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12/31 i just want to stop by and wish everyone a safe and happy new year!

BC Davis

12/31 New reviews on the Book Review page and more coming. There's a link to the book/reviews page at the top right side of the table.


12/31 Please let me know if you have any pictures of the Mule Dry fire in eastern washington. We lost our shop and out buildings in it.

thank you

Ben Naught
21 Turpin rd.
Mabton, wa. 98935

12/31 Ab, Mellie & ALL

A very happy New Year to uze and your families. Here are some interesting numbers.

Sum time 2morrow morn the #'s will line up as follows: 01:01:01, 01/01/01 to be read as 1 second after 1 minute after the 1st hour of the 1st day of the 1st month of the 1st year {Y2K+1}. Won't happen again for 1000 years.


12/31 Ab,

Wholly sh**balls!!!!

Sorry to have started a ruckus with the "outreach" positions!

If I understand about the "outreach" positions, these are positions that are unofficially posted internally to the local regional offices, before the "official posting" on USAJOBS.

The unofficial postings are probablly illegal as hell and OPM is most likely watching this site and will be calling my house in the next few hours. I'll probably get into some major crap from my sources, but I thought I'd at least pass on the info for those who have the minimum quals/education/experince who may want an edge on the local competetion.

Hope everyone is enjoying the New Year's weekend and having fun in the snow. We are enjoying our usual winter wonderland in Arizona, 60' temps and no sign of precip!!

AZ Trailblazer


Look here for training. The computerized Multi-Agency Fire Training Schedule is a list of wildland fire and aviation training courses taught throughout the United States.


12/30 DEEFAMO I think I'd rather bet without clarifying, if we could. Given my original statement, I think I'd win. This question came up because a couple of friends are also trying to get FS jobs.

So check it out. The thing I'm talking about is that if you go to Ab's extracted usa jobs 462 and 455 series listings on the jobs page and scroll down through them, the BLM and NPS jobs seem to predominate. Why? I told my friends I thought it might be because many FS jobs are being offered nationally, but they're listing each "type" once with multiples of the same position in different locations. The nationwide thing. BLM is doing that too. It's not clear that's the case though... Anyway, the system gives the appearance that there aren' so many FS jobs out there. Can anyone clarify this? Or does it have something to do with the first round having fewer and the second round later having more.


Ab sez here are the links (also available on the jobs page): 0462 or 0455

12/29 Kibby, I would quit the letter writing campaign and go talk to folks in person face to face at the district. On the surface it sounds like something that should be easily taken care of if all the steps have been followed. It is always easier to discuss that stuff face to face rather than exchanging letters. If you do get sucked into the workmans comp vortex be prepared for a long ride as those folks have never expedited a damn thing and the FS can not knock them off of dead center either. They will eventually get to it but it is going to be a long ride. One of the not so good deals about getting slid over onto that side of the system. The folks that I have been associated with that ended up on the workmans comp side eventually got satisfaction but it was a long time coming. One of them even had to wait 5 months to get surgery for a job related injury, and set home in a chair the whole time because he could barely walk, so go figure.

Rod, I have no clue where you are looking for or at jobs but you would have a hard time convincing me that the other agencies have more 462 series openings than the FS. In fact it would seem like a sucker bet to me. Maybe you should clarify what you are talking about before I offer you the bet.

Here is one for all you folks that are wanting to get your foot in the door. R1 and R-4 advertised to fill a bunch of apprenticeship positions, about 110 I am told and by the time all was said and done had about 85 applicants to choose from. Well the selections have been made, so that is an opportunity lost for those that did not apply. As you know, I am death on bitchers and whiners, so before someone throws a post on here bitching about why they did not get one of the bushel basket of new jobs think about that. If you want in and you are not applying to every single opportunity no matter how far from your comfortable little world it might be then you lose your bitching rights in my mind. It is kind of like not voting.

We all need good folks, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out where you stack up on your home unit. If they are hiring 3 and you are number 4+ you need to make sure you are covering your bases and have that application everywhere you can get it. Being number 4 does not make you a loser, it just means there are some strong folks ahead of you on that unit. You might be number 4 there and be our number 1, but we will never know if we don't see your application. So I encourage all the folks wanting to get that foot in the door to take maximum advantage and apply to the maximum number of locations. We are going to fill 5 jobs in the first go round of the NFP and I can tell you for a fact, we have no favorite sons/daughters. These jobs are wide open, we want good folks. I venture to guess that we are not the only ones in that boat. I sincerely hope every single one of you good hands that wants in makes it. Make sure you give yourselves the maximum opportunity to get in.

And lastly, don't give up hope if you do not make it the first go round or two. This is going to go on for awhile so hang in there and try to keep the good attitude and performance. It may even give some time to mend fences if you have been a b&w.


12/29 One last photo of the millennium. One last attempt at putting smoke in the air this year. Dec. 28th, two handcrews, 3 engines, 1 helicopter, 1 water tender, some smokejumpers, assorted forest personnel and unfortunately, light winds out of the north. Well at least the Shasta-Trinity NF follows the "Go-No Go" check list. Better luck (southernly wind component) next year!


I put it on the Handcrew2 Page. "Not Burn" Ab

12/29 Ab,

First, the usual thanks for providing this unique and invaluable website. I've never written before, but spend plenty of time reading, browsing, and generally lurking at this site, especially in the middle of a long, slow winter when the next fire season seems much too far away.

Sorry to follow up praise with some personal griping, but I'm hoping for advice from you or one of the other fire bums out there. The Ranger District I worked for last summer is refusing to pay for a doctor's visit pertaining to a work-related illness. In September I picked up a nasty smoke-related cough, and at the employer's insistence went to a doctor to get my lungs checked out. The Personnel Manager assured me ALL treatment would be covered by the R.D., and I filled out a CA-2, which was approved. One follow-up appointment was covered, and the next was not. It's my understanding that they won't pay because they had not specifically approved THAT appointment. My insistence that they do pay is - I hope! - justified (I don't have health insurance). The Ranger District hasn't responded to the letters I sent asking them to pay it as a Work Comp claim. I've called the Federal Workers' Comp offices in Denver several times and have yet to talk to a live human or get an answer to the messages I've left. Meanwhile, the hospital bill's two months overdue and probably accumulating late fees. My question is, have any other firefighters (or other Federal/State employees) had trouble getting Work Comp for their job-related medical expenses? And is there any other person or agency I might go to for help in resolving this?

Again, Ab, sorry for the extended bitching, but thanks for the forum to bitch in.

Hope everyone out there (especially folks on the CA and FL fires) is having a safe and happy holiday season!


Wow, good question, Kibby. This kind of thing is what we exist for. While I gotcha, you sound like a chainsaw kinda guy. Have you read any of our books? Care to comment? Ab.

12/29 Wonder why there are always so many more BLM, NPS and FWS jobs being advertised under either the 0462 or the 0455 than FS jobs? Hmmmmm, is it because the jobs are being offered nationwide or because the other agencies have it together?


12/29 Jobs page updated. There's an outreach for a GS-12 Fire Management postion in OR. [snort]

I don't know about all this Outreach stuff. [snip, snip, snip] If someone is looking for a friggin job, they know where to look. If they don't, they certainly shouldn't be considered for any kind of promotion, let alone a m#%&f$~! GS-12.

Ooooh, there goes one of my little buttons. [haw, haw, haw] Ab.

(Well, really, this is one of the assimilated "Abs" getting into the "Ab persona" in prep for the new year's staff party! You should see my costume!
HEY, Original Ab, HERE'S TO YA! [clink] Reread Ab Speaks! What a story! Now, shall I take my chainsaw to the party or my pulaski...

12/29 Cool highlights of wildfires 2000 here:
Check out the map of the large fires.

Happy New Year!

12/29 Teens' parents to be billed for 600-acre CA fire

December 29, 2000

-- From Register news services

The parents of four teen-agers cited for allegedly starting a 600-acre brush fire will be billed for the $400,000 to $500,000 cost of putting it out, authorities said.

Restitution will be sought early next year from homeowner insurance policies and possibly the personal accounts of the parents of Chad M, 18, of Westlake Village, two 16-year-old boys from Agoura, and a 17-year-old from Thousand Oaks.

The four are accused of taking a Dodge Caravan that belonged to the mother of one of the boys and driving it into rugged terrain, where it got stuck.


12/28 Readers,

Check out our new Wildlandfire Book Page. If you've read 'em, rate the books!


12/27 Lo Ab    just dropping a note to say high to all my friends out there.

Any more word on the Billion dollar funding package? Was wondering if any managers out there have been asked for their input yet?./

As for overloaded engines, I think we have all seen our share out there. When we design an engine we list all the equipment, gallons, pump weight, 250 per person, winches etc. Multiply that by 1.5 - 1.75 at a minimum. For our type 3/4 we use International 4800 or the freightliner FL-70 these have a GVW of 32K and 36K respectively.

Even though the rig loaded to the gills with gear water and 6 persons only weighs 24K

I have heard the reason a lot of rigs are overloaded is because designers are told to keep it under the CDL laws I have no idea if there is any truth to this just what I heard through the grapevine.

Anyhow I just thought id throw my two cents in. Love you all and cant wait till the 01' season.

eric PW

Plans are underway to best use the money from Congress (not a billion, fer sure). I only know about the R5 process. Managers on every forest and their fire planners participated and were constrained by prior budgeting sidebars. Still a big job of implementation ahead... Ab.

12/27 Updated the jobs page. Ab.
12/27 Siskiyou: There's a new "USDA Forest Sevice Wildland Fire Engine Guide" out from San Dimas Technology & Development Center. October 2000, #0051 1203 -SDTDC. The National Wildland Fire Engine Committee (NWFEC) helped put this together. ABE...... missed putting this on my first message! Good readin if your looking for a new Wildland Engine.


12/27 I live in North Carolina, and i found that i will be
provided a book, and I got a video, so i can get heads
up ,On that class i asked about. Ab sorry bout the
caps hehheheh i work for the govt. alot of my work is
in caps and i just forget hehe that caps are on. Does
anyone have any suggestions or help on how to get my
application out to more than just the Idaho office?
Should i be calling, some of the stations to be
requested to be put on their lists for hiring 2001, a
wildland fire fighter(from CA R-5) suggested that but
i am not to crazy about that idea unless it is a
standard procedure?


12/27 I just wanted you to know that this is a great site with alot of good info and comments. I did notice that one guy said that people need to quit there whining about the rotation and that they need to stay home sometimes to do the normal project work but sometimes the rotation is not as it seems. I work on a Hotshot crew and this past summer we missed a few dispatches because the central dispatch wasn't using the rotation but going by closest available resource. These fires were not on their forest or even one adjacent to it but out of state. The rotation works good, sometimes it goes your way and sometimes it doesn't and you just deal with it. Being a national resource, our main job is to fight fire not to be held at home to do project work all summer. Another problem is the forest that we are on, we don't have overhead that wants to work with us or help us at all, we are treated like a problem and just stashed away and treated like a project crew, they would keep us home all summer if they could find a way to do it. Our crew was out alot this summer and was name requested alot and given very high compliments by everyone we worked with but the forest never gave us any thanks at all, just alot of grief and our walking papers at the earliest time possible. We had to leave Northern California so that we could go home and get laid off even though we still had hours left and everyone was screaming for shot crews, but we went home and got laid off the next day. I just think that the overhead in some places needs to pull there heads out and realize what they got and use them for what they are best suited for. Sorry about going on with my complaints and rambling on.

Thanks for the great site.

Welcome to the site, Shotfire. Ab.

12/27 Good times on the Model 56/58 & 50's. The crew rode in the open, night time response left you dizzy from the red lite going around in circles as you looked into the darkness for flames. Took you 5 minutes to adjust once you stepped off the truck. Model 60's was the new ride replacing the 56/58. The six pack cab!

The mdl 42 was a budget fix when everyone needed a good engine at a savings. I do think its an excellent engine for poor road area's and dozer lines. Several Forest just wanted smaller trucks, effective with 3 personnel and kept Initial Attack objectives met. I hope we dont go "JUST Model 62's",

Every area has needs specific to equipment. Thats where the model 51/42 fit the Engine family.

Model 58 was my first "E" ticket ride outside Disneyland. Thanks to the unsigned reader for the "past".

Payraise for R-5? Locality pay plus the President's annual 3.8! Everyone in the Nation gets the same.


12/26 MOC4546 shot at the Model 42 made me stop and think about some of the issues that may have limited the number of gallons designed into that model when taking Gross Vehicle Weight into consideration. Cost of course was a big consideration. Cost includes the size of crew that mans a particular engine. When I started in the early sixties you could classify FS water carrying models as pickups with slip-on units, light GVW trucks with slip-ons(50/51) and the Model 56/58/60. The problem with most of these units were the crews that manned them. I shared these common traits. We built a hoselay box to carry a pre-connect hoselay inside the truck frame. Then we added additional hardware need to go along with our "extra" hose. We added a chainsaw and required tools. These additions had not been planned on when the government purchased the truck chassis. Common problems that effected slip-on units in pickups, Model 40's, 50's, and Model 56's and later models are: broken or bent frames, broken springs, broken axels, premature wear on brakes and tires. I recall an engine going down the Angeles Crest Highway having crystallized lug nuts falling off. I can remember a Model 50 from the District I was on being loaned to a down river District on the Klamath for slash burning. It was returned with a broken frame and a broken rear spring. I remember engines with broken axels setting in equipment yards until a replacement axel could be found.

I have never operated a M42 but I was impressed by one that I looked at in the back of a FS equipment yard. It had rolled over and gone down a hillside. It was in sad shape but because of its' heavy chassis it had held together and the crew had lived. I suspect that if the same incident had occurred with a M40 or M20 the water tank would have separated from the vehicle causing more destruction. The heavier frame and construction of the M42 added to the survivability of the crew. I was hit head-on in a M20 and the slip-on unit tried to come through the back of the cab. (The other driver insurance paid for the repair.)

If you overload the M42 or any other engine, you increase operation cost. I recall when engines from the Angeles went to an off Forest Fire. They pulled into a State Weight Station. All the engines exceeded the rated GVW. They had to dump their water before proceeding down the road. As I recall one or two of them were close to GVW just with hose and crews.

Times and crews appeared to not have changed much. Reading a paper this summer in Idaho I found an interesting article regarding two BLM engines foreman being cited by the State of Idaho for exceeding the GVW on their engines. When interviewed by the press one foreman related that DOT heads would roll over the tickets. A foolish statement at best. He should of taken the tactical high road and said they had extra equipment to "save lives and homes." He would have had the full support of the citizens of Idaho and Montana.

Fire trucks need to have high GVW for their designed load so all systems are protected from premature failure. Like an aircraft, trucks need a safety factor. During the last few years I have seen a number of engines on large fires looking like a camel caravans because of the overload.


The story of the two vehicles that exceeded weight and had to dump their load was written up in the Oct (or Nov) Reader's Digest. The story made the state people who wrote the citation look very foolish. Ab.

12/26 Hello
I have been reading your guys web page and I find it really interesting. I have a question and I don't know if anybody has the answer, but does anyone know or has anyone heard, since we have a new president about a pay raise for those people who work for the Forest Service in R5?


There are no pay raises figured into the R5 fire budget for 2001 (aside from some standard cost of living increase), regardless of who is president. Ab.

12/26 To FOBSIF,

I read your 'they said it' post last night and my eyes started to sweat a little. I am one of those who plan to hang it up this year. As I am typing this note, the Santa Ana winds are blowing and there is smoke in the air. I would like to be on the back side of the fire working along with the crews, dozers, and engine slugs.

I will miss the smells, sounds, feelings, and fears of working fire. I will miss the smell of fresh dug dirt, smoke, sweat, and fresh cut brush and trees. I will miss the physical and mental demands, the overpowering challenges, the successes and the failures of working fires. I will miss the awesome fire scenes that only those working on the back side of the fire see.

I will miss the physical and mental stress and the physical and mental pain of fire. I will miss the rush of adrenaline I have became addicted to. Most of all, I will miss the people I have worked with over all the past 36+ years of my firefighting career.

I will really miss the situations where firefighters from varied organizations and backgrounds working together toward a common goal see it to completion. I will miss the feeling of rolling in on a fire where total chaos exists and be part of an army of firefighters bring it under control. The absolute best people in the world are my fellow firefighters and I will miss them all.

Now I am going hunting!


We'll miss your expertise on the fireline, Hunter. Ab.

12/26 hello ab.

Well i'm glad you found the sight that had the story about the fire's, but i have to say that we still haven't found the two mobil home's they said burned down and that goes for the fire department too. You know how they get the story screwed up for the big headline's right. RIGHT!
well they did get one thing right that's that we only had 4 unit's there that worked off road, three 550G-JD dozer's and one 650G-JD two inclosed and two that was not, and the story i just wrote you was on the 25th,not the 24th,and i just got home around 810pm and going out there tomorrow about 9am to try to wrap-up this fire and get the h@# out of there,and try to injoy the rest of this year.
So if anybody has any ? please ask me and i'll try to answer you in a timely manner..........

Until next time- FLA-RANGER...........................

Later that day...
Well here we are again, and the fire is contain and we should have burn it out this time. So this is the last time you will hear from me about this fire anyway, but there will be another i'm sure, because it is dry,dry,dry and the front's are still coming down and the humitidies are still low and the winds are blowing good. god i love fighting fire's and the incidents and friends and coworkers i'v enjoyed working with,but it all has to come to a end sooner or later, thats not until we get some rain though and that hopefully won't be until i get a little over time so i will have a little, and i mean a little extra money in my pocket, that sound bad but i can't help it, it all steers back to tallahassee. Did i say that right,oh well i'm sure you all undertstand my meaning? I would like a little ensintive, wouldn't youuuu!!!!!!!!!

Oh well until next time FLA-RANGER....................

12/25 More info on the Florida fires:
12/25 Hello ab.   FLA-RANGER here.

        Want to first wish everybody a marry chrismas and a happy fire day! well i couldn't put it a better way then FOBSIF said it ,alot of what he said is very true it's a shame that our government isn't more a part of our family but that's politics for you.  Anyway sat. afternoon a four wheeler started a fire in a large marsh and swampy area surrounded by mobil home parks and homes, sat. night about 5 to 600 acres was involved-didn't get home until 4am that morning, and sun. night it was 2000 acres, no homes where lost,or life, yet!  It's about 75 to 80 persent contain as of now, but where going to get a red flag day today from noon until dusk with humidities down around 36%. Just wanted to let you all know whats happening around the area so far, i think this is just the beginning of whats coming?

Well got to go get my present, which is out in the marsh - smoking. Everybody have a very marry chrismas and be careful out there, ITS COMING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


12/24 for BanjoSup

current information (not rumors and bad info) go to:
http://thomas.loc.gov (note: no www)

Official web site for Congressional legislation information.

Use the built in search for phrases or keywords of interest.


12/24 Hi - This is my first posting so if I lack the protocol, bear with me. I am hearing rumors (that's why I'm here), that there are certain
litigations and bills currently being dealt with that could possible affect the Primary Firefighter Retirement (CSRS) benefits in the
future. Does any one out there have any information on what is going on in this area. I'm interested in specifics and any information on
the prospective timing of changes if they occur.
Whitefish, MT. USA

There's not much formal protocol here, just try and be nice to others. I haven't heard of anything affecting CSRS benefits. Readers? Ab.

12/24 Merry Christmas Everyone...

I agree with everything being said about being appreciated for the work we
do, and the struggle we often have getting funding and support from our
bureaucratic government.

For me, I learned a long time ago that we can't depend on the powers-that-be
to give us those pats on the back. So, with that in mind, I feel like I've
already gotten my Christmas presents this year.

My Christmas gifts are priceless. They are the longstanding friendships I've
gained after being in this business for 24 years. Read through the archives
of They Said and you'll see many pearls of wisdom shared by veterans and the
gleam in a rookie's eye as they ask questions about things that some of us
took for granted long ago.

This is an especially nostalgic time because the end of the year marks the
end of some illustrious careers for some of my closest friends. Their
careers are filled with war stories that live in our memories and on the
pages of They Said. The medals of their legacy include bad knees, calloused
feet, and boots that have been rebuilt over and over again.

But ask any of these people if they would have chosen another life, and they
will say "HELL NO!".

"Just one more time" I'd like to say thank you to my friends who shared this
part of their lives with me. Our bond lies in the passion we have for our
work and the spirit of our friendship. Spouses and families cannot
appreciate the bond that we have, unless they too have fought the dragon on
the fireline.

Happy holidays to everyone. Thank you for giving us so much time, energy and
spirit to our work. You are definitely valued and appreciated, even if no
one is telling you.

Ab, I agree with Mellie...You are my HERO!


12/24 Hey AB, Just a note to add to what a firefighter would want for
christmas. Well after reading all the letters to you and thinking about
it..I agree with the idea of respect and appreciation from those we help
in the line of duty but there is a couple more things I have to add.
For one thing I would like to look at the things I am grateful for after
an exciting year of firefighting. I am thankful that I am still here
after the run for life in Idaho. I am also thankful that my crew is all
here as well. I am glad we could help those folks living out West in
the heart of the fires this summer and I do believe that most of them
were very appreciative of all we did. I am really glad that my
fantastick orthopedic surgeon was able to repair my injured shoulder and
that I should be ready for fire season better than ever!! And lastly I
am thankful for the fact that the number of people hurt or killed was no
more than it was this past year. I wolud also add that if there is a
Santa(and I do believe there is) Could he bring me a new pulaski and my
own weather kit!!! I wish all my new friends and the old
ones,especially J, a Happy holiday and a SAFE New Year!!!! Firebabe NH#3
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `

from Ab & the staff @wildlandfire.com

12/24 Recently I visited some of my old CDF collegues while visiting Mom for the holidays. We got to discussing how the fire season went for each of us, and then the subject of "The Great $1.6 Billion Funding Package" came up. What was discussed may be rumored or fact, and I really feel we all need to here what it true.

During the money discussion, we talked about equipment that would be coming in and my buddy heard that "The Forest Service is getting rid of all the Type 4 Engines as a primary response engine and scrambling to place Type 3 engines in there place. The Type 4's will continue to be part of the inventory but will be utilized by Prevention Officers for there own vehicles and as a reserve suppression engine."

Now, personally I think that there are very good reasons for having the smaller engines vs. the larger engines for the high country, cliff, and tight spaced operations, but I never liked them being set up as a primary response vehicle causing reduced manpower (2-3 FFs vs. 4-6 FFs) and working the firefighters harder than the equipment. If I had my way, I would drag the creator of the Model 42 out for intentially making an engine 285 gallons on a chassis that could handle a 500 gallon tank for a thorough tongue lashing, barroom beating, loss of retirnement pay and benifits, and extreame prison confinement for life with his new girlfriend 'Bubba'. But that is just my opinion on that matter.

It was also said that if the Forest Service in R-5 couldn't get more Type 3's in service to replace the Type 4's then contract firefighter operations would be called to pull up the slack until then.

The other thing that was said is that the Los Padres NF was experimenting with a new type of Wildland/Interface engine that was far better than the new Model 62/63 engines (which are new on the outside, but with the same 30+ year old technology built on the inside). Does anyone know about it or have a photo of this new engine?

Everyone have a good holiday, and if you know anyone who managed to "dispose of" a Model 42 through fire, burnover, rollover, drive-by, accidentally leaving the keys in the engine and the motor running in south Oakland, or "That CDF dozer guy came out of no where and ran my engine into the ground", be damded sure to by that guy a case of beer, a $50 Steak & Lobster dinner, and an immediate promotion to FMO.


12/24 Santa Ana wind event planned for Sun night through Tuesday for most of southern California. CDF on a special staffing pattern. Keep one foot in the burn and the wind to your back. Be safe folks. No injuries! Merry Christmas


12/24 Abe; I found some of these a while back on a structure fire website, I don't recall its name. Others I picked up from friends and supervisors. Use any you feel fit in the Tactical truths page.

THE FIRST RULE OF EQUIPMENT - Any piece of Fire Fighting Equipment will never malfunction or fail until a) You need it to fight a fire b) The salesman leaves.

THE SECOND RULE OF EQUIPMENT Interchangeable parts DONT, leak proof seals ARENT, and self-starters WONT.

If its stupid but works, its not stupid.

Your equipment was made by the lowest bidder.

The important things are always simple. The simple things are always hard.

If you are short of everything but smoke,flame and heat, you are in a fire.

When you have an area extinguished, dont forget to tell the fire.

Anything you can do can get you hurt, including nothing.

Radios fail in direct proportion to your need for help.

For every action there is an equal and opposite criticism.

If anything simply cannot go wrong, it will anyway.

If you believe that there are four possible ways in which an operation can go wrong, and prepare for these, then a fifth way, unprepared for, will promptly develop.

Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.

If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.

It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.

Nature always sides with the hidden flaw.

Some people manage by the book, even though they dont know who wrote the book or even what book.

The only perfect science is hind-sight.

Don't be irreplaceable; if you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.

Fire fighting is the very smartest form of manual labor- respect the task.

Educational times on the fire ground are not always fun times.

There isn't any middle ground in fire fighting- you're either fighting or you're not fighting.

Avoid situations that are so exciting you don't survive.

You can fool the spectators, but you can't fool the players.

It May be December but stay safe out there!

Some good ones, Michael. I deleted a few of yours that were duplicates. Thanks for sending them in. Anyone has others, we welcome them. Ab.

12/23 even though i havent written to here much, i still check things out on this site.

the family is getting settled in here in nevada. its tough to move your family 2600 miles to chase a dream. i cant agree more with what tiny wrote. as a person who has fought fire in both wildland and structural, i too would like my christmas stocking filled with the respect and gratitude that each and everyone of us deserve. i take pride in the job that i do in the fire service. most of us do. its a uphill battle to get funds for what we do, policy changes (some better and some worse ) force us to do things we are not used to doing. many try to get the job we want, seasonal positions are great but many give up when they have families to support. we are gone from home for long lengths of time. why do we do this? because fire fighting is our life blood! well thats enough rattling on. i hope everyone has a great holiday and a safe new year.

BC Davis

12/23 Hey BC, if you're reading, I think I saw one of your Vineland engines on the road near your old station the other day. We were going to the shore from Medford and it was going the other way with lights aflashin'. I still need to send Ab our little review of fire in the NJ pine barrens, especially since you're now in Nevada! (Wow, we did that before the summer got crazy but I didn't follow through.) I promise to get it and the pictures in to Ab as soon as I'm back in CA. BTW, I don't have a new e-mail for you -- and would like to stay in touch. (I'll get Ab to send you mine next time you write in.) I'm curious to see how the election affected (or will affect) support for fire in your old NJ community and compare that to your new one. The world is a small place: I've thought of you and your family often while I've been here. Nevada is like night-and-day to NJ! I really like Nevada's wide open spaces ("whole lotta nothin'" where fire moves so fast!). Hope your family and you are making the adjustment.

Like Tiny, I'm amazed that it's only been about a year since I was hooked by fire, joined the 180 Club and was admitted to this far-flung theysaid circle and the fire community in general. Thanks for having me and teaching me. I love the friends that I've made and have so much to be thankful for. Tiny, regarding understanding and respect, let me say this. When the public really gets a sense of what firefighters do, they can understand and they *are very appreciative*. We just need to get the word out better than we do.

A <BIG HUG> all around and a heartfelt MERRY CHRISTMAS and thanks! Biggest THANKS to Ab. He is definitely my hero!

Mellie from Five Waters

12/23 Jobs board, the 462 and 455 series are updated. Ab.
12/23 Ab, Mellie, WP, Erik, Mike, Firehorse, Tim, Kelly, and all the countless others...

Wow.. hard to believe it's been over a year since I started visitin' isn't it? Quite a year..quite a year indeed. Think maybe I can shrug out of my self-title of the Pup? Nah.. I still got 8 months, even then to a few of you out there I'll always be a pup so I'll keep my title. *Grin*. I do hope you all are safe and sound this holiday season.

Someone asked the forum once "What do firefighters want for christmas?" If I may make an attempt to answer the question I would be appreciative..

It has been my general observation during these past few years I have been invovled with fire in some form, that it would make sense that a firefighter would only ask a few things for Christmas in his or her professional life. Those two things being respect and understanding. Wildland or structure, I'm pretty sure those two simple concepts are high on the 'Christmas List' as it were, from the forum here, to the news stories, to the funding (or lack of funding as the case may be), to the public and the media.. Nationally Shared resources to the local VFD/(R)FPD... It seems to me that this is the one gift for which a firefighter always asks, yet seldom recieves.. a pity considering they give selflessly in times of crises...

So, my friends, I hoist a mug of cider in salute to your sacrifices, deeds and virtues, and I hope that it will be a small comfort to know that in eight months a willing hand intends to join your ranks.

One of the few 'Standing outside the fire' who understands,

Tiny, the R-6 Fire Pup

12/22 I am the safety and training officer for the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation here in Montana. I am trying to do some research on what types of protective clothing wildland fire fighters and foresters are authorized for their job. Can you direct me to the individual in your department that might be able to help? I would greatly appreciate it. Have a Merry Christmas.

Bill Miller
Training/Career Development Specialist
Training is Priority One!

12/22 Ab,

Didn't know if anyone was aware of this. I found today that Mr. Ray Bell passed away yesterday. The story is here: Smokey Bear's Savior. You may ask what is so eerie about this? Just yesterday afternoon, (now it seems as divine guidance to me) Paul Harvey paid tribute to this man and his family as well as the legacy that he left for us. Maybe this was a final fitting farewell.

Wanted to mention that we are having a few fires around here as this good old east Tx wind is drying things out quickly. We had a 2 acre burn here today that threatened several structures and one of our county VFD's had a brush rig caught in a burnover today when they bogged down in front of the head. No one was hurt and minimal damage to rig but undoubtedly a hefty laundry bill for a couple of spooked crew. It ended up at 7 acres and no structures.

Stay safe,Keith

12/21 Digger-

The Los Padres National Forest will have Helishots AND Helitack. Problem they seem to have....... NO facility's for the type 1 ship. Hunter Ligget is a backup, Not a great place to live. If you cant find "helishot" on the application, Just look up the Local Los Padres Battalion Chiefs. If you apply thru the hiring system, get a letter back......... Call the forest with your name. Market yourself!


12/20 Kimberley:

You need to go back to the site and look at the program schedule for 2001 then go to Wildland Fire Technology, just above winemaking and that should give you the courses being held. The basic WFTO 101 I think should be the key for you. If unable to locate, call AHC Fire Technology at 805.922-6411 and Kristy should be able to help you out.

Seldom Seen

12/20 Fish Guy - FMO:

Sorry about the Federal Wildlife Refuge designation. Be nice if you could work in a good Fire Prevention or Engine Crew along with your Bird feeding program. Guess you really dont need anyone with CDF/VNC willing to send you a bill. Looks like the Foothill incident is wrapped up, folks going Christmas shopin.


12/20 Neadermeyer

The Foothill Inc fire is on the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge not Wildlife Area. Wildlife Areas are managed by the California Department Fish and Game (state). National Wildlife Refuges are managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (feds). Folks who prepare the 209s always seem to get this wrong and no matter how much I continue to tell Intelligence Officers and make presentations at Dispatchers Workshops, it still never seems to sink in. You'd think that since this is the third time the refuge has burned in 4 years, folks would get the ownership right....Now if they would only send the suppression bill to California Department of Fish and Game I wouldn't mind it so much. By the way Hopper Mtn. NWR is where we raise the condor chicks with puppets. Oh yeah -- control date is set for Wednesday morning. Thanks LPF, VNC, CDF and the rest of you'all. We've returned the favor in the past but you guys usually think we're BLM.

Fish Guy FMO

12/19 Sometimes I'm blown away at the insights that come out of a simple list of "tactical truth" homilies. Thanks Bob. I think we should gather together the funnies that WP, dispatcher, Hickman and others have sent in; the worthwhile lists of overhead watchouts (Later Dave), truths (BLM Bob), etc that have come in over the years: and the IMWTKs and post them on their own page(s). I have a couple of good front pages from IAPs on the Megram Fire. Some are amazing fire-stimulated art. The creativity that people demonstrate in putting out the IAPs on a daily basis is not surprising, but it is wonderful. I know there have to be more of these "fire folk art" examples. Ok, so I'm still working on training and education links. I'll put this at the bottom of my to-do list. Maybe WP or Danny or someone can help me go back through the theysaid archives. HMMMMM, Seems we should do this before the page and the job get any BIGggggER! Ab, how about it?

With regard to what ff want for Christmas, I mostly want books and gear and maybe that video that readers of wildlandfire.com were supposed to get at a 10% off price. I'll have to search the archives for that one good video and some books. Well, maybe I'll get them after Christmas... It's pretty late for making a wish list. You don't have such a list, do you Ab? Danny?

Happy Holidays, ALL.
Eric -- Later Dude --

12/19 One more for Bob's collect: "Experience is something you gain right after you need it."

After a very long fire season I'm finally taking some time off to go skiing with the family. Hope everyone has a safe Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Good one. I added it. Anyone have others? Ab.

12/19 Hey ab, how goes it? Happy Holidays everyone.

Anyone seenany year end statistics on $ spent on fires? I was just curious. Also does anyone know if the Daily Sit report reflects state spending, 9or if they report that at all?

Mellie give me a call. Havent talked to you in a while. Wanted to see how you're doing. I moved and lost my #s in the move.

360 731 2627

12/19 Yes........ A Santa Ana Fire on the LP.

The Foothill incident started on the Hopper Mtn. Wildlife area East of Fillmore. A wind event fire, 480 acres burning light brush & grass. started 12/18/00, 0700 hrs. Cause under investigation. Piru & Hopper incidents had burned in the area 2 & 4 years ago. Ventura County Fire, CDF, LA county and Forest Service personnel. Unified Command, VNC/LPF. Its about 70% contained, should have containment 1800 hrs 12/19. The winds are North East, gusts at 40 mph. The airshow is grounded, Safety.

Merry Christmas!

12/18 Ab,

I just ran across the "tactical truths" list while fumbling around in some old papers. There's some fairly sage wisdom in there. I took the liberty of rearranging things some according to (arbitrary) topics that the items seemed to fall under. Maybe some of your readers, especially the younger ones, might find it helpful...or at least interesting?

Happy Holidays to All,

The older readers too. Thanks. Ab.

12/18 Fire Protection Master Planning Course Online
Eastern Oregon University will offer a web-based distance education course through the Fire Services Administration Degree Program, taught for one college term. FSA 421: ADVANCED FIRE PROTECTION MASTER PLANNING will include major emergency planning, defining problems and problem areas involving other municipalities or district agencies, the planning process, implementation of plan objectives, and review of programs. Application deadline December 22, 2000. To see more details and links, check here.
12/18 Seldom Seen,

Online wildfire training? I have checked out the AHC site but can find no mention of the
online course(s). Nor could I find an email address for a contact that would be able to
help me find it. I would appreciate a hand in getting any information on these or any
other online courses. I am also very interested in any courses on disk as an aid for
our members trying to get additional training. Can you give me a hand here?

Check out the 11/27 archive from WP for the S290 self-paced study CD. Powerpoints for S-130, S-190, LCES and Refresher are available for download on the Programs Page. Ab.

12/17 Kimberly: Allan Hancock College has this course on line so that you can
sign up and receive the cert for the course, also includes S-290. We are
trying to get a some of the entry level courses on line so that students
may take them and receive the certs for attendance. Allan Hancock College
was the first college in CAL that offered College Credit for Wildland
Courses. We now have a degree program in Wildland Fire Science. A majority
of the training takes place at the Vandenberg Interagency Training Center.
You can view the schedule at
www.r5.fs.fed.us/fire/catraining and hit the training centers.

Thanks for the site. Seldom Seen

After finding the training centers, hit the schedule link. Ab.


Do me a favor before we go any further, hit that little button once that says Caps Lock so's ya quit yelling at us. Ok, now does anyone have a book they can send this person? Ab.

12/16 Do you have information as to how I might acquire some of the wildland firefighting patches shown on this website?

I was fortunate to be invited last May to observe the Northern Rockies National Incident Management Team (Steve Frye - IC) in action at the Outlet Fire in Grand Canyon National Park - North Rim (Kaibab National Forest). We use ICS here in our disaster preparedness planning & I wanted to see firsthand how ICS worked. We use ICS mostly for special events, hazmat, structural firefighting, and weather related incidents.

I enjoy your photo page very much. Thanks.

Darrell Toups
Garland Emergency Management
P O Box 469002
Garland, TX 75046-9002

972.205.2722 (Office)
972.205.2965 (Fax)

12/16 Re: Jimbo's post of 12/12. The fire the ODF interagency crew was on in NC was the Merritt Creek fire. While it was a first for ODF to send a crew east, it was also a first for Region 2 (piedmont region)of the NC Div. of Forest Resources to have a western crew on one of our fires. It was great to break some new ground and open some doors for the future. This year was also the first time the State of NC had sent an overhead team to manage a fire in the west (latter stages of Blodgett). Many thanks to the crew for their great work while in NC. I have a nice firepic from Merritt Creek that I will send soon. Until then here is a shot from the Gorda Rat fire, Los Padres NF 1985. A burnout operation that spotted over shortly after the picture was taken.


Thanks for the info and the outstanding photo WR. I gave the photo a little touch-up and posted it on the Fire4 Photo Page. Ab.

12/16 firepup21

My favorite line pack is made by Gonzo Gear. They are a small company and only make a few products. A line pack, flight helmet bag, pack out bag, and a ski patrol pack. They are used by the Wyoming shots, Flame-n-Gos, numerous helitack, and others mostly around Region 2. Helitack and shots like it because it makes a nice package to fly, fusee pockets are covered, the straps stow away, and has a oversized webbing loop for a handle. Basically it is a jumper style pack with modifications and is pretty bombproof, all double and triple stiched. Several members of my helitack crew paid thier own money to buy one rather than use our regular issue Pack Shack packs. They are located in Dolores, CO. phone # 970-882-0165. I have the second prototype ever made back in 83 or 84 and it is still holding up well.


12/15 Spc Stapleton: I have a whole CD of pictures from Burgdorf - am burning you a CD as I speak. Hopefully you'll have it by Christmas - we'll see how the copying goes. Thanks for the help last summer!

Dispatch Princess

12/15 what do firefighters want for christmas?


12/15 In reference to Rod's question about the first water/retardant drops, I found the following on the back of a poster entitled "Air Attack! Smokey's Sky Warriors" produced by the Shasta-Trinity NFs (in 1993?):

"The first recorded attempt at dropping retardant from an aircraft occurred at Spokane, Washington in 1930. A veteran firefighter and a bush pilot flying a Ford Tri-motor decided to see what they could do with six wooden barrels filled with water. At 90 mph and only 100 feet above the ground, the barrels were kicked overboard. They also tried sluicing water down a length of hose, but the small stream of water vaporized before hitting the ground. The results of these tests weren't much, but they were a beginning. In 1931, Red Jensen of Sacramento, California, modified a World War I airplane with hoppers on the outside of the fuselage, and claims to have made drops on two fires...."

It gives additional excerpts on other tests, including the dropping of water bombs that detonated 50' above the ground, as well as on impact, but noted that "...shrapnel from the exploding tanks was a hazard to the firefighters below."

It credits a TBM, with an internal tank belonging to Paul Mantz, with making "...two successful retardant drops...the first operational use of the free fall prinicple on a wildfire" in September 1954.

It credits the Noltas (see Siskiyou's post of 12/14), with having the nations's first air tanker "squadron" in 1956, making over 1000 drops using four Stearmans and three Navy N3Ns.

It is a nice poster (12"x18"), but has no publication number on it. Anyone on the S-T know where/if we can get more??


12/15 Anyone out there know why the "Situation Report" ia not being updated each Friday? My theory involves "use or lose!"


Probably for the same reason that the quality FS NEWS stories end today. It a crying shame that FS management doesn't recognize the power of having an ongoing fire internet presence and maintaining high quality stories, information and news to keep the public reading and appreciating all of us in fire throughout the year. No wonder the public forgets the fires of summer so quickly. No wonder the budget fluctuates with the heat of the embers. Guess that makes our presence here at wildlandfire.com all the more important and powerful... Thanks to all who contribute. You do all of us a service. Ab.

12/15 Not too much on the fire newswaves these days, except for FS NEWS that has a few new pieces on the Bitterroot and Los Alamos firefighters and pilots being cited for valor.

Stapleton-- We apprecicated you guys helping. Kind of addictive, isn't it? You might check the www.montanafires.com Photo Gallery for images with a little description.


12/15 scsl

Its my understanding that R-5 USFS will be putting on 2-3 type 1 standard category helicopters. Due to their size and capacity they may need a helishot shot crew to be part of the complement instead of true helitackers.


12/15 I know how the Presidency should have been decided... Pack test! Give each one a pack with 45 pounds and the first one to do 3 miles in 45 mins. or less wins !!! Ha Ha!!!

Dennis R5

12/15 At the Fire 2000 conf I heard that mgmt was trying to figure out what the PDs would be for the helishots so I know there will be some positions in R5 at least.
12/15 If anyone is interested : www.fs.fed.us/fsjobs/fire-hire.phpl know there are helishot positions open in Redding, Ca. (R5).


12/14 We have been getting a lot of questions for information here at wildlandfire.com. To reduce time spent answering them, I've created a Frequently Asked Questions or FAQ Page.

I located a permanent link to it between the FWFSA link and the Acronyms link above. I also put a link on the HOME page. I'll add to the list as questions warrant.


12/14 Rod et al:

Phill Wallick made a really good video history of airtankers some years ago. Its available at www.airtanker.com/airtankerart/. Click on the Firebomber Film. The first really sucessful airtankers were N3N biplanes based at Willows California by the Mendacino NF..


12/14 Digger JIM

I also have been wondering what the deal is with the helishots. It was to my knowlegde (which isn't much) is that the keene flight crew was the only thing that was close to a helishot crew. After looking at the application I did some investigating. On that new firehire website, they finally have specific locations for permenant jobs, and I have noticed more than one crew in R5. I think the only way to get the full jist is to call one of them supes and see what they have to say.


12/14 The Angeles sponsors two inner city handcrews. The "Highlander" crew used to be known as the "Panthers" and started in 1992. The crew got a lot of press back then because the crew members were opposing gang members (Crips and Bloods) when they were home, yet fought fire together, side-by-side, when they were on the fireline.

This crew has developed very well through the years and take a great deal of pride in their work and their crew's image. They used to be described as being from South Central LA. Now they prefer to be known as the Los Angeles Highlander crew. They have about 30 people, with various seasons of experience and are used by the Angeles and other private corporations for resource projects, as well as firefighting...

The second inner city crew, the "Aztecas", more commonly known as the "Aztecs". This is a predominantly Hispanic crew from East Los Angeles. I think they started in 1992 or 1993. They have a similar history of pulling together rival gang members, and now work very well together on the fireline and natural resource projects. Right now they are working with a local motion picture company to help with filming a movie.

Just to finish this story, the Angeles also has three Type 2 Handcrews sponsored by local community colleges. The Monarchs are sponsored by Los Angeles Valley College in the San Fernando Valley. The Wolverines are sponsored by Mt. San Antonio College in the San Gabriel Valley. And they just recently went into partnership with Rio Hondo College, also in the San Gabriel Valley, for another crew. I don't know the name of that crew yet.

In addition, the Angeles sponsors a Wildland Fire Explorer program. Each year there is a wildland fire explorer academy, and 20-30 firefighters graduate from that academy after completing 96 hours of class room and field. The Academy is attended by Explorers from multiple agencies, Including LA County Fire, LA City Fire, Ventura County Fire and many local fire departments. The Angeles will host the 7th Academy in March/April, 2001.

I want to acknowledge James Hall, who is the Angeles Training Coordinator, and also coordinates the Type 2 Handcrew program, the Explorer program, and is the Supervisor of Apprentices. It's a HUGE job, and Jim gets it done. Jim gets help from a great supporting group of folks, but Jim has to keep everything working together. He does a great job, and is a great guy!

/s/ANF Historian

12/14 On August 5th 1947. Forest Service ordered two Bell Model 47B's to work the Bryant Fire in Big Tujunga Canyon. While helicopters had been seen on other fires previous to the Bryant Fire, this was the first time they were used in all-round tactical and logistical mission, hauling firefighters, food, water, conducting mapping and reconnaissance missions and even medical evacuations.
Helitack use followed 10 years later.


12/14 Using a book titled "Memorable Forest Fires, 200 Stories by U.S. Forest Service Retirees," I offer the following information.:

(1)A story relates that in 1946 a helicopter was used to fly a crew into a fire on Mt. Lowe on the Angeles N.F. This was the first helicopter experience for most of the crew members.

(2) Based on a story by William V. Jones the Stearman PT-17 Trainer was used for the first airtanker. After WWII many of them where used as crop dusters. The Forest FMO on the Mendocino NF got together with local crop dusting pilots and an aircraft was modified to make drops on fires. It was ready to go by the middle of the 1955 fire season. The pilots' name was Vance Nolta. It made its first fire drop on August 13, 1955 on Hull Mtn.

(The first fire drop I witness was from a Stearman on a grain field fire that got into the brush on the edge of Shasta Valley(CA) in the fall of 1957. I can still remember how amazed we were. I believe the Klamath NF had a couple of them at the Montague Airport at that time. The fire was a CDF fire.)

It is a neat book, if you like old fire stories, with coast to coast, North to South wildland fire stories from the past. It was edited by Gilbert W. Davies and Florice M. Frank.. Printed by CT Publishing Company, P.O. Box 99197, Redding, CA 96099-2197. I guess you can get it from HiStory ink Books, P.O. Box 52, Hat Creek, CA 96040.

Another publication edited by Davis and Frank is titled Photographic Images of the Klamath National Forest in Siskiyou and Humboldt Counties: A Historical Journey. Same source as above. Page 1, has a photo of a old forest patrol plane-1921. Page 3 has a photo of a helicopter parked at the Forest Jones Ranger Station-1949. I have no clue of make or model.


12/14 i would like more info on bergdorf junction pictures during the year 2000
i was there as a crew member
i am in the army
i had a very good time there so please send info if you can
thank you
sincerly yours
spc stapleton us army A,CO 588 ENGR BN 4ID FT,HOOD TX,76544
12/14 I have my application for the upcoming fire season and there is a classification called helishots. I was wondering if anyone could tell me the locations of the helishot crews, or if they are just at the regular helitack locations.

Digger JIM

12/13 I believe the Angelos has a inter-city crew.


12/13 NEW WILDLAND FIRE WORDS FOR 2001 from WP and Mellie (and others)

BLAMESTORMING: Sitting around in a group, discussing why the fire jumped this line and that line and who or what team was responsible. Often accompanied by animated gesturing and finger pointing.

ROAST BEAST: The unidentifiable piece of meat that is on your plate in firecamp. You know it is meat but are unsure of family origins.

SWIPED OUT: An ATM or credit card that has been rendered useless because the magnetic strip is worn away from extensive use. Alternatively, a handcrew member who had been cutting line for 36 hours straight and the end is nowhere in sight.

STARTER MARRIAGE: A short-lived first marriage that ends in divorce with no kids, no property and no regrets. Sometimes second marriage, third marriage

BUDGET VIRGA: Moneys that are allocated by congress that never see the fireground.

SEAGULL OVERHEAD: Overhead who fly in, make lots of noise, crap on everything, and then leave. (We know some people whom we would like to nominate for a Seagull Overhead Award, if there was such a thing.)

SITCOMs: (Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive Mortgage) What firefighters might turn into when they have children and one of them stops working to stay home with the kids.

STRESS PUPPY: A person who seems to thrive on being stressed out and whiny. We need to be careful in these times of needing more firefighters that we don't lower our standards to let more of these in.

KINGS OF STESS: What Stress Puppies become when they gain seniority and positions of authority. These people cannot make a decision and seem to be just a step away from "going over the hill".

ASSMOSIS: The process by which some people seem to absorb success and advancement by kissing up to the super rather than working hard.

IRRITAINMENT: After fire season or during a close election year, the entertainment and media spectacles that are annoying but you find yourself unable to stop watching them. <ahem>

PERCUSSIVE MAINTENANCE: The fine art of whacking the heck out of a scanner or other electronic device to get it to work again.

CAMP TOOTSIE: A gal who is always around fire camp in clean nomex or uniform, never has a hair out of place and perfect make-up, and never seems to be busy. No one knows where she is from or what her job is. (Mellie says <heh>.)

CLIPBOARD CLIFF: The guy who is always rushing around firecamp with a clipboard in his hand. He always looks busy, like the Camp tootsie, no one knows where he is from or what his job is.

YUPPIE FOOD STAMPS: The ubiquitous $20 bills spewed out of ATMs everywhere. Often used when trying to split the bill after a meal on R&R, "We each owe $8, but all anybody's got are yuppie food stamps."

SALMON DAY: The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream only to get screwed and die in the end.

ADMINISPHERE: The rarefied organizational layers beginning just above the ground pounder. Decisions that fall from the adminisphere often are profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they were designed to solve.

404: Someone who's clueless. From the World Wide Web error message "404 Not found," meaning that the requested document could not be located. (And where did this error 404 originally come from?)

WOOFYS: Well Off Older Folks, people you know or know about, but never a retired firefighter.

CLP: Current life partner, a step up from "significant other" and step down in commitment from marriage. The kind of multi-season relationships many firefighters have until they get married or find a new "CLP".

GENERICA: Features of the American fire camp landscape that are exactly the same no matter where one is on an incident, such as the tent area, the shower truck, food service truck, the briefing tent. Seen one, seen 'em all.

OHNOSECOND: That minuscule fraction of time in which you realize that you've just made a BIG mistake. (And then there's the ohnonononosecond associated with <rapid headshake>!)

D'FINKS: Double fire income, no kids: couples you know who fight fire all summer, ski most of the winter and spend at least 4 weeks a year lying on a beach in some warm exotic location.

PISS POLICE: The people who walk around fire camp late at night whose job it is to ensure that all who have the need, use the "blue rooms". Note: the more PP's on duty the further away the "rocket rooms" are located from the sleeping area.

Here is a great definition, needs a "word": The act of kissing someone's a-- that is connected to toes' you have previously stepped (stomped) upon. The way we heard it was, "Be careful whose toes you step upon because they may be connected to an a-- that you may have to kiss someday." And some of us speak from experience on this one!

12/13 Curious,

I don't have any trouble with the fact that I'm 38 years young, survivor of a heart attack and 3 heart catherizations and still fighting fires. I figured out a long time ago that you're only as old as you feel, I don't feel that old. Though I sometimes have to stay off of the line and work management, I have no intentions of giving up until they "pat a shovel in my face". BTW we do have a few new boots that cannot believe that I have ever had a heart attack.

Also, Ab, I'm just about back to my old self since that last surgery. Thanks to all for their thoughts and prayers.

Stay safe,Keith

12/13 IMWTK:

Does anyone know if there are any inner city handcrews?
It's hard to imagine kids who have never been off blacktop,
dealt with snakes or scorpions, never used a tool like a
shovel, or been away from TV, burger, or their homies wanting
to even be in the remote areas that firefighters have to work in,
let alone having any idea how to read a map.

Nor-Cal Tom

12/13 I'm just Curious. Who is the oldest firefighter who is reading theysaid these days? Anyone want to say?
12/13 IMWTK:

No one said anything about when the airplanes or air tankers first dropped water (or retardant) on a fire. An old ff friend said that crop dusters made the first bucket drops on fires in the mid-50s, maybe '55 or '56. They flew old surplus planes from WWII. He also said that in '57 CDF had planes, he thought maybe half a dozen. Can anyone from CDF confirm this? When did your program start? Did you have it before the FS did? Were you the first in the nation? Evidently the air tanker idea grew from there as larger WWII planes became available. Borate was the first retardant used, but was abandoned because it made the ground sterile. Who knows what it did to the water. Does anyone know when the first helicopters were used and under what circumstances?

As far as the first minority handcrews for emergency firefighting (EFF), the Mescelaro Apaches (NM) formed a fire crew in 1948. This eventually led to the formation of the Southwest FireFighters (SWFF) composed of many agencies and tribes that trains indian firefighters. An Oregon ff told me that he thought the first exclusively Hispanic handcrew was from OR in the early '60s, maybe from the Snake River area and that they fought fire mostly in R4. He said I should get someone else to confirm that before taking it as fact.

Anyway, just a few tidbits. If anyone knows more, please share it.

12/13 Hey this is Matt again, I got some more pics for you. My dad driving past a wall of flame during the Florida firestorm in 98' The same crew in MT that made the front page of the Washington Post sometime in late Aug. Me and the (Rooster) Ron N. in Red Lodge MT.


Put the photos on Handcrew2 and Fire4. Ab.

12/12 Hey Ab,

Here's a photo of the multiagency strike team from OR that went to Tennessee, and NC. First time in the history of O.D.F. that we crossed the Missisippi. We were staged in Knoxville. Our assignment was Mt.Airey, NC. At this time I cannot remember the official fire name. We were a joint strike team, combined of Oregon Department of Forestry (SW Division), Oregon Forest Service, and the B.L.M. Here's our ODF logo.


Posted them on Handcrew2 and Logo3 pages. If you remember the name of the fire, send it in. Ab.

12/12 RF

There is an Ann Mellie who works Law Enforcement in the WO.


12/11 Great News!

The house and Senate have both passed the FWFSA's Overtime Pay Cap bill. This is a huge success, and culminates many hours of hard work on the part of many people , primarily FWFSA President Swartzlander. For those of you that are members, thanks for hanging in there-this is just the start. For more info go to www.FWFSA.org.


Good news indeed! Ab.

12/11 Has anyone out there got any input on their favorite
off the shelf line gear? I've used Eagle Gear in the
past and it has worked just fine, I'm looking into a
new pack and wondering about some of the other brands
Sierragear, Theilsen, Pack-Shack, etc. One of the
crews I worked on, we had a sewing machine and made
our own packs with a pattern that was very close to
Eagle Gear. It was great, cause we were able to make
adjustments and customize how the packs fit.
Unfortunately I don't have access to an industrial
sewing machine anymore. I'd love to hear some
pros/cons on the brands that are out there now or if
anyone has a secret pack maker that they would like to

Thanks in advance

12/11 Hey the Hoosiers are desperately seeking ONE GOOD AFMO! Click the jobs page button. Ab.
12/11 Hello everybody----FLA-RANGER here.

Like i said it's just the beginning, we had a fire start on dec-07-00 and is now a incident, it was a control burn that got away into a swamp with muck! By a interstate which caused a few accidents,and now two engine crews down from around fla.one of our heli's with a bambi bucket and us from this dist. and still having a few other fire's which hasn't been to bad to handle, but conditions are not getting any better without the rain that we really need.
Well just a little update that i thought you all would be interested to hear i'll try to keep all updated on further fire activities.
Your friend FLA-RANGER!!!!!!!!

12/11 AL

"WO Mellie" works or worked in Recreation, Wilderness and Cultural Resources (RWCR) on the third floor. Plus she's "da kind" as WO Mellie hails from Hawaii.


12/11 Hi Ab! Here is another logo for you. This is CDF's union logo.
Hope you have a great Christmas!

Engineer Emmett

Put it on the logo2 page. Ab.

12/10 Hi All,

Checked my hotmail for the first time in a while and YIKES! Doorsmaurer, I didn't make it to Emmitsburg for the Honor Guard event in Oct! But thanks for the invite. Hickman might have been there, too. Darn, I missed it! Peter, thanks for sharing your Big Bar photos. Strange to have Five Waters pics come at me from Colorado! Didn't ya like our cool tractor and signs I made for our stand pipe?! The two baby deer at Daily Ranch are grown and only come to visit occasionally. I hope the little buck survives the big BANG-BANG season Do many of your student ff friends read theysaid? AZ Tim, Biz, Keith, Firehorse, Firechick from the Big Bar, and others who wrote if you want to reach me in a timely fashion [shrug and rueful headshake], use my other e-mail, please. I'LL TRY! For those who've sent me jokes and other funnies, thanks!

Regarding the acronyms, FNG and the 462 COLA: While I can guess (if the NG is non-govt?), I don't really know what it means: will someone clue me in privately? LL? Sometimes I feel I've lived a sheltered life [ha ha] As far as the COLA, I'm sure it's not a firefighter series drink!!! Iszit, JAC?

Short Tour, I really appreciated your questions/comments. Having a forum like this is super. We all learn... The clarifications from @ and JAC on the LPF upgrades (tour of duty) were very well put. One of the reasons that LP overhead is able to move more quickly than some (to try to "help" their fire staff) is that the fire organization on the LP is more "centralized" than that of many forests. I believe that the El Dorado, San Bernardino, Inyo, and Modoc (of the 19 CA forests) have a similar streamlined structure. As I understand it, the fire organization in these forests operates fairly autonomously under the FMO who then reports to or interfaces with the Forest Supervisor. This is in contrast to other forests in which the line officers are required to be more intimately involved at all steps of decision-making -- a problem if they don't know or care about fire. Please, correct me if I'm wrong... (Yepr, it was one of those Fire 2000 conference sports bar discoveries.) Does anyone know if this structure has been considered for other CA forests? Do any forests in other regions have this arrangement? If so, does it work there? What's the downside of centralized fire? DM and others (Joe) in R6 and R3, Old Fire Guy back east, anyone else, could you fill us in? Mike, Adrenalin Junkie, have you heard of this in any other forests/regions? What about the BLM? Is it more like the FS or more centralized? This is a new concept for me. I'd like to know more both the PROs and the CONs (and how hard it was to change the system).

As always, I have more comments and questions -- but I'll wait for the next time.
Charlie, thanks for the conversation on entrapment and burnover and discussion of use of the black. Similar to what DM shared. I still think that much of the feeling of narrowly escaping death and definition of entrapment is based on experience and perceptions.
FOBSIF, thanks for the kind words. I really enjoyed hanging out with you, too. Interesting times.

Have a happy and safe holidays, All!

ps. AL, early in the summer someone asked me if I was the WO Mellie. As many can attest, I'm not.

12/10 Regarding the Sleeping Child area and Rocky Boy bus driver

Re: DoorsMaurer 11/12,
If you left the area on 8/19 you saw most of the Sleeping Child/Little Sleeping Child run. There was one home lost in that area. I believe it was a hunting cabin at the end of a narrow hilltop road. Several homes are now surrounded by 360 degrees of burned acreage. There is an irrigation dam that is in danger of breaching due to the severe erosion. There is talk of removing it now in order to prevent a catastrophe in the spring. The Skalkaho Complex took several runs in late August. One of them jumped the creek (and several homes) and only took out a hay barn. The force of the wind blew shingles off roofs, etc. The first significant rain came on Labor Day weekend. The fire camp was in operation until early November.

Unfortunately our snow pack is quite low so far this year. This is good from the erosion control standpoint, but not a good sign for next year's fire season. Job security for you guys, I guess.

Re: FireBabe 11/26,
I'll get on that. I don't know when I'll be back at Rocky Boy. I can probably figure it out within a month or so, though.

Thanks again to all of you for your hard work!
A Grateful Bitterrooter

12/10 Ab et all..

Oh look at the new addition to the acrony... hey wait a minute! AL!! [grin] Oh but I really really could put FNG up there on the list.. I already know what it means! Sad thing is it might not be prudent for the *PUP* to do so, considering he is still somewhat new to this realm himself! [smirk] Don't worry though..there will be a 'candids' Acronym list..someday...

Take care all,

Tiny, the R-6 Fire Pup

12/10 WP

I would pay top $ for these old training videos, e-mail: rickandurs@looksmart.com


12/09 Limpy,
I know of a person who has a set of the "Al" training films, they are 35mm -- maybe 16mm and in very poor shape. Or I knew who had a set. I worked in his outfit 30 years ago or so and they were the best training films available. The best part of the training films were the surplus kakis that the trainees were wearing, and if my memory serves me right, pith helmets.

I will give my friend a call and see if he still has them, I will try to work a deal to get them transferred to video. If you are interested might be a slight charge for the copies.

Remember Limpy, don't be like Al.

12/09 Uh, Oh, busted! I am good at verbally fencing and I have been called a hipster (but not lately), but I definitely am not a FNG (and NO Tiny, do NOT put that in the acronyms list; don't even ask!).

But you better watch out, Brother "~Limpy~". I could have a field day with your moniker! For example, [snip]
And, speaking of monikers, I heard there's a Mellie in the WO. Are you a plant, Mellie? [big grin]


But Ab, ~Limpy~ started it!

12/09 Speaking of old fire flicks. I was wondering if anyone knows where I could get a copy of an old Forest Service training film called "Crew Boss" ? It was pretty hokey but good for a lot of laughs. It involved a crew boss's struggle to maintain good leadership while having to verbally fence with a smart alec hipster FNG named AL.

I even heard that some hotshot crews used to give out a weekly "AL" award to guys that were slacking.


12/08 Thanks a milliondy for Red Skies of Montana, DM. I'll send it back to you on Monday. [heh] Oh boy, oh boy. I like both of your suggestions for the accompanying libations for viewing! [clink]

And I do have some comments and insights on the state of Fire 2000. Tomorrow... when I have more time. Here's the Jack Ward Thomas speech.


12/08 Hugh, not yet, not enough snow. Besides, we're to busy putting
smoke in the air! Maybe you should get out of your "rocking
chair" and join us.
12/08 Re LP and tours of duty:
@ is correct. However jumping the gun is a little strong. LPF is guilty
of efficiency when all it did was begin the upgrading process already
agreed to by the four southern forests. LPF was quick to act for a number
of reasons but most importantly for the benefit of the employee including
the fact that most were getting ready to get laid off for the Winter.
R.O. FAM offered a cautionary approach to this issue. However the R.O. was
quick to point out that tours and retention need to be addressed. Lets
keep this issue alive, and make sure the R.O. does in fact address this
issue for all R-5 fire employees.

It's time to get the committee back together to take another look at the
462 pay COLA adopted in 1988-89 for some southern forests and implement it
regionwide as appropreiate. As I recall a concerned Forest Supervisor and
committee worked hard to get the 462 COLA adopted 11 years ago for there


12/07 Info on H.R. - 460 can be found by clicking on the BIG RED logo of FWFSA at the top left of this site. A link to "thomas.loc.gov" will open up a site to congressional news. It takes a little bit of surfin, you can contact your congressional rep, see the status of a bill, committee status and learn how a bill becomes law.

Another site is www.iaff.org/iaff/index.phpl. IAFF's web site has a listing of Fire Service related legislation, who to write, and HELPS You send a letter to your Congressional/Senator's email box. The Thomas site has excellent search help. If readers dont want to link thru FWFSA, Just use "thomas.loc.gov". The FWFSA site gives info on lobby efforts and issues related to Federal Wildland Firefighters. OF course, I would suggest anyone in the Federal Wildland Fire Service to Join FWFSA. Thank you for the reminder on giving "clear instructions".

Bear Divide Hotshots : Excellent Job on the web site.


12/07 Ab, Most information on Bills etc. can be found at:
http://thomas.loc.gov More info. to follow: HR 460 may not be dead "yet" also of concern are HR 1769, S 3178, & HR 2814.
Maybe Neadermeyer can also shed some light on how to find more information.


12/07 I.m personnally glad that the upgrades didn't go through. I have an 18/8 tour and that is what i signed up for not a 26/0.

hugh......p.s hey stu time to ski!

12/07 Firecamp laundry from Ab:

1) Hickman has finished and is willing to share his S131 powerpoint (500 KB, takes about 3 min to download on my fast computer). Came across another refresher.ppt (1370 KB, 7 min download). Will the person who sent it in please let me know so I can give credit? (from Rod R?) We appreciate people sharing and recognize the work that goes into creating these programs. I have put both on the programs links page.

In the past few weeks I have gotten some questions from folks having problems downloading the other ppts for S130 and S190 (in two parts). These programs are large. If you have problems, try downloading early in the morning when traffic on your ISP is low and/or find a friend with a faster computer.
Hickman has made this current ppt of reasonable length. Thank you much for the contribution, Mohick. Your typing fingers must be sore!

2) To tie in potential apprentices and the R4/R1 folks who are trying to find 52 good apprentice applicants, I have added a link that connects to the usajobs listing for series 499 in Missoula MT-- the apprentice jobs. If interested, check out the jobs page.

12/07 Rick -
Regarding Federal Firefighter Retirement - HR 460:
Sen. Joseph Liberman (D) Connecticut has all but Killed this Bill. His Office will NOT EVEN TALK to A Californian. His office refers Calls to "their" Senate Rep.. Sen. Feinstein supported the Bill and has been supportive of fire issues. Maybe there is a Wildland Connection in Connecticut on "THEY SAID"? Nothing else.... Any of the readers who can call Liberman, (202) 224-4041 Please DO! Ca. Professional Firefighters (CPF) is making calls seeking support, IAFF at the National level is where the barrier exists.

Two-weeks left in this years Congress/Senate sessions........ "HR-2814" still stands a good shot at passing the Senate.

Neadermeyer, could you please give us the gist of what these bills propose or point us to a website that explains them? Some of us might call if we knew what to ask for. Remember, there are fire ecology students out there too, eh Beth, wanting to make a contribution for fire. Mellie, have any contacts in CT? Ab.

12/07 Hello,

I thought I would drop a line and let you know about a new web site:



Regards, Ab sez "veeeeeeeeery nice".

12/06 Thanks for the feed back. This is why I love reading your web page. The information I get off this web page is incredible. Soory for the harshness of my comments, but as frustration builds, you tend to vent alittle more then you intend. Again thanks for the feed back and I hope to write again soon on a more positive note.

the firefighter formerly known as Short Tour

Glad the site can be of service. Ab.

12/06 Beth,

The AAP (Association of Airtanker Pilots) web page does have good background on the subject. The main point is that there is change in the wind and folks are concerned about how the "new" system will affect them and whether there will be jobs, home relocation, and other stressors.

Hearing one person in a bar isn't all the facts. The national air tanker meeting is next week in Reno. There will more solid information presented at that time. The lead plane program is slated to be shifted from a one person multi-mission function to a two person multi-mission function. The gripes you overhead is that the original definition of the Air Service Module did not include the traditional airtanker lead profile in the 500' to 150' above ground level flight zone. There has been some wiggling going on and that profile will probably be available during the transition period and as new (to us U.S. practitioners) profiles are incorporated into the program. Watch the AAP page after next week for further information. Also check the USFS News site.


12/06 Hey fellow readers,

Haven't heard much feedback from the Fire 2000 Conference. Mellie had a few tidbits, but was wondering what others might have to add. I am mostly curious about what the chatter was about between formal presentations. Hiring, NPS prescribed burn ban, all these new helicopters etc. etc.

C'mon folks I am sure there are a bunch of you that attended who could add some insight. Wasn't there like 1000 attendees!

Thanks in advance

PS. thanks to @ for the inside scoop on the LP issues. Any other insiders news on the hiring plan? What is up with NPS, seems they miss the boat on new employees if they don't act pretty quick.

12/05 This is my first time here. I'm a fire ecology student --- not a firefighter, but this summer I worked on fire rehab and loved it. I'm writing in because I want to know who I can write to in Congress to counteract something I overheard at the Fire 2000 Conference in Charlie's, the sports bar. A Washington FS person was talking to a fire team man and said that he thought the FS fire program is in danger of loosing a 50 million dollar allocation that comes from Congress for fixed wing aircraft because some angry lead plane pilot is lobbying congress and riling them up against fire aviation. There was some discussion about how one lead plane pilot could threaten the whole program for the air tankers and all other fixed wing planes. It made me feel bad--- In CA we have extreme environmentalists to deal with and it sounds like the air tanker pilots have an extreme lead plane guy that threatens them. Sometimes life doesn't seem very fair! Why can't people just be nice to each other?

Does anyone who reads "they said it" know anything about this? Does anyone know how I can learn more about the money that might not be allocated and which program would be cut? None of the forestry students or faculty here know anything. I could write a few letters to Congress over vacation if I knew more. Who in congress can I write to say that we do need the airtankers, retardant and other fixed wing planes?

Thanks for any help you can give me,

Beth, you also might want to ask your questions at the airtanker pilots board. I think it's www.airtanker.com. Ab.

12/05 Short Tour and others...

I know a little bit about the situation you are talking about, and I hope to
shed some light that I hope will help you to understand what happened with
regard to upgrading the tours of duty for the firefighters on the Los

I attended a meeting a few weeks ago where all the Fire Management Officers
and some key Human Resource folks got together to discuss a strategy for
hiring new fire folks and taking care of the fire folks already on board in
the Southern California Province.

The FMOs from the Los Padres, Angeles, San Bernardino and Cleveland all
agreed that they wanted to standardize tours of duty for fire folks within
the Province. The agreement was that all fire positions, GS-6 level and
above would be upgraded to Permanant Full Time tours of duty; that GS-5
Senior Firefighters would have 18/8 tours of duty and that Apprentices would
be 13/13 until they were converted to Senior Firefighters.

This was agreed to because all the Fire Gods wanted to improve the incentives
for fire personnel to work year round, which would hopefully improve
retaining good folks.

Retention is a huge issue, and the philosophy from the Regional Office Fire
Staff encouraged forests to improve the employment conditions for fire

But there was one gliche, and it was a biggie. The funding coming from the
sky is based on planning using the NFMAS analysis model. Very few forests in
California calculated full time tours of duty during their NFMAS analysis.
Those forests that DID calculate full time tours would be funded for that.
Unfortunately, most forests DID NOT base their analysis on the enhanced tours
of duty. Therefore, even though we are getting big bucks from "on high", it
was based on firefighter productivity based on the EXISTING tours of duty.

The additional expense to upgrade all these tours is VERY HIGH, even more
than the mega-bucks we're supposedly getting. The forests simply could not
afford upgrading the existing tours because they didn't PLAN for those.

If the Los Padres made any kind of blunder, it's that they jumped the gun in
taking action to upgrade their folks. The other three forests waited to do
this, and therefore don't have the "internal public relations" problems the
Los Padres has right now.

As frustrating as this all is, the LP had the best intentions to take care of
their folks. This is an unfortunate situation that I know will leave a bad
taste in people's mouths, just like it has with you.

Just like anything in life, you have options on which to make personal
decisions. You can choose to stay on the LP or you can choose to move to a
forest where you think you have better opportunities for promoting your

I don't work on the Los Padres, but I wanted you to have "the rest of the
story" before you made these critical decisions.

I'm not asking you to change your opinion. I'm hoping you will understand
where the LP was coming from, and at least understand their human reactions
to this situation. They wanted the best for you, they jumped the gun in
their eagerness to tell you, and they pissed you off. Such is the life of a
program manager. Just remember that managers are people too...


Thanks @. I think it's a well known fact that forests across the nation would like to increase tours to make their career positions full time. Fire managers are very aware of their recruitment and retention problems. I've heard several managers quoting past statistics indicating the USFS loses around 75% of their academy graduates to other agencies within the first three years. Primary reasons for leaving are pay and benefits, no real surprise here. Rumors suggest the issue of increasing tours will be addressed at regional levels early next year.

12/05 Mellie
Los Prietos Hotshots were one of several formed up in 1949. I do
think the Angeles, (Oak Grove, Tanbark, and Chilao Hotshots) Mabey the
San Berdo & Cleveland had crews too. Los Padres, aka Los Prietos has been
around awhile. Anyone Know the others pre 1949?
12/04 Neadermeyer

Thanks for helping define the situation with the 55-57 issue, the real interest in this bill is that it would help some of the 35 year olds who got passed over on the apprenticeship program in years gone past (and should have gotten it) could then have a chance, my god, there are a lot of entry level jobs being flown and these seasonals have a lot to offer.


12/04 Hello all, First time sender and long time reader.
I'am writing to vent my frustrations with the Los
Padres National Forest and Region 5. About three
weeks ago all of the GS-5 Senior Firefighters were
told and filled out the proper paper work to have are
tours upgraded from the 13-13 series to 18-8. Well
four days later we were then sent by e-mail and phone
calls to some, that they were going to take back the
18-8 and bump us back down 13-13 tours. This is a
perfect example of why most people wonder why we are
losing some of our best and seasoned employee's to the
municipal fire departments. Our Forest Managers based
the upgrades of tours based on all of this phantum
money we are suppose to be getting from congress for
beefing up the suppression forces through out the
United States. I just want to say thanks alot to the
Los Padres National Forest for putting your employee's

short tour

Welcome and hang in there, short tour. As people take the jobs being vacated by retirees (500 nationwide due to attrition), their jobs will become open and others will fill in behind them. (Check out jobs being offered on the jobs page and under 462 and 455.) You'll soon be able to move up to your 18-8 if you want to and are willing to persist in the process. It's too bad increased tours were given and then taken away. Your FMOs had your best interests at heart. Word is that if tours had been extended in R5 at this time, a large amount of the increased funds would have gone to increasing tours (like $20 million of it), leaving little for increasing the numbers of firefighters as congress mandated. So, while the FMOs wanted to increase tours, we're told it's not a viable alternative at this time. Hey, don't blame your FMOs or R5. Everyone would like extended tours.

We all know retention is an issue. We need to work on Congress to address retention next. Doesn't make much sense to spend all this money to train 2000 people over the next 3 years only to quickly loose as many as a third of them to state, county and city fire departments.

12/04 Congratulations to Murry Taylor. His book Jumping fire made it into the LA Times Book Review "Best Books of 2000" Edition. Quoting "Jumping Fire is a beautifully crafted, wise yet thrilling book that will endure as long as thee is an appetite for vicarious adventure and curiosity about why people are driven to do dangerous things that most of us would consider crazy." I could not agree more.

Fireball XL5

Murry's book can be ordered here. I'm looking forward to getting it for Christmas. Ab.

12/04 Ab, here is my stab at PAN's pop quiz from 12/01:


It appears the fire made a quick slope run. Flanking movement was minimal and should be expected to remain minimal in the absence of crossing winds. Assuming fire will be backing down the north side of the ridge by the time the IA begins.

I would tend to stay tight, one foot in the black, starting from the bottom going up the west flank along the orange line. Secure this flank first as the diurnal flows may push this a bit during the evening. This could potentially threaten structures southwest of the fire.

Around the head, I would stay as tight as possible, burning and securing as needed and as conditions warrant. Take a break on top. Adjust lookouts and get some intel on the east flank. The fire may not have come out of the draw and I would operate up on the ridge, again the orange line.

I would go down the east flank only if I could stay tight with the black, if it is on the ridge or burnout to keep the black with me. If burnout is ineffective or marginal, go back around and start at the bottom staying on the ridge. (The crew may whine about that, but if I cant mitigate the hazard, I do not initiate the action). With any luck, you will finish tying in the line on top just as the fuel moisture conditions are such to allow you to burn back down to the bottom. All in time for a Sack-lunch for brunch, this makes it all worthwhile.

Wind, darkness, terrain, and fuel conditions are the key concerns here. I would have lookouts posted. I would also have a scout team out front, my best legs, assessing potentials, expending flagging, etc. If direct/parallel attack proves to be undoable, first contingency would probably be the blue line. Fallback and hope for additional resources.

Bottom line, in this fuel type is to keep the safety zone in close even if the observed fire behavior is relatively benign. My only experience in Kentucky was gained pushing the ground away from myself at Ft Cambell, a long time ago.

Note: This little problem served to open up an excellent philosophical dialog among some of my peers concerning direct vs. indirect attack.

12/04 I appreciate the service your site at: /jobs.php offers the wildland fire community.

BLM temp jobs are supposed to be linked from USAJobs. As of now this is not the case for all of them. Could you please put a link on your website for "BLM Quickhire" http://www.nc.blm.gov/jobs/ at the top of your jobs page. This is the official site for listing BLM temporary fire position vacancies.

Quickhire is an on-line application process. The jury is still out to see if we will have anyone that we can hire for the 2001 fire season. Anything you can do to help get the word out will be greatly appreciated.

At least for now - Quickhire does not change how to apply for career positions.

thanks, TD

Updated the jobs page and added a link at the top to the BLM Quickhire site. Good list from TD in the classifieds for what is needed to apply for temporary federal jobs. Ab.

12/04 Hi Ab & all,
At the risk of casting a few shadows on the "raise the entry age from 35 to 37" parade", I have a few comments. Since I've had my foot run over a few times as I ran to jump on other bandwagons, nowadays I take a little closer look. Accordingly, it seems to me if the entry age and the maximum retirement age are raised two years, it would only make sense the minimum retirement age would also be raised from 50 to 52. I'm aware of quite a few folks who would not see this as a benefit.
12/04 Rick,
       Congressman Elton Gallegly introduced HR-460. He is from Ventura, Ca
and has the support of several IAFF locals in the area.  Brian Cliford
attends all the committee meetings related to fire service issues for the
Congressman.  The Bill was stalled at the request of IAFF after the Law
enforcement locals of the AFL-CIO objected to the Bill's impacts on current
retirement regs. Several people are looking for the actual content of 5 USC.
sections which the Law enforcement groups object a change. Regardless, IAFF
is an AFL-CIO union. The problem is in the UNION, There is little chance
for the Bill to pass if the Union retracts support. The Wildland
firefighter pay equity act, HR 2814 is still in the Senate. Monday Dec 3,
Senate will be back in session. The Presidential election issue is going to
hold up anything from being passed.   Suggest you let Casey Judd, CPF
District 5 Vice-President know your thought on the retirement issue. (If you
belong to IAFF) Maybe some better info this week from Congess.
12/03 Pappy, your e-mail keeps rejecting, try me at rickandurs@looksmart.com. I have all the info. up to date on upping the retirement age along with the fact that this bill has been presented also as S 3178 although I cant find the minutes of the presentation. 


12/03 Ab et all-

Okay doke, long time no type, but hey, yer pup's in Physics and in Calculus so's he can do something right? Any of you readers who know fire behavior prediction well wanna let a pup know if calculus is useful? I have a strange feeling it is in some way, I know some part of physics will be, but the class isn't that far into the book yet. I can't wait till we begin studies on burning things.

Oh, and greetings to our newest young reader too. Matt- Yer living my dream, and quite possibly the dream of many of the other more experienced readers on the site. Even thoguh I'm younger than you are I sometimes feel as if my feet are as tired as some of my older friends, if only by the sheer amount of knowledge in this realm I am accruing in the theoretical (there's Physics again!) realm versus my paucity of experience in the actual realm. I wish you the best of luck with your wildland (and structure if yer like Hickman, AZ and a few others out there..) fire career, and a warm welcome to this hallowed ground of sharing knowledge, opinion, and expression.

Ab, once again, thanks for letting even a pup join in with the big dogs once in a while,

"Ranger" Tiny, the R-6 Fire Pup

12/02 Some good articles at FS NEWS. Info on the kidnapping of the Erickson Aircrane Employees, NM burning on the PJ interface, links to the National Fire Plan, and 6 months later on the Rattlesnake Fire in AZ. Always a good read. Thanks WG, and she just keeps on going!


12/02 Hey, did anybody forget or were not able to get a California Campaign Fire T-Shirt from this year or last? Look on EBAY at www.ebay.com and enter under "What are you looking for?" the word WILDLAND or Forest Service. Just to let you know.


12/02 Hello everybody nice to see a sight that we all can come togather and talk about the firetimes that we have had present and past, which we are picking up again down here its been so dry and not any rain to speak of, and if we don't get any more then we have had-Get your gear ready because we might be calling again? By the way i'm glenn down in fla.wildland firefighter for the state grew up in it and now have 16 yrs.in it! love a good challenge so far haven't got licked yet and hope i don't,but anyway it's been dry,dry,dry and where picking up again thought i would let you all know incase you haven't heard its slowly picking up. The last 3-5 yrs. we haven't been getting the rain that we always have had and the drought index is getting more,and more extream. Anyway thought i would come in and say hello and like the site and i'll check youall out later.


12/02 Your missing the best thing about helicopters on your web page, the rappers!

Here you go.... Bell 212     Era Helicopters 

Let me know if you put this on your web page! 

Region 6
MRC 2000

Hey Adam, I put it up. Readers, check out the rappeller at the bottom on the heli3 page. Nice. Ab.

12/02 OK, so I wanted to sit in the smoke for awhile, since I didn't get any this year. "But, I can take the heat!"

Given the time of discovery, time of IA, resources at the time, and looking at the information provided, I'd have to pick the green line. Giving my crew a little breathing room. Contingency plan would be to fall back to the blue or red line the next day if needed. Hopefully additional support should have arrived by then. Part of the green line appears to lay in a "hollow" or valley with a ridge between it an the main fire on the right (east side). Wind appeared to be light from the south to southeast, using my original observation, so the fire will be moving up-hill and left (west).

Using the night time with usually slower burning conditions and using the ridge as a buffer. I have to start at the bottom and work up the left side (possibly west flank). It too appears to be on or close to a ridge top. This line appears to be the hardest one to construct, but since you have a fairly fresh crew, do that one first. This would allow the crew to start a flanking attack up to the possible head of the fire.

Since there is no air support (don't have this in Missouri) during the night time, use them at first light to monitor this area the next day. The right side (east flank) appears to have a little easier going. There appears to be a ridge between the fire and the possible position for a line. If we would cut a line on the right side (east side) of the ridge and use the ridge top as a natural break again, we might be able to hold it before the weather conditions started to dry and warm the next day. Again I hate to do it, but I would have to start at the bottom and go up, I just don't like the conditions and topo. of the land. In Missouri, I might work downhill, but that's Missouri. (I know lots of IF's)

Hopefully additional assistance would be arriving by this time. Don't think I would split the itinial crew, since more line can be built quickly by a full crew and the left flank (west) appears to need the first line the quickest.

Burn out could also be preformed, if need and night time conditions would allow, starting from the top down.

If things go bad during the night, crew can use their line as a possible way out, it's better than running in the woods at night.

Safety Zone, at the bottom of the Hill and a Lookout at the bottom in the valley positioned where he can see the main fire. May need two, one for each flank if you end up with additional resources.

Good enought for now..let's see how many jump my case...Like I said, I can handle the heat.


12/02 My name is Matt, you've got a great page. I'm sending you a few pics from the fires I was on this summer. I'm 19 and this was my first summer out west, needless to say I'm hooked and can't wait till next year. I went out as an AD on an Interagency crew from VA.

The MT Crew Pic was taken on Aug 26, and is the crew I was working with. We are working on the Willie Fire in Red Lodge MT, cutting line through a stand of Lodgepole Pine. I was swamping and believe me I was very relived when we hit the end of that shift. That is also the crew that made the front page of the Washington Post going up the steep Catline. I took the Willie Sunrise Pic that morning. I took the Golden Tanker Pic Aug 2 while on the Golden Complex in Coleville CA.

It was a great summer for me, I got to work on an engine in FL and work on hand crews in CA, NV, and MT. I was on the Twin Peaks fire that the chopper went down on, but we got Demobed the day before it crashed. We were to ride on it the next day, guess we had somebody watching out for us. FYI, all the Pics were taken with a 6 dollar disposable camera.

Keep up the good work

Thanks for the photos and a bit of your story, young Matt. The fun of doing theysaid is that a new Christmas pulaski may be waiting in the "inbox" any morning or evening. Ab.

12/02 Chris Johnson,

Before you get to far into the project of steep terrain water tanks, you might want to look at the NIFC catalog. They have two "soft" slingable tanks listed, (65 & 95 gals??) the tanks have 'D' rings on them to tie off on steep ground.


12/02 Pat, good luck on your quest. My seasonal that had already been hired eventually forfeited her position and slid into a city police position. Her lawyer, when looking into the JACT program did indeed find out the exceptions to the MEA had been made to get specific people in the system, coincidentally they were all male while several females were told that there were no exceptions. You would of thought that R5 would of figured something out during the last CD but I guess not. Good luck though......

Rick, ya I am still around and would love to see the information that you speak of. Please feel free to email me ryoung@farts.com and let we'll work out the logistics of getting the documents. I think that everyone had better hold on to their hats because the next year is going to be a wild ride. With the explosion of new personnel and changes in the very way that we do business It is going to be an interesting 12-24 months.

Ab, I would also like to drop a quick thanks to you because I really believe that you are providing an invaluable service to the wildland firefighting community with this forum during this very interesting time.

Thanks again. Pappy

12/01 Since I'm not totally a Wildlander, may I play with Pan's Question and
Statement and Picture...

Looking at the Lay-of-the-Land, I'd say there is somewhat of a southern or
southwestern aspect with a good amount of slope. Looking at the size of the
structures and other items in the picture, I'd say there's a good 1500 to
1600 feet of elevation change from the roadway to the top of the mountain.

Now....onto the fire...Discovered approximatly...".
.30 minutes after it had started at about 2 pm. I knew it would take me
about two hours to land, get a fire crew to the fire and
'walk to the top of the mountain to begin constructing a fire line'
(approximatly 1630 hours give or take a minute or so)
with hand tools to contain the fire..."

(Giving Pan the benifit of doubt)....A few things came to Mind...

-Safety zones and escape routes not identified.
-Uninformed on strategy, tactics, and hazards
-Unfamiliar with weather and local factors influencing fire behavior. (Other
than..particularly dry fire season )
-Constructing line without safe anchor point.
-Building line downhill with fire below.
-Attempting frontal assault on fire.
-Unburned fuel between you and the fire.
-Cannot see main fire, not in contact with anyone who can.
-On a hillside where rolling material can ignite fuel below.
-Terrain or fuels make escape to safety zones difficult.
-Will most likly end up working in difficult terrain in the dark if not
being able to start until after 1600 hours.

...Looks like a lot of standards compromised....

If you have to do something "Back-Off" and Call for "HELP"


(PS) Ab....

Since there isn't a Harlan County N.Y. How about Kentucky?

    Alright, Hick(My Main)man.  Kentucky it is. Now, back to the point. Did you forget to select a fireline route on purpose or did you nod off with the rest of your helitack crew down in the shade of the schoolhouse whilst yer helo does some bucket work?
     Just kidding helitackers! Stick yer neck out Hickman. This isn't an exercise wherein ya gett'a prize for naming off all the the safety rules ya ever heard. Use what ya got for info and make a decision. There isn't any limitation mentioned for resources, so I'd assume I would get everything I needed in a timely manner. And I'd assume the weather would maintain as is. . .least for this exercise. Pick a line and justify it! Ab.

12/01 A note from someone on the Mendocino:
Come on folks, lets get some recruiting done for these apprentice positions! I believe we're still trying to hire 10 more apprentices on the Mendocino!!!!!

This came in from Shirley Sutliff the R5 Apprenticeship Program Coordinator:
Please let as many folks know as possible know that I have extended the Vacancy for round 2 hiring of Region 5 Apprentices to December 6. We are way short on applications so help me (and yourself) out and get folks moving!!!!!

Like the Forest Service, BLM has lots of jobs and some new job sites. Check it out. Hit the jobs button at the top of the page. Ab.

12/01 I ran across this question in a competition I take part in. I found your site and I was hoping you could help me out with it:

During a particularly dry fire season with a shortage of fire fighting personnel I saw this forest fire from a plane about 30 minutes after it had started at about 2 pm. I knew it would take me about two hours to land, get a fire crew to the fire and walk to the top of the mountain to begin constructing a fire line with hand tools to contain the fire. Which of the COLORED FIRE LINES did I plan to construct? Discuss the disadvantages of the others.


We often get some strange e-mails from non-firefighters. This is an unusual but interesting one. Thought I'd put it up. Black Bottom Fire, Harlan Co. NY., Spring fire season, 1977. Wonder what the aspect is... Does anyone know if this is an academy test question or one that we shouldn't be discussing here so as not to compromise standards? Ab.

12/01 Pulaski

Re: your new GSA nomex pants....when the call came out this summer for all units to deplete their caches of nomex pants I cleared ours out as directed. We sent the "disco jean" styles along with what was left of our "old school" rear button pocket styles. The cache told me they'd replace them with the new BDU style after fire season. Last month I received a large box of pants from the cache. I was excited to see how these GSA BDU pants compared to the commercially avaiable nomex cargo pants that I've been outfitting our crews since 1997. Sure enough the box contained 35 pairs of the dreaded "crotch-so-tight" "disco jeans". In disgust I threw the box in the corner of the cache next to the rusted, trombone-missing Indian/Hudson steel backpack pumps.

You might be interested to know that there is another commercial vendor in the Pacific Northwest that has starting producing nomex cargo pants similar in almost every respect to that original Pacific Northwest vendor. The new vendor has a "beefier" zipper than the original and makes their pants sizes by specific waist and inseam sizes (not S/M/L/XL). I've already inquired about having them make in a tan/khaki color just for our crews. Speaking of old PPEs I have a pair of mint-condition Lee Frisco jeans (got'em from L.A. County Foresters), a pair of first (?) generation rear velcro pocket pants (circa 1978); several mint condition Fibre-Metal hardhats ("U.S. Government") and a mint condition orange belt fire shelter (1981). Funny how it feels like I just started working in fire...then I look at how much I've collected over the years and "whoooaaa...!"


12/01 Hi Ab--

Mellie, you are absolutely correct...

Jennifer DeJung was the first woman to officially retire from the Forest Service. Louise Larson was the first woman ELIGIBLE to retire, but she postponed her retirement for a year, which allowed Jennifer to actually retire first.

I feel very fortunate to have been able to work with both of these women, and many other female "pioneers" in the wildland fire business.

The conference is winding down this morning. Last night, Stephen Pyne's presentation on the Montana fires of 1910 was very powerful. I hope the powers-that-be paid attention to the things that need to be in place to really cause a change in how we do business.

Policy and money alone will not change how we do business. There has to be some kind of inspiration that tugs at our heart (Stephen called it "poetry") that builds the passion in all of us to want to do things differently. Without this "poetry", all we're going to have is the "Fire Plan of the month" and a lot of cash thrown at the same stuff on a different day.

The conference has been great. Almost 1000 people attended, and the mix of folks was amazing. I enjoyed it thoroughly. It's great to be able to spend a lot of time reconnecting with old friends and making new ones, all under the title of "networking". This is where business REALLY gets done.

Mellie, it was a pleasure to finally meet you. You are a beautiful woman and I loved your passion and energy for our work. I also love the discussions filled with different perspectives that generated a wealth of possibilities! It is truly a magical time in our lives...


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