned about not being called to go fight fire can contact me at linscott@rea-alp.com. I will let you know how many of our members, who were not being called until the very last, changed that. Those that are looking for training...especially engine boss training should also contact me. The Minnesota Wildland Firefighters Assn. is currently setting up classes for next winter open to all.
Dana Linscott
Vice Chairperson
MWFA
08/15 AB,

The training group that MOC4546 is referring to in the San Francisco Bay Area is the California Inter-Agency Wildland Training Program. This program is sponsored by the State Fire Marshal's Office and endorsed by the California Fire Chiefs Assoc. The courses we provide year-around are S and I classes that meet or exceed 310-1 standards. I don't think any of our instructors are retired, all either work for Local Government agencies that had formerly worked for Federal or State Wildland agencies or currently work for CDF or FS. This organization is approved by the Five Parties in R-5 and have an advisory board to our organization. We will take private students except for Field Classes i.e.; S-234 where we require an agency to sign off for the student to be covered under their organizations Workman's Comp. You can contact us at 707-829-5908 or email calwildland@firedept.net. The primary reason this program was established was to give Local Government Firefighters the tools to deal with the wildland environment safely and these classes were just not available. We are finding there is a great demand.

AB, Love your site I bled FS green about twenty years ago and find it interesting that as much as things change they also remain the same. I now work for a Local Government Agency that has allot of wildland. But mostly EMS, Structures, Rescue, Hazmat, etc. etc. They do let me take a Strike Team out of county a few times year which keeps me sane. Thanks again for the site.
EX-FS now LGBC
PS: Tony is in Montana at last word. STAY SAFE EVERYONE

08/15 -- JUST REMEMBER TINY, THIS IS THE ONLY DAY IN THE YEAR THAT YOU CAN HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT TOO.

~ wg

08/15 Here's a question for ya. I used to be on a crew and have since been training in helicopters. However, hearing about all of the fires going on right now just about drives me out of my mind to get back out there. I know that you need at least 2000 hours usually to get a job flying as PIC but my imagination cant help but think that perhaps there are second in command jobs available out there for a lot less hours. Anyone know anything? Also, having never worked on a helitack crew (or too closley with any of the ships) I dont remember the shift restrictions for flight crews. How many hours? How many days? If anyone has any information on that Id be stoked. Maybe actually get back out there, if not, I guess I'll have to wait for a few more years and get my hours up..... a girl can dream.... any info would be appriciated though. Be safe out there and kick some ass.
-L

Sorry L, this just fell out of the server. Ab.

08/15 HAPPY 17th BIRTHDAY TINYPUP!
08/15 I was wondering if anyone knows what would be the best way for me to go about finding some infomation on a fire in Northern NV in 1939 that killed 5 USFS-CCC firefighters. I have checked with the local FS Field Office and they have no info (it was long before their time). What other resources are aviailable? The only info I know is a memorial at a highway rest stop near the area. Thanks for the help.

I am also still trying to find out which company contracted out the Bell helicopter that crashed in Elko a couple of weeks ago. When I know I will send it, if it hasn't already been posted. Stay Safe Everyone!

-D

08/15 The pilot killed Sunday in Nevada, according to FIREHOUSE.COM, was Lester Lee Shadrick, 53, of Lake Charles, Louisiana. The Bell 412 crashed while he was making water drops on the 37,000-acre Twin Peaks Fire east of Fallon. He employed by Era Aviation, Inc., and had been flying for them since 1985.
08/15 RE NV helicopters:
They grounded only one other ship, because it was sharing the same fuel truck as the accident aircraft.

J-Bob

08/15 Does "D" happen to know who was the contractor for the Bell 412 that crashed? What about the other ship that went down last week?

Blue Light

If you'd like to share this information, let me put you in touch with one another. Ab.

08/15 Airtankers are a great tool, Never seen much good in alot of airdrops without good crews building line behind the drops. Logging and fuels have always existed. Where's the funding for 13-13's and personnel to perform fuels reduction programs? We hire folks without benefits and expectations of career advancement. Using Russian aircraft would just require a russian speaking lead and air attack. Put that one out on the quals market. Noboby seems to notice our Fire Prevention ground folks have vanished. We dont have the Federal wildland fire professionals to carry out the funded fuels program this year. Most wildland firefighters are laid off or burnin leave in the winter/spring. We do need to increase the workforce. Interesting that Harry Croft looks for an increase of 2002 firefighters. Any thought given to pay and classification as wildland firefighters. No? How can the Federal Gov't expect to retain a highly skilled and trained workforce using the bio or forestry tech series? Russian aircraft, U. S. Military and contractors cannot match the wildland firefighter. I would just like to see the 70's level of type 1 crews, Helicopters and Engine's. Increase the ground level Initial Attack forces and give them a year round fuels reduction job. Im not runnin for President and George Bush seems to hear the concept of a larger federal wildland firefighting program. Nov is not that far away. "Thats all I have to say about that" ......... Forrest Gump.

NEADERMEYER

08/15 Happy news for the person--firepup21--wanting off-season training. It is possible to get into courses, but you still have to turn in a nomination form as I understand it, which I think has to be signed by an FMO or someone somewhere. This has just been my experience, but it worked. Good luck. And good luck out east pining for fires... believe me, I tried to get away once, and I just about went crazy.
More happy news... a structure fire friend of mine has recently admitted he'd like to contract/manage a Type 6 engine eventually. This from a pretty stubborn character claiming to be in love with the Type I pavement queens, but he's having a heck of a good time I guess gallavanting around the country. Well, have fun y'all...

still here

08/15 Hi Ab,
Some very good posts were made this week. So let me put some input into the discussion.

To "always watching", the answer to the question did the California Office of Emergency Services (OES) start sending resources to the fires in Montana. So far OES has not, but two days ago CDF sent out six strike teams of engines plus some overhead. Three Type 3's and a Leader were sent out from Butte CDF RU to meet up with the others to form the teams and head out. No word yet on Type 1 or 2 Teams, but so far there has not been that significant structure loss to these fire like the one at Los Alamos, NM earlier this season.

I saw the Martin Mars on Lake Oroville, CA last week. That is an impressive bird even though it is slow in comparison to the other tankers out there. I also understand that they don't charge $100,000 for a demonstration like the IL-76 team needed to get it there and back. The IL-76 carries around 10,000 gallons to the 7200 gallons the Mars can hold. I think its simple economics.

To firepup21. YES!!!! There are classes available that you, as a private individual, can take to get your ratings you need to be a crew boss. But, you have to pay for it out of your pocket, and take care of your expenses. In the San Francisco Bay Area there are a number of retired firefighters who are putting on all kinds of S- and I- classes that run between $35-150 each class, and are between 8 and 48 hours. The man's name is Tony Bacon and is a well respected wildland fire instructor. I don't have his company name right now or how to contact him but if AB can send me your e-mail address I will get it off to you when I get home. I know that his group has a lot of post season courses coming up all over the Bay Area.

To some of the other posts regarding the military and the crews coming from Down Under. To those of our brother widlland firefighters from Australia and New Zealand, Welcome. I hope that during your time in battle here in the States you'll be able to take home some experiences that will help you fight fires better in your home country.

But on a more realistic point, reading on this page that Military Firefighters were being rushed through Saw Training and were being given Class B and C ratings is turning my Stomach!! How many experienced firefighters could be out there right now who can be getting these ratings or getting training assignments to increase their sawyer ratings? It was reported in the NIFC page that the guys coming over from Down Under are going through training right now and will be filling in Strike team leader postions? Again, I know of at least four experienced firefighters that are on the trainee list for Strike Team Crew, Engine, and Dozer and aren't getting what they need in the way of training assignements? What are you overhead people doing? You come up with all these damnednable rules and regs that take a person a very long time to make their rating qualifications and you hand assignments over to to others who don't have the time in? Why?

The agencies complain about there not being enough personnel to fill the positions they need, and within five years when people retire what will they do when there is no one "qualified" to respond. You people high up that have made these protectionist policies need to re-think the number of hoops you make everyone go through to fill these jobs. Its too much, and a lot of what they go through is unnecessary. Stop playing games, overhead-types!! You have people that you have been stringing along to get their I- and S- courses, then you won't even put your money where your mouth is when it comes to training assignments.

Along the same lines, I heard that the Chief of the Forest Service sent out a memo that said something like "you WILL send out people when requested for fire assignement" not "you can go to the fire but you still have to have all your projects in by your deadlines". MAKE UP YOUR MINDS!! You can't have it both ways. You think that if the head of the Forest Service said he needs people for assignments then you people should fill the order and OBEY!! SCREW THE PETTY LITTLE TARGET TIME TABLES!! IT DOES NO GOOD IF THE FOREST BURNS DOWN AROUND YOU!!

Boy, that feels better.
MOC4546

08/14 Just wanted to give a link to a small writing about the helicopter that crashed on the Twin Peaks Fire (Carson City BLM) doing bucket drops.
www.cnn.com/2000/US/08/14/wildfires/index.phpl

The earlier post stating that all helicopters are grounded in NV is inaccurate as of this moment. We have helicopters working a fire right now on the South Willow Creek Fire (Winnemucca BLM). Don't know what may happen in the near future. The only coincidence between the two helo crashes in NV is that they were both Bells (but different models). The most recent crash was doing bucket work and the Bell in Elko was transporting supplies. Regardless, it strikes a nerve for all of us in Nevada to have two fatalities in less than two weeks.

Once again our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and families.
D

08/14 Hi all--
Got a bit behind on reading the posts... so here's my general thoughts and contributions for the good of the whole...

I'm guessing that the CA OES will probably send out resources after the Democratic National Convention, held in LA this week. They're a bit tied up with that right now... let's hope more of us don't get tied up with that. It seems like there is a lot of talk on this site about resources sitting at home, while there are no fires. Don't get me wrong, I've been there too. It's frustrating as hell. Is there anyone here who could speak to the issue of severity funding and draw-down levels better than I can? I know it stinks to be left behind, but unfortunately someone's got to be left defending the home front. For example, CA is at a preparedness level 3, but also has a whole bunch of severity money for the purpose of keeping resources around for IA. I know other states, including CO, are involved with severity money right now too. I don't know much about the rules with that, but when live fuel moistures are in the 40s and 50s and t-storms make the forecast regularly, it's good to have at least a few folks around when something breaks.

Don't know anything about the Russian air tanker, but have heard many good things about the Martin Mars. Any word on NICC picking it up? Also, any more word on what's going on in SD with the governor and all? I'd like to hear more about that. Definitely sounds like a safety issue, and a logistics one. Well, take care y'all, and be heads up. We're all lined up for more tragedy this season, with many new people (from out of the local region, out of fire, and out of the country), barely staffed fires, high heat, dry fuels, few breaks, and lots and lots of thunderstorm activity. This is the time when all that training and common sense really counts. Be safe!

-always watching

08/14 Thanks AL for the pointer to the prescribed burn article. Thanks to RS, Tim and others who sent me info on the fire near the nerve gas depot in Oregon.

Selective logging and prescribed burning are a much better approaches than the out-of-control firestorms we've had this summer. We need shaded fuel breaks to protect interface homes, for a start. They worked on the Megram. At the other extreme, not logging the blowdown caused those areas to burn at the highest intensity. Such common sense -- to reduce fuel. Hmmm, gotta finish getting my powerpoint presentation together for the late fall trek back east to present my story yet again. Because of these fires now, the numbers of interested public are growing, if my correspondence is any indication.

Clinton gave $150 million for fire the other day. At $15 million a day to keep 30,000 firefighters and military going, that won't last long. Maybe military costs come out of another budget. Anyone know about this?

Look here for the sites of the current conflagrations:
www.nifc.gov/fireinfo/firemap.phpl
Eighty-two large fires across the west are burning 919,710 acres! Click on "Current Wildland Fire Information" at the top to get statistics. Strong argument there for preventive planning and asking for 100%MEL!

I know, I know, Ab, preaching to the choir.
Thanks for your hard work! Stay safe! I may be heading out of here myself for a while...
Mellie

08/14 Ok, I've got a training question. I know this might be a little premature, but I will ask anyway.

I'm wondering if it is possible to get into a crewboss academy or single resource crewboss class (or any S-class for that matter) without being currently employed by an agency. I have all the prerequisites for crewboss, but am not working in fire this season (stupid me). Is is possible to get into any classes as an individual and pay your own way or do you HAVE to be nominated by an agency?

Thanks in advance for the help and AB, keep on rockin'. You're web site is letting me keep my fingers in the fire.

firepup21

08/14 Ab & crew, et all:

Bravo on the speech Ab, if I didn't say so before, hat's off to you and your crew (you know who you are).

A bit of rain expected on the Western slopes of the North Cascades here in the next few days, with any luck it'll still have enough moisture to render some aid by the time it reaches Montana. I knew I shoulda saved a few of those "rain checks" to mail off to some of ya to use... stay safe... it's your first Order, and no, I won't let any of you forget that. Ask Mellie and Kelly, they know how I can be... retentive.

Oh yeah.. WP... last I checked, both you an' me were in R-6... unless WA and OR suddenly became CA...

Thanks all for the info re: Cubies and the magical powdered DHMO.. has anyone thought of using that stuff inside of backpack pumps? I bet it'd make things a bit easier... of course I should just go and design a cubie with a solar powered powdered DHMO generator.. now then, wouldn't THAT be nice?

Yakima Training Grounds should be completing the 'crash' courses in firefighting with the 500 or so Nat. Guard troopers shortly. Oh yeah, and WA's Governor, Mr. Locke, has imposed a complete burn ban in WA effective Noon 8-12 and will be rescinded upon his discretion. I just hope he doesn't wait until the middle of April next year to rescind that order, some areas 'round here must be managed, or 2001 might be just as bad as 2000 is shaping up to be.

Enough thoughts of the pup, take care and protect those forests. After all, I DO need a camp to be a 'Ranger' at.. :smiles:

'Ranger' Tiny, the R-6 Fire Pup

Little question: Who carries the water to reconstitute the powdered water? Ab.

08/14 Ab,
Just received this from a friend in North Idaho. Keep up the good work---I check your site every morning to see wha's new.

08/11/00
01:46 PM
Subject:       Air Tanker Emergency Landing

Earlier today a contract single engine airtanker from the State of Minnesota made an emergency landing in the Salmon River near Maloney Creek. That tanker is the one that has been working from the Grangeville Air Center this week. According to the Idaho Department of Lands, the pilot was working on a fire under their command. He had just made a retardant drop and was unable to pull out of the canyon. We were relieved to hear the pilot was able to walk away from the incident. The Idaho County Sheriff is investigating. I will be referring all inquiries to the Idaho Department of Lands or the Idaho County Sheriff.

Bullwacker

Heard it was a SEAT. Anyone have any more info or links to the incident? Ab.

08/14 Back in town for a day or so. Had to catch up with theysaid.
Mellie, MADDOG, others having the political orientation: Check this out. Think the current fires may provide an opportunity for the public to see the benefits of thinning and prescribed burning? Would be better than the lack of control we've been experiencing!

www.idahostatesman.com/news/daily/20000814/LocalNews/28256.shtml

AL

08/14 Current information complements of Firescribe:

www.nifc.gov/news/sitreprt.phpl
Report of the helicopter fatality in the second paragraph.

www.discovery.com/area/science/wildfires/jumperstories.phpl
For Miki and his discerning mind, stories from smoke jumpers. Bombardero del Fuego and other jumpers who are not on the fireline, what do you think of these?

08/14 It sounds like it has happened again, they lost a Bell 412 with one aboard on the Twin Peak fire in Nevada.... No news on why, but my condolences to the family and friends of the pilot...Bad news, at any rate.... Report is all helos are grounded in Nevada until answers are gotten.... Take Care and be safe...

Former FB NV-ELD

08/14 To the TJ: Just like the company that interviewed you, you should also interview them. Its not that hard to gather information about other companys that are working fire. If you hear negative responses then that should be an indicator that something is not alright.

Been a very interesting season. I am currently covering my old forest, district and station. Only one fire but a bunch of responses.
Take care and BE SAFE!
mike:)

 
08/13 So "IL-76 Advocate" thinks that an online poll on the NBC web site is a good reason to spend an ungodly fortune on an unsafe airtanker to fight fires here, huh? And he (obviously with something to gain) wonders what the FS has to lose?

1. A helluva lot of money
2. Firefighters on the ground

Thanks for the link to the ABC story, Ab. It didn't tell the WHOLE story, but it got closer.
sign me; A/C dude

08/13 I am wondering what the official qualifications are for class-B and class-C Fallers, if anyone can help.

The National Situation Report dated August 11, 2000, stated in the Eastern Great Basin that; "Sixty Marines are being trained as sawyers and Class C fallers".

I was curious how someone can be trained for only a few days and be qualified as a Class-C faller. Perhaps marines are expected to work in life-threatening dangers and so if they are killed by a "Class-C" hazard tree, it is OK.

Western Guy,
Curious again

08/13 To those who think the IL-76 is the answer, we have a resource much closer to home that will carry almost as much water and is much more cost effective. It is the Martin-Mars from Port Albernie BC. Check out the web site for way cool pics: Martin-Mars

For the person who was wondering about the status of a shot crew, R-5 has a site where they list the status of crews, aircraft and other stuff.

Go to http://www.or.blm.gov/nwcc/nwcc-reports/amreport.php Hope it helps.

WP

08/13 HI FF-1 AND 2

FOR SOME REASON I WAS LEFT BEHIND , I PASSED ALL TEST AND PACK TEST TOO ! IT SEEMS SOME OF OTHERS FROM THE COMPANY I AM WITH CAME BACK AND MORE WENT IN THEIR PLACE WHO ARE FRESH OUT OF A CLASS . WHY WAS'NT I CALLED ? IT'S NOT RIGHT . I WAS TOLD I WOULD BE ON THE TOP OF THE LIST AND ON THE BOARD. NOT !!!!! SO I ASK , WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS AS A FF-2, AND WORKING FOR A COMPANY WHO DOES'NT KEEP THEIR WORD AND EVEN ASSURED ME I WOULD BE NEXT TO GO OUT !!!!
THANKS FOR THE SITE TO LET THIS OUT !
PEACE!
THE TJ

08/13 Public opinion on the giant Russian firefighting aircraft says give it a chance: www.www.msnbc.com/news/443782.asp
With over 11.5k people voting and 95% clear majority, what do you think the USFS will do with it? What has the USFS got to lose if they do?

IL-76 Advocate

Perhaps the public hasn't been given the full story on which to base their vote. Often, when asked, people will vote to try *anything* that promises to solve a current crisis without considering if it really will work. Read this site for a more complete story of the considerations that resulted in the decision not to use the IL-76: www.abcnews.go.com/sections/us/DailyNews/ilyushin76_fires000812.phpl Do you work for the company that benefits financially if this aircraft is used? Just wondering... Ab.

08/13 What a fire season! Fires all over, crews from all over the world, and guess who is sitting? Thats right, Type I crews. In three geographic regions shot crews are being staged and held, even though there are no fires. In northern cali. all hotshots crews are home and accounted for, even though we are in prepardness level 5. What gives? The teams in MT. can't get enough Type I crews and regions are holding onto their crews. I can't figure out if this a Boise decision or a regional level, buts its BS. Doesn't national resource mean anything anymore? Its crazy. Be safe.

Mike

I can understand why some resources are being held. CA pays for training and needs crews both for IA and extended attack at home. We haven't been hit as hard yet in northern CA as in other regions, but we had some serious lightning strikes the other night. The woods are ready to burn. Combine the need for preparedness at home with the hoarding that goes on in NV once our crews leave state, and it makes sense that some crews are being kept here on alert. In my part of CA, the forests' resources are drawn down to 40%. That's pretty low. The Big Bar and Kirk fires started after Aug 22 last year and went until almost Thanksgiving. Could still be a long time until the end of the season. You'll probably see lots of fire before it's over. Ab.

08/13 Remember a few years ago when the Governor of Florida called his fellow governors and asked them to send whatever fire resources they could to help out when they had lots of fires burning? Remember the chaos and unsafe conditions that resulted from that? No one ever was able to make order of the multitude of disorganized engines. Some AD firefighters had to wait more than 6 months before they were paid.

Well, the Governor of South Dakota is sending unneeded engines and dozens (yes, dozens) of National Guard dozers to fires in the Black Hills without coordinating with the people running the fires. They are just showing up at the fire scene with instructions from the Governor to put out the fire. This lack of accountability and coordination is going to get someone killed. Not to mention the huge sums of taxpayer dollars wasted. His huge ego leads him to believe that he is helping, but he's doing way more harm than good. He will not listen to the fire management professionals.

If any of his employees tell him that this is not the best way to do this, they believe they will be fired. Honestly.

sign me: Amazed

08/13 dear ab -- is there anyway i can get a fix on a hotshot out of arrowhead. where can i go to find their assignments? havent heard from him and with all the injury and death going on just want to make sure MURDOK is ok. hes a hell of a guy. any info would be great.
thanx
CLT
08/13 Mellie,

wasn't on Yesterday's Arlington fire, but was on one that burned from Arlington to near Boardman in Late July. Fires there rip like you would not believe. Winds stay pretty constant at 20 mph. The one in July went 20,000 in about 12 hours. It didn't make the sit report either. Mostly just rural fire departments up there and nothing gets reported for the sit report.

Tim

08/13 If you haven't read it, tap on the header (Ab Speaks) or scroll down a few days (08/04) and see what Ab sez about starting wildlandfire.com and who Abercrombie is.
08/12 In answer to the 8-11 post where the trained person was told there was no need for firefighters:

The Media has been doing all of us a mis-service in that they keep telling the public there is an extreme need for volunteer firefighters. The public takes that to mean that anyone who wants to is welcome to volunteer and fight fire. In the fire program, we know that the volunteers we need are the trained agency personnel who have jobs other than in fire. We need these people to volunteer, be allowed by their home agencies/forests/communities to go, and be organized into crews to work on fire.

There is also a lack of knowledge of dispatch and hiring protocol. This is how it works. Before anyone can be hired/dispatched, fire overhead has to place an order for the resource (whether handcrew, engine/crew or dozer strike team); it then goes to expanded dispatch who tries to fill it locally. If that is not possible, the order is given to the GACC or Geographic Area Coordination Center. The center then passes the order down to another dispatch center. Now if the GACC gets an order for just one engine and it has 15 dispatch centers to whom it can send the order, it is the luck of the draw who gets that order (and sends the engine).

Once the dispatch center gets the order, it will determine if there are any agency engines available. If not, then it looks to the contract list. If a resource, for example an engine, is not on the contract list, the chance of that non-contract engine getting dispatched out-of-area is slim to none. Similarly, in a local area, if a crew is not red-carded and on a contract list, its dispatch is doubtful. New rules dictate that all crew hired to suppress wildland fire be 18 years old and trained to at least FF-2. As soon as they are hired they become an agency employee and the agency is responsible to ensure they are trained and equipped. The agency also has to pay L&I or workman's comp insurance. If the person is not trained and experienced and gets injured on the job, the agency's liability far outweighs the benefit of hiring someone off the street. It has been my experience in the past 29 years, that pick-up firefighters do not last more than a few days on the line and the amount of supervision and TLC they need is not worth the benefit gained. Not like in the 30's, 40's and into the 50's. In those days when crews were needed, "recruiters" would go to the nearest large city and run a bus to Skid Row and hire on the spot.

Bottom line is this: if you want to get hired, get a twenty-person crew together who are all currently red carded, equipped with PPE and have transportation, radios and tools. Tell the GACC what you have and see how long you stay home. Probably won't be long. As far as I know, the greatest need is for hand crews -- more so than engines or most overhead (Div Sups excluded).

WP

08/12 During the past week, I have been attending training at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland. During this time, I have seen the flags lowered in remembrance of fellow fire fighters from across the nation. Twice this week, they have been lowered for Wildland Fire Fighters, one from Nevada and another from an engine crew in a Wyoming fire. I should hope that this will be the last time this will happen. Not only for our fellow Wildland Firefighters, but for All Fire Fighters.

On behalf of the Fire Fighters, Officers, and Members at the National Fire Academy, we send our condolences to the Families, Fellow Fire Fighters, Friends, and Communities of these individuals.

Be Extra Safe. It's been a long season and it looks like it will even be longer.

Hickman

08/12 Good Morning to you AB, Wanted to add my Thanks again for you great site. Sad to hear of the Ok. Eng. crew burnover in WY. My thoughts and prayers go out to their families. CDF is jumping on the bandwagon and sending Type 3 Eng.. strike teams to Montana. Unknown how many and for how long. I am wondering if Ca.OES will send any Local GOV. equip. as they did to Yellowstone, Time will tell. As Nedermeyer said Ca. is primed with our typically worst fire weather to come as late Aug. and Sept/Oct are soon to come. I encourage all Local GOV. folks to be ready, with the CDF draw down we will be sure to be in the fray like last year. One last thought, As the worst fire season in decades grinds on it only took the news media 3 weeks to get tired of reporting on it. I heard NO mention of the F/F death or the A/T crash on this mornings news. To the Guys and Gals out there with 1 foot in it, Keep your head UP ! Situational Awareness ( thank you spell check) may be the key to keeping your name out of the Headlines.
Local GOV F/F Dan
08/12 Condolences to the family and friends of the firefighter who died and best wishes for recovery to the injured firefighter whose Oklahoma-based engine was burned over yesterday in Wyoming. Info here at the beginning of the SIT Report: www.nifc.gov/news/sitreprt.phpl

Air Tanker reported down in the Salmon River, Idaho. The pilot was not hurt. Online newsreport here: dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20000812/us/western_fires_109.phpl

--Firescribe

08/12 Dana, while the Forest Sevice handbook says one thing, the Interagency Fire Business Management book says something different, and (believe it or not) not all fires or firefighters are Forest Service. Until you can get a NWCG stamp of approval on compensating people for time that is not "free from assigned duty" this problem will continue to exist.

TF

08/12 Mellie, can't help much with info on the Boardman area brush fire. Don't get much news(have been busy with fires in my area), but can't be too bad -- didn't make the news on the radio or local paper. I would guess the fire was on the south side of the highway. Umatilla Army Depot sits on the north side. Think the biggest concern was the poplar tree grove south of the highway just past Boardman. Second hand info told me it started closer to Arlington which is 27 miles from Boardman........RS
08/12 Neat link to the Local news paper in Boise. Its pretty sad that Mr. Clinton could sit and enjoy a firecamp lunch, explain how greatful he and the Nation are to firefighters. Two weeks prior he has the Interior & Agriculture agency firefolks cancel their testimony on the Federal Firefighter Overtime Pay Cap removal. Mr. Clinton has no problem about being "slick Willie". Gore must be pretty busy too, thru reinvention and Downsizing....... there are less wildland firefighters. Guess the Tax payers can Thank Mr. Clinton and Gore when they get their FEMA loans to rebuild the home they lost.
California has yet to "fire-up". Temps, lightening and winds still to prevail. Its going to be a long season....... hope folks really do "Watch out", be safe and retire to laugh about it. Chatter about "paycap removal" going thru the Senate with the 2001 appropiations package.?? anyone know about this "cookie".?
Neadermeyer
08/11 All,
Re. the helicopter crash in Nevada last week, the NTSB preliminary report is available on the web and pretty accurate.....
Someone Who Was There

Here's the prelim: www.ntsb.gov/Aviation/LAX/00A286.php Ab.

08/11 Engine Guy 8/6/00,
In 1977, the National Guard was used to transport crews on the Marble Cone Fire, Calif, LPF. While the intent was good, most of the fireline injuries we heard of involved crews in the back of deuce and a halfs. It depend on the drivers experience with the vehicle, vegeatative overgrowth (along and over the roads), and terrain. Our hand crew spent a lot of time on the floors of the trucks avoiding tree limbs. And we had one flat-land driver who missed a shift and rolled back down a steep grade over fifty feet. Seat belts would not have done us any good.

All,
Some local agency red carded personel are not being given interagency fire assignements in Arizona because of rumors of poor performance. The crew denies the events and received no negative reports from supervisors on last assignment. Unfortunately the crew got a verbal evaluation. Everyone needs to be sure to get their evaluations done before demobing. Yes it is a pain, but is better than getting left out. And it is a whole lot easier than getting someone to dig out 214's to disprove the rumors.

Fyr Etr

08/11 WP>>

Good one about the fans! Thought I might relate something similar -- another Simple Solution. I was on duty one night at one of our County Fire stations (CDF Riverside), and some made-for-tv movie (forgot the title, maybe Forest Fire! or something like that) had just ended, and the phone rang. A local civilian had just watched the same movie, and had come up with an idea he thought we had perhaps overlooked! It occurred to him that our wildland fire problem would be much reduced if we just simply installed a web of irrigation pipes throughout the wildland, equipped with automatic sprinklers which would activate upon sensing the heat of a fire. Of course, I congratulated him on his insight, and told him I would pass the idea on to my superiors............I then tried to calculate what portion of the U.S. gross national product would be required to install and maintain such a system over just California's 100+ million acres of wildland.........

Michael

08/11 Dear Sirs,
I just found your site, and saw the question about the Smoke Jumpers. I have been told and wonder if it is true? Smoke Jumpers are measured when they get hired and as soon as they loose six inches in height from jumping and landing in the forest, they can no longer be smoke jumpers. Because of all the hard landings their internal organs are compressed so much they will not have room to work.
Thank you,
Will Puller

That one is true. Ab.

08/11 OK folks, here is one for you ... i have been working for a Pvt. contractor and i am now home. i have been looking in the local area for some on-call work. i have called the state DNR and have been told they do not need any firefighters ... i have been told by R6 the same thing .. to me it seems odd that here in Washington the gov has called up the troops and keeps telling everyone that there are no firefighters... hmmmm well i have engb, crwb, ict4, class b faller, and EMT-I ... any help out there?

Check the links page. Ab.

08/11 Oregon fires article for Mellie from Firescribe: www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/
08/11 The forest service handbook clearly states under section D.REQUIRED SITUATIONS FOR HIRE sub. 11
"All hours worked under this Pay Plan must be recorded as either on-shift or off-shift. All on-shift time is compensable; all off-shift time is noncompensable."

"Off-shift time includes (1) time allowed for sleeping and eating when personnel are free from assigned duty and (2) other periods when personnel are free from duty and are not in an ordered standby status. Ordered standby status occurs when, at the direction of the Agency Official-in-charge, a casual hire is held in a specific location fully outfitted and ready for immediate assignment."

It seems that this is clear enough that the fraudulent hour shifting is rendered unnecessary.

Dana

08/11 Does anyone have any information on the lightening-caused fire on either side of the highway along the Columbia River south of Boardman, Oregon last night? Thing was ripping like a son of a gun. My friend called after 9PM expressing great concern. He was worried that the nerve gas stored at the Umatilla Military Depot could be at risk. Hey RS and Hickman, what do you hear from up that way? I'd appreciate any info from anyone. Presumably since it isn't on the large fire map, it was picked up on IA.

Mellie

08/11 Article on issues related to the lack of fire resources -- complements of Firescribe:
washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/politics/fedpage/A8624-2000Aug11.phpl
08/10 Interesting article in USA Today on the front page of the 8/10 issue:

www.usatoday.com/news/ndswed09.php

Ex-BLM Fire & Aviation Director Les Rosenkrance has a few words to say about decreasing fire program funding.

It'll be interesting to see how this goes over and plays out, or if anything happens at all.

Be safe, everyone.
BLM Bob

08/10 Hello All,
Intersting topics on the board. Hope all of you on the line are doing your best to stay hydrated and as rested as possible. Your safety is your and our first concern. For those of you still at your computers on the home front, here are a few interesting sites to visit:

www.idahostatesman.com/news/special-section/wildfires/wildfiresmain.shtml
Some good fire stories here.

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/politics/fedpage/A1172-2000Aug9.phpl
And a good fire personnel shortage story here.

www.intellicast.com/LocalWeather/World/UnitedStates/SouthWestLightningLoop/
Check out this site that gives the updated lightening strikes. Dry lightening is the problem, of course. In my neck of Norhtern CA last night, we had an amazing thunder storm with lots of rain. Haven't heard that it started any fires. Perhaps there was enough rain to quench the strikes, or maybe they'll show up as full-fledged fire in a day or two as they gather heat. Hope we continue to have the resources for IA with everyone being sent out.

www.intellicast.com/LocalWeather/World/UnitedStates/JetStream/
One NIFC friend suggested that the fire season might end abruptly if the winter storms come early. Check out this site -- almost the same as the last, but shows the higher level winds. When the jet stream dips below the Oregon border consistently, it means the winter storm patterns have begun, and with them comes the rain that alleviates the fire danger across the northwest. Implications for upper-level winds on fire weather patterns: something to study. Hard to know if those storms will come early or if today's dip will be sustained...

I echo others. STAY SAFE, STAY ALERT, YOUR SAFETY DEPENDS ON YOU!
Mellie

08/10 Here are some links, complements of Firescribe:

www.r5.fs.fed.us/fire/team1/
Team 1 and Clinton's visit a couple days ago.

www.Clinton visit
Team 1 shows him around. Go Scott and team!

08/10 BE SAFE! As the campaign wears on, it wears down you. I'm pleased to see that that the 14 day rotation is in place; and the campaign to keep the unfit out of harms way is apparently real. Ab, thanks for the great "Bio"; I was proud to have signed that original employee suggestion, and thought it a damn good one too. But we really did know it's ultimate fate early.

As to wildlandfire.com and TheySaidIt, remember,
If good people do nothing, bad gets done.
This forum provides the collective consciousness with the ability to do the good, so that the bad does nothing. There are many struggles in life, and history and human nature has time and again proven, together, many of those struggles are overcome with greater ease.

Keep on, keepin' on
Maddog

08/10 firepup21,

After being involved with the FS for 30 years I will take a shot at answering your questions posted 8/9:

1) How many permanent postions will this fire season generate over the next few years? Based on the fact that till this year our local forest was reduced in fire funded personnel almost every year since 1987 down to the 1999 level of one engine staffed on each fire zone (two zones with two districts each) of the forest and a prevention patrol on each fire zone. NONE! This was from a 1987 level of three engines, a prevention patrol, a lookout, an FMO and AFMO per district. The math would indicate the forest dropped from 21 engines, 5 prevention patrols, 5 lookouts, 5 FMO's and 5 AFMO's down to the 1999 levels of 2 engines, 2 prevention patrols, 3 FMO's (1 is a GS-9 and the other two are GS-11's) and 3 AFMO's (1 is a detail just for the fire season).

2) Will agencies finally get the money they need? Based on the fact that 1987 was the last "Worst Fire Season in 50 Years" and was the start of the budget decline - NO AGAIN! One other thing I have seen in 30 years is the attitude by the public and the politicians that once fire season is over, firefighters need to crawl back in their hole, or wherever they hang out in the off season, but by God they need to be ready to go for the next fire season.

3) Will congress forget about the 2000 season after a few wet years? THEY WILL FORGET ABOUT IT THE DAY AFTER THE 2000 SEASON IS DECLARED OVER!

Those are my thoughts. Will be interested to see what other thoughts show up on "Theysaid".

New subject for thought and comments (Especially from some of you folks that have been around since the early 80's) what with all the news of shortages of people to fight the going fires. Back in 1981 I heard from the FMO's in the region that if something was not done soon, there would be serious shortage of people in key management and line positions with all the retirements coming up starting in the mid-80's. If this was mentioned 19 years ago, why are we in the position today?

Firehorse

08/10 The Hour Lunch Saga (or How Come Bean Counters Get to Make the Rules?)

"Show a half hour off for lunch and then add it on at the end of your shift." If you are a Crewboss or other fireline supervisor you have heard this. If you are serving in an line overhead position you have said this. I have done both. The situation is that fireline personnel did not have the opportunity to leave their line assignment for an uninterrupted 30-minute lunch break, but are required to show one. There is no reason for the Government to require a non-paid meal break while on the line, and a number of reasons not to.

The above situation puts the supervisor in an undesirable decision making situation. They can:
1) Show a lunch break and accurately record the end of the shift. That puts the supervisor in the position of failing to compensate personnel they supervise for duties performed.
2) Show a lunch break and tack on the 30 minutes at the end of the shift. This is falsification of a government document for financial gain, a crime that could result in dismissal and/or criminal charges. It is also often the only way to justly compensate fireline personnel.
Only having those two choices puts the supervisor in the position of having to cheat employees or falsify documents. The Government would be wise to avoid putting their fire management leaders in a position of having to make unethical decisions.

Time spent eating lunch on the line is in actuality standby. Firefighters can be ordered back to work at anytime at a moments notice. The Government inadvertently acknowledges this in the "Standards for Survival" training video. Remember the scenario when the squad breaks for lunch and within a minute gets ordered to assist another squad that has lost a slopover? Unless you can take your boots off, turn off the radio, and be guaranteed not to be disturbed, you are on standby. Having your lunch cut short by the urgency of the situation is so frequent that the Government uses it as an example during training.

There is ample precedent for compensated meal breaks. Federal structural firefighters are compensated for all meal times and while they are sleeping. This is because they are expected to be able to respond to emergencies during these times, as is the case for wildland firefighters.

This is an issue which negatively impact morale. Poor morale adversely affects production and safety. It helps foster an "us vs. them" mentality. Good morale is critical for teamwork under adverse conditions.

In this situation I always added 30 minutes at the end of the shift. The government put me in a position of having to decide if I should treat my people fairly or obey an unjust regulation. There was no way I was going to let my people get shortchanged because of some obtuse rule.

TF

This is something first year firefighters become aware of when they review their time sheets and ask why they are charged for a lunch break when they didn't even get to sit down, let alone take off their boots. It quickly becomes an accepted practice which, while known to all, is never mentioned. Ab.

08/10 Miki,
Jumpers don't shout "Geronimo". Whoever told you that was pulling your leg.

Bombardero del Fuego

08/10 MIKI, In answer to your question: Why do jumpers shout "Geronimo" when they jump? Because "OH SHIT" is just not allowed.

WP

08/10 Four new photos this morning, two just received and two a little older.  Three are here Fire3 and one new piece of equipment I would love to get my hands on the controls of during structure protection, here Equip
My thanks to the senders.  Ab.
08/09 Firepup 21, 

The helicopter incident happened in 1998. The contractor went to the bottom of the list after the incident...and is closely scrutinized now by the DNR head of helo ops. having "burned" his "friendship card". Both he and the contractor are fully aware that if anything like that ever happens again (putting a defective helicopter in service) I can and will ruin both of them. The contractor will have to repay the insurance money, face fraud prosecution, and totally fold his operation 'cause no insurance company will ever deal with him again. The DNR official will have to retire in disgrace and share the fraud prosecution as well. I keep a close eye on them as do my rotorhead compatriots. If I were a criminal type I could have probably blackmailed them both...but I am not...and although I have been sorely tempted to use it to my advantage in the intervening years, THAT would be a clear violation of MY standards. Once you start redrawing THAT line you are on a slippery slope to no standards at all. I did what I thought was the right thing to do and will accept the consequences of that decision. I don't say that lightly. 

I am not sure I did the right thing. If I knew then what I know now I may have handled it differently. Currently we need them both....and after the scare they got (from both the incident itself and my threat to expose them after they thought the cover up was complete) I honestly doubt they will cut corners like that again. Ironically if I had refused to do as I was told or known that what we were ordered to do was completely illegal and reported it to the NTSB, I honestly doubt that there would be as much incentive by either to never allow it to happen again. It would have been my word against theirs...and I was just a seasonal firefighter. Those higher up would have backed "their" man and I would have been fired. Having hid it from his superiors that "us against him" advantage was lost and his superiors would be forced to allow him to "swing" alone. 

The important thing I got out of this was that everyone got sloppy and safety suffered. The owner and 1st pilot got sloppy and allowed their need for money and to provide a resource to overcome their training and experience as pilots. The head of helo ops got sloppy and allowed his need to appear infallible and his friendship to overcome his training and better judgment. The HEMG got sloppy and forgot it was his duty to ground the helicopter at the first sign of trouble or was afraid that doing so would have unpleasant consequences jobwise. And the crew got sloppy and forgot that YOU CAN NEVER TRUST ANYONE ELSE TO PROVIDE FOR YOUR SAFETY. The 2nd pilot was the only innocent victim. We were all very, very lucky. 

Don't assume that someone else is looking out for you, don't get sloppy, and for everyone's sake, speak up when you see a safety problem and don't shut up...no matter who tells you to. 

Fireronin

08/09 Dear AB!

After reading your section, "AB SPEAKS", I now understand what I think I had already figured out -- hat this site is not only recreational, but has been also very helpful to many of the Fire personnel out there in the field. I totally agree that there are people who would love to make us all "Shut up and sit down and do nothing". If they could, they would make us... You hit the nail on the head with that particular part of the discussion. I also believe in FREEDOM OF SPEECH as it happens to be our first ammendment to the U.S. Constitution... The people who disagree with the purposes of this site need to remember we do live in America... Well at least the last time I checked, our country is still America. Maybe the people out there who do not agree with the purposes of us being able to speak our personal thoughts or opinions off the clock are also the ones who go out there fighting fires and performing their jobs with closed minds and are not open for new ideals or possibly open to learning that there are better ways to handle hostile and difficult situations on the job and on the fireline.

So here's a big RIGHT ON to ya AB!! You just keep on doing what you have obviously worked very hard to do. I have heard the buzz around the office from many different folks about this site. Many people have been able to get lots of things off of their chest without any repercussions, rather than to keep it bottled up and let it affect their abilities to perform their jobs in an effective manner... I believe that many of you fire guys out there, especially the old timers (pardon my expression), have held lots in, but it's the new millenium and things are a changin' folks. Forget the Genders. When you all are doing what you love and love what you are doing, there are still things that can eat you up if ya can't spit em' out without gettin' into any trouble... 

Keep on Writing Folks!
AND MORE POWER TO YA AB!!!
I SUPORT YOUR EFFORTS!!
ROSES

08/09 After reading WP's answer as to what is a "cubi", I can't resist, I have to respond. There are two items that are usually referred to as a "cubi", one is a one gallon container that is collapsible and comes with a box overpack, this one is normally used by rappellers and smokejumpers. The other is a five gallon plastic collapsible container that also comes with a box overpack. The term "cubi" I believe was given originally to the one gallon container as it is about a one foot cube. If there is powdered water out there, then that is something new to me.
...........................RS
08/09 Just wanted to thank all that write here my brother just left for Idaho from New Jersey on monday. The local news really doesn't cover much. it's nice to here updates good luck and be safe. Cathy
08/09 Hi all...

Thanks for keeping us posted with news links, etc. Hope your questions about cubies have been answered, Tiny. I have seen them in a third form, however: molded. I like to assume this stage precedes burial, but I am certain that someone, somewhere, is saving these for the day when they discover a new and powerful mold-killing water powder to refill them with so they can be redistributed in their full form. 

Also, very glad to get the info on the hotshot video. I've heard it's good, and my folks just came across one at an NPS visitor center and bought it for themselves... (my dad was very excited), but of course I don't live near them. 

Regarding the Pack test, the word I heard is that Eastern and Southern FS regions are exempted from taking the Pack Test this year, assuming their employees passed the Step Test for a Red Card (before a certain date?? I don't have the details on this part...). This is because their fire seasons started before Pack Test info was out and available nationwide for the FS. However, whether this is valid in CA is another question, as states may be able to require more stringent standards than are required nationally. However, there is an Official Letter out from the WO on this issue. 

My vote on the crew transport: spend the extra money to do it safely. Look at how much money we spend on these fires, especially on air resources, and consider spending a little bit more to be safe. It's just not worth it to save a tiny bit, especially if you have to explain why you didn't choose the safer method of transport that you knew about when you're explaining why the accident occurred... 

Be careful out there... 

--still watching

08/09 hey all ! just got back from the cave gulch fire. seen a crap load of fire and a big crap load of interesting decisions on tactics and strategy! the last day on the line the fire went from 80% contained to a 1000% or more breakout of the fire. the rh has been down to the single digits most of the time i was there. winds shift constantly and the terrain was nuts!!!!!! worked with some good people. the crew i was with had some minor injuries but nothing too bad. i just got home a couple of hours ago so i am going to introduce myself to my wife and kids again (just incase they forgot who i am) so i will talk more about this soon. i hope everyone is being safe.
        BC Davis
08/09 fireronin 

That is an interesting story. Did this happen recently?? Sounds like folks need to be alerted to this contractor if they are still around. 

I'm wondering what the resource situation will look like around mid-september when a lot of seasonals head off back to school? 

I am also curious about the impacts (budget-wise and personnel-wise ie. how many permanent positions etc) this season will generate for the next few years? Will agencies finally get the money they need? Will everyone (congress) forget about the 2000 fire season after a few wet years again? 

Any thoughts? 

I'm guessing a lot will have to do with who becomes pres. 

firepup21

08/08 Pup, a cubie is a 3 to 4 gallon instant water container that is folded flat for storage. It contains powdered water and unfolds to about a 12"x12"x12" cube. Somehow when it is unfolded it fills with water, I have never seen anyone fill them, I have just seen them empty and full. So I assume that as soon as they are unfolded the water powder turns to liquid. 

Glad to help.
WP

08/08 The mom found the video of her son and says thanks. Ab.
08/08 Ab -- Thanks for the story behind where the site came from. I found your site by accident one day when I was looking for some information for my husband and I have been addicted to it ever since. Keep up the good work. 

Firefighters Wife

08/08 Do you know why smokejumpers shout "Geronimo" when they jump? Inquiring minds want to know. Thanks! 

Miki

08/08 Sir:

I would like you to consider listing American Firewear on your Wildland Links page under Vendor/Commercial Pages. Please visit our site www.firewear.com and see if you agree that we have a lot to offer the wildland fire service. 

We also have over 1,000 sets of wildland gear in stock for immediate delivery for the current emergency situation out west. 

Thanks for your consideration. 
Ernie Paffumi, President
American Firewear, Inc.

Will link to it when I get a chance. Ab.

08/08 we have PA firefighters trained in wildland firefighting but did not pass the walk last year but did pass it in 1999. we are willing to go and help but the forest said we could not go just because we did not past the walk in 2000. we even went to camp. i feel we are being used. we're only good when they can not get anyone else.
THANK YOU 
PA firefighter 

Well, resources are short now and fire overhead are still adhering to fitness standards. This Ab says "good". Passing the Work Capacity Test (WCT) is a must for the individual wildland firefighter's safety as well as for the safety of his or her fellow firefighters. You may not know what the terrain is like out here, but it is very rough. Let's see, PA. Hmmm, if you're in western PA near Pittsburgh, go to south side of Monongohela River where it joins the Allegheny to form the Ohio, then bushwack straight up the 1500-2000 foot bluff there. Ride the inclined rail down if your knees hurt and repeat the hike 3 to 4 more times. If you can do that, you might start to get an idea of the order of magnitude of rugggedness of our western mountains. Train up. If you can make that hike, you can pass the WCT. You need to be fit to help us out!

08/08 I am a film maker/former hotshot who made a film for the Learning Channel called FIREFIGHT: STORIES FROM THE FRONTLINES. The film has received 4 awards for excellence. It covers the job and life of a hotshot firefighter and I was with the Bear Divide Hotshots for 4 seasons 95-98. The film is available on VHS if anyone is interested in buying a copy and can contact me at my email address. The film covers some Helitak, Air Tankers, Storm King and Mann Gulch, but mostly about the job of the wildland firefighter. Several type 1-2 crews have bought it for training, but most firefighters buy it because, I'm told, it explains to their family and friends what they really do.
Let me know.
-David Wittkower
Ctch 22@aol.com

Aberecrombie negotiated a lower price for our readers. So mention that you're one of us at wildlandfire.com and you will get the discount. As soon as we get the ordering link from David, we'll put it on the links page. Readers, let us know if there is any problem with the discount. Ab.

08/08 Engine Guy,
You are not the only one that thinks it is UNSAFE to be transporting crews in the backs of Deuce and 1/2s. Remember the Orders put firefighter safety 1st. In fact it is illegal (for obvious reasons) in most states to transport passengers in the back of trucks...pickups included. Just because the military does it is no reason to accept that it is safe...it isn't. The argument that if the driver is doing his job and conditions are safe then "why not" is the same...it is NOT SAFE! 

Firepup 21...don't expect the NTSB report to resemble anything close to reality. I had barely stepped out of a helicopter I was assigned to when it crashed...sudden (unexpected) loss of power was the NTSB report. The real story was that the owner had been trying to track down the intermittent loss of power for several MONTHS! The regular pilot was aware of the intermittent problem...but forgot to tell his replacement...who crashed because he was not expecting to be flying a helicopter that was NOT AIRWORTHY. We must have been crazy to fly in it...but were told not to worry by both the pilot, the owner, our HEMG,and (when we asked him) our state DNR head of helicopter ops...who had personal ties to the owner. 

We were directed to "clean up the scene" and help transport the helicopter back to the hanger...in violation of NTSB rules by our superiors...and were never contacted by the NTSB when the "incident" was finally discovered and "investigated". 

Remember...SAFETY COMES FIRST!!! 

fireronin

08/07 New photos posted today.  I appreciate the patience of the pic senders over the last two months.  20 new photos may be found at these locations:
Fire3
Logo2
Equipment
Airtankers2

Abercrombie

08/07 Thanks for the info on the helicopter crash. I am sure NTSB etc. will have a full report. Here is a link to the park service morning report with some more info. The supplemental listing for Aug 7 has the details.

www.nps.gov/morningreport/index.php

My prayers and thoughts are with everyone involved and everyone else out there savin' lives laughing in the face of danger. 

I guess with all that is going on, all the people, equipment, aircraft etc. that are involved the safety record seems pretty good. (knock on wood) Lets keep it that way. Everyone keep their head up and if something looks fishy - make a ruckus. 

Ab- you're kickin some ass with this web site. And I was serious about anyone needing an ex-helitack/lead crew/squad boss with four seasons of experience. I'd love to join the fight! 

firepup21 (not to be confused with Ranger Tiny of course--glad to have you back)

08/07 Ab, 

Finally have a break from painting the house to siddown and write ya- read in my little email this morning the following article, it takes a while to get to through all them ads etc, but what do you expect of MSNBC?

www.msnbc.com/news/435945.asp

Hi Dave, yeah, being back is good... 

Thanks to J-Bob for the info re: top fill backpack pumps, I'll leave that jotted down and pass it along to someone who can make a difference for the camp. 

Well I gotta shove off back to scraping and sanding, take care out there WLFF's, W. Washington has been busy using city dept's to try an' halt brush fires along the I-5 corridor... 

Oh yeah.. A pup's question.. what's a cubie? 

As Ever, 
Tiny, the R-6 Fire Pup

08/07 The following was paraphrased from a letter in the "Letters to the Editor" section of my local news paper a few days ago. Thought it might be of interest. 

SIMPLE SOLUTIONS
Mount fans to fight fires
It's simple, I don't know why someone else hasn't thought of it. Why not mount huge fans on ATVs for blowing fires back and protectiong structures?
There could be other types of vehicles with huge fans for residental areas. 

Joe Public 
(of course it is not his real name) 

I wonder if the Engine/Tender contract will be changed to reflect this simple idea? 

WP

08/07 A rather awesome image -- all the large western fires on one map! On the evening news, over a million acres burning. www.nifc.gov/fireinfo/firemap.phpl

Firescribe

08/07 I've just came in from east Idaho "WOW" what a run that was. One thing good about the new 14 day rule is you get to see home for a few days. Hey Red how's life? tell Dave and Tony hello and to stay safe. Well, It looks like I will be going to eastern Oregon this time. Maybe we might bump into each other. And to all of the family and friends of the fallen firefighters my deepest feelings go out to you. 

P.S. Who said Handcrews is where the rubber meets the road? 

CF5945

08/07 Hey everyone. Tiny, its good to see you're back. Just thought I'd tell yall that I got my job. I went today to pick up our radio engineer from the airport. He was in Nevada. He said that he had flown in the helicopter 2 days before it crashed. He also said that the others were concious and looked ok when they were putting them on the amb. 

And on the duece and a half subject, if the drivers are safe and the conditions, such as road weather etc. are okay, then why not? If its okay for the military then why not us? Our govt. has spent who knows how much money on military vehicles. Why not use them? Why spend even more money on suv's when you can ride 2 1/2 tons that are sitting idle? It is just a thought, I agree that there could be problems but if used safely it could save a ton of money. 

Anyway, yall stay safe. And God Bless our fallen firefighters. 
David

08/06 Ab, 

Thought you'd be interested to know the fires in the US are generating a lot of coverage here in Australia with nearly every news bulletin leading their coverage with the fires. 

Yesterday saw a leading FF from Victoria fly out to see what (if anything) we firefighters here in Australia can contribute. If the mood amongst our Remote Area firefighting Team is anything to go by there will be no shortage of volunteers to come and help that's for sure. Its winter here so we can can certainly be released without much fuss and bother. 

Won't keep you, all of you on the line stay safe and if you hear of any Aussies on a fire over there somewhere make sure you bring your patches and T-Shirts with you. 

Thanks.
Marto

08/06 Am I the only one that believes wildland firefighters should not be riding in the back of National Guard "deuce and a half" trucks? Most of our fire agencies are anal about requiring employees to ALWAYS fasten a seat belt--"Do Not Move Vehicle Without Fastening Safety Belts". We can't ride in the back of a pickup truck. But, we put our firefighters in the back of an open truck, without any rollover protection or seat belts. The unfortunate folks sitting in the very back sometimes bounce 1-2 feet high when the truck hits a bump. Remember 10-20 years ago when one of these trucks rolled over, killing several firefighters? 

If the truck with passengers must drive through a hot part of the fire, heaven forbid, the folks in the back have absolutely no protection. 

These trucks were used extensively on the Dead Horse fire near Casper, WY recently. Mostly, I assume, because they were right there; the ICP was at the National Guard armory. If busses are not available, I'd rather see an IMTeam go out and rent a fleet of SUV's, than use these trucks. 

Again, we take an easy shortcut, and put our firefighters at risk. 

Engine Guy 

08/06 Info on the helicpoter crash and death:

www.bouldernews.com/news/statewest/05ldeat.phpl

Firescribe

08/06 About the helicpoter fatality, I found this on firefighter.com

Vol. Dave

Thanks Dave. Ab.

08/06 Regarding the Bell 206 helicopter that went down in Nevada, I am sure that they will be releasing more info about it either today or tomorrow. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and family of the fallen hero. 

-Anonymous in NV

Anonymous, sorry for snipping your post. We are very careful not to release information we cannot confirm in these types of painful and difficult situations. Thanks for writing in. As more information becomes available and verifiable, we will post it. Ab. 

08/05 Ab,

I have learned of aTx Wildland FF who was Killed in the Line of Duty on a fire back in '88. My question is,I was asked who could they talk to about submitting his name to the Fallen Firefighter's Memorial.I know that this place to get that question answered. 

Thank's, Keith 

08/05 Hello Gang,

I am wondering about the news stories of the 206 that crashed in Nevada?? Who, what where?? Does anyone have any details? The newspapers kinda glazed over it, like "the fires are rippin' and by the way a helicopter crashed and killed a person" 

I am quite turned off and concerned by the coverage of this event. 

I am watching from the east coast sidelines this season, not believing that I decided to get a "real" job - what the hell was I thinking! I wanna go back. 

Anyone happen to need a heli-rappeller/squad boss with 4 seasons of experience? 

-a-concerned-ex-helitack-wishing-to-be-back-in-fire 

After an exaustive search, this is about all I can find: www.nifc.gov/fireinfo/heli8-4.phpl. When fire-related aircraft go down, the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) steps in and information is released according to their rules and regs. Ab. 

08/05 Pulaski,

I have asked the same question about bottled water. I have seen people beside a municipal water spigot pour two bottles of water into a canteen and go on the line. The only answer I can get is that if bottled water encourages people to drink more water than the cost is worth it. There is a cost to haul water to remote camps, the risk of contamination if the tanks are not clean or the operators are careless in filling and maintaining the equipment. Also the issue of taste, I have had water that was OK to drink but the taste was so bad I hesitated to shower in it let alone drink it. The bottom line is that there are times when it is appropriate to supply bottled water or not. Lets just hope the day does not come when cubies are filled with bottled water. 

WP

08/05 Greetings. I was contacted by a CIIMT 5 member this morning who was reading wildlandfire.com and noticed a mother looking for her son's photo and interview. The team member believes this may be the location she is looking for. 

www.fs.fed.us/r4/uinta/fire/wasatchcomplex/family.phpl

Thanks for your time. Nice web site BTW.

08/05 ~*~IN MEMORY OF~*~
OUR FALLEN COMRAD. REST IN PEACE. 

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. Ab.

08/05 RE: Ab's who & why response, 

...and the masses thank you Ab...and you, Ab helpers. Your efforts are greatly appreciated (and thats an understatement!) 

On another note..here is a question. I may just be a traditionalist old fart, but can someone explain to me why fire management is spending big bucks on bottled water for firefighters? I understand there are some benefits in health concerns with hauled in potable water, and one serious health claim would make the bottled water cost seem like a drop in the bucket. I can understand it if your only other water option would be to haul in potable water, but if a camp has municipal water supply, why should we (as taxpayers) pay over $6,000 a day (taken from first hand observation from bircher fire) for bottled water when they can get it for free straight from the municipal supply? 

pulaski

08/05 Yo Ab, keep up the good work! Thanks a turbojet-load from all wildland firefighters! Mellie
08/04 Ab, who are you? Why did you create this site? Where do you hail from? What do you do? Most folks probably already know, but I guess I'm in the dark.

Curious

Here Ab's reply was posted here for a bit and then moved to the top righthand side of the page. Click here for Ab Speaks or on the link up there to read it.

08/04 To Rob of Eastern Idaho: 

The effect of fire on soil depends on how hot the fire burned -- whether low, medium or high -- and in what fuel type. In the Idaho flat country, the fire may have been hot, but it probably cooked to a crust only the top inch because heat moves straight up and fire often moves quickly in your flashy fuels. (In my area in heavy timber as in blowdown areas, fires burn hotter for longer and affect the soils at a much deeper level.) Undoubtedly in ID there is ash that your winds will blow around, sifting it along the soil surface, settling it out and catching it in nooks and crannies. People with severe respiratory conditions might want to consider some protection: ash is very basic (opposite of acidic). The crust may remain relatively intact for longer than 2-3 weeks if it is not stepped on or disturbed. Unless your winds are the equivalent of a giant tromping thru the land! 

The biggest effect of fire is that you've lost ground cover. The first rain will not soak in so well, as the crust will not absorb water as well as unburned soils would. Runoff and erosion might pose a hazard if you're not on flat ground. Subsequent rains should be more readily absorbed. If the burned areas of Nevada are any example, you should be fine. As I drove through there last spring everything was sprouting following the fire a year before. Within 2 years you can't even tell there was a fire. The sagebrush grows and grasses abound. The land is used to fire. It is only we humans who sometimes are not. 

Anyone out there from the burned windy areas of NV or UT who can speak to the dust and ash question first hand? 

The Professor 

08/04 More on the burnover: 
Here's what I found: 
Wind-driven flames injure four firefighters
Pechanga inferno howls across 5,700-plus acres 
www.inlandempireonline.com/news/stories/080300/fire03.shtml

Be Extra Safe
Hickman

08/04 Another burnover and CA fire update here:
Sacramento Bee article
08/04 To Neadermeyer
No real ICS designator for STLC (Military). Any good STLC will do just fine. 
It's usually the Agency Liasion Officer that needs some specialized training. Sorry to have misled you. 
To AB
Happy BD, late but the thought counts(?) 
Sorry to hear of the injuries. Let's hope all fully recover. 
That post on buried or hidden propane cylinders curled the hair on the back of my neck. Having seen a few go off in my "daze"...well, it's enough to send an old Viet Vet into a PTS moment! 
BE SAFE, I've got to run and take my teenage son shopping for school duds.
Maddog
08/03 Update on last two posts complements of Firescribe: 
IDAHO: 
The firefighters caught in Idaho were on the Clear Creek Fire on Sunday, July 31. They are members of Tahoe Engine 41. The crew was outside the engine on the roadside. Only one person was injured with minor second degree burns and was treated and released from the hospital. The info person says that they've had favorable weather for fighting the fire the last few days. Today was cool with rain, no high winds. They expect to make headway with dozer lines and backburn tomorrow. The fire has burned more that 100,000 acres but has made no major runs in the last 2-3 days. 
CALIFORNIA:
A CDF engine was burned over on the Pachenga Fire while performing structure protection at the Woodchuck Campground south of Hwy 79 near Temecula. Four firefighters from Engine 2382 out of CDF Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit were burned, 3 are in guarded condition, 1 in serious condition. To read the entire report go to CDF website then click on the first item about the burnover (PDF file so you need Adobe Acrobat).
08/03 Heard that an engine was caught in an Idaho fire that flashed downslope. Someone on the engine didn't have their shroud pulled down and they were burned on the neck and back of their arms inside their nomex. Does anyone have any info re what fire and how the firefighter(s)are and where they're from?
Everyone, stay ready and geared-up for the unexpected. I hear the Idaho fires are outta control and resources are thin.
Sign me: Concerned at Home
08/03 Read a news story about four CA firefighters who were burned, two rather badly. Is there any more info on this, what fire, what outfit, anybody with any answers?
Had a good 5 acre fire in our little burg yesterday, 95 degrees and a south wind, spotted across a four lane freeway. Keep safe, watch out for the dragon!
Local Agency Volunteer Engineer. (LAVE)
08/03 I have heard that a wildland fire leaves behind a crust that lasts approximately 2-3 weeks. We have just experienced a major fire that encircled our facility, and I am trying to figure out how long we have before the dust (ash, soot, and dust) begins to be picked up by the winds that are so prevalent in Eastern Idaho. The terrain that burned is primarily flat desert with the most prevalent plantlife being sagebrush and cheat grass. 

anyone have any information? 

Thanks, 
Rob    (bridrj@inel.gov) 

08/03 Readers -- Someone would like to use the NJ Crew photo on the Crew page and I seem to have lost the credit for that. Would the photographer please e-mail me. Ab.
08/02 HOla Ab. 

We are getting alot of response from the various posting regarding our contract team managing a large staging operation in South Missoula. 

Appreciate the response and support. If we run for 60 days we could use a few more folks who have planning and logistics experience at the unit level. 

We are email ready now for those who are still interested.Saves using the phone. 

Thanks to all of you. 

Bob Alvord
Deputy IC.
robert@eoni.com

08/02 HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AB!
08/02 Abercrombie, 
We have need for a qualified operator/firefighter with at least a Class B (with air brake endorsement) license, to rotate between our Tactical Water Tender and Type 3/4 heavy engine. Thanks for your help.
Cindy Wood, for Wood's Fire and Emergency
08/01 Here are the links to the photo sites that J mentioned this morning:
www.r5.fs.fed.us/sequoia/fire/images/gallery_index.php
Good photos of the Manter Fire on the Sequoia National Forest 

www.r5.fs.fed.us/lospadres/html/plaskett2/photos/index.php
Good photos by members of Gage CA Team 2 on the Plaskett2 Fire. 

And here's another CA team:
www.r5.fs.fed.us/fire/team1/
Now we can track CA IM teams 1, 3, and 5. Change the number on the url to find out about the other two. 

firescribe

08/01 Tiny, SEI Industries "The Bambi Buket People" have a back pak that fills from the top and is does not degrade from foam use. Cost $125 for Regular and $180 for foam type. Contact Rusty Boys at (770) 454-1130. 

J-Bob

08/01 Maddog...... Had a great time with the Army in Yellowstone. Looking over 
the Fire quals? STLM - I did about 31 days in yellowstone, guess I only 
qualify for OSC2 on the quals, cant even find anyone on the Forest for 
"STLM"! News to me about a special military Crew Strike team leader. Have 
some excellent folks ready to go........... Maybe you could let me know where 
the special rating comes from? Really a Bad Day when the Agencies cannot 
make a meeting with Congressional sub-committee's, it really speaks for the 
Agency. Too many folks are willing to work, simple supply and demand. Those 
folks should join the FWFSA, a little lobby................ goes along way. 
Im sure Swartzlander is just establishing a new Anchor, then hit it again. 
No lost ground, just new blackline. Thanks for the update 
info......... "Neadermeyer"
08/01 FIRE SITUATIONS THAT SHOUT "YEAH, RIGHT!!" (or This is going to be a Great "Blanking" Day!) 

1. Don't take your headlamps, you'll be in by 1800hrs. 

2. Food and (check one or more) : a. Tools b. Water c. Radios d. Line Scout 
will be at the (check one or more): a. Landing b. Drop Point c. Heliport d. Spike Camp 

3. Don't worry about your time, I'm taking care of it. 

4. The Overhead Team is trying to be cost effective. 

5. Your three-day R&R will be in Lame Deer, Montana. 

6. The 044 Stihl Chainsaws you have ordered have Homelite XL12 logos on them. 

7. You only have three more chains to go before you tie in. 

8. The only paper in the porta-potty is your shift plan. 

9. This water is potable, the village upstream drinks it all the time. 

10. Your saw crew is from the Petrified Forest. 

11. The only thing that works on your rig is the "Fasten Your Seat Belts" sign. 

12. The man standing next to you at the latrine is cross-eyed. 

13. The helicopter pilot keeps confusing the hook drop button with the radio button. 

14. The commisary will be in camp tonight. 

15. The President of the Sierra Club has his Winnebago parked in front of the IC's tent. 

16. Your Division Group Supervisor is nicknamed "Attila". 

17. Your tools and kits come from the Fire Cache last opened in 1970. 

18. Your Air Attack Supervisor is a major shareholder in Monsanto. 

19. Your engine operator's hobby is participating in demolition derbies. 

20. Your cubie container is filled with wet water. 

21. Your Strike Team Leader says you don't need to stop for fuel and there will be fuel waiting at the fire line. 

22. Your transport driver keeps calling members of your crew "Billy" and saying he'll report you to the principle's office for detention when they get to school for throwing spitwads on the bus.

23. Your told at Supply the only thing left for food are the C-Rations left over from World War II, but they have a shelf life of 100 years. 

24. Members of your crew are collecting a pool to have one of the Air Tanker Pilots "accidentally" make a drop on the Operations Tent.

25. The only place to get clean cloths are the T-Shirt Vendors. 

MOC4546 

08/01 In case anybody is interested, Region 5 has a couple of links to web pages 
for the Manter and Plaskett Fires. Pretty good pictures. j
08/01 Well well well... what can I say?.. it's been.. TOO LONG!

Geez that's one heck of a month to read through in under an hour.. I'm probably going to have to read through it again and again to make sure I didn't miss anything.

Oh yeah, Hi guys. And Hi David! Yup just showing that I did read the page, nice to know that I was missed! I kept thinking throughout the month how the page was doing.. well.. I can say its doing well, especially when I have to read things several times over...

Yup, your pup is back.. finally. I had quite the time up at camp this year, what with all the typical shenanigans (Mellie, spell check that for me!) and not to mention a pair of wildfires both under 10 miles from camp! Well okay, so it was all under control, but it was enough to make my blood pressure rise. I have a few photos of smoke from the Rocky Hull fire. Didn't get any flames because my driver didn't want to get in the way of the fleet of WA DNR and USFS Engines clogging US Route 97 - probably a good thing... Any how. Next year I'm going to have to get a Dispatch Radio Receiver or whatever they're called (the term will come to me when I get to thinking of it and after my travel fatigue fades) for our camp, if only to calm my nervousness whenever the smoke gets so thick that I can't see for a quarter of a mile!

So, here's what I did for the past 4 weeks up at the BSA Camp Bonaparte: Instructed Tenderfoot, 2nd Class and First Class Advancement, Totin Chip (Knife, Ax and Saw, Safety, Care and Use) Orienteering Merit Badge, and my personal favorite, Fireman Chit (Fire safety and regs). For the Emergency Action Crew of the camp I was assigned to a trusty old FS issue bladder bag, I even have a photo of me with that sucker on. Good news is I got the Teflon tape for the threads of the action this year and stopped the bags from leaking, now if only we could either design or find a bladder bag that fills fro the top, ours you have to actually remove the entire trombone action to refill the bag with.. hrmmm.. sounds like an engineering issue. Any how, in our weeks of camp I'm proud to say that all of the troops, with one exception, adhered to the FS/DNR/BSA regs on fire throughout the nights, and after 2200 hours with that one exception, all the fires in camp were properly extinguished.
That tells me that either the campers are ultra conciencoius (okay so spelling right now is hard for me) or that I happen to be a pretty decent
instructor when it comes to fire safety... or both... 

Any how, I'll go back to being my humbled little fire pup self again, catch up with the worlds I know and hopefully in a day or so be ready to go back at it all over again.

As ever,

Tiny, the former 'Ranger', but always the R-6 Fire Pup

 
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