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01/31 Hi, Ab!

Great new page design! Keep up the good work on a great site.

Brainstormer (you're a brave individual!) and the others:
Of course safety in the field should never be compromised in order to meet quotas, etc; can't help but agree with everyone who's voicing that opinion, since everybody likes getting through a fire in one piece.

But unfortunately, AA and those other 'programs' exist for a reason. Do folks think that the Good Old Boy network is really gone, or doesn't affect the careers of many highly competent females (and probably minorities) in fire?

I know people are sick of this subject; I am, too, but it just keeps rearing its ugly head and probably will until those subscribers to the Good Ol' Boy network realize that there's no room for their bullshit I-don't-take-orders-from-women, etc. behavior here.

P.S. - anyone out there still getting on any fires, prescribed or otherwise? If so, enjoy and stay safe!


01/31 MOC makes some good points. I too was one of those white males that bailed out during the consent decree. However, at this point it's water under the bridge.

Political affiliations aside, the biggest problem I see in the Forest Circus is a lack of leadership.

When I worked in south zone in the 80's, DFMO's understood that temps wanted all the overtime they could get. They would put in the extra effort to take care of their people. If they were ordered to lay off their seasonal in September, they'd make some calls to try and get people picked up by other districts, forests, agencies. Yes, they even found details for temps who wished to continue working.

With few exceptions, that just isn't done much in region 5 anymore. A couple years ago, I asked an FMO from north zone why seasonal weren't offered any training or details. His reply was: " We can't because a permanent MIGHT file a grievance" CYA.

People can only chase a diminishing number of crumbs for so long before they give up.

I realize that there are many good quality staff officers out there (I hope) who do what they can with what little they have to work with. But by and large, most that I've seen are more concerned with feathering their own nests.

Most veterans of the outfit are now coming close to retirement. But there is a shortage of trained people to fill in behind them. Instead of finger pointing, there needs to be some positive solutions to the problems. Such as:
---Washington, and region needs to admit that there is a problem
---Base quality step increases for staff officers and module leaders on how many people get certified. (taskbooks, Line assignments)
---Sh..-can the public information officers and get people in there who can get the feds some positive public exposure. Look at CDF. They got great press and the public loves them because they understand that a positive media image translates into higher funding levels.
---Establish a national wild land fire academy for training and certifying people in hand crew, engines, aviation, and logistics. This program could be established at a number of community colleges and funded by federal grants. ( Use some of that 1.5 billion dollars your getting next year)
There's a lot more that could be done, but I'm running out of time. Thanks for letting me rant.

~Grumpy old fart~

P.S. An old man once told me: "When you need water you don't care about the color of the truck or the color of the person giving it to you"

01/31 Hello

My name is La Tonya Thomas, and I work for the Florida Division of Forestry. I am currently looking for some photographs of early fire towers and equipment. Do you, by chance happen to know where I can find some. Or if you could lead me into a direction of where I can get information of the older wildland fire equipment, I would greatly appreciate that.

Thank you in advance.

01/31 From the Division Chief's Workshop: When fire people are hired, starting at GS-9, then GS-8's must be hired to fill in behind them, and GS-7's must be hired to fill in behind them, and so on down. The RO calculated the estimated number of "actions" resulting from those first hires at GS-9. They figure that there will be 692 actions within R5 alone! The most we can handle by hiring within the region is half of that! So folks, there will shortly be appx 350 positions available in fire just in R5. More rounds of hiring will be coming. Ya'll who want a job and have the experience, get busy and apply!


01/31 WP

If someone other than a full participant of the IHOG arrives on a fire, it depends on the position. IHOG does not list qualifications for AOBD, ASGS, ATGS, etc. Helicopter managers must meet agency requirements for contracting authority. Very few if any helicopter managers from other agencies have these contracting skills. I had a type 1 helibase manager once who met only the 310-1 requirements, I fired him before someone got hurt or killed. Many States are sending their folks to interagency training so that they can meet the IHOG requirements for those positions.

Now then, having said that, how does one account for AOBD's allowing unqualified folks to fill positions. I'm talking about helicopter crew persons managing helicopters etc. I know a person who is an aircraft mechanic who was sent to a helibase as a crew member. In two weeks he was COMPLETELY signed off as a fully qualified helicopter manager! If we don't hold the AOBD's and other aviation managers accountable, then we have failed to provide a safe working environment for our folks.


01/31 Firegirl,

I asked a person here at the Div Chief's Mtg whether the info in the lurker's post was correct. He said yes, the meeting will be in Vallejo on those dates, that your resource person should know, and that the woman who is coordinating that selection process will present tomorrow and we should know more then.


01/31 New jobs, series 462 and 455 are up. Ab.
01/31 To: A Lurker interested in hiring good people,(or any one else who can help)
You mention in your message "February 12-14 is the time that is set aside for forest hiring representatives from all the forests in R5 to meet in the SF area as a group to go over the applications. From each forest there will be 2 people from fire and one human relations person" Did you get this info from a call letter or memo? I've been asking our forest personnel what the process will be and who will go and where will they go to hash out the hiring and group selections, but to no avail; nobody seems to have the answer (other than the info contained in the 12/12 letter). If this is in writing, can you email the doc to me? Send a yes/no reply to firegirl@firegirl.net and I'll share my FS email to keep it all in house and ligit.

thanks for any help!

01/30 -- For fdpartee:

John Maclean's book FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN includes photos of the Storm King 14 - in both the hardbound and softbound editions.


01/30 Hi All,

Quick note (I asked a personnel friend): The word that's come down from the top (FS) to managers regarding the hiring freeze is that yes, there is a freeze. But no, it will not affect your ability to hire firefighters. You should make no restrictions on your process in hiring firefighters. Be ready to hire and soon we'll get further instructions on how to do that. (Hiring for GS-13 and above may be a different process.)


01/30 Brainstormer and MOC4546 both make good points about the consent decree and other affirmative (sic) action things that have changed hiring practices -- and affected fireline safety. Probably we don't want a return to the 1970s, but probably we also don't want to continue favoring people with privileges and rankings that have nothing to do with the job.

I remember back in about 1969 or so, when this first came to my attention, my dad was just spittin' mad because he was being forced to hire minorities with no qualifications in favor of pale males who were eminently qualified. A lot of 'shots quit and left fire altogether when their ranks were -- as they saw it -- diluted by unqualified women and/or minorities.

After South Canyon, the new motto was trotted out and proclaimed: Safety first, every time, on every fire. But no one's officially said anything about how hiring affects safety. When I'm out in the puckerbrush, I don't care what color you are or what your plumbing looks like, I want the safest, best, most qualified, skilled, and most experienced crewmembers possible. Period. I don't care a whit that you are a black disabled female veteran -- but the agencies do. They prize you.

And pick on CDF all you want, but it's not just them. The smokejumpers among us have been pressured hard to hire more women. They have an almost-adequate number of minorities to please Washington, but they really need more girls in a big way. They don't get a lot of pressure from Washington to be safer or better trained, but they sure get it about the girls. In all the new hiring of all the new hotshot crews this year, you'd think there would be a big push for safer, better, more qualified -- but no, the pressure's on for more girls and minorities.

Back to "Brainstormer" though. I severely doubt that you'll find anything substantive in a study. Imagine trying to track just one state, for example, and determine the number of injuries or safety problems over a certain number of years that might be attributable to affirmative action. It can't be done -- improvements in equipment and training, along with the vagaries of weather and the fire seasons, would blow off anything resembling results. What you WOULD find, however, in any such study, is a veritable goldmine of anecdotal stuff. That's probably not something you could take to the bank, or the courts, or probably even the newspapers. But it would sure as hell be an interesting read.


01/30 One more thought on the I-HOG discussion. Now that the USFS (and some other agencies) use the standards in I-HOG as policy. What happens if a person comes from another agency to a USFS incident as a full qualified Helo manager (or some other air rating) as per 310-1. The persons incident supervisor is a FS employee, will the helo manager be accepted and put to work OR will the person be sent home because his/her training does not meet I-HOG?


01/30 To the person who asked about the timeframe for reviewing FS applications/hiring:
Sometime soon, the forests (in California) will receive applications in order to reveiw the certifications and do a background check of the applicant's previous job experience. February 12-14 is the time that is set aside for forest hiring representatives from all the forests in R5 to meet in the SF area as a group to go over the applications. From each forest there will be 2 people from fire and one human relations person (from the particular forest or from the province, their choice) who meet to reperesent their forest and make the selection.

Each applicant has selected from 1 to 9 forests or selected "national" as their area of location. It's not clear what the process will be of choosing applicants among forests within the region. Applicants' preferences will be honored, but if you listed more than one forest as your choice, it seems likely that forests who are preferred will have to go through some pre-determined selection process to decide who gets you. It seems to me that such a process might involve contacting an applicant to see if they're still interested or available. If you've applied, you might want to get in touch with your forest of primary interest just prior to the 12th and let them know you're really interested.

A Lurker interested in hiring good people.

01/30 I believe that such a study would be benificial to the agencies involved and to the fire community. I started looking for seasonal fire work after my first year as a volunteer firefighter and after four years of interviewing, applying, and visiting places it took going down to Southern California and existing on just minimum wage to get started. I couldn't find work through the Forest Service or CDF because of the Consent Decree and Affirmative Action. In 1985 and 1986 there were as many as 20 open positions through CDF Ranger Units that were left open because of the pressures of CD and AA. It harmed everyone. The experienced white male, the minorities who are placed in positions they don't have the experience for, and the vacant positions that could have been filled. I saw people in the wildland fire community pulling their hair out because of the quality (or lack of) personnel who were being hired. People with years of experience being passed over for permanency and promotion because their gender didn't fit the liberal political climate.

We all know of stories over the last 16 years where this kind of hiring got people endangered and injured because of CD / AA. I'm sorry that a certain group of people did stupid things (the Good Ole' Boys) back in the 60's and 70's that forced CD / AA to be approved and maybe to truely have solved the problem those people should have been fired. But that was then, and now we see the results of these hirings because of minority status and the quality of people who have reached upper management and continue to cause problems. Things like the squad boss that caused three near misses on one incident, the AFMO who can't manage fire issues without attacking the white males who are still there, the District Ranger who spends the district budget before the end of the fiscal year and doesn't listen to what fire people say because its not what she wants to hear. CDF now has a lot of these people who got in under CD / AA as Senior Engineers, Captains, and some Batt. Chiefs. and they are now so entrenched in that even injuring someone won't get them diciplined. One really great piece work now runs a CDF Ranger Unit in Central CA, and this person's career is filled with big screwup that were covered by the people in charge. The minorities who filled the positions they EARNED mostly felt the same way.

We need a definite, FAIR, and Impartial report so this kind of political mistake can be avoided again. So Brainstormer, I hope you do it. Perhaps the liberals will understand that there has to be seasoning before placing people in positions of responsibility, that there are people who worked the crappy jobs in the crappy locations as a temporary firefighter for several season and feel dishonored when a first year seasonal suddenly gets a permanent Engineer's Position over a male who worked for five seasons.


01/30 Hey Eric, I find we pay attention to the things that either threaten us or might seem to benefit us. As a contractor, you're probably trying to figure out how the changes in the fire funding play out for you. Sure, there probably is a chance of the money drying up, but if we do a good job with it, I think that chance will be minimized, at least for a while. As far as contractors go, we'll go on needing you. The good ones among you will be around for a long time unless you find greener pastures. As far as the current administration, the jury is out. But I know people who know Bush and he's been very supportive of fire in TX.


01/30 RE: Eric's FMO friend's approach. I ventured a similar opinion to the Forest Supervisor, and was told this. If you approach it like the money is a flash in the pan, that is what it will be. If you approach it as if it is a permanent wake up to a problem, the money will be there. The message being is, if, at the end of the day all you can show is a well stocked cache, shinny trucks, it will go away. If, however, you show real accomplishment, the program will continue. At a guess, the funding will recede, but not completely go away. I would make the most of it now, as in couple of years you will be competing for it again, and bang for the buck will count. As the current program is, and as fast as it is going, there will be a lot spilled. I will confess, I am impressed with the FS implementation so far, not saying its perfect, just better than I expected. Sitting on your butt, shinning the equipment, dodging project work, waiting for the big one, is the worst thing we can do. So when the rainy year comes (remember 1993?) and you are asked what have you produced lately?, have a good answer.


01/30 All, The thing to remember is that the 310-1 is the minimum standard for Fire Training and Qualifications. All agencies have the latitude to make their own requirements more restrictive than the 310-1. The BLM, USFS, BIA, and NPS have chosen to do so by incorporating IHOG into agency policy. If your agency has incorporated IHOG as policy you must refer to the IHOG for training, qualifications, and experience requirements for helicopter positions.

BLM, USFS, and BIA currently use IHOG as Policy in all helicopter operations. NPS uses IHOG for fire suppression only and is supposed to incorporate it into all helicopter operations with the current revision of NPS-60 (Guidelines for Aviation Operations). FWS uses IHOG as policy in only Region 6 (Mountain-Prarie Region. The states, California, Idaho, Montana, Minnesota, use IHOG as policy with exceptions or as a guide, but are not signatories to the document.

Jim, Thanks for the history of how the IHOG came to be.

One of the Keepers of the IHOG

01/30 Does anyone know of a website where I can download fire reports?
01/30 Dear Ab :
A few years back I think that I might have attended the R-5 Engine Academy with Robert Browning and one other victim of the Storm King tradgedy. The unsurety of this has been driving me crazy for some time. Do you know of any sites that may have pictures of fallen comrades. I think I might have played pool together with them in one of the Engine bays at Little Tujunga. It makes it hard because we called these two gentlemen Pixie and Dixie because they had accents of the Tennessee origin in So. Cal. If it was them, I can tell you this:
01/29 Hi Ab:

I am an ex USFS R-6 / CDF veteran turned consultant. I have been asked if I want to take a stab at actually trying to document the effects/impacts/gains/losses that the consent decree has had or resulted in from a historical perspective as well as an organizational management standpoint. I sense that this is an opportunity akin to walking across broken glass and hot coals at the same time as I have already been the recipient of many a foul oath from the fire service folks I have spoken to about the decree.Before I either agree to undertake the task or walk (read RUN!) away, I'd be interested in whatever perspectives the board can give me on the issue. Thanks to any that respond in advance!


01/29 Hello everyone. We all know that it was a busy season last year and some of us still may be recouping from it, but its about that time again when we must look forward to the next season. My question today is, has anyone heard anything about the new contract? I thought it was supposed to come out at about the first of the year and was just wondering if it had got past me. The contract I am refering to relates to the private sector. I would appreciate any response.
Thank you,
01/29 re Rattlesnake fire:

about the only thing I can add to what has already been said is that the canyon (as I recall, its been a while since Ive been there) runs E/W, maybe a little SE/NW and they would have been on a S or SW facing slope. The site is near the bottom of the canyon floor, but near the high end of the canyon. One thing I remember clearly is that we all dreaded going down there each year to cut line because there typically was no breeze and was very uncomfortable. Obviously, that was not the case on the day of the incident.

JW, Id be very interesetd in seeing more. Maybe you can scan the docs and get Ab to post em for a spell.

Since the S.O. has moved at least once since then, and districts reorganized, it may be hard to trac down local documentation that way..but it wouldnt hurt for someone to look around or check the library for paper articles from that period. (come on, I know some folks on the mendo are listening)


01/29 Lo AB,

Talked to my friend in DC. today. He works for the DOD. I thought i would give you something to think about.

President George W. Bush is a major military man. Like his father he is going to build up the military that has shrunk over the last decade. I am told he plans on boosting numbers by 20% in the next two years. The memo my friend told me about worked out the following numbers.

1,045,690 active soldiers. 20% = 209,380 new positions in the military. WOW! thats alot of mouthsw to feed, train, clothe, house, move around, etc.

It didnt give any budget numbers, but I am guessing that it will take many BILLIONS to accomplish this. When the bean counters start looking for money Forest Fire Fighting isnt really on any ones mind in January.

I fear for all of the new people coming into the new positions - false hope of a career. Doesnt seem fair to the seasonals that have been around for years waiting for their position to open up.

Talked to a friend of mine at BLM. Hes a fire manager and has pretty much the same philosophy. This is his plan.

He plans on getting as much new gear as he can. Engines, Pumps, Computers, Hose, Nomex, and Training he can get. Hes afraid the new positions will be "a flash in the pan" Those are his words. any thoughts?

eric \PW


Mini History of the IHOG

The Interagency Helicopter Operations Guide (IHOG) was the direct result of many different agencies having different operating procedures. The IHOG was proposed by Lanny Allmaras as a way to update the USFS helicopter operations manual 5709.12, in which was taking two years or more to change just one word. In the late 1980's Lanny enlisted the support of Hugh Carson, BLM State Aviation Manager in Nevada. As this concept grew Larry Young of the Office of Aircraft Services joined in to the group and they presented the idea of an interagency guide to help the USFS, but also to unify the procedures across agency boundaries.

Ten years ago (February 1991) a group of pilots, helicopter operation specialists, helicopter maintenance specialists, and helicopter managers from all federal and two state agencies met in California to develop the IHOG. Personnel were divided up into groups for each proposed chapter. Using the available manuals, guides and other documents, the groups sat down and did a cut and paste job for each chapter. At the end of each day the rough drafts were turned in to a group of computer folks who typed up the drafts. This continued until the end of the week. On the last day of the week, IHOG draft version one was completed. There was lots of blood spilled and many compromises were made in order to have the most universal operations guide to that date.

From 1991 through 1993, the IHOG went from draft version one to draft version five. Each version of the IHOG was printed and sent to the field for evaluation and comments. More blood was spilled and attitude adjustments were made as to what changes were to be made, based upon comments from the field. As you can imagine, there were many versions of how and what should be done for every aspect of helicopter operations. In the fall of 1993 the IHOG Steering Group decided to streamline the process of getting changes made from the field comments. The Steering group decided to take one person from the Department of Interior and one from the Department of Agriculture to make the final edits and have the document ready for adoption. They chose Rich Tyler from the BLM and myself from the USFS to do this monster. Rich and I were given a box about 2-3 foot long crammed with comments and two weeks to make the changes. We read each and every comment and had very few disagreements over what to include or toss. I would be remiss if I did not say that Hugh Carson and Greg Gall spent an enormous amount of time and expertise formatting the documents and doing the edits from version one through five. In December of 1993, we presented the final version to the IHOG Steering Committee in Reno. Still more blood letting and agreements.

The IHOG went into print the spring of 1994, and just in time for a monster fire season.

Sadly, Rich was killed in June of 1994 on Storm King Mountain. To this day, I treasure the time that Rich and I spent on this project.

Rich, I miss ya Bud!


Fine historical piece, Jim. We'll add it to our permanent "important docs" section at wlf.com. Thank you and thanks to Rich, Lanny, Larry, Hugh, Greg, and others who have helped find ways to bring all of us in the fire community to "reading from the same page" in regard to helicopters. If anyone else has or wants to write a short vignette of how some aspect of the incident management organization has developed, send it in. Ab.

01/29 Interesting info on the Rattlesnake Burnover. I'd like to hear more, JW. That's pretty rugged country. Rod, as far as topography and veg, it occurred within 10-15 mi of the the Town Fire that burned on the Mendo last spring. The Cabbage was maybe 15 mi to the S or SW and the Franklin Fire was about 25-30 mi to the north, if you were on any of those.

I looked on my map. Alder Spring, accessed by FH7, that Nor Cal Dan and Pulaski mentioned, is an extension of 162 from Willows on I-5 to the east and runs into Covelo on Hwy 101 on the western side. I always wanted to drive that road over the coast range. I wonder if the fire took off from a spring burn. The Town, Cabbage and Franklin burned the first week of April, 2000. The Town was an escape. Last spring was very dry with a drying wind. Here are a few pics of the vegetation and topography on the Franklin, facing east: topo1 and topo2 from above the Franklin Fire. And here are two pics of the CDF crew that was working on line and burnout. (Ab put them on the Handcrews3 page.) You can see how steep it is, much like the Trinites. The containment line forms a white "y" down below. If you don't know, chemise is that light stuff. The round green shrub is manzanita. Both are a bit smaller than the Gamble oak on Storm King. But full of volatile oils. Burn hot and fast.

Rod, that fire you mentioned in OR occurred in 1933 and was called the Tillamook Burn. It's described in a thin, nicely-written book (Epitaph for the Giants??) published in the mid-60's. May be out of print now, but it is extremely interesting. I'll look it up for you. It blew up on an 18-mile front and gobbled up 240,000 acres in one day, spewing chunks of trees and ash down on ships 500 miles out at sea! Those stats are etched in my mind! Our library has it. Five chainsaws!


As you probably noticed, there are more crew pics up on Hand3. Also a fs engine on the Engines2 page., and a new logo from Tim on the Logo3 page. Thanks everyone. Ab.

01/29 Thanks for the info on the Rattlesnake fire and the poor souls who died. I would like to know more, JW.


01/28 The Rattlesnake Burnover occurred in 1953 in Rattlesnake Canyon on the Mendocino Forest. 15 firefighters lost their lives. The crew was eating lunch while resting after containing a spotfire. An evening downslope wind caused either the spotfire or the main fire to become active and over run them. Part of the crew tried to outrun the fire going downhill.

I found a reference to the fire in the paper titled: "Fatal and Near-Fatal Forest Fires, the Common Denominators." A notation at the bottom of the article is: The International Fire Chief. Maybe that is where the paper was published. I know it is used in the FBA course in Marana AZ. Paper was by Carl C. Wilson.

There must be an accident report somewhere, but I have never seen any more than what is in this paper.


01/28 Re: the Rattlesnake Fire.

CDF has a Firefighter Survival class aimed at mid career firefighters who may have become complacent, a wake-up course. There aren't many instructors as the modules are actual injury/fatality incidents and have been researched extensively. Instructors go through each case history and hear presentations on the incidents to get as close to "first hand" information as possible. There aren't any punches pulled in the presentations. The Rattlesnake fire is one of the cases used. I don't have my course material nearby so I don't have great detail right now, just a few comments for Rod's questions.

The Rattlesnake fire was located on the West side of the Sacramento valley, mid slope on the eastern side of the coastal mountain range. The fuel was basically chemise brush. The Mendocino NF has had a long term burning program in the area called the Grindstone Project. The East side of the range is characterized by occurrences of down slope winds under thermal low pressure conditions. The firefighters involved were indeed religious missionaries who fought fires as a pick-up crew. Communications were "old school" verbal, written (delivered by message runners), or you were left up to your own information gathering and decision making. The crew(s) were caught in a wind reversal such that their heel or flank of the fire became a head fire. If there is more interest I will pull out my background material for you.


01/28 Rod,

I haven't seen much written on the Rattlesnake fatalities. What I heard from locals was basically, a group of monks were recruited to work on a fire in Mendicino's brushy east side. They were below the fire, taking a dinner break when a local on the ridgetop started yelling at them. One of the monks walked up the hill to find out what he was saying. (He survived.) The local was trying to warn them about a local phenomenon, mainly rapid wind shifts to downhill at sunset. Communications or lack of, was an important factor in this incident, if indeed this is what happened.


01/28 Tekebird,

The S-290 CD is available from NWCG publications, it is listed in the NIFC catalog. It is spendy, last I looked about $150.00, but that is still cheaper then sending someone to training out of area. It is a copyrighted program and it is frowned upon if you make copies of it. The price might go down when the new catalog comes out in April, probably not but worth a look.


01/28 Nor Cal Dan, Rod, and Pulaski:

If someone who lives in the area of the Rattlesnake incident could check w/Forest Service &/or one of the CDF Ranger Units, you would probably be able to access archival report files. Another source to check would be the loacl newspapers of the day @ their morgue files. Just a thought.


01/28 On the Rattlesnake Burnover:
  • What kinds of fuels, more like the inland part of the Six Rivers or the Shasta-T or more like the more coastal redwoods so-called "asbestos forest"?
  • Missionaries in that they were go-getters, or were they just inexperienced in the fuels and topography?
  • What did they miss that cost them their lives?
  • In the 50s communications probably weren't at their best. Did that contribute?
  • Was there a north wind, south-facing slope, afternoon?
I heard there was a big fire between Portland and the coast (Tillamook?) during the depression that blew up and burned half a million acres. What kinds of historical records were made of fires like those? And who's recording fires abroad? Anyone?


01/28 Hey Guys,
Seems to me that *right now* is a prime time for WILDLAND FIRE PROFESSIONALS in groups to be informing Washington of our issues and concerns. We have a new administration and a new President who has not even worked inside the beltway before. He may appreciate the fire organization and what we do, as has been suggested. But I would bet he is not intimately familiar with our concerns and views. And if he were, they might take a back seat to issues backed by people with a louder voice.

Right now is a prime time to be sharing OUR concerns with Pres. Bush and his advisors. All fire professionals who are having winter meetings could do this. Set aside some time in your meetings to formulate, say, the top 5 or 10 fire management issues you'd like to discuss with the new Secretary or Agriculture or Interior, whomever is at the top of your chain of command. Then find a way to present it to Washington via your governmental organization, as a group.

Guess I'm currently thinking of the FS Division Chiefs' meeting coming up for R5 -- and what a powerful lot of wonderful experience will be concentrated at that forum. There's an opportunity to pick our people's minds. Make a list, prioritize, and speak with one experienced voice to the issues/concerns facing wildlandfire in general, and R5 fire in particular.

I encourage all of you who are getting together in fire meetings around the US to seize the opportunity to let our voices be heard on up to the top. We're the most experienced wildland fire experts, planners and fire managers on the planet, and we should plan to take this opportunity to let ourselves be heard.

For all of you going to those meetings, please travel safely. Road conditions are treacherous in places.

01/28 I got ahold of someone on the board that has the S-290 CD ROM.

I really could stand to borrow it. If anyone has it or knows where one is please email me


01/28 Nor Cal Dan -
Thanks for the update. Now that you mention it, I think I remember that when I visited alder after the reunion in 96. It right where the old road meets FH7 right? (or what used to be Fh7)

The rattlesnake incident was in the 50's ...1955 I think. There was a group of missionaries fighting the fire and I think it was 13 of them were burned over and killed. Thats about as much as I can remember without looking it up. I have never seen anything written up about it, but it is listed in the fatality list book that came out a year or so ago.


01/28 UBEAR

What you say is true, but OAS can take that policy away from any Interior agency any time they want. Only one Region of the USFWL has bought into the IHOG. I believe the only States to buy into IHOG are Minnesota and Montana. Other states use IHOG as a guide.

What seems to be a problem is the name "Guide" and folks don't realize it is still policy in many cases.

I'll back out of this discussion and let other folks have their say and express their thoughts.


01/27 Hello,

Not sure if I really want to step off into the middle of this whole deal on the IHOG, but the USFS is NOT the only agency currently using it as Policy. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) uses the IHOG as Policy too. I do believe and maybe someone from the National Park Sevice can help me out on this one, but I think that NPS uses the IHOG as Policy on all Fire Operations. I am unsure as to what the US Fish and Wildlife Service or the Bureau of Indian Affairs are doing with the IHOG, readers?


01/27 What happened at the Rattlesnake site? It's clear that some firefighters died. Is there a report like the Sadler Entrapment Report or the Kates Basin Report? I don't see anything on the archives page. I couldn't find anything when I did a quick search.


Anyone know of such a report? give a little history? comment? Ab.

01/27 Pulaski,

The Rattlesnake site on the Mendo is still visible from the "old" road to Alder Springs (now known as Valley View Camp) A few yrs ago a monument was placed on the road approx. 3 mi uphill, at the vista point for Grindstone Canyon. I stop often to reflect...

Nor Cal Dan

01/27 Jim,

Great answers to my questions. I am not in air ops arena, but am involved in training. By your answers I assume that you had a hand in creating I-HOG. For me it would be very interesting and educational to have a history of I-HOG and why it is the way it is today. Thanks for your perspective.


01/27 Someone asked about Florida fires:

~ firescribe

01/27 WP

The IHOG is USFS Policy and is referenced as such by the FS Manual. IHOG is NOT and NEVER has been an OAS publication, but is an Interagency Publication put out and referenced by its NFES number. The USFS has taken the position of exceeding the NWCG 310-1 and does not ignore NWCG. There has been an ongoing struggle over the differences in IHOG and 310-1 for years.

One manager per helicopter is there for many reasons (safety, contracting, dispatching and others). FAA regs. have nothing to do with this standard and the standard does not take away from the pilot responsibilities. What you are alluding to is fine as long as someone else does the flight following, personnel and cargo loading, etc. (you cannot do two things at once). What happens when one of your aircraft is reassigned to another fire? It was allowed on a case by case basis last year. I'm not sure what changes are coming down the pike on IHOG, but you can bet that the majority if not all the current requirements were written in blood.

I believe part of the problem is that the folks with tons of experience have retired or gone on to other things and those with less experience are questioning why they have to meet what seems like useless requirements.

I don't mean to preach, but I would like for folks who were not involved with the creation of the IHOG or the battles to bring it into creation to understand where it came from. If Ab would like I can put together a mini page on the history of the IHOG and where it came from.


That would be interesting, Jim. Ab.

01/27 Here is one article www.firehouse.com/news/2001/1/25_APwildfire.phpl

NPS Firefighter

01/27 The URL you had from Jimmy for the sliders was not correct. It's here: www.fs.fed.us/r6/fire/aviation/rappel/rappel.php URL tip of the week for Jimmy et al: don't type them; they're too easy to mess up. Copy and paste them from the browser.


01/27 Brush Fires in Florida? Anyone know anything?


01/27 Jim, interesting answer, 310-1 is the national standard as established by NWCG, I-HOG is a publication of OAS (if I am not mistaken). I am not a federal employee but even though the FS does subscribe to I-HOG how can they ignore a NWCG standard if they are part of the organization? Now 310-1 does state that an agency can exceed the national standards and the FS does in a supplemental publication (don't know the title) but in reading I-HOG it is almost like it does not acknowledge any other standards or publications.

Now another question for comment, last summer there was a shortage of helicopter managers, I-HOG prescribes one manager to one ship. More that once last summer one person managed several ships at a time safely. Should this be changed considering the shortage of helo managers? Remember that FAA regs state that the ultimate responsibility for the safety of the aircraft lays with the pilot.


01/26 SEC, about rappellers--

Check out Firegirl's Page (on the Links page under Miscellaneous Wildland Pages). I think she does some of that leapin' -- or has friends in R6 who do.


01/26 To sec,

A good website for region 6 rappel bases can be found at

Hope this helps

I couldn't get this link to work. Ab.

01/26 As usual, it's interesting to update the Jobs Page and see what's come in. Today, new listings include Fuels Crew Leader in OR (NPS), a SFEO on the Stanislaus, Helicopter-related positions in North Carolina, Forestry Tech (Supervisor) at Klamath Basin NWR (Tule Lake CA), and lookout positions in WA and OR. The 462 and 455 series job offerings are climbing, to 165 for 462 and 124 for 455. Check them out. Ab.
01/26 IHOG vs 310-1

It depends on who you work for. In only those agencies who have bought into IHOG as Policy, will it take precedence over 310-1. To my knowledge only the USFS is in this category. Several federal agencies and most States only use IHOG as a reference and have not bought into the process. I believe the aviation folks are addressing this question and trying to bring them into agreement. Look for many changes to the IHOG and other aviation guides this year. The 2000 fire season brought out many items that need addressed and I hope they don't throw out the baby with the bath water. I am still upset that the 1994 saying of "We don't bend them and we don't break them" was ignored so easily. It's only by the grace of God that more folks were not killed or injured. I know first hand that we had people from helitack crew members to Regional aviation managers violating policy and procedures in the name of expediency (they will deny this till hell freezes over).

Least we not forget Rich Tyler, Rob Browning, and the others who lost their lives on Storm King Mountain.

Jim Evans

01/26 This is in regard to the Manter fire PICS that were sent in by Mr. David Johnson, I just wanted him to know they were some good PICS and that some of the PICS were of my crew during the large firing operation that took place on the 28th of July to keep it from Kennedy Meadows. My engine crew was also on the I.A.. I'm an engine captain for the B. L. M. at South Fork Fire Station in the Lake Isabella, Kern River Valley area.

South Fork Station Captain

01/26 Ab,
I'm mostly a lurker but just stumbled upon 2 fire presentations on National Geographic's web site.

This is an audio and visual presentation about a 52 yearold veteran firefighter.

This is a piece about wildfire in general.

keep up the good work,

Firecall has a link to theysaid. We celebrated here when that one went up. The NG wildfires site is another nice one. Ab.

01/26 Hey Gang,

Just wanted to keep everyone up to date.....

Still working for Camp Verde Fire. Just signed on as wildland fire management officer for the Yavapai-Apache Nation Fire Department. Their starting a new wildland fire program, and they asked me to help out. Contract work only, for now.

Hal and Bill, tell me more about this wildland fire training position at Bosie that I see on OPM. Is the office near yours??

Ab, heres a scanned pic of the YAFD & CVFD fire patch's for your collection.

Gots to go, winter wildland fire training is in full swing, and I'm teaching for the next 3 weekends straight!

Stay safe!

Gosh, everone seems to be sending things in. Thanks Tim. I'll put the patch up when I get a chance. We must be pushing a record for photo contributions. Ab.

01/25 I have a question for some of you folks out there in aviation. In an air operations line rating, specifically helo operations, do the requirements for a rating as stated in the IHOG take precedence over 310-1 or visa versa? Be careful with your answer as this may be a trick question.

ALSO, does anyone know of or have -- a power point presentation for S-330, Taskforce/Strike Team leader. Any information or sharing would be greatly appreaciated.

Thanks WP

01/25 Does anyone have/or know where I can get a listing of rapel crews? I thought I had tracked down a few websites of them in the past, but I've lost them.


01/25 During the Manter fire on 8-13 of last year, I shot some video footage of some helicopters picking up water from the south fork of the Kern River in Kennedy Meadows. These stills are from that tape. The one's I am sending you are 350x237, however, I have them in 700x475 pixels also. Some of the larger ones have some artifacts due to the video card I was using when I pulled the stills, but they might still be suitable for your purpose.

I also have some pictures on my web site under the article that I wrote on 7-28-00. They can be viewed by going to; www.highdesertnews.com/manter7-28-00.php and are listed under Manter Photo Gallery. Unfortunately, the larger ones of these photos were lost and there is no way at this time I can recover them until I can obtain a new video card.

You are welcome to use these photos for your site should you choose to. I frequently provide both video and stills to fire agencies for their training and personal use. If anyone is interested, please let me know.

Thank you for your time and attention.

Best regards,

David L. Johnson
High Desert News

Thanks for the photos, David. I put them on the Manter Fire Page all the way at the bottom. Readers, if anyone is interested in any of his other photos, please let him know. We periodically get requests for photos that we are not able to fill from our array of photos on WLF.com; in that case, we refer people who want photos to readers we know have photos available for sale. I'll add you to our list. Ab.

01/25 Mike McMillan here. In April I begin my 6th season with the AK smokejumpers. My photos appear on the cover and inside Murry Taylor's Jumping Fire among other places. I like sharing the images, especially with fire folks who share so many of this experience with me..no matter how we all get to the firelines and start digging, sawing and beating flames. Please check out my site at www.spotfireimages.com/ (about 12 seasons as a hot shot and a jumper as I have seen them.)

Keep up the good work, we need a forum like this.

Best Regards,

I snipped part of your message and passed the info along. Ab.

01/25 At the Fire 2000 conference I visited for a while with Joe Cruz. He made it perfectly clear that money earmarked by congress for fire should reach the ground for fire. He said that 20% max should get raked off on the way down the food chain. In contrast, many parts of the bureaurocracy seem to think they each get 20%, leaving little for fire at the bottom. Guess I've heard of grumblings recently from people in the other "functions" that fire has way too much money, while they have little. Joe said he'd send a letter clarifying the issue before he left Washington. Did he do that? Also wondering if particular forests are trying to take a bigger chunk of the pie than before? Is there a way to request an audit on the forests that are? Does the request for such an inquiry come from within the fs or should it be made by the "public"? Is that another issue that should be brought to the attention of the new administration?

BTW I heard from a Washington friend that the outgoing group "lifted" the "W" key from typewiters and word processers at the Whitehouse. (Does one then type George * Bush?) OMG! Funny!

I'm thankful for the storms we're having right now. We've been at 50% of normal precip and the 10 hr fuels have remained very dry.

Div Chiefs Meeting coming up!

01/25 Maybe alot of readers have not been in the Gov't long enough to know the freeze is a regular transition event with a new President. Mr. Bush has an excellent knowledge of the wildland fire problems. Lets give him a month and see if his word is good. He did "Thank Federal & State firefighters" for their work in Texas. I think he will support Federal Wildland Fire Service issue's better than that other candidate. 4 year's and we vote again!


01/24 More photos of men and women handcrew up on the Handcrew2 Page. Michael sent in a picture of his Firecrew (CDF) from Cuesta Camp. At a fire near Cuyama, California (Spanish Ranch?) There are more of women crew too, FOBSIF, from KJ. Thanks all.


01/24 ok, ok, I know, I should have saved them when I saw them!

Im in the process of putting some power point programs together and am looking for some small clip art type images like of a drip torch, pulaski etc to use for sprucing up some pages. I have never found any in any commercial freebie clip art web pages, but I know Ive seen some used on fire web pages. ...any help on some place to look out there??


Hey Hickman, toss some 'o that clip art Pulaski's way. You have access to all that kinda sh.. (er, stuff). Shhhhhhhhh, <whisper> is the original Ab around? <looking over shoulder> I'm supposta not say words like that! <oops> Ab, but not the original....

01/24 Thanks to all of you who have responded to my request for photos of women firefighters. I hope you got permission from the folks like Ab recommended. I'm planning to use them for our display at the WFS Conference in March.

I have to admit that I am totally STUMPED about the new administration's decision to put a hiring freeze in place just as we're trying to hire all these new fire folks into the system.

You can tell the new Prez didn't talk to Congress, nor did he check the budget. It's pretty dumb to "allege" you're going to boost federal funding $1.6 billion, then tell federal agencies, "Oh by the way, you can't hire anyone..." I say "allege" because we've been TOLD the money is coming, but "the check's in the mail". Based on what I've seen of the first few days the new Prez has been in office, I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't get the money after all.

Now, I'm going to paint an interesting picture for you to think about. Say the funding is allocated for Fiscal Year 2001, but is not funded after that. What happens to all the new modules we just put into place? What about the people we just hired? I'd like to think our government had it together, but the hiring freeze sure made me skeptical. I can remember a time when working for the government didn't pay very much but offered "job security". We can't even offer THAT anymore.

Hey Hunter! Need a hunting buddy? Retirement is looking better all the time!


01/24 Hello abercrombie,

The following article was observed in The Washington Post this morning.

In a bid to set ground rules for agencies in transition, Carol J. Okin,associate director of the Office of Personnel Management, sent a memo to federal personnel directors yesterday that made two points about hiring decisions. Here are Okin's words:

"For agencies without a department or agency head appointed by President Bush and confirmed by the Senate, these controls apply to all hiring decisions (e.g., appointment, promotion, or reassignment), at all grade levels, from all sources. Agencies may honor job offers extended before Jan. 20.

"These controls do not apply to agencies where the department or agency head has already been appointed and confirmed. The newly appointed agency head has the authority to establish appropriate mechanisms and delegations to review and approve hiring decisions."

Okin said OPM is working with the Office of Management and Budget "to further define the parameters of these controls as well as exception procedures."

In theory, hiring should not be slowed at the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Treasury, State and Veterans Affairs because their secretaries have been confirmed. But for smaller agencies, at the end of the nomination and confirmation chain, the hiring controls seem certain to be seen as a big chill.


01/23 I must be getting old, after sending the piru picture
I remembered that the fire didn't get into the
LP. Just close.


01/23 The National Park Service has issued two more announcements.

I posted them on the Jobs Page with a link to usajobs. Ab.

01/23 stu,
Why would I want to burn now, I'm enjoying being
paid by the state. I'm hearing they are making me
come back at the end of feb. yuck. you didn't make a
certain retired engine cap work too hard did ya? no
more sitting at the top of the burn for him!
01/23 A logo from the Colorado Academy is up on the Logo3 Page. I divided up Logo 2 because it was getting too long (and fixed all the links to images). This page loads quickly.

Also-- Thanks Mellie! New Onion Fire photos with women firefighters are up on the Handcrew2 Page. These are just 5 from Mellie's collection of photos on the Big Bar Complex. Eventually these photos and others will have their own home and tell the story from her perspective. For now, they're here.

Thanks again to those who are sending in photos. I'm getting to them as fast as I can. If anyone has photos to add to the growing Big Bar Complex collection, please send them in.



JC and All:
It's very easy to let your representatives know what you want them to do -- I'm telling mine to urge the President to end the hiring freeze for wildland firefighters. We need to have time to hire and train people. They may not realize there's a personpower shortage and the fires of summer are not far off.

Here's where you do it for the House and Senate:

House: www.house.gov/writerep/
Enter your State and your zip code, follow the simple directions, and you can easily e-mail your representative with your view.

Senate: www.senate.gov/contacting/index_by_state.cfm
Scroll down to your state and click on your Senator's e-mail address.

Remember to e-mail both.

Info on contacting the White House via phone or e-mail is here:

The e-mail addresses for Pres Bush and VP Cheney at the Whitehouse:

Let your voices be heard!

PS. Hey Ab, these links and e-mail addresses should have a permanent home on your new help page.

01/23 If hiring is frozen, how do we get people trained up to fill the fed ranks? Someone want to tell us again how to find out who our reps are and how to get in touch with them via phone or e-mail? Which of the new hires will this affect? Everyone? For how long?


01/23 Stu,
Have they done anything with the Rattlesnake site on the Mendocino? We used to cut practice line down in that area every year. I remember looking across canyon at the site (as I remember it it was a large rock and the remnants of a cat line they made to get the bodies out).

Lets put some of the 1910 spots on that "sites to visit" list. The mine where Pulaski made his stand, wallace idaho (is it still a town?) and others from the big blow up. There is a hobby for someone. Put together maps and info on significant fire related sites.


01/23 Can anybody explain to me why we should keep working for this outfit. Folks it is time to take a good looks and see what is on the outside. So I guess I would hope that nobody supports the bill to let me work to 57, why? It is not the money.

Seldom Seen

01/22 Ab, Attached is a photo taken on 01/20/01. It's rather amazing considering we are in the middle of winter! If you look closely, you should be able to spot two lighters. IT'S REALLY DRY OVER ON THE COAST! Looking good for another favorable burn day on 01/23. Light'm if you got um! Stu

Here's a fire photo of Piru, Inc on the LP in 1998. Posted both photos on the Fire4 Page. Now we're cook'in. Ab.

01/22 Apparently someone at Boise *is* alive after all. I was worried...

Here's the Review and Update of the 1995 Federal Wildland Fire Management Policy requested last June 2000.



01/22 These new pics on the Handcrew2 Page came in from KJ in response to FOBSIF's request for photos of women in fire. Thanks KJ. There are many more I'm working on from various contributors. I'll try to do a few a day until I get caught up. Mellie says she's still willing to scan photos if you want to send some to her snailmail. Ab sez "Keep 'em comin'in!" We'll get 'em up.
01/22 Here's another one for your Logo page.


The Shasta T has such a nice fire logo. I put it on the Logo3 Page. Ab.

01/22 The attached file shows fed employees how to use any Internet connection
to maintain their gov't email accounts. I thought it might be a good
addition to your "Help" page.

Press On!

Thanks. Here it is. Useful information. I'll include it on the new Help page soon. Ab.

01/22 See the stuff about the national hiring freeze. It was the main topic
of the regional Monday morning fire conference call.


If the page doesn't show up for you, I did a search from your altavista
newslink on the Links Page using +government +hiring +freeze

Have a good day.

01/22 Fire Mercenary,
The planned wildlife burn at Shasta Lake is an agency (FS) burn. Firestorm and Ore-Cal were just providing staffing.

You were interested in the memorial sites at Mann Gulch and Storm King Mountain. Have you considered visiting the Rattlesnake site on the Mendocino NF?

You should have been THERE! Four broadcast and two pile units in two days.

01/21 Memorial to Vic Monti

Remember Me
If I never see the sunset another day,
Remember me, for my spirit lives on.
To all of those whom I leave behind,
Remember me, for I will never be truly gone.

As long as you hold my memory deep within your hearts,
Remember me, for I am still here amongst you.
Do not mourn for me, celebrate my life I spent with you.
Remember me, as the husband, the man, the comrade you knew.

As the sunrises and the sunsets continue to paint the sky,
Remember me, for my colorful ways of making you smile.
As you continue to move on with your every day lives,
Remember me, for my unique style.

Sunset from Dixie Mountain, 2000
D. Deane 1/19/01

Here's an alternate version of the photo (large, 150+K) with the poem superimposed in case anyone wants to print it out. Thanks, D. Ab.

01/21 these pics are the coolist, it takes me back when i was fighting fires with the Mescalero Apache Hotshots!...located in southern New Mexico, keep up the good work on the pics.
01/20 Would the NJ firefighter who asked about airbags in engines e-mail again. We have some info for you.


01/20 how is everyone doing? a very good friend from nj has told me about a foam product that works on class-a and class-b fires. ny city has begun to use this with alot of success. the city has used it on both grass and car fires. has anyone here in the west had any experience with this? i left a link, check it out and see if it rings a bell. for those that fight structural and wildland fires, this could be a real cost saver. ab has my email adress if anyone has any info.

thanks, BC Davis


For any of you who support raising the mandatory retirement age
for federal firefighters from 55 to 57 yrs of age, now is the time to
act. Congressman Elton Gallegly of CA has reintroduced his bill
that would extend the retirement age. He introduced a similar bill
in the last Congress which unanimously passed the House, but
died in committee in the Senate. Senator Dianne Fienstien of CA
is assisting with this bill in the Senate this time. The 55 retirement
threshold is applicable to "secondary" firefighter positions as well
as "primary", so many of our experienced managers & supervisors
are being forced into retirement. This time around the bill is House
Resolution 93. To support passage of this bill, write, e-mail, or call
your congressional representatives (it wouldn't hurt to contact
Senator Fienstien either). With the large number of new hires
coming on this year, it would be good to retain some of our
experienced fire program managers.


01/20 Has anyone succsessfully challenged the entry before 35 rule for primary firefighters? My situation is this; age 36, 19 seasons as the equivalent of a primary fire fighter with the WADNR and one season as smokejumper out of NCSB. I am in a retirement and benefits program, but retirement age is 65. The DNR does not have a seperate retirement program for firefighters. Any suggestions or experience in the matter would be appreciated.

Thanks Ab for this forum,

01/20 The arrangements for Vic Monti's services are well into the final planning stages, (please see previous post for service info). The family has requested that donations be made to the American Cancer Society in Vic's name, they have also requested that FS personnel attend in field uniform. Processional will organize at the LDS Church, 905 Richmond Road, Susanville, Ca. at 0900 hrs. Anyone wishing to participate should contact the Eagle Lake Ranger District Fire Management staff @ (530)-257-4188. Graveside services will be held after the church services, interment will be at the Diamond Crest Cemetery, a pot luck lunch and rememberance will follow at the Assembly of God Church, 473-405 Richmond Road, Susanville, Ca. I have attached a map for those needing that information.

Thanks again Ab for posting this information!

I'll forward the map to anyone needing it. Ab.

01/20 Has anyone heard anything about the SAFE Initiative? It was supposed to implement many of the recommendations that came out of the South Canyon disaster. It made a lot of noise initially, but I have not heard of much happening along those lines lately. There is a rumor that the leadership of the 5 federal land management agencies seemed to lose interest in the project and failed to support it, leaving the SAFE staff with little or nothing to do.


01/20 In reply to Dan, asking about books which deal with women, Indian or inmate crews, I would direct his attention to Pyne's "Fire on the Rim" (in your "Book Page"). It has numerous references to Indian Crews.


01/20 Dear Sir/Madam

I am writting to enquire about the possibility of working/training in the USA. The field I wish to train in is Forest Fire Fighting, in particular I would like to pilot the planes that douse the fires.

As I'm sure you are aware, the USA has the most experience and expertise when it comes to training in these fields. I therefore think it is the only posibility with regards to training. You may ask "what are the motives for doing this ???" The answer is, when I did my Fire training in the Navy I was intrigued and hypnotized by the flames. The desire to specialize was not availible. Once the training was complete( I would no doubt work to pay for the training), you would have no worries about me staying on illegally in the US as I would like to take these skills and with a bit off help from an interrnational Aid agency, travel to under-developed countries to provide the service and training to combat forest fires in remote regions. As we are all aware of, there are a great number of uncontrolled forest fires raging around the world. Think of the endless possibilities that this service might provide to these regions and people.

I look forward to receiving a reply.

Yours sincerely
Carlos Legaz

You might try posting your enquiry at the airtanker pilots message board. Ab.

01/19 Hello All!

This is in response to NVFIREFIGHTER on their question concerning Health Coverage during Career Seasonal Lay-Off periods. I am currently in one of those "positions". How it works for me is when I am in Lay-Off Status I have one of two choices. The first is, I can retain my Health Coverage by paying the Government every two weeks (bi-weekly) the cost of my portion of the health insurance costs. The second choice is, to keep my Health Coverage going but opt to make payments for the outstanding balance when I return back to Pay Status. This is staggered out over the pay periods, until I have paid off the entire amount owed. I choose the latter of the two, so I can keep my health coverage but can also afford to put food on my plate. If you are already a 13/13 or WAE check with your personnel folks or if you are thinking about applying to one of these positions, this is a good question to ask your perspective employers.

Hope this helps you out!


01/19 Dear Ab:

First of all let me thank you for having this site. I worked in So. Cal. on the San Bdno from 88-95. Your site has gotten me in contact with old buddies that have moved, changed their phone numbers etc. Information is readily available through you so I figured I'de ask you. Have you heard when the Feds are going to be making their selections for the 2001 season. I have since moved to Denver and have applied out here. I know the apps had to be postmarked by the 2nd and the 19th, but any word on when they are actually going to be making offers?


01/19 OK, got it, under my nose! -- under FS R3 -- under management on the main page.
Thanks Firescribe and Tim and Bob (and you other lurkers who wish to remain un-named and un-initialled, hats off!)... Ab. (Obviously not the Original)


01/19 Fire Mercenary -

It sounds like you are in the RDD area. If you are interested in the Modules, WHIS is hiring their temps; www.usajobs.opm.gov/wfjic/jobs/IP6822.php is the url for them. The announcement says it's a GS-4, but most of the time they are 5's if you have the quals. It can be a good gig despite some things. If interested, give them a call 241-6951 (FUM Office), or speak with Jim Hutton (FMO). But surf around usajobs or so, I think some of the other modules also have their seasonal positions open still if that interests you. But that's a good way to learn the program.

NPS Firefighter

01/19 Greetings.
Does anyone know of any work that focuses on women firefighters, indian crews, or prison crews? Thoel's work is the only one I know of that discusses some of that.


01/19 I put up the Alaska training link on the links page. It's in .pdf so it takes a little time to download with Adobe Acrobat, but is good stuff for those who need it. (I like our Dispatch image from the misc photos page -- and the credit.)

Does anyone know of a place to get the fire training schedule for R3 -- either FS or BLM or state? The NM-BLM site has been down for the last few days (or longer) and the AZ-BLM site has little to offer in the way of training info. (And what happens to the West TX part of R3? It's like it doesn't exist!) The main BLM site (in Phoenix) has only one listing in fire training that I could find (for critical incident stress debriefing class -- whatsup with that?).

And what about the FS? I couldn't find anything on the R3 FS website about fire training either. Please tell me it's right there under my nose! SOOOOOOO -- Anyone with an R3 fire training url for the links page? With the questions we get here about R3 training, you folks down there are missing an opportunity to get the word out to the consumer (if it's not there)...


01/19 Stu,
Thanks for the info on burning. Actually, I'm in northern Cal. also. I just figured any 2001 Rx burns would start in the southwest because it dries out sooner. ( Shows ya what I know ) Who's got the burn contracts near shasta? Firestorm?

I worked contract last season, Good money. But even less job security than Fed. temp. job.

Nps Firefighter, thanks also for that info. I'd like to learn more about gov't burn crews.
-Fire mercenary-

01/18 A person who is making up an advertising brochure sent the following:

Do you have any photos that would be in the 300 dpi range, that would depict firefighters amidst the fire? Or, any photos in the 300 dpi range that depict fires in southern California? Thanks for any help.

Readers, she wanted Burnout or Guest1 (Fire2 page), but the resolution on our digi copies aren't high enough. Anyone have a high-res photo of the type she describes? Hey you guys from Ventura Co, you got any good ones of your prescribed burns with ff in the photo? Ab.

01/18 Hi. The National Park Service just changed the website address for its fire jobs. The new site is www.nps.gov/fire/jobs. -ks-
01/18 For Scott -- who was asking about fire shelter info. Here are a few articles:


01/18 I was hoping that someone could help me answer a question about federal health benefits for career or career seasonal firefighters (or 13/13 or more). When you are laid-off are you still covered by the health benefits, or do you have to buy into some other type of insurance? Thanks for the help.


01/18 Memorial Services for Vic Monti will be conducted Weds. Jan.24 2001 at the Assembly of God Church, 473-405 Richmond Rd. Susanville, Ca. at 1000 hrs. Visitation will be from 1600-1800 hrs. Tues Jan 23 2001 at Walton's Colonial Mortuary, 115 South Lassen St. Susanville, Ca. Processional is still being organized. Further information can be obtained from Eagle Lake Ranger District Fire Management @(530) 257-4188.

Thanks Ab for posting this, it means much to us all here.


12/18 Fire Mercenary -

Do you mean the Fire Use Modules (formerly called Prescribed Fire Modules)? There are now 8 of them in the NPS, and the USFS has 3(?) (Stanislaus and Salmon-Challis(2)) , but those are slightly different configurations. I also don't know if they are restricted from suppression like NPS FUM's are.

On the OT - In a "normal year" (where we can burn), 5 -600 hours OT is almost to be expected.

A lot of travel? Yep! Close to the amount of a shot crew. 13,000 miles on our crew rig last season.

As far as gun-shy about burning? I don't think so, I think more folks are anxious to put the torch to the land, but the politics has made even piles a headache not to mention dealing with Air Quality.

Here's the Fire Use Module homepage - fire.nifc.nps.gov/fum/ Not the most informative, but it's something.

NPS Firefighter

01/18 I went to the Kelly, who is the primary geographic training contact for Alaska. She says that BLM and the state handle most of the training there. I was wondering if either of them have web pages or training schedules that Ab could list on the links page. Looks like R3 has the same situation. (I could be wrong about that. Maybe there's some other reason that there is no training website there.) Seems to me that the areas that have FS doing lots of the training have their web pages up and running. Anyone know about Alaska and R3?


01/18 Here's the NWCG official response on the 1/4-turn hose conversion.

Todd (another one)

01/18 Paul,
I haven't looked on the internet, however, you might try contacting the Glenwood Springs BLM office for info on the Storm King Mountain Memorial Trail. You might also check Glenwood Springs web site.


01/18 Paul,

Three of us climbed Storm King on Christmas Day a year ago. I would recommend the trek to anyone who is fit. I feel that no Christmas will ever be the same for me. This Christmas, thoughts of those who died were my first thought when I awoke. Thankfulness for those who remain was the second.

The description of how to get to the Storm King trailhead is on the photos description page. Just click the words under the pics. There are no tours or guided hikes that I know of. I don't think there are any for Mann Gulch either, but I haven't been to that site yet. In Colorado, weather is always questionable at this time of year, but we lucked out. Snow was, at worst, 2-3 feet deep in several drifty spots -- and the roads driving from northern CA to CO were even passable. I'd say that going with at least one friend is helpful and safer if you go in winter/spring, provided you decide how much talking to do if you want it to be a memorial experience. If you have more questions, send a note to five_waters@hotmail.com.

Anyone been to the Mann Gulch memorial? I'd like to hike in there also. Accessibility and snow are probably even bigger problems there. As I remember nearest towns, it's located just north of Helena kinda southeast of Wolf Creek, southeast of Holter Lake on the Missouri R. in the Helena NF, Gates of the Mountains Wilderness. Try one of Ab's Map links on the links page -- probably Map Tech or Map Quest topo map. Type in "Mann Gulch MT". In his book Young Men and Fire, Norman Maclean mentioned boating in from the bottom and hiking in from the top. Anyone know about getting there and when?


01/17 Fire mercenary,

I would not exactly call it "gravy," but there is some burn money still out there. The Shasta-Trinity, within the last two weeks, has employed two contract crews for a wildlife burn at Shasta Lake. (Northern Calif) Unfortunately, AQRB requirements could not be met forcing a postponement. Other FS burn contracts in our area are out of prescription. Not a smoke or escape problem, just that logging residue does not burn to well when covered with that white stuff!

There still is some burning on private lands being done. Waiting right now for a favorable AQRB report, allowing us to put some more smoke in the air over on the coast. Looks like Friday will we a go!

I suspect from your posting that you are somewhere in Region 3. Am I correct? (10-20?)

01/17 Ab,

I don't know if anyone may be interested but we are going to be having a S 130/190 course here in Bullard TX coming up February 16,17&18. If anyone wants to register they can give me an E-mail. It may be way out of range for most folks, but some in R 8 might can make it.

Stay safe,

01/17 Sad News:
Our brother Vic Monti passed away Jan 17 2001 at Washoe Med Center.
Services and memorial are pending.
Our prayers are with his family.

R5 Firecapt

01/17 I'm interested in what the firefighter hopefuls think of all the various job application processes out there, and I'm considering writing a feature on this for one of the fire magazines. I'd entertain input on the federal hiring process as a whole, but I'd focus on the new automated hiring processes online, and compare them side-by-side for clarity, ease of use, effectiveness, and what applicants like or dislike about them. I'd also want to talk with personnel specialists and the folks who are doing the hiring.

I already know what I think; tell me what you think.

If you fit any of the above descriptions and want in on this, send me email at killdeer@teleport.com and tell me about your experience with the application/hiring process. If I get enough input on this, I'll gin up an article on it -- hopefully with an eye toward improving the process(es) and offering tips for those using any of them. NOTE: don't send me email if you're not willing to be quoted; anonymous stuff is not useful. I'll need your name, your email, and either your current title or job status. If I do the article, you'll see it first and approve your quotes before they run.


01/17 I am a firefighter with the Oregon Dept. of Forestry. In the near future I would like to pay visits to Mann Gulch and South Canyon Fire sites. I've tried surfing the web for info. on guided hikes, etc. but can find nothing. Was hoping someone could help me out with some potential sources.


I know that some readers have made trips to each of those sites. Take a look at the Miscellaneous Photo page for photos of Storm King (South Canyon Fire) taken on Christmas day 1999. Readers, any suggestions? Ab.

01/17 Dear AB,

It has been a while since I have written. I have been trying to work my way through the new Automated Application Process for Fire Related and Non-Fire Related positions. OMG! What a nightmare.. I feel for the people out there who have a lot more certifications, degrees and what not to sit down and endure the many questions that u have to answer on the Form C Availability Sheet. How many people out there end up getting rated at a lower grade than what they are by answering these questions. I feel that some of these questions are a bit much... They need to have a selection F for some of the answers. I know that some of the fire folks have education, skills, certificates and such that aren't even asked about on that form.

I guess my question is... Is this form being fair to all that apply? Are they being rated fairly? Are they being rately strictly by what their answers are on this Form C and the limited 3 pages of their work experience? What about the folks who have 15+ yrs of experience that require more than the 3 page limit to list their qualifications, certificates and education?

I'm sure it would take an act of Congress to re-evaluate this process, so I'll just speak my peace and continue to apply and hope for the best.

01/17 Ab & R5 Firecapt,
My thoughts and prayers go out to Vic and his family.
Please keep us posted as to his condition. Vic has
always been a good guy to me and to others I'm sure.
He always had a generous heart and could make ya laugh
when ya didn't feel like it.
Best Wishes,
A friend
01/17 Hey Peter,

Congrats on getting the Colorado Academy link up and running. I just noticed this morning that it's got its own site now. I had to change your link. Moving into the bigtime, are ya?! Liked your photos of the Big Bar and our tractor and meadow. FiveWaters is really cold these days, a far cry from the heat and smoke when you were there. Hope you're having a good academic year and are ready to face the flames again next summer -- but not in our neck of the woods!


01/17 some months ago a gentleman was requesting fire department patches, well ours just came in and I want to send him one. Can you direct me to his e-mail / address. Thanks

Pat B

Pat, we didn't save the person's e-mail. Perhaps he'll read this, e-mail us and we can forward it to you. Ab.

01/17 If you want to read a FWS jobs post from self-named "That Crazy Chinaman", Roger Wong, FMO, check the Jobs Page. Why do fireworks come to mind?

FYI, Mellie sent in the new training links. Thanks Mellie. Check the Links Page. She says the first one is the best for links to courses in all the individual geographic areas. If you have more training links to add, please send them in. She continues to work on the fire education links. If you have favorite universities, colleges, junior colleges that offer some kind of degree or certificate in fire or a fire-related area, please send those in also. Ab.

01/17 Hey Ab.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but . . . Another of our brothers, Vic Monti, long time employee of the LNF has fallen seriously ill. Vic suffered a stroke shortly after Christmas and has since been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that has spread to his liver. Needless to say his prognosis is not very hopefull.

He is being cared for in Washoe Med Center in Reno. All of us here in the north have him in our hearts with the best hopes for him and his family.

R5 firecapt

01/16 Anyone got the scoop on those NPS burn crews? Do they get much overtime? A lot of travel? I would also be interested in any inside information on early season burn projects. Particularly in region 3. I was hoping to find some early season work. Although I guess after Los Alamos, R-3 is gun shy about burning.
I hear the federal agencies are real fat on burn money. Any of you contractors getting some of that gravy?

-Fire mercenary-

01/16 The National Park Service has several fire related positions open and
posted. Some are seasonal which are listed individually by park, and
some are permanent. The permanent positions are announced in the
Forestry Tech (Firefighter or FUM Crew), GS-4/5 announcment #NPS
FIREJOBS 01-001. The Fire Ecologists, GS-7/9/11, and GIS Specialists,
GS-7/9/11 will open on January 29, 2001. Other positions will open
within the next few weeks. I will notify you all. To access job
information, go to www.usajobs.opm.gov. Click on current openings. Go
to agency, scroll down, and click on Interior - National Park Service.
The permanent Forestry Tech position is listed towards the bottom under
nationwide listing. GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!


01/16 I know several of you visit the Firehouse web site and are already aware of the LODD involving a fire fighter enroute to a grass fire on Friday the 12th in Kentucky. Had received an e-mail eariler about the accident, but I have a tendency to set on things until they come out officially. Was hoping the this year would be a safe one for anyone working on wildland fires. The year is still young and we all have time brush off the cobwebs and to dig back into our basic knowledge, training, and skills, as to what is safe and not safe and refresh ourselves. The Basic 18 and 10 do a major part of that refreshing, but we also need to listen a little closer to that 'Little Bitty' voice inside of each of us....You know, the one that says.....HEY!! YOU'RE ABOUT TO SCREW UP!!!.... In my case, I've heard it a few times, but about the time it gets to the "Hey!! You're.." I shut it up. Then by the time it should have said "..about to.." it's to LATE. The pain starts about the time "..up" would have started and the trip to the ER starts shortly after that. We all know what our capabilities and abilities are and I have found that usually when I try to exceed mine, that "little voice" usually kicks in. Don't know about the rest of you, but I think since I am getting older, I'll be paying a lot more time listening for it. Now if we could just teach the "young'n" to do the same thing. Hopefully U-N's won't have to listen to me from my "soap-box" again.

Be Safe this year

01/16 Hello,

My name is Scott and I am an old fire fighter looking for the latest
info on fire shelters, such as the latest findings on misusing them or
any news on how one saved a fire fighters life, when and when not to
deploy, etc. Please send info to Scott at either schechphoto@coinet.com
or schechphoto@hotmail.com.

I look forward to your response.

01/16 Hiya Ab -

Here's some information I found in one of the local papers that some Riverside Co. (socal) folks might be interested in.

Riverside County, CA is looking for volunteer firefighters. A second recruitment fair is scheduled from 1-4 p.m. Jan. 27 at the training center off of Van Buren Boulevard, across Interstate 215 from March Air Reserve Base.

Any Riverside County resident in good physical shape over the age of 17 can apply to be a volunteer and gain valuable experience.

For more information, call (909) 417-8102 or visit a Riverside County fire station or the official recruitment drive Web site at www.volunteerfire.net.


01/16 NPS WANNA BE -

I don't know why you aren't seeing NPS Jobs. Looking at usajobs (http://www.usajobs.opm.gov/a6.php specifically) I quit counting after 15 announcements, and there were at least another 15-20 more showing.

If you are looking for a specific park's announcement, get on the phone and CALL THEM! Speak to the fire management office. This will give you an answer, plus you might get a mini-interview, so if your SF-171 looks looks good, they already know you are interested, and maybe know a little more about you than than your application says.

On USAJobs, you can also search for NPS jobs only. I got 51 announcements from this url searched at 1100 hrs MST 1/16/01.

Good Luck with the job hunt
NPS Firefighter

Part of the problem here is that there are too many options on usajobs if you're looking for specifics. NPS Firefighter, thanks for your post. However, I couldn't get some of your search *results* links to work, so I didn't include them.

WANNABE, if you want to search for that upcoming specific job, simply go to http://www.usajobs.opm.gov/a9.php. Under Select an agency: choose DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR, then higlight INTERIOR, National Park Service; Under Keyword: Fire; Under Category: yes (or no). With yes, I got 33 jobs; with no, 24. Simplifies things.

As RS said, NPS is working on new listings that will be coming out soon and will get something to us on the process of applying. His link below looks good for the NPS job search and application process. For upcoming info on NPS, stay tuned to the Jobs Page. WANNABE, calling the location where the job will be flown is also a good idea. Ab.

01/16 To NPS Wannabe: To check for NPS jobs, look at www.fire.nps.gov/jobs/index.php NPS fire positions info to follow in the next day or so. Ab, when we get these up, could you please add our link the the FAQ page in answer to questions for job-seekers and to the jobs page as an additional reference link with those of the FS and BLM?


Sure will. Note also that the DOI's burned area emergency rehabilitation (BAER) teams are recruiting to fill a number of positions that are not series 462 or 455. For more info on this, look at the jobs page. We aim to tie-in job seekers with jobs. Ab.

01/15 I am looking for a job in the NPS that will be posted at some point in
time, I am told. I have looked and looked on the OPM and USA JOBS Web
Sites and have not seen any NPS jobs posted. Can anybody tell me where I
can find NPS jobs via the Internet?


01/15 Lo AB, Mellie, Tiny, et al.

Firemedic your right about cutting funding. I just recieved a letter from one of the national associations I belong too. It outlines the fact that the Feds are planning on putting 429 new engines on line. Obviously that wont happen this year. Theres no way the apparatus manafucturers can put together that many rigs that fast.

About the funding. Im thinking that the reason that all this money is being waved around is PR. After the Las Alamos disaster and all the media it got the feds have to do something to save face.

I fear that all this money is going to shrink every year till the agencies are back to 60-70% MEL. Its easy to take funding from a problem that is only of seasonall concern to the general public.

As for all the newbies coming on line this year. That does concern me a little, but no more than it does every year. They wont be in positions of decision making, and hopefully have experienced Squad Bosses, Engine bosses, and leadership from their supervisors.

Thats about all i have to say about that, justthought id throw my two cents in.

Anyone have predictions for this season? Ive asked that question this time of year two years now. I was right on for montana/ idaho. Blew it on Florida New mexico/Arizona though.

Im guessing the Basin around Winnemucca, Elko, Reno, Boise, and into Eureka will burn good. Also the WA and OR cascades are looking pretty good to me. Any one have a guess?

Firemedic give me a call, I have two 6X engines for sale/lease/rent.

WP Got a Logistics question fer ya. would appreciate your help. Also found that damn package i was supposed to mail to you under my seat in the truck. I mailed it Saturday.

Guess what else I found under the seat in one of my engines. I found a lunch from Scipio Utah dated 7-22-00 the sandwiches were pretty well desicated, the candy bars were allright, the juice cans were bloated up pretty good. Didnt try to drink em. and the apple looked like a dried up peach pit with a stem. It was also rock hard!

Jeanne from texas. Email me or call me and ill give you the address/phone number for the contracting officer in the texas region.

anyways have a good one, later

eric PW
360 731 2627

01/15 Earl,
I've heard that if you do the "C" form first, then the resume, it will go.
I didn't do mine on line so I don't know for sure but you could try it
that way.
Good luck.... DennisR5
01/15 I've not had much experience with the Storz fittings, but there is one factor which might help explain why they have not caught on in wildland firefighting. As we all know, it is often necessary to replace broken lengths of hose far from the engine in circumstances where it is not possible to completely eliminate the water pressure (typically head pressure from above, or cannot communicate with pumper to shut down, and several field clamps are insufficient to completely eliminate the pressure). Under these circumstances it is difficult enough to make the connection with threaded fittings. It must be almost impossible with Storz fittings where the mechanical advantage of an inclined plane (the threads) is lost.


Some great smart 18 year old people are recruited from high schools every year in northern CA. The Humboldt Regional Occupational Program (HROP) coordinated by CDF handles a 5 month training, Jan to May that is excellent. Some youth in that class are 17. Young men and women can enter the military at 18. What's so scary about that?


01/15 Jeanne From Texas

When dealing with the USFS on such matters the best luck I've had is the Contracting Officer. They have the most up-to-date info. and are the ones to ultimately call the shots anyway. On the Sierra Natl. they've also provided me with a list of "contract services" they have use for and the general specs (they supply specific requests if your interested in a particular service)

Another way I've had good luck at is to look up one of the National Forests on the net. Nearly all of these sites list an "Information Officer". They have really dug some info out of the woodwork for me.

Best of Luck.
The Honorable Mouse

01/14 Has anybody tried this online application process through opm for Forest Service jobs? I completed the application. However, There seems to be no way to submit it online. The BLM one works fine. perhaps because it bypasses opm completly.
It makes me wonder if it's not just another case of the gov't shooting themselves in the foot. I've often wondered if opm serves any purpose other than justifying their own existence.
Having jumped from goverment to private sector a couple of years ago, there is a glaring differnce. In the private sector it's about production. Goverment is all about the process.
I'm a little frustrated because I've just wasted a half a day trying to submit an application using a process that's incomplete.
01/14 I have a thing to ask all of you.. OK the feds are getting a bunch of money this year.What about in two or three years when they cut all this money and start to downsize one more time ..YES pvts will be there to bail them out one more time.FOLKS just be safe this year alot of new folks are comeing on line and someone will get hurt if we dont just slow down and train these folks the right way and not rush them in ..A F.M.O in R .6 has gone to the local high school and has tryed to recrut from there.. now the scares me ... owell stay safe..hey i am looking for a type 6 for sale anyone know where i can find one thanks FIREMEDIC
01/14 I have been trying to find an e-mail or snail mail address of whoever I
would talk to about providing fresh water to the fire camps via tank-trailer.
My brother, who is with the U. S. Forest Service, seems to think that
private truckers can hire on during the wildfire season to service the fire
camps with water and shower trailers. I am interested in finding out more
about this, but am having a hard time connecting with the proper people.
Any help you could give would be appreciated.

Jeanne from Texas

01/13 G'day all!! (again)

Across this state we've pretty much standardised on Storz fittings. Lugs sit in the inside of a joined coupling so dragging them around a fireground cluttered with vegetation of all sorts means they don't have much area to snag on & no protrusions to break off. Once again it doesn't matter which end of the hose you end up with you can still connect them & do so quickly & if the need arises changing hose diameter is easily achieved with reducers.

Just some thoughts from the other side...

Sydney AU

01/13 What does 13/13 mean? Sorry, but I'm not privy to the guv'mint way of doing things.

This is one category of "tour of duty" with the FS. There are 26 pay periods in a year: you get paid every two weeks. Someone who is 13/13 works full time for 6 months out of the year. Contrast that with 8/18 that is a 3 month tour and 26/0, full time. Benefits kick in at 13/13. Sometimes a job announcement will stipulate "not to exceed 1039 hours". What does that mean? Well, there are 80 hours in a 2 week pay period. Divide 1039 by 80 and you get 12.9875 pay periods, which means less than 13/13 and no benefits will be provided. Three other employment terms are temporary, permanent, and seasonal. Check the acronyms MEA and WAE on the acronyms list for other important concepts. Ab.

01/13 Kristy,

I was once a young energetic 14 year old fire buff who all I wanted to do is run after fire trucks and help pull hose. I was lucky though, I was involved in a local fire department's fire explorer program. This program is sanctioned by the Boy Scouts of America. The fire explorer program takes young men and women between the ages of 14-21 (although most fire departments and agencies take app's at 18) and teaches them team work, basic firefighting and EMS training, good moral conduct, and just how to have fun as a young adult. Eventhough I'm a 4th generation Irish firefighter (please don't hold that against me!), I treasured my initial experience in the explorer program. Yea, I spent alot of time as a kid hanging at the station with my dad during summer vactions, but most of my initial training was done in the explorers. I also agree with UBEAR, the YCC is a great start to the world of wildland firefighting and conservation work.

We have just received some great weather out here in the southwest, SNOW!!. And the wet stuff too, just like Sierra Cement!. Hopefully this will calm down the early fire gods so that we can get some training in before it hit's again.

For those who are still contemplating this STPS thing. I once remember back in '94 on an assignment in Whitefish MT when I was introduced to a guy who claimed to be one. No doubt on his quals, but again, no one knew what the hell to do with structural interface and was looking for ANY guidence and/or leadership(funny, My dad was on the Bel Air Fire in '61. I think that they had a lot of interface back then). Anyhow, when I learned more about it, and believe me, I didn't have my secret decoder ring so I wasn't previ to the "power of knowledge thing", I was told that I had to be a strike team leader to be carded as a STPS. Ok, at that time with over 10 years as a structural and wildland firefighter, a shift captain, and many years of fighting large fires in the west, I got my STLE task book signed off, and off to the races, right? NOPE!! Now I had to become a Div/Group Sup to become a STPS. What A crock! At least here in AZ, STPS are very hard to come by, and that the ones who have this signed off on their red card diffinatly have the monopoly. No one wants to share the assignments. Oh well, just another fire season. Like most have said, untill NIFC and NWCG can come up with mini quals on the title, most of the "only" wildland guys and gals will be screwed. Those of us that can have our red cards signed off in house (within a structural department that does a lot of off county wildland suppression)we will have an advantage.Oh and by the way, I am a STPS, and still only a STLE/TFLD, so there is a light at the end of the tunnel! Best of luck to those trying to get your card to say it. Best bet, get with a local fire agency who does their own carding.

AZ Trailblazer

01/13 Hello Ab,
I'm wondering if anyone can tell me what the average number of years a retired federal firefighter lives to draw their pension. I know they can retire anywhere from 50 to 55 and I don't care about their age when they retire, I want to know how many years they draw their normal retirement.

My wonderful personnel folks tried hard (and still looking), bless their hearts, but couldn't find anything. OPM wasn't any help either. FEGLI should be able to advise of the average age of death, and I'd like that info, but I'm not asking them anything to distract them from their main duties. They seem to have a hard enough time reading forms and fulfilling their primary function, let alone respond to an abstract request.

So, why I want to know is, how should I plan on structuring my retirement finances. I know there is a wide range, I personally know those who died within two years of retirement and one other who has been drawing for over 25 years! I just want more data!


01/13 G'day Abs!

Always enjoy dropping bye & reading the "they said" & get insanely jealous that most of your wildland blokes get paid & the amount of money available to fight fires.

After spending our winter watching your fires wanting to be there (& jealous of the fortunate 80 odd from this way that did get to go) the weather has decided to give us our turn. It was nice enough to give great weather during the Olympics (with a good number of fires in the Sydney basin making it interesting..) then bucket with rain during spring to bring back the undergrowth. Now we're back in to the hot dry stuff of "the sunburnt country". We are having in New South Wales almost constant Total Fire Bans in most parts of the state & similar conditions right across the southern lattitudes of the country. We have already had one burnover with 4 crew lucky to escape with only minor injuries. The majority of wildfires are being fought by volunteers - there are very few non-urban career brigades & mutual aid agreements with Forestry &/or Parks see volunteers committed to these areas. Will endeavour to get some decent smoke shots for you (paybacks are a bugger aren't they!!)

Special thanks to Dick Mangan for his trips out here last year to talk about his Wildland Safety work he did at Missula. Dick if you feel like another trip Down Under I'm sure there will be any number of brigades more than happy to have you on their truck (or IMT - that was the idea wasn't it??).

Well cheers for now. Expecting 33 C tomorrow then 40+C on Monday (just as everyone is going back to work after Xmas!!). Locally, we need 150mm (6in) of rain to get the groound wet. ah well, it is only a 15hr flight from LA if you hurry!!!!

All the best

Sydney, Australia
NSW Rural Fire Service

01/14 I have sent our logo in for your collection. Mike

Thanks. I put it on the Logo3 Page. Ab.

01/13 Todd
There are a lot less loggers and logging going on here in Humboldt now days,
but we still rely heavily on our Hired Equipment folks for help during major

CDF has a different policy than our counter parts in Federal Government
Firefighting agencies, in as much as we use a couple of different classes of Hired
When Needed Resources. One group is considered as Immediate Need Group. These
folks receive a minimum of 8 hours of safety training annually. It is given
by CDF, and covers basic fireline safety issues. These contractors are
required to supply their own compliment of Wildland Safety Gear for each of
their employees. Many are loggers who either work their own operations or
contract to the larger companies such as Simpson or Pacific Lumber.
The big companies (Simpson and others) will always help with fires on their
own properties. Some still maintain "Fire Crews", but primarily we ask for
dozers, water tenders or fallers from them.
Companies such as Columbia Helicopters are normally contracting to these
timber companies for logging operations, and, if needed, we can get them to
cut the copters loose for firefighting operations when needed. It benefits
the timber producers to save the trees as much as possible anymore.
And yes, Columbia has bigger helicopters than we do. They carry more than
twice the water capacity of the CDF copters.


01/12 Kristi,

Another avenue worth checking into is: YCC or Youth Conservation Crews usually sponsored by some Federal Organization. When I was 14, I started out on YCC (no this isn't for juvenile delinquents). I applied through my local Forest Service, who was hosting the program at the time. We did trail work, dug fire line around RX units, stacked sticks and other basic project work. We worked 40 hours a week for the length of our summer vacation. This was an excellent opportunity for me to check out the Feds and for them to check me out. The next season I was asked back to become a YCC Youth Leader, something along the lines of a Squad Boss type. After my time spent with YCC, I was quickly hired by the Forest Service on their fire crew as soon as I turned 18. I have now spent the past 12 years fighting fires on everything from Type II hand crews, Type I hand crews, engines and helicopters...I directly credit my time spent on YCC for giving me the insight and job skills needed to get my foot in the door. I hope you can check with your local Federal Agencies to see if they sponsor this program or know of an agency that is. Best of Luck!


01/12 I don't know if any one out there is as worried as I am? My biggest concern is with the multiple new hires. Last year we were already scraping the bottom with people that took two months to pass the step test. So what can we expect this year wit ten more new hires. Someone is going to get hurt bad!


01/12 Okay okay okay... so Mellie finally asked me a question for once.. so used to being the other way around.. *GRIN*

Training for young people (young-at-heart is nice too, but not necessariy).. what I've found to be helpful from my observations (and mind you I'm not the greatest in that either but here goes):

First-aid: This is a class taught by the American Red Cross, very very helpful, costs about 20 bucks or so and lasts for 3-4 hours, but you learn the basics about supporting human life, which is something more people should learn. In addition, if the youngster is invloved with the Scouting movement, the First Aid merit badge teaches the basics, and also some improvisation for the outdoors.

Fire Knowledge: I've noticed that teenagers, unless invovled with the Boy Scouts, generally don't know how to start a fire, and I personally believe that if you don't know the four things invloved in making a fire burn then it will be difficult for you to know how to put a fire out. So, know that a fire needs Fuel, Oxygen, a Heat source, and a chemical reaction in order to work, then learn to identify these things around your campfire, and then you will be able to know what can and won't work.. Also some junior colleges (Although very few and far between) offer the basic S- courses (130 and 190 I believe..) In addition I've spent many hours digesting the Campbell Prediction System for fire behavior.., I'm a firm bliever that the more you know about what you're fighting the more chance of success you have.

Outdoor Activity: Get off yer couch infront of the TV or the chair infront of yer computer and go out and learn about the outdoors. Nature's secrets are read on every tree, every branch, and every leaf, so get to learn why a tree grows in a spot, which way the branches grow, how the leaves look, if you have someone who is fairly knowledgeble in basic forestry you'll learn quickly what types of vegetation burn quicker than others, simply by the type of plant they are, in what quantities, and how healthy they appear. Forestry, Nature, Environmental Science, and Wilderness Survival merit badges in the Boy Scouts of America can cover this part. Go hiking, although don't get crazy like me and punish yourself for a week-long trek of fifty miles with half of your bodyweight in gear, going up and down the Cascade Mountains here in Washington.. but on the same token, don't be too soft on yourself either, a good Scout or outdoor program will give you long-trek backpacking activities, enough to give ya taste, you really like it you can join my rank right now and we'll go off on crazy adventures or something... Boy Scouts merit badges that are good to meet this are Backpacking, Hiking, Camping, Orienteering.

Oh yeah, try to get hooked up with your local Fire Department, if they're an RFPD/VFD then they'll probably respond to small brushfires some of the time.

And yeah, read. Lots. Here, the books on the books page, and the various Agency Fire Management web-pages too. The more you know, the better your chances, although book smarts can't compare to practical smarts. You need to be out of doors to learn the skills.

If you ever go up to Camp Bonaparte in North Central Washington, you'll probably find me there this coming summer as either a Scoutcraft instructor or Nature instructor, along with my self-title of Camp Fire Marshall and Assistant Camp Ranger.

Oh yeah, it takes a lot to pass my firemanship class.

Well, hope this helped,
Tiny, the R-6 Fire Pup

01/12 BLadd,

You're right about the lumber company name, of course. I always did have a tendency to get my Ps and Ls mixed up. I was wondering what kind of involvement PL and Simpson have in providing firefighters or equipment. In the "old days" I know they had quite a force of trained people who would hop right in to work on a fire on their land or public land. They had lots of equipment, too. Sounds like they put some dozers (and a heli?) to work on these recent fires. Is that pretty standard? Do they have trained employees (other than dozer operators) that can be called up to work as handcrew? I'm not surprised you only got one run out of your helicopter, it was blowin gale force, except for that short lull between fronts. I've always enjoyed driving 101 near Scotia with my 6 year old nephew and seeing the big Columbia heavy taking off or landing. I take it the 102 is a smaller helicopter.


01/12 Yes Earl, good folks are hard to find. as with going fed or contract that is a toss up. a fed job you get a monthly pay check,a contract you get payed a lot more than working fed and can all say no to going to a fire. As for me i have list of about 10 folks that will work. If you treat them well they will not let you down .. well earl good luck and stay safe FIREMEDIC
01/12 Stu,

In answer to your question "What do hotshots do when off budget?" We work
....fuelsbreaks, trails, training, burning, turning wrenches, dig ditches,
pound nails, stack sticks, get ready for next season....you name it and we do
it, just like all FS regulars. All depends on which shop has the funding.

As for the temps....some collect unemployment, but most I know are too busy
trying to get ahead in either a fire department, school, feed their families
or just stay ahead of the tax man like everyone else to not find work.


01/12 Todd.

The fires that we had earlier this week in Humboldt County were on Simpson and PL (Pacific Lumber) property, not LP (Louisiana Pacific) land. The total ran right at 180 ac. The Humboldt Del Norte Unit of CDF had help from 3 separate engine strike teams from out of the area, 5 local CDF engines, several local city/volunteer departments, a total of 5 bulldozers (CDF and PL's) and our copter (102) even got to get into the air once.

It was truly amazing how hot the fire burned considering the heavy rains and snow that was falling at the time.


01/12 To Kristi
When I was in high school, just two years ago, we had a KVG (Keep Virginia
Green) crew. We were trained by the Virginia Dept. of Forestry to help fight
fire. If they had a fire during school hours they'd come right to the high
school and pick us up. You had to be 16 to be on the crew and have a parent
sign a release form. Now everyone has to be 18 to fight fire so they don't
use high school kids anymore. I don't know if they have anything like this
now in your state or not, but it may be something to check into.
Starting that early gave me a couple extra years of experience that I hope
will help me this year. (Anybody need a Hotshot??)

Like the changes AB, Keep up the good work :)


About the hotshot stuff, just take a look at the jobs board. Ab.

01/12 Kristi,
When I did Firefighter I class last year, the youngest kid was not yet 17 and he'd been trying to take the class for 3 years. He's still waiting for his 18th birthday to be hired, but he has been getting experience volunteering for the town fire dept.

If you can't find a summer camp that directly teaches firefighting skills, I would recommend one that does a lot of backpacking, map reading, compass work, orienteering, first aid, problem solving in the wilderness, cooking on the trail, and at least one solo overnight. Preferably a camp located in steep mountain wilderness. Fourteen is an age when a kid needs big challenges, physical challenges. (Ever wonder why they get interested in eXtreme sports at this age?)

The wildland fire service is in great need of young people who have wilderness skills and wilderness "smarts" long before they pick up a pulaski or pull a hose. We need kids who notice the differences between vegetation on north and south-facing slopes and that the air moves differently in a riverbed in the morning than in the afternoon. It's the kind of stuff that might not even be formally taught, but somehow becomes a part of a young person's "body of knowledge" -- in the cells. In the past, most people who went into fire came from ranches and farms, from rural communities. Some came from cities and got hooked on fire. Those from cities were frequently Boy Scouts, often Eagle Scouts. For the most part, all of them knew how to work physically hard and for long hours. They liked that. And probably liked hunting and fishing, possibly birdwatching, tracking, wilderness survival. They didn't need to be entertained. They weren't afraid of the dark or being alone in the woods. They knew how to avoid poisen oak or ivy, rattlers, scorpions, possibly bears -- the local flora and fauna that could prove a risk. While not seeking injury, they wore their scrapes and bruises and sore muscles easily. They knew how to problem-solve when a piece of equipment wouldn't start. They were "resourceful" and had a "can-do" attitude. They didn't mind not having a shower for a few days and wearing the same clothes for a bit. They could sleep on the ground as soundly as in a bed. They didn't know what the word "bored" meant. They were comfortable just being out on the land doing whatever (or nothing) without all the media entertainments and "creature comforts" we have today.

There are lots of good camps and "outward bound" type programs that begin to teach these skills. There's Flying Cloud (one of the Farm and Wilderness Camps) in VT, Camp Unalayee in the Marble Mountains (off Scotts Summit in Trintiy Co. CA), and NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) with locations around the country.

Hey Tiny, what pointers can you give regarding background training for a 14 year old? What about your camp? Young Matt, did you get run off? Have any pointers?

Good luck. We need promising youngsters coming along.

01/12 Firemedic,
Thanks for the input. I have no doubt you run a tight ship. It's just that with all these new resources the feds are getting, there wouldn't be a lot of work available unless 2001 season just rips. It also seems all those entry level, permanent, federal jobs would make it hard to get good employees. I was trying to figure out witch option (Fed/Contract) would put the most money in my pocket next season.

There is an organization like the one you mentioned. It's called the California Youth Authority. Seriously though, An old hotshot buddy of mine thought that they should have hotshot camps for kids. They would be based on the football camp concept. But instead of being staffed by ex nfl players, It would be hosted by famous ex Hotshots.
The kids would be taught valuable hotshot skills. ( Like how to score a 72 hour shift, or how to handle overhead, and of course the wonderful world of eating large bugs for money)
I don't know if he ever went ahead with the idea since he was drunk when he came up with it. Food for thought.


01/11 To Marty:
Yes, there are lookouts in other countries. Australia, Brazil, Norway and Sweden are listed on the www.firetower.org www.firetower.org site. I found a picture of one in northern Italy on the net once but haven't been able to find it again. I have a pal in Australia that sends me pics from his lofty perch every week or so and especially since they're smack in the middle of fire season right now. Our program here in SoCal has a logo but we don't have patches - what a swell idea!

To other fire lookout folks:
While working on a project about fire lookouts in California for next year's State Fair, I sort of became involved in another little cool deal. After yappin' with the archaeologist for CDF, he forwarded my name to the State of CA, Dept. of General Services, Real Estate Services Division. It's regarding a report called: Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Draft Management Plan for the California Dept. of Forestry and Fire Protection's Historical Buildings and Archaeological Sites. (I know, I know...it's quite a mouthful, isn't it?)

They're looking for public comments on CDF historical sites and environmental impact, which includes a number of lookouts.

I was wondering if any other L/O folks are participating or even know about it? On the letter I have it states that the drafts can be viewed at many county libraries throughout the state. A copy can be mailed to you also by request. The contact is Maria C. Sosa, Senior Environmental Planner at (916) 322-3522. The deadline for public comments is February 23, 2001.

Please contact me with your thoughts at firelookouts@yahoo.com

Fire Lookout Host Program
Angeles/San Bernardino NF

Hey Angie, send in a digi of your logo and we'll put it up on Logo3. Ab

01/11 RE: "Smokechaser" by Warren Yahr. Yes I have read that book. I would add
it to the list. It was very interesting as I remember and would give it 4
saws. There is another book that I enjoyed as well. Forests, Fires and
Wild Things by Bob Grey (circa 1985). It was similar in topic to
Smokechaser, but more of a career synopsis. I would give it 4 saws as


Thanks Pulaski. Ab.

01/11 Earl--

Well as we all know the feds are putting a lot of folks on the ground this year.As a pvt engine owner iknow that there still is a need for pvt engines out here.We as pvts just need to run a tight ship and get rid of the junk that some pvts run.As for training we have started on that now and not wait until they call us .. keep good records.I have been in this life style for many years.I am ex fed and now do this .. There are a lot of hard working pvts here in R6 and a few folks that try to ruin it for the good ones.

Just stay safe.. work hard and honest............FIREMEDIC

01/11 Hi,
Do you know of a camp for teens 14+ that teaches them fire fighting
skills? Please let me know.
Kristi Swift
01/10 Ab, Thankfully, we are getting some moisture, which means a chance to slow down a notch. After reading the comments from Todd and Dave Butte Vol, I thought I'd throw in my 2 cents worth. Yes, conditions in the redwoods are dry. As a matter of fact, I have never seen the conditions in the area we were working as dry as they were. Last weekend presented and excellent opportunity, with rain coming and winds in the right direction to dispose of several units of logging residue. The broadcast units that we torched burned clean and presented no real control problem, during the burn or after with the front passage. The only thing close to a control problem was the test fire. It was a landing pile about a quarter of a mile from the walk-in unit. It spotted into a clump (I'm not used to spelling it that way) of Pampas grass and required a little line construction, but no OUTSIDE help.

With the window still open after the front passed, we managed to get a couple units of machine piles to burn, finally getting rained out this morning at 1100.

I wanted the guys and gal that punched in the line on Bertha to know that I'm sorry you were not there to see the end results, but your handline held! I've attached a photo taken on Monday the 8th, the day after the burn. Not much smoke left and sorry about the glare off that big wet natural barrier west of California. With today's rain, (Tuesday the 9th) it's time to send in the planters!

I have also included a photo taken during the second unit we burned on Sunday. Tan oak and redwood slash makes for some great flame lengths.

A third photo is of an "engine slug" from a local engine contractor lurking around a handcrew. We think he may be wanting to join up! Just kidding KM.

The last photo was in your request for women in fire photos. This shot was taken last November on a prescriped burn west of Coffee Creek, CA. Those are the Trinity Alps in the background.


PS: D.D., to answer the question you asked about a year ago, "what do contractors do when there is no fire?" WE WORK. I have a new question, "what do Hot Shots do when they are off budget?"

Nice photos, especially the one of flames. I posted them on the Fire4, Equipment2, and Handcrew2 Pages.
I can see we're going to need some rules for people photos of the "Women in Fire" series (and any other photos of people). Be sure that you get the person's permission if you submit areally "up-close and personal" photo of them. In this case, the woman's face is in shadow so she is not so recognizable, although people on her crew will probably know who she is. The photo of young Matt's friend ("working together" on the same crew2 photo page) is also OK: he was wearing dark glasses and the photo is relatively small. In the future, if you think you might like to post people photos here, ask them when you're taking their photo if posting it later would be OK. We want to be considerate. Ab.

01/10 Hi,
I am a FF in New Jersey and the state is in the process of building 15 new brush trucks. However, there are some concerns about air bags. IE: disconnecting them, putting a switch in to shut them off etc.... Any help in this area would be appreciated.


01/10 Hello Ab,

I was wondering if you could put one or more fire lookout books in your
booklist. I sometimes like to give these as gifts. I spent three seasons as
a lookout in New England. How about "Smokechaser" by Warren Yahr? It's about
lookout experiences in the 1940's in the Clearwater NF of ID.

Here's a fire lookout logo from Massachusetts. Do any of the lookouts out
West or elsewhere in the US or abroad (Canada) have logos? I'm not even sure
which countries besides the US have fire lookouts... Anyone know?


Readers, has anyone else read this? Should we add it to the books list?
I added the lookout logo to the Logo3 Page. Ab.


01/10 BIFZ (Burns Interageny Fire Zone) in eastern Oregon has at least 20 fire jobs available. The also have a website with great photos, including "Burnout" which was taken there during a Rx burn.
You can click through to "fire behavior and photos" or "helitack".

If you want to see an informative job info page, look at how they describe jobs and link to individual USAjobs.

Nice presentation! Ab.

01/10 Hello, Great site. I was wondering if anybody out there had any thoughts
on contract engines as far as opportunities for next season? It seems that
with all the new equipment and personnel the feds are getting that there will
be little need for contract engines.

Any thoughts on this?

01/10 -Site changes: ..looks good ab! I like the book list. Im trying to finish "Ill never fight fire with my bare hands again" I started it quite a while ago, but it was a slow start, its getting better now. Talk about the big blow up is in the next few chapters. I will submit a review when Im done.

-Quarter turn fittings. One of my first memories while on one of the first fires I was on was the look of frustration on the Supts. face as he tried to connect the nozzle (pipe thread) to the hose (fire thread) as we were humpin trying to contain a spot fire. I dont care what type of thread they are as long as we are all using the same! Something that is yet to happen. Personally, I think the quarter turn fittings are great! I know canada uses them also (Ontario at least). As SL said, there is no male or female threads so even the biggest idiot cant screw up by laying the hose backwards or rolling it up backwards. There are no threads to bash /chip etc but I suppose the little hook thingy could bend on the quarter turn, but I would think you could bend it back enough to get it to work pretty easily. Locally we still hassle whenever we work with federal supplies as we went with fire thread on all our 1inch stuff while the feds stayed with pipe thread way back when.

-On all the jobs flyin around. Its about time! ..but there is a bit of frustration in me as well as I think of all the years I spent as a seasonal trying to get an appointment when none were to be had. I have to believe there is a big hole in the experience chain with all the folks who got fed up with the lack of appointments and went on to different things in the late 70's through the 80's. I know Im one of them. (Although Im happy where Im at)

Well, I suppose its about it fer now....Hey, its supposed to almost get up to 40 degrees tomorrow! Whoo Hooo!!!!!


01/10 William Puller,

Here is a link to a web page showing the 1/4 turn hose couplers. www.wescovan.com/wesco/fire/page8.php

Our Canadian friends have been using this for some time. They call our 1" NH hose "yank hose".

They have some other neat stuff you never see on this side of the border- metal "hose bandages" that clip over a leak in 1" hose, a kit containing a 2" single stage pump head that turns a Mk III pump into a volume water mover, a practical plastic 5 gallon fuel can for Mk III pumps that is head and shoulders above the metal jeri cans in our cache system, sprinkler kits with 5 sprinkler heads used to protect threatened homes (powered with Mk III), etc. These guys are specialists at fighting fire with hose lays and they do it very well.


01/10 Hi - I have recently found this site. Seems like this is a good place to ask the following question -

Looking at a some BLM vacancies, they seem to prefer that for a GS-6/7 position, you have ICT3 AND RXB2. Is there anyone really out there with these quals and willing to be only a GS-6 or 7??? Any thoughts on this, or are they just dreaming?

Thanks.... Dave

01/09 Thanks to CDF for the wildfire fighting in Humboldt County. We had 13 fires between Carlotta and Trinidad that escaped from Simpson and LP burning slashpiles. Fanned by winds that gusted to 40 mph, the fires were ripping! We were very concerned. Probably no more than about 100 acres burned. It could have been lots worse with the dryness here. Anyway, thank you for the good work and the persistence.


01/09 The Jobs Page, 462 and 455 series are updated. Thanks Hickman for help on those missing links on the Links Page. Ab.
01/09 William,

On the quarter turn couplings that you are wondering about, they have no male end or female end. Either end connects with another end. As a usfs employee in R6 I have had the experience with the WADNR quarter turn couplings. Their hose works great, but finding adapters between ours and theirs was no fun. Structure departments also have quarter turn on their 5" hose.


01/09 Just wanted to say that I enjoy your website very much! I don't get to go on fire as often as I would like but when I do, it is great. I am a secondary firefighter from the Ottawa NF. I spent some time on the Fishlake NF last summer as a squad boss on a type II crew and it was the first time I had ever seen that fuel type. Keep up the good work! (It is nice to read about fire about now as we have about 3 feet of snow here!)


Welcome, Gayle.
While I'm here, any of you women FF out there have pictures of women and fire for FOBSIF? Nomex, handcrew with tools, rappellers, etc. There have to be some out there! For that matter, do any of you men? If you don't have a way to digitize them, Mellie has offered her scanner. You could send them to her. Let me know and I'll put you in touch. Ab.

01/09 Hi all and happy new millennium!
After admiring the new look at wildlandfire.com and reading through
theysaid, I realized my web address was not functioning -- no good
excuses -- neglected to update the URL.
Anyhow, it's back up and functioning at www.firegirl.net.
Stay safe and dry -- and good luck to those applying for all the fire jobs!
01/09 From Firescribe for those winter evenings around the fireplace:

Here's Stephen Pyne's Fire 2000 talk.

From the shelves of the Tacoma Public Library, a historical recounting of the Northwest Forest Fire of 1910.

A brief account of the summer Maine burned then hit the "next" link at the bottom and check out the topography and fuel types in Arcadia National Park.

01/09 AB,

It has been awhile since I have written to the site but I have just come across an item from the USFS that alarms me. The Federal agencies are in line to incur millions of dollars in training costs in the next few years. Due to the learning curve and the time it will take to deliver the required training, thousands of acres of woods are at risk. What I saw was a report from an equipment development committee that made the decision to convert all Forest Service hose and fittings to "1/4 turn" in the next several years (what ever 1/4 turn is). With the increased cost of training, there might be less money to fight forest fires.

I have been told that the reason "1/4 turn" was developed, was that some folks working for some forest fire departments were not "smart enough to tell one end of a hose from another." Can you imagine how much time will be lost when some of the fire engine drivers try to figure out which end of the hose is which? I do not think the hot shots will have much trouble being retrained as they rarely see hoses, pumps and fittings or so I am told by my friend. My friend says that there will be a need for a new ICS position, QTFS (Quarter Turn Fitting Specialist).

Do you think that changing to a new system will help or not? Does any one have a picture of a 1/4 turn so I could see what all the fuss is about?

William Puller

01/08 Hi Ab...

Am a "lurker," so to speak; have also been out of stump-jumping for a few years now. Does anyone have any idea if Richie Rios (was capt at Del Rosa; last I heard had been capt at Sycamore Sta on the Berdue). Has the old plug retired yet??? Also, has anyone heard how old Pops, Ron Regan, is doing since retirement?

Thanks, all--

Short One

01/08 Here's a job-hunting aid I've used with success -- the OPM USAjobs by e-mail.

I just went to the USAjobs OPM site, and clicked on "USAjobs by Email." Following their prompts, I customized my search and focused on three different job categories I was interested in. The process of registering involved filling in my name, e-mail address and search criteria for the job categories. Now OPM sends me a list of the current job openings via e-mail as new jobs are posted. In the notification they provide a link directly to the vacancy announcement. It's pretty slick. I think it's an automated process once your name, etc is in the system.


I put directions to this (USAjobs by e-mail) at the top of the Jobs page along with the other links we have there. Ab.

01/08 Today, Monday the 8th of Jan. CDF Butte Ranger Unit sent 3 engines westward to Fortuna Ca. They were to meet with 2 other strike teams. Something about an 150 acre control burn escape. I didn't hear all the info as I was kinda groggy at 4am. Anybody else have any info????

Dave Butte vol

A reliable source says it's raining pulaskis and chainsaws in Fortuna CA and around Humboldt Bay after several weeks of no precip and a dry winter to date. CDF was called in to handle somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 control burns (Simpson) that escaped last night as the front came with big 40mph winds. There are currently 15 engines (40 folks) and 10-12 handcrews monitoring fires in the rain. Word is they'll be alright unless the winds come up again. In spite of the current rain, the "asbestos" Redwood forest is surprisingly dry, not unlike most of the state. Ab.

01/08 The Nature Conservancy is advertising for seven very short term temp fire jobs and one that is long term. The Denali Hotshots are also seeking applicants. See the jobs page.


01/08 Ab,
Amen to your review of Fire on the Mountain. As I've previously stated, the ultimate responsibility for safety rests with the individual firefighter, for it is they who will pay the ultimate price for mistakes made.

Some thoughts on "saying no": Each year at our refresher training I emphasize that the option to say no exists for all. The big concern seems to be when to know that "no" is the right answer, and how to deal with the risks of reprisal for saying "no". Here's my response. Any time one of the 18 Watch Out apply, and that situatiion has not been mitigated.....say no. Any time one of the 10 Standard Orders is violated.....say no. If you are confronted with an angry supervisor, calmly point out your concerns and articulate which of the 18/10 that apply. Should it ever come to an official review of the disagreement, which side of the argument would you prefer to be on?....the side arguing for the 18/10 or the side arguing that they don't matter?

What you will most likely encounter is a continued dialogue with a revision of the plan of attack to ensure compliance with the 18/10. Remember, the folks you are talking to are experienced firefighters who also want to do a good job safely......but they might have missed something you have seen.

This past season was my 28th year with fire involvement. I'm still on the line (DIVS) and twice found myself questioning/refusing assignments as initially given. Guess what? With some frank dialogue we were able to come up with revised plans that fully alleviated my concerns and led to successful plan of attack.

Please, don't be afraid to challenge unsafe assignments, don't underestimate the willingness of overhead to listen to you, and don't ever buy into a course of action that you know to be in violation.

Old Fire Guy

01/07 Greetings Readers and a somewhat belated new year wishes! We've been extremely busy here at Wildlandfire.com over the holidays as we continue our quest to bring you what you tell us you want to see.

There are several changes we are still working on which we will be publishing as they are completed. One new feature, the Book & Review Pages, has already been published and appears to be getting steady attention. We will continue to add new listings as we find or are informed of them, and may begin working on a Video Page if we can find enough content.

Our Index or Home Page is sporting a new look and will continue to change a bit in the future as we reorganize links. The photo will change monthly.

The other new update today is the Links Page. It is past time this page was updated to include several more categories and links. Our objective with the Links Page is not to have the largest number of fire links on the internet, rather to have a selection of the top sites or tools available for conducting daily business or to quickly catch up on current fire events.

With the failure of many agencies (you know who you are) to update their sit reports during last week's Viejas Fire in R5, we thought it appropriate to include some News links to help you find current fire information in addition to agency sites. Consequently, there are now 3 links to search for fire information on the internet under the new News & Reports category. There are also new Weather, Geographic, Aviation, Federal Employees, and Safety areas. Enjoy them and let us know of others needing inclusion.

Four links on this page are broken. We would like to regain them if possible. They are The National Agriculture Library (with antique fire pictures), Firegirl's Page, Fire Ridge Wildland Fire Resource Center (Dave LaForest's page) and Central Oregon Community College (fire program). Anyone have new urls for these?

One area now absent from the Links Page is the commercial sites category. As wildlandfire.com continues to grow and consume more of our time and money, we decided the era of providing free business advertising should end. We attemted to email each business to advise them of the imminent removal of their links on our site. Any vendors or business desiring to advertise on wildlandfire.com should email to advertising@wildlandfire.com

There is also a Classified Ads Page under construction to be published very soon. Anyone desiring information on pricing or how to submit a classified ad may go here: www.wildlandfire.com/ads/class-info.php

Finally, we will be relocating the entire WLF domain on a new, more reliable (hopefully) server within the next few weeks.

As always, we look forward to your thoughts, positive or otherwise. We've enjoyed providing Wildlandfire.com during the year 2000 and can't wait to see where you, the viewers, take us this year. We're looking forward to seeing you on the line, in the camps, or even at the seemingly endless meetings this year as we continue our dedication to kicking the dragon's butt!


01/07 Happy New Year everyone!

I just finished participating in a 3-day recruitment effort for the U.S. Forest Service national "Fire Hire" program in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Wow! We handed out about 1000 applications to people who are interested in these jobs.

Obviously, there was a huge range of people with various levels of fire experience. We got people who had zero experience, people with PhD's, some folks had several seasons of wildland experience from several different agencies, and we even got a woman who is a professional golfer on the PGA tour! The only thing we didn't get was an actor from nearby Hollywood! I kept looking for Howie Long!

All joking aside, I was really excited by the response we got from the people who were seeking a wildland fire job with the Forest Service. Most people came in with a high level of respect for our profession. We were very honest with our description of what our job is all about. One Engine Captain (who will remain unnamed) even got quoted in the local paper when she said, "This is the craziest job you will ever do in your whole life! We work hard, get really dirty, and sometimes don't get to shower for days." This was a totally honest perspective on our work, although maybe not the best marketing strategy!

Well, we're taking our recruitment team on the road in a couple of months. This year, the Women in the Fire Service (WFS) Conference will be held in Georgia in Cobb County, Georgia. There were 12 women who were officially designated as "wildland firefighters" at the last conference two years ago, held in Los Angeles. The total conference attendence exceeded 400 women firefighters. This is a sad representation for us folks! We are really trying to get more women wildland firefighters to attend the conference this year.

We are in need of photos of women fighting fires. Digital JPEG photos are best. Anyone who has photos of women fighting wildland fires, please send your photos to Ab so he can post on the photos page of this web site. We're asking permission to use those photos for our recruitment display at the WFS conference. Thanks ahead of time for your contributions.

For those of you interested in more information on the WFS Conference, here is the URL: www.wfsi.org/.

Thanks for this site Ab. You're the greatest.


01/07 The latest on the Viejas Fire from Firescribe:

South Ops Sit Report

Cleveland NF, Viejas Fire Community Report

San Diego Metro News on containment.

CNN Report wrapping it up.

01/07 Richard:

Congratulations on your retirement! I mean that. You DO know who I am. And you've taken a shot at me in the past, that I am aware of. Maybe more that I am unaware of. It would be nice if we would all just try and get along and work WITH not AGAINST each other in the world of fire. If we could just be kinder to one another I would not have needed this forum to ask questions about Red Card renewal problems.

The incident at the Montana fire, where an STPS suggested that a cold storage deer meat building be used as a "safe place of refuge," was not "bragged" about, as you have so unkindly suggested. It was mentioned only as a teaching tool, i.e., a lessons learned situation that might prevent firefighters from getting injured or killed during extreme fire conditions in the future. This cold storage building in Montana WAS used by firefighters as a "safe place of refuge" when fire conditions became extreme because the building was built into the side of a hill; it was prepped and it and the area around it were covered with class A foam. The firefighters suffered no smoke inhalation and were perfectly safe inside the cold storage building as the fire front passed by. In fact the firefighters thanked the STPS for his recommendation to use the cold storage building as a "safe place of refuge."

I agree with you, Richard, about your comment that the only thing that matters in wildfires is "skill, competence, experience and the discipline to practice what we have been taught."

The position of a STPS should be better defined. The NWCG needs to work on this and have a task book issued. The STPS position has become a vital position in all /UI fires. It is an increasingly important position and it should be given its proper and its permanent place in the ICS.

And no, Richard, nothing is "rotten in BOB-land." I am also NOT being "rejected" in getting my Red Card renewed. It is simply rotten politics where I live. I have the quals and SKA's and certificates that state that I can be a STPS. My documented evaluations at incidents from my supervisors were good. The director of my GACC knows of the situation and has told me that he will honor my Red Card when and if the appropriate agency issues and signs it.

A last word on this, I hope. I guess that this forum has been established to aire problems, get answers to them, pass on helpful information and to be a general sounding board for wildland fire issues. I was recently directed to this forum by a friend who, like myself, loves both structural and wildland-W/UI fire protection. He thought, and correctly so, that I might find help with my problem. This is an excellent forum that should always be utilized to help and not to hurt fellow firefighters. Keep up the good work, Abercrombie. This forum does help as it was intended to.


Bob, Dick, Others: We all know that sometimes there is a political problem with getting training and redcards. We know there are the footdraggers and the kiss-my-ass, big-ego types who can slow or stop the process for certain people. We also know that, as the flames threaten, sometimes people who are redcarded for one position get used for another. We must watchout for such situations. I think the best suggestion to anyone who feels they're having a political problem with being redcarded is to call your local GACC and complain or explain that you're not being used and that there is a political problem. Thanks contributors: it does help to know why redcards exist, how dispatch works to send out redcarded personnel and where the system can break down once a redcarded person is on the fireline.

OK now, enough said. Space has been provided here and both sides have explained their positions. Good information has been shared. However, as longtime readers know, Ab sometimes sez enough. We don't allow this site to become a personal fireground. Ab.

01/07 Az Desart Rat - I have hired folks with felonies for Fed Jobs, not a real plus, but an old conviction and a clean record can overcome that. Worst problem though is had a young man who did not disclose a felony DUI on application, and it came to light somehow and the Personnel Officer terminated his employment. Don' t lie!

Mangans post is excellent, the thing that is most important I believe is the comment on having the discipline to follow the book on safety. Also the discipline to admit when you are in over your head, and opt out. Also the discipline to swallow your ego and take seriously folks who are telling you situations are unsafe. Flip side is there also as JW, points out, the safety card being thrown down unnecessarily. Believe there may be ego involved in this also.

JW - snow here is great and you know there is a free flop, tho some new would be nice.


01/07 Hey Ab, here is Hey Ab,

Here's a new logo for your photos page. The Tatanka shots are based out of the Black Hills in Custer SD. The crew started in 1999. Please add it to the collection-


Thanks, I added it to the Logo3 Page. Ab.

01/07 AZ Desert Rat: In my past life I did a little personnel work for the feds. I think the most important thing you can do in your application process is be honest about your past record. A criminal record will ALWAYS get you fired after hire if you've not revealed it - it's the lie that will get you, not the record. But a conviction by itself will probably not remove you from consideration - depends on the conviction and the job you're applying for. Good luck - just be honest right from the start.

Dispatch Princess

01/06 AZ Desert Rat,

Like you, I have a record. Only those very close to me in the Forest Service, and those with a need to know are aware of this. I didn't have a problem getting on with the agency. I work in Region-5 and when I first got onto a crew, I was not alone with having a record. We had 3 or 4 ex-felons on the crew, and a handful with misdemeanors. Not all areas and crews are as understanding but I believe there is a chance for you with the Fed's.

I guess the biggest factor would be what you were convicted of. In the eyes of most there is a big difference between someone who has cheated on taxes or written bad checks compared to rape or bank robbery.

I personally do not know what the agencies policy is. You may have to do some research.

Goodluck in your quest,

01/06 Hey Dickie-boy,
Now that you're retired It's good to see you open up a little; you've always been sooo reserved with your opinions on the job! Good comments re: the BOB issue.

I appreciate your, and other's, concerns about folks jumping positions in the ICS system. Just remember that ICS was set up to be flexible, only it doesn't happen when rote ordering to fill all the boxes. People get used to fill tasks until the system can catch up, not all are officially qualified. Supervisors often have to look at the known skills of the folks they have available and make operational decisions based on the issues at hand, not the system's requirements. Throwing down the safety card wears out and cheapens the card. It may really be needed sometime and get buried in a stack of trivial complaints.

Good points made about Tech Spec positions. They are advisors, I agree that assuming that those persons are qualified for line operations tasks should be reviewed before cleared for action. Under the national pressure to involve all fire fighters, there have been and will be cases where quals are pencil quals. Once those persons are exposed their performance rating should be the method to correct the problem. There are numerous cases that have been handled well to resolve unqualified peronnel, others not so well. Reality strikes again.

Now we just need more snow, it is time to ski. I hope everyone enjoys a safe new year.

01/06 I had the opportunity to be the first FS engine to arrive at the Viejas fire.

We encounted a problem with our model 61 a few hours into the fire. Burning embers entered the air filter and ignited. Our engine was one of least four engines in the first three hours that were unable to run after sucking embers into the air system. All four were towed away. Any ideas to solve the problem? Anyone heard of fire retardant air filters? Earlier in the season we had the same problem with a new model 62. One of the four was a new aerial truck company after it quit running the crew was unable to raise the ladder to tilt the forward cab up to extinguish the fire. As the crew scrambled to gain access to the fire the cab filled with smoke.

Other situations we encountered were large highway signs flying thru the air, horses released from corral running on to the highway then being stuck by a vehicle disabling the vehicle which burned as the fire spread west in the centerdivide. Local fire agencies using 800 mhz frequencies.


01/06 AB -

I've been 'lurking" out here in Big Sky Country ever since you came on line, reading the postings almost daily, but figuring it was better to be an impartial observer than to join into the fray. But... the posting by BOB about being rejected for a 2001 Red Card, and some of the subsequent comments (coupled with my newly-minted status as a USFS retiree on 12/29/00), have prompted me to offer the following comments:
First, as an Operations Section Chief 1 (OSC1) on National Incident Management Teams since 1986, getting an "STPS" off a Resource Order is one of my personal "situations that shout watch out". The pre-requisite to be an STPS is that you wanna be one - and can convince the Agency that certifies you to put it on your Red Card - - - no other quals are required. When a new STPS shows up in my Section, he/she goes thru a rather intensive Q&A period before they go out on line to do their mission. I've had some really good and well qualified STPS to work with (Joe Mazzeo - NPS and Mike Dannenburg - Idaho DSL come to mind), but then there have been some real potential disasters, too!! Since the STPS position is a "Technical Specialist" under ICS 310-1, just like a Dozer Operator or Faller, the ability to perform frequently gets tested for the first time under real wildfire conditions. As a supervisor, you can either give the person a "go or no", keep them working, or send them packing with a recommendation to their home unit to pull their quals.

There are numerous stories around the West about incompetent/unqualified STPS that have put themselves and other firefighters in extremely hazardous situations, all because of a lack of understanding about the serious situations they were experiencing. Here in Montana in 2000, one "un-named" STPS bragged in writing that he recommended to firefighters that an outbuilding used as a cold storage place for deer meat "would be a good safe zone" should they need it!!

One of the comments supporting "BOB" said that he's a "straight up guy"; that well may be true, since I don't know who BOB really is. But I can say this: since 1990, I've had the opportunity to participate in many of the burnovers and fatalities that have occurred across the U.S.; many of the folks involved/killed were straight up guys/gals, but they were either in over their heads, or made dumb mistakes that put them at risk or got them killed (or worse yet, got others entrapped/burned over/killed). The ONLY thing that matters on wildfires is skill, competence and experience, and the discipline to practice what you've been taught!!

If I were an English major instead of an ole Forester, I'd be tempted to paraphrase Shakespeare that "something is rotten in BOB-land", but I ain't so I'll leave the whole issue up to his red card certifying group. When I worked on the Ochoco NF in Oregon as Fire Staff Officer and headed up the Forest's Red Card Certifying Committee, we frequently had to make the tough call to certify someone or hold their quals: the bottom line was always, can the individual safely and successfully perform their assigned duties under theworst wildfire conditions we can throw at them (like Montana 2000).

I'd recommend that instead of carrying his complaints to this public forum, BOB should gather his extensive STPS record, performance ratings, recommendations from OSC's and other documentation about his quals, and approach his Geographic Area for a full and open hearing about their refusal to issue him a 2001 Red Card.

Dick Mangan
USFS-MTDC (Retired)

01/05 Hi,

I've been told that wildland fire kind of gets in your blood, and I can attest to that. Spending a summer or two on a fire crew is something I've wanted to do for years - ever since I was in nearby Cody during the '88 Yellowstone fires. I've decided that this is the year I am going to do it. Today I gave the pack test a try to see if I could do it - 3 miles with a 45 lb. pack, in 43 minutes - not bad considering I haven't trained for it and the trail I used was hardly level ground, with several steep climbs...

Anyway, on to the main point. I have a record. The conviction was 9 1/2 years ago, I have kept completely clean since, and have been steadily employed since - over 8 of those years with the same employer. While I know that *some* state forestry agencies (in Washington, Oregon and Massachusetts, for example) do not discriminate on the basis of past convictions, apparently the federal government does, or at least they ask several questions on this subject on the Form C. So here, then, is my question: Would I just be wasting my time sending applications to the USFS and BLM? Are my job applications just going to automatically go in the reject pile once they see I have a record, or do they still give consideration to those applications? I would appreciate a response from anyone who knows about the USFS and BLM hiring policies. My real goal is to spend a summer or two on a hotshot crew, but if it's a lost cause I may just be sending my applications to the state agencies and forget about the federal ones. Anyone know for sure?

AZ Desert Rat

01/05 hi , my name is steven i am from ns,canada i am looking for a tshirt that i saw at one time. on the back of this tshirt is the following pic: it has 2or3 firefighters standing in flames and 2 or3 firefighters climbing stairs up to the gates of heaven. around the pic it says from the flames of hell to the gates of heaven welcome home. do you know of a web page or anywhere that i could get this pic or tshirt?
thank you
p.s. please send a reply to : smokey_26a@hotmail.com
01/05 About the job outreach announcements.

The FS uses these to see what kind of internal interest there is in the position there is. If they recieve a responce from someone of the same series and equal or higher GS level, the FS can lateral that person into the job and not advertise the job. This is legal. It does appear to be unfair, but it avoids the time and paperwork needed to post it at OPM. It also has been used to avoid hiring qualified people that have more points from gender, race, vets, that they don't want. It benefits most someone in that position already, but in a undesirable area or circumstances. That is why you usually see positons advertised in places that aren't the greatest. Get your foot in the door at these places, put your time in, get experience and training, network while out on assignments. Then apply for the good jobs. I have found trying to get a permanent job in the 0462 series to be diffucult and fustrating. Too much competition for too few jobs. Just my .02 worth.

great forum,

01/05 Review of Fire on the Mountain:

I read this book last summer while on a large fire in Idaho. The book was loaned to me by a fire fighter who was unable to put it down. He would stay up late at night reading it using his head lamp. One of the key survivors from the South Canyon incident was working with us. I never discussed the South Canyon fire with him. I must note he is a fine fireman.

The book consumed all my off time. At times I would choke at little. I am sure the smoke in the air around me, the sound of air tankers, lead planes, and helicopters helped fill in the mental picture. I kept asking my self why this air force was not supporting the people on the mountain when they died. I wanted to shout out, do not go down that hill. While reading the book I realized I had worked with two other survivors from the fire earlier in the season. Folks this is about real fire people.

I already had anger about budget cuts and downsizing that had a negative effect on safe fire fighting. Then the back filling of key fire management positions with people who did not, or do not have the skills and ability required to manage the program surfaced in this book..

According to the author the investigation was a mess. Poor investigative techniques resulted in poor interview documentation resulted in unreadable work products and disagreement on the final work product. I give credit to those who disagreed with the final investigative product. Did decisions made on the mountain stem from political discussions made in the White House, in the Congress, and by the BLM at the National level? While fingers were pointed at the leadership on the fire, were others hiding behind their political cover? The author noted that he limited the scope of his work to the incident but left open the door for the reader to wonder about those who had responsibility off the mountain. Clearly the investigation team needed to have included a few trained investigators. There are many investigators in the FS and BLM with fire backgrounds.

At the time of the incident and after reading the book I question the tactics on the fire. Many rules were broken on the mountain and it cost lives. Learn from the book. It is noon January 8, 2001, there is a major fire in Southern California and the news just showed a fire in Steephollow Creek, on the Tahoe N.F. Steephollow is steep timber country which is normally covered with snow this time of year.. The point is, the South Canyon fire occurred in drought condition fuels. California is fighting drought condition fires right now. Take a lesson from this book. Read it, and train all those new hires to fight fire safely.

When I returned home last fall I sent an e-mail to my relatives recommending that they read Fire on the Mountain. It is a good insight into the wildland fire fighting community. I rate it five chainsaws.


My evaluation of Fire on the Mountain comes from a different place of firefighter personal responsibility, although I can see your points also. We do need to learn from this book and situation. Thanks for the review. I'll post it on the review page. BTW, my copy of the book disappeared into Texas. Anyone know where it is and are you willing to pass it on after signing your name on the inside cover? Thanks. Ab.

01/05 Can someone please help us trace down Dana Linscott's out of Minnesota email, phone or address? Thanks much!


01/05 If I can, I need to find a permanent home for a cool Dillon Complex (1994) t-shirt. A friend, whose bro was a firefighter gave me a "Large" (seems like extra large) white Beefy T shirt (worn once and clean) that has a very cool (but maybe typical) logo... He said I should give it away. It has an image of the Dillon Complex, July, 1994 (Siskiyou County). Hmmmmmm... let's see if I could scan it.... In the spirit of sharing [as in videos (thanks DM) and patches (thanks Hickman; thanks Doug; thanks Eric) and pants (thanks LL), and nomex shirts (thanks FireChick and Audra) and books and manly frogs (thanks Kelly), and rocks from Storm King and weathered bones (thanks Firewolf)], can I permanently "share" this great t-shirt with anyone? It's way too nice to just send off to Goodwill!

Mellie -- Hey, the scan worked, well, kinda! Here it is! -- Dillon Complex ('94) t-shirt.

01/05 My name is Nathan Marmor and I am a 16 year old Lt. with the Rural Metro Fire Department Explorer Post #904. We are a part of the Boy Scouts of America. We are a non-profit organization that needs a lot of help! We are looking for any help that any Fire Department would be able to offer. If you would be able to give us any assistance what so ever (even advice) it would be greatly appriciated.

Thank you
Lt. Nathan Marmor

Hey Tiny, Keith, anyone else out there with interest, ability, youth connections, or time to consult? E-mail me and I'll pass it on. Ab.

01/05 Could someone in south ops please make that sit report fit on the computer screen? I know we're lucky to have it, but it would help if it didn't wrap around even on a big computer.

Thanks South Ops, AL

01/05 I updated the jobs page, 462 and 455 pages. As per Orbic's suggestion, have included lead and supervisory positions in the 462 and 455 series OPM links. The nationwide listing that NorCal Tom mentioned is also included on the 462 series page as well as on the R5 Enhanced Outreach page.

Happy job hunting!

01/05 Firescribe again on Viejas fire:
WashingtonPost.com with the cigarette that mighta done it.

CNN.com Some cool small photos of airtanker and helicopter.

Update on the SoCal Sit report

01/05 As some of you may know President Clinton has signed HR. 2814, the overtime paycap bill into law. For more detailed information and to join the FWFSA go to their webpage by clicking on the FWFSA link or logo at the top of this page. Portal to Portal and inclusion of hazard pay toward retirement annuities are next on the agenda -- but they need YOUR support. If YOU are going to BENEFIT from the hard work and dedication of the members of the FWFSA, then it is time to join them.


Hear, hear! Ab.

01/05 Another book review from DM (thanks!) on the Book Review Page.

(Half a chainsaw? or five?) Ab.

01/05 The National Park Service is adding about 300 new fire positions throughout many of their parks. They're going to start extensive recruiting efforts in mid-to-late January. To read more about this go to the Jobs Page.
01/04 So Cal GACC Large Incident Report

More Viejas Fire info online:

Posted at 0558 PDT 01/04 www.washingtonpost.com early today
Posted at 0748 PDT 01/04 www.washingtonpost.com later today

Posted at 1840 PDT 01/03 San Diego Daily Transcript last night

Where is Alpine CA? Check out the topography and fuel type:
Cleveland National Forest Map
the town of Alpine

01/05 Engineer Emmett

What you might have seen heading down Highway 41 towards Fresno on Wednesday was perhaps a Sierra NF engine heading to the Lava Butte Incident on the Hume Lake District/SQF. A resource order came into DSP for two Type 3 engines. It was filled by a SNF engine and a FWS engine 'outta Los Banos. They're still working the fire. They were not heading to the Cleveland.

The Blue Light

01/04 Ab,

According to NPR this AM, 8000+ acres in Alpine. CDF/FKU sent a strike team and hand crews. I also understand Northern Ca has sent hand crews as well. Also, I understand the fire is 10% contained and started off of I-8. If I hear more, I will let you all know.

Engineer Emmett

01/04 First. Thanks to all of the brother and sister firefighters that responded to my questions about STPS and Red Carding where I live and looking for an alternative agency to renew my Red Card. I was pleasantly surprised at the supportive nature of the responses.

It was mentioned that I was a victim of politics. That is the fact!

There was one seemingly negative response and I will respond back. Re: "Daddy said no...so I'll go ask Mom." No. I am not attempting to go around the "system" where I live. There are a few people in this particular system that have been less than kind to me. I have had some problems with them and decided that I wanted to get the Red Card renewed within an alternative sysyem/agency where I would encounter less hassles. In this state the only other federal wildland agency is the NPS. I asked the NPS FMO in this state if I could get a Red Card via NPS. He told me that that was not possible unless I was an NPS employee or on a NPS hand crew. Neither can be done.

My quals on my Red Card are the recommended S courses for a STPS, i.e., 130/190;290;300;330;205;Southern Engine Academy. I have ICS and many years of fire experience in both structure and W/UI in the east. Due to years of waiting for an out of state fire/STPS assignment through no fault of my own, I have been on only two STPS fire assignments out west in 2000.

Unfortunately there is no task book for STPS. I think that there should be one. Maybe the NWCG will tackle that issue in the near future?

My situation remains the same. Where am I going to get my Red Card renewed for 2001?

It seems, from the responses, that we in the small world of fire know each other. Thanks again, for your support.


01/04 Bob, a red card is not a license to fight fire. Its a certifying tool to prove youve recieved the proper training and passed the physical requirements.

Any agency- be it state, federal, or a contractor like myself is just certifiying that you meet the qualifications outlined in the book to your specific job.

For me to issue a red card as say, an engine boss ENGB or sometimes called an SRB/ Engines. My book says you must have the following. S130 S190 I100 S290 and new for 00 was S231. Every position must have the yearly shake-n-bake too.

Like princess said basically all a red card is is a way to certify a persons quals without carrying a file around on everyone. She knows what shes talking about. Apply for jobs wherever you want, as long as you have proof of receiving the proper training someone will hire you without a red card - theyll issue you one when you start.

I have no idea if this helps you at all. Good luck.

Later all,
Pacific Wildfire

01/04 Scroll down to the link to Gallery for a few pics of the scene.



01/03 Here's info on the Viejas Fire near Alpine CA (near San Diego):
as of 1612 PDT www.cnn.com/2001/US/01/03/wildfire.03/index.phpl
as of 1620 PDT www.cnn.com/2001/US/01/03/hill.debrief/
as of 2018 PDT www.cnn.com/2001/US/01/03/wildfire.04/index.phpl


01/03 Ab, Last I heard, the fire in Alpine was 5000+ acres, some homes have burned. I guess they are experiencing a wind event. This evening on the way home from Fresno up HWY. 41, I thought I was passed by 1 and maybe 2 USFS engines headed south toward Fresno and good old freeway 99. Does anyone know if the Sierra has called folks back to duty? I also heard Riverside Ranger Unit as well as San Diego have sent strike teams to the Cleveland. Keep in mind this is a 4th or 5th hand info, how accurate it is, I can't say. But its better than nothing. Engineer Emmett

Someone from the Cleveland? Is the new 2001 Team Rotation Schedule online? Ab.

01/03 Happy New Year to all!

The only way I've been able to get a current copy of the Sit Report is by pulling it up from the R-8 GACC page.
Anybody else have any other ways they have been pulling Sit Reports? The R-5 page for So. Cal. has no info on the fire by Alpine I think that I heard on the news is that its off the Cleveland N.F

Any way you all take care and be safe.

01/03 To Spfc Stapleton:

I sent you aCD with nearly 300 Burgdorf fire pictures, but it came back due to a bad address. Post a good address and I'll re-send it.

Dispatch Princess

01/03 Looks like southern Cal. is having a winter fire season. So far, the only info I can get is from CNN. Anybody know of a reliable source on the net for fire info? NIFC report hasn't been updated since Dec. 1 2000

I would imagine dispatch is scrambling to organize resources to send south.

~Sagebrush Pete~

01/03 Zimm, Bob, Fire2001--

Regarding Bob's question, here's what I've learned about STPS (Structure Protection Specialist) and how it fits into the ICSystem with training and taskbook. STPS is a "Technical Specialist" position. See our mneumonics page. Zimm, you said there is no Task Book for that. You are right. There are also no minimum requirements. This is because the Wildland Fire Qualification System Guide, 2000 Revised 310-1 says this, "Technical Specialists are personnel with unique skills. These specialists may be used anywhere within the incident organization. No minimum qualifications are identified in this guide. Most technical specialists are certified in their field or profession. To orient technical specialists, it is suggested that the knowledge and skills from the following training courses be reviewed.
Intro to ICS (I-100)
Wildland Fire Suppression Orientation for Non-Operations Personnel (S-110)."
Note that it only says reviewed.

If you go to the Mnemonics Page and scroll down with an eye on the right-hand side, you can see which positions besides STPS are the technical specialists. Tech specialists include Prevention Tech, Law Enforcement Analyst Specialist, Indian Cultural Specialist, Hydrologist, Biologist, Computer Technical Specialist, Photographer, Video Camera Operator, etc. So when might a Structure Protection Specialist be needed and how used? Say, maybe to consult at a fire like Cerro Grande or any other large fire that has to deal with structures and interface communities... To develop strategies to minimize risk and triage structures. Actually, Bob, I'd be really interested in knowing what you have done on wildlandfires as a STPS. If you're willing to share, was there any pressure to overstep into another function?

Zimm, here's the link to the NWCG pdf file 2000 Revised 310-1 that I quoted from above. Here's the link to the taskbook forms: www.nwcg.gov/pms/taskbook/taskbook.php

Fire2001, if some STPS acted as a STEN (Strike Team Leader, Engine) on a fire that you were on, I hope you put in a safety report on it. You're right, the overhead were putting the troops in harm's way. Imagine getting a Biologist or a Geologist or a Video Camera Operator to step in as a STEN. Same difference according to the system. Not qualified!

I just love this site!

01/03 Here's a dispatchers take on Bob's dilemma:

I also happen to be on our local Red Card Qualifications Committee, so I think I can speak intelligently about this. Bob, whoever dispatches you to incidents should issue you a redcard. That redcard says that the agency SENDING you to the incident is certifying to the RECEIVING agency that you meet certain qualifications, as stated on that redcard. If your local sending agency, whoever that may be, is reluctant to issue you a redcard, forgive me if I'm a little suspicious. Maybe it's a training issue - maybe they can't certify that you meet the training requirements or experience requirements to carry a card saying you meet the quals. I've run into this before, in assignments across the nation, and have learned that I can *usually* trust the home sending unit who issued that card. It looks bad for all, and is a major safety issue, when unqualified folks try to get redcards and assignments for which they are not qualified. Good luck in your endeavor, but the bottom line is that whoever sends you out on assignments should be the ones certifying your qualifications for the job.

Dispatch Princess

01/03 Bryan-
Check with your college and your nearest FS office to see if they participate in the co-op student program. This program provides seasonal employment and training, followed by a full time job offer after graduation. Some agreements include subsidizing of tuition.

Check out the Huron-Manistee NF in Michigan for dozer operator jobs. Last I heard they were looking for four new hires.

If you express interest in working as an AD, any agency that you sign up with can issue you a red card (commensurate with your documented quals).

Old Fire Guy

01/03 Where can I locate the carding info on Structure protection specialist?
What I did find out was that there is no task book, any one have any help?
01/03 Well, Its official, the Nevada Division of Forestry has a new Big Kahuna in charge. Steve Robinson took over for the outgoing Roy Trenoweth, who was with us for 27 years. Watch for changes...hopefully they will be in the right direction. Mr. Robinson was working with the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial when he took the job to run our mob(sorry about the poor rhyming, I'm a wanna-be poet :) ). We wish him the best of luck.


01/03 Re Bob, Im not sure about the alternate state liability issue. But, here are a few thoughts. You mentioned you have been carded in the past by the state. What about federal fire agencies in your state? Im sure since you are not employed by a state fire agency, if you have documentation of training and qualifications you may be able to get red carded through a federal agency. In the geographic region I am in, I believe that "out west" assignments are on a rotational basis (one week fed agencies, following week the state agencies) in the past people used to try and get listed by each (state and fed) thus doubling their chance of getting the call. But the obvious problem was that we had two lists with a lot of the same people on it so when things got hot and heavy all too often people on the list were already assigned and not availaible. Now if you are caught doing this you are in deep doo doo if you work for a government agency. pulaski
01/03 fire2001,
you sure passed judgement fast, didnt ya? bob has a incredible amount of experience in both wildland and structural fire. he is a victim of politics. many of us know how it is to be behind the politics game. mellie is right, the interface problem is growing faster than we really know how to deal with it. i have seen too many things go wrong with structural protection. from the planning stage to the execution of forces. like alot folks that write to this site, we are looking for answers to the questions we have. this site has and always will be a place to find answers. we need to look out for each other. we are all fire fighters here.

BC Davis

01/02 Rod and other job seekers,

While it may seem like there are not so many listings for Forest Service Jobs at OPM's USA Jobs, this is not true. Jobs for Forestry Aids and Technicians (GS-2 through 9) are being offered nationwide. You can request an application package by calling (877) 813-3476 or e-mailing fsjobs@fs.fed.us, or you can pick one up at any Forest Service office or write
BOISE, ID 83709
The open period ends 5/31/01, so there is time. To get all the info about these jobs, go to the Jobs Page, click the R5 enhanced outreach link, select Forestry Aids and Technicians (the second link) then go to the USA Jobs link. It's there.

Good luck!
NorCal Tom PS And I think DEEAFMO won the bet...

01/02 I am looking for organizations with employment openings for dozer operators. Any one knowing who or where, or are these only gov jobs??

Thanks, Ryan

01/02 Fire2001,

Bob is a straight-up guy, not looking to make anyone or anything unsafe. Perhaps some people have done what you describe. He hasn't and wouldn't. He asked an important question. We need good structure people with wildland fire experience. If you haven't noticed, the interface is growing and we're getting a mite short on good folks.

I take it that you don't know the answer to his question. Does anyone have an answer for him?

Just wondering...

01/02 In regards to the firefighter who does not wish to be red-carded by the state in which he resides, my question is why not? This sounds like a case of daddy said no...so I'll ask mom. My guess is that BOB is trying to get around the system. "I'm 'qualified' as a STPS...of course I can serve as a STEN." I have been on fires where this has happened. During the heat of the battle, people who want to go around the system will try to. This causes a major safety problem for the subordinates that this unqualified person is suppose to be leading.
Happy New Year,
01/02 I have been accepted to Hocking Technical College in Ohio for the Fall of 2001. My goal is to be a Smokejumper or Wildland Firefighter. Do you know of any organizations that might offer scholarships?

email: tallmofam@bright.net

To be a smokejumper, you must first be a wildland firefighter, usually for at least a few seasons. The FAQ (frequently asked questions) link at the top of the page takes you to places that tell you how to become a firefighter. As far as scholarships go, Readers, have any info? Ab.

01/02 I would like to share a prayer/poem Blessed Wildland Firefighters I wrote during the 1996 fire season, and finished while on the Bull Fire in Oregon 1996.

Heads up, Be safe, Work hard, and Have fun meeting new friends!

01/01 Nice forum that you are operating. I am a first time inquirer. I have had a Red Card for many years and am a qualified STPS with a background in both structure and wildland fire suppression.

Question: I am a municipal structure firefighter. I do not wish to renew my Red Card with the state wildland agency within the state that I presently live. This agency has issued the Red Card to me in the past, but due to internal difficulties, I wish to get Red Carded elsewhere by another agency. How can I accomplish this? I asked an agency in another state and I was told that I had to get Red Carded within the state that I now live in due to "liability." Is that also true?


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

BC Davis

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