APRIL 2001


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04/30 Hello all,

I have recently received some phone calls regarding interest and availability (for a seasonal position) from two different forests. When can I expect to find out if they want me and what happens if they both do? Do they pick or do I? Thanks again for all the help.


04/30 for "Region5Firefighter" (the new slider) re: rappellers

NUMBER ONE: RAPPEL is spelt with one L and two P's. All other versions (rappelling, rappelled, rappeller, etc) need two L's and two P's unless you are typing slider, which needs one L and one R and no P's

Check out the MRC bunch at wildfirenews.com/fire/articles/rappel.phpl (hi buds)

Their "official" site is at www.fs.fed.us/r6/fire/aviation/rappel/malheur.php.
Keep in mind there's two ways to get a t-shirt. ;p

Also see the Aussie rappellers at www.theage.com.au/daily/980107/fire/fire2.phpl and the PNW bunch at www.fs.fed.us/r6/fire/aviation/rappel/rappel.php

-- firescribe

04/29 Jobs, Series 455 and 462 are updated. Ab.
04/29 This link provides a little bit of airtanker history and why we did not see much of the B-25 airtanker.



04/29 I will be on a rappelling crew this coming summer, well... In just a few weeks. Does anyone know where I might get some printed materials to bone up on related procedures prior to training? I'm not looking for a substitute to the actual training, but rather to prepare myself so that I will absorb more of the training when we get it.

(Thanks Ab!)

A go-getter, eh! Ab.

04/29 ECS,

Was that near Millville and Vineland? I saw the smoke and the wind was blowing like a son-of-a-gun yesterday! Do you know what kind of resources were on it besides the dozers? What's the scoop now? Heard any predictions for the season? Everything looks green to me. In fact the leaves have just all come out in the last 10 days.


04/29 Hello folks,

As wildfire season comes up I renew my question for donation or second-hand-sale of used gear (e.g. wildland clothing, goggles, shelter, helmet, harness, probably bandanna etc.).

We need this for helping out the firefighters in greece this summer as a handcrew and we don`t have the money to buy brandnew stuff.

Please feel free to post on this site or email me at MAUSI112@aol.com.

Yours, Detlef

04/29 Well, its been a busy weekend around New Jersey. Saturday kicked off with a 700 plus Acre fire in the Southern Division. Fire jumped numerous backfiring ops. and made a run into a developed area. Crews pushed dozer lines around homes and fired off the lines to protect structures. No homes damaged a coordinated effort between State Forest fire Service and local fire companies paid off. Oh eh the 700 burnt in about 3 hours.


04/28 I was in a training session last week where Bob Roth from Region 1 (USFS) told us that he has been detailed to a national level position to work on an automated flight following program. The session ended before Bob had a chance to give us any more specific information on this program and possible direction coming from the national level. Bob, if you are reading this site, can you supply the rest of us with some additional information? Has anyone else heard anything about this?

Aircraft Dispatcher

04/27 Some follow-up concerning AL's Section 508 info. We, (a forest level fire management group) maintained a small web page on a Government server to serve as a file/info upload/download site for FBAN/LTAN, S & RX course attendees. We were notified it had to be 508 compliant, so I followed the recommended procedure by testing compliancy with a screening program at a website we were instructed to go to. I failed miserably. Being that we are not by any stretch of the imagination, webmasters, or have any skills beyond simple html using MSWord, we were unable to bring it into compliance. We didn't even understand the report on what was wrong, let alone how to do the fixes. Given that and the fact that website stuff is at the very bottom of the priority list, we pulled the site down. I fear that many other amateur fire management webmaster within the government will do the same, for much the same reasons, taking down thousands of website that serve a variety of useful purposes. This maybe an unintended consequence of Section 508.

Ab, hopefully wildlandfire.com can fill some of the potential void.


Yes we'll try to fill the arising needs. And yes, unfortunately folding webpages may be one outcome of 508. Here at WLF.com, we also try to be aware of how we can construct pages to serve as many people as possible. Sometimes we even run one little program that tells us where we may not be up to snuff so we can choose to correct it if we think it's necessary. The main place we fall down is in the GRAMMAR department! And we say, RIGHT ON! We're not gonna try to get that one completely right!

If any of you can see things we should do or different pages we should offer, let us know. We may not have time to do them right away, but if enough people are interested, we'll probably get to them eventually. As always, it's a matter of the time available to get it done and whether they require daily updates. Ab.

04/26 CB

Just an update on the CPS class structure. You may have had the course some time ago and since then it does include wind driven and fuels fires in the material. The book is titled,"The Campbell Prediction System" and the course is titled, "Wildland Fire Signature Prediction Methods." I have listened to the firefighters and have tried to apply their constructive criticisms. The full course is 16 hours long and is taught by Will Spyrison and Lance Cross in Vandenburg and Redding each year. At this moment, they are in Michigan with an engine and crew from the LP at the request of the Forest FMO Valdo. They will present the 16 hr. class to his people. There are other instructors teaching the course in LA City, LA County. San Jose, and Spain. I teach where and when departments contract me to do so, Washington state in May, Tahoe in June so far scheduled.

As to Ventura County Fire Department's role, they have me teach each year but the course does not qualify anyone to be an FBA. I always recommend to people who are interested, take the courses including S-490 and become certified the standard approved way. CPS as it is known is not meant to be a replacement for any fire courses.

I remain available to answer any questions and take comments from any and all who are interested in furthering the understanding of wildland fires.
My e-mail is: doug@dougsfire.com and the web site is: www.dougsfire.com
To Ab and all, have a safe fire season.

Doug Campbell

04/26 CB,

When I took Doug Campbell's training, he did address wind- and fuel-driven fires. You must have taken it before he added those components. I think the things that make the training so good are the case studies, mapping, and prediction components. Participants had to actually engage and try to integrate the material rather than just learning lists of things. I had heard about people experiencing the "blinding glimpse of the obvious" and thought I would be immune. I was blown away when, after seeing a number of "case studies", the "ah ha" experience hit me. It's like being given a peak at how some elements combine to create dangerous situations.

My suggestion to new people like me would be that all would do S-190, then CPS and then do a refresher of this course after their first fire season. If we would like to fast-track fire experience with the goal of enhancing groundpounder safety, this is certainly one way to do it.

Noname, and others who find fault with Doug's training, I wish you would take it. Of course, you undoubtedly are old fire dogs yourself and can't imagine new ff getting the experience in any ways other than the way you did. I honor your way, but I do think this training is very valuable and could save lives. I think you will find that the science is sound.


04/26 I was hanging with some computer geeks the other day and asking questions and taking notes. Here's some news that's evidently a month or two old...

"Under Section 508, federal agencies have until June 21 to modify their Web sites so that they are accessible to people with impaired vision and hearing and other disabilities. ... Managers are expected to make their Web sites including Microsoft Corp. Power-Point presentations and Adobe Systems Inc. Portable Document Format files accessible."

Full story from FEDERAL COMPUTER WEEK online at:

And what does "web accessibility" mean??

My friend said that for the Postal Service, that means digging out tens of thousands of nonaccessible documents buried in agency servers and making them accessible. It's quite labor-intensive. Some pages can be made accessible with a few quick fixes; others must be fully re-created. But in some cases, the technology is not available to make things fully accessible. Tables are often troublesome, and there's difficulty with PDF documents. Many PDF files are impossible for screen readers to read because they present text as graphic images, which are meaningless to screen readers, or arranged in columns that screen readers cannot follow.

Adobe Systems Inc., which developed PDF technology, has eliminated some of the problems with a new "optical character reader", but the new reader still has trouble with multiple columns, multiple indents, bulleted items and other design elements.

Full story online from FEDERAL COMPUTER WEEK:

And the sit report?

The April 13 PDF is on the NIFC site, along with an April 13 RTF. Yesterday's sit report is on the www.wildfirenews.com website.

OK, I'm probably preaching to the choir here, that is, to those of you wanting an accessible sit report, especially with FL burning bigtime (and I hear yesterday the Plumas had it's first eastside fire - is it still going? 2 heads up a canyon...). We shouldn't have to be fumbling with pdf downloads. I wish Boise would get it together to provide a html version. Given the 508 directive, it would be a prudent move.

Thanks for posting this GEEK stuff, Ab.

04/25 -- someone recently asked about Bosworth and fire.


04/25 hI Ab,

A question on hiring again. Does anyone know of a listing of positions still open and unfilled after round 2? I found the Round 2 Mel list of open positions, so I'm wondering if they are going to do the same for round 3. I'd like to contact a few folks at the local level to get my name in.



04/25 W-O-F
I would have replied sooner I was out of state. I was checking out where I was going to be working (I picked up a position outside of R5).

Thanks for the heads up. I DIDN'T MEAN TO COME OFF SOUNDING COMPLACENT. I hear what your saying about a fire getting established on a north slope (heavier fuels = more dead and down= more ground litter= a long hotter burning fire). A FIRE CAN GET REALLY UGLY ON NORTH SLOPE FUEL MOISTURE CONTENT PERMITTING.

The north slopes on the LP are covered with walls of 20 foot old growth chaparral (1000 hrs fuels).

Now back to my main concern. All I wanted to express on my past reply is. CPS is not all that, it theories are based on topography fires. I think the course would be allot better if they cover FUELS and WIND driven fire also. That's why I said S-290 would be much better to teach.

I have to make a correction. I was typing very fast on my last reply and I did not proof read it adequately. I no longer work on the LP. I meant to say I had worked on the LP for 8 years.


04/25 BC Davis, are you going to be in Winny on the 8th - 9th? Were coming to have all of our gear inspected. Should take a day or two. then Ill be back for the season starting the 25th. I would like to buy you lunch, and BS a little.

Looking forward to this season.

Also, we still have a few spots left In Winnemucca. One engine boss, One Crewman, and an FLE crewperson.

Pays 180-210 per day + expenses. Guarantee you wont be treated better elsewhere. Just ask around.

Email for an online app. or better yet just call me.

Pacific Wildfire
360 731 2627

04/25 NEW RAWS DISCUSSION BOARD -- A new feature has been added to the interagency RAWS website at http://www.fs.fed.us/raws This is the place for RAWS folks to "talk" to each other. Do you have a question, solution, tip, frustration, or concern? Post it here. This area is for YOU, the owners and users of automatic weather stations and the data they produce.

Also, for anyone who uses GMT time or a julian calendar, there's a nifty conversion utility online - it's linked up from the NEWS page.


04/24 Jake...

I'm not too sure about the use of Storz in wildland situations, but we use quite a bit of it on our structure side. And there are "rumors" of fasing it out, because the couplings aren't safe. To be honest, in our entire region I've never heard of these couplings failing. If you add the security of snap locks to the coupling I haven't heard of a failure anywhere. From what I've heard (don't quote me) they are much cheaper and easier to make. (The all mighty dollar) This could be the reason for the switch. If I my add my two cents... I like them! I have never had a problem with them. They are quick and easy to couple/uncouple if you are in a rush, they are nealy impossible to cross thread, and I've never heard of a failure if properly used.

County Rover

04/24 New sit report at wildfirenews.com/fire/sitreport.phpl



04/24 T-SG

I've buried my S-260 book, but there is no hazard pay for prescribed fire (which I'm sure you know) because it doesn't meet one of the five "hazard" requirements.

I can't remember them exactly, but they're something like:

1. Walking On Steep, non-level terrain where falling could result in serious injury or death.
2. Low Level Flight (For non-low level flight people)
3. Working Uncontrolled Fire Line
4. Working below a hoovering helicopter
5. And one more I can't remeber too well (it's probably a really basic one and someone can remind me)

Now those are only for fe. GS employees, WG employees have easier hazard standards.

Anyway, the part that gets me going is this: If you're working on a forest, on a reg. fire crew (lets call it Crew A), on the other side of the mountain doing whatever (non-fire). Let's say another crew (Crew B) is doing a prescribed burn on the other side of the hill, and it gets away. Crew B calls for assistance, and Crew A is dispatched to assist. Crew A won't get hazard pay because Crew A was listed in the contingency plan for the escape. They only get H-Pay if the prescribed burn becomes uncontrooled, and blows through the "contingency" burn area.


04/24 T-SG:
Hazard pay applies only to wildland fires. If a prescribed fire escapes beyond the control of the assigned resources, it will be declared a wildland fire. If your Rx burns have the "same hazards as wildland fires" you are conducting them wrong. Yes! prescribed fires can prove fatal......but they originate and are managed under "controlled" situations, ie, control lines are in place, adequate personnel are on site, ignition does not take place until all parameters are acceptable. We are in effect pro-active rather than reactive. H-pay while nice to have is inappropriate for Rx fires.

On another note: Congratulations to all who have made the leap from seasonal to permanent appointments as firefighters. The applications I selected from showed a lot of people have paid their dues and established their bona-fides as dedicated skilled professionals. Those of you who did not get the call this go-round, hang in there. Get some additional experience, or be more flexible in mobility, and we'll see you in subsequent rounds.

Old Fire Guy

04/24 Hi, Ab,

We are looking to hire an operator for our potable water truck (1995 Chevy Topkick, Cat. dsl., 6- speed tranny, AC, 16,000 miles ) and tow-behind sink unit. Driver needs current class B CDL with tank endorsement. This unit is based in Reno, NV. We're looking for a team, maybe hubby and wife, perhaps retired USFS with fire camp experience. Excellant pay, top in the business.

Thanks for your help and we think this is the Best wildland fire site on the net!

Rock and Cindy Wood
Wood's Fire and Emergency Services

04/24 LAVE,
thx for the good advice.

If you find a way to get some old gear enroute to germany let me know so we can get in touch with each other.

I was really happy to hear about the opinions you have about the way we wanna get some equipment together.

The boots will be new and worn in in germany before I go....I`ll buy them so I know they fit me.

Please keep the track and send me some info about how to contact you in case you have something for us.

Thx so far

04/24 Eric, you need to send them {R6} a letter askng why? Who is going to pay for all your {old/new} inventory? Consult w/other R6 suppliers and inquire if they too have recv'd a similar letter?


04/23 lo all.

Jake we carry tons of fitings and adapters to connect different couplers together.

digging through the drawer i keep on a typ 4 I find the following. NPSH in 1 and 1.5 inch Stortz, NH in 1" 1.5" and some 2.5 inch stuff.

1/4 turn is cheaper. No males no females. It should be faster to connect 1/4 turn no more reducers to connect 1.5 to 1" doesnt matter how you roll it either. no threads to mash up, or deform either.

WA DNR has used the stuff longer than I have been alive. It works quite well for them.

We recieved a letter from R6 telling us to change out inventory by the beginning of the 2002 season. thats all I have on that one.

Later ab(s) have a good one.

04/23 -Hey Ab,

Just a few questions for you.

Does anyone have any word on hazard pay for prescribed fire? I know a lot of you have been there. Same hazards as wildland fires with generally a lot more smoke.

And, word on the street is that we may be able to buy back seasonal time from 89-00. Do you know if this is true?

Thanks for your time,

04/23 To Detlef

If you are going to Greece to help them in battling their fires, it seems logical that they should supply you with the gear you need. Barring that I would contact Greenpeace or some group like them and see if they would donate to the cause, they are about saving the planet. Right?

I can ask around, we are sending old turnout gear to Mexico for the undersupplied departments south of the border, seems like we can help the Germans help the Greeks. On USED fire shelters, get new ones. If some one isn't using them then they should be thrown out. I have seen old shelters, they are worn and ripped and they could get you killed. My suggestion is good used wildland gear is O.K. but not OLD SHELTERS, they maybe death traps.

P.S. Don't forget about the most IMPORTANT thing of all good boots that are broken in and fit well. If your feet are not happy then you will be in total misery.

Be careful I have found that fire is an equal opportunity killer.
Local Agency Volunteer Engineer. (LAVE)

04/23 Well said LCES Mary!

I totally agree with you, but there are several different versions of the same theory out there...whether it be LACES or CLUES or whatever. I like LCES and teach that to my crewmembers, although for inspection purposes, we are often asked what the other mnemonics (LACES, CLUES etc.) mean as well.

I also agree that LCES does cover your bases and does not take away from the 10 Standard Orders and the 18 Situations, just mearly enhances them. I must caution people though, if and when an accident does occur....you WILL be judged on your usage/and or breakage of the 10 Standard Orders and 18 Situations, not LCES, LACES, or CLUES!

I think the bottom line here is, if you have a method of remembering the basics that suits you in stressful situations and ensures that you keep yourself and your crews safe, USE IT!


04/23 AB,
My husband and I both LOVE your site. We've been reading it daily for a while now. What we really respect is the way you handle various situations without judgement, and the way you allow people to "vent" their ideas, frustrations, or questions. It's amazing how much information you can get.

We also have a wildland fire fighting web page with over 100 pictures of our area (Great Basin, Nevada) The web page was just updated this past weekend, and I was wondering if you could post the URL? My husband puts in so much effort for this site, and I know that other fire personnel would also appreciate it. Thank you so much for allowing us to post our concerns on your site. PLEASE keep up the good work! Our URL is:

I report to duty on the 7th of May, with a new home station, in the same area. Everyone have a great and SAFE season this year. Remember your 10 & 18 ALWAYS. I hope that when the season is over, that we all can meet back, and exchange stories, ideas and learning experiences.

Great Basin Fire Fighter & Nevada Fire Fighter

04/23 Hello,

I`m a german FF/PM working for an urban FD in northern germany. This year, the german Fire association was asked by the greek gouvernment to seek for volunteers to go down to greece in the summer months helping to fight the devostating brush-fires in their area because they have a real big lack of firefighters, equipment etc.

I`ve visited the USA 4 times now and had several chances to see the work of camp crews and hotspots during training and to read through a couple of training manuals for wildland firefighting.

I`m one of the volunteers going down there to help them and for this reason I`d like to ask if you know a way to get a set of old wildland firefighting gear (trousers, jacket, goggles, harness, maybe bandanna, gloves and perhaps a fireshelter) as a donation or for less price because it is much too expensive to buy these items new from a company. All the personnel will have to buy this on their own and so I`d like to ask you if you know a way to find me some of these items.

Thanks sincerely for your kind help and for the reply of this email.


Detlef Maushake
FD Salzgitter

04/23 Ok, I just can't stand it anymore. I was part of a crew that practiced L.C.E.S before it even became a part of the fire vocabulary, yes I was on Paul Gleason's hotshot crew in the early 1980's. L.C.E.S. is and was a great concept. Provided, however, you had individuals who were competent as lookouts, you had individuals who knew what an escape route was, people who understood what a safety zone is and how to provide for adequate communications. The great point with L.C.E.S is that it a is simple method that can save peoples lives at a basic level, brilliant. I want a good reason why this A comes in? I do not know what the A adds to this, from what I'm hearing it could be any thing from awareness to anchor points. We should be going backing back to the basics concept of L.C.E.S. Why are we going away from the basic concept of L.C.E.S.? If the A means awareness, do you not approach a fire with first priority towards Lookouts, Communications, Escape routs and Safety zones? If A means anchor point do you not identify Lookouts, communications, escape routs and safety zones before you take your line of attack from your great anchor point? and isn't an anchor point part of basic fire tactics? L.C.E.S gives the fire fighter a quick safety check list to go over prior to dealing with the complexity of fire tactics. The other beauty of L.C.E.S is that you can provide for fire fighter safety with four established safe practices. I do not want to take away from the 10 Standard fire orders, the 18 watchout situations, the down hill line construction guidelines or the common denominators of fire fatalities. These are things that every good fire fighter should know. But L.C.E.S was established so you get the basics covered. During stressful situations people have been known to forget or not go through all of the 18 watchouts, 10 standard fire orders, and down hill line construction guide lines because things happen very fast and memory can't hold but more than seven thoughts in a critical, but it you have in place L.C.E.S. to start with, the rest can be identified and addressed as you cover your basics. We should stop playing with a good basic concept, before you know it there will be 10 additional letters added to L.C.E.S. with tactics that take away from basic safety.

Good site Ab, I've been a lurker for a couple of years and look to this site for current information. I don't think I'm alone in feeling appreciation for what you do.

L.C.E.S Mary

04/23 Can somebody explain the rationale of the recommendation made by the USFS changing to quick connector couplings? I know of no agencies in R-5 State (CDF) or Local FD that were even consulted before this recommendation was made. Are going to back to the 1940's? This is why we developed a national hose standard. Operational safety will be severely compromised if this concept goes to fruition. I can only hope someone with some field experience will speak of safety and interagency field operations to the folks that are behind this. Somebody in Washington must have some stock options with Storz?


04/23 John, The Florida DOF radio plan is in the publications portion of their web site at-



04/22 FFTR Retirement age, the bill in the Senate: In order to contact the Senator from your state go to www.senate.gov/. There you will find a convenient link for e-mail.

NORMAN: Regarding the fire behavior discussion and fuels on the south slope vs. north slope in topograpy driven fires:

Do not adopt a COMPLACENT ATTITUDE toward those cooler north slopes. Usually that is where the heavy fuel loading exists, while the south slope may be sparse grass and widely scattered trees. True, the south side does heat up with the sun shining directly, and does burn fast and furious.

But if you ever do get a north slope going due to low humidity or wind driven movement - watch out! It is going to be a longer, deeper, far reaching burn, throwing sparks a good distance to catch other slopes. Just one more thing to think about when evaluating conditions and strategies of attack.


04/22 Are there any links or sites where I may go to and listen to comms for working wildland fire incidents or air ops, either live from dispatch, through a scanner or remote from IC/Fire Camp?


04/22 UBEAR-
thanks for the lead, helped alot


04/22 Noname, Mellie

Everything in CPS (Campbell's prediction system) is in S-190 BASIC FIRE BEHAVIOR. I am working on the LP for 8 years and have taken the course several times. And the language is basic fire terminology in my mind "Backing fire, flanking fire, hot slope, cold slope, in alignment, out of alignment, flammability curve". Basic wildland fire terminology. His theories are basic, fire will run the hot slopes much more aggressively then it would a cold slopes (duh). The fuels on a hot slope are pre heat (closer to combustion point) and will burn much hotter and faster and more readily on those slopes and aspects as opposed to shaded cold slopes.


When a wildland fire shift from TOPOGRAPHY to a FUELS or WIND driven fires, these theories go out the window (look out and get out of the way). But the terminology is good, it has us talking the same language (and the new people can pick this stuff up and use it right away). People just have to take it for what it is, it's not the bible though. I believe I took it last year and it was supposed to be a 32 hr class. I think 8 hours is enough to stress the points they are trying to make. Maybe 16 hours for the newbie's, so they can do case studies to further push the point. I think it would be much better and more beneficial just to give people S-290 then CPS.

Hey Darren I was thinking, I hope you documented that incident when you were 15. Hope you filled out some type of exposure report. If you didn't I would work on some kind of record that it did happen to you. I have taken the test you're talking about several years in a row, it's a tough one. I found it ridiculous, you have to blow in a tube the size of a paper towel tube. Well good luck with the smoking thing, take care.


04/22 It's Mellie's Fault, really! Okay.. so it's not... but she did ask... what my instructors are teaching, and to be honest, the only thing given to us directly though the academy along the lines of wildland fire has been a simple little card with the 10 and 18 on it.. thats it... if we want wildland, we go through the 36 hour basic redcard course as a separate issue... which I might finnagle my way into doing.

Any how.. I'm just kicked back right now.. spent a long hard day ventilating structures.. makes me wish I was 21 sometimes to be able to numb a few areas of me.. any how...

Thanks for letting a pup yak at ya.. hope all is well in your various parts of the world.. east coast, west coast, oregon to D.C. and everwhere inbetween..
(Okay, so I'm tired...)

Take care,

04/22 hey ab.

just dorve through eastern WA. made the loop through wenatchee -sedro wooley .

looks pretty dry in the east cascades. I know the managers there are a little worried.?

WP - looks pretty dry in the marblemount area also. All the way from Sedro to Ross lake looks dry. You guys keep any numbers on the Skagit Valley? was wondering.

Hows the red card coming Tiny? Mellie - hope you can feel some closure with the Blood murder. I know you followed that closely, especially in your back yard.

later guys. Have a safe season


04/22 Sorry Ab. I should have been a little better on the web address in Florida. To all my fellow brothers and sisters throughout, have a safe and exiting fire season. Fire season looks bad here in Florida. Who knows, maybe some of you will get to visit Florida this year. See Ya.


Ranger, no need to apologize. It's nice to have the input from FL. CA is dispatching resources there even as we post. For those of you who haven't noticed, check the WLF News. Florida is burning and they're just coming into their dry season.

Readers, I updated the Links page under "State" to include a link to Florida DNR. I'd be happy to add any other state DNR links. Send them in.


04/21 Re LCES:

The "A" stands for Awareness, as in "Situational Awareness". There better not be any "D's" added on.


04/21 Bigwater:

Here's the deal: The bill in Congress is to raise the mandatory retirement age for federal firefighters from 55 to 57 years of age. Logic suggests that the bill, if passed, would also elevate the entry age cut-off from 35 to 37, but the language of the bill does not specifically speak to that. The bill (House Resolution 93) was introduced Jan. 3, 2001, in the House by Rep. Gallegly of CA. It passed the House 401 - 0 on Jan. 30; it was sent to the Senate that same day. The Senate has sent it to the Governmental Affairs Committee, who in turn sent it to one of their sub-committees, where currently nothing is being done about it.

Anyone who favors this bill (& wildland firefighters should) would be best served by writing their senators (not your congressmen/women - it's already passed the House) & voicing their opinion. Sen. Fred Thompson is the Chair of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee; Joe Lieberman is the ranking Democrat on the Committee. Sen. Dianne Feinstein is supposedly one of the chief Senate supporters of the bill, so an e-mail or letter to her probably wouldn't hurt. Anyway, if you support this bill, write, call, e-mail, use carrier pigeon, an note in a bottle, or some other more sophisticated means of communication to convey this to your senators.


04/21 Kelly,

thanks for the info,


04/21 That was quick. Thanks Siskiyou!


04/21 You're right about temp jobs in Florida. Remember fighting wildland fire in Florida, as a lot of you already know, is a different ballgame. Green burns in Florida and burns hot and fast due to oils on the leaves of the vegetation. Most wildland fires in Florida are fought with a Tractor/Plow unit. Fighting fire in Florida with hand tools is almost impossible. Engines and Brush Trucks are great on smaller fires or protecting structures. If you plan to live in Florida, and want to be a Forestry Firefighter, contact the local Division of Forestry District Headquarters and inquire about job openings. Also look on the web site www.myflorida.com. The Division of Forestry is under the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The Florida Division of Forestry has it's own training program, which if I may say is excellent. There are usually openings around for Forest Rangers. The money isn't great, but where is it great for Wildland Firefighters? If you have Wildland Firefighting experience it would be a great plus. Contact the DOF office and see what they can do for you.


Ab sez, I had to muck around on the myflorida.com site for a bit to find the relevant forestry and fire locations. Here they are: http://doacs.state.fl.us/ and http://flame.fl-dof.com/.

04/21 Ab..

In response to SC's question on the origination of the 10 Standard Orders, if they can get ahold of an article written by Jim Steele in the August/September 2000 issue of Wildfire Magazine, I would highly suggest it. In this article Mr. Steele interviews a retired FMO by the name of John Krebs (whom I had the pleasure of working for when I was just starting out in this business!) It is a wonderful article and gives some historical perspective on the 10 Standards...although, you won't find them grouped together in the mnemonic way we all know them as now. Worth checking out to anyone who hasn't already seen the article! I believe the 18 Watchouts came some years after the origination of the 10 Standards.....worth keeping in mind that they are different entities even though we all lump them together as one.... the 10 & 18!

As for LACES....here is how I was taught them.
L = Lookouts
A = Awareness
C = Communications
E = Escape Routes
S = Safety Zones

Then there is always CLUES...
C = Communications
L = Lookouts
U = Unified Understanding
E = Escape Routes
S = Safety Zones

I am sure we have many more of these out there, even some not so politically correct ones (that I love) too!

Thanks I hope this helps out.........


So, what are the politically incorrect ones!? Ab.

04/21 I think we talked about this before but, one, there is faulty science involved with the Campbell Prediction System, and two, the new language he invented may be confusing to people that have not been exposed to it. His seat of the pants teachings are probably fine but when he tries to back it with his own brand of science it fails. I heard that in Ventura County is you take the CPS you become a Fire Behavior Analyst trainee, any truth to that? I know locals and indeed States don't have to follow NWCG guidelines but this is a scary idea Ventura has.


04/21 Todd,

The legal authority the FS has to offer rewards is very limited. I have included a link to Title 36 Part 262.1 below. Frankly I had posed the same question. And after re-reading CFR 262.1 I understand why they did not.

The Anderson P.D had the legal jurisdiction over the case. The FS LE (law enforcement) folks never have had legal jurisdiction in a murder case. They can provide support if requested, or if told to back-out, they must walk away. I understand that two SA's assisted in conducting interviews after the discovery of the murder.

The thing that FS LE and LE from other agencies need to do is provide information to their officers regarding the murder, and any other incidents that place people on an incident at risk. I questioned a number of Officers this past fire season regarding their knowledge of the incident. Most were unaware that it happened.

The updating of Officers is no different from a safety standpoint than a fireman keeping track of the weather and burning conditions.


CFR 262

04/21 -- for SC:

The origin of the 10 & 18 (actually the 10 - the 18 came later) is here: www.fs.fed.us/r5/fire/1957. The Ten Standard Orders originated in 1957 with the "Task Force Report to the Chief of the Forest Service" - which was a "report to recommend action to reduce the chances of men being killed by burning while fighting fire."

Thanks to Shag Aldrich (FS) and Steve Holder (NPS) and Ray Quintanar (FS-R5) for getting this report online. It was talked about for years - but no one did anything about making it available. Shag and Holder actually got me a copy of it last year, and it's available on Q's R5 fire site online, along with some photos and links and follow-up info on the R5 fire website.


04/21 Here in R6 we say the A in LACES stands for anchor points. I think it can stand for whatever you want so long as it reminds you to stay safe.


04/21 Norman

The way that they tested me was by blowing into a tube as hard as I could 3 times and a machine pushes out the age of your lungs ( I took the test twice ). Physical fitness has something to do with it, but another factor I failed to mention was an accident I had about 8 yrs ago on my structural dept. I was 15 at the time and we were working a chimene fire. Towards the end I was on the clean up crew to dig out the insulation. Well I had an idiot for a LT and he told me to take my mask off while we were doing it. I vaguely remember thinking this isn't right, but I followed orders. For about an hour and a half to two hours I was breathing in insulation fiber glass so thick you could see if floating in the air in the light. Ever since then I cough up a little bit of blood every winter and for the first time I did last summer. Though the smoke of last years fires didn't help much, seeing that I was out for about 3 months straight.

But anyway, thank you all for responding and I hope everyone has a safe and productive summer.

Darren R1

04/20 ab,

Here is a picture of two Krassel Heli-Rappellers please add it to your arairborne firefighter page. Thanks


Put the photo of the HeliRappers on the Airborne FF Page. Also updated Job Page Series 462 and 455. Ab.

04/20 Does anyone have positive information on the bill sent to congress to raise the max. age for primary fire jobs from age 35 up to 37. what is the bill number ? when did it pass ? does this cover u.s.f.s. only or all fed agencies ? Even the personnel depts. haven't been any help . ANYBODY got the real deal ?


04/20 Dear Ab and all:

Can any help me find info on fire safety history (i.e., when and how the 10 and 18 came about) for a paper I'm working on in my wildland fire management class. I know the LCES story already. Also, according to Firefighter's Handbook on Wildland Firefighting by Ret. Chief William Teie(CDF) the A in LACES is for awareness. There is no mention of a D, however. Thanks again.


04/20 I am visiting the Collier County Florida area, does anyone know the fire frequencies used by Florida Forest Fire Service and fire departments in this area?

Thanks John

04/20 Anyone know why it takes so long to get fire gear like line packs, etc from fire suppliers? An LL Bean, they're not!


04/20 Darren
Give it up man it will kill you in the long run. I have smoked for 16 years I just gave it up 2 months ago. The reason was because my next door neighbor came down with cancer and she is only 25 (to bad she was a beautiful and wonderful girl).

I don't know how your doctor came up with his figures. I also I'm not advocating smoke either, by what I'm about to say. But according to your Doc figures 7yrs of smoking =24yrs of deterioretion. If that is so I would have the lungs of an 83 year old. I have not even accounted for the 9 yr. of sucking smoke on ALL THE fire I have been to.

I think it's NONSENSE I can work and Pt with the best of them. I never was the fastest nor was I the slowest. But I was one damn hard worker. I think allot of it has to do with what shape or physical condition you are in. I was on a Hotshot who would smoke every other crew hiking and working on fires (when we would bump past a crew while cutting line we would never see them again till the end of the shift, HEHEHEHE) I kept up with these guys dispute the years of smoking under my belt (I don't know maybe they tolerated me cause they liked me, but I did not slow them down in any way).

So well the best thing you can do is quite smoking. The next best thing is to push your self to the limit while PT ing. Run so fast and or so far that your about to puke. Then the next day do it again and take it further, and so on and so on and so on. And before you know you will have gained that lung capacity back and you will fill a whole lot better Physical and Mentally.

Good luck with your quest man. Give up smoking up like I said.

04/20 Country Rover

As I understand the "A" stands for Awareness. I was told this by CDF personnel here in california. I believe it comes out of their basic firefighter training book. I may be wrong, but hey you know us dispatchers it's not likely. Just a joke (no reply needed, or I may be the one to UTF the next assignment)

Any CDF'ers out there may be able to explain it better and what book it comes from? I've never seen the "D" part of it before. If it's not in writing I guess it really doesn't exist then. I am curious as to what it means. Next thing you know there will 20 different letters added to LCES and the K.I.S.S. idea(Keep It Simple Stupid) will be out the window.

Sign me,
Back to the basics because people are going to make things too hard to remember again!

04/20 In LACES, the A stands for "AWARENESS", or so we were taught in (a northern CA) S-130 class last spring (NWCG course materials; CDF, FS, and 4 structural FF instructors from two nearby towns). Tiny, you're doing all that training now. What do your instructors say?

Cognitive research shows that fewer things to remember are better as humans are able to hold only 3-7 items (avg 5) in short term memory under the best of circumstances. Under stress we can remember less... Awareness is important, but is an abstract quality. A checklist of tangible items is better...

For me, the most cognitively logical set of training that I have received to date is Doug Campbell's "Campbell Prediction Method" (www.dougsfire.com/) that I did with the Ventura Co Fire Dept. In this training, firefighters are taught to view fire behavior taking into account slope, aspect and time of day in determining their safety. FF are taught that they should not work on a fire beyond times and conditions that put them at risk. In coming years as fewer of the "old dogs" are available to provide guidance to the newbies, and fewer newbies know about topography, reading a contour map and making a mental image of the terrain, it seems to me that the 16 hours of training that Doug offers becomes more important and even critical.

This doesn't take the place of S-130 and S-190 but augments these classes in significant ways. It would be interesting to get a university that has a very strong cognitive psychology research department such as Carnegie Mellon University, Harvard or MIT to evaluate this method for its efficacy in promoting groundpounder safety. The Redding Shots do this training as a group every year. I think LA and Ventura Counties make it mandatory wildland training as well.


04/20 Just moved to florida from california and I cant seem to get any info on how they do the hiring out here... everyone Ive talked to say there are no temporaries hired for the wildland season- could this be true? Anyone know anything about it? Ive checked the job page-


Temps are being hired in CA. Ab.

04/20 Indiana Dan...or/and Tommy...

I'm not too sure about your "A"in LACES. I was aways tought "A" was ATTITUDE. Am I wrong, or is this a difference in training? I work in R-3, and I'm just curious and interested.

I was also very interested by the "D" in your acronym. I just went through 290, 230, and, 231 and I've never hear of LACESD. I've only heard of LACES. Just food for thought... if your "L"ookouts, "A"ttitude, "C"ommunications, "E"scape Routes "S"afety Zones are edequately marked and followed, why do you need a Depolyment Zone? My training has tought me, a Safety Zone is an area fire personnel can SAFELY retreat to and NOT HAVE TO DEPLOY. If you can't get to your Safety Zone adequately, establish a new one(s). If you have to deploy in your Safety Zone, it isn't a Safety Zone, its a Deployement Zone. Just some food for thought....

County Rover

04/20 I know Mr Blood's murderer is probably dead, but aprehensions continue to exist.

I was talking with a busdriver the other day and we were wondering if anyone knew why no reward was offered by the FS for info that led to the apprehension of Mr. Blood's murderer? I know someone offered a reward, maybe Wildland Firefighter Mag? Don't the feds sometimes do that?

Also wondered if bus drivers felt safe enough coming into the new season? Are there any additional safeguards created to prevent a recurrence of this kind of non-random event? either by the bus contractors or the feds? My friend was wondering what he should watch out for? How should he conduct himself to stay safe if he sees drinking or drugs? The article said there was not motive, but alcohol or drugs certainly must have been the problem from everything I've heard.


04/20 Dennis R5
Ya, I think thats going to be the hardest thing though man. Getting that initial quit thing goin.. Thx for the response though.
04/20 Darren,

I can tell you that my lungs cleared up when I quit smoking.I smoked for 22 years and gave them up cold turkey,I haven't wanted one since and its been 5 years now.I did have pretty good incentive to quit though.I had a heart attack at age 34.I lost a brother to a heart attack last year and he was a smoker as well.

I still manage to fight fires, despite a heart condition and my doctor is saying that my lungs are clearing up from the not smoking.

I would absolutely go crazy if I had to quit fighting fires.

Good luck on the quitting smoking.
Stay safe, Keith

04/20 Hey Ab--
Thanks for the great site. Please post this on They Said.

Indiana Dan--
I took the Basic Wildland Course here in Montana in February and they were teaching "LACES" also. In that course, the instructor stated that the "A" stands for "apply." Also learned "LACESD" in Standards for Survival and the "D" stood for "deployment zone." Hope that helps.


04/20 Darren,
There are alot of 46+ year old lungs out there still on the firelines! Why would you think that you need to quit firefighting just because you have the lungs of a 46 year old? (What are the lungs of a 46 year old like anyhow?) Having never been a smoker, I don't really know how difficult it is to give up smoking, but QUITTING SMOKING would definately be a priority for health improvement. As for improving the condition of your lungs, what you have is what you've got. Just be thankful you still have working lungs and get on with your life!
04/19 Darren,

The only thing I can help you with is what you already know, to quit smoking.

I will tell you this though, My girlfriend quit smoking after several years of doing so.

She has not smoked in 2 years as of April 4 and doesn't even like being around smoking cigs. She feels alot better after she quit and doesn't hack and cough any more. She feels alot better about herself also.

I hope you do the same for your heath and your job. Good luck to you.
Dennis R5

04/19 District is going to replace a jury-rigged engine with a new type 6. Folks making the Missoula pump (model 52) have a year backlog on orders.

Anyone know of any equals on the market?


04/19 If you don't think things are getting bad... check out the Kenai Penisula Report for Alaska..

Fire Season restricions begin APRIL 23..... very early this year


Look at the Alaska State page.....
http://fc.ak-prepared.com/dailysitrep/ April 18, 2001

www.nnic.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/regional_monitoring /palmer.gif

Looks like a wide ranging fire season.

For you fire buffs and statisticians... compare the 1969/1970/1971, 1979/1980, and the 2000/2001 fire seasons with the Soutern California fire weather info and data from 1998 to present. I'm sure you will agree they are quite the same. Are we destined to remember the history or to repeat it. Several years of drought (La Nina) following a couple years of wet (la nino) and a return to normal.

1970/71 fire seasons - creation of FIRESCOPE - Lots of fires - San Clemente, Laguna, etc.....
1979 - Dry Falls Fire, BDF
1980 - Panorama Fire BDF, Thunder Fire ANF, Ortega Fire CNF, Turner Fire CNF, Sycamore Fire BDF, and more

2001 January - Viejas Fire CNF (3rd year in a row of major wildfires in January in SoCal)
.......... Just an observation.......

/s/ Rookie Capt.

04/19 kw,

The issue of some R-5 Forests not having been able to fill qualified AFEO's, engineers, and captains is a temporary one. Eventually, ALL positions will be filled. Because this is a temporary problem, and should be fixed in Round 3 and 4, all positions remain as is. It is impossible to "downgrade" a position for a short term problem. The only requirement that has been placed, as far as I know, is that the engines must be seven day effective for ninety days. If this is true, the normal Aug-Sept-Oct fire season is all that is needed. We are only in April right now.

So-CAL Capt.

04/19 I need some advice:

Ok, I am a smoker, not for long though. I have been fighting fire for the last 7 years both structural and wildland and I am only 22 yrs old. My dilemma is that I just got my lungs checked today and the doc said they were that of a 46 yr old person. Does anyone know how I can bring them back towards normal. I know that I have to quit smoking, but I would like do get better without quitting fire fighting. I don't think I am ready to do that. So, anyone PLEASE HELP.......


04/18 Ab,

Attached is the Safety Gram Year 2000 Entrapments & Fatalities from NIFC, Stan Palmer. Please get this sent out to everyone you know, so the word gets out on what happen last year so it does not happen this year!! Some deaths have alrealdy occured, but maybe we can keep them down this year. Even one more is just too many!!!

Zimm (Captain Don Zimmerman, Hanford Fire)

Here it is. This requires Adobe Acrobat. It is in pdf, but is an appropriate use of pdf, about 6 sec download and not involving immediate FF safety or reading under low light conditions. Ab.


Send in those requests to NWCG for the sit report to be provided in html (not pdf). See theysaid: Ab's and Jim's comments on pdf.

04/18 Hey Gang,

I knew I could find it in "ether-print", our very own Hickman speaking on tornadoes, or at least as he describes it,
"strong down winds" ... Glad no one was hurt, Dude!


04/18 Just a few info items FYI from the NPS morning report:

National Fire Plan
The ten-year comprehensive strategy core team will reconvene Thursday and Friday in Denver to complete its work. Members of the core team include representatives from the states and the five federal fire management agencies. Bill Pierce of the National Park Service will represent the Department of the Interior. The final document is scheduled for submittal to Congress on May 1st.

Status of NPS hires for fire jobs, as of April 12th: Temporary positions - 739 total, 262 hired to date; career/seasonal positions - 235 total, 153 hired to date; permanent positions - 416 total, 232 hired to date. That works out to 647 hired to date out of a total of 1,390 positions (47%).

Another note from the NPS report:
NWCG's Safety and Health Working Team has developed a new, web-based/email safety alert system to disseminate safety alerts, advisories and bulletins simultaneously to all levels of federal and state wildland fire organizations. All employees involved in fire management should check the site on a regular basis. At present, there are four people in the NPS who are authorized to enter information into the system - Sue Vap and Paul Broyles (FMPC), John Kraushaar (PWR), and Daryl Rhodes (SER). More may be added at a later time. Here are particulars on the system, as announced by NWCG:

"The Safety Alert system is intended as another mechanism to provide safety related information to the field. It is a web-based system that sends the alerts as an email message to a list of recipients within the states and federal agencies represented by NWCG. Those recipients are in turn expected to forward the message to coworkers and interested parties within their organization. The expectation is that the messages will continue to be forwarded within the fire community, and that they will receive a wide distribution in a relatively short period of time.

"There are three levels of Safety Alert:

  1. Safety Warning - A warning of a safety hazard that poses an imminent threat to life or property.
  2. Safety Advisory - An advisory on safety information that isn't related to imminent or potential threats of injury.
  3. Safety Bulletin - A factual confirmation of a serious accident, incident or fatality within the fire community.
"A database of all the bulletins will be kept on the NWCG SHWT home page at www.nwcg.gov/teams/shwt/safetyalerts2.php

"All NWCG member organizations have key management and safety supervisors with the ability to send Safety Alerts.


04/18 Readers, I thought you might be interested in reading an article from the High Country News online archives.
In New Mexico, environmentalists are aghast at a new law, approved by legislators of both parties, that gives counties 'police power' to cut trees in national forests threatened by fire.
New Mexico loggers get 'police power'

Woman on Fire

04/18 Ab and all interested-
Been a lurker for a while, so here's my contribution. Here's the link for the State of Indiana Fire Management division of the DNR. Noticed there wasn't anything on the Links page for it, so here you go!

Also, when I went through the Red Card refresher last month, there was another word added to LCES, to make it LACES. Is this an Indiana thing, or is it nationwide? I can't, for the life of me, remember what the A stands for right now... I can find out though!

With all the talk recently about safety, I'll leave you with a quote from FDIC (Fire Department Instructors Conference) that was publicized a year or two ago. Hit home with me, hope you all take it the same way!

"To err is human, but to err and lose a life is unforgiveable"

Indiana Dan

04/18 Howdy Fire Eaters:

Need info on the USFS T.E.A.M.S. work detail for the Bitterroot N.F. Anybody ever work with these boys??? I'm ready to suck some paint for a return trip to the Big Sky. Please advise on Abs site.


04/18 I hear in region 5 that some Forests have lack of qualified feo, afeo so they're going 5 day effective engines. So does this put some Captains down to gs7 ?


04/18 Hey Ab(which ever one is on the East coast)

If you are in the Wash DC area, and you want some distraction from what you are doing and want to visit the western Md. and South Central Pa area, Send me an Email. Doorsmaurer@hotmail.com The area we live in is only 1.5 hours away. Can also set up tours of Emmitsburg and the f/f memorial.

Thanks very much Doorsmaurer. My schedule is crammed full or I would take you up on that. Maybe next time. Ab.

04/18 Ab, Frank & Mellie:

I looked up the discussion from January on the STPS. Heck, I was one of the people asking questions and I had forgotten all about what I had asked and received. Thanks to all. In other discussion with some others in our business, they seemed to think I did not have to worry about anything because of my current Red card rating. I had asked the original question because it seemed like at times that some wildland agencies were expressing concerns in this area due to the amount of residential lost each year.


04/17 Is there such a title as "Structure Protection Specialist"----At a recent Wildland conference I heard several instructors claim to be Structure Protection Specialists.


STPS on the ICS mnemonics list. Check out the theysaid discussion in the January 2001 archive, specifically look at 1/3 to 1/6. Ab.

04/17 Updated the jobs, series 462 and 455 pages. Redmond Shots need a Squad Leader. See their outreach. Also listed are a Rx Fire Specialist and a Fire Ops Sup. Read the posts, and get your apps in for these jobs or for Engine Crew Leader at Kern National Wildlife Refuge! Contact Roger Wong for the last three. Ab.
04/17 I notice some update times are EDT. Is there an East Coast Ab too???????


Ab ain't sayin' 'xactly, but the one that's postin' must be there right now. Have laptop will travel...

04/16 Hey Hickman,

The news said you had a tornado in your neck of the Ozarks yesterday and that the fire department was a big help to all the citizens. Are you one of the heroes?

Did the Easter rabbit make it in spite of it all? Hope all are OK... including the bunny.


04/16 For those of you who are not perm. or in a seasonal position which will give y6ou any amount of training, I suggest you go buy it yourself....

Many other agencies outside the fed gov....but in the NIFC system provide training for anyone who meets the min quals of the class.

All are certified classes which you can use for red card quals....problem is getting any real time experience to back up your classwork....if you have the classes but can't get the fires to get signed off.....money down the drain.....

check out The Nature Conservancy....www.tncfire.com...they have a great training page.......links to this and that......

a lot of prescribed stuff but some wildland too. Plus you get to met fun , interesting and influential people.

Tahoe Ted

04/16 old boy,
Yeah I do think it is noble for the union to be protecting your life. Some unions seem to only care about dollars, which I guess is rather noble but if you ain't here to spend 'em what the heck. You are right about fitness and it is a year round job to remain fit, but do you want a FMO someplace deciding if you are fit enough to take the wct. They are definitely not qualified to make that determination. At least in my humble opinion. Whether you want to admit it or not the NFFE does more for you than you can even realize.
Later, Dave
04/16 To Structure Fire Dude,

Hopefully some of my suggestions will help you on your next round of the hiring process:

1. Read the X-118 qualifications for the GS-462 series and tailor your explanation of your duties on your resume and Form C to them. Add a little about the structural stuff, but concentrate on the wildland side.

2. Basically, the X-118 says you must meet the minimum for the next grade level for one year OR has equivalent experience. YOU MUST PUSH THE EQUIVALENT experience in the current hiring since they have publically stated that structural fire experience will only be counted up to the GS-4 level. That means, show the hiring folks that the majority of your job, or a significant portion of it, is wildland fire. You have to proove your agency is not just a structural department, but a wildland or all risk department...

Hope that helps some...

/S/ Rookie-Capt

04/16 JT, hope some of this info helps... Sorry its not from R-2, R-6, or R-9 but sounds like you are fired up about having a career in wildland fire and might be willing to investigate...

Many of the Region 5 local and regional training centers offer available class space to folks looking to take classes on their own. Many more are being offered by several community colleges in the State of California. These classes range from the I and S 100 level classes to level 400 classes. As for the medical stuff.... I know of a cadre that teaches "Medical First Responder", the same class as the one being taught at the apprentice academy.... If you are interested, please ask Ab for my e-mail.

So-Cal Capt..

04/16 Just another plug for the Asheville Hotshots...

I was a member of the Asheville Hotshots in 1990, their second season. Having been from Region 5 my whole career, it was a great learning experience. Dick runs an excellent training program for all of the crew members AND you also get the added benefit of going to fires and prescribed burns. You couldn't ask for a better detail.

Past crew members..... DO YOU REMEMBER NO-NECKS???

Have a safe season everyone...

/s/ Ken

04/15 OK, so round 2 of permanent has come and gone with only a few nibbles on my line. I guess it's time to settle into another temp job for this season and boost my credentials this winter.

I am looking for information on any wilderness medical institutes in R2, R9 or R6. I would like to boost the "Basic First Aid" into an EMT or Wilderness First Responder. Anyone know of any good places I could spend my non-fire months? Also, I've seen a lot in here on how to get training if you are already in the circus of the gov't world, how about for those of us stuck in the bleachers? Are there any off season training sessions offered? I'm not looking to get paid, just looking to learn.

If there aren't any training sessions beyond the basic red card, why don't local districts begin to offer advanced training (Pumps, Saws, etc.) that aren't available to seasonals during hectic fire seasons? It seems to me that this would enable an advancement of the fresh blood and allow a safer environment once fire season starts rolling.


04/15 WB:

It means, "Pissed Off!"

Structure Fire Dude

04/15 Ab et all-

Wow.. FF1 is hard training but fun at the same time.. playing with power tools and all.. Still, heavy bunker gear isn't as nice as lighter nomex Yellow & Green.

Okay.. now back to the board here.. wb asked to know what P.O. stood for.. well.. in the vernacular of the firefighter the closest thing I could possibly think of would be.. "Pissed Off"

Perhaps I should add that to the list? but then many folks probably already know what it means and don't need an online reference for it.

Tiny, the R-6 Fire Pup in Training

04/15 To anyone interested in the Asheville Hotshots per a conversation talking about details on shot crews around R-9. I was on the Asheville Hotshots in 2000. I know that all that have been on the crew will agree with me when I say it is an awesome learning experience. I have worked in fire in R-5 since 95', mainly on engines, so this experience was awesome. We got to see some beautiful country, work on many Prescribed fires ranging in complexity levels, and made it to a record number of fires (2000 season). Dick Kastler, the Sup, has run this crew since the beginning. The Assistant is Steve Little, and together they make a great management team. The whole detail is structured for training. They give you opportunities that you may not receive on your home unit. I strongly urge anyone that is yearning for a great training experience to apply for a detail on the crew. The info prior is correct...that they usually fly their detail announcement in October/November. In 2000, the crew came on in mid January and ran until mid May. We conducted Prescribed Burns, and went to fires in Texas, Florida, Virginia, N.Carolina, Kentucky, and Alabama. The crew is based out of Asheville, N.Carolina, on the National Forests of N. Carolina. Dick's # is (828) 257-4809. Good luck to all, and if you have any questions about the crew, feel free to email me.


04/15 Structure fire dude,

I am sorta new to this, but I have a few years in structure and a few years with the "feds." I looked at the acronym list and couldn't find anything on P.O. If you could elaborate more maybe I could help.


04/15 Needing action in R-9.

Check into the Southern Training Crew located in Ashville, North Carolina. It is operated in the same manner as Redding and Redmond. They are looking for employees that need fire training specifically those skills related to hand crew orgaization. You apply around November-December sometime and the detail begins in Janurary. It usually lasts until around May as it is operated concurent with the season in R-8. The Sup is a fella named Dick Kastler that started his career in R-5 before going East (South) to start the R-8 program. They work fires as well as prescribed fire throughout the south. It basically provides as a training crew, fire courses to get the applicant to the level of crew boss upon completion of the detail. (dependant of course on the individuals skills and assignments, no guarantees!) Training completed is based on the fire season and activity. I'm sure your training folks where you are stationed should be able to provide you with details of how to contact Dick or connect with the crew. I don''t remember specifically, I believe it is the National Forests of North Carolina.


04/15 AB &All,

I've been watching your site over the winter months and feel it is time to talk safety. Not necessarily line safety, but safety in general. Lets face it you are in a combat situation. You just dont have the gunfire to deal with. If you break your leg you have probably taken 3-4 of your crew out of action until they can get you to a medic. Sometimes this can make the difference in holding a line and having an escaped fire. The old adage of be careful out there does include you! On any fire if you come upon something you dont recognize leave it alone! Why, prime example of not paying heed to this cost a young airman his life. Seems he was assigned to White Sands Missile Range fresh out of basic training. One day out in the boonies he found this funny looking piece of scrap and picked it up. It didn't go off until he dropped it. Scratch one airman. Seems the Air Force in its unwisdom didn't bother to teach recruits about unexploded ordance. You probably wont run into anything like a military explosive if you are are fortunate but there is a lot of stuff out there just as deadly. Pesticides which when heated turn into phogene, power lines which can fry you from induced voltage and the lst goes on & on. All crew bosses should carry the emergency response guidebook whether you are on an engine or a groundpounder. It is easy to understand and can save your fanny (and a lot of other folks as well). Get someone who has experience to teach HAZMAT and dont rely on a video!

Use your hearing protection when it is practical. Probably means you wont want to use on the fireline. You may miss an instruction because of them or worse not hear that snag that flattens you as it falls. It is better to lose some hearing than lose your life! Your agency should be giving hearing tests at the start and end of the fire season. Mostly they dont. They don't want to let you know that hearing loss can be claimed under workmans comp (OWCP for the Feds). It's a shame that with all of the additional money available this that some of it wasn't spent on this program. It is an OSHA requirement which has been ignored for years. Might cost some money!

Enough for now. R3 is beginning to show some life for the firefighters what with our spring winds and warm temps. Hopefully no more Cerro Grandes.

Be careful out there!


04/15 Hi Ab,

Not to muddy the waters about hiring issues, but it would have helped if all the permanents of all rounds could have been hired before any temps were hired. As it is, we have temps who are now taking permanent positions as the cards shuffle downward, leaving the ranks of the crews rather thin in places and us scrambling to refill again. We might expect to loose some more crewbosses if there's a Round 2 of AFMO positions that come open - even if those positions are flown individually. I can see some of our folks hungrily eying the next higher positions. For those trying to configure our work force for this summer, it's hard to plan.

And yet, having said that, I'm glad we have all the new blood moving up!
Thanks for the info S.Cal Helitack.


04/14 I personally gave up on the FS hiring (after getting lots of initial hits but no offers), and went with a temp position on a BLM Helitack crew. It's usually the other way around, but this year the BLM seems to have it together- while the FS stumbles around trying to use a system that is not working the way it was intended to. My crew has already been training for the past week, and our helicopter comes on in early May. So, while the FS is just ending their hiring and beginning to train their new people, my crew will be trained, signed off, and ready for action.

Good luck to all of you people still hanging in there with the Forest Service.

Also, to AL-
I got my BLM offer in S.Cal four weeks ago, but even before then I got initial contacts and two offers from crews in Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. So, I would say it depends on what area you applied for as to when you will be contacted. If that district's fire season doesn't heat up until June, then I would imagine you would be getting a call soon...it also depends on your experience. The more experience, the earlier you will get called.

-S.Cal Helitack

04/14 I've been reading through many pages of "They Said" and I see a lot of gripes about this new hiring frenzy that is going on in the fed's World of Wildland Fire. I'll add one more, if I may?

I requested and received and filled out, very carefully, all of the forms to see if I could get hired as a fire prevention officer. I am a structural dude with lots of wildland fire experience as well. Even got me a Red Card. Lots of years and lots of experience. But, noooo! That's not good enough for the fed's. I was sent a letter from the fed's stating, in so many words, that my structural and in-state fire experience basically counted for ZERO!

Nice. Really nice. Is that any way to treat a seasoned firefighter and an American Citizen? No wonder there are so many P.O. fire people out there.

Structure Fire Dude

04/14 Dear ab and all:

does any one know about FS temp hiring? I have only had interest calls and that was some time ago. Just gettin kinda antsy, got my inserts and they're great, I'd just like to wear them on a fire some day. happy holidays,


Last week was devoted to the Round 2 Permanent MEL hiring by the hiring staff on most forests. You'll probably find that temps come back to the foreground this next week.       MORE MELmadness          Ab.

04/14 In reply to a couple of responses below I submit this for your consideration.

Re criminal applicants:
When reviewing applications, it is not easily or immediately evident that an individual may be incarcerated. The fact is that individuals incarcerated receive an excellent basic (and often extensive) training opportunity through their CDF direction. Some may argue that, but it's true. Another fact is that the line between those that are in and those that are out is very thin. How many here, if it weren't for good timing, would be in? All applications HAVE to be considered, if they are not, then we have a case of discrimination on our hands. Once selected (or tentatively selected) an applicant receives a suitability questionaire that must be received within a specificied timeframe, so that their background can be checked. At this time, if an applicant is either not available or ineligible for specific cause, the offer is recinded. It may not be the best system but the fact is that despite where an individual may reside, do for a living, or have done in their past, as American citizens they are allowed due process and consideration. That is the law!!

Re accepting another position:
If hired under the demonstration certificate, the employee is not eligible to accept another position for 90 days. If hired under the merit certifiicate that restriction is not applicable. Another reason for applicants to consider locations and positions that they really and truely wish to be considered for. It almost sounds that wb is angry that they received a position in round one. That unfortunately is one of the attitudes we have to deal with today. I find it ironic that an individal who receives an offer of permanent employment is angry that they can't continue applying and playing the system until they truely receive the position they really want. I guess the grass really is greener on the other side of the fence. It is attitudes like this that make this hiring process so difficult. Sorry wb that you aren't happy with your choice, maybe you should have gone out and made a better effort to make yourself known where you really wished to be employed!


04/14 Hello Ab & all,

I am one of those people who accepted a prem fire job with not too much experience, but believe me the pay reflects that. I have only one year experience, as a firefighter, but last year was a great year to get that experience in my opinion. I was on a hand crew that got sent down from AK for a month into some pretty hot fires. I know a month is not much but I know that fire is my calling. The job I took is in at a ranger district in R9, that's right, the mid-west. I know it's not exactly a what I had in mind either. There are not many fires in these parts and I am chomping at the bit to get out west on a detail. I have been busting my hump to stay in the best shape of my life and can pass any physical task thrown at me. Being on an engine (no offese to my fellow engine cohorts), I don't get to bust ass on any real big fires. The experience here in R9 is not bad by any means, just a little slow. Looking on the bright side, it is good to get this experience of being in a considerably smaller scale environment.

Still, I was wondering if I could transfer to a shot crew and keep perm status, or do I have to have to wait until my 13-13 is up? What are the possibilities for next year or the off season? Any suggestions or comments would be much appreciated.

Needing some action in R9

04/14 If folks want the R8 coordination center to go back to HTML, I suggest they contact Marc Rounsaville at mrounsaville@fs.fed.us


04/14 Jobs Page and Series 462 and 455 are updated. Kern NWR still needs an Engine Foreman (GS-05/06). Apply, apply! There are still lots of other jobs being flown around the country... Are we running low on qualified applicants?


04/14 My buddy and I have just landed positions in R5-different forests. We have both had one season fire each--he is going to the JAC Academy. Can anyone give me details about what the JAC Academy is, who gets choosen, why, where is it located, etc.?

Also, I am a bit concerned about the anger that seems to be out there over new hires. I realize many of us don't have as much experience as others, but we all have to start somewhere. I accepted the position I was offered in order to get my foot in the door and gain more experience. I just hope I don't have to deal with a lot of misdirected anger.


Don't ya be too worried about any "misdirected" anger JL. Employees can always find something to be upset about if they want to. Ab wuz hired as a seasonal, then a year later offered a "veterans's re-adjustment program" position. This allowed me to take several large strides past those who had many years experience. By the third season I was an assistant engine foreman (TTO for you old timers), supervising firefighters with 8-12 seasons experience.

I took some grief from my peers and freely admit to an occassional embarrassing fundamental mistake. However, I was smart enough to seek my crew's advice and to let them know my appreciation. Facing a certain amount of animosity or adversity can help make one a better leader, cause ya have to work harder at it. I think I've done ok in my career, I've supervised hundreds over the years and have yet to have a grievance filed against me.

I still have a "vet" button that can be pushed, but it no longer has a hair-trigger. I still hear some moaning and groaning about not being able to get to a desired person because a vet is in the way. I don't pay much attention to most of it as I've also been involved in selecting applicants for positions and sometimes the vets appear ranked way too high. But if you want to see if Ab's "vet" button still works, just use a curse word in front of vet when yer doing the griping.


04/14 New address is http://www.southernregion.fs.fed.us/sacc/


04/14 Ab, or anyone else,

Is the SACC website down just to me, or is it down for everybody? I cant seem to be able to pull their webpage up. Particularly I'm interested in finding non-fire details in the Southern Area, and at one time the website was a great place to start looking......anybody out there know of a detail list or where to look to find em?


04/14 Hello,

I am searching for National Firefighters Organizations. If you can make any referrals, please help.


04/13 AB: Please post yo They Said!

The Services for steve Vangundy, will be held at the Stonyford Cemetary, at 10 am, on Satuday 4/14, 2001. A request has been made due to lack of room, to have folks meet at the Forest Service Work Center in Stonyford, and carpool to the cemetary.

Thanks for the prompt reply. That's tomorrow, Firegirl and others who inquired. Ab.

04/13 DALE BOSWORTH Selected as USDA'S New Forest Service Chief


Anyone know if Dale Bosworth has ever fought fire? AL

04/13 Tahoe Ted...

(cough) Part time / off season job (coughing continues...)

Sorry guys. Trying to stay neutral...

County Rover

04/13 Ab and All

I talked to Neil Hitchcock this morning about the situation report being in HTML. Neil said that a final decision has not been made on the final format and they will be monitoring what folks want for the next month. There appears to be a lot of folks who like the PDF format as well as those who want HTML. I think that if more field folks would let them know what format they would like, it will go a long way in achieving their goal. I also would guess that the final format may be both HTML & PDF and you would have a choice.

My vote is HTML


Thanks Jim, and thanks Neil for continuing to consider. Readers, if you go to the NIFC main page http://www.nifc.gov/ and go to the very bottom left of the page and click "Comments", I think you will have the feedback person to contact with your vote for html and/or pdf. (This is janelle_smith@nifc.blm.gov .) I wasn't able to find any other e-mail addy for providing feedback regarding the pdf version of the sit report. If you'd rather call, here's the NIFC number: 208-387-5512. Please let your voices be heard. This relates to accessibility to critical information and potientially to our safety. Ab.

04/13 Here is a "heads up." Check your fire shelter for recall.

National Interagency Fire Center
3833 S. Development Ave.
Boise, ID 83705

April 10, 2001
Contact: Alice Forbes (530) 226-2727


BOISE, IDAHO, APRIL 10, 2001 – Federal firefighting agencies are responding to a defect discovered in the packaging of fire shelters by recalling 44,000 affected shelters currently in use and storage throughout the country.

The issue is focused on the red pull-tabs that open the clear plastic case covering some of the fire shelters manufactured under General Services Administration (GSA) Contract GS-07F-J0091. These tabs tend to break off before “unzipping” the clear plastic case that encloses the fire shelters.

Alice Forbes, USDA Forest Service Branch Chief for Chemicals and Equipment stressed that the recall addresses the pull-tabs on the packaging only, and not the fire shelter. “It must be emphasized that the shelters will still perform as intended for the firefighter. The tabs breaking on the outer case could force the firefighter to remove his or her gloves in order to attempt to get the cover off without the tabs. This is cumbersome, and adds precious seconds, as well as anxiety to an already tense situation. We strive always to fight fire safely so that no one will ever need to use a fire shelter, but history has taught us differently.”

“The shelters themselves are manufactured according to specification and will simply be re-worked with a new outer case,” added Leslie Anderson, Fire Shelter Development Project Leader with the Missoula Technology and Development Center.

Any agency having shelters manufactured under General Services Administration (GSA) Contract GS-07F-J0091 is asked to collect the shelters by May 4, 2001, and return them to their nearest Geographic Area Coordination Center/National Interagency Support Cache where they will be inventoried. GSA will then issue a credit to the unit for the shelters. GSA is working on a contract to get the shelter packaging re-worked as rapidly as possible to make them available for the coming fire season. Current supplies of fire shelters in the cache system and GSA can meet the immediate needs of the agencies. ###

04/13 To Ab & All,
While I'm not directly involved in the hiring process, I've a great deal of interest in it and have observed a few odd situations. The oddest was the mandatory contact and job offer to an applicant that is currently in prison. Um, hmm, that's right. They HAD to make contact and make the job offer cause the person was at the top of the "quality" list. I don't know why the person was incarcerated, I don't care. It would seem to me there would be other rights a person looses while being punished for being unable to conform to society's rules in addition to personal freedom, but I guess it is a sign of the times. Everybody receives victims' rights whether they are the injured party or the aggressor.

A popular subject here in the forum is that some applicants, certain they should be at the top of some lists, wonder why they have not been contacted or offered a position worthy of their skills. They are those who yell the loudest as they attack and blame everyone involved from top to bottom. I'll ignore their "Ability to Communicate Both Written and Oral" skills, (a mandatory position element on nearly every job), in this message as I relate the following.

While reading these abusive and noisy complaints, I was reminded of a newspaper article I read last winter. A university experiment compared employees who excel and those who were considered marginal or inept in their employed positions. First, a survey of the designated subjects coworkers was taken to identify where an individual fit on a scale of excellent, average, or poor regarding to their intelligence, capabilities, and quality of work. All individuals who fell in an average area were removed from further study. The remaining top and bottom individuals were given an identical survey and asked to rate themselves and provide a supporting statement for each question.

I found the results most interesting. The group of individuals most respected by their peers as being the highest achievers tended to rate themselves as average or just a bit above. They were aware of their weaknesses (whether others perceived them or not) and were concerned on how they may obtain additional skills, experience, or education to improve their performance.

Maybe not as surprising, were the results of those whose peers rated them at the bottom of the quality ladder. These people consistently rated themselves at the top or excellent level. They appeared to be totally unaware of their shortcomings, work habits, or being perceived as failures in performing their jobs. In the areas they rated themselves as less than excellent, they tended to blame others or gave excuses for selecting the lower rating.

As I pondered these results, I suddenly jumped up and ran to a mirror to look at myself. My God, I thought, if I'm a failure, everyone but me knows it!

Think about it!

Sign me,
Suddenly Self Concious

04/13 Does anyone know about if you took a job in the first round you have to wait 90 days before you can be offered another position? If yes, it was very nice of them to let me know before I accepted in round 1.


04/13 "PYG" opined" <<..........<snip>.........If people are worried about inmates dying and not getting benefits then write your congressman and have the inmates kept in the prison pounding rocks. >>

I have spent some time trying to calculate the relative efficacy of tax dollars spent on California's inmate Firefighter Handcrews and those spent on USFS Shot Crews. It is not an easy task. I have a great deal of respect for the Shots, and feel that they are uniformly high-quality crews (just wish they didn't have such a bad attitude about our guys.......). To set the record straight, CDF's adult (CDC) inmate Firefighters earn exactly one dollar per hour portal to portal during emergency assignments. During their very rigorous project and fire-training assignments (five days per week), they earn on average $1.80 per day. I do not know the pay rate of CDF's youth (CYA) inmate Firefighters, but it is most likely within the same broad range. There is more variability within CDF's Fire Crews - i.e. a broader range of quality. Yet, on average, for straight heavy-duty line construction our statistical "mean" is approximately equal to the Shots' quality. Much has to do with the work ethic and experience of the CDF Captain in charge. Some CDF Fire Crews consistently outdo Shot crews, even those from California. And contrary to what I have seen expressed occasionally in this forum, we ARE capable of splitting our crews and taking on a wide range of assignments. Our "swampers" have exactly the same radio equipment as the Captains, and most Captains are perfectly willing to send platoon-strength groupings of individuals to accomplish fairly sophisticated firefighting tasks independently. I will grant that the Shots' flexibility, both in terms of individual training and capability, is superior to us in that regard. But not by a great margin.

Now - granting that major campaign fires require a huge effort in firing out and line construction, my objective opinion is that the cost to the taxpayer per linear foot of fire perimeter controlled is somewhat better (lower) for CDF's inmate Fire Crews than for the Shots. The greatest expenditure, by far, on extended "out-of-county" assignments is for CDC personnel, and if it weren't for this factor the CDF Fire Crews would win hands-down without any question in dollar-efficiency. I am one of those CDF Fire Crew bosses (not boss's.....) with 31 seasons in central and southern California, only the last 12 of those on Fire Crews......

The latest estimation for our (San Luis Obispo) Ranger Unit going to Fire Season status is May 14. We have been in intensive fire training (hiking and line construction) since the last week of February. Our Fire Preparedness exercise is scheduled for May 8 and 10. My crew is going to kick ass for the hour-long 2 to 2 1/2 mile hike, involving 1000 feet of vertical ascent, and the two-hour line construction in 12 to 14 foot "Velcro-brush" with absolutely no natural windows. All fuel will be completely removed from the line and its margins, and my 17 men will have staubed the line for its full 15-foot width almost to the saws' location at the end of the two hours. The local Shots will meet for the first time together on May 9........... Fine bunch of men and women that they are, I suspect they will have caught up with us by the end of May..........

Michael, AKA Willie, from Arroyo Grande, CA

OK, Ab here, stepping in to play moderator. I think both sides of this issue have stated their perspectives fairly completely. It's time for moving on to new topics...

04/13 PYG,

That's cold man.
We should not treat any firefighter as "line meat".
And I sure don't know why we should have less compassion for their children or families than we would have for our own. For someone who seems concerned about safety on the line you may want to consider why you feel so angry about inmates. I am sure there are lots of folks on the line that have either served time or been lucky enough to avoid it. Everyone on the line trusts their life to every one else on the line whether they know it or not. The more divided we are the more stupid that becomes. Maybe our prisons are filled with losers... but you don't have to be in prison to be a loser. And those convicts that have the initiative to do something with their time are not the real losers... they have potential and know it.

As for why are we putting folks in positions for which they are not adequately trained or experienced. It is called on the job training. There simply are not nearly enough people to fill the available positions. Of course trying to fill positions with experience and excluding those over 35 who are likely a large pool of experience would seem illogical.... but that's the government. Any private business that tried to discriminate based solely on age would be slapped with so many suits they would think they had been thrown into a closet at 60mph.;>)


04/13 I have to agree with everyone complaining about the hiring process.
The process management choose to use ( the human resource officers and personnel folk) did not do right by me and others.
They did not (in my case) follow the list put together by the module leaders (managers, captains and superintendents). The people that run the crews should choose who works for them, and what skills and experience is needed to pull their crew together.
Some desk jockey should not make these decisions for the people that actually do the work.
For instance.
Well I did end up with a position, It turned out to be a position in a location low on my priority list (out of region), at a lower GS level then other positions that I was considering taking (GS 5 instead of a GS6).
I know for a fact that I was sitting at the top of several list in R5, and nothing became of it. WHY?
When I final got an offer what could I do, I had to except it. I know the rules, decline a position and you get pulled out of that round.
Management pull your ARM OUT <SNIP> and give the supervisors the people they want and deserve.
I have a terrible feeling that these new under qualified people are going to get people hurt. The number and odds are there and people (management) should be very concerned.
Maybe if management thought of the fire service as a profession instead of a bunch of part time college students things would be different.

Now to the person sticking up for the inmate crews THE OTHER MICHAEL.
Get some eye glasses, contacts or get lasic surgery.

1. A. Inmates should not get paid and not be able to smoke cigarettes. The inmates being out of jail and the experience they receive should be enough of a payoff and reward.
B.They are not allowed to smoke in jail,. Why should they be able to smoke on the fireline or in camp.
2. Sure they are happy to be out of jail. Why wouldn't they be. They get fat dinners, fat lunches and breakfasts, candy, sodas, cigarettes. They get to look at WOMAN.
3.Inmates do receive all the good sleeping areas.
ON A WORK TO REST RATIO. Inmates do far less work then are type 1 and 2 crews.
4. On to the shower issue. The camp coordinators never take in to account that the day does not end when the crews come into camp (when the shift ends). We must recomplement and re furbish supplies and tools. THEREFOR INMATES GENERAL DO SHOWER BEFORE THE REAL FIREFIGHTERS.

Inmates should be treated like inmates not, FIRE GURUS like your talking them up to be.
Inmates do take positions away from free people.
If CDF did not have any inmate crews they would have to form real crews (that would definitely stimulate to economy).
Think about how much more productive CDF would be.
I would take one good hotshot crew before ordering three inmate crews.

Finally I like to say I AGREE WITH KILLER well there is a place for inmate crews on the fireline. They should not affect the free firefighter in anyway.
We do the majority of the work, we stop the fires, we pull much longer shifts. Anyone who has been to more than a couple of fires and has made it out on the line should know this.



Ab will step in if you flame. <alter Ab wagging admonishing *pointer* finger> NORMAN, maybe you should put all that that energy into a powerwalk up a very steep incline. Carry your chainsaw if you need to.

04/13 PYG,

I'm know what you mean about the new hiring system being a bit of a snafu. That system underates some of people and overates others. Hopefully they'll work out the bugs in a couple of years.

You have to understand that the forest service isn't used to having a shortage of qualified people. They are much more comfortable having people fight and claw for entry level and JAC positions. Sorta like throwing some scraps of old meat into a group of hungry dogs and watching them fight over it.

Also, i think some of these other agencies are trying to wire jobs for hometown favorites. It's usually a tip off when a job is advertised as both 462 and 455. Therefore they can tell their golden boy to apply under both announcements. If someone beats them out on the 462 roster, they can pull them off the 455 roster, or visa versa

If this next fire season dosen't rip like hell, they'll be cutting a lot of positions. Somebody's got to pay for that big tax cut, and it isn't going to be those sodbusters who get paid not to grow crops.

Those contractors will be starving for a couple of years, but then they'll have a big pool of employees to chose from. So if your leaving a job with a contractor to take one of these demo jobs, don't burn your bridges.

In regards to that post the other day about the Computer geeks at Boise who are in charge of putting the sit report on the net. That person said they were a bunch of lazy slobs who weren't accountable to anyone, didn't even show up to work half the time, and got paid way too much money.

I only have one question, How do I get a job like that?

-Old ground pounder-

04/12 Does anyone have any information on the funeral services for Steve Vangundy? I haven't heard anything through the FS system. I understand the Honor Guard will be at the service to honor him.

Rest in peace Steve.

Prayers to his wife and family......firegirl

04/12 First thing I would like to vent on or discuss: is anybody besides myself concerned with a lot of the new positions being filled with under-qualified people. We just recently tried filling our asst. engine foreman jobs on this fire joke I mean hire program and we didn't have one person who was engine boss qual'd but we still filled them. I'm all for people getting into the system but I'm not for watching people getting killed and I think that that's going to happen if we have a bad fire season. I haven't figured out why we didn't do all the hiring over a matter of years instead of months.

Also I read someones message on the inmate dying and his family not getting any benefits, they shouldn't. People die in prison everday working or not. Yes it sucks for his daughter but if he was such a good father he wouldn't have been committing crimes and he wouldn't have been in jail. If people are worried about inmates dying and not getting benefits then write your congressman and have the inmates kept in the prison pounding rocks.


04/12 In response to Todd 04/12 question about WCT being a "condition of hire" or "condition of employment" It's more or less BOTH. When you get your letter of report (or at least for us), it will say on it that the WCT must be completed within a week of hire. You can NOT be on the fireline if you do not have a red card, and in order to get your red card, you MUST pass the WCT.

Great Basin Fire Fighter

04/12 FWS is also being funded at 100% of their theoretical MEL. New engines, facilities, staffing are on the up and up. Our job website is http://fire.r9.fws.gov/jobs/employment.php

So many vacancies, too little interest!

Fish and Chips

04/12 I am wondering how I can get the training I need to get on with a gov. agency, without being employed by one now. I would like to know if you could help me with any names or numbers on people to contact?. Every time I find info on firetraining they tell me its all done through state or gov. agencies. All I'm trying to get is training to improving my chances on getting on with a gov. agency, without starting out on the very bottom because from the sound of it by reading some if the other e-mails, it's hard to move up.

Thank You,

Others are writing in with this same question. Getting training prior to becoming a fed employee is tough. Your best bet is to hire on as a temp seasonal and get trained after you're hired. It's easier to find out about training in your area from peers who are also seeking training. In the current employment climate, it will not be so difficult to move up if you want a career in fire. Aside from that, I only know about CA. Some rural areas offer a Regional Occupational Program and sometimes there are classes at Junior Colleges. One way to find out about these opportunities is to call the nearest FS, BLM or NPS office and ask specifically about such programs. You should also check our links page for training, although I don't think we have those programs listed yet. Ab.

04/12 Does anyone know if there is the equivalent of the MELmadness schedule for BLM and NPS? Where are those organizations in hiring?


04/12 Is the WCT or pack test a "condition of hire" or a "condition of employment" for new people?


04/12 Tahoe Ted
Unemployment benefits are a function of State statutes as well as when you apply.

The application time can be crucial.

Make sure you know your requirments for your state by calling your UE office...


04/12 Mac---

I can give you some opinons about being in shape; however you and I are about the only ones who seem to bring this up. (Although it does rise its head occasionally.)

Anyway, I can go in to detail, howaever it seems to be the fact that you need to be able to run at a moderate rate and have a good upper body strength. If you want a detailed program, I'd be (and willing) to help you out; have "ab" email me. (However; I can't guarantee the results.).


04/11 Calling R, Calling R,

Will the person who e-mailed me with questions about the JAC Academy and about a possible permanent MEL job in norCA, please get in touch with me (or e-mail me via Ab if you don't have my e-mail addy handy). You have a job offer but they can't reach you.


PS. SZ, I've ordered stuff online from National Firefighter and have had quick service.

04/11 was wondering what the maximum benefits are for unemployment from Montana.

CA is 230 per week

Tahoe ted

04/11 SZ, There are a couple I know of but, one I order from.

1. The Supply Cache: http://www.firecache.com These guys are really friendly, helpfull and easy to work with. I've had nothing but superb customer service and communication with these folks. Even with a couple screw ups (s--t happens) they went WAY out of thier way to resolve any problems we may of had.

2. National Firefighter: www.nationalfirefighter.com I've only ordered from them once and probally wouldn't anytime soon, due to my experiences with the Supply Cache. These guys were OK.

3. Ebay: www.ebay.com If you have time (lots of time) to look, occasionally you'll find new and used items on ebay at an awesome price.

At this time of year you may have a hard time getting items when you need them. You and everyone else (including me) are scrambling for those "last minute" needs. I tore my pack at my pack test and they said 2 months back order. So I've got to find a sewing kit until then. Good Luck!

County Rover

04/11 SZ - Give Nancy Torre at Boulder Creek Packs in Hamilton MT a Call 406-363-5739. She does some great work and has a whole list of gear she makes. Prices are good. Quality is good.

Also check: www.eaglegear.com/eaglepacks.php


04/11 Howdy,

Can you or anyone out there offer advice on a PT program that would be specific to or helpful to a 38 yr old FF to better prepare me for a "season" on a Type 1 crew? I currently run, bike and lift 3 times a week, but I do not feel as if this would be adeqete to compete with younger applicants. I have passed the pack test 5 yrs in a row, but I realize I'd have to be prepared more then that. I have all the required "paper qualifacations" ( I think so ), but I want to be ready as far as WCT goes. Thanks for the advice!


04/11 Killer

What's your beef with California inmates ?? Or their Boss's ?? Your posts are really way out when it comes to the process and procedures in Calif.

1st Yes, California inmates are doing time, just like inmate fire fighters in any state. BUT in California there are only EASIER ways to spend time, not ways any tougher than being on a Firecrew. They don't have to be there, they can stay in the joint and vegetate for all the Correctional System cares. The last I knew inmates made a dollar a day. That doesn't even cover their smokes or instant coffee.

2nd They ARE there to fight fire. Yes, they're on the crew year round, but they live and train for fire season. When they miss an incident or some other crew goes instead of theirs, you can cut the disappointment with a knife. They're just as jazzed as you are to be on the line.

3rd Showers and shade. When was the time you personally saw an inmate with their own tent?? Doesn't happen with California inmates. If the CDC (California Department of Corrections) officers find and stake out some shade, you can bet it was in an area Facilities set aside for inmates, WELL SEGREGATED from free people. You couldn't have used that site, even if you got there first. Showers are the same issue, they get them when the Facility folks say, and at a set time. Generally, all the crews from a strike team won't even shower in sequence so free folks get chances in between.

4th Food. I'm a Food Unit Leader and its always been "you're fed by when you get in line". I know for a fact that inmate crews are sometimes kept in the bedding area so free folks can get through the line first. What fire were you on that didn't have enough food for everyone ?? Why should a FIREFIGHTER in prison denim not get their meal until everyone else in the camp has wandered in ??

Can you honestly say you haven't seen some OC crews or some free crews from outside California that you wouldn't have happily traded for an INMATE CREW ??? I've seen a bunch I'd have traded.

Inmate firefighters don't take jobs from anyone. They supply a needed resource to the people of California in fire, flood, earthquake and project work. They're repaying a portion of their debit to society in a much better manner than the inmates who just sit around in prison, the majority. Their nomex is just as dirty as yours, their feet hurt just like yours, their web gear cuts their shoulders the same as yours does you after 36 hours. Why can't we just let them be and treat them as fellow firefighters ?

The other Michael

04/11 JT, W-O-F and others who are hearing from forests they did not apply to re permanent MEL positions:

If the forest wasn't on your list of 9 and you didn't put 999, I believe the forest technically should drop you from consideration if they know you didn't choose them. There probably are some mistakes in the coding. On the other hand, I am hearing that a number of people are getting calls from forests they haven't applied to. And some forests think that if someone's name shows up on the certs list, you're fair game if you're interested.

If you *are* interested in that forest, you should let Boise know. That's the correct chain-of-command for the sake of fairness in this hiring process. You may find it hard to get through to them by phone. Send an e-mail to the usa jobs address. (Instructions on the FAQ about FS jobs.) In addition, your changes may only take effect for Round 3, as certs for Round 2 are already being acted upon. (Someone please correct me if this is not the case. I could not get through to Boise and this is what I've heard from two sources other than the Wizard. Also, some of the people I usually ask are in Vallejo calling ya'll and trading your names around as I post.)

Woman on Fire and others who are already 35 or older, you exceed the MEA for permanent MEL positions. Your names should have been screened out by Oz before the quality and eligible lists went out - but behind the screens of the Great and Powerful are a bunch of hard-working and over-worked folks, doing the best they can.

I asked one person hiring right now about older ineligible applicants. He said that people over 34 who somehow get hired will be terminated. I heard him muttering under his breath something about age discrimination and said he didn't mean this personally, just was warning you not to get your hopes up...

Please Readers, if anyone has better info, let's hear from you... Unless the MELmadness schedule has changed, offers for Round 2 Permanent MEL positions should be made by Monday, April 16.


04/11 OK, Ab, I'm flushed from lurking:

Hey, check this s*** out. My forest is flying SFEO jobs as GS-7/8s. I am already a GS-7 FEO, 26 and 0, merit promotion, blah blah blah, so I applied for one of our new SFEO positions for one of our new MEL stations. I only selected engine positions and my current forest on my form C and specified on a cover letter I was applying for SFEO jobs and my 4 page resume stated I was an FEO. I figured that would make my intentions quite clear. Last week I received a short questionnaire repeating my preferences as asked in form C. I answered them by phone. Today I received a call with a job offer for a GS-7 FEO DEMO job at an engine just down the highway. It seems to me the purpose of national hiring, ASAP or what, should be to fill these MEL positions, not to just play musical modules and extend MEL Madness into round double digit. Good thing I am gratefull and happy for my current position. If this was my one chance at the job title my red card resembled, I would probably be driving a cement truck this fire season.

Better luck to all,

04/11 Hi,
I was wondering if you could offer any help in finding web pages where i could find equipment for firefighters. In particular, I'm looking for accessories, such as a bag to contain fire gear etc.

I really appreciate any help.

Thank you

04/10 Along the same lines as W-O-F

I received a call from a forest with a potential offer, but they weren't on my list of 9 and I didn't choose 999. I was dropped from consideration since I didn't apply there, but I am fully interested in the position. I tried Boise, but haven't got an answer from them yet. Does anyone know if I can be picked up by a forest I didn't select? Can I still change my selections to make myself avaialble to the forest?

Thanks for all helpful info so far folks.

Still trying to build my future,


04/10 DD,

Not taking showers for days, weeks or the entire month is not the issue. Line is cut, hose is laid and fires are put out whether showers are taken or not...showers are a luxury.

I disagree that inmates and everyone else are fighting fires for the same reason. Inmates are there for a reason allright...DOING TIME. Sure they might have screwed up and but for the grace of the Big Fella go I, but remember they are still there DOING TIME. They should not earn what agency or contract folks earn nor have access to the same luxuries as other firefighters as they are paying a debt to society as ordered by a jury of their peers. Hellooo this is why they are there.

Now if they happen to pick up a skill they can use in their "hopefully better next life" on the outside, then more power to them. Just don't compare inmates to the kids on my crew who have never been in trouble and are busting their tails being productive members of society and supporting their families.

OK Ab I will end here.....no "personal" digs........

Sick of Coddled Inmates and their boss's
(AKA ) Killer

04/10 Yesterday I got the e-mail saying my name had been sent to three forests and I may be hearing from them soon. Funny, it wasn't any of the 9 places I had selected as "my choice." But all would be possible. Today I guess I'll look up some contacts in those areas and see if there is any influence to be directed. It's like when you go on a dispatch - who will be the overhead? What country are you going into? The sense of the unknown and the adventure of it all has to be part of the firefighter mentality, I see. How much can you direct the course of your life, and how much is left to fate?

Good Luck to all of you out there in the Draft Picks of 2001! Remember, Safety First. Don't accept something beyond your capabilities, but be willing to learn and grow.


04/09 The Pacific Northwest is very dry. Check out this Seattle Times Article: Worrying about Wildfires in Washington


04/09 I'm hoping to get a better picture of the FWFSA. How many members, geographic distribution, etc?? It seems like an up and coming organization....anyone care to enlighten a FNG?? (i.e. more than just ,"Go check out the webpage!")

Ab, thanks for such a great forum. This site has served as my number one source in my successful hunt for a career, federal position. I don't post but once a year, always lurkin' though. Mellie, I'll be not too far from your neck o' the woods. Maybe our paths will cross.

All of the helitack types--check out the NPS fire website for a bunch of openings: www.nps.gov/fire/jobs/state.php


04/09 Fire in NM - Mescalaro Indian Reservation - 2000 acres. Check the first article that comes up on the NEWS page.

Idealist, nice to meetcha too. Next time we will have to make time to talk. After all, it feels like you're one of our theysaid community success stories (not that we're taking credit for your success, of course). I agree with you about new perspectives. I also have become much less critical of "management" as I have been allowed to see the integrity and complexity of decisions being made and the governmental constraints and politics involved.

I want to offer a "hats off" to all the hardworking folks doing the hiring, and the IIM team planning, and the constant meeting, and the training. But I have an additional thanks to offer to those at whatever level who are the visionaries, the idealists, to those who continue to *try* to think outside the box, to those who step into a new place to solve problems, and to those who continue to "talk" (or "complain" or to "whine") and point out alternatives they think will make things better. Thanks, Ab, this forum is invaluable.

A lot of hiring folks will be in the SF Bay area this week, doing the FS equivalent of the "NFL draft". Presumably this is going on across regions. I hope those of you who are looking for permanent positions have made your desires known to your forests of choice and that they know where to reach you if something comes up. Good luck.

One other question - for Mr. Maclean re the upcoming Storm King piece... You don't want it to be a rehash... What about sharing how profoundly these 14 deaths have affected (and continue to affect) members the fire community, those who worked on the incident, groundpounder coworkers and friends who weren't there? There are many perspectives that have not been shared. All I can say is - often I am bowled over by friends' pain and wish there were some way to help.


04/09 Hi there
I just wrote this really long letter to y'all, accidentally pressed the escape key, the wrong button after that, and effectively erased the whole thing. Unfortunately for you all, I'm a fast typist and I'm going to try to resurrect the main theme. Just goes to show you that even those of us who think we're computer savvy are really not at all sometimes.

I'd started with “okay, I can't stand it anymore.” Recently, I found myself seeing things from a new point of view. It's been very enlightening. I've gotten information, gossip, politics, and stories that I never would have imagined existed before. I've seen a totally different world. Did I mention that I used to be a regular writing in to this site? The thing is, I was sitting here this afternoon catching up on about a week's worth of postings, a process that used to take all of about 30 seconds. The site has grown. Big time. I also know this site is often the heartbeat of the fire community, or at least that it can be. I often get information off this site faster than I ever would through normal channels. It's still my homepage at home, and a regular daily check at work. Hey, it helps me do my job.

Recently though, things have been getting kind of personal. I never in a million years would have thought I'd be looking at this site from a “management” perspective. However, maybe one of the reasons I haven't written that much lately is that I either don't have any complaints (not true, probably), or I don't necessarily agree with some of the points of view. Of course, that's the point of a discussion site.

Here's the thing. I don't know why Boise is posting things in .pdf. I don' t know why the hiring process is so convoluted. I do know that after many years of asking, we finally got some real money. I don't know how the “hiring officials”, fire managers, personnel folks, and other people are getting this interagency show off the ground this year, but I do know a lot of people who have been working very hard to get through the paperwork, politics, glitches, and hurdles to make it happen. Obviously it's complicated and probably greatly flawed, but it's all we have right now. I agree with lots and lots of people that the whole system needs fixing, but we still have to be ready to fight fire this year.

Since finding this “new perspective”, I will say I've met some of the most impressive and hardest working people out there. A whole lot of them are management people and office types. Some of them are the people Kelly mentioned in her 4/08 posting (thanks, Kelly....). I only hope that if I ever find myself in such a position (or am I there?) that I will measure up to the high standards they have set for getting the job done.

I also recently had the pleasure of meeting both Ab and Mellie in real live person, although not much chance to chat. Covert operations, you know. Busy people.

I wish you all the best this fire season, especially with the many many changes taking place, and the new people. But for heaven's sake, if you think being a crew boss is tough, think about what it must be like to be an IC, or a manager. I can't imagine either one; I'm just trying to stay on top of my current job and not screw that up. I may not write in all the time (I'm sure you're all glad for that, after this big one), but you can believe I'm reading, every day that I can. Take care

--A displaced idealist

Oh-I almost forgot. To SCI went for the expensive orthotics for fallen arches last year--$350, and not covered by insurance. Knee pain is almost non-existent now, and other mis-align-ed-ness problems. Worth every dime, especially if they'd seen more than one fire. They do fit in the White's just perfectly, it's just that now the only use the boots seem to get if any is on linoleum (hey-they're my most comfortable shoes...and I'm still trying to get back out there...).

Welcome back, lurker. We've missed your glib turn of phrase. Sittin' behind a desk, eh, at yer young age while we're still out here slammin' line? Ab.

04/09 Dave:

Management is not injuring any employees, employees are doing the damage to themselves. Staying fit is a lifestyle thing that requires year round dedication. The most recent fatality was sad indeed, but an individual who is 5'3" tall and weighs 230# has no business taking any type of physical fitness test.

Anyone who is just now trying to get in shape in hopes of passing the WCT, is probably pushing the envelope. The union may think they are championing a noble cause, but when will employees take responsibility for their own careers.

old boy

04/09 It's well known that our population is aging. Back when the agencies stopped cutting timber and had to lay off workers, it was the newest rising stars which had to go first. Good ole boys with their permanent positions stayed on and struggled to stay in shape. Now it is apparant that we need those young knees and have to mentor them into leadership positions. How can this happen in a culture of contract crews and temporary jobs?

Personally, I started working after having my children-at age 35. So a primary fire job was never available to me, even tho I served on a hotshot crew during the Yellowstone year of '88 and am good at what I do. But I have to admit that if I try to go out on the line anymore I am putting the whole crew in danger. The last time we had to run out of a blowup situation I brought up the rear of the line, making sure everyone was out in front of me. The last couple folks kept looking back, to check if I was making it OK. My radio bounced on my chest, the breath was hard to catch, and the legs were burning. At the end of that escape I sat down and coughed for awhile. I decided it was time to move on from ground-pounder.

But where? I know almost instinctively what fire will do (in the western woods, anyway.) With my experience making fireline I know what will hold, and what is a waste of effort. With my knowledge of habitat types and fuel loadings, I can see clearly where the fireline should be drawn. That's why I love doing Field Observer. These are valuable skills, gained through experience and agency sponsored training classes. What a loss, when these skills are sorely needed, to find no way to contribute!

Woman on Fire (retired?)

04/09 Forest Service Customer Pledge to the American People:
  1. You will always be welcomed with prompt, courteous service.
  2. Our offices, work sites, and visitor centers will be open at times convenient to our customers.
  3. You will receive the services and information you request, or we will explain why we cannot meet the request.
  4. You will be fully informed of the processes required for grants, agreements, contracts, and permits and we will respond in a timely manner.
  5. You will be asked regularly to help us improve our services and business practices.
  6. Our facilities will be safe, clean, attractive, and informative.
  7. Our facilities and programs will be accessible to persons of all ages and abilities.
Well now. Item #3 seems to indicate that if we request services and information such as a sit report in html, we'll either recieve it or get an explanation of why the FS cannot do it. Item #5 seems to say that we the customers should be asked about improving services.


04/09 Re:Sick of coddled

Hey man, I have been in this bussiness for 8 years now and sure some times we do get delayed from taking a shower due to the inmates. However, look at DennisR5's post. Sometimes those guys dont take showers for days. Imagine going on a 2-3 day spike camp and then come back to the base camp and still not be able to take a shower.

Then again, you probably do notice the colors of the unis as well and not look at the fact that we are all the same regardless of our crew. I would like you to tell me any difference in working conditions, living conditions or anything else that might be differant between Shot crews, Inmate crews, Contract crews whatever. There are none. If you think there are, look again. There is one difference though, while most of us make anywhere from 10-15 an hour, those inmates only get $3 a day MAX. Now, imagine working a double or triple shift and coming into fire camp only to be looked down apon by almost everyone and then your boss telling you that you cant shower today that the other crews come first and that maybe tomorrow they can sneak everyone in for one. All for $3 per day, you wanna tell me they do it for the money... lol, I think not.


04/08 What y'all are missing on the sit report discussion is this: for a long time it was done in WordPerfect and then converted to html and posted to the web. So the fact they're using WordPerfect now is nothing new; what's new is their determination to use PDF and their refusal to post it in html. I completely agree with Jim about detailers working their butts off in intel, but it takes only a minute or two to convert a file to html and slap it up on the server. It's not a time thing, and it's not a skill thing - it's like NICC said, "At this time we have not received direction not to post in pdf." (TRANSLATION: Till somebody tells us we can't do it, we don't give a d**n what you people want.)

The recent proliferation of PDFs at the GACCs illustrates something I've been whining about for several years. The folks who work at the coordination centers - whether permanent logistics or intel coordinators or just-helping-out detailers - are not provided with training in web stuff, nor are they provided with any tech support or creative support for getting their stuff online and maintaining it there. They are now expected to have their whole show on the net, but who taught 'em to do that? And who do they have for a safety net if something goes wrong? No one. If you don't count SACC's recent dive into PDFville, the only GACC that persisted in using PDF was Western Great Basin. They all pretty much had their act pretty much together in putting at least the sit report up in html.

Then there's Boise. At NIFC there are several outstandingly good computer people, a whole flock of PAOs, and even a few web types. As Jim pointed out, they've got the staff resources - and the GACCs do not - so there is no possibility that the excuse for PDF is "we don't know how" or "we don't have the staff."

"Sign Me Embarrassed" wondered last week, "Is there anyone in a "ultimate" position of authority who decides how information gets distributed or published?" At NICC that would be the manager - or the NIFC directors. SME also wondered if if they understand their responsibilities as an editor. Based on my experience, and the current situation, I'd say it's clear that they do not. SME also referred to "computer nerd wannabes, sitting in a back room somewhere, irresponsible and unsupervised, laughing with glee as they create and publish web pages without a short or long term plan, as they happily receive their paychecks without any regard towards the taxpaying public." You'd best not say that with your name on it, pal, because I can guarandamntee you that all of that is violently untrue. It's a TREMENDOUS insult to all of the dozens of people in the agencies who have taken on their web responsibilities as "other duties as assigned," without training, without support, without a pay raise, and without their supervisors' understanding of what they do. They've been learning on their own and doing the work on their own without being thanked or paid for it - a lot like engine captains, come to think of it. Most of the folks I know in the FS who are handling websites are a GS-9 or so ... a very tiny number might actually be at the 11 level - and other fed agencies are hiring equivalent web managers at the 13 level! In the commercial world the work is worth three times as much as what the feds pay. I think SME owes several dozen people a major apology - but I also think NICC owes the fire community a sit report in the standard format.

~ kelly.

04/08 Recently an agreement between the USDA -Forest Service (Management) and the NFFE ( National Federation of Federal Employees, the workers) recognized that fire program managers were not qualified to sign off the Health Screening Questionnaire (HSQ). The Agreement said that the HSQ must be reviewed by a qualified, certified medical officer prior to engaging in any level of the work capacity test (WCT). This agreement was entered into to address concerns that the NFFE had relative to the WCT fatalities that have occurred. Basically, the NFFE had to fight for your right as a worker not to have management injure you ( fatally or otherwise) while attempting the WCT. Personnally I think this is a postive step for worker rights. I would reccomend to all of you to join your local chapter of the NFFE. They are fighting for YOUR life.

Later, Dave

04/08 I thought I read that the html sit report on http://wildfirenews.com/ didn't have tables on it. Looks to me like it's got tables ??????????????


04/08 Ab wrote: So if it's not lack of technical expertise, what's your theory on why Boise is doing the SIT Report in pdf rather than html? Are they out of touch with whom the SIT Report needs to serve? Some have said it makes a "cleaner product", but what good is a cleaner product if it can't get to firecamp over slow lines, or if, when it gets there, it can't be read by those working under conditions of diminished lighting?

Jim's response: I agree with Mellie and Ab. It's been my experience that the intel folks are detailers and work their butts off, but knowledge of html and the time to publish the sit report before the am briefing is a killer. My suggestion would be to use wordperfect for the am briefing and then drop that file out of WP into html for the web. FYI all you do with Adobe is COPY the documents in to a pdf file. No editing is done in pdf, all the editing is done in the native format.

Now then get this. If they would use the "Computer Experts" they have to write a small cgi script to write an html file from their database info, the point becomes moot. I believe they are using a relational data base for their information and can create queries to do the same thing. I would even volunteer to do the cgi file if I had a copy of their input data sources. I also have an inside tech support source (my son) at Sun Micro Systems who may be able to help.


04/07 I just wanted to jump in and say that I agree with with DD and TT about some kind of benefits for the little girl in Utah. But I do disagree with TT about the inmates getting to eat first, shower first, and sleep in A/C tents.

Anybody who comes to theysaid and reads this stuff and knows me, knows that I am a very nice person. But I did make a mistake that took two and a half years of my life.

Luckily I got the opportunity to get into the fire program in a California State prison.
I had to do things that I never thought I could do like run a mile in less than 8 minutes (that was a big acomplishment for me) or do stair steps for 14 minutes solid (on bleachers), and power walk for 45 laps on the track (3 laps =1 mile).

Then I had to do the fire training and so on and so on. But in the whole time I was on this fire crew after I got to camp and went on fires, I dont remember eating first, or taking showers first or even getting to sleep in a make shift tent. I do remember not getting to take a shower for 3 days, not because we couldnt but becuase the law says that inmates dont have to get a shower every day but only every 3 or 4 days.

Back to the little girl. I am glad to hear that someone is trying to get some kind of payment for the death of her family member, whether they did something wrong or not. I would like to think that someone would fight for my kids if something like that would have happened to me.

Lets all just remember that what we are doing the same thing whether we are in yellow, blue or that very noticable orange, we all love to be out there!

I cant wait to get back out there in June!

Thanks Ab, great page!
Dennis R5

04/07 This is my first and last time I am going to say it. The hiring process makes me ill. What I have perceived is that in order to get on the "QUALITY" list one must "SPICE" up his/her C form a tad bit. I wonder if this process is valid with no checking up on what people have answered. Either,
A. We are encouraging "LYING" with no direct repercussions.
B. Boise is so dumb they don't realize what is going on.
In either case Each and every line firefighters safety this year is in serious jeopardy with supervisors that just "SHOULD NOT" be supervisors.

The 10 fire orders will be the 11 fired orders. Determine if your direct supervisor is competent enough to keep you out of harms way.


04/07 Dear Skunked:

I was one such victim of age discrimination. I have been fighting fire over the last 14 yrs. I can not roll my age back to 35 with my service. You can get a Wage Grade position and get hired. You make more money as a wage grade. I got a permanent position with the Veterans Administration and am taking the pack test on the 22nd. My boss will let me work weekends locally and maybe more if things get to the national emergency level like last year. It would benefit the fire agencies if they would ask the other agencies and depts. , and bureaus for personel.

Other jobs you can apply for are forestry tech(Recreation, silvaculture, timber, park ranger, etc.)It would be a shame if the agencies did not use someone with crew and overhead experience on about 300 fires. I have been timekeeper, strike team leader, weather observor, squad boss, and engine/hand crew boss. So keep on trying and never give up. One thing about this business is to move around. People who get what they want and do not have to move are blessed. You have to be willing to move about and to work different jobs.

Good Luck!

04/07 just noticed something.

NICC has the Big Bar fire listed as no fatalities? doesnt Mr. Blood count?

go to the Frequently Asked Questions at NIFC www.nifc.gov/faq.phpl#history fires

youll see the chart of "more significant fires". there it is, Big Bar - No fatalities.
just an observation.


The crew Mr. Blood was transporting had demobed from the fire the day before. Anderson Fairground was a stopping place on their way home. Perhaps technically they were in transit or maybe he didn't count because he worked for a contractor. FYI, there was also a Hupa man on the Megram who had a heart attack and died when Groves Prairie was evacuated in the middle of the night. I guess he's not considered a fatality, either. Ab.

04/07 Michael,

Don't know where you have been hiding the last 27 years, but it sure hasn't been in the same fire camps I have been in.

Happens every year.."Sorry that your crew just double, triple or whatever shifted, but it is time for the inmates to shower. You all come back later instead of getting a quick shower now and much needed rest."

Can't count the number of time we came of off night shift and the corrections officers had all the shaded sleeping areas locked up for the inmates. Was always fun baking your brain trying to catch a few winks between noon and 4 PM in August & September in Southern and Central Cal!

I wouldn't want to trade places with the inmates either, but it sure is nice to go to fires outside of R5 just to escape the "inmate factor." In my opinion ...

sign me ....sick of coddled inmates and their boss's

04/07 Psssst Guess what. Wordperfect beats the pants off MS word. Always has always will. One way to tell if something is bad, is to see if the USFS buys it. DG, IBM, MS anything. If you take Windows CE and Windows Me and Windows NT and put them together you get Windows CEMeNT. The last time I was in Boise they had old IBM computers stacked up to the ceiling. Now all the wonks have palm pilots and headsets with remote mic's for their cell phones.

Seriously, Wordperfect is a superior product and will read and convert WORD 2000 documents while MS Word will handle WP 5.1 DOS documents. Microsoft still fears the competition.


So if it's not lack of technical expertise, what's your theory on why Boise is doing the SIT Report in pdf rather than html? Are they out of touch with whom the SIT Report needs to serve? Some have said it makes a "cleaner product", but what good is a cleaner product if it can't get to firecamp over slow lines, or if, when it gets there, it can't be read by those working under conditions of diminished lighting?

04/07 Updated the Series 455 and 462 and the Jobs page. For the third time, Kern National Wildlife Refuge (near Bakersfield CA) needs an Engine Crew Leader. Requirements have changed. Check the Jobs Page. Ab.
04/07 Pssssst, hey Ab,

<whispering>A Boise acquaintance told me that NIFC is doing the original SIT Report in *Word Perfect*, not MS Word... Gawd, I haven't used Word Perfect in 12 years!!!! No wonder they need to go to pdf. Other than that, GOOD EFFORT, my dear man!!! Could you work it out and offer a html version of it here?


04/07 Hey Discouraged!

I'm not sure if this will make you feel any better, but there are plenty of others in the exact same boat as you. I have 12 years and the past 8 in lead fire positions. I also don't have enough years to cancel out my age over 35. And honestly, I wouldn't hold out any hope for a change in the age policy especially since most in the position of hiring have no desire to stir up the can of worms that would be opened up. It sort of tells you where things are headed. And nothing personal against those in fire supervisory positions, but how many have you known that had the balls to discuss this situation openly, or better yet, actually do something about it?

Believe me, I'm getting a lot of calls too. Apparently the age is not on the paperwork the districts are receiving. I laugh each time I get a call, tell them my age, and then hear the person on the other end act squirrelly when they try to come up with an answer to: "So, how do you feel about having to choose someone based on age vs. experience, fitness, references, and training?"!

I was asked to return to my old district to help train the new PSE engine foreman hired to replace me, I would not even be the assistant, but rather an engine crewmember. He/she has one season of primary fire experience, none in a lead position, and none on an engine. Go figure. I have wondered about bringing up this issue with someone in Congress. Anyone have a suggestion as to where I might start? It's funny how this is such a silent topic.

I have nothing to lose!

Skunked in Boise

04/07 I have a 4,000 gallon water truck and i am interested in working for the USFS to help with forest fires. I have heard that the forest service hires people with these water trucks on a need basis. can you please tell me more and how i go about getting such a position, or can you direct me to someone who can answer my questions.

thank you,

04/06 Ab,

Here is a patch I had made when Prineville first got embroidered hats. Its simply the embroidered design that the hats had except it was made into a patch. The current hats have the stars added I believe, but I don't have one. The other logo with the stars I scanned off my sweatshirt. If somehow I failed to attach both of them, let me know and I will resend. Sometimes the computer gets the better of me. The logo you have posted is from a sticker we had commercially made. There probably aren't but a few left in existence.


I rearranged the Logo3 page so all the Prineville Shot logos are together. Thanks, T. Ab.

04/06 I decided my posting earlier this week was way too whiney - about job opportunities for middle aged women. So here's some more upbeat writing to read. It's an excerpt from the book I'm working on, Woman on Fire.
04/06 To those of you who have written in asking about NAFSR membership, here's the info:

The address for the association is: NAFSR, 13401 Point Pleasant Dr., Chantilly, VA 20151. Dues are $35 per year.

04/06 Just wondering what the prereq's are to teach a S class. Is there a certain course you need before you teach, or can anybody give you a certificate.


04/06 RE the SIT Report in pdf...

Readers, bear with me as I put up this info on how one might easily do the SIT Report as a html doc for the nifc folks:

         I've done some work looking at the docs nifc is putting out and how they can more easily deal with them. The first thing is the "compact html" filter available from Msoft. That cuts the size in half and keeps virtually an identical content, the second is the updated MS Frontpage - called SR-1, included in the most recent Frontpage software package.

         Here's what I tried this morning. Took the last version of the sit report to appear on the nifc page, believe it was dec 1. and converted it back to a .doc file. Had to do that in order to make the rest happen on equal standings. Lemm'e put in some bullets:

  • 1.The original html as posted on the site was 1,188kb.
  • 2.Converting that back to a .doc file ended up at 251kb.
  • 3.Using the newer "export as compact html" produced 543kb.
  • 4.Dragging the .doc file from windows explorer (read file manager) produced a document that was only 126kb.
         However, there were problems with the drag and drop feature. It totally dropped one column which caused the remaining columns to the right of it to shift to the left. It also has an undocumented feature of creating <br> tags at the front and end of all cells. Bad stuff there. As an experiment I used Fpage to search for all <br>, then all <br> tags and replace them with nothing. It actually looked pretty good, but still had the problem of the shifted columns.

         This is something I did in about only 20 minutes, so I know enough to know there is a work around, maybe a little hard to find for some and maybe nifc would have to do some adjusting on their initial entries, but I know its easier than copping out and telling the nation that a pdf file is "cleaner and smoother product". Remember, with a five minute download of the Compact HTML Filter v.2, I was able to chop the size of their html document in half. PDF documents are fine if you have a need to print them out and pass them around. If you just want to take a quick look they are terribly slow to move around in and you end up wearing your mouse buttons out trying to click to the part you want to view.

         The primary function of a Adobe Acrobat's .pdf files are to allow the grouping of unlike documents into one viewable and especially printable document. The SIT Report is a highly critical document that should be able to be viewed by EVERYONE on ANY computer trying to see it. Of course, there are already those who know that html is THE internationally approved method of reaching the above mentioned computers and viewing public. PDF files are a crutch for those who think they don't have the time to learn html or those who are too lazy to learn html.

         The other argument about pdf not being accessible to the handicapped may be fading away with the advent of Adobe v.5 and/or a new link on Adobe's page someone told me about recently. . . well scratch that, after receiving around 300 bytes per second coming off their site the last 30 minutes, I figure whatever they are trying to do doesn't matter to those folks who want a quick glance at what's happening in the fire world.

         But, not to be entirely negative, I just hate it when someone is critical without offering a solution, perhaps the feds should just contract with Adobe to host and provide their website content. They do offer such services. Oh, here's the site url that just loaded after 10 minutes on an ISDN line.



04/05 An article from the Redding paper on the Blood murder,
link provided by Siskiyou.


04/05 Ab,

I thought I'd sent you a copy of our department logo earlier, but I don't see it on any of the logo pages --- anyway here it is. I'm also attaching three smokejumping photos.

My dad was a jumper out of McCall in '48 and '53-'56. He passed away two years ago and I've been picking away at scanning various family photos so that all of my brothers can have copies. I though some of your visitors might find these interesting. I'm not sure if they're all from the same flight, but two of the three are clearly taken onboard a trimotor. I'm guessing these are from the '54 or '55 season.


Fantastic black and white pictures, Bullwacker. What a wonderful historical contribution. Thank you and thanks to your dad for taking them. I'm giving the jumper and rapper photos a page of their own, called the Airborne FF Page. Check here: AirborneFirefighter Page. Your Idaho Dept of Lands logo is nice too. I put it up on the Logos3 Page. Thanks also for your BIA Forestry logo, RR. If anyone else has smokejumper or rappeller photos, send 'em in. Ab.

04/05 RW, You should go for the highest job you can get to advance your career and your experience. If that means letting the hotshots know *now* that you are going for something better, something more permanent, you should do that. This is no time to be altruistic. Same for those of you who took JAC appointments. People are being hired out of that academy right now. I know some of you feel like you lack experience and training. Don't let that deter you from taking the job. Take your future in your hands. Map out a career. Let the higher ups in fire figure out how to get you trained. Whatever route of training you take, it's the IC System. In R5, the preference is for JAC. The reality is we don't have enough people to fill in behind those who have moved up.

Old Firefighter who's seen it all go and come...

04/05 Tahoe Ted wrote: <<......snip......I agree with your feelings on benfits for this little girl and the inmates in general. I was on a Large fire in So Cal (which shall remain nameless when an inmate recieved an Chainsaw ingury to his hand. There was an US Army night med- evac ship in place yet this inmate was not afforded this luxury. I do not know the outcome of the whole story but I'm certain that if that was a fed or county employee she/he would have gotten a night time helo ride.

On the other hand, I find it disgusting that Inmates get to eat first, get to sleep in A/C tents while in camp during the day, often get to shower first as well.

Maybe this is just in Liberal so cal but I don't feel they should be offered any comforts that are not offered to any of us folks that have not violated the law (well, got caught anyway). ............>>

I'm pretty sure that TT is referring to an injury which occurred to one of my inmate Firefighters. The injury was rather nasty-looking, but was not in any way life- or limb-threatening. It occurred around midnight, or later, and I requested a medical response. Due to our location, this was going to be logistically very difficult. I do not remember that a night-rescue capable helicopter was available. This was a tough hombre, and he was not complaining of much pain. I made the decision that we would take him out at first light, which was done by helicopter. Whether that was the right decision or not I am still not sure, but an incident which occurred later helps me believe that it was (see below). In any event, it had nothing to do with his being an inmate. I stand up strongly for my crew-members when it is called for.

I believe it was last year (or perhaps the year before - they all seem to run together) when I was a Crew Strike-Team leader at a fire in the Big Sur area, and an injury occurred to another inmate Firefighter on my Strike Team. His Captain requested night helicopter evacuation, and since a night-capable Blackhawk was on standby, we requested it. It was a harrowing and very difficult experience. All work on the fire on that and several adjacent Divisions had to stop completely to keep the radio frequencies clear and because no light was allowed of any sort (apparently even a weak headlamp could blind the pilot). Despite accurate GPS location, the copter took around an hour to respond and to make his approach, finding us only with great difficulty. Then it took at least twenty minutes of hovering just off the deck while this powerful helicopter blasted the victim and rescuers unmercifully, the copter's rescue personnel having to descend and victim secured etc. in pitch darkness. I would only choose to do a night helicopter rescue again if I was very sure that the victim was in dire straits.

As to TT's comments on inmate Firefighters being afforded additional "luxuries", a few things should be pointed out. No inmate Firefighters are EVER given priority for showering or eating. The opposite occasionally occurs, much to our consternation. However, due to the logistics of feeding and showering such large numbers of men and women, the Correctional staff (who have charge of the inmate Firefighters when they are off the Fire Line), quite reasonably arrange with the Shower unit for a specific time to bring the Crews in. At this time, non-Inmate Firefighters are held back. This is virtually always planned for relatively late after the major rush has died down.For quite obvious reasons, we do not want mingling between the civilians and the inmates, and I expect that the civilians don't, either. And though non-Inmate Firefighters can wander about Camp when not on duty, and find shade or breeze, the inmate Firefighters have to be kept in close custody. It is a reasonable accommodation to provide the tents under these circumstances, and when the tents are available (which they often are not, and in those circumstances, believe me, you do not want to trade places with one of those poor suckers......).


04/05 More on the Blood murder and dead suspect from the Idhao Statesman.



04/05 Morning AB,

I have a question for anyone in the FS doing some hiring at the local levels. I am currently hired as a temp on one of the IHC's and I am being looked at for two different perm seasonal engine assistant positions. What should I do? I don't really know where I'm going in my career with fire, but I do think I'll be in it for a while. With two seasons under my belt (just a wetting of the feet really) I want to advance, but I'm afraid that if I take the temp job this season with hopes for a different perm to come up during the winter (handcrew, helitack or hotshot), that I will miss the boat on a perm position.

Should I just get into the system? Is it bad if I take a perm seas at one place for a season and then move on to another district and or forest? I'm really open to suggestions.

Thanks for the help,

04/05 Ab,

I too am one of those with many seasons of fire experience, 20 in all, problem is that all but one season is with a state fire agency and I can not be considered for primary fire positions. I have one season as a smokejumper out of NCSB, but that is my only federal employment. Anyone have information that would be helpful? I did get an e-mail from opm stating that it was up to the agency and that it was unlikely due to the can of worms that would be opened. Still I'm hopeful and would like to put my next 20 years in with the feds.

37 but able

04/04 Update on Temp and Permanent Round 2 Hiring:

For those who asked about the seasonal temporary hiring schedule, Round 2 is underway. I only know about R5 Forests, but the schedule must be the same nationwide. Hopefully temp applicants had their stuff in the mail on or before April 30. Those applications should be received in Boise about today (4/4). ASAP should be sending lists to forests by April 16. (This makes sense because fire reps will be in the SF Bay Area next week and trading among forests for the Permanent MEL Round 2 hires. So they can't be busy with the temps at the same time.) Those hiring will then head home to work on the temp hires the following week. According to the MELmadness schedule, temp offers should be out by Mon, April 30. I'll let you know if they push that back.

For those of you who are going for the permanent positions, if I were you, I'd sit down and prioritize where I wanted to work, then I'd call those Forests/Districts. With all the phone calling going on, you'd would save yourself and the fire folks a lot of time and trouble if you do your share of the homework and call this week or early next week.

To my fire friends out there who drive one and a half to two hours each way to the SO to work on this hiring process and who struggle simultaneously with how to do their best for their families, I salute you! Thank you for your dedication. Firegirl, you're one of my heroes! <BIG HUG>


PS. I hope those of you who have additional material or information about the Storm King tragedy talk with John Maclean. The fire community and the public need to know the *truest story* of the "South Canyon Fire" that we all can provide. Also, if anyone makes a memorial trek to the mountain, I've been collecting old ski poles (walking sticks) to put in the container at the bottom of the trail. Fire Wolf, you going?

04/04 Everyone,

First time writer here Ab, thanks for the availability of this forum.

Hopefully someone out there can help me with the hiring process as it applies to someone such as myself. I've got 7 seasons with the F.S. but not enough to be able to subtract the seasons from my age to reach the 35 year limit. I have a degree, a lot of experience in lead fire positions with engines, helicopters, and I.A. crews. Knowing that I couldn't qualify for any primary fire positions I was directed (by the good personnel folks in Boise) to apply for secondary fire positions (fuels and FPT positions). Great I thought, I've spent quite a few seasons as an FPT. I did my due diligence, sent additional materials to the hiring officials, paid them visits so that they could match a face to a name, had all of my application materials in way before the deadlines (and followed up the computer registration with faxed copies and good old U.S. Mail copies) and received confirmations. It was very clear that these positions I was applying to were all secondary positions. But lo and behold, and unbeknownst to me, and the hiring officials!! the positions were changed to primary fire positions (and it's still unclear who made the decision to make the change) and I now find myself out of contention!

I have received over 40 calls for this second round and it has been pretty unanimous that there is a shortage of qualified (insofar as fire is concerned) wildland fire fighters. The MAJOR issue I have been hearing from these FRONTLINE hiring and fire officials is that there is a good chance that SAFETY is not being considered by everyone in the hiring process. Hopefully this coming fire season won't produce any harmed or lost lives as a result of inexperienced firefighters being placed in supervisory roles. I've seen enough of those situations in previous years to last me a lifetime.

Also, does anyone know of any efforts to repeal the age limit regulation? Any advice from people out there? It's hard to believe that I might not have a job this season!

Discouraged Firefighter

04/04 Hi Ab. Thanks for the discussion site. I'd like to comment on the NAFSR report and the need for qualified personnel out there.

I've been a crewboss for 8 years but my normal job is not in "fire." Crewbossing is a job I love, as well as Field Observer, which is more solitary. With the hiring system and ASAP this year, I've been applying for several jobs. I have my hopes up this time, but in the last 7 years I have not been hired for ANY fire job. You would think with my qualifications and knowledge of fire behavior and great work ethic, they would really want my expertise. But no! I'm a 56 year old woman, and no one wants to even make an offer.

I have been on an area overhead team, have been Strike Team Leader and even acted as a Division Sup on the Tyee (Wenatchee, '96). So why can't people see that middle aged women are just as valuable as the men?

Sign me, Woman on Fire.

04/04 A Call for Information on the South Canyon Fire

The History Channel is making a two-hour special documentary about the South Canyon Fire on Storm King Mountain on July 6, 1994 based on the book Fire on the Mountain by John N. Maclean. This is a general solicitation to the fire community to participate by coming forward with videos, photos, letters or personal knowledge of events not fully illustrated or described in the book. Now is the time to make your material count. For everyone's sake, the documentary should be more than a rehash.

If you have worthwhile stuff, please contact the author, John N. Maclean, at his e mail address, MacFisher@aol.com.

04/04 Everyone,

I am so thankful that there may begin to be some closure Dick Blood's murder. If there were others involved besides Steve Victor, I hope they will be discovered and brought to justice. To finally have resolution, if that's possible, I think that firefighter benefits or some equivalent compensation must be provided to Dick's family. We, the government, need to do the right thing by this family in this heartbreaking incident.

Dick's death touched me deeply because I worked AD at the end of the Big Bar Complex. Dick ferried his crew along my Denny Road. I later went back through my pictures to see if I had any of him and his bus. I didn't. I was in Willow Camp the night Dick was murdered at Anderson Fairgrounds. Those who worked on the fire knew of the zero alcohol and drug policy. Early in the fire before I had any inkling what "fire" was all about, I was surprised at how stringently that policy was enforced in Denny Camp. Everyone from the DIVS on up to the ICs were sending a clear message on that point. I soon saw the logic of it. For safety's sake, clear heads are a necessity, even in off hours.

Dick's death was not a random act, but related to that policy. The fact that he supported the zero tolerance message and that some abusers around him must have known he did, jeopardized his life. Support of zero tolerance is necessary to create a climate or environment of safety (as the TriDat study encourages). Clearly, Dick wouldn't have died if he had not been working as impeccably as he did on the behalf of the firefighting effort. Should Dick have overlooked problems? I don't think so. Was Dick on the fireline? In some ways, it's clear he was. And he paid the ultimate price.

Questions: Where is the line drawn and what is the correct and fair policy re ff benefits? Are families of those who are contract or AD ever beneficiaries? Why should category of hire matter? Firebabe NH told the story about how a Rockyboy busdriver saved her crew from potential burnover last summer. If that busdriver had lost his life as a result of trying to save Firebabe's crew, would his family have received acknowledgement and support from our government? or would he just have been blamed for trying to do the right thing, which in hindsight might be considered by govt to be the wrong thing?

Thanks, Ab for having this forum to explore some of these questions. I'll continue to light my candle for Dick and his family until the issue of benefits is resolved. He would have done the same for me.

04/04 Lost,
Although there are many GPS units on the market most all have the same functions with a few bells and whistles added on. I've used the Lowrance models and the Garmins. The lowrance is nice, it has plenty of memory that stores actual maps of regions that you can upload from a PC with a disk provided. However, it is not very user friendly and is difficult to "track" yourself without creating routes and waypoints.

The Garmin 12 XL and CX are far easier to use I think and have the same functions minus some of the map features. I've found that the Garmin's attenna performs better in heavily timbered areas and better in overcast situations. Garmin also provides a very cool download from their website that allows you to calculate area with the unit. Basically after you get the download you can walk around an area and the unit will calculat area in acres, hectares, square feet or square miles. Very useful in some situations.

Good Luck

04/04 NAFSR stands for the National Association of Forest Service Retirees, a recently formed organization of Forest Service retirees that is a non profit non partisan association concerned about the future of the National Forests and the Forest Service. It advocates professional and non political management of the National Forests for the continuing benefit of all Americans.

The association members analyze issues important to the National Forests and Forest Service and offer comments on these issues to Forest Service management, political leaders and the public. NAFSR strongly supports the principles of multiple use, and the highest level of public service and professional competency of Forest Service staff.

NAFSR Fire Report Last Friday (March 30) the following NAFSR Report was hand carried to the Secretary of Agriculture, and has since been widely distributed to other individuals, elected officials and organizations with an interest in Forest Service fire programs. Several weeks ago another NAFSR paper commenting on the Fuels Management portion of the Sierra Nevada Forest Plan Amendment was issued. NAFSR has expressed concern with a number of the fuels management recommendations.

John Marker,
NAFSR Director

04/04 My first time writing here Ab,
         So help me, I hope my spell checker works so I don't look like an idiot. I just have to ask a question, does anyone at the national levels read They Said It? 
         Do they know who their target audience is? Do they understand the frustration experienced by those willing to write in to "They Said It" and how easily those frustrations may turn into a decision to not try and seek what should be an easy source of vital information?
         Is there anyone in a "ultimate" position of authority who decides how information gets distributed or published for the feds? If there is, do they focus only on what they "have to do", or do any of them have an awareness to understand their responsibilities as, what would be referred to in the old days of paper print, an editor?
         I can't help but imagine a group of computer nerd wannabes, sitting in a back room somewhere, irresponsible and unsupervised, laughing with glee as they create and publish web pages without a short or long term plan, as they happily receive their paychecks without any regard towards the taxpaying public. "Hooray", they yell with glee, "we've found a way to make our days shorter, let's just put all this crap we don't understand in a .pdf file". "If the viewer can't read it, that's ok, we've put a link on the bottom of the page to tell them where to go find a program to decipher our unworthy garbage". "We can go on to other more profound ways of distributing even more incomprehensible stuff". "If our boss or the readers don't like it, screw 'em". Heh, heh, heh <cackling like witches now>!
         I promised myself I wouldn't get carried away with this message, but is the federal government so ignorant that they let their employees get by with putting out such low level publishing trash? I hate to think so.
        Sign me Embarrassed!

Welcome Embarrassed. Pushed a button, eh? You'd be surprised at who reads the site and who writes in - well, maybe not... Ab.

04/04 Cowboy,

Good questions......I think we all know the answers though..If common sense, forward thinking or any real planning on the WO's part figures into any of the answers to the questions you have raised it will be purely accidental..... The saving grace will hopefully be the foresight at the regional, forest and district level.


04/04 Ab,

Good to hear Mr. Blood's killer was caught (More or less)!! Hopefully anyone else involved will be brought to justice!

Having been a DIVS on area teams for several years it is good to see that someone appreciates the job they do. I always thought it was the best job on a fire. Was usually the hardest when spiking out because then you were the "Mayor" and the job was 24-7. The line duties were relatively easy compared to the things you had to deal with when the crews were in spike camp with nothing to do but wait for the start of the next shift.

In 30+ seasons, though, I felt by far the hardest job on a fire other than IC (The responsibiliites that rest on the shoulders of an IC on a project fire are beyond description!) was the Crew Boss. A Crew Boss that is doing the job right has a 24-7 for the entire assignment. One of the people I admired most was a person whose goal was to become a Crew Boss. After several years he was qualified and took a crew out on his own. Came back and told us he did not want to do it again. Did not want the responsibility for 19 other people and the possibility of losing one of them to injury or accident. Never gave him another assignment as a CB of a 20 person crew. Always had the utmost respect for someone like that who had the guts to step up to the plate rather than let his ego get someone hurt! Not many people like that in this world today. Over 30 years I ran into alot of folks that let their ego's get in the way of good decisions and judgements! Sad to say some of them were DIVS.

For those of you who take crews into harms way, my hat is off to you. Take care, keep the 10 Standards and 18 Watchouts in the back of your mind, pay heed to the hair on the back of your neck when it stands on end, and listen to that small inner voice that is telling you "something is not right about this situation!".


04/04 Dear Sir

I am nature conservator in the Western Cape, South Africa. Our fire season just ended and the task of training new volunteers is at hand. Is it possible to use some of the photos in your photo gallery for training these volunteers.

Yours in Conservation
D. Geldenhuys
(Chief Conservator)

Please do, and let them know about our website. Ab.

04/03 According to today's article from the Sacramento Bee, the killer of bus driver Richard Blood may have had his day. For those who are not aware, Richard Blood was transporting fire crews on the Big Bar Complex. He was killed in his bus at the Anderson Fairgrounds. It appears that the killers' helper(s) are still out there.

I have to give credit to those IC's and Division Supervisors who had to deal with some tough crew situations in 1999 and other years. Supervision of any crew takes a lot of talent. When Division Supervisors spend the end of a very long day cutting documentation on poor performance, fighting, drugs, alcohol, attempted sexual assault, sexual assault and other issues they have earned the Big Bucks. I am aware that a number of Type II crews were sent home because of problems in "99." I have always wondered if the problem crews were then sent to another incident in a few days without the problem being resolved, just moved.

I felt that "99" was a real problem year with the system overloaded. I hope that the new Type I and Agency Type II crews resolve many of these issues.

I have no tolerance for drunks on fires. One of my first career opportunities was as a driver on an engine. (1960's) The problem was, there were no other crewmembers. They had quit because of a violent, alcoholic foreman. On my first night off there was a small timber fire. When the fire flared up and the engine ran out of water the drunken foreman panicked. Without communicating with the people on the fire he threw the engine into gear and took off for a water hole. The problem was that both live reels were still extended. Daylight showed chunks of hardline along six miles of road. Both live reels were torn lose and the engine suffered major body damage.

Management then handled a problem they were avoiding.

I have been told second hand that the government declined to pay fire fighter benefits to Richard Blood's widow because he worked for a contractor.


Good news. Finally, published confirmation of a killer's death. Our thoughts and prayers are with Shirley Blood and her sons. Ab.

04/03 Hi,
My name is Mike Luhm I have been a firefighter for 3 years now. I was wondering how to get information on becoming a wildland firefighter (sesonal). I am an EMT and have Basic fire 1,2, and 3, fire Strat\ Tach I and II (ICS) engine company ops, and several others. I need any Information on starting the classes.

Memphis, TN

04/03 Ab & Mel:

Thanks for the quick response! It's ironic that the availability call came last Friday and today my current supervisor told me that the forest called him today (Monday) "checking up on me"! Can I assume that this is a good thing? You know what they say about that little word ass u me. Once again, thanks for your help! Just a sideline comment, once I break into the "fire world" I hope to meet with some of you, somewhere, sometime and buy you all a cold one for your efforts!


04/03 Just wondering where the most important part of the prineville logo is. The 9 stars for those on the crew that lost there life on storm king.


I don't know, do you have them? Anyone out there? Ab.

04/03 Dear ab and everybody:
Here is a little update on my pack test woes. I saw a podiatrist (foot doc) and it seems that the way my foot is shaped puts odd strain on certain muscles in my lower leg. Gotta get those inserts that Michael mentioned (no joke lotsa $). They should mitigate the problem.

Here's a question for anyone who may know. What's the deal with FS seasonal hiring? I have received phone calls from many forests confirming my interest, but when will I hear if they are interested in me?

Thanks again,

04/03 Norman,

Hey did you get a job??? Give me a call or email....let me know on this site if you need a phone # or email address. Great flicks of the crew!


04/03 I'm in the market for a personal GPS unit and am becoming confused about which brand/model to buy. There seems to be lots of choices, and picking the right one looks tough. I was wondering which units are most liked and used by fire folks. Any hints about features handy for fire work would be greatly appreciated.


04/03 I was wondering how everybody else out there feels about all these new 'shot crews coming on. How are they going to be used? Are they going to be type 1, or do they have to have a trial year? In years to come, who is going to get cut first, the new crews, or the older established crews when its a rainy season, or the higher ups figure out that even with all these additional crews, it isn't going to do any good in a season like last summer, or 94, 96, etc. I would hope when someone requests a type 1 crew, they get a established crew this year.It seems hard enough to get good fires, let alone with all these other crews. I don't mean to be negative on all these, just feel yhey should have thought this out better.


04/03 hello my name is mike,

I was wondering if there is any federal documentation regarding the cost of wildland fires. For example is there a list or book that would tell me how much a type-one crew would cost per day on a fire, or how much a type-six engine costs per day, etc.....???

I am doing a project for school and could really use this information, If you have any information on this subject will you please e-mail me at mtwicks@fortlewis.edu thank you for your time, and I really enjoy your site!


04/03 Shooter

I think I speak for most people when I say I didnt have to know him to respect him. We are like one big family. We are all wildland firefighters and no matter the differences of crews, agency's whatever, the fact remains that when it comes down to it, we're all the same. I whole heartedly agree with you on your view on this.

Actually I went one step above the Utah DOJ and went to the United States dept of Justice on this. I am still infurriated on this subject and as you might have guessed I have yet to have a response back from them. I dont expect to get one, but they knew I was pissed. Unfortunatly I dont trust the gov. anymore so I am going to purchase life insurance out of my own pocket. Funny, I'm 22, been in the firefighting bussiness for going on 8 yrs now and for the first time I have to worry if my regular insurance will actually eb there if somthing happens. Sad if you ask me...


04/02 Hey
I took a look at some of the pictures in the photo section.

The hotshot representation is a little slim (Most of the crews look like BD crews). So I decided to send in these 4 photos while I was on the Los Padres Hotshots.

There's no great fire shots just excellent firefighter, good people, and good memories. Maybe this will fire up the other shot crew to participate.


Thanks for the photos Norman. No raggin' on our crews now... I put your 3 photos of the LP Hotshot Crew working in various places around the US (Crew3 Page). Also put up the new IHC and FL fire logos on the Logos3 Page, and a photo of the 1910 Memorial to the Idaho fires of that year and to Pulaski who used a mine as a "fire shelter" (Miscellaneous Page). Many thanks to those contributors as well. I have a backlog of photos to put up and will continue working on them. Thanks for being patient, contributors. If anyone finds any other photos you'd like to have up here on our WLF photos pages, Ab sez, "Send em in." As you can see we have a new Fire5 page that has only one photo on it, albeit a nice one with a face in the plume.

Everyone - Northern Great Plains Area National Parks of beautiful South Dakota needs one good AFMO. Tell your friends, apply. The position closes soon. Check the Jobs Page.


04/02 Just wanted to know if anyone knows anything about this second round of hiring. Has it come and gone already? I thought I had a chance in the first round, but I guess they were looking for people with more than seven seasons. If I don't get hired I will not work in fire this year since I didn't apply for any seasonal positions.


A few people who were quality got caught in a computer glitch on the first round. Don't give up. Take a look at the MELmadness schedule and the FAQ page. Forests have the certs. Call your forest choices see if you're on the quality or the eligible list. Let forests know you're out here and willing. There are openings. Good luck. Ab.

04/02 Re: No Payment in Wildland Death:

i too was heartbroken when i read this article. i saw it in the salt lake trib. i attened the funeral service and got to meet natasha, next to her father while he lay in his casket. i had todd work for me on fires and am able to say i was proud to know and work with him. for those of us who knew him, his memory is still strong with us and his loss is a constant reminder of how short our time is.

i am not surprised at the decision to reject the request. lets face it the govt doen't care. look at the way we have been treated for the past 10 years. funding has been cut year after year, training is sub standard and the govt cant retain their people because they move to greener pastures after years of lies and deception. who remembers those who died on other fires? most of the money that came out of those deaths was from lawsuits. it seems the only thing that is certain is that if you die on a fire you will have your name put on a 10 dollar t-shirt and your family will have to live with the idea that you were at fault in causing your own demise. enough already. when will people be treated like people? god bless to natasha and her mom cindy and shame to the powers that be who have turned their backs on this family.

crisp triggers

04/02 Thanx a bunch for the "techincal assistance" guys I appreciate it. Kelly, your link saved me some work and helped me out a ton (especially because I'm not too computer literate and an Engine Slug. Two strikes!!) Give 'em hell for us computer handicapped. And get ready R-3 is drying out and gettin' hot (90 today) the first big one isn't far away.

County Rover

04/02 Ab,

I am trying to gauge some of the selection criteria from different forests. if you could post a request for the "letter" answers for the SBubble sheet Form C I would appreciate being able to compare and contrast with those who have fallen into the Highly Qualified bunch.

Also I have now been told by 3 forests in two regions and by three different folks at ASAP that Boise is not Ranking anything other than the grade you are qualified for. Form C rankings are being done at the Forest Level...the latest of these comments was made today at 16:15 MT.

I learn from other sources that Certain Forests are saying Boise is doing everything in regards to Ranking.

I agree with your feelings on benfits for this little girl and the inmates in general. I was on a Large fire in So Cal (which shall remain nameless when an inmate recieved an Chainsaw ingury to his hand. There was an US Army night med- evac ship in place yet this inmate was not afforded this luxury. I do not know the outcome of the whole story but I'm certain that if that was a fed or county employee she/he would have gotten a night time helo ride.

On the other hand, I find it disgusting that Inmates get to eat first, get to sleep in A/C tents while in camp during the day, often get to shower first as well.

Maybe this is just in Liberal so cal but I don't feel they should be offered any comforts that are not offered to any of us folks that have not violated the law (well, got caught anyway).

But this little girl should have some sort of survivor benefit!

Tahoe Ted

04/02 HI ALL!
A few things on jobs:
Anvil, there may or may not be an "fuels planner / specialist" position interview. As with other fire jobs from what I hear, most people doing the hiring are calling people and talking with them, as well as calling their references. Some talk for longer and some for a shorter time. I doubt that there is any preparation that you should or could be doing. As I understand it, offers will be made within 2 weeks or so for permanent Round 2 MEL positions. Readers, correct me if you know differently.

Another thing that has come up several times now is the question of what to do if you're offered a JAC Academy position in one region (and you've always wanted to do JAC training) and then people in another area (where you're more interested in working) inquire if you're still interested in a permanent position you applied for in Round 1. The people who are hiring and offering Academy opportunities and the people who are hiring experienced firefighters (sometimes out of the Academy) know that each person must make choices that optimize their chances of getting hired in a permanent career type of job. While I think the JAC Academy training is excellent, I must say, make your best choice, even if it means accepting one offer and then taking a better one that comes along. Probably right now that direction change is more understandable than in the past.

Regarding .pdf and NICC/Region8/etc use of it:
I feel that pdf is a cop-out by people not having the ingenuity or time to figure out how to do something in a more user-friendly way. Unfortunately, when I see an abundance of pdf documents, I feel that the group running the site likely doesn't have many people who know much about the internet and accessibility, or they're so incredibly overworked that they think they have no other options. I know that most computer people in the FS and BLM have great integrity and want to do a good job to serve the public and firefighters. Like most of the rest of us computer web-types, they are self-taught, much of it on their own time and with their own equipment. Their positions are not well supported and they don't have much back-up.

What I would hate to see is that govt web people push pdf use to the place where it polarizes, there is an uproar, Americans with Disabilities or some other similar group steps in, and suddenly there is a "no pdf rule" handed down from on high. There are times when pdf is useful. I think those times are relatively few and far between. I think the SIT Report is one time when pdf should be outlawed for safety reasons. I know the SIT Report needs to be up early in the morning which means someone needs to get up earlier and put it up. PDF is easier and faster than html. In that regard, the person or people doing the SIT Report face what the computer tech person in firecamp faces, many sleepless mornings... But someone needs to do these jobs for the safety of all.

Todd, re CDF's website:
Some friends have told me Grey Davis mandated that CDF use the CA webpage template (is that blah grey?) so that everything state can be recognized as soon as a page is opened. In addition, CDF info people can't post directly to the web on an incident anymore, they're expected to send it in to Sacramento and someone there will determine if and how it is posted. Hmmmm, I think there will be a major reality check soon. Come fire season, the state will have to hire a ton of people to do the work that information people could do quite reliably! Always interesting when those at the top don't have a clue about the new technology and make uninformed decisions without consulting people who do know.

On a lighter note:
I was out on the Mad River RD of the Six Rivers last week at a Fire Plan meeting. When we were driving back to go to bed, I noticed a flashing red light in front of the main residence. My FS fire friend said "uhoh" in a very alarmed way. I said "Oh boy, does that mean we have a fire?!!!" He groaned and said, "No, just means the sewer system is fouled up again." [hahahahahahahahahahahaha] I can just see it now. When all you greyheads retire, sewer systems on forests around the US will be backing up!


04/02 Ab,

Why don't the folks in charge of making the sit report accessible and printable simply provide it in PDF as an option? Businesses typically do this so that folks in the field can download what they need in non PDF format when they are not going to need a hard copy and folks in the office can have it downloaded to their desktops before they show up in the morning using a macro.

If Boise won't do it...how about posing a non PDF version on your site? I would be willing to help out anyway I can. Funds? Time? I think others would be willing to help too.

The inmate/firefighter and his family are obviously getting screwed...just like any AD firefighters family would in the same situation. Our experience has been that State firefighters employed as ADs, although technically covered by workman's comp. etc., are unable to collect the majority of the time because there is no protocol set up to guide them through the unnecessarily complicated process of applying for and proving up any claims resulting from Federal AD service. While this makes employing ADs simpler for the Feds....it ends up hurting them in the long run as this is one of the reasons a national shortage of wildfire fighters was created. It is a sad but true reality of individuals trying to deal with bureaucracies. Without a union or other joint effort the individual doesn't stand a chance.

If you are still interested in forming a contracting business after realizing that it probably won't happen this year contact me. In MN we have been working on this angle as an alternative for our members and some of their research may help you to get set up for next year.

Dana Linscott
Vice Chairperson
Minnesota Wildland Firefighter's Assn.

04/02 Ab,

I haven't posted for awhile, but I have been enjoying reading about what's been going on...

I'm posting today because Hunter is now officially retired. He is another one of those class acts that is leaving the fire service and leaving the rest of us behind to carry the torch.

I wish there were more people out there like Hunter. He's a firefighter's firefighter. I saw some people at the California Incident Management Team Workshop a couple of weeks ago who are very comfortable being "on stage". They talk good stuff, but don't walk their talk. Hunter didn't talk all that much. He let his actions speak for him. I respect and admire a person who DOES more than they TALK.

I'll be very interested to see what this year's fire season brings. Hopefully talent will overshadow ego. But just in case it doesn't, you all be careful out there. There is no bush or structure that is worth the loss of a firefighter's life. One can be replaced, the other cannot.

I'll miss you on the fireline Hunter. Enjoy retirement and stay tuned into They Said...


04/02 Hey, I just ran across your page, it's great! It is really nice finding one place with so many pictures. Man, after looking at all those fire pictures I can't wait for it to start heating up this summer! I took this picture last season in Oregon in the Ochoco Nat. Forest. It was the Hash Rock Complex. Hope you enjoy.


Hi Bjorn. Thanks for the great pic. I put it up on the Fire5 page. Ab.

04/01 If you think the sit report in pdf out of Boise is bad, have you seen what R8 is up to? The whole Web site is cluttered up with the things. Is this a contageous disease? Should we plan on pdf's for everything now?


04/01 Jan,

Re the Sit Report:

For goodness sake don't go back to that bloated Microsoft Front page! HTML can be dropped out of Microsoft word as easy as pie and you wouldn't have to rely on a fat PDF file.

Have some mercy on us folks that rely on a 28.8 dial up instead of a high speed connection.

Having worked at NICC, I know what goes into the sit report and the time frames, but if it is going to be a service to the field, then as Captain Picard would say "Make it Right".

Jim Evans

I would say not only "service" but "safety". In the field sometimes, we have to rely on *very slow* lines. Ab.

04/01 BC Davis, we'll be coming down to set up our summer shop the last week of may. Ill be in Winnemucca the 7-9th to get some more engines inspected. I wouild love to meet with you then. You could meet some of the guys, and check out some of our gear then.

Winnemucca - "City of Paved Streets" One of my crewman finds that billboard hillarious. (5mi. N. of town on 80) hes from L.A.

Have a good one see you guys soon, be safe

eric PW

04/01 I cannot believe this one. If you go to this link www1.standard.net/stories/local/03-2001/FTP0144@local@29benefits@Ogden.asp, you will find an article regarding a death of an inmate - an inmate who was killed in the line of duty. He was killed by lightning last year and now the government has denied benefits to his 11 year old daughter.

My personal feelings on this is that they do the exact same work as us ground pounders do. Sometimes even harder work because they are cheap labor. And granted sometimes they do slack, but the fact remains they are still in the same situation that we are in. I find it BS that there will be no benefits whatsoever to this little girl who will never see her father again. True, he made mistakes in his life to get where he was at, but he was still a father. I think the government should have to pony up something. Apperantly they have no benefits at all. No workmans comp, no nothing. I find that funny how they can get away with that. If everyone else FS, BLM, even private contractors have to have benefits and insurance, why dont the inmate crews. Makes no sense other then to save a ton of money.

Regardless of their standing, Inmate Crew, they are still wildland firefighters. Anyone who disagrees look at the work that we all do. Are they different even when they come back from the line with black faces and just as tired as the rest of us. NO, they are no different. I think and strongly believe that this is an injustice to these men and women that made mistakes in their lives. They do have the CHOICE to be out there. Some do it just to get out of the pen but others do it to do something worthwhile.

In closing, personally I am going to find out the contacts to the Utah justice Dept and give them an earfull on this matter. I hope that I am not the only one that feels this way and I hope to hear some responses....


04/01 Re: the national sit report, Mark said yesterday he wished the folks at NICC would just "do it the old way." He's right on -- html is the preferred format for posting a sit report (or anything else) on the web. The current report in PDF is 50K and the converted html version (at wildfirenews.com) is only 10K in size - not to mention the hassle of executing Acrobat or - for some - having to download it just to read the report.

I asked the folks at NICC why they quit putting it up in html and - for over three months - didn't even have a link to the PDF version. They said, "This winter we changed the format that the situation report is posted from. It is now in pdf format. This changed the file path to http://www.nifc.gov/news/sitreprt.pdf. I am also currently working on having a back link installed for all sites that are still linked to the old html file. Hope this hasn't caused any inconvience."

So at least now when you go to the old URL (and there must be at least 14 million links to it scattered around the internet) you do get a link to where the PDF is stashed. I mentioned to NICC that PDF is not considered accessible under federal guidelines, and here's the response: "The reason for posting the report in the pdf is for a cleaner end product. At this time we have not received direction not to post in pdf."

So - apparently - if people want the report in html like it's been for years, that's just tough. Unless there's enough input to NICC to merit some "direction" about the pdf format, that is. If you want to provide input, you can email the intel officer Jan Hendrick at NICC_Intell@nifc.blm.gov or (208)387-5400. The manager at NICC is Neal Hitchcock (nhitchcock@fs.fed.us) and he is aware of this issue.

-- kelly.

04/01 hey eric ! give me a shout the next time you come to the big city of winnemucca. i would enjoy a good conversation about fire and all the goods that come with it. hell, i might even by lunch. its pretty dry here so who knows what will happen. well, catch you later.

BC Davis

04/01 Mark

Real Download is a part of the (free) Real Audio package. Once you get it downloaded & pasted icons to desktop, It will be open automatically as will Acrobat Reader whenverer you access a site that requires Acorbat Reader.


04/01 Dear Ab and all who helped.

I just wanted to say thank you for all of your support. All the pack test info given has been taken to heart. You folks have given me inspiration and confidence to keep plugin' away. I really appreciate it. Thanks again. Have a safe, fun season.


You're welcome. Good luck. Ab.

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