"THEY SAID IT" ARCHIVES
I just got a call from a USFS rep. regarding availability for a
"fuels" job that I applied for during the second round and they
mentioned that they are going through the cert. list as we speak. This led
to couple of questions that you (or Mel) and the crew might be able to
help me on:
1) should I expect an interview call sometime in the near future and is
there an interview with this whole process?
2) any pointers in preparing for a "fuels planner / specialist"
position interview, if there is one?
Any assistance you can give is greatly appreciate. Thanks for all the
hard work and dedication!!
Readers, I know some of you are involved in the hiring process. Can
you answer Anvil's question? Mellie do you know? Ab.
||Jobs page, Series 462 and 455 are updated. Ab.
||MERT you're a little late this season. R6 inspections are between the
12-and 20th of april.
If you want to pursue it. Contact Carol Ford, she is the R6 Contract
administrator for WA and OR. Her # is 503 808 2378. She is in the Portland
USFS office. Ask her for a copy of the Engine Tender RFQ (Request for
Quotation) Or Byron Brown for Region 4/2
That will get you the list of contract specs., engine inventory lists,
performance standards, training standards, engine inspection sheets, and
lists of contacts around the region to get inspected.
The pre season inspections can be grueling. If you have straight gear,
and it is in order then there is no problem, things go smooth. (R6 has the
toughest inspections I have been too - and I contract in R6 - R4 - R2 -
They all requre the same amount of insurance - 1 million liability w/ 2
million aggregate. You need 2 policies. One to cover the driving end of
the business, and one to protect you professionally. ( you drop a pulaski
on someones dome, or cut someone up with a saw, that kind of insurance.)
Insurance is Mandatory with 3 seperate agencies named additionally
insured. Without proof of coverage by June 1 in R6, they will not issue a
preseason agreement - no if's or but's. Typical costs are between 1 and 3k
per season per truck. Depending on how much extra insurance you get (comp
-uninsured - med pay, etc) Experience also plays a factor in some
Inventory is pretty straight forward. email me and ill fax you the list
of "Minimum Engine Inventory." For a type 4-5-6 engine it will
cost about 10-12K without the pump and to equip it with new stuff.
Slightly less if you can find decent used gear.
Forming your own dept is possible but costly. In WA ( my friend
researched this), you have to find an unincorporated part of a county
without county fire protection. Get enough locals on board and incorporate
it. From there you would work with the County Fire Commisioner to figure
out your suppression and aid coverage needs, and figure out where you are
going to get the $ to do it. I hear its not impossible, I am sure I'm
forgetting lots of steps in there.
After your inspected, have the insurance, the people, the inventory,
signed up with no paperwork errors, you wait for it to burn. Then hope
they need you.
You may wonder why some contractors like Aztec, Aces High, North Tree,
Wildland Services, Ruby MTN, Pacific Wildfire (me), and a slew of others
work lots. Its because we have been doing this long enough to have the
contacts that know us, and havent burned bridges like some others. Some
contractors chase fires - they will work, but not for long, and get black
balled. I doubt there is a formal list as thats probably illegal. With
teams put together from all over the country, it does not take long for
word to get out about a crew - be it fed, state, or contract. thats the
I am not trying to discourage you. But every year i see guys buy and
build trucks in March then have to sell them in Oct. Do it right, from the
beginning and it will be rewarding. Throw something together and you'll
have problems from the get go.
I am by no means an expert at this. There are companies out there
making way more than I ever will. I do make a good living, but had to
learn the hard way. I jumped in it, and was lucky enough to get a great
season my first year (94) as a contractor. 95 was slow, 96 was great, 97
dead, 98 good, 99 better, and 00 best yet. So do some research and check
it out yourself. Find a contractor to help you out. Some will charge a
percentage to show you what to do. But you get to gain from their
experience and contacts. Good Luck
Sorry so long AB. Its just that after a good season everyone wants to
get an engine, then fails because they didnt know what they are getting
into. I've seen people get divorced, go bankrupt, lose years of retirement
funds, or quit good jobs only to regret it.
Still hiring for Winnemucca. Call or email for more apps. only four
spots left. 2 engb and 2FF
360 731 2627
I'm having trouble with the sit report also. What is Real Download and
how do you do it? I wish they'd just do it the old way. That was so easy.
Not to rain on your parade, but forget about this season! If you really
want to form your own company and go after contracts, I'm assuming we are
talking fire, hook-up with an existing company and ask them what it took
for them to get started. Contact a government contracting officer. Walk
before you run.
To address your stated problems, there is NO WAY to get around
insurance! Every contract you bid on will require proof of insurance.
Without it, one accident could lead to losing everything you have and will
every have! About the only good thing about start-up cost is that they are
tax deductable. Mortgaging your home may provide you with the capital to
get started, but then if your company fails, you may lose your home. Will
you be working year round or will betting on a good season to carry you
through the off season? Business loans are available, but they will
require collateral. Outfitting your truck and crewpersons will also add
up. So will daily expenses such as fuel, pagers, phones etc. What about
You didn't mention them in your problem list, but have you every dealt
with the Department of Labor? You think the IRS is bad!
Welcome to the real world! Getting into government contracts is alot
more than just having a truck and bidding on work. But if it is your
dream, go for it!
I dont know about the specific contract deals that you have to go
through or even the grants. However, I do know that you can find old BLM,
FS or state engines that are on the auction block. Usually you can find
them fairly cheap and if you shop right you can find deals on any
accessories that you may want. True, I do believe that the auctions
usually happen either after the season or around the first of the year (
someone correct me if im wrong pls ) so it wouldnt help you this year, but
for next year, it could save you some bucks... Good luck and stay safe
||Anyone know why they changed CDFs nice website? There are new colors -
blah grey and tan. At least the information still seems to be there,
although I'm not used to the new format.
On another note, check out what firefighters take with them in Alaska: http://fire.ak.blm.gov/unique/docs/hiring/fireduty.asp
Scroll down a little. Ab, your list on the faq page didn't include
repellant. Is that a useful item in places other than Alaska (and
I am with a group of 12 guys looking into getting a private contract.
But here is where we run into problems.
1) They require workmans comp. Insurance and that costs a fortune.
2) We are unable to take advantage of grants and have to build a truck out
of pocket. Costs a fortune also.
3) We were told we could become our own department but we do not know how
to do this.
If any one has some info regarding these matters please help. We are
really looking forward to this season but it seems like we may never make
it. It seems like we are always running into roadblocks.
Thank you for any help you can provide.
I was able to access the current Nat Sit Report thru Real Download
then, Acrobat Reader. Give it a try
||-- for County Rover:
Apparently NICC has decided to stick with PDF and isn't willing to
budge on this. You can get the current sit report in html here:
I've been lurking for quite awhile. I'm looking for another way to get
into the NIFC's sit report. For some reason, I can't get it to load. Any
alternate sites, routes, or suggestions? Thanx.
County Rover (formerly mp)
||Catching up on some of the photos and logos.
There is a logo
of CIIMT 4 (Hutch tenured out as IC of that team and Aaron Gelobter
stepped up); a new awesome picture of the fire in Florida 1998 "Green
Burns" compliments of Marie; and a pic of LPF
Engine Crew sent in by KC. (Who's that little FF in the background?)
||Attn L.A. Cnty Camp personnel. While Looking thru the Logo & MocLogo
sites I noticed that 5 (#'s 2 & 5 now closed -8-9 & 14) of the
Cnty's 11 camps have posted their patches. As time permits this year,
would it be possible to maybe post the remaing 6 (#'s 11-12-13-15-16-17
& 19) camps, even though they may be inmate camps?
Also noted that 16 of the 87 shot crews nationwide are posted.
Hopefully more will get posted this year.
How about CDF? Maybe some of their 44 camps could post a patch.
And lastly how about all smoke Jumper crews/bases and Helo flight
Send 'em in, I'll post 'em. Best to send them as a jpg or a gif if
possible. If you want to make a hardcopy photo and can get a good one with
detail, maybe someone could scan it for the site. As camps close and
patches change, the collection here becomes a historical record of
sorts... (Montana firefighter and FLA RANGER, try sending your logos
||Ab, a note:
Jon Lee got the hotshot superintendant job for the Dixie NF. Not sure
what they will be called.
||Re: SC's Pack Test Worries
This sounds familiar... I had the same problem, or so it sounds. I'm a
young firedog with high expectations for myself and it was devistating for
me not to pass the PACK TEST... after two times of trying and failing,
once not passing in the allotted time and the other by withdrawl after a
mile, I was crushed. Anyway, I'm an exercise science and phsyiology major,
and I started asking questions... went to a few high priced specialists
and nothing helped. They suggested shorter but faster strides, brand new
shoes, try it in boots (more support), and finally I gave up! That is
until I went to an athletic trainer, he suggested a PODIATRIST, a foot
doctor, as it turns out, my whole problem is in my arches. As the muscles
that hold up the arch get fatiqued with overuse, mainly from the
exaggerated stride to maintain the pace to pass the test, severe muscle
strain of the muscles in the arch as well as in the Tibialis Anterior. The
Tibialis Anterior is probably where you are recieving the most amount of
pain, that leads you to believe that you have shin splints.
Give it a shot, see a Podiatrist, it may solve your problem. You may
have to wear inserts which can cost a little bit o' $$$, but what's a
little money compared to "livin' the dream!"
||Since the topic of the hiring process has again reared it's head, let me
throw in my two cents worth. Here are some stats: Our forest has hired
about 28 new temporary people. This has taken two weeks and the efforts of
13 people (4 HR, one fire person overseeing it, and at least 2 fire people
from each of the ranger districts)!
What a waste of time and money! In my opinion, the WO should have
consulted those of us who have been through the temp hiring process in
prior years before instituting this top-down decision. The WO *never*
hires temps. They haven't a clue! They're creating a hiring process in a
vacuum and it is way too complicated. This is in no way, shape, or form
cost-effective in terms of time, effort or money! In addition, there have
been some hard feelings created within some forests in the negotiating
process as those on particular ranger districts, who worked so hard to
find out who potential employees are and what they want, found those
people traded away.
Now comes Round 2... The hiring deadlines are being pushed back a week
or more as ASAP tries to deal with its backlog and other forests that
aren't ready, scramble. I think we should stick with the current
deadlines. When are we going to be able to get folks trained, let alone
getting in our own refreshers and other work?
I know we're all doing the best we can. But why can't the WO consult
those who are expert in the temp hiring process before taking an arbitrary
action that complicates the process and affects so many?
A Fire Fighter doing too much Chair-Sitting
||More on HS & Sups:
The Salt Lake BLM hired Nate Lancaster as their hotshot superintendant
from the Logan Hotshots- The Salt Lake crew will be called the Bonneville
Thanks a bunch for the help. The number printed on the acknowledgement
letters, 1-866-454-5402, seems to be incorrect or is having difficulties.
Might want to pass this on.
I was able to contact ASAP, and an evaluator there told me I only
qualify for a GS-4.
My last question on this subject: On the Demo announcement, a GS-5 can
qualify based on education alone if you have greater than 120 credit hours
that leads to a degree. Do you have to have the degree before you apply?
In my situation, I have the credits, but I won't have my degree in hand
until the beginning of May (before I start work for the season). Combining
this with two seasons experience seems to fit the requirements (in my
Anyway, I'm looking forward to a good season and I wish everyone the
best and be safe.
Thanks for the opportunity to vent.
I'm not 100% sure that there are any look out jobs still available, but
below is the FS site that lists jobs and their locations (along with
contact phone #'s):
Once you get on the page click on the "Locations/Positions"
button located on the NAVAGATION MENU and then you just need to pick what
region you want to work in. According to what I looked at today, there
were still some look out positions left in R-6, R-5, and R-1. How accurate
is this information...who knows? Your best bet is to look them up, get the
contact person & number, and call them to see if the job is still
available for Round 2 hiring. Better hurry, you only have until March 30th
to get in on Round 2.
I'm new to theysaid and have been looking things over. I have a bit of
input for Mellie and the FAQ page on FS hiring. There is another important
factor that plays into how decisions are made as to which forest makes a
job offer. That issue is the number of times the individual may be a
"duplicate" across forests, based on the number of forest
selections they turn in.
As an example, if an individual is duplicated on three forests, and a
particular forest has three or four other duplicates, it isn't reasonable
to think that a particular forest will get all their selections. What it
boils down to is that there is inter-forest negotiation required and this
process doesn't proceed as the applicant might think.
Here's our forest's process. During the temporary hire in round one, we
were duplicated with the a neighboring forest on four selections. We ended
up negotiating for three of the four selections but of those three, we
were duplicated with two of those with a second forest. We ended up
getting two of the original four and felt good about it. We can not expect
to get every employee that has indicated multiple locations.
The employee has to also accept some responsibility though, in that
they could ask to be considered for up to nine locations. A great number
of applicants elected to do just that, fill in all nine. What the person
actually suceeded in doing was reducing their options. If they were
applying for a small forest that had few applicants as well as a large
forest with many applicants, the chances that they would get the offer
from the small forest was greatest.
What that means, is that employees need to go out, do their research,
decide where they really want to be and sell themselves to only their top
choices. If you don't let a particular location know of your interest to
work there, you have a reduced likelihood of getting the job you may
really want. If you open your opportunities to the world, you may end up
some place you really don't want to be. I am sure this has happened. More
is not necessarily better.
Welcome and thanks for the comments on a complicated process. Ab.
||Ab, heres the new email address for apps.
will have 4 engb positions in Winnemucca NV and 6 FF also
EMT a plus.
we are not looing to train people for Winnemucca. We will consider
training for our other locations so experienced only please.
call for pay scale, and other questions.
360 731 2627
thanks AB ;)
I was wondering if anyone had any info on phone problems at ASAP in
On Monday, the 26th I spent almost every extra second I had on the
phone trying to get through, but all I got was a busy signal that would
switch to easy listening music if you held on long enough (trust me, I did
that a number of times). Eventually I would just get disconnected. The
number I called was 1-866-454-5402. I have it memorized.
Does anyone have an alternate number? A back door I could try?
Thanks, JT (still trying to get that GS-5)
I don't think you have the right number. The number to call ASAP is
(877) 813-3476. Look at Mellie's FS job-faq page (link at top of
theysaid). I just called and a message said "call between 8 and 4:30
Mountain Standard Time". You might also try sending an e-mail to
fsjobs although time is short. I know those are reviewed every evening.
Certs should be posted tomorrow. Good luck. Ab.
I hear that Ft C picked up a sup out of CA, Lassen or Plumas maybe
||Ex Fed Engine Slug
Contractors can be located several ways. If you can get a copy of R6
Data base, You got them all. If you contact a Contractor Association that
is local to your area of interest, they should help you. Try the WEB, some
have sites, most don't, for example www.a1fireout.com
||Ex Fed Engine Slug--
There is the private contractor that I work for hiring out of
Washington State. Ferguson Management Company. We are based out of Albany
Oregon. We have dispatch centers out of Northern Cali, Western and Eastern
Oregon, and Eastern Washington ( Toppenish ). If you would like more info
email me at firstname.lastname@example.org ...
About your pack test. I'd like to make a few comments - suggestions for
what they are worth.
The term "Shin splints" are kind of a catch-all term that
don't mean anything in particular. Might I suggest you contact a physical
therapist (that is familiar with the physical working lot of folks - not
all therapist are) and see if he/she can identify a little more precisely
what you complications might be (if there are any).
You mentioned you were wearing "running shoes" to take the
test. I'm a tree faller by trade and we pack around a 40 or 50 pound
payload with saw and gear. I require stiff soles and a solid instep in my
footgear for this work. (Please to keep in mind that each of our bodies
are a unique combination, each with our own "physical
personalities".) However, "running shoes" I'm familiar with
aren't designed to carry a load such as is carried in the pack test. That
could be a major part of your problem.
Don't be embarrassed by not passing the pack test. Be thankful you
learned of a "limitation" (whatever it might be) before it
became a danger to yourself and others counting on you on the fire line.
You have one hell-of-a think tank and support group with "They
Said". Stick with it Bud, you can work your way through this.
The Honorable Mouse.
Here's a link for the AD Pay Plan.
||Sad but true, Done In, and others, the lower one is in the food chain
the more difficult it is to say "no." The young fire fighter in
their first or second fire season may have received the basic fire
training, but has not had real fireline experience. The individual does
not recognize serious conditions, or concerns are muted because of faith
(fear of) in their leadership. They have been drilled in the 10/18 but
they are really dependent on their leadership.
Ask why most entrapments involve groups of fire fighters. Because they
are trained to work as a team. The team accomplishes assignments, be it a
engine crew, a type 2 crew or a type I crew. The new fireman is taught to
function as a cog in a fire fighting machine. Good leadership will also
teach the fireman when to act independently. But set back and watch crews
in action. Are they a team or are they a herd of sheep with matching
Does extinguishing twenty "A" lightning fires and couple of
"B" fires after a wet thunderstorm prepare the novice fire
fighter for blow-up conditions?
I could get wordy on the issues, but for every entrapment there is a
specific set of circumstances but so many of them involve the same
violations of 10/18 that the pattern cannot be ignored.
Done In says the report is not the true story. I suggest he write his
story. There maybe something we can learn. If he wants to protect his
identity it could be written in the third person.
||does anyone know of any pvt contracters that are hireing in washington
state. i live here and like some info. i like to work for one ..
ex fed engine slug
||"sad but true"
"Extremely lower level" hmmm lets be realistic. The lowest
level, the crewperson, makes very if any decisions that could kill or harm
anyone besides themselves, except something like timber falling. But the
"BIG BUT" once you make it to the crewboss level you become what
we like to call in our training class a "certified killer". We
stress to our folks in training if you do not have the guts or fortitude
to tell a superior "NO" when you know the assignment is to
dangerous or beyond your crew/engines skill, you dont belong being
incharge. The folks below you, especially the cherries that don't know
better, are counting on you to make the correct and safe decision.
As you said, "Yes I know it is wrong. I have gone through it, and
am sure many others have." I hope I never have to work with or for
you. Your teaching the people below you the wrong things. Taking a bad
assignment, that you know is wrong, because your worried about possible
future placement, tsk tsk tsk shame on you. Your a "certified
killer" with the safety off and the hammer cocked. Put your weapon
back on safe and learn to say no the correct way.
We teach not to just say no and give the reasons "why", but
to give them a safe alternative. There is always another way.
Abe, sorry for being so long winded. I'm sure you will get many
responses to "sad but true", maybe one one of them will be more
articulate then I am, but this one got me a little pissed off thinking
this person is making life altering decisions for those beneath them, with
that kind of attitude.
Take care and be safe,
||I have heard through the grape vine that A.D. rates have gone up for the
2001 fire season. I have been searching for info online with no success.
Could you please help by offering a suggested web page or even an email
with the new rates would be great.
Thank you for your time.
Just wondering if anybody had info on new supts. that had been hired
for these new shot crews. Any info. on Craig (BLM), Elko (BLM), Salt Lake
(BLM), Ft. Collins (FS), Idaho City (FS), or any others anybody has info
on would be appreicated.
||In some cases it is very hard to say no to an assignment. It is one of
the major problems I see today and have gone through myself. It is not
very difficult to get on the radio to the Ops chief if you are a division
to re-asses the situation when things look bad.
At an extremely lower level of the incident command system there are
some other circumstances. A firefighter that wants a future working at
his/her favorite office in the world, has some difficult decisions. He/she
needs a good recommendation. Yes I know it is wrong. I have gone through
it, and am sure many others have. Sure, everyone can say no, but I am
sorry to say at the bottom of IC chart that rarely happens.
"sad but true"
thanks for the advice and encouragement. The test was given on asphalt
with a vest. Also I was wearing running shoes. thanks again for the help.
||AB or anyone else that can give me some insight:
I applied to Boise back in Dec., got my first confirmation letters in
Jan. and noticed I was rated as a GS-4 for everything. I notified Boise by
phone, the guy I talked to said I would qualify as a GS-5 (two seasons
fire experience as a GS-3, 114 credit hours (semester) towards a Forests
Management Degree, 12 more credits to be finished with a degree 6 weeks
from now). That was over a month ago. Since, I have received 5 different
confirmation letters (changes of Forests on 2 of them) but have yet to be
upgraded to a GS-5. With the second round of perm and demo hiring coming
up, I really want to upgrade my rating to get a better shot at a permanent
position. I have called Boise 3 times on this subject and all I get is the
"we have a lot of paperwork to do, we'll get to you" runaround.
Is there anyone down there that will pay attention to me? Does anyone know
somebody who works at FSJOBS that I could talk to directly?
JT, sounds like you should be off to see the Wizard! Maybe one of
our Boise ASAP lurkers can shed some light on this. Ab.
||Good Morning Ab & All,
With a nice fresh cup of coffee in hand this sleepy Sunday morning, I
was checking out the WLF news page. Since my national team is on 2 hour
call, I've begun using the news page for possible indicators of
assignments. Down the list a ways I see Central Taiwan has 45 hectares
going, although since it was dated the 20th, it could be out by now. A
trivial question came to mind as I scanned the article. What would the
sack lunches consist of in Central Taiwan?
Thanks for your continuing efforts on the site and the news page. It's
a welcome addition for quick and current world/national info.
BTW, since I wasn't sure how big a hectare was, I found this converter
site and discovered 45 hectares is around 111 acres, http://188.8.131.52/convert.php.
Now I've another question or two, does the site get any hits from
Taiwan? How about from other countries? Ok, one more question. I notice
there are often duplicate headlines on the news page. Is there any way to
filter these out?
Have a good week all!
Hi Curious. Thanks for the conversion link. Useful stuff, even has
"chain" conversions. I'll put it on the links page.
The answer to your last question about duplicate news articles is
"no". Many newpapers get their headlines from the AP wires.
While the newspapers may retain the AP headlines, most will modify the
content to fit their own local or political needs and viewpoints. So, even
though the headlines are identical, the stories usually contain slightly
Regarding visitors. We have been tracking the numbers of
visitors to the site for the last 7 mo. to see what pages receive the most
interest. (Of course, we don't know who, just that people stopped by.)
There have been 21 different visitors from Taiwan and other visitors from
around 78 different countries.
Here's more about the overall viewing activity on your wildlandfire
site: (These are all different visitors unless stated otherwise.)
- Highest Day: 26 Feb. 2001 Page Views: 3,324
- Highest Week: First of Feb. 2001 Page Views:
- Highest Month: Feb. 2001 Page Views: 67,789
- All Unique Visitors since 08/00: 387,712
- All Visitors including and "reloads" or
The revision of this course has not been completed yet. When its finished
it will have a new number, S-215. Look for it next year some time.
I've tried hard to leave this alone but the mention of the Sadler report
forces me to respond. I'll say this one more time: The Sadler report is
flawed and is not the true story of what happened that day. If you were on
that crew, you should be able to determine the discrepancies. I'm sorry
you've had so many bad firefighting experiences. Maybe you should change
where you work, because there are a lot of folks out there having good
experiences. Yes, even in Nevada. I've had some there myself.
Don't give up! What type of surface was the test given on? I've found
that a rubber track is much kinder to the body. Also, if the pack test
vest are not used, a good backpack, I use an external frame type, with the
weight secured high and close to the body, allows me to walk in a more
upright position. A good pair of hiking boots and hydration are also
important. This has nothing to do with preventing physical problem, but I
have found that a CD player helps me fight the boredom of 12 laps and
allows me to "space out."
As far as preparing for the pack test, I try to stay in shape by
working in the woods year round and with visits to a local health club.
Beginning about a month before the test, I practice a 4.1 mph pace on a
treadmill. (No weight.) Once I'm comfortable with the pace, I
"know" what speed I'll need once I put the pack on.
Yesterday, the company I work for administered the pack test. Out of
nearly 50 people, we had only one not pass. At the end of 4 laps, he was
beginning to experience leg cramps. Passing the pack test is a requirement
for employment, however, more than one opportunity to pass is given by the
Good luck with your next pack test!
||Just found a new web site that has a great power point presentation for
I-200, I-300 and I-400, Modules 2 thu 17. They can be run from the web or
downloaded. The site is---now be careful... www.wildlandfire.net
||For those of you with young women in the family or young female friends,
have them check out Camp Blaze for young women. Terrific opportunity to
learn about fire and begin to get trained up.
||siskiyou, firefox, bob lee and any of you other folks from northern
nevada, give me a shout!
yes i am new to the fuels in northern nevada. i have fought fire in the
pinelands of new jersey, the tall pines in montana, oregon, idaho and
utah. do i have alot to learn about fuels in this state? hell ya. i like
to think i have an open mind and very willing to learn from the experience
of others. i would enjoy the chance to sit down with those of you who
fight fire in these neck of the woods. give me a shout. it would be a
great opportunity to get to know the folks i could be fighting fire with.
||Ab et all-
Well, yer pup's made it into the begining on his FF1 Certification
course... lookin forward to gettin this under my belt.
I had a question or two to ask of the old dogs around about.. see if
maybe they know something the pup here don't. Are there any orginizations
out there that have scholarships for those student firefighters (such as
me *grin*) that award scholarships either from a national state or local
level? And if so, perhaps there is a website or two I can get pointed at
to speed me along my way? With GIS (that nifty (new?) plotting tool) and
the new resource ordering system in the computers, I'm gonna go computer
science and minor with forestry and you never know, might just prove to be
some use somewhere on the line someday. Any and all help is, as always,
Tiny, the R-6 Pup and Firefighter Recruit
I have been reading theysaid since it was first brought to my
attention, and kudos to your dedication & knowledge on wildland fire
I have been a wildland fire fighter in Nevada, for the Great Basin for
4 years. And although I am by no means an "expert" I can assure
you this... IF there is a situation that we do not feel 100% comfortable
with, we have no problem saying "NO". In my opinion, you look
more like a competant and responsible fire fighter by doing so. Our local
management will also tell you that SAFETY is 1st prioirty. Every day @ our
briefings the management tells us "There is NO piece of land worth
your life." Whether you are a smoke jumper, engine personnel, hot
shot or overhead, we are all out there doing the same thing with the same
goals in mind. To suppress wildland fire without any loss or injury to
DONE IN seems to want to try and cast the blame and play the victim.
It's a shame he feels the way he does about our region. I am wondering
though... Is he familiar with the 10 & 18? If you follow those at ALL
times, you would never be involved in an entrapment. In every entrapment
(close or fatal) you can bet that one if not more of those have been
broken. To blame it on a particular region is ridiculous! My suggestion to
DONE IN is to go back and take BASIC WILDLAND FIRE FIGHTING, and accept
some responsibility. If you feel that you aren't well informed on as
assignment, then ask for more information, your life and the lives of your
crews depend on it. But as NV FIREFIGHTER said... ultimately, it is
EVERYONE's responsibility to ensure safety. And yes, I have been on both
logistic & the labor side of Type 1 & 2 fires.
Great Basin Fire Fighter (4 years & NO entrapments either)
Haven't heard of any lookout positions since a few months ago when we
had some in Oregon. I just ran through a quick check on the OPM Series 462
page that Ab puts up and there are none there either. It's a bit late.
Angie, you're a CA lookout aren't ya? Do you know the hiring timeframe for
lookouts for R5?
BTW, Ab, nice selection of lookout books on the books page.
Why, thank you. We aim to please. Ab.
||To any one that can help:
I have recently failed the Bakersfield blm pack test due to extreme
shin splints. Here is a little background 'bout me. I did the explorer
thing in high school, did some testing and applied for some seasonal jobs.
I was very discouraged by not getting hired and had to see if "the
grass was greener" if you will. After working in the auto, ambulance
and construction industries respectfully I heard about the feds hiring
drive and thought I'd give it another chance. I filled out the apps and
enrolled in a wildland fire mgt. course (local blm inst.) and basic
firefighter class including s190, ics100, standards for survival and some
of s130(kern valley ihc inst.) as well as training for the pack test. I
loved and missed it, no way the grass was greener. I started getting the
shin splints and was told to take it easy but keep training, so that's
what I did. I started out ok but by about a mile into it, my legs cramped
up so bad that I couldn't move my ankles and had burning pain up to my
knees. Needless to say, I failed (very embarrassing).
My question, well, questions are these: first, any advice on overcoming
this would be greatly appreciated and second I still haven't heard from
the FS apps, if and when I do should I try theirs or scrap it for the
season and just concentrate on PTing for next year. Also, I will be 28
now, will my age affect may being hired as a rookie (now or next year if
Thank you to any and all who respond. Have a good, safe season.
||Ab and All,
Found this in the morning paper :
"G.A. "Tony" "Pop" Bailey, 79, passed away
March 22 2001 at his residence in Arroyo Grande Ca"....." He
possesed a deep and genuine love for family and friends. Unable to serve
his country during WWII, he chose to serve his fellow citizens as a
firefighter. He joined the Los Angeles Fire Department "Mountain
Patrol" in 1944 and retired in 1980, having served as a firebreak
construction and maintenance supervisor since 1963".
I did not know him but wondered if any of the old timers around here
did. My condolences to his family and any friends who may read this.
I am considering turning it down. Maybe it is a character flaw on my
part but misuse of government funds and programs does not sit well with
By all documents I can find via the Depart of Labor, I should be able
to show up, sign my paperwork, and convert immediatley to a GS-5 PFT.....
will that happen..... of course not. The agency would like to pay me for
two years salary to give me training I already paid for out of my pocket.
Allegedy the training is worth $5,000.00, well I paid 3,000 for it and
took vacation time to get it. Why?...... because I enjoy my job and
endevour to succeed and advance. All of this training I went out and
got..... could have been provided for me in house at my station. Was
it?..... no, Why not?...... Well is wasn't because we were busy!
I always have and still do think the program is a sham...in it's
present and past forms..... it would however make an excelent extension of
the ROP program that is in place in R-5.
I'm sure you would just roll over and take it if your forest RIF'ed you
and then said well you can come back as a lead firefighter at a GS-5. It
is a foot back in the door!......... NOT LIKELY
It's very easy to make judgements when you have been out of the field
for some time riding a desk or cruising around in your DFMO rig....
Maybe i'm not a good candidate to be a "real" Fed Employee: I
believe in taking care of folks that do a good job for you and not wasting
$$$$$$$$$...... Damn!! there goes that Character flaw again.
On another note..... the consensus I have, from discussing the JAC with
numerous folks, both in and out of THE Region (R-5) is that it lacks a
good product on the whole. I am not saying that good people don't come out
of it, I have several very good freinds and know alot of other folks that
are quality fire people...... however I doubt that any of these traits
came from the Apprenticeship.
||Letter from Deputy Chief has made it to R8. My question is with the last
part, "will be made available for fire assignment". That should
make a whole lot of the work force that was still mowing grass around the
district office after we had been on three details take notice. Also, this
should mean that fire comes before "project work" which I think
||WD, sounds like you should do us all a favor and turn the opportunity
that way you can remain on the outside looking in, and continue to bitch
and whine. You may be doing us all a favor. I find it pretty incredible
that someone trying to get a foot in the door is offered that opportunity
and then is not happy about it. I'll bet if the folks who offered you that
opportunity knew what your reaction was going to be they would have sailed
right by you on that cert. Your attitude should shout WATCH OUT to any
I suspect that a lot of firefighters under estimate burning conditions
in Nevada. Especially if you are from areas that do not share the same
fuels and weather conditions. It seems like I have spent enough time in
Northern Nevada the last few years to register to vote. During that time I
have been awed by the weather conditions. At night the winds pickup and
blow weeds and fire all over the place.
During the day there are dust devils reaching hundreds of feet into the
air. Brush, weeds, dirt and ash blow across all four lanes of I-80. You
have a hard time maintaining control of your vehicle because of the cross
wind. This is normal North Nevada fire weather. The temperatures are high
and the RH is low. The flats turn into extremely step slopes. When you add
fire to this mix things get interesting.
When things started settling down in "99" I thought
everything thing was going to be lost when a fifty mile hour Northwind
hit. I was amazed, no escapes. Vehicles rocked from the winds, tents went
flying along with everything else. I believe good mopup and the lack of
heavy fuels were the key in the lack of escapes. The clean burns were a
factor. The problem is that you cannot depend on it. A spark and another
100,000 acres could have burned in a few hours.
Fire fighters live a life of airplane and bus trips to new areas with a
whole set of local weather and fuel conditions. When local resources
become overloaded limited local expertise becomes diluted. The Ten
Standard Orders, and 18 Situations need to be running on your screen. When
you get there early in the morning, things appear to be stable, the fuels
are short, and you are tall and you wonder why they have not hooked it. A
few hours later your mouth is dry and you wonder if that wind blows all
the time. Another time you will go there and the fire has burned twenty
thousand acres the afternoon before and by morning it is out. Who knows; I
cannot think of a more extreme weather and fuel change than going from the
Golden Gate Park to Northern Nevada in the summer. Remember, if you want
shade in Nevada you must carry your own.
I must admit that my observations are that of an old camp slug with no
knees, who no longer feels the heat of the flame, but those old lessons
learned in years past play a part in my every day observations.
Nevada politics are interesting. In 1999 Nevada ranchers and
politicians were demanding more aggressive fire fighting action. This was
interesting in a State that normally would demand less of the Federal
Government. Would these same people support upgrading engine foreman to
seven and eights? I doubt.
My hat goes off to those BLM, NPS, FS, State, and local fire fighters
who do battle in Nevada.
||Dear Done IN
During the Saddler entrapment, you should have spoken up, since you had
experience in the same fuel type and had been in a burn over in a similar
situation!! And as for bashing Rangers, Hotshots and smoke jumpers,
sometimes you get a bad apple but don't bash everyone. One or several of
these folks may save your ASS someday! Someday that EMT/Medic who is
working on you after a burn over or an accident on the fire line may be a
park ranger! Rangers, Hotshots, and smoke jumpers are some of the most
highly trained persons you will meet out in the resource management world.
They have years of training in their chosen professions. As for type II
hand crews, just because that crew was from Golden Gate NRA does not make
them worthless. Type II crews come from every corner of the country, but
they all have the same basic training and people move around alot. I think
if I remember the Crew boss on that crew, he had just come from the Forest
Service and had only worked for the NPS for a short while. So stop your
agency bashing! In our highly mobile fire world I think every time a
resource goes from one major fuel type or region to another, they should
be given a briefing on local fire weather and fuels when they arrive in a
region, such as was done in Florida in 1998.
So, Done In, stop your whining and finger pointing and speak up the
next time you don't feel comfortable on a fire assignment. You have that
||-- for Matt:
||Matt, I found one of the best ways is to greese them up really well,
about 2 or 3 times. After you have a good coat of greese on them, fill
them up with water (thats right,lol) and leave them for about 24 hrs.
After the 24 hours, empty them adn let them dry. They'll be broken in
Dont be the unfortunate one like me. Last year I had to buy a new pair
of boots right in the middle of the season. Let me tell ya, my dogs were a
hurtin bunch until they broke in. Thats when I truely found out the
defenition of WHITE BITE, LOL.
||I fully agree with you on some perspectives of your response, however i
did come in at the GS-4 level several years ago now......have busted my
hump to train myself and get Agency paid training as well get regular
promotions from withing the Seasonal temp system.
Not to mention the Fact that The program is being misused.....The Dept
of Labor did not intend it to be used to hire qualified people, hence the
name apprentice.....and the new SCEP (STUDENT CAREER EXPERIENCE PROGRAM) I
am not enrolled in any Acredited educational program, which is a
requirement as per the DoL...just wondering what's going on in peoples
Seems like an excelent way to get the whole program axed!
||The Jobs and Wildland Firefighter Series 462 and 455 pages are
updated. OPM 462 and 455 listings just continue to grow. Unbelievable.
There will not be enough applicants. If anything changes in how jobs are
being handled in Boise, could one of you Oz-types fill me in so we can let
Mellie (the Wiz?) know for the FAQ on FS jobs page?
NC DNR needs some "air" category employees - a pilot and a
mechanic. (Check out the descriptions on the jobs page if you're a lurker
of that persuasion.)
Kaitlyn and Carrie could use one more set of answers to their questions
of last week. Thanks to the ff who have taken the time to write in... I've
forwarded your responses on to them. I'm going to keep them on file in
case other young people have similar questions.
Carry on... Ab.
wl: I've been there and I agree with BC, it is --nearly-- as easy as
saying "no". I had the occassion on two separate fires last year
to say "no". There was discussion with Ops, I articulated my
concerns and we changed the assignment. In '96 I pulled an entire division
30 minutes before the fire blew up and ran a mile beyond our position. No
arguments or repercussions at all. The key is being able to identify what
it is you don't like about the assignment. Articulate a violation of any
of the 10 or failure to mitigate any of the 18 and you are on rock solid
ground. Articulate that you don't like to work with people from a certain
location or agency, and you'll lack credibility. Safety is above all, your
WD- Having participated in the process here is one possible explanation
(might not be applicable in your particular situation). Experienced
firefighters qualified for higher GS level jobs will find themselves
facing some tough competition. Although fully able to do GS-7 level work,
all vacancies at that level may have been offered to other equally
qualified individuals. That leaves lower paying jobs that your application
said you were willing to accept. Are you overqualified? Sure. Will you be
likely to move on and upward in the near future? Sure. Government jobs do
not establish grade based on an individuals capability; grade is
established by the requirements of the job. If we need a GS-3 shovel
operator we aren't going to pay a GS-8 wage just because the individual is
capable of commanding an engine. My advice: Get your foot in the door and
shinny up the ladder just as fast as your talents and willingness to be
mobile allow. I came in as a GS-3 and plan to retire at the 13 level. You
Old Fire Guy
||How come when fire stats are reported they never mention the number of
dozers or tractors or however they call them? I am not a track head by any
means but those loud, lumbering, dangerous things sure do a lot of work on
a fire. Just wondering? Sitting around and waiting for the 2001 floor show
to begin so I can go dancing!
||Dear Done In,
I hope that you are doing well, I think a lot about the people that
were on that crew and wish well for everyone. If you were on the NPS crew
at the Sadler then you know who I am.
I need to point out something, though. At the Sadler there were no BLM
overhead anywhere near the crew on the line or in the chain of command
from the IC down to your crew boss. The only BLM people on that part of
the line were the two engines, and they weren't calling any of the shots.
The overhead at the entrapment location and that were involved on the
overhead team at the fire were all from other agencies. The fire was on
BLM land, but that was about the extent of the direct BLM involvement in
If you haven't read the report, you can download it here at this site
The names and affiliations of everyone involved is included in the
report. Though BLM is hardly a perfect outfit, BLM people weren't involved
in the entrapment. I am very sorry that you had such a close call at a
fire on BLM land, but you should place the responsibility on the proper
people. Let me know if I can be of any help - I read this site pretty
All the best,
||Some good news, I landed a job on a BLM Hotshot crew. Anyhow my question
is, whats the best way to break in a new pair of boots?? I just received a
new pair of Drews boots and want to break them in right. I'm sure some of
you firedogs have gone through quite a few pairs and I would like to know
any tricks or tips that might help. Thanks in advance. AB I would also
like to thank you and give you credit for my success in the job hunt. BTW,
we've been pretty busy here in VA this spring. It's been fairly dry and
with people burning off their gardens and trash it's resulted in some
pretty good hours. Not really big fires but, hey there's smoke in the air.
Congrats, young Matt. I'll let the readers tell you about boots...
||Here it is, finally! Money to implement the National Fire Plan and a
link to more info on the NFP for those of you who want to know more.
||Hey my name is Lance and I am a High school student. I am writing a
research paper on smoke jumpers and was wondering if you could provide me
with some information such as there training, pay, or a basic outline of
what they do. I found a link to your website through the National
SmokeJumper Association. If you could please send me some information at
email@example.com it would be a great help.
Thank you for your time.
||The RAWS website at http://www.fs.fed.us/raws has been upgraded and
expanded. Most NFDRS stations are due for their annual preventive
maintenance site visit, and the timing on the updates to this page
couldn't be better. New sections include the RAWS field guide, a photo
collection, contacts, tech notes, and a primer - a guide for the
"once-a-year RAWS Tech." Another new feature is the opportunity
to sign up for the "RAWS NEWS," an email newsletter with updates
on the RAWS program. We will be continually adding content and other
enhancements. We welcome your feedback - let us know how we can improve
the website to make everything you need available online.
THE RAWS TEAM
||Ab, this letter came into my email box yesterday through Union Channels.
Has anyone else seen it yet? What are you doing about it? I have not seen
anything come through official channels on official letterhead yet. Anyone
have a copy of that one? I know about everyone is probably testing
already, I know we are.
Letter to Regional Foresters, Area Director, and Station Directors
Effective immediately, all persons shall fill out the Health Screening
Questionnaire (HSQ) prior to conditioning exercises for, or taking, any
level of the work capacity tests (WCT). The HSQ must be reviewed by a
qualified, certified medical officer (physician, physican's assistant, or
registered nurse) prior to engaging in any activity. The medical officer
will determine whether a person is cleared to start conditioning, take a
WCT, or whether a physical is required beforehand. People taking any of
the Work Capacity Tests, i.e., light duty, field test, or pack test, shall
only that test necessary for their red-carded position as described in the
Wildland and Prescribed Fire Qualifications System Guide (NWCG Pulbication
PMS 310-1) and must be made available for fire assignment. Revisions to
the administrator's guide are forthcoming. This change to the April 14,
2000 MOU concerning WCT procedures has been agreed upon by the Forest
Service Partnership Council. If there are any questions please contact
your Regional Safety Officer or the National Ground Safety Officer.
Haven't seen this, dispatcher. Many of us are just back from the
CIIM Workshop in R5. Ray Quintanar stressed that all should be training
for the WCT. There was one death in Mississippi of a woman doing the light
fitness requirement and then another death, the details of which escape
me. Everyone, here's the stuff you need to know: www.fs.fed.us/fire/safety/fit.shtml
You make it sound so easy to refuse an assignment. Sounds like you have
never been in that situation?
||Hey anybody know of any look-out positions still available?!!!!
Re Done ins comments on NV fires.
You definately need different tactics to fight basin fires. I started in
R6 where Timber and slash predominates. It is definately an experience to
see a thousand acre blow up on night shift.
Three years ago I expanded into the basin. Fires move fast here,
sometimes faster than you can drive through the sage and PJ. I thought a
timber fire moved fast. We showed up at 0600 the first day of the West
Basin fire near Jackpot NV. that sucker burned 30-40K in a couple hours.
We were assigned structure protection and were waiting on a dirt road
between the house and the fire. The fire was coming at us steadily with
10-15 foot flame lengths. and a 15 mph wind driving it. It was making
steady progression towards us, when it just turned to the left and
paralleled the road and then turned left again and went back over the
little rise it had crossed previously.
Wind and topo play a big role in where basin fires go. I had a lot to
learn and am still learning with 50 basin fires already.
To slam Fire Mgmt in the basin is a mistake. They may seem more3 laid
back and easy going, but when it comes to fire they are totally
professional. Folks like "Lurker" in NV will surprise you with
how much they know and feel on a fire.
Like BC said if your not comfortable with an assignment let em know.
theyll know that maybe you see something they dont. Any decent mgmt
officer will respect your decision and alter plans accordingly.
anyhow just my two cents worth.
later - and see you all out on the line. 60-70 days to go!!!!
wheres the hot spot going to be this year? cascades are looking good to
||Saw a mention or two about entrapments...I'm currently working with MTDC
and NWCG on entrapments, shelter deloyments and burnover fatalities and
would like ANY info on past occurences...official reports, rumors, etc...
In order to decrease the future risk to firefighter safety we all need to
collect all the bits of info we can!!! Contact me at
firstname.lastname@example.org...anonymous is OK!
||I would have to agree with NVFIREFIGHTER. Not only does your safety rest
on your shoulders, but so does everyone elses. Everyone is to look out for
everyone else on a fire. Go back and rewatch your Standards for survival
videos and take another look at your watchout situations.
I know for a fact ( and everyone who knows me agrees ) that if I felt
uncomfortable in a situation, I would pull out of there as fast as I
could. Also, if a crew memeber were to come to me and say they felt
uncomfortable or saw somthing I didnt, I would strongly reassess the
situation I was in. You have to listen to everything and everyone. I
guarantee that at the 0630 morning breifing, the fire wasnt where it was
at when it entraped your crew.
Last thought. REMEMBER, youre fighting fire. Youre fighting a massive,
unpredictable and destuctive element of this earth. You cant just be out
there wondering out in the woods. You have to be aware of your
surroundings at all times. The second you let your guard down, it will
bite you in the ass, which you know by now. And remember, Assumtion is the
m,other of all F***ups , and excuses are like a**holes, everybody's got
one. Take responsibility for yourself and your crew, lead by example, it
is really easy to pass the buck, but it is difficult to take
responsibility for a screw up, especially one that could have gotten
people killed. Stay safe everyone. The season is starting up early. See ya
These aren't really PC programs, but that page on your site is the only
place that I can see they would fit. These are fire programs developed by
a firefighter for PDA's using the Palm operating system. I downloaded the
demo programs (zip files) and installed them on my wife's Palm. I was
impressed enough to order a Palm for myself.
The first is Fireliner. It performs hydraulic calculations such as flow
rate, friction loss, pump pressure, water requirements, hose weights, etc.
There is a line production calculator, engine and other resource type
classifications, safety rules, and other reference material from the
The second is Fireaway. I think this is the best of the two. It is like
having the Behave program in your pocket. Some of the features of the
FireAway software include- determine RH from wet and dry bulb temperature,
predicted future RH based on current readings, fine Dead Fuel Moisture,
Probability of Ignition, Midflame Windspeed calculated from 20' Windspeed,
Behavior module (like DIRECT in FIRE1) instensity, direction of max
spread, & haul chart.
The above are freeware demo programs that limit some of the inputs, but
they will give you the full flavor of the capabilities of the programs.
The complete version with no input limits (both applications) is available
on CD-rom for $89 from The Supply Cache Inc.
The demo versions or the complete software (again, $89) are available
from the developer's site- http://www.scienceonthego.com/
||Our DNRC Fire and Aviation Mgmt. Bureau homepage is www.dnrc.state.mt.us/forestry/dnrcfiresite/index.php
Could be another very interesting wildfire season in Montana. Current
drought conditions are worse than 2000. Stay tuned.
||Can anyone tell me why, with the new Nation Fire Hire deal, people with
4 plus years that have held GS-5 and 6 positions as fully qualified Sr
Firefighters and FEO's are being offered GS-4 Apprenticeship positions.
It is my understanding that these positions and the Dept of Labor
program that enables them are for entry level people (ie: one season)
I myself was offered one of these positions....I have had 2 seasons on
an active engine as GS-5 Sr firefighter and one season as a GS-06 where I
was the sole operator due to lack of a GS-7.
I have a fully signed of Crew Boss Task book and all classes that crwb
entails. 90% of which I paid for out of my own wallet and leave ballance.
Does it make any sence to retrain me? Hold me back from advancing?
best case senerio, in two years I could be back at the GS-6 level, that
is with no competition.
Does it make sence to even offer me this position.
||hey done in !! i am getting ready for my first fire season in nevada. i
work for ndf. i got a kick out of your posting to say the least !!!!!!! i
have heard so many things that i guess i will have to see what happens for
myself. but believe me, i will cover my ass and my crews ass. i have no
problem telling anyone NO if the assignment is a bull#%&^ one. i dont
care if the pope is the fmo. so wish me and my crew luck and you never
know who you might meet here !
Anyone have an estimate of the cost (labor, travel, etc.), including
opportunity costs (work that didn't get done due to involvement in the
issue) due to the "desk audit?"
||This is in response to DONE IN's comments about the Sadler Fire and BLM
Management in Nevada. I have fought fire for the BLM in Nevada since 1995
and I think that you need to take a look at yourself before you start
placing the blame on other people for what is your ultimate
responsibility, YOUR SAFETY. If you were a member of the Park Service crew
that was entrapped you have to keep in mind that when the order was sent
it was made with the assumption that whomever filled the order would have
the experience and qualifications necessary to at least meet Type II
requirements. I can tell you for a fact that if local management knew that
they were getting a crew thrown together from Golden Gate Park with
minimal or zero experience they would have never been allowed on the fire.
Also, and I have seen this first hand many times, crews come to the
Great Basin and they have no idea what type of fire behavior to expect
because all they see is desert and no timber. Well, in case you haven't
noticed in the last couple of years the grass and sagebrush in the Great
Basin can go to a 100,000 acre fire in a matter of hours depending on
conditions. Crews that approach Great Basin fires using the same
strategies and tactics used in other areas are going to be ineffective and
useless. It is a whole different ball game here and the people who don't
respect the fire potential become the subject of review teams and
entrapment reports. Conditions change so rapidly that what might be a good
plan during the morning briefing turns into a slew of watchout violations
and hazards before lunch.
Lastly, the managment problems that you refer to can not be blamed on
local districts in Nevada. Many of these fires are managed my teams that
get the majority of their members from out of state, once again people
that have no clue about Great Basin fires. Believe me, there is nothing
worse than going to one of these fires and being told how to fight fire
from some guy from Califonia, New Mexico, etc. who is totally backwards on
effective strategies for fires in this region.
But, once again the ultimate responsiblity for your safety rests on
your shoulders. If they give you an assignment that you are not
comfortable with, don't do it. Tell team managment the situation and work
-NVFIREFIGHTER (6 years in NV and not one entrapment)
||As one of the many Captain's involved in the recent "desk
audit", I felt I must give thanks to a particular group of
people..... OUR FIRE MANAGEMENT
I would especially like to thank the Region 5 Fire and Aviation
Management staff, the Forests FAM staffs, and the District fire staffs. I
would also like to thank Jan Cawthon, the personnelist from the San
Bernardino NF who was such as help to us.
Those folks gave the support to keep the GS-8 and GS-7 positions alive
and spell out to the folks in the WO what was expected of the Captains in
R-5. The Management folks understood that the guidelines that have been
given to us in regards to interface fire management and prescribed fire
could not be accomplished without the use of a mid level
manager/supervisor. They saw that the role of a wildland firefighter has
changed and that it was a whole lot more than "just putting out
wildfires". Some of the things that I feel that were greatly
supported by OUR MANAGEMENT in the Region, Forests, and Districts were:
..... as part of OUR understood position description.........
- - Captains preparing and implementing type 2 and type 3 burn plans
- - Instructing local, regional, and national training courses
- - Serving as Incident Commander Type 3 and 4
- - Managing a remote site ... ie-fire station...
- - Performing all risk duties as a supervisor and IC
- - Preparing and implementing unit project work plans
- - Supervising a workforce that was in place from 9 to 12 months /
Without the support of our management on this issue... the war would
have been lost before the battle began....
Thanks to "They Said" and the Abs for being a sounding board and
an excellent supporter of wildland firefighter issues... you are also
responsible for the positions remaining as is.. THANKS TO "THEY
SAID" from the R-5 Captains
....PS...... "6" thats your answer in a nutshell......
||Does anyone have an idea of where we'll all be spending our summer this
||The Sadler Incident I was crew member on the incident and have
been treated this way about five other times. Anybody hear about the
Caliente, Nevada fire in 1994? I also heard about another burn over in
Nevada that was not mentioned. Regarding Sadler, you just had to be on
that park service crew to see what went down. Leadership is not made. It
is an inherint quality. Until the Park Service gets away from its assinine
position that a Ranger is a born leader of men (When all know that the
person is an idiot) and the Forest Service quits putting hot shits in
charge, these problems of safety will not go away. I have been to Nevada
twice and been entrapped twice and both were B.L.M. shows with lots of
ex-shots and jumpers in the overhead. BLM stands for Basically Lousy
Management. I for one will not be going back to Nevada for the Trifecta.
What do you have when you have Nevada overhead up to their necks in sand?
Not enough sand.
Sounds like a good decision. Ab.
||I heard that S-205, Fire Ops in the Urban Interface has been changed or
upgraded and is now called S-215. Does anyone out there know what was
changed/upgraded and whom do I contact to get the new S-215 instructors
||I think consensus on forests is that we should now have open rosters for
seasonal temporary folks. Enough of the current hiring system. Let's just
do it? Anyone disagree?
||Here are some interesting IMWTK trivia provided by Greg Greenhoe at the
CIIM Workshop in Sacramento today:
- On the peak fire day last summer - Aug 29, 2000 - there were
- 28,462 firefighters on duty
- 667 crews
- 1,294 engines
- 226 helicopters
- 42 air tankers
- 84 fires greater than 100 acres
- 1,642,579 acres on fire in 16 states
- The Clear Creek Fire had the largest, longest sustained run of any
US fire, burning more than 30 miles in heavy timber.
- The Montana fires alone engaged
- 2,379 state and federal firefighters,
- 1500 local firefighters and
- 950,120 acres burned
Yes, Carrie and I still would like wildland firefighters to answer
our career questions.
The questions are as follows!
1. What exactly is a wildland firefighter?
2. What type of working conditions are there?
3. What does the job require? (Education? Training? College? University?
4. How many hours do you work a week?
5. On average what would a wildland firefighter make per year?
6. What personal charactreistics are required for someone to be successful
in your job?
7. Do you think that there will be a lot of demand for wildland
firefighters in the future? Why or why not?
8. How do you think the job will change in the future?
9. How much job security is there for wildland firefighters?
10. Do you enjoy your job? What are somethings that you prefer about it?
And what are somethings that you do not prefer about it?
Thank you for being very cooperative!
Kaitlyn and Carrie
Kaitlyn and Carrie, we all are wildland firefighters, which means
that we fight wildfires in the woods, in the desert, in the grasslands, in
the mountains, and on the wildland/urban interface (where cities meet the
woods). Thus, I added "wildland" to each of your questions.
Readers, any of you who would like to respond to these girls (or young
women), send in your answers and I'll forward them on, after removing your
e-mail address. Ab.
||I teach ceramics to firefighters and have been looking everywhere for a
mold of a wildland firefighter: figurine, mug, anything. Do you know of
||Not to muddy the waters on the issue concerning pay for engine captains
(or foremen as they are known in 49 out of 50 states) but why are
qualifications never considered when looking at pay. My thought would be
to establish a base pay for a position, then give a bonus to folks who get
qualified and keep current in key positions, IC type III, Burn Boss II,
FBAN, ATGS, etc. Right now there is not always much incentive for working
up in some of those areas, especially burn boss. No extra pay, lots of
extra pressure to get acres black, and lots of extra liability. Your
||So how exactly do PDs in regions other than 5 need to be posted to
describe engine captains that qualify for GS-8? Is training they provide a
part of it? I presume Rx burning fits in because of the year-round 7 day
on-the-job. Anything else?
Just Wonderin' in R3
||A couple of points to clarify the "helishot" issue. In ICS
terminology, the correct term is "fly crew" or "flight
In its concept, a "flycrew" crew combines the skills of
helitack support with initial attack/large fire support handcrew. Yes, by
ICS terminology, it will be rated as Type 1, but only within the realm of
ICS, see the Field Operations Guide for all the "criteria".
In the 70's & 80's it was more common to see these crews, they were
one of the first to go when the guv started its fleecing of the fire
As far as the Super Puma being at FHL, that is old and inaccurate info.
There will be no ship at FHL, the Type 1 (whether Super Puma or S-214ST)
will be at Arroyo Grande on the Los Padres. It will have a rather large
module, almost 30 people, will be rappel qualified, and able to put 15-18
bodies on the ground upon an IA dispatch.
In reference to Jakes post, you are referring to the Fire STOP
(Standard Type One Program) helicopter from last year that was based out
of Kernville. This was the Regions program to (rather hastily, I might
add) augment the airforce for the region considering what what was
happening in the rest of the west. It wasn't easy coming up with 4
available Type 1 Standard Category (people carrying) ships, so we took
what we could. It just so happens that the 214ST didnt have a belly hook
at the time, hence the reason it had no bucket.
The term "helishot" associated with the Fire STOP program was
inaccurate, the region applied the term to the modules, not the crews. By
all logic, the crews were not type 1 rated considering they did not meet
the ICS or the IHC criteria for a type 1 crew.
Considering the price tag for a Type 1 ship, this will probably be the
first to go when the guv gets the bill. It would be better to use the
212/412 platform for the flycrews. It worked well in the past, the problem
was there were not very many of them.
||el medio fd
Here is the latest info I have as of last Tuesday. - Jim
This is a message from the FEMA's US Fire Administration.
FIRE GRANT PROGRAM UPDATE
WASHINGTON -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the United
States Fire Administration (USFA) announced today a toll free information
line is now available for the new Assistance to Firefighters Grant
Program. The toll free number is 866-274-0960. Calling hours are Monday
through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. E.S.T. The line will also accept
voice-mail messages after hours, on weekends, or if the line is busy.
Questions may also be sent to a toll free fax line, 866-274-0942, or
e-mailed to email@example.com
The complete set of grant application forms is not currently available,
but will be posted on the USFA website in the near future. The forms will
be downloadable from the web site, but it will not be possible to
electronically submit completed application forms. Further information
will be posted as soon as the Interim Final Rule is published in the
Federal Register. An announcement will also be mailed to every fire
department, state fire training agency, state fire marshal's office, and
to allied professionals.
All Assistance to Firefighters Grant applicants will need to complete
several federal forms in order to prepare a grant application. There will
be a 30-day open grant application period beginning shortly after the
Interim Final Rule is published in the Federal Register.
In addition to program specific information, applicants will be
required to complete the following generic forms:
These forms are now available on the USFA Website at www.usfa.fema.gov/grants/.
A brochure, Developing and Writing Grant Proposals is available for
download in PDF format. This seven-page document explains the basic steps
in Federal grant proposal writing. Grant applicants will also be required
to submit program specific information that must be correlated with the
above forms. Potential applicants may familiarize themselves with the
generic forms; however, it may be premature to fill them out at this time.
The SF 270 form listed on several websites would be used by awardees to
request funding transfers, and it is not required unless an actual grant
award is made and a subsequent transfer of funds is needed. Anyone
interested in serving as a grant evaluator should contact one of the
following fire service professional groups:
- SF 424, Request for Federal Assistance
- FEMA Form 20-20, Budget-Non Construction
- FEMA Form 20-16, Summary of Assurances
- SF-LLL, Lobbying Disclosure
- Congressional Fire Services Institute - www.cfsi.org
- International Association of Arson Investigators -
- International Society of Fire Service Instructors - www.isfsi.org
- National Association of State Fire Marshals - www.firemarshals.org
- National Fire Protection Association - www.nfpa.org
- National Volunteer Fire Council - www.nvfc.org
- North American Fire Training Directors
Each Evaluation Panel will meet for one week at the National Fire
Academy in late May and early June to review grant applications.
Good info. Thanks Jim. Ab.
||If you know of any information on how our fire dept. could get a grant
to obtain so new equipment? It would be very helpful. We are a small dept.
and need all the help we can get.
el medio fd
||My limited information tells me that the Super Puma has a 20 person
Heli-attack crew on it. They are Type I rated but I do not know the
composition of the crew. I believe they will have rappell capability this
year or they are working on it. This incredible aviation resource will be
stationed out of Hunter Ligget on the Central Coast of Calif.
Sure as hell beats the Bell 214 Heli-Shot Helicopter with NO Bucket
that was stationed in the central valley of Calif. Thats alot of
helicopter sitting on the ground.
I was on a heli-shot crew back in 1988, and for all I know things
could've changed by now. The crew was Type I, interagency. We were
stationed at the Apple Valley Station, California Desert District, BLM.
The ship was a Bell 212 that had been modified. Although I later found
that I prefered being on a hotshot crew, that ship rocked!
As a general rule, there were eighteen people on the crew with rotating
days off. At any given time, nine people were to fly in the ship, with the
remainder of the crew on helitack duty. Assignments were on a rotating
basis, with exceptions taken to experience, expertise, and weather (the
higher the temperature, the less weight a ship can carry).
All members of the crew were helitack qualified, although most of us
did not really like helitack duty. We were largely used as an initial
attack crew. However, due to a constant demand for ships, we were sent
throughout the Western U.S., and put on assignments like any hotshot crew.
I only served one season on Apple Valley Helishots, and then went to a
hotshot crew. As strange as it sounds, I preferred humping into a fire
over flying into it. Plus, it seemed as though you ended up spending more
time in the field on a hotshot crew. So I guess it's just personal
preference. As stated, I prefered being on a hotshot crew.
Anyways, this was some thirteen years ago. I may have forgotten some
things and some other things may have changed by now. Nevertheless, I hope
this provides you with some information.
Saw your request re: contrating/driving fire bus's. I can't tell you
which way to go, but let me offer a few facts/advice.
As with any call when needed contract, there is NO guarantee of work.
Bus companies are called when needed, location and price are the main
determining factors as to which company gets the first call.
If you are a company owner and do not have other work to keep your
bus's running all year, you have approximately 100 days to make your money
for the year. If you owe lots of money and it is a "poor" fire
season--well you can do the math.
I suggest you find a job with an established company, drive for a
season, learn as much as you can about the fire bus business, and then
make your decision.
Hope this helps.
||I was wondering about these Heli-Shot crews. Where are they located? Are
they an actual type I rated crew, or are they a 20 person helitack crew
that breaks up into IA squads. Do they Rappell? I am just curious because
I have heard rumors of crew being formed with a Super Puma that was going
to be a type I crew that was Rappell capable. If anyone has any info let
||I just got offered my first "temp" job for the season.
Not a PSE, but, what the hell.......
They're beginning to start......
I havent heard of making GS-7's or 8's in to GS-9's as AFMO's. But, if
the position has program management as a requirement, then it meets item
1-6 of the FES and deserves a GS-9 if supervisory and a GS-8 if
ac (Amature Classifier)
||Dave, Brax, firenwater, all--
The question should not be: Should the Captains in California be
Rather, it should be: Should ALL Captains who have the same
responsibility be GS-8's (whether Flagstaff, Prescott, Boise, Glenwood
For all of you who care, the reasons the GS-8 engine captain positions
are staying as is in California (and not to be confused with supervision
-ie- the GSSG) are these:
These items can be reviewed at the http://www.opm.gov
- Level 1-5 Knowledge Required
- Level 5-3 Scope and Effect
In Region 5, Engine Captains are serving "a majority of their
time" in positions of ICT3 and developing and implementing burn
plans. These are the keys to level 1 and level 5 and to their GS-8
ratings. If other regions have a problem with this and they apparently do
(as per the OPM appeal decision that started the reevaluation), then they
shoud re-write the PD's of their folks to include these items.
In Region 5. Capt's supervise a year-round workforce, thus, the engine
captain exercise for the certifiers. The San Bernardino NF had over 70
employees involved in that exercise. This is more firefighters than most
Forests employ in a typical fire season. Fires happen in SoCal
year-round---- Viejas Fire = Year 2001 (Jan. 2001).
Captain at Large
||Series 462, 455 and the jobs page are updated. There are about 55
more positions advertised on the 462 series than last Tues. BLM Rawlins WY
field office is offering 2 heli jobs and 1 lead range tech (fire)
position. Get those applications in. We're not done yet, folks! Ab.
||Hi Dave, having just gone through the recent audits, I felt I had to
give some info...
The GS-8 Captains won their position based on these factors.....
- for rating of GS grades the following info is the MOST inportant....
- Level 1 Knowledge Required (The knowledge of the professional
series supported (ie- forestry, biology, soils, etc...) (For any
- --Level 5 Scope and Effect (How that knowledge relates to the
program being applied... and its long term success...)
- And as a supervisor, how the GSSG applies to that position......That
is, how the positions are rated for grades..... Not for how many one
supervises... Only the GSSG item 5 takes in to account how many folks
a supervisor actually superises......
and after the audits... these positions should spread nationwide based
upon the actual duties performed... "IF THE POSITION IS A SUPV.
FORESTRY TECHNICIAN INVOLVED IN SUPPRESSION, PRESCRIBED FIRE, AND FORMAL
TRAINING (ie-college level)....
After being a school bus and transit bus driver, trainer, and manager for
more years than I'll admit here, I'm sick of the rat race. Several of my
friends and employees have been, or are fire bus drivers and all say they
I'm thinking of driving firebus this season and possibly becoming an
owner/operator with my own bus or even a small fleet with paid drivers
next season, contracting to USFS.
I'd appreciate hearing feedback regarding pros and cons, good and bad
experiences you've had, what you look for in a good transportation
provder, equipment, driver, service, etc. If I start this business, I want
to know what the REAL users want from it. Thanks for your input!
||Ab, you were babbling about engines and 5 day effective vs 7 day
effective and sayin thats the reason those engine slugs get gs 8's. I
don't think so! There are better reasons for dollars than supervision. How
do you explain an Initial Attack hand crew Captain that is stuck with 7
wages. For my money I'd rather have a 'complicated piece of machinery' to
run with 5 or 7 FFTRS than a hand crew with 10 people 7 days a week (14
FFTRS). Which do you think is more complicated the machine or the people?
Theres a whole bunch of reasons those guys get 8's outta the deal, mostly
to buy bigger hats.
I don't remember you (or anyone else) saying the IAHC captains
shouldn't be 8s. The hotshot superintendants are 9s, the hotshot foremen
are 8s. The hotshot foremen only oversee the activities for 8 or nine
people five days a week and have no suprvisorial responsibilities except
in the absence of the super, who I must add is very seldom absent. The
IAHC captains can have full supervisory responsibilities of 9 people 5
days a week, responsible for project planning and accomplishment, and
station maintenance. A position description comparison along with a
corresponding desk audit should alleviate this descrepancy, hopefully in
the near future.
To specifically address your last question with tongue firmly in cheek,
new people are more complicated, but once training and working together
for a while with good supervisors (who deserve to be fairly compensated),
maybe the machine -- that is, if the fire behavior is held constant. Ab
wants ta know: Is that hat's bigger than before? or hat's the size the
overhead wear as they try to hold the fire to a constant or at least
figure what it's gonna do?
||Hey out there,
Just heard the FS is looking into making all AFMO's GS-9's instead of
7's and 8's. Anyone know anymore?
||Fired up a saw today, felled a snag, bucked it up, and like all
ex-hotshots, started reminiscing.
About a year ago, I posted a message in which I was looking for some
comrades whom I've lost touch with. I received a few replys, for which I'm
grateful. However, I'd still like to hear from anyone who was with Apple
Valley Helishots in 1988, or Dalton Hotshots in 1989 or 1990. Or, if
anyone knows the wherebouts of Mike "Veg-Man" Ceriello, Dan
"Ogie" Ogden, Tom "Peach" Nyberg, Bill Fonda, Junior,
Maurice, Don-Ho, or Alex Csatari, if you could drop me a line, it'd be
appreciated. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can post a
reply on this site.
For whatever it's worth, the only story I've ever read that describes
what it's like to be on a shot crew is Norman McLean's novella, The
Ranger, the Cook, and the Hole in the Sky: USFS, 1919. If you've never
read it, you ought to. Although hotshot crews didn't yet exist, he
describes what it's like to be on one. If you read it and don't get a
little choked up, dammit, then you were never a shot.
Keep your chains sharp and your canteens full.
Your comments are spot on. I came in with the Viet Vets and can attest
to the fact that many of my peers brought to the Agencies a high level of
maturity and ability to supervise people in very stressful and hazardous
environments. Those type of attributes, and there are many others, while
invaluable, are sometimes overlooked or not considered. I was initially
hired not because of a point preference, but because I had demonstrated
strong supervisory skills, skills I acquired when I was 19 years old. That
gave me a nice edge years later in the job pool. It has been a good
program that has brought top notch people into fire management and I
believe, will continue to do so.
Just returned from Colorado after a quick trip to hike Storm King.
Hiked on Sat. and ended up having good weather considering what was
happening in the rest of the state. Trail was still icy in parts and
muddy. Wasn't too bad getting up to the overlook of the west flank line.
Rest of trail was snowy and muddy. The west-flank fireline still had deep
snow and was very soft, so made hiking very difficult. The crosses are all
uncovered though and easily visible. Was very somber looking over the
items left and thinking what must have been running through their heads
when things went down. Especially the two helitack guys. How close they
were to the ridge top on the west line is very surprising and sadening.
Another few seconds and none of this would be talked about. The mountain
is great memorial and should be hiked by everyone involved in wildland
fire. I was expecting a much longer hike and steeper country. But to
second guess anyone that was on the fire is absurd and does no good. Have
to wonder though, what could or should have been done different and if any
of it would have made any difference. The registration box is well marked
with stickers from various areas, crews, and people. Added crews logo to
box, adding to many different shot crews that are represented. I would
hope that more people take the opportunity to hike the mountain to learn
and pay tribute.
||-- BLM Bob
After your comments, I went back and reveiwed your statements, and
You are correct, you did give some very good information (damn near
excellent). I would have to say I probably jumped the gun with you and may
have been a bit excessive and possibly out of line. I apologize.
I have a little experience with riparian areas, although I don't quite
understand your questions.
However, I have seen swamp fires burn the tops of the swamp while
you're slushing through 24" of water dragging a hose to put the
cattails out before the fire reaches the hillside......
They should have known that. There was 0 wind in town and the 911
operators were swamped. The Forest came back with the excuse that maybe
they needed to let the public and other officials know when they were
Ab, could you include the attached photo? BTW it's not as pretty as the
Elk Bath picture.
Here's the smoke
sinks photo. Ab.
||The national sit report from NICC is now available on the web in html
It's about 10K in size, compared to 88K in PDF format. The tables are
not formatted, so if you really need to see the figures in table format,
you'll have to suffer with the PDF format until the folks at NICC get it
back together. Don't hold your breath on that, though - they say the PDF
format is a "cleaner end product," whatever that means.
The effect that you are describing is known as an inversion layer. It
occurs when cold air gets trapped beneath a layer (or cap) of warmer air.
This happens due to diurnal heating of the ground. When the sun goes down
cool, denser air flows downward into valley bottoms, canyon bottoms, etc.
This causes the warm air to trap the colder air beneath it. Smoke, dust,
and other particulates get caught in the denser cold air as there is no
vertical air movement inside the inversion. The inversion will remain
until solar energy heats the cold air enough to allow it to rise and
"break through" the inversion layer. Many times fires that are
beneath the inversion layer lay down with minimal activity until the
inversion breaks, then these fires blow up due to the sudden increase in
air movement. This can happen in a matter of minutes during early morning
hours. I have also seen fires burning in the middle of the night where in
the lower elevations there is no fire activity due to the cooler air
temperatures but there is active fire near the same elevations as the
inversion layer. Hope this helps you out.
No lakes in your neck-o-the-"woods", eh? Ab.
||Re: no downgrade. . .letter in the mail.
Excuse me if I hold off popping the cork on the champagne till the
letter arrives. Even then, it will most likely be a "virtual"
cork. I've passed this milestone before and have yet to preceive a logical
reason to revisit. I suggest the person(s) responsible for the uneccessary
review restitute the government for the costs incurred by those forced to
participate. I also recommend a spot cash award for all those who have
suffered mental anguish caused by the event. $500 might help ease some of
the emotional distress and make the incumbents feel more appreciated.
Has any thought been given to providing on-site counseling for those
feeling betrayed one too many times by their agencies?
Rhino (with chinks in the armor)
||lOOKING TO BORROW AN S-290 cd ROM CLASS
IF YOU HAVE ONE AVAIL. PLEASE EMAIL ME AT TEKEBIRD@YAHOO.COM
I am not familiar with the term "Smoke Sink", but am very
well acquainted with the phenomenon. It is not a new thing by any means.
It is a facet of "lake effect." In spring and summer, lakes, and
in particular large lakes, are cooler than the surrounding land and cause
the air over them to cool and sink. If that air is full of smoke it will
capture and hold the smoke. Then with air continuing to rise from the
surrounding land, there will be an onshore flow, blowing smoke inland.
This also happens with sea breezes.
I can think of a couple of examples of this. In the mid 90's one of the
National Forest Districts in Wisconsin did a prescribed burn in July (non
fire season). During the afternoon the smoke rose and was carried out over
Lake Superior with a southwest transport wind. That evening it came back
ashore in Chequamegon Bay. It wasn't as thick as your example, so that
there weren't any serious visibility problems, but it caused quite a few
citizens to call in reporting forest fires in the neighborhood. Another
time, a very large wildfire on the North Carolina coast sent a column of
smoke out to sea, which came back ashore in South Carolina.
As to why it happened only once in the last 20 years, I can only guess
that it just happened that the transport winds, mixing heights, tonnage of
the smoke and timing of the burn were in the right alignment to cause the
smoke to remain concentrated and to be captured by the lake effect.
Welcome and thanks, MH. Interesting info. Ab.
||Re the sit report in pdf only: FYI, there has been some discussion among
the FS web-types that PDF may not even meet the criteria for the Americans
with Disabilities Act. Whether it does or not, it's a hassle for readers
to deal with. Ab, if this pdf-only reporting continues, maybe this site
could offer a non-pdf sit report. I know that might be some work on a
daily basis, but perhaps a few of us could help out so all can have ready
access to the info...
Yeah, right, Tom! Thanks for the offer, but I'd rather Boise get it
together -- they're getting paid to do the job. Now maybe if you wanted to
help with some little animated gifs?... Ab.
||I'm sitting in a workshop full of fire mgrs, hydrology types, and
researchers. We are trying to get a handle on how riparian areas influence
fire effects on adjacent upland landscapes. Also, how useful are riparian
areas as anchor points, fuel breaks, safety zones, etc. Riparian is
roughly defined as streams and ponds with their adjacent wetland
vegetation. Clearly, the ability to fill a pissbag or engine from a stream
helps suppression but what other effects are dependent on a healthy
stream/riparian system? Any thoughts?
You dont reckon that you might have a copy of that (those) contracts
for the crews...there have been some questions in my class about this very
thing...if you want to be ann EMT...you have to have a Medical Director
(short for a doctor who takes ultimate responsibility for your actions),
but IF it is a condition of your job..then the agancy has to provide you
with a medical director.
My EMT instructor is kinda out of the loop..so im wondering if he's
right b/c if the shots require an EMT..according to my teacher..the FS (or
who-ever) has to provide a medical director.
||"already hired" ,
I am a veteran, 4 years military and 27 years forest service.
I would like to apologize to all the vets out there, I meant you no
disrespect or discredit. I have once again proven that both of my size
11.5 whites will indeed fit into my mouth at the same time with room to
Veterans should indeed have preference in our workforce as I did when I
was discharged from the military and hired 2 weeks later by an FS
The intended "slam" was at the WO inventors of our current
hiring procedure and it's implementation. Giving Vets preference is one
thing, but giving anyone 9 choices of where they want to work and
guaranteeing them a job without letting the receiving unit interview, call
references or have any say in the hiring procedure is a little farfetched
and I would say bordering on coddling.
No, I did not mean that young adults should not be hired.. quite the
contrary.. wildland firefighting is a young persons job! I commend you for
knowing what you wanted to do early in life and going after it. Keep up
the good work and stay safe.....
/disgusted (but not always!)
||SUBJECT: The International Exhibition for Disaster Control and Emergency
We would like to inform you that The International Exhibition for
Disaster Control and Emergency Treatment Services will be held on
15-18,August 2001 in Shanghai, China. Various activities including a
disaster control and emergency treatment forum, seminars/conferences,
business talks and new products appraisals will take place during the
event. The fair details and a Space Reservation Form are attached for your
information. (E-mail them for those forms. Ab.) If you need any
assistance, please feel free to contact us.
- The Civil Defense Office of Shanghai Municipal Government
- Education Network & Exhibition Services Ltd.
- OIC Advertising & Exhibition Co., Ltd.
- The Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Response Association (DERA)
- The International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM)
Thank you. Best regards,
Education Network & Exhibition Services Ltd.
14E Cindic Tower, 128 Gloucester Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Tel: 852 2598 7556
The Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Response Association
Mr.Bascombe J.Wilson Executive Director
The International Association of Emergency Managers
Ms. Elizabeth B.Armstrong,MAN CAE
||A question for all you smoke eaters. Has anyone ever heard of the phrase
"Smoke Sink"? Our local forest smoked out the town which is 20
miles away to the point visibility was less than 200 yards. The
explanation was the cool air of a large lake that was close by caused a
smoke sink. The interesting part is they have been burning around this
lake for over 20 years and now the smoke sink effect is something new.
||From Firescribe in response to various questions:
Map showing the large fires we had last year
Wildland fire potential map (in fire season this is the site of the
Drought severity index by division
And here's a heads-up on a new video Firestorm 2000 that should be in
stores by April.
Hello, I'm having a problem. I'm applying for a fire job with fish and
feathers. (FWS) I've been trying to apply online, everything goes fine
until you get to the Supplemental Qualifications Statement (SQS) The only
part you can see is the answer sheet. With no way to know what the
questions are. Instructions are not available for viewing through opm
Can anyone offer some advice?
Also, What area of the west is in drought conditions this year? i.e.
any guess on where and when it will crank this year? Sounds like R-3 is
wet this year.
Anyone know about FWS hiring? Mellie? Anyone else? What are the
deadlines? Electronic or hardcopy? Anybody like ASAP to call to lead an
applicant through the process? Ab.
I wouldn't say I ripped RJH a new one. I gave some pretty good
information (if I say so myself) from the BLM's perspective on the subject
he/she asked about, and I closed with two words of advice. Hardly a
"a damn gospel on all of our opinions on what a terrible, anti-christ
DUI person he/she is."
And just so you understand my intent, it wasn't only for RJH - I meant
that for all the firefighters that read this great site. Maybe, just
maybe, some good-hearted but momentarily careless firefighter someday will
remember what they read here and arrange for a designated driver. The
world could be a better place.
And just to further toot my own horn, here's a story. Some time back, I
hired a person into a GS-5 fire job that had been fired from another fire
job because of a DUI. I took on that person that I had never met because
they came across well, and other people gave good recommendations. That
person is now a GS-12 in aviation, and doing a hell of a job. So I don't
feel the least bit bad about my recommending a DD to RJH (and to everyone
that reads this page), because I think it's good advice and I've tried to
make some fairly positive contributions.
And when I go to rip someone a new one, it's never anywhere near as
mild as what I wrote to RJH. ;^)
When I read your e-mail I had to seriously doubt you are veteran.
Anyone who has sacrificed years of their life to serve our country,
especially in a time of war deserves preference in hiring for a government
job. It is a sacrifice that a person cannot understand unless you've been
there, which I cannot believe you have. I think you need to quit crying
about it and do your best to get hired with the qualifications you have.
If a vet gets the job over you, tough. I've heard plenty of stories about
vets who were hired over someone else who had better qualifications. I
also know of alot of people who's qualifications were just a bunch of
words on paper and when it came time to perform they failed. So just live
with it, the policy is not going to change.
||The SoCal SIT report is still normal. (I realize that doesn't do the
rest of the world any good)
Anybody try the individual Regions to see if they have their own like
Had to reply to your question about how does california rate for GS8
engine captains. Couldn't agree more that the job is equally complex all
over the country. The actual factor in the classification that made it
rate out as an 8, was supervision. The 8's are on Type 3 engines which
carry 5 people. With 7 day coverage that brings the total employees to 7.
On the Type 4 engines and others there are only 3 people at a time (5
total employees). The fire community in california fought very hard to
keep from having a different grade sturcture on different type engines. We
all believe a captain is a captain and what makes the job complex is not
the difference of 2 temporary employees. Apparently, among classifiers,
grade level in the Forestry Technician series is more based on supervision
than job complexity. The fire shop lost the battle in that one, but this
go round may help change things for folks in other regions. I certainly
see the potential for it. Just remember, we are all in this together and
the last thing we want to do is pit different regions against one another.
Good clarification, firenwater. Another way to put it... The Type 3s
carry 5 people but if they're on duty 7 days a week, two additional people
are needed. FF do a staggered tour in order to have time off. In contrast,
Type 3s that carry 5 FF for 5 days do not require staggered tours for the
crew. Supervision is simpler. The Type 4s carry 3 people but if they're on
duty 7 days a week, there must be two additional FF for the staggered
tour. Supervising 5 people is the optimal number in the chain of command.
Supervising more requires greater coordination -- and higher GS rating. It
seems logical that all engine captains of Type 4 engines who supervise 5
people for 7 days (or 7 FF over the week) should be rated GS-8, regardless
of their duty location whether in R5 or not.
Here's another question. Why shouldn't the assistant engine captain
also be rated GS-8? This person supervises the crew on the two days a week
the captain is off (40%) and supervises whenever the captain leaves for
training, conferences, and other duties. Probably most assistant engine
captains have such supervisorial duties more than half the time. Ab.
Just thought I would share good news with you for a change. I recieved
a call today and accepted and offer for a 5 on one of the new Shot Crews.
I thought for sure I was one who had slipped through the cracks. I'm
pretty happy but I know also what lies ahead of me. I am sure it's going
to be a totally different from So. CA. I'm 32 in a town where they are
probably going to pick up alot of the crew from the local university. I
guess it's time for a new pair of cross-trainers. Thanks for your advice
Good news indeed! Ab.
What do you mean by kid gloves, I hope you are not implying that young
adults should not work in the fire service. I'll give you a little
background on myself, I started in a cadet program when I was 14, doing
mop up/gruntwork/ sharpening tools all of that stuff. In the winter I took
all the classes I could 290, 205, 231 etc.. I am now 21 and going into my
second season on a rappell crew and squad boss positions. I feel that
young adults have a lot to offer and that managers would be in a real
pinch if they were not there. Let me know if i misinterpreted your email.
KSL, I think he meant the preference that military veterans are
given in hiring for federal jobs. We're happy to have young people who
have some experience firefighting applying for jobs. Sounds like you
started young. Anyone want to explain to this young man and other young
people reading how hiring a vet works, what demo and merit mean? We get
these questions all the time. It would be good to add a jobs FAQ on these.
||Hi, my name is lawrence clowry. I recently completed the I-100, S-130,
and S-190 coursework. I have a B.S. in biology with such classes as
ecology, plant taxonomy, plant physiology etc. I am extremely fit, I
played soccer in college and i have run two miles under 12 minutes
numerous times (this was part of our training). I am also in my second
semester of fire science classes at my local community college. I am an
extremely hard worker and dedicated person. I think that I am a good
candidate for wildland firefighting. I specifically would like to get
involved with a hotshot crew. I was wondering if you could give me any
advice as to how to get this position. If it is too late for hotshots
could you give me any info on other positions such as an engine crew and
how to get these jobs. Thank you for your time.
Readers, comments? Have the opportunities for type1 crew passed for
this year? Ab.
can jou make a link to my homepage?
My homepage URL is: www.feuerwehr-ambulanz.com
And have jou a patch for me?
Sorry but my English is not verry good.
Nice homepage Phillip. Yours is mainly about city firefighting and
emergency rescue. We are wildland firefighters -- forest, mountains,
swamps, deserts, sometimes on the edges of the city next to the forest.
Hey Hickman, check out his Anemierte Bilder link on the left of his
page. Anyone out there with clip art or animated gifs to share? We have a
few we're thinking of putting up for reader use. Ab.
||Hi all! Here's the formerly unsubmitted section of my Engine Captain
post from last week. I can add it now that the no downgrade
"letter" from Nelson is in the mail.
I was really surprised that the *official decision* took so long to
come down from Nelson. All I could think was that he was trying to decide
how to frame his response nationally so that Engine Captains in other
regions would not also jump to GS-8 and cost big bucks. My only other
thought was that maybe he thought he could make the non-downgrade official
in the most quiet way. How much $$ was wasted on that exercise???
Guess if I were he, I wouldn't want to have to be the one to tell the
new cost-cutting administration that All Wildland Firefighting Engine
Captains across the country deserve to be paid what they're worth based on
their technical expertise. So I'd try to think up some rational as to
why it should only apply to R5. For example, "R5 has such extensive
wildland/urban interface that engine captains there must have greater
technical expertise and therefore deserve higher pay." RIGHT, like
there is less interface in other regions of the country! Like structures
at risk don't exist in Montana, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Texas, NM,
the woods of Pennsylvania, the swamp interface of Florida or the Pine
Barrens of New Jersey! Like only in CA does it get complicated because
of the interagency participation even on IA?
I say all FS engine captains nationwide deserve the same pay
schedule, GS-8. And soon!
There, that feels better. I hate to have to bite my lip before I've
delivered the whole message! (And I'm still really proud of ALL of you!!!)
||And now we offer kid gloves and every job to every vet, whether they
expressed prior interest or not...nothing against vets, I are one, but you
talk about monkeywrenches in an already unbelievable process!!
WASHINGTON WAKE UP!!!!!
What is the criteria to qualify a enigne captain for a GS-08 instead of a
GS-07? What makes California Engine Captains the exemption to the rule
when the rest of the nation Engine Captains top out at a GS-07. Is the
difference in the complexity, because I'm sure almost every Engine Captain
outside of R5 would agree that there job is just as complex. The FS and
the BLM detail Engine's to R5, should there pay be increased when on
detail? Should R5 Engine be downgraded when outside of R5? Just curious
everybody wants more pay.
||In response to AL's note about the cumbersome hiring process: RIGHT ON!!
After doing my electronic app on the avue/fsjobs site, I was later told to
send in a hard copy application with a resume and just respond to all the
KSA's hard-copy. Did that. Then I was sent a letter asking me to fill out
the bubblesheets and send those in. Did that. Yesterday I got e-mail from
the W.O. asking me to respond to all the questions again and fax it back.
Did that too. I figure my chances of getting hired are now:
A. Double what they were before.
B. Triple what they were before.
C. Quadruple what they were before, since I have now applied 4 times and
made it successfully through this ridiculous gamut.
D. About 25% of what they were before, since I'm now probably competing
with my other 3 applications.
E. None of the above.
F. All of the above.
G. Gollygee, I think I am giving myself a headache.
||The current temporary hiring process is too cumbersome. As with other
jobs offered this year, applicants for temp positions can designate up to
9 units. If a particular forest's code comes up, that forest must give the
candidate due consideration. Sounds simple, but some forests are receiving
2000+ names for consideration. The volume is overwhelming; the process,
like digging line in molasses. I suggest that those of us in the FS send
two e-mails alerting management to the problem: one to our Regional Head
of Fire and the other to Lyle Laverty. Request that the process be
simplified. We need to get our temps hired and trained in an expeditious
manner. There's plenty else to spend our time on this year besides poring
over a wheelbarrow full of applications.
||Word from three independent sources says that the letter signed by Steve
Nelson, HRM is on its way. There will be no downgrade of GS-8 engine
captains. EXCELLENT NEWS! Congrats to you engine captains on the good
job of demonstrating the technicality and complexity of your jobs. Thank
you to R5 management for your strong support. Good support from FWFSA.
Thanks also to Joan the HR certifier (and her group) for accurately
reporting back to Nelson what was presented, and recommending no change.
Potential engine captains, remember that the deadline for postmarks on
applications for Round 2 Permanent MEL and PLA hires is March 14 -- this
I'm really proud of you all!
||Mike, and interested others...........
Just returned from attempting to hike the SK14 Memorial trail. Weather
was absolutely perfect, trail conditions on the west slope of the west
ridge become treacherous....icy and slick for long upgrade stretches where
the sun dosen't make it. Where the ice isn't, runoff has made mud of the
trail. My better half is not an experienced hiker, so we'll try again
later in the spring (rather than risk injury and spousal wrath). Snow and
snow showers were moving in today.
By the way: a tremendous THANK YOU to whoever cleaned and repaired the
vandalism of the Two Rivers Park monument (Glenwood residents?).
My last words on the DUI issue is that the ONLY difference between RJH
and a lot of the folks who read this board, is RJH got caught.
How many of y'all have gone to a bar, party, etc and drank 2-3 beers
and then got in the ole automobile and drove it?
Touched a nerve there, eh? I am trying to make a point to the folks out
there who are job hunting and have not had a DUI, reckless driving, etc.
Those events follow people for a long time and they should think twice
before putting themselves in those situations. I do a fair chunk of hiring
and these things things hurt peoples employment potential in our zone. I
am guessing that is true most places. If you have a DUI or reckless
driving ticket, I guess you can contact Jim's unit for employment.
So you are going to castigate this person for life for making a
mistake! I guess you have NEVER made a mistake and will fall on your sword
when you do.
I lost my privilege to drive in CA for 3 1/2 years because of poor
judgment and two reckless driving tickets in one year that should have
been DUI's, but I went on to have a 35 year stint with the USFS. I do
believe I did ok in my chosen profession, even though it shouted bad
sec and Pure & Simple, Right on!
||Does anyone know where you can get a current sit report in non-acrobat
The site I had last year hasn't been updated for awhile, and for some
reason I can't seem to download acrobat on this system.
Hey, they went and put the !#*n sit report into pdf! And I noticed
the last sit was over a megabyte big. Who wants to sit on their butt and
wait for that bloated pig to download? PDF is NOT the answer. Where is the
voice of logic in all this? G*! !#*n it, am I going to have to go to Boise
to get all this straightened out? Ab. (Just practicin' up on my
impersonation of the original Ab!!)
||Article on Blackfeet Firefighters from Firescribe:
It is a time to maintain clear heads regarding the forth coming
decision on the audit of the Captain positions. To down grade those
positions would be a crime against those employees.
"If" a down grade would occur clear headed decisions need to
be made by each individual. A walkout can have very negative results.
Approach such an action as you would downhill fire fighting. When you have
the weather, fuel, topography against you, and you cannot see the fire,
just smoke. You are lining yourself up to get burned big time. Remember
when the Air Traffic Controllers walked out. They ended up locked out for
years. Two years ago they started taking some of them back.
A friend who was an Air Traffic Controller and volunteer fireman
walked-out. The cost was his job, his family, his health, and his sense of
direction in life.
Two years ago I met one of the FAA controllers on a fire who was locked
out after walking out. He went back to college and became a school
teacher. If he stayed he would be retirement age, but he does not have
enough time now. When the door re-opened after nearly twenty years he
returned because he could make more money in a tower then he could as a
teacher. He ended up divorced and a strange man in another state is
raising his son.
Many times during a long career in the FS I thought of taking the big
walk. I hoped the FAA walkout would be successful, but it died fast. I was
offered a job outside for more money but I passed, because as much as I
disliked my job on some days, I loved the job.
Clearly being politically active and contacting your representatives
and the White House, along with having a good press package is a good
approach. At one time I thought the Union was the answer, but changed my
mind when I felt the leadership was off-the-wall. Contact your
representatives in congress multiple times. Be polite, and
non-threatening. If you are going to get anything, honey will get you more
then vinegar. Threats close doors, and they may not reopen. Clearly in R5
the ability to compare the pay rates with CDF and some counties make a
The same pay arguments will not work in Idaho and Minnesota. If the
battle is to be won, it will be in R5 with the support of other Regions
who will gain in the long run. Study your options, many times I thought of
jumping ship. Clearly I would like to have the same retirement as my CDF
I wish you the best, because you have earned it.
||sec and Pure & Simple,
Maybe RJH was not looking for a lecture, but when you mess up you have
to deal with all of the consequences. Beyond that there are many others
who read this page. If this can get their attention, and if it helps them
make decisions that avoid this type of error something good will have come
out of this situation. During my hiring process, when all you have to go
with is an application, that a DUI would go to the bottom of the pile.
Good recomendations may change that, but it would be an uphill battle. To
me a DUI shouts bad judgement.
deuce and BLM bob, right on
RJH, with the hiring frenzy that is going on this year, a seasonal with
good experience and a DUI will have a better opportunity than in years
Was there an expected time frame for the decision on the R-5 engine
captain’s audit? I recall hearing rumbles the decision should be made
and announced by early this week. What’s the hold up? I’ve seen enough
court tv shows and movies to get the impression, the longer it takes the
jury to deliver a verdict, the worse the news. Think a decision has been
made and they’re just trying to glue the right spin on it?
Should, perish the thought, the Washington Office decide to slap the
face of the engine captains in region 5 by degrading them, what do you
think should be done?
Here are a couple of suggestions I feel appropriate.
- Each and every wildland firefighter, and those who support them
stage a one hour protest. By this I mean that a time is set and the
plug is pulled. Around the world there is suddenly an extreme,
noticeable absence of wildland firefighters. Reminiscent of a “blue
flue” from past New York City police department activities? Everyone
calls in “sick” for one hour, at the same time, on the same day.
Ok, not those of you who have lives depending your services, even
I’m not that gung ho (which is why we’ll never have the necessary
leverage, we’re too dedicated). Let the national media get a hold of
this rag doll and chew on it a while. I think I’ll begin making a
few calls in ahead of time. Are there any local media journalists in
your area who always have an axe to grind against the stonewall of
federal bureaucracy? Let me know and I will add them to my list of
priority contacts, it’s pretty big already.
- For those a little nervous about participating in the above protest,
how about wearing a small symbol showing your support for those
directly affected? Perhaps a small black ribbon signifying mourning,
an acknowledgement that if it can be done to others, it can also be
done to you. You can even hide it if you need to, or wear it on your
little finger, at least you would be participating.
Thanks for letting me vent a bit Mr/Mrs/Ms Abercrombie. Hopefully, no
action other than token celebrating need be done once it’s all over
(will it really be over, for all time, or could it happen again). After
all, it took around 3 years for the current revised standards and position
descriptions to pass. Why is there all of a sudden a need for
re-invention? Someone complained, filed a grievance? If this audit is
negative, just watch the real, organized complaining begin.
Does wildlandfire.com have a position on this or any plans if the worst
Bear (What’s taking so long I wonder as I imagine wizards waving
their arms as they attempt turning gold back into lead.)
Bear, wildlandfire.com always supports the best for all wildland
firefighters and will take any measures deemed appropriate should they
become necessary. Ab.
||Re the failure to have a valid and timely verdict on the R5
Engine Captain GS Rating:
Just a few important things for all R-5 personnel to think about. You
are not just USFS/BLM employees. You are also citizens who are represented
by congress persons and senators. Your spouses and children, who will
suffer as a result of an arbitrary decision, are also constituents of
congressionals. These are the same congressional people who would really
be concerned about why Steve Nelson (USFS, WO, Director of HRM) made some
comments to the effect of a desk audit had about a 90% chance of causing a
downgrade in R-5. What really might concern them is that he supposedly
made this comment before any desk/field audit had been made.
SO TO CUT TO THE CHASE. WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
If you are reading this you have easy and QUICK access to your
congressional and senatorial representatives. Contact them as concerned
citizens. Ask that decision makers in this be held accountable. Flood
their interns with phone calls. Have your spouses and children write or
call. Ask that who ever is the root of all this evil be held accountable!
It does not help the agency retain employees, and we all know the problems
here. There was a bill passed in the House of Reps to increase retirement
age to ease the retention problem. This indicates that congress cares
about our retention problem. Also, congress is who gave us MEL. This
indicates that maybe congressionals care about staffing levels. Why would
congress give us money so pencil pushers could arbitrarily question an
existing PD signed by a previous Deputy HRM for the purpose of downgrading
us? It's really not downgrading, but rather DEGRADING us as valuable
employees. Now is the time to contact as many people as you can. Inform
friends, family, write letters to editors of local and national
newspapers, and most importantly WRITE your congressional reps. and
Ab sez, to find your reps: http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/
Go down to the zip code option. Fill yours in. You'll get your three reps.
||Re: Duece Bigg'alo & RJH
Aw duece, ya had all the answers in your first paragraph, then you had
to go and bring all your personal garbage into the picture. Ya should'a
quit. The kid had an honest and open question and you had to go and get up
on your own bandwagon. Were ya thinking you were in a MADD chat room? Do
you think the kid is proud of what happened to him? Was he/she asking for
any part of your ethics or morals? I'm sure glad I don't work for you. I'd
feel sory for you if I thought you needed it. You arrogant, imposing. .
.wait, now I'm making a personal attack and that's now allowed here. Sorry
Carry on my friend, it ain't the end of the world, although it may be a
depressing situation. I recieved a DUI. I was forced to stand aside for a
while and watch as those who were once behind me stepped in to take my
place. If your normal work-duty responsibilities include driving and the
judge won't make an allowance for you to drive at work, you may also lose
some ground. If your boss thinks you are worth it, they can try to
intercede on your behalf. With the right "push" behind you, you
could get clearance for limited work related driving. There is no clear
cut answer I an offer as the laws can vary as much as a judge's mood.
There are some regions or areas, as I've already seen stated here, that
might pass you over for promotion or perhaps even terminate you. Don't
think the rest of the world is ready to permantly condemn you for a
God bless those who have never been wrong. How wonderful, how marvelous
their life must be as they sit on their throne of righteousness and judge
the rest of us!
Pure & Simple (NOT)
We are currently preparing our March newsletter that will be
distributed to our membership...which include quite a few folks that are
qualified for the position you are trying to fill. If you want to contact
me directly at email@example.com I will be happy to include a small ad
in the newsletter. That goes for any other contractors who may need
experienced, trained, wildland firefighters.
The one caveat is that you will likely need to provide them with a red
card as MN has fallen into the habit of not releasing firefighters red
cards until after our spring fire season is done.
Last year many contractors may recall that we attempted to facilitate
employment of our members via an alternative list...which unfortunately
did not work. This year we have set up a web site accessible by our
members on which we will post any job openings if you wish. In addition to
being accessible to any of our members it will also be downloaded,
printed, and posted all over the state on a weekly basis. Contractors will
then be directly contacted by potential employees.
We would ask only that once a position is filled you notify us ASAP so
we can remove it from the list. I hope this helps.
Minnesota Wildland Firefighters Association
||I would be more then happy to help Kaitlyn in her interveiw.
As far as TR Idaho. They can post a job opening in there local
newspaper or even fliers in public places. True they may get a lot of
responses and may get some people they dont want, but it just might snag
that one person they are looking for. As far as what they should look for.
It all depends on what position they are looking to fill. If they want an
engine boss, well, we all know that you cant start a greenback behind a
wheel. Just wouldnt be safe. Have them contact there loacl federal or
state agency and what there qualifications are and go by them until they
feel comfortible adn want to change them a bit, but I dont think they can
change it to much. Good luck this year all and stay safe, we're supposed
to have a bad one.
You know, I just got done reading Ab speaks and I must say, Kudos to
you. You are quite correct with the lack of communication between fire
fighters on the internet. I must also thank you, I assume from all of your
readers as well, for creating this site and keeping it going. I know how
time consuming it must be to reply to everyones postings and keeping the
site up. I just wanted to extend my appreciation to you and your team for
doing a top notch job on this site. Have fun this summer and stay safe.
||To: "duece" Big or Low
Please don't rip RJH a new AH. Look, we will all agree that a DUI is
not beneficial, but I'm sure it wasn't intentintial. If it was, RJH, we
need to work on that.... But, the fact of the matter is RJH asked for an
opinion; she/he doesn't need a damn gospel on all of our opinions on what
a terrible, anti-christ DUI person he/she is. It is highly unlikely that
RJH killed your friends or family. (However, not recomending that DUI is a
good thing or acceptable). We are all sorry (I assume) of the death of a
loved one, or friends. However, we have all lost friends due to stupid
acts by other people.
RJH, it sucks you have a DUI. It is not beneficial. It will probably
hurt you. The question is: "How much"? I have known people that
have had worse (i.e. felony related acts) and that still did not limit
their position or getting hired.
The thing to remember, is to tell the truth on the forms!
||This is going to be our second season as a private contractor and I'm
floundering around trying to learn a new business. My husband and his
partner have past experience but worked for contractors some years ago. I
need one more employee for our Type 5 engine but don't quite know where to
look. I have looked thru the job vacancies on this and another website but
noticed that they were all from government agencies. This brings to mind
two questions: Where do the contractors post their openings and would most
people rather work for an agency. Am I better off to find a young person
who doesn't have a regular job yet and put them thru the training courses?
Your input is appreciated.
My name is Kaitlyn and I (along with my partner Carrie) doing a project
for my careers class. For our year end project we have to pick a career
and get information on it! A piece of information that we must do is an
interview! I was wondering if I would be able to send some questions that
you might be able to answer. If you could email me permission to do this
that would be great!
Any ff out there want to take on this "interview"? If so,
e-mail me and I'll put you in touch. On second thought, Kaitlyn and
Carrie, send in some questions and we'll try to answer them. Ab.
||Ab & crew, et all..
I'm still reading here ya'll.. don't think that just cause yer pup's
busy learning structural stuff thatit means you lost him... not hardly.
Best wishes to all as the 2001 fire season begins to shape up, have a safe
Mr/Ms/Mrs R. Nichols-
I do believe you would treat "firestorm" as one word. Why?
Mostly due to the use of the one word "thunderstorm". This is,
however, just the pup's opinion and could easily be thwarted by a person
higher skilled in the english laguage (You out there Kelly?). I am writing
my own atory (fictional, however.. not clear if yours is factual or
otherwise..) about the wildland fire service, although very simple and
basic and has a few large holes in places when it comes to proper
fireground operations on a wildland fire, but as I learn I am improving.
My endeavor is mostly just for a high-school class/personal enjoyment, but
you never know, the pup might just be an author someday.. <GRIN>
Tiny, the R-6 Fire Pup/Recruit
||Dear Ab and the wildland fire community at-large,
We have a sad event to report. On Jan.18, 2001, Matt Leanard of
Wildfire Support Services (W. Sacramento, CA) passed away of an apparent
heart attack. He was 47 years old.
Matt, who was often controversial within the wildland fire service will
be remembered as a husband, a fireman, a great fabricator and inventor.
His work lead to the development of the co-ductor CAFS unit. His eyebrow
raising Type 3 engine with on-board GPS mapping/computer and printer, was
probably the most talked about piece of equipment in California. His
towering 6'10" frame belied his compassionate "bearish"
nature, he was always willing to pitch in a helping hand on equipment
repairs for government or contractor associates in the field. His humorous
"fire dawg" computer generated radio broadcast programs were
widely accepted across the country.
A small service was held and was well attended by his family and
friends, as well as past and present CDF & USFS personnel. Matt, often
the most outspoken person to represent Contract Engine interests to CDF
officials, will be missed by his fellow Ash Eaters, our condolences go out
to his family and wife, Janice.
Rock & Cindy Woo
I came from South Zone Region 5 where most of the equipment are Model
60/61 Type 3's. I moved out to Colorado and Type 6's seem to be the norm.
I was talking to a gentleman and he may reference to a Type 7 engine. I
haven't got a clue. Are there any "Type 7" photos in the gallery
or could you explain it to me. Is it a pickup truck witha bucket of water
covered in seran-wrap in the bed ? :)
Thanks, I know I should have expert advice coming my way.
||Hey Ab, thanks for linking my webpage, Its still under construction and
I have a lot of pix to add. For those who know me, I am NOT the same Tom
who did the book review, just wanted to make that clear.
||re: //bunch of fire rats,
Mes think your post must have come from a group session of problem
solving. The typical debris of said session often looks like this: /pics/hand2/partypit.jpg
But, in all honesty my only reply is HERE HERE!!!!!!!!!! WELL SAID!
...and mellie, a share of that applause is for you too!
My best advice for you is to get a list of the Shot Crews and their
phone numbers and decide where you want to go. After doing that call the
sups. and tell them your interest and so on. Be sure to get the
application from Boise. Don't just call once, if they seem
receptive(everyone I have talked to was and its been 20 or so crews)keep
calling them to tell them your interest. That's how I got my offer (last
week); I think they got tired of hearing from me, so, they just hired me.
One ofther thing....start early. I started making my round of calls in
mid-Nov. They won't be hiring but at least they may start to remember your
name after a few calls. Everyone I talked to was really great; I only
encountered one bad apple last year, which was pretty good compared to the
number of sups. I talked to.
||Wow, thanks for all the info on the Tillamook Burn, Firescribe! What a
cool website this is! I really like the job page and the job FAQ, too.
Seems like I'm using the links page for one thing or another every day.
Very helpful. Thanks everyone.
Thanks for the book reviews. Ab.
||To those of you who are getting calls, don't wait!!. If you get that job
offer even if its in a bad area get the foot in the door, stick it out and
work hard for two or three years, then try to get in where you want. I
know guys and girls who got that crucial opening, went ot BFE for a while
and either stayed because they liked the area or got in elsewhere. I
turned down an FS opening like that many years ago and waited ten years
for that permanent opening. Another thing you could do is ask the job
offerer can they wait a few days for you to give them an answer (ie, I
want to talk to my wife about it.) then contact where you wanted to work
to see where you rated. I found that Personnel has more up-to-date info
than many of the FMO people. For example, I recieved an offer for a GS-4
FF position at a park, but I wanted the GS-5 that I applied for at that
park. The FMO says he chose someone else whom I later found out was less
experienced and lower rated for the job. I contacted another agency that I
had put in for a GS-5, talked with the station manager briefly about my
quals and experience, and 24 hours later I had the GS-5 job. I reached out
and made a casual inquiry and got the job I wanted. It wouldn't hurt to
call the place you wanted to work at, talk with the selecting official
(hopefully its the FMO) be honest and direct him/her that you applied and
want to work there, but have been given a solid offer elsewhere. If the
official is honest and ethical he/she will probably tell you to either to
take that job, tell you when he expects to make a selection, or if your
even being considered. Remember, a bird in the hand is worth more than two
in the bush. No one will fault you for being honest and direct trying to
reach your goals.
To the guy who's concerned about the felony on the record, if you
mentioned it on your application and it was not brought up again either by
personnel or a hiring official then stop mentioning it. If you keep it up
then they are going to have second thoughts about hiring you. Once its on
the application you have disclosed it, end of story. They are responsible
for asking you questions about past problems that you have disclosed on
the application. If they don't mention it when offering you a job, then if
your hired and it comes up later that was there mistake. As long as you
disclosed it your OK. There are permanent and seasonal Fed FFs who have
past misdemeanor and felony convictions before and during employment who
hold positions. They will hold violent and arson crimes against you for
To those of you seasonal firefighters and want-to-be seasonal
firefighter in Minnesota, I wish I would have made this suggestion when
all the feds were doing the initial hiring, and there is still a lot of
hiring about to happen, but here's what you guy all ought to do: DON'T GO
BACK TO WORK FOR THOSE GUYS! Make the trip out of state this summer for
BLM, NPS, USFS, BIA, or USF&W for a firefighting job. Leave the agency
hanging with no available firefighters and get the local volunteers to
support you, and perhaps Governor Jesse will see what's going on with the
mis-management and manipulation of the MN State Wildland Fire agency and
make some critical personnel changes. I don't want to tell you to abandon
the agency, but when they intentionally set things up so you can't get
scheduled work or red cards to allow for overtime work, thats food being
taken from your family's mouth. This problems not getting better, and you
guys shouldn't put up with it for another fire season.
As to contractors, I know a lot of them and have worked with contract
water tenders, engines, and crews and haven't seen many who were bad. I
treat everyone with respect for the job they do regardless of who they
work for, as should you all. If there's a bad contractor out there they
won't last long with all the competition available. Its unfortunate that
the contractors who really need the permanent ax are the ones hired to do
Good luck to you all this season!! I hope you'll follow the most
important economic safety rule there is: Fight Fire Aggressively but
provide for OVERTIME First!
The REDHAWKS have a new web site. Would you please link it to our logo
on logo page one. http://home.earthlink.net/~alclarkson
Al (Redhawk rep)
The ex prison Flame-N-Go hotshot crew is being renamed to the Lone Peak
Hotshot crew- just thought I'd let everyone know
How many prison crews are out there? does anyone know?
||for RP, two suggestions:
One, old ancient proverb says he who look for runaround often get just
Two, if you want help and have a positive outlook, you might try the
FEPP pages and the VFA pages. www.fs.fed.us/fire/planning/fepp
I am writing a story about wildfire. Can anyone tell me if the term
"fire storm" is spelled as one word or two
("firestorm" or "fire storm")?
Thats unfortunate about the govt surplus eqpt. Your state should be
helping you get this stuff. However understand that it used to be a
tremendous hassle getting anything good, and once you get it there is a
workload on the agency to process everything and jump through the hoops
every year as it is on their inventory as long as you have it so thats why
your state may be hesitant.
Some of this has changed and there is a fair amount of good stuff
availaible. WI just got back into the fed excess buisness and it is going
fairly good. MN has been into it for quite a bit longer with good success.
I dont know about any other states. This is how we do it. The state has
dedicated one person as the coordinator for this. If a dept is in need of
a vehicle (as of now all we are looking at is 6x6's (duce & 1/2) and
4x4 vehicles) they submit a form. We then we have people who are supposed
to regularly check each depot (there are two here) and if something comes
in that is satisfactory they notify the dept to see if they want it. If
they do there is some costs (depends on what needs to be done (if anything
to the vehicle to get it road worthy). If everything looks good, its
theirs to use as long as they want it.
Another option is to buy stuff on your own. Several departments have
done this as well, one even got a 6x6 that had never been used! It sat in
mothballs for years. They put a new battery & fresh fuel and drove it
home for $3000. It may cost you a bit more this way, but it is yours at
that point. Going through it the other way it is still legally the feds
property and when you are done with it, it either has to go back to the
feds or go through the process of getting off the list.
There are probably people in your area that buy from the feds
regularly. They would be a good source of info on the system and maybe
even keep an eye out for stuff for you. A clue for these types would just
be to keep an eye open for someone who has a vehicle that is obviously
federal excess and ask them how they got it. We have a guy here who is
always buying ex military stuff and restoring it (the older things), using
it for his buisness or reselling it.
Here are a couple of links to help you get started. DRMS (Defense
Reutilization and Marketing Service) page. www.drms.dla.mil/
Your state may have a coordinating agency or web site for fed excess
stuff, but I could not find one in a quick search. Here is WI's page just
for your info. You might find some help there too:
There is a link to an FEPP fed excess
personal property on the acronyms page, too. Ab.
Nice rebuttal Fireronin... I always enjoy hearing from someone who
writes as clearly as you do. <grin>
Some thoughts on the engine captain classification issue...
I've heard that the desk/field audit last week went well and that the
classification team from the WO was very good. Too bad they weren't
empowered to make a decision on the spot. I heard that the captains
represented themselves well (even if it did rain) and that the R5 regional
management was superlative in their support. All indicators of the audit
point to letting the R5 Engine Captains remain at GS-8 (mostly because of
the technical expertise required in the job, not so much because of
Presumably, the classification team was back in Washington by Monday
morning, with their recommendation to Nelson soon after. Now it's
Wednesday night and nothing came today... The deadline for firefighters to
apply for Engine Captain positions for Round 2 is March 14, less than a
week away. Doesn't leave much time! The Washington HR Mgmt head, Mr.
Nelson, needs to just give us the verdict. And soon so we can all
get on with training and getting ready for the upcoming fire season.
Our Region 5 crew contracts requires either an EMT or at least a
"First Responder" per crew. So to answer your question, yes
there is a benefit to being an EMT. Your services could earn you a higher
wage in the private sector. I can't speak for the government agencies, but
I have not seen a Hot Shot crew that did not have at least one EMT. It
might be the deciding factor in being selected for a Hot Shot position. It
is a valuable asset in the fire community, but hopefully one that will
never be needed. (FAT CHANCE!)
Anyways, thanks in advance,
||Utah needs you engine captains:
Also, for Cheryl who wanted info on Oregon's Tillamook Burn:
Can it affect your job? Damn straight it can, especially if your a
driver. No if, ands or buts if you loose your license and through the
court system and you have the responsibility as a driver on your engine
yes you can be sent packing. To hold a government drivers license you must
have a current and valid state license. I don't know if this is your first
DUI but stipulations can be put in the DL suspension so you can perform
you work duties but that is up to the judge.
What can you do to remedy the situation, hmmmm not a whole heck of alot
ride the judicial wave and lets see what else oh ya "STOP DRINKING
AND DRIVING". And a firefighter to boot. You should be ashamed. You
know what the consequences of your actions can cause. DUI sure beats
manslaughter or the morgue. I take that back maybe you need to go to the
morgue and see that baby still in diapers, or the teen that was on thier
way home from school, or the wife that needed to make a quick run to the
store, ALL killed by someone who "messed up", and decided to
drink and drive. I doubt this is your first time, this may be the first
time you got caught tho. Learn from it and drink responsibly. If you got a
problem seek help. This one is going to cost you a couple 1000 dollars
RJH. Your lucky if thats all it's going to cost.
Sorry for being long in tooth Abe I've lost friends, family, and
responded to way tomany of these accidents caused by those that have
"messed up". Take care and drink responsibly people.
"deuce" Big or Low
||response to Ethan Estey (10/24/00)
Are you still out there?!
Hey I was on Dalton in 1990, (C.G., AKA Smiley!). Have you found anyone
else??? I miss those good old days!! If you get this email me at
BLM does not have a policy on DUI convictions as they relate to
employment except for two things; you'll get canned if you try to lie
about it or "forget" to mention it on an application, and you're
in trouble if your license was suspended and your position PD requires a
valid driver's license.
So, tell the truth if asked, don't try to cover it up. And if you lost
your license, look for a job that doesn't require one.
One other thing, seasonals (temps) don't have a lot of employment
rights, and if the person hiring isn't crazy about you anyway, they could
look at the DUI as a black mark and skip over you pretty easily if you're
not a vet. There are BLM offices in a lot of places (like Utah) that have
a pretty conservative community, and a DUI may be a deal-killer for them.
Sorry, but that's the way the world works, though there's nothing in the
BLM policy that requires a hiring official to pass you over because of a
DUI except for what I mentioned above.
Let me leave you with two words of advice - designated driver
||Ab, here's my two cents worth regarding Charles Sasser's book
Smokejumpers: Americas's Elite Airborne Firefighters.
I'm embarrassed to admit I actually read this book. Absolute trash!
Being the first book to be published about South Canyon, it was hurriedly
written, and without a lot of thought to the true facts. It is a classic
example of someone trying to cash in on someone else's tragedy. This is
bad fiction at best. I was totally disgusted with it and I recommend you
remove it from this page.
Readers, this is one review possibility that I didn't anticipate.
Has anyone else got anything to say, pro or con about this book? Please
don't go out and buy it, but perhaps any of you who are willing could
check it out of the library and evaluate it with Tom's criticism in mind.
AZ Trailblazer, you gave it a favorable review. Would you review again in
light of Tom's negative review? Should we take it down? Ab.
||Hey Ab, finally started a personal homepage, got a few fire pix loaded
with more to come. Could you add it to the links page? Thanks and keep up
the good work.
Tom, nice page. More than a few regular posters have asked lately
about the possibility of getting their url added to our links page. We're
keeping a folder of personal and resource pages. We'll make a links page
for those kinds of reader-related, non-comercial pages when we get a
||Previously Rocky Mountain Reject -
Don't start celebrating yet. They are trying to determine if you have a
job yet and if you're willing to move to their area. We recently did the
same thing on our district. Out of the 15 - 20 people we contacted to
"determine their interest," we hired 3. Be sure to call them
back and don't be afraid to leave a message. Show a real interest and
enthusiasm in their jobs. It will help. Hope this helps.
||RE: Hickman's post on fatalities.
It's true you can find Mangan's report on fatalities through the FEMA
website, but it's available there only in PDF. If you want it in html it's
||Can anyone tell me two things. One, can anyone tell me any information
about the 2001 contract for private contractors. Any information would be
usefull. The second is, could anyone direct me to information about
predictions of the upcoming season. Information like precip, temp and
departure from normal %'s would greatly be appriciated. Thank you Phoenix
I don’t totally agree with you that the best and brightest are hired
first by the system currently in place. When you aren’t doing everything
in your power to attract as many applicants as you possibly can to the
"pool" from which you are choosing, the best you can hope for is
the best and brightest in the small pool that has been created.
I would propose that lots’ more people "fell through
cracks" than you imagine. I am not just talking about
"contractor" ADs...but rather all the experienced fire folk that
either are not Internet savvy and/or live in an area which is not filling
many positions and whose personnel are unwilling to provide adequate
information (hand holding?) to allow those who might be interested in a
position to apply for one. The fact that the process is unnecessarily
complicated and confusing is, I would wager, why there was such a dismal
response. By its’ very nature "round one" appears geared to
reemploy those already employed by the Federal agencies rather than bring
outsiders into the "fold". I think there was/is/always will be,
some degree of "lets’ take care of our own first" in the
hiring policy of every bureaucracy...and the FS/BIA/BLM is not immune from
this. I think the key phrase is those folks who were hired are those who
"are known". I did not mean to imply that this policy screws
ADs’...but rather that it screws the taxpayers. Of course I am also open
to the concept that the majority of any snafus in the hiring process are
mostly due to bureaucratic bumbling...there will always be some degree of
that in any large organization .
I do think that all experienced fire folk should be solicited...ADs’
included. Not because they have been treated unfairly in the past...(Where
did that come from Melie?)...but rather because our nation needs to
quickly address the current critical unavailability of experienced fire
fighters on the fireline. Although I don't think that
"Contractor" ADs will be willing to "go back" to
working directly for the Govt. as it does not appear to be able/willing to
compete with contractors pay and benefit wise even they should be
solicited. Yes (Hard) Mellie because we NEED them. I believe that this is
what the Legislature mandated...ASAP...and what the federal agencies so
mandated should be going all out to do if they expect the legislature to
continue to pony up 100% MEL in the future. Private industry, when charged
with the task of filling a huge number of vacancies, would first solicit
responses from every firefighter that had ever worked on a fireline to
determine the maximum number of possible resources...and not just once.
After several attempts to solicit any response those that simply did not
care enough to respond to a central 800# would go on the "B"
list but would still not be written of as possible resources. Those that
did respond by calling a simple to reach central clearing house would be
sent an easy to understand and complete questionnaire along with the
preliminary application preaddressed and stamped for ease of return to the
clearing house. This would generate the largest possible pool of resources
from which to pick those that would be contacted personally by separate
task groups to verify information and walk the prospective employee
through any further application requirements. Meanwhile other task groups
would be busy determining the pay and benefit rates that would be required
to attract and keep any employees hired by the process...on a basis that
truly competes with private industry. Other task groups would
simultaneously be attempting to determine what if any internal changes
need to be made to encourage a high retention rate while other groups
would address training needs...etc. Private industry would even encourage
the "whiners" to expound on whatever subject they have to whine
about...as there may be gold in the dross.
Yes Mellie...there should be LOTS of "hand holding"...as the
"elitist" attitude too often displayed by those in fire that are
perhaps rightly very proud of what they do hinders the process of
responding adequately to the "critical shortage" and fulfilling
the mandate of the taxpayers/voters via their representatives in the
But you missed my points...which are:
1) That I do not think that private fire suppression contractors will
be hurting due to the current effort by their Federal counterparts.
Opportunity indeed abounds since many states who were depending on
Seasonals and their equivalent of ADs’ (MN calls them "emergency
hires") are watching their "hardcore best and brightest" go
bye-bye for the opportunity being presented by this Federal effort. To the
contrary...I think that these states caught shorthanded will now be
bidding against the Federal agencies for their services. and
2) That those Agencies are not doing their best to ameliorate the
critical shortage of firefighters available to them for suppressing fires
by attempting to attract as many of the remaining experienced fire folk as
they possibly can to their ranks.
Is it possible that those directly involved in the process are too
close to have a good perspective on the true problem...and therefore
cannot see the solutions? I will be more than happy to eat my words if
there is not a chronic "critical shortage" of experienced
wildland firefighters in the upcomming years.
PS. I am certainly NOT whining about not getting a position. I did not
apply, cannot afford one, and am too old anyway.
I think a DUI will affect your consideration for seasonal rehire if you
drive engines. Obviously because of the driving aspect. As far as it
affecting any other part of your job, I don't think it could. I don't
think your personal life off season can affect a seasonal position. If you
are an engine boss, go to your boss in private and tell him/her what
happened and maybe you guys can work something out. It all depends on how
the court is taking action against you. No worries and stay safe this
||Hey -- just found out..(maybe everyone knows)..
I thought I had to get my round 2 ap. in a few weeks ago.......turns
out, through the ASAP program, it's not due till the 15th (ish postmark,
etc.)...get them in!
Close, it must be postmarked March 14. Check out mellie's FAQs
about FS Hiring and the MELmadness
Schedule she has there. It tells you all the deadlines. Ab.
||I'm going on My Ninth season as A contract firefighter. I've witnessed
alot of changes since i first Started, On My first fire season I had No
fire training. (the season before I started I called A contracter and told
them that I was Interested in fighting fires) One night they called and
Asked if i still wanted to fight fires. Next thing I know is I'm in A
crummy.Not knowing what to expect. The Next season training became
mandatory. I never thought We would Go out of state . But in the last two
Years I've spent most of My time in other states. And at one time their
where some bad crew's. That were more in to making money then to get the
fires out. But a Few years Ago the forest service made a smart move and
pulled thier contracts. Us that are left still have a ways to go,in
proving that the troble crew's are gone and they (the forest sevice) that
we can And will do what their crew's do. I just wonder About this season
with all the New goverment Crew's, How much are we going to be used.
||Jobs page is updated as are the Series 462 and 455. For those of you
who are still job hunting, there are 30 more 462 jobs listed today than
there were on Friday when I updated last. Get in there. Find your ideal
job(s) and apply or check your submitted applications for currency.
(And thanks you lurkers for the major east coast vote of confidence!
Sending your messages in to theysaid via a circuitous route works for us.
<BIG GRIN>. Not the original Ab, of course.)
My name is Everett and I am a 30 year old Montana Indian Firefighter
from the Northern Cheyenne Agency in Lame Deer, MT. I've been kicking ash
since 1988. I need some help. I am looking to pursue a dream. I've been
wanting to work with a Type I crew for as long as I can remember. I've
worked side-by-side with 'Shot crews countless times and I know that I
cannot only hang with one, but excel with one as well. I just want the
chance. Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
for your time.
Everett, go to our FAQ
page look for the question and answers about fire jobs; check the
links and info on applying for fire jobs. Then go to Mellie's FAQs
about FS Hiring.
||> THIS IS A GROUP GROPE AND WE WANT IT IN ALL CAPS. JUST THIS
> ABOUT 8 OF US WERE TALKING OVER THE WEEKEND ABOUT AB AND THEYSAID.
> WHERE ELSE CAN YOU FIND FIRE NEWS, THE LATEST STRAIGHT SCOOP, HIRING
> HELP, AND ANSWERS TO ANY OLD QUESTION YOU MIGHT HAVE FROM AN "AD
> COMITTEE" OF EXPERTS WHO RESPOND? WITHOUT ALL THE INFO YOU KIDS
> PROVIDE, THERE WOULDN'T -BE- ANY BECAUSE NONE OF THE CONTRACTORS
> OR AGENCIES HAVE IT ONLINE!
> SO THE BUNCH OF US DID A ROUND OF APPLAUSE, AND YOU AB AND YOU
> SHOULD RIGHT NOW SIT BACK AND SMILE AND LISTEN WHILE APPLAUSE ECHOES
> AROUND THE COUNTRY FROM FIREFIGHTER TO FIREFIGHTER. THANKS!!
>//bunch of firerats//
You're welcome. The Abs.
||ab or anybody else::
im currently in an EMT class, and besides the obvious benefits of being
a medical type guy on fires....are there any other benefits to this?? Im
thinking they might like to have an EMT per crew or somthing the like??
Any managers have an answer?
I served on a contract engine crew this summer-as a last resort. It seemed
promising, started early and started hot. I didn't really notice any
"BS" about respect until I got sent out with some bad
individuals. The engine forman didn't know how to run a pump- and the
other guy was so green I thought he was a ?leprechaun? He had no training
just his red card- he even had steel toe boots. That go round in Colorado
was hell- we went as a strike team of engines 2 lights and one heavy
meeting 2 more heavies there. The engines were shit 1979 ford-1982 chevy
and a 1985 international. no equipment- no tools. We did inspection and
were missing over half of what was on our contract list. We were treated
like shit, and we deserved it. The guys I was with got in trouble for
language and sexual harassment. We were told we were an embarrassment to
the word "firefighter" and I couldn't agree more. Needless to
say i found a fed handcrew in mid season and jumped ship-i will never work
for a contract crew again. they didn't get any respect because they didn't
earn it. I am proud to work for the BLM I don't care what you say. If I
happen to work with a contract crew I will be biased because of my past
experience- until they can show me that they deserve to be out there I
don't think they should be out there.
i also worked with some guys from back east this past season- and they
were a really good crew- don't take anything from some jackass shots- work
hard and prove that you know what you are doing-
||Ref. Dirty 8baller's request...
United States Fire Administration has a report that can be found
through it's web site......
Wildland Fire Fatalities in the United States 1990-1998 This report,
authored by Dick Mangan of the U.S. Forest Service's Missoula Technology
and Development Center (MTDC), summarizes the causes of death for 133
persons who died while involved in fighting wildland fires in the United
States from 1990 to 1998 ... That would leave about a three year span from
87 to 90 that he might be able to come up with...
Then type in 'Wildland firefighters deaths'
||Hello from the great white north, I was wondering if anyone has any
ideas out there on who to contact on getting state or fed. excess
equipment for vol. fire depts. that have large areas of urban interface.
It seems that here in PA all we get is a big run around from local
districts on excess and its bullsh*t when they want us to extinguish
forest fires in the district and surrounding districts. If anyone has any
ideas or contacts that I could use, please e-mail me at
RPWILDFIREPA6@aol.com. Thanks alot for your help.
I changed your mesage from all caps, so readers wouldn't feel yelled
Yesterday while I was gone at my present job, I recieved a phone call
from someone here in Region 2 (sounds like Araphaho/Roosevelt N.F.) they
left a message on the machine that went something like : This is so &
so of the US Forest Service and am calling to check on your interest and
continued availability for several positions, one is on the new shot crew,
one is on a hand crew and one is on an engine crew, please call me back I
would like to talk with you. I called back but, landed in a voicemail.
Does this constitute an offer or are they thinning out rosters or what. I
hate to go celebrate and jinks myself ya know. Any thoughts
PREVIOUSLY Rocky Mountain Reject
Thanks for your support telling me to hang in there.. :)
fingers crossed for you... Ab.
when i was with a type 2 crew from the east, our crew ran into the same
attitude as you. because we were from the east we were treated like
unwanted step children. not every time, not every fire but among some
folks who thought we couldnt handle it in the mountains in the west.
remember, respect is something that is earned. if you conduct yourself in
a professional manner, you are a safe and efficient firefighter then the
respect will come.when i was in montana last summer, a certain shot crew
didnt even give us the time of day. their attitude was they they can
handle their own fires ! even though it was over 20,000 acres. dont let it
get to you too much. you are right in that we are to do the same job as
everyone else. to put out the damn fire. sounds like a simple concept
doesnt it? i have worked with contract crews, some were great some not. we
cant put labels on a crew or group without having a good working
experience with them. believe me, its no different with the structural
side either. well enough for now. fire season is around the corner and my
wife is counting the overtime already ! keep safe and enjoy !!!!
You asked to send replies to your personal address; but sending this
thru Ab because it needs to be heard by more than just you.
I speak only for myself and nobody else, nor do I represent any agency
or contractor. Retired and glad to be out!
I was on the "Teams" in the 90's (when contractors were
really coming on the scene) and we had some problems with contract engines
and crews. Our problems mainly temmed from non-compliance with the
contract they signed in preseason. Usually dealt with lack of required
equipment, lack of individual ID's or trying to send more than 20 persons
on a crew. Most of the crews I had on my divisions in '94 were contract
crews and Hotshots. Very few Govt Regulars were around back then. I only
remember one contract crew we had a problem with failure to perform and
that was the crew boss and not the crew. Our overhead team had a
reputation for being tough but fair on contractors. As long as they met
the provisions of the contract they were treated no differently than any
other crew by the Operations folks.
There was one exception to this. On a really tough fire in a northern
California fire with a large portion in a rugged wilderness area, we did
use one contract crew as we would have used a Hotshot crew. Those were the
creme of the crop and easily rose to the top of the heap in our books.
Not all the Feds are anti-contractor but there are still alot of them
out there. If you are reading this and are one of those that Phoenix is
talking about, get your head out of the sand and do your job just as we
did. If a crew or engine is unacceptable, document it and send them home.
There are a few bad apples out there and it is your job to weed them out.
Make them stick to the agreements and hold their feet ot the fire. If you
continue to let them slid and figure the next team will deal with them,
guess who the next team may be. You again! The contractors that are doing
their job, let them do it just as if they were one of the old FSR crews.
For those of you giving them a bad time just because they are contractors,
GET OVER IT!!!!! They are here to stay and you better start learning how
to make the system work for you rather than the other way around. You will
get a real sharp contractor that that has political ties that is tired of
playing your little game and you will be hung out to dry and deservidly
so! One of the less than honest ones tried it on us and we had the
documentation to back us up and he never showed up again.
I asked a similar question here a couple of months ago. My 9-1/2 year
old conviction, which I was open about on the application, hasn't seemed
to have been an issue so far. My app made it through Boise and into the
system without a hitch. I have gotten several calls asking about
availability and interest, and none of them have even mentioned it. Time
will tell whether I actually get a job offer though. However I am only
speaking for myself. A recent conviction might be an issue that a
conviction a long time ago wouldn't be, I mean, heck, our current
president has a DWI conviction on his record. A recent DWI could also be
an issue if you require a CDL. Just be sure you be honest about it on the
app where they ask.
- AZ Desert Rat
Sorry to hear about the bad deal from your outfit. I've been in a
couple of similar stiuations myself when I was younger. Nothing against
the great state of minnesota, but it's not exactly ground zero when it
comes to wild land fire activity.
If somebody wants to to make wildfire a career, best bet would be to
head west and get on a shot crew or a busy engine. That's where a person
gets really tested. You learn a lot about fire simply because you are
around it a lot.
Just my thoughts.
||A new week... a few notes from Ab...
First, if you're involved in applying for a FS job, read Mellie's FAQ
about FS hiring (link at the top of the page). Thanks Mellie and her
helpers from Oz. BTW, she says, "Toto is fine but we're a long way
Second, over the weekend we had a chance to catch up with the fire
books and the review pages. We added a bunch of new fire lookout books, a
few new juvenile fiction, a book or two about the Tillamook burn of 1933,
and one about the huge stand-replacement fire in China and Russia in 1987.
Check them out. To those of you who sent in reviews, they're terrific and
they're up. Thanks much.
Readers, please brouse through the list and see if you've read or used
any of these books for reference. Our goal is to have firefighter reviews
of each one.
If you need or want any of these books, remember, if you link to Amazon
from our book site, we make a small "commission" on the sale
that can go to pay the website bills. We appreciate your support.
||Lo Ab, was going to the meeting in Reno this week. Then we had an
earthquake. Thought id go to the airport anyways to see if i could make it
out, no luck. So im stuck.
Anyone know if there is any truth to the pack test being suspended?
Cant wait for this season to burn, been cleaning up the trucks and
waiting for the call.
We have a few openings in Winnemucca for ENGB x4 and FFTx6. EMT or
Paramedic license is a plus. Email me at MDMF007@msn.com and i'll send an
mellie hope you guys are doing good down there.
||Here's a sample of one of several reviews that came in from Cheryl.
She also asks a question of the readers which is why I'm including it
Epitaph for the Giants, The Story of the Tillamook Burn by J. Larry
Kemp is the fascinating story of a fire (complex) that burned 411,000
coastal Oregon acres in a couple of weeks in August 1933 About 250,000
acres burned in one day when the fire blew up and rained ash and tree
parts down on ships 500 miles out at sea! Kemp intersperses daily fire
reports with current newspaper headlines to provide the historical
This book (and the next one) hold a personal fascination because I live
nearby and have fought fire. It embarrasses me to admit that I have never
gone to look at fire effects on this forest. I need to go soon, and take
my 92-year-old-great-uncle who was a FS ranger and was probably a Fire
Warden on that fire. Anyone know of any NF displays or information of the
You are correct in the way some people treat contract crews, but the
biases you have encountered may not be deserved today. I remember not to
many years ago when contract crew members were those types that could not
get employment any other place. A real rough bunch, their performance on
the line left much to be desired and in camp it was not much different. I
still can remember not to many years ago, crews showing up for work in
tennis shoes or rubber boots, no training, no safety equipment and in
various states of "mental alertness." As late as the early 60's
the government was still "shaking out Skid Road for help." I
remember a fire in the mid-80's where the call went out to the state
employment centers (instead of Skid Road) for help, we got two crews with
minimal training, brand new boots thrown on a fire that only
"seasoned" firefighters should have been assigned. With all the
drop outs and injuries they were more trouble then they were worth.
The National Crew Contract took care of a lot of the problems
encountered with the early contract crews and I have seen a tremendous
change in the quality of the contract crews. But, some still remember the
old adage "fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on
me." Keep on supplying quality personnel that produce a quality
product and the biases will slowly fade. I can speak from experience on
that one, as a State firefighter I encountered the same kind of biases
from Federal folks when I first started. A lot of that had to do because
we did not wear the same color clothes as they did, I ran top notch crews,
did quality work but was not treated with the same respect as those
dressed in yellow and green. It took a lot of years to overcome the
biases, and in time we were requested over some of the other type 2
Federal crews in the State.
||Hello to all you fellow firefighters out there. I am writing for a
friend and co-worker Ken Brinkley. He and his wife Kathy lost a son on the
Storm King fire in 1994. They have started a scholarship fund in Levi's
memory and are afraid the funds may dry up. As of this year seven, $750.00
scholarships have been given away. I am asking that anyone who may be
interested in contributing to keep this scholarship alive please send
monies to the
Levi Brinkley Memorial Scholarship Fund
the Harney County Credit Union
743 Hines Blvd.
Burns, Oregon 97720
If there are any questions you can call Ken or Kathy Brinkley @ (541)
I am seasonal firefighter with the BLM. I really messed up and got a DUI.
I was wondering if this would effect my position working this upcoming
summer. If it does, is there anything I can do to remedy the situation?
||Wildfire News and Notes: The Congressional Fire Services Institute
Announces Internship Opportunity
||Interior Secretary to Tour National Interagency Fire Center
Provider: US Newswire
WRITTEN BY : US Newswire, DATE POSTED: 3/1/01
Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton will travel to Boise, Idaho, March
2, to tour the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC). The tour of the
fire center is her first trip outside of Washington, D.C. since being
sworn in as Secretary Feb. 1.
"I am looking forward to this trip to learn first hand the state
of our readiness for the upcoming fire season," said Interior
Secretary Gale Norton. "Our focus is to ensure that we are prepared
to meet the challenges of protecting communities and landscapes from the
wrath of wildland fires."
The center is comprised of seven federal agencies and is the nation's
coordination and support center for wildland fires.
I will be instructing a number of refresher courses for the office folk
the next couple of weeks, one of the modules I'm putting on is Standards
for Survival. My Question is, I am looking for the number of wild land
fire fatalities since 1926. I know the book says over 250, but the book
was also written in 1987 so I know unfortunately its over 300 by now I
can't find an exact number. I dig your site, and get a lot of good
information from it I hope you keep it up. Look forward to slaming line
with you all this summer.
Welcome... I'll bet someone out there knows that one. Ab.
||Here's a page of Frequently Asked Questions (www.wildlandfire.com/jobs/jobs-faq.php)
compiled by Mellie with the help of many others about the FS fire jobs
application process. I'll put a link to it at the top of this page and the
top of the jobs page. Thanks Mellie and all you helpers.
Oz, er Ab.
||From experience, I don't feel sorry for states like MN if they can't
find seasonal FFs. I live in MN in the off-season (still haven't figured
out why yet); and they treat their seasonal FFs like sh*t. All kinds of
good things happen, such as, the state withholding red-cards so people
can't leave on on their own, not announcing classes, except to full-time -
year round-permanent - non-fire personel, half of which don't want
anything to do with fire.
Also from experience, most of the seasonal FF's aren't even full-time
seasonal. You sit by the telephone, watching the weather channel to see if
you *may* go to work in the next few days. Meanwhile, it's starts raining,
or flooding, your preparedness level drops to I or II, while the rest of
the northern hamisphere is on fire and MIFC won't release you, nor can you
get your red card to leave on your own. I know why -- we're waiting for
the blowdown in the boundary waters to start on fire. Then, then your
red-cards will appear.
Oh, I almost forgot -- then they run out of skilled managers in a
position (lets say ATBM or whatever), and you get the great opportunity to
get thrown in that position (even though you're no where near qualified
according to the books). But there's no way you could work on your task
book while you're there, even thoguh you're not supposed to be doing that
This is from my personal experience. But now that I got that ranting
off my chest, it is a good place to get some basic experience before you
jump to the FS, or to another state. Just remembering you need to have 6
jobs on the side to buy food.
P.S. (I'm laughing about these experiences now, but it wasn't so funny
at the time!)
Things are picking up here in Oregon. The "Powers That Be"
are now using the "D" word (drought) on a regular basis in
Oregon. Snow levels are 50% below normal and very unlikley to come up
much. Temps in SW oregon have been running in the low 60's this last week.
Also an 11 acre fire near Trail, Oregon last week. Fuels were dry enough
to burn, yet ground was so wet a 1,000 gallon VFD engine sunk driving
across a field. All indicators are that this will be as bad as '94 on the
West Coast. Those of us that were around then remember that one well and
hope it does not happen.
||A set of Frequently Asked Questions about applying for jobs will be
up in the morning. For those of you gearing up to apply for a second round
or trying to finish a first round, stay tuned.
Just updated the Series 462 and 455 jobs. Yeow! Some 170+ on the 462
series alone and the 455 series is larger than 3 days ago also... Another
round beginning! I'll update the jobs page itself tomorrow.
I totally agree
ronin. I couldnt agree more. I left a state agency due to low pay. I am
sorry, but after 4 yrs and 3 promotions, 8.50 an hour isnt that much. So I
went to a private contractor. Now it seems like they are trying to cut
that off as well. Which makes no sense to me. The private contractor
serves a very important roll in suppression of wildfires and despite a lot
of peoples thinking, there are a lot of contractors who have very trained
and professional crews.
Which brings up
another issue. I was mortified this last summer in the way contract crews
were treated on and off the fire line. They are treated totally differant
then any other crews. I think it is bunk the way that other crews and even
some over head treat them. In some cases they arent even treated like
Now this hit me on a
personal level, because I have fought structure fires as well as wildland
and someone looking at me and smuging there face at me because I am not
Federal nor state, MAKES ME SICK. I know other have seen this and it makes
them ill as well.
This is my personal
opinion, but I think the federal government and states need to WAKE UP.
Private cintractors are an asset they all should use and recognize. Treat
them with respect for they are pounding the same dirt your Hot Shots or
Jumpers are. We all wear Nomex and we all breathe the same smoke. So I ask
anyone who has looked down upon any contract crew, "What makes us
differant from you?" I hope to hear some responses. You can email me
at firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you.
Here are all 5 parts of the SeattleTimes.com story of CDF firefighters
on the Concow Fire (CA).
wildfire's way 1: Sizzling heat and dry land were a recipe for
wildfire's way 2: Suddenly, three are inside an inferno
wildfire's way 3: Keepers or losers?
wildfire's way 4: 'We've got to get out of here now'
wildfire's way 5: Only one way out of the flames, and then...
The Erickson Aircrane guys are home again.
Released in Equador
The Bush Administration plans to cut fire funds in 2002 to pay for tax
could loose fire funding
I was just looking over your awesome site but found one little flaw, it
doesn't have my crew's symbol up there! So I thought I'd send you it as an
attachment. I am surprised, Baker is one of the best ya know:) Anyway,
good job on a great web page, stay safe, and have a good summer.
Welcome and thanks for your logo. It's not quite summer, although
the western fires of spring started April 1 of last year. I put it and
another logo from the Chief Mountain Shots up on the Logo3
||Fireronin -- a long answer to your questions/comments about ADs and
It may be that state agencies will have fewer people to call on for a
while. The firefighter pool is shrinking because many temp, seasonal and
AD ff who have worked at the state level are getting permanent fire jobs.
States like MN may have to solicit back AD ff they have lost. However,
states like CA will undoubtedly hire away experienced and new ff that have
been trained up in fed fire academy programs and OJT. In R5, 30-40% of
those trained will probably jump to state, county, and city fire
departments, where pay and benefits are better. Until fed firefighters get
their own job series and comparable pay for comparable work, attrition
will continue to plague federal wildland fire agencies. Do we really loose
bigtime on that arrangement? Individual fed trainers/mentors and those
paying the bills may resent it, I probably would. But from a more global
perspective, I don't think we really loose. Think of it this way. People
highly trained in fire retain their training even if they jump to another
agency. When training is stellar and people gain experience, our fire
community and the country end up with an excellent overall fire force --
regardless of where individuals work and whether they're contract or
You ask if regional managers still feel it will take several seasons
before they can fully staff the new positions at MEL?
Yup, the stepwise plan is in place for reaching the Most Efficient
Level (MEL) organization by 2003, at least in R5 where I've had a chance
to observe its planning and beginning implementation. The ultimate goal
mandated by Congress is to have a fire force that can achieve the National
Fire Plan (NFP). Achieving the MEL organization takes 3 years because
we need to
In addition to a slug of MEL positions that are being filled this year,
there are also 500 Program Leadership Attrition (PLA) positions that will
be filled each year for the next 3 years (nation-wide). These positions
were funded as a response to the projected retirement and past downsizing
of the FS fire force.
- increase the firefighting workforce and build their skills
(including Program Leadership and Qualified Module Leaders),
- provide them with eqiupment (such as engines, hoses, radios, gear),
- provide support facilities. (Equipment and facilities are capital
outlays not included in the MEL budget.)
OK, Round 1 of the FS hiring advertised 1640 jobs (nationwide, MEL and
PLA) and had 5000 applicants. If all were qualified, there were about 3
applicants for each job (and that's just for hires in the the top box on
the MELmadness schedule). From what I hear, a lot of good people got
hired. We know there were glitches. This is a hurry-up situation. Fire
waits for no slow hiring process... Hiring virga is not allowed!
For you people who fell through the cracks because of a database
failure or because you couldn't get Scannable Form C online from Avue,
don't give up. Your odds for being hired get better in Round 2!
If you applied for Round
1, you may be in the job hopper already. Check with ASAP [(877) 813-3476]
to see if your application is complete, correct, that you have the
geographical codes you want, and that you put down your correct phone
number. Call the forest(s) you're interestd in and check that you are on
the cert and whether you're in the "quality" list or on the
"eligible" list. If you feel you're quality, call ASAP and
change the codes on Form C.
If you need to apply, call
ASAP for a *hardcopy* application, get it in, and rate yourselves as high
as you can on the KSAs of Form C. Let me reiterate, if you're
"quality", your application should reflect that!
You say: "It would appear to me that the current "snafu"
...works perfectly to 'lateral' existing non-ADs into the best positions
rather than opening positions up to everyone in a genuine effort to beef
up our national fire suppression forces as the 100%MEL was intended to
Fireronin, a few clarifications on this one. With respect to your
implications regarding contractor ADs not having opportunity, it's clear
you haven't looked at the FS Firehire website (and I use that as one
example of Fed Firehire only because I know it the best right now). Go
there. Take a look. There's something for everyone: D001 for new people
who want a permanent fire position or for those AD who want a permanent
position, M002 for those in the system already who want a permanent or
higher position, and T003 for those new and returning who want a temporary
fire season position or simply need to break into the system. You can look
within suppression (Series 462), regardless of whether you're new or
experienced, contract or agency. You can also look by geographical
location or by job position within each region. Pretty slick, very
informative. Opportunities for all... Schedule C lets you provide your
In any hiring system, who who gets hired first for the best jobs
requiring the most experience? Why, the best and most experienced
firefighters -- in this case from FS, BLM, NPS, and some state because
more people are applying from those agencies. Lateral hires? Some, maybe.
But it's no surprise that the people first hired are those who are the
best and most experienced and who are known. Move those people on up and
the other less known and possibly inexperienced can fill in positions they
vacate. Hopefully the "whiners" and poor employees are being
left behind regardless of whether they're agency or contractor.
Are experienced people who have been seasonal or temporary or AD from
state and county and city positions being hired in permanent positions?
You bet they are, if they're very good and 35 years young or younger. I
know for sure this is happening on SoCal forsets. I haven't inquired in
So, you think ADs should be given preferences in this hiring process or
have their hand held? You think they should be solicited? I don't know why
anyone would want to do that. Because they've been treated unfairly? A lot
of fire folk have been treated unfairly. Because we really need them? We
do, but not if they're expecting special treatment because they've been
"wronged". Get past it!!!! It's time to step up to opportunity
or kiss it off and move on in another career! It would be nice to have you
experienced AD guys applying and getting hired, but if not, fire will
manage somehow. (That's the hard Mellie speaking. The softer Mellie would
like to have you all!)
It's clear that the permanent positions to be filled in R5 this year
can not all be filled by people already in the system in R5. The rest will
have to come from elsewhere. My guess is that other regions are facing
similar personnel needs in later 2001 "rounds" and over the next
few years. Bottom line is that we won't have enough experienced people
carrying on. To make up for that, we're going to need people coming in
with experience and others coming in and moving up as fast as they can
train and gain experience.
That need is being addressed in R5 by beefing up the Apprenticeship
Program, at both entry and upper levels. Training is being accelerated:
more apprentices are being accepted (500 this year in 4 academies with an
advanced accademy ongoing concurrently, 1000 next year, 500 basic, 500
advanced), more trainers are teaching, classes are being provided more
intensively in blocks like college classes. Apprentices will be working on
preparatory material before arriving at the academy. They are earning
college credit (toward Series 401). Simulation training is in the works.
In a word, trainers are readying apprentices for a career in fire.
Planning is underway for more OJT opportunities to fulfill PTBs for
redcarding. The whole training/ experience process will still take time to
accomplish, but perhaps as not much time as in the past. Streamlining is
underway. Standards are being raised. Seems to me R5 fire management is
operating in a new way to meet new needs.
Fireronin, and you who are AD and contract, opportunity abounds. Go for
it! We can use your experience.
Geez, Ab, sorry this is so long. Edit me if you want to!
||There's going to be a conference put on by the Western Rural Development
Center and sponsored by many fine organizations.
MANAGING WILDFIRE RISK AT THE RESIDENTIAL INTERFACE
May 15-16, 2001
Salt Lake City, Utah.
Among agenda items are an briefings on emerging initiatives that
address community-based responses to wildfire risks, an intro to Firewise
and Stephen Pyne for desert! For more information, directions for whom to
contact if you'd like to present and the conference agenda, click HERE.