MAY 2001


SUBJECT (Previous Archive: April-01) Return to Archives Page
05/31 i think your web site is pertty cool. its got good pictuers an archives but you should put a subject for employees of state or federal who have problems with other employees or management. I work for state as a wildland firefighter. this is my second season or was. so that would be cool if you have a subject for that. if not thats cool

ADL (initials provided by Ab if you don't supply a moniker)

ADL-- Here's what Ab sez...

The way this site works is that fire people (state, fed, interface city, volunteer, contractor, cooperator, foreign, US, employee, management, etc) write in with gripes about management, coworkers, "the system". They write in with questions, heads-up, safety alerts, information, a story about a close call, taking issue with a story about a close call, tributes to friends who died, interesting links and topics, fire news, training guidelines, computer programs, and sometimes to share a bit of themselves in other ways. Sometimes they "vent" a little... or a lot... or repeatedly. Occasionally parents of firefighters or firefighter's spouses seek info about their loved ones. Firefighting and our jobs are stressful. Having us away from home on fire assignment is stressful for our families. Ab sez, who ya gonna talk to? Us, of course. (We only ask that you are 'somewhat civil' because our kids may read the site and sometimes use it for research.)

The "subject" of the threads that interweave here to form theysaid's ppe is entirely up to those who post at theysaid. OK, occasionally an Ab has a button pushed and may go off on a rant. I have. The point is, anyone can start a new thread or comment on an existing one. Some who post here are experts in one area, some in another. Some are wise, retired armchair commentators. Many who are not an Ab contribute in their own ways with acronyms, jobs research, computer info, legal info, lists of links, teaching materials or a question that calls forth new development on the links page. A big THANK YOU to all of you who make this site what it is by sharing yourselves. Ab would never ask for help, but contributions are appreciated. Hopefully ADL, you will share your beef, your info, your celebration, your story, your photo, or something of yourself in a way that no one has done before. We are a fire community... a family or network of individuals having varied perspectives, each of which is important. We also provide a voice for those who might not otherwise have one. We "Abs" (short for "Abercrombie" our "original Ab") provide the forum. You posters and contributors do most of the work and create the community. Lurkers get to share in that as well... Hats off to you all.

So you see, ADL, you have contributed already by writing in your question/suggestion/comment. We hope you do it again... And choose a moni'ker, puh'leeeez!

Ab. (but... not the "original" main-man kick-a** Ab, premier groundpound'r and still firefight'r, our general and mentor and certainly wise, but not in an armchair yet!)

05/31 For Firepup21

Attached are two data dictionaries that we use in all of our Trimble GPS units. Fireinv.ddf is used in fire investigations and fire.ddf is the main one used to map fires. It is being used nationally and fits all of the data requirements for NIFC reports and for GIS attributing.


Firepup21, check your e-mail. Ab.

05/31 Ab,

I have read the various diatribes by one of the Minnesota posters below and feel compelled to reply to some of his charges. I happen to work for the MN DNR as a field forester. In USFS lingo, I would be an FMO.

Fire season in Minnesota is in the spring, usually just April and May. The firefighting force is comprised of full time Forestry employees (that number has been dwindling for the past 15 years) augmented by Smokechasers (casuals or AD's in USFS lingo). Smokechasers are hired and paid to attend S-130, S-190, and I-100 before they can even smell a smoke. To work suppression for the state of MN, they have to meet the Moderate physical standard (score of 40). Smokechaser ranks are filled with people just who happen to have spring time available. They tend to spend the rest of the year as truckers, construction workers, farmers, resorters, etc. They also tend to like a little adrenaline. A MN Smokechaser has at best a two month job. Its an interlude, not a living.

Agency sponsored fire training in MN has been a little like a snake swallowing a very large egg the past few years. Since 1993, the system has been choked with people working their way through various training classes to meet the requirements for various ICS task books. And yes, full time agency people usually get preference in that system. You know the odds are good that they will be available next fire season, the Smokechasers may not be. MN trains its Smokechasers for local use first, in state off unit assignments second, and out of state assignments last. That said, the ratio of smokechasers to agency folks being sent to Fire classes from my agency office is currently about 2:1.

People can work their way into nearly any ICS jobs they want to (as long as the training MN is paying for is of benefit to MN). Besides crew and engine jobs, MN has Smokechasers qualified for a variety of overhead positions. I'll send people to as much training as they can stand, it only makes them more talented and valuable to me. If they jump ship and go to work for another fire agency that offers a longer season, higher pay, and bennies, good for them. I wish them well.

After the MN fire season ends, Smokechasers can spend as much time as they want on out of state assignments. Only about 1/3 of the smokechasers that work in this area are interested in out of state fire assignments. Those people are Red Carded (after meeting all requirements of the 310-1). When these folks leave the state, they become USFS AD employees. The folks that aren't interested in out of state work don't get Red Cards.

I have no doubt that Mr. Linscott is correct that there are 800 smokechasers on the MN rolls considered active. I have 30+ people on my list locally. Most are firefighters, the balance work in dispatch, detection, and support functions. Several of these people only work a few days a year. Of these 30, I would be hard pressed to come up with more than a handful for a fall fire, they are busy with other jobs then. The fire he mentioned that was a problem staffing was in late October of last year. It happened just before the MN deer season (nearly a sacred event for most MN outdoorsy types). The Smokechasers that weren't working at other jobs has spent much of the summer working on fires in the west. I suspect they were ready for a break and wanted to be sure to bw ome before opening day of deer season. I spent a week on that fire myself and I know it interfered with my preseason scouting and plans.......

Regarding contractors operating out of state, my info (from annual fire planning meeting notes) is that effective this year, agencies won't red card contractors. Contractors wishing to be available for out of state use will need to contract with the USFS. They won't be issued a Red Card, but will need to meet Red Card standards for the positions (ENGB, FFT2, etc) by presenting evidence of required training and completed task books, etc.

There, I feel better now....................

One of those "horrible" Minnesota DNR guys

05/31 Ab and All

Did you ever have one of those weeks? Our engine boss just decided that he wanted out of the business. Would have helped if he had decided that a few months ago. If there are any qualified and carded people out there who are still looking for the right place to be this season, give us a call.

Specialized Transport and Fire Services

05/25 G'day Mates- I was going to suggest these two links from downunder to add to your worldwide collection and Byron's post goosed me into action:

Here's FireBreak on bushfire with some nice photos of Aussie fires and some good links.

Also FireNet, another good fire website from Australia.

For Byron-
A list of links of organizations that research Bushfires:

There may be other good worldwide links that Australian readers could suggest.
With the way things are burning already in the States, maybe some of us will be over to help out soon.
Cheers and good luck Byron-

They look good. Thanks. I'll put them on the links page this morning (morning for us anyway). Ab.

05/31 Had a start at 8:30 am yesterday (5/30/01) went to 75 - 100 acres quick, looks like it is contained now. Had several smaller fires in the county. Lots of action and things kinda got strapped in the afternoon, some people were stressing (guys with all the do hickes on their collars, mainly). Looks like another hot dry day in Northern California. Kinda reminds me of the end of the 1987 summer, only thing is this isn't even summer yet. All you folks in the east, if you haven't been to California this could be your chance.

Keep Hydrated.

05/31 Readers, we usually don't post messages from kids, but I'm hoping at least one firefigher from Australia is reading and might have some info for young Byron. Ab.

Hi my name is Byron and I am in year 6 and live in Australia. I am doing a project on bushfires and was hoping that you could help me by suggesting some other web sites that I could find some more information about bushfires. I was also hoping you could find out how bushfires are created, what conditions are best suited for bushfires, how they are trigged and grow so large and for you have lots of stories which are in America states I was wondering if you could find some stories which involve Australia.


05/31 Hey gang,

I am looking for anyone out there who might be using Trimble GeoExplorer 3 GPS units for mapping fires. I work on a helitack crew in Utah and we just acquired one to use this season on our helicopter. If you are familiar with these units, it is necessary to use a "data dictionary" when logging data. I am wondering if anyone out there has created a wildfire related data dictionary that you would be willing to share. Our ship comes on contract June 1 and I am a little crunched for time at the moment for creating my own.

I also want to comment on how cool I think the "current wildlandfire news" link is. I've been checking it out regularly since you put it up and it has been kinda fun to come home in the evening and read up on what's going on in other regions etc. Also getting a chuckle at the media hype on how this year "may potentially be the most disasterous fire season yet." Compared to what, I ask? In acres burned, structures lost, dollars spent?? Isn't the fact that we have created our own mess over the past 100 years the real disaster? I say bring it on, set the woods aflame, we can't seem to get the acres lit that are really screaming for it, so let mother nature do her job when the lightning strikes. God knows we've got the manpower and equipment to protect the structures. At last count there will be 9 exclusive use helicopters in Utah alone, that's up from 3 last year! I think us folks out here in the west need to take note of the prescribed burn acreages in the southeast this year. (yes, I realize you may think I am comparing apples and oranges), but it is interesting nonetheless. I'd like to hear some discussion on what different regions have in place for Fire Use plans this season, if any. (You know the Wildfire for Resource Benefit deal, or whatever they are calling it nowadays, PNF) Anyone? Anyone?

As of todays sit report for prescribed fire acres the southern area = 769466 acres, with eastern in second with 87291 acres and the Western great basin bringing up the rear with a whopping 786 acres.

Thanks Ab, you (you guys) are the best,


05/31 here I am reading the front page of the Progressive this morning and to read this B.S. from B.J. Pearson regarding how he thinks that all the private property owners and the county sups should be told about the the Forest Service plans on Fuel Suppression by June 5th. Hasn't anybody slapped him upside his head yet? There is a fire burning you jerk!! It goes on to say and a quote by him stating that "We need a firmer stand, We know that the FOrest Service --- if left to their own devices--- will do nothing." It says that in his ideal situation, the supervisors would emulate the New Mexico legislature and take over the Forest Service lands because of the threat of catastrophic wildfires..

It seems as if Dave is right, BJ is a Real Estate agent first and a politician second and doesn't give a rat's behind who he hurts to get what he wants. He is only looking at the potential for a money maker golf course and isn't looking at the whole picture. Obivously, Mr. Pearson has got a bug up his butt about some of the U.S. Forest Service folks he may have known in the past and has drawn an overall opinion about them all.. I think if this fight continues and BJ gets what he wants, the fires are going to go to hell, they'll call the USFS and CDF and BLM to come put out the flames and then he'll stand back and say we did it all wrong again... And then the people who's homes have burned up, will have to blame somebody too and he will just point them the way he wants...

Sorry to go on a rant, but BJ is full of B.S. He doesn't know what he's talking about. Clear cutting the forest is not the answer.. He needs to shut up and let the folks who know what they are doing continue to do what they are doing. It takes years for a Forest to become safe from wildland fires. It doesn't happen overnight...


05/30 Hi Ab, and all.

I'm having a problem with the hiring process. (Join the club) I'm over 40 with many years of prior service in primary fire positions (federal). Enough years in fact that counting my ACTUAL time on the job, I come in under 35.

However, I just got off the phone with a USFS personnel officer. She told me that If a person applied by the end of the first round, January 19, 2001, that ALL prior service counts towards MEA. However, If one applied after that, only service prior to 1986 counts towards retirement. Ever hear of anything so crazy?

This isn't the first time I've run up against this. You can talk to 100 personnel officers and never get the same answers.

Now I'm not condemning all personnel people. As I'm sure there are many that work their tails off and are very diligent. Although I have a problem with the accepted incompetence of this system.

For example, any applicant over 35 must prove where and when they worked for the federal government. Doesn't the dang government keep records? I guess that means I should print up a couple of bogus personel action statements and nobody would be any the wiser. I'm not advocating this, Just pointing out that it would be easy to do.

We've all got jobs to do and they aren't always easy. But the people running this hiring system aren't doing their jobs. They work for the people of the united states. If they aren't performing, they need to be replaced. "That's the way it is" Doesn't cut it anymore. We don't have to put up with it.

They are also opening themselves up to a ton of legal action.
Thank you for allowing me to vent.

Now, Does anyone out there know where I might get a straight answer on this? I didn't find anything on it on the FAQ page. OPM website doesn't address it, and forget about calling. Nobody ever answers the phone.

Thank you
-Mad as hell and not going to take it anymore-

05/30 Hey Fire Academy Guy:

Here's the url for the engine requirements that Hickman listed. I found them in the National Interagency Mobilization Guide (pdf), April 2001, page 307. The guide is in pdf format (about 2000K large!), requires Adobe Acrobat and took about 8-10 min to download on my computer. In my opinion, it's logical to have this long and complex a book in pdf. (Can't say the same for the sit report. Thanks for the html archive link, Ab.) Anyway, it's great NIFC has the mob guide online!

OBTW, you can search on a keyword(s) within the document. Simply hold down the control key on your computer and hit the F (for find). Type in the keyword. The word "engines" occurs almost every page so the table of contents is better for finding this, but for finding other things, it works great. No "Type 4 Brush Units" in there though...

Please take care, Everyone -

05/30 Ab, here are some photos from the Bulger Cr Incident here on the Burns Interagency Fire Zone. 93 acres in the trees, pretty early.

Be safe firefighters,

Nice evening/night fire photos. I put them on the Fire 5 Page. Ab.

05/30 Ab,

I recently received a question regarding information on a post to "They Said It" regarding the possability that a MN contractor had been using firefighters with no red cards on federal fires.

I would really like to know which contractor this was so I can investigate further. Can anyone help me?

Below is my response to the question regarding uncarded firefighters from MN.

Nationally, red card verification has been very lax for as long as I can remember. Red cards can be made up from "whole cloth" by the issuing authority with no substance behind them whatsoever. Simply put no one checks to verify that red cards are legitimate of that the info on them is correct after they have been issued. For several years the MN DNR was so desperately short of legitimately carded engine personnel that they could not send the millions of dollars of interface engines to federal fires and so recoup much of the tax dollars spent on them. Since they had represented to the legislatures of MN that they would be able to recoup a substantial amount of the funds appropriated to purchase them originally, the MN DNR was in an embarrassing position. They had for years neglected to provide enough opportunities for firefighters to actually get the required classes and training to legitimately red card those qualifications to the folks that manned their engines. Most of these folks were casual firefighters or in MN DNR lingo "emergency firefighters/intermittent" as the MN DNR had/has been downsizing for the past 15-20 years and, in doing so, had laid off most of the full time employees who were qualified to fight fire... technicians mostly. The classes that were offered in MN were mostly filled with full time employees of the DNR since they were trying to fill this gap. Unfortunately, these full time employees were unable to take the time off from their regular duties for out of state fire duty since their work load had increased substantially when the technicians were laid off.

Red cards are only required for MN casuals in MN when on federal fires after the initial 24 hours. If they were required for all MN firefighters MN would essentially be without adequate wildfire suppression capabilities this year.

The proper solution would have been to provide classes to the "emergency firefighters/intermittent" that they wanted to run the equipment on out of state fires. These "casuals" had been begging for classes for years so that they could "advance" in Fire but the DNR was fearful that with legitimate qualifications these properly trained "casuals" (who, by the way did have lots of practical experience running this equipment) would leave the intermittent employ of the MN DNR for "blacker pastures" due to the horrible manner in which they were treated by the DNR on a regular basis. They were, of course, quite correct, as the mass exodus of MN firefighters has proved over the past few years. The short term solution was to issue red cards to technically unqualified casuals with qualifications printed on them for which there had been none of the required classes or training. The short term solution, of course, became the long term solution as it was cheap and easy.

I was one of the "instant engine bosses" about 6 years ago... and despite my best efforts could not get the classes or task book to actually qualify as an engine boss. The DNR did not want to admit this fraud and so would not help me or any of the others in my situation get class time. It is one of the dangerous and wrong things that happen when you have someone who has absolutely no fire experience running a state fire suppression program. I was eventually able to get the classes on my own.

I postulate that the MN contractor (and I really would like to know which one) hired these casuals based on the fact that they had the proper qualifications on their red cards the previous year... and they don't normally disappear once you have them. The DNR was then faced with either owning up to their fraud and facing the consequences, or not. They chose not to issue red cards for those individuals who decided to work for private contractors and, thereby at least temporarily, escape culpability for their previous actions. Of course since in MN there is no other issuing authority, those firefighters were screwed, since without a red card they could not work as firefighters and the contractor was screwed as well.

They both probably would have a very good chance of winning a suit if it were ever brought. They should not have to since it is a safety issue and the Feds should investigate and prosecute such fraud. Some ass needs kicking at the state level to prevent this from becomming more widespread. The feds might also want to be more vigilent although in all fairness when there is a fire, it is not the time to be checking red cards and once the fire is out no one cares anymore. In any case State "cooperators" should not be scamming the feds and getting away with it.

I don't know why they were allowed to work on federal fires.. it would seem that there is a failure to verify not only that an individuals red card qualifications are legitimate but that an individual has a red card at all. In all fairness the Minnesota DNR may have been "shmoozing" any official that contacted them to check red card status for individuals on a fire by saying something to the effect that "they are in the mail".

Dana Linscott

05/30 Enlighthend,

It's easier, and it's harder than you think. Surveying is a measure of land on a horizontal plane and does not consider surface area. Visualize a square mile of flat land with a large peak centered in it. The land base is still 640 acres by surveyed measure.....yet the surface area is significantly larger. Got that?

Now, compound your problem by trying to use that surveyed measure to determine how much retardent or foam you need to apply......and oops! You are back to being concerned about surface area rather than surveyed area.
Are we having fun yet?
Cool question.

Old Fire Guy

05/30 In Response to Hickman's Engine Type descriptions,

He is correct in the Engine Type Profile that is used today, except to say that in California only Types 1-4 are used. But I want to share a argument that occured during a recent conference in Sacramento regarding engine typing.

A discussion was held regarding engine typing at an interface fire in Region 5 that resulted in a low structure loss but a high dollar loss (Three structures with more than $1 Million in damages). During the discussion questions were asked what is the differences between a Type 1 Structure Engine and a Type 2 Structure engine.

First, Type 1 and 2 are the only designators for structural fire apparatus. Types 3-7 are exclusively wildland engines, but there are a few what are considered Type 1/Type 3 Interface engines that have the manpower and pumping capacity of a structure engine but the off-road and pump-&-roll capacity of a wildland engine (For further info on these engines look at the Pierce Fire Apparatus Company's CDF Model 25 Engine).

Second, when you compare the written engine type classifications to what almost all Type 2 engine are built up to, you'll find that the only true difference between Type 1 and 2 engine are four firefighters vs. three firefighters. Type 2 engines are generally built with 1000GPM+ pumps, 500+Gallon Tanks, and carry the same or more hose than Type 1 Engine listings.

Third, the only real difference is that the Type 1 engine has one more firefighter, and the reason for that is solely the number of firefighters that fit in the cab. Most Type 1 engines have a custom cab that can hold 4-8 firefighters, whereas most Type 2 engines have a commercial cab that can only hold three firefighters.

Fourth, most Type 2s can go off road with the commercial chassis, but Type 1 engines with custom chassis's are too heavy or bulky to go off road. CDF experimented with a wildland engine body on a Spartan Chassis and the firefighters found that the thing sucked when leaving the pavement. The nickname for these engines were "Battlestar: Galactica".

Fifth, many Type 2 engines, in California, are equipped with almost the same amount of wildland hose that a Type 3 engine carries. Many volunteers in the state use the Type 2 engines when they don't have the luxury of having a very expensive Type 1 or a secondary Type 3 engine. In remote areas may need to be self-sufficient for 30 minutes or more before the next in resources arrive. I can only speak for myself and volunteers in my area, but volunteer engines in my old county fire department wanted to be better prepared to handle a wildland fire, so they loaded up on 1-1/2" and 1", more so than what the career Type 2 engines did. This met with a lot of resistance from the paid battalion chiefs, but in one summer where for a solid month volunteer engines provided most of the suppression forces in 1992, attitudes changed.

Type 2 engines with the properly trained and experienced people, and proper equipment can do the jobs of structural, interface, and wildland operations. Most Type 2s can get back in the areas that a Type 3 can, and are great for pumping those long and/or uphill hoselays.


05/30 Perhaps you can help me. I have a question. The other day I was web surfing, helping my nephew with a school project designed to introduce kids to searching the internet. He wanted firefighter that fights forest fires. I'm not the sharpest at this stuff. But I did find the National Geographic Firecall site. He watched and listened to the fire fighter and got excited to search further. He hit some links including "they said it". (This is a very neat site!) Then he tried the link to the Daily Fire Report http://www.nifc.gov/news/sitreprt.phpl. There was an error message 404 on a white page. Do you know where he can get the Daily Fire Report so he can finish his assignment? They say it's not put up until fire season. Is it not fire season yet?

It is definitely fire season. NIFC no longer does the national fire situation report (Daily Fire Report) in html form. Evidently they do not provide a forwarding link to their pdf version sitreport, either. Your nephew can find the Daily Fire Report in html by about 0845 every morning on our links page under "news". NIFC archives it early (don't ask me why) and that's how we get it. You can get the report earlier in pdf format but need adobe acrobat to download that. The archived report is up now -- 0645. That's early. (To get the archived report, click the fire "Link" bar at the top of the page. It is the second link on the page. The pdf version is the third link.) Good luck. Ab.

05/29 This evening's Devil Fire stats update (Susanville CA) from CDF: www.fire.ca.gov/cdf_incidents/devil/incident.php


05/29 Okay, this question involves both the Planning and Operational lurkers out there.

As an operational type myself, I had always held that 4840 square yards of surface area constituted an acre of land. Enter the Situation Unit Leader world (trained this year in R-5) and I find that this number has to be adjusted for slope. In other words, on near vertical topography, even though 4840 square yards have burned on the slope, the true acreage would only be that of the perimeter on a flat map, This would mean that the fire could be much less than an acre. If you find the confusing, think of a fire spreading up the face of Yosemite's Half Dome (yea I know, no vegetation and its in a National Park). The surface area of the vertical face equals thousands of square yards yet the fire would only map out to a couple acres once it reaches the top and goes out.

Is it just me looking like an idiot, or are there other ICs or Ops folks who have made the mistake I have and thought that a flaming square mile of canyon wall equaled 640 acres. Based on this I've spent the better part a day walking around a 100 acre fire that had 2000' of altitude gain.


05/29 Found it once, but lost it, that link to different engine types.
However, for Fire Academy Curriculum Coordinator, here's a kind of a short discription of each class of engines which the Forest Service Recgonizes: Minimum Standard for Types:
  • Type 1 - (Usually a Class A engine in Structural Fire Fighting) Pump 1000 gpm, 400 gal/tank, 1200 ft. 2 1/2" hose, 400 ft. 1 1/2 " hose, 200 ft. 1" hose, 20 feet of ladder, 500 gpm Master Stream, and Minimum 4 people.
  • Type 2 - 500 gpm, 400 gal/tank, 1000 ft. 2 1/2", 500 ft. 1 1/2", 300 ft. 1", 20 feet of ladder, and Min. 3 people.
  • Type 3 - 120 gpm, 500 gal/tank, 1000 ft. 1 1/2" hose, 800 ft. 1", and Min. 3 people.
  • Type 4 - 70 gpm, 750 gal/tank, 300 ft. 1 1/2", 300 ft. 1", and Min. 3 people.
  • Type 5 - 50 gpm, 500 gal/tank, 300 ft. 1 1/2", 300 ft 1", and Min. 3 people.
  • Type 6 - 50 gpm, 200 gal/tank, 300 ft 1 1/2", 300 ft 1 ", and Min. 2 people.
  • Type 7 - 20 gpm, 125 gal/tank, 200 ft 1 1/2", 200 ft 1", and Min. 2 people.
  • by adding an "x" to the type indicates all-wheel drive engines. (Type 6x, etc.)
Other equipment is also listed as largest to smallest; Tractors/Dozers Types 1-6, Water Tenders (mobil water supply units), Helicopters, and Air Tankers, are typed 1-4

Be Safe

PS. OOPs, I may have messed up on the required ladders. If someone had a fireline handbook. Check ladders required on Type 1 and 2's may require 48 feet of ladders. (Another difference between Structural and Wildland requirments. NFPA 1901 Standards for Structural only require a 24' extension and a 12' to 16' roof ladder. I think an attic ladder is optional, just another sign of getting old....I furget!)

I know, Ab, I'm suppost to be out of town....I'm out-a-here..

Thanks for taking the time. Type 1 and 2 Engines require only 20 feet of ladder according to the NWCG Fireline Handbook. Have a good one Hickman. You be safe. Ab.

05/29 Hate to bother,

Can you tell me where a list of all the equipment designations would be on the web, example "what is a type 4 brush unit". We are doing some research and haven't been able to locate such an animal.

Fire Academy Curriculum Coordinator

05/29 Here's a great job post from the BLM down Bakersfield CA way. I just had to cross-post it! Jobs, Series 462 and 455 are up. Ab.

Now this is an opportunity you don't run across all the time. Are you a heavy equipment operator that wants to get more involved in fire management? Take a look at this:

Engineering Equipment Operator Leader (Fire Dozer)
Open Period: 05/22/2001 - 06/19/2001
Series/Grade: WL-5716-10/10, $18.12 to $21.15 per hour.
Announcement Number: CA-01-150SM-DEU


REMARKS: Position requires prior wildland fire bulldozer experience.
Here is the link to USAJOBS: www.usajobs.opm.gov/wfjic/jobs/IU2202.php

All you Bakersfield alumni out there, know anyone that can try to fill Carl's shoes?

05/29 Ab,

The National Fire Academy (NFA) is currently seeking individuals to serve as contract instructors for three, 2-day courses:

  • "Introduction to Wildland and Wildland/Urban Interface Firefighting for the Structural Company Officer"
  • "Command and Control of Wildland/Urban Interface Fire Operations for the Structural Chief Officer"
  • "Cooperative Leadership Issues in Wildland/Urban Interface"
The webpage is as follows: USFA -- NFA Issues In-Service Training Program


05/29 Sit report for yesterday and today are up. Click on the top archived NICC Incident Management Report.

Check out the WLF news page. In addition to the US fire news, there's a report that 1200 were evacuated yesterday in Alberta (Alta), Canada.


05/29 Dear Disgusted in R3,

The ASAP process has been a trial and error situation this year. Maybe even a Watch Out situation? On Round 3 I was rated by Boise as a GS-5 Dispatcher. Last week someone from Colorado called to offer me an 18/8 position as a 5. Well, I'm currently a GS-9, Permanent Full Time, with the FS so I declined. He said they had been finding that a lot when calling the folks on their list. Then on Friday I got a letter from the NPS saying that I had qualified and made the cert. for a GS-11/12 Fire Communications and Education Specialist. That was through an individual announcement, not the ASAP process. So go figure.

Good luck all.

05/29 WOW, fire season is upon us...

nv and ca fires

Reno kolo.com news

NorCal Tom


How in the heck did you guys bend the hose box on the front of the engine? Please tell me that you didnt let Dave drivre it!

Its started here in northern nevada...the winds went crazy here and the Warrior fire went to 6k... woohoo! looks like I will be able to afford the toys that my wife so desperately wants.... Be safe out there, all!


05/28 greetings all.

i am a dept of the army firefighter. last year i was in new mexico and came across some folks that were working for a pvt contractor out of minn. i was asking them about minn and they told me none of them had red cards on them due to the state dnr not issuing them out. now, i do know that you are not able to be on fires with out having a red card on you.. how did they get on any fires?.. they where on many different fires in new mex and in mt..

can anyone explain this?..

engine 88

05/28 Hey all,

I know that this is probably old news to most folks, but check out what is going on down in Fla. Last estimate I heard was around 15,000 acres. With only 35% containment. Got several friends from here in Texas that are down there already. NOAA imagery shows just what is going on.


Stay safe, Keith

05/28 Ab ---
Another fire in Canada, Quebec this time:

More on the Alberta fire:

We lost two good people on Fri. when a light plane helping in the firefighting effort went down. Our prayers are with the families.


05/28 Please explain the ASAP process to me......

I have been told that the ranking as eligible and highly qualified are done at the individual forest level.

I have also been told that these rankings come from Boise and the individual forests have no role whatsoever.

Does it not make sense if statement # 2 is correct that an individual should be on ever forest she/he selected at the same level of "eligibility/highly qualifiedness"?

Why are individuals who were offered and accepted positions in round 1 and 2, being offered positions in rouond 3 and on forests they did not select.

How can certain positions remain vacant for all three rounds? Are Forests Holding jobs for individuals who don't rate out yet, ie apprentices who have yet to convert? wasn't there a law suit several years ago that ended in an upgrade academy?

How can an individual who does not meet the minimum quals for a position be offered a job? Do they not have to meet the quals lined out in the position description, or does time in grade cut it?

Disgusted in R-3

05/28 The last two days I have had difficulty loading the pdf file for the National Fire Report. I usually use a T1 line at work and it pops up real fast but over the weekend I use my home machine and man is it slow loading that pdf file. After reading the fire report I noticed that they don't have the Mendocino Forest latest burn on the report, news last night had it at 150 acres.

Well, got to go and finish up the clearing and prep around the old home stead, man I would hate to hear from the other guys that I didn't have my house fire safe.

Thanks to all those that have given in defense of our great nation, both foreign and domestic in all kinds of uniforms. Go with God.


05/28 hey marie,

yes we men do love our toys !!!! bigger the better. my wife cringes every time fire season comes around. during the winter, i go through all my catalogs with a gleam in my eyes. my wife will say " what in the hell are you going to get this year?? " . its great, i give her all these reasons for wanting a certain thing and she tries to talk me out of it. she will say," cant you do without that??? it cost so much !! " but in the end, i usually get what i want ! i do love the conversations about it. its better then pillow talk !!

on a serious note, i hope we all take a minute to think about all of our brother and sister fire fighters who have fallen. not just wildland fire fighters but all fire fighters, we all face the red devil in our own special arena and when one of us falls it effects everyone. a friend of mine in nj lost a friend to a heart attack while at a structural fire. it can happen to anyone of us. be safe out there.

BC Davis

05/28 hey bc,

i know what you mean. ever since the klamath fire in northern california, my husband has been asking "where's the money?".. you know men.. ain't they all like that? he wants some new tool.. <:-) yep, i think all firefighter spouses are feeling another summer of separation coming on and are trying to look at whatever they can call the bright side..

marie from r4

05/28 Ab,

You should add the Canadian Forest Service sit report to your list of links under worldwide. It will be a useful link this fire season.

Canadian Sit Report


Thanks. I did. Readers, If you look under Alberta and then for wildfires in the news, you find this page http://envweb.env.gov.ab.ca/env/forests/fpd/ about the big one near Chisholm. Interesting reading. An interesting site overall. Ab.

05/27 hey cdf cap !

i am a ndf crew sup myself. the packs we use are pretty much the same as everyone elses. i believe the material is the same from pack to pack. i bought my own pack because i didnt like how the ndf pack felt on me. its a personel choice. as far as ppe, i wear what everyone else wears. that crap that my crew wears leaves something to be desired. its from you folks. some of it is in good shape but most of it is the pits and i wouldnt wear it if my life depended on it. i can see why you got rid of it. but then again we dont have the budget that you folks do. one of these days, the ppe my crew uses will bite ndf in the ass. i hope i dont go down with the ship too.

well i have been on 2 fires and my wife is wondering where the money is ( aint all women like that ??? just kidding ladies :) everyone be safe. it could be a busy season here in nevada. and ec, got you figured out buddy !!! got to go water the grass !!!

BC Davis

05/27 Canada is very dry for this early in the season. Big fire burning north of Idaho and Montana in Alberta, Canada. One story here in the CBC News.

and another from the Red Deer Acvocate.


05/27 AB,

As far as I'm concerned the FS outta give Plumas County the Federal land within it's boundaries. Then they wouldn't have to put up with the -ologists and NEPA , then they outta put ol' BJ Pearson in charge of it. I'm sure he could develop a plan to subdivide and build golf courses, after all he is a real estate agent. And believe me he is a real estate agent first and a real politician second.

Beer in hand and tongue in cheek,

05/27 hey ab,

looks like fire season is definately here! here's some new pictures for your site: this engine one, and brush one, operated by Nevada Division of Forestry station one on Mt. Charleston nv.

nv. fire animal Tim

Thanks, I posted them on the engines2 page along with some engines on the Franklin Fire. With all that's burning in NV, got any with flames behind them? Also put up a photo on the crew3 page. Ab.

05/27 Do you ever have support dispatching jobs listed on this site? can you recommend a good site to find dispatching jobs? Muchas Gracias!


05/27 Why Does R-8 Still Have The Good Mud (ie, F, The True F). Also Why Did The Feds Drop It?. Sounds Like A Political Nightmare Where They Drop The Red! I Hope The Law Suits Dont Make My Taxes Go Up!!!!!!!!!


05/27 CDF has banned all line gear with the exception of the yellow GSA stuff. This includes gear like Eagle Gear, etc...

I would like to start a serious debate here among fire professionals as to why a decision like this might be unwise.

The basic premise of the CDF management is that the GSA yellow line packs performed better under some kind of a flame impingement test.

I was under the impression that all of the line gear, regardless of manufacturer, was constructed of basically the same material? Is this the case?

I would like to see a dialog started here on this subject. If further info is needed, please advise.

What are the pros and cons of this gear compared to other privately manufactured products?
What do most hot shots use for line gear and why?

CDF Crew Cap

05/27 Here's the most recent Safety Advisory from NWCG -

FROM : National Wildfire Coordinating Group
REPLY TO : NWCG@nifc.gov
DATE : 05/24/2001
SUBJECT : SAFETY ADVISORY : Firefighter Personal Hygiene

Last year on a single wildland fire incident, 200 firefighters were exposed to a viral agent, which resulted in the hospitalization of many for severe dehydration.

The state Health Department report concluded "that due to the lack of available and consistent handwashing, it is probable that large tubs containing an ice slurry to hold bottled water, sports drinks, juice and canned sodas became contaminated by the unwashed hands of ill people."

This outbreak of illness occurred prior to the takeover by an incident management team. Thus it is a reminder for firefighters to wash their hands before eating or drinking at all stages of an incident. Firefighters are also encouraged to carry instant hand sanitizers since soap and water are not always available.

05/26 Ab,

I read your message about the upcoming deadline for CA temporary firefighter positions.

I really HATE to disagree with you, Ab because you are always so profound in your research. But, I want to correct you one this one little thing...

The vacancy announcement for ALL temporary fire positions does not expire until 11/30/2001. This is a NATIONAL vacancy announcement, therefore, it's not supposed to expire until the end of November, and will expire NATIONWIDE, not just in California.

I looked at the "jobs" page, and it looks to me like my understanding of the closing date for temporary jobs is accurate. Forests may have filled all their temporary positions (at this point in time), but I guarantee that jobs will open up during the summer that will need to be filled. So KEEP THOSE APPLICATIONS COMING IN. Don't give up!

Thanks for allowing me to disagree with you this one time, Ab...


You're right of course, @. Thanks for the clarification. We've been getting a lot of questions from students who want summer jobs only. They were the ones I was thinking of. I'll go back and correct my post. I agree: everyone who can, keep those applications coming in. Ab.

05/26 Goldilocks,

I never put anything together in PPT for unit 10 (haz-mat), 12 (fire investigation), 13 (cultural resources) or unit 0. When I (and I use the I term loosely) put this together it was intended as something of a starter set. That is, something that would cover most aspects of 130 & 190 but was left generic enough for people to amend to their styles and geographic specifics.

I dont know what to say about the double units 5 & 6. I dont think I submitted it that way, but its possible I guess.

The origional versions are long since morphed into what I use now, which is tailored greatly toward my geogarphic area.

Sorry I couldnt be of more help.

05/26 Re Dispatcher Training

If you go to the Western Great Basin site they have the new aviation dispatcher training at the site. We will shortly be posting a variety of programs on the California training web site.

seldom seen

05/26 People were called out yesterday to fight fire in NV. Here's one story:


NorCal Tom

05/26 Thank you for providing a "readable" and reliable link to NIFC sit reports.

Wildland firefighter mom

You're very welcome. Ab.

05/26 Dana --

You may not remember me; but a few years ago I came to you and was pissed off at MN because we weren't getting released. Told you I wanted to get on a shot crew, and the MN thing wasn't happening.

Well, I left. And my fire career couldn't be better! Oh yeah, I return to MN in the winter (still haven't figured out why yet) and love it. But MN-DNR-Forestry -- they spend 90% of their damn training on the perm foresters who don't want anytihng to do with fires -- they like planting Aspens. Anyway, I work the spring (if needed) and fall (if needed) on a casual basis but I would like to offer this...


If anyone needs a place to stay, or help with the job process, let me know. I've been there, and am more than willing to help anyone out.


05/26 Ab,

I downloaded powerpoint S130 from the Programs Page. It didn't have units 10, 12 and if we don't count U0 - I don't have U13. There were two units 5 and two units 6. Does anyone have the missing units?

Thanks for your help. Any dispatcher training info links you know of - I'd appreciate those too.


We only have what is there. (I do have some other programs on CD.) Pulaski, do you have any others? Hickman? Anyone have any dispatcher training units or know of any links? (I do have some other programs not yet on the site but none are dispatcher training.) Ab.

05/25 I added photos of the Grand Ronde engine, engine crew, and Hawaii logos to Engines2, Crew3 and Logo4 pages. Click the captions under the pics to get the descriptive details on the images. Thanks for the photos. (I still have more to do.) Have a safe weekend. Ab.
05/25 Ab,

Thanks for the copies of the articles. Gosh, maybe the FS should consider this option. Let Plumas County pick up the tab for the EA and all the rest of the paper work that goes along with any Forest project!

Stu (ex-Plumas County resident)

05/25 Dear AB,

I totally agree 100% with what Bear is saying. He hit that one right on the head. It took me a day to get the dates and articles I am talking about and even a couple Letters to the editor in this week's edition. Here it goes: the first article I read that set me seeking some responses was printed in the Chester Progressive May 16, 2001 edition. On the Front page, page 8B editorial and if you look, u will see one of their results of a Public Poll on 9B.

Also there was another article printed in the Chester Progressive in this week's paper May 23, 2001 page 9B there is a Letter to the Editor or two that is kind of disgusting if you ask me. I couldn't have put it better Bear for my same feelings towards Supervisor BJ Pearson. Wonder who he will call when his forest starts burning and wonder if he will be willing to foot the bill.

I strongly urge ppl to speak up and write a Letter to the Editor.

Got a mailing address? Hey Bear! Ab.

05/25 The jobs, series 462 and 455 pages are updated. Today is the last day to apply for seasonal firefighter positions on the Los Padres National Forest (CA) (see jobs page toward the middle).

Students who want summer work only, May 31 is going to be the last day to apply for many seasonal temp ff positions this current go-round. Students, if you want a temp firefighting job, best get on it! The rest of you wannabees, keep on applying. Fed hiring will go on through November. Heck, it's already been burning in norCal, Nevada, elsewhere in the west and we're still hiring and training!

Also updated the links page. To the state section I added Arizona, Alaska, one-o-the Carolinas and Georgia. Thanks adftr, cowboy-bob, and longtorch for the links. I added the new Canadian link to the worldwide section. Good un. Any others? Don't forget to check out the National Fire Situation Report or sit report in html. Thanks to all for the great input. Send in any more state and worldwide links if you have them.


05/25 Stuck in MN.

The reason that "the powers that be" in MN Forestry are not allowing "regular employees" to go on out of state fires is that they have lost their "casuals" and are covering their ass. Due to their mismanagement and abuse of their casual firefighters they have placed MN at a high risk of catastrophic wildfires. The Minnesota Wildland Firefighters' Association for years tried to warn "the powers that be" that this was going to happen unless they stopped treating their casuals like linemeat. We got very little support from most of the regular employees while we were doing this.

Three years ago we testified before the MN legislature that a severe shortage of casuals was developing due to mismanagement by "the powers that be" and suggested altering legislation to limit or reverse the damage. This year we testified that the damage was done and a program needed to be implemented to rebuild MNs wildfire fighting capability. We also put in place a paper trail to all those responsible for ignoring our warnings from the Legislature to the Governors Office so that when/if the catastrophic fires occur they can be held responsible.

Currently although MN is spending more than it ever has on its fire budget, it has never had so few wildfire fighters available to fight fires. Last year the DNR had to request firefighters from other states when we had a medium fire because although their records showed over 800 casuals were available to fight fire less than 80 actually were. Rural fire departments already stretched to their limits have indicated that they are very dissatisfied with the DNRs dumping of wildfire suppression on them and that they do not have the resources to control major wildfires either.

You are not alone "Stuck", as casuals are also being held back "unofficially" in MN as they have been for nearly a decade.... Fortunately for them the MN DNR cannot order them to standby and we have our own system in place to find out of state employment for our members and so no longer rely solely upon the DNR and MIFC for our livelihood or fire assignments. Many of our most experienced members also took advantage of the new opportunities presented by the new Federal positions. Most of those who have work elsewhere are still listed as "available for duty" by the MN DNR due to a lack of accurrate records in Human resources and an unwillingness to corrrect them as an accurrate record would immediately cost "the powers that be" their jobs.

It makes you wonder though. If MN is withholding firefighters from other states yet at the same time is extremely dependent on those same other states for "troops", if we have a bad fire season, will other states will be willing to supply them? If not, "what goes around comes around" will "quid pro quo" MNs top fire officials into another line of work in the near future? I am sure that neither the MN Legislature or the Governor will be willing to share the responsibility that is rightly theirs if they have fire officials in the DNR to take the blame.

Hey, maybe what goes around does come around!

Dana Linscott
Vice Chair

05/25 new pup (douglas)

out west huh? well to tell you the truth; you better come prepared. "especially" in the in-shape department! iv'e had many southern crews on my divisions over the years, and they are good hands; However..... they are never ready for the topography in the west. the mountains are steep and expect elevations to go from 3500 to 8000 ft. straight up. the weather is hot and very dry, we might get lucky if the rh- reaches 30% in the middle of the season depending where your'e at in the west. all i can realy tell you is to put a lot of running in your pt. program and even power hikes; it will make life more bearable for you if you get out here.

be safe and have a great career! L.C.E.S. bro!
nv. fire animal TIM

05/25 I am really pleased to announce that GEORGE JACKSON has been selected as my replacement as the Fire, Aviation & Residues Program Leader at the U.S. Forest Service Technology & Development Center in Missoula, Montana.

George brings a wealth of practical wildfire experience and equipment development expertise to the job: he had more than 15 years as a Smokejumper, working his way up to a Foreman; he's also Division Sup and Air Attack qualified. He worked winters at MTDC until 1990, when he came on board full time. George has had the responsibilities for the saw chaps program, helicopter rappeling and much of the software such as 5 and 55 gallon water bag systems. George has participated in many Fire entrapment investigations across the U.S., including South Canyon. He is also the Chair of the NFPA Technical Committee on Wildland PPE (NFPA 1977).

I sure George will bring his own unique style to the job (when he's not throwing flies at trout from his raft or drift boat), and I encourage you to give him the same full support I enjoyed from all of you. You can wish him well at gjackson@fs.fed.us

Dick Mangan

05/25 Hey guys, been reading the post for some time now and this is first time I have sent something in.

I have just been Red Carded and I am super excited, since 16 years old I have wanted to do this, and now 18, I can and will. I am with/on North Carolina's "2nd" out Western Fire Crew, pumped up for this season. We have only had a few meetings so far, and I am full of questions cause going out west will be new for me. I hope to meet some of you guys out there (maybe).

Being that I have never been out west to work a fire, how do these "fire camps" work? If I should wear out my boots/pack/helmet can I buy new stuff at a camp or can that stuff be repaired at the camps? If so how much will it cost me? OR do I need to venture into a town to get that stuff fixed?


Another pup, eh? I remember my first fire camp experience, but maybe I'll let the *Just One More Time* crew chime in here - or whoever else wants to. I assume you've seen the list of things to take on the FAQ page. Ab

05/24 Well Roses, I'll tell ya what's going on, at least how I see it. BJ Pearson was elected by the members of a small town in the middle of a national forest and the only thing keeping it alive is it's natural beauty (that's not what BJ cares about), the income from Forest Service employees, and the lonesome timber mill in Quincy. Now that's what BJ cares about. It's what the QLG cares about. Everything else they say and do is shrouded behind their ever salacious desire to get more logs into the mill. What the heck! Let's provide a 1000 acre clear cut around every town, better yet, let's make a huge safety zone around every structure. Them damn catastrophic fires are the result of that damn forest circus promoting 100 years of bad decision making. They put all the fires out and now we're left with the results. Well, kiss my fuzzy b**t again.

The Forest Service only did what Congress told them to do. The screwed up forest only reflects what the timber barons wanted for the last hundred years. Cut the trees, leave the slash, clear-cuts, plant more higher priced, merchantable seed trees, never mind that they aren't fire resistant, never mind that future bug-kill is going to produce a stink'in forest of matches. Don't blame it on the folks who own the mills who gave thousands of dollars to elect the people who insured they got their way! Golly no, blame it on the piss-fers who are so bound by the beuracratic tape that they can't take a dump without some OIG representative examining for excessive use of toilet paper.

I say, let the county take over the care of the forest around the private lands within the forest. Hee, hee. DO IT! Let them do their thinning, harvesting, and maintenance. Then, when fire spreads from THEIR lands into the remaining forest, let's have the Forest Service send 'em an invoice. Let's also begin charging the county for federal response into this new county maintained "buffer zone". Course, we won't be responding to any initial attack until officially requested through the appropriate channels, so there may be some delay. We would, of course expect to be compensated at a rate equal to the OES rates established by the state of California when utilizing "county engines" for "extended" support. That would raise the pay of the individual GS-4 or GS-5 engine crewmembers to around $300-$350 per day. After all, that's what the current rate for OES delivered engine crewmembers is. Sounds good to me! Was it just 4 or 5 years ago that there were 124 active fires on the Plumas within 48 hours? Course, probably only 20 or 30 of them would have fallen in the buffer zone. I'm sure the existing county engines could handle that without too many heart attacks. Go get 'em Plumas County Board of Supervisors. Do you have any clue how much 1 airtanker costs? Just to take off from the runway? Nah, didn't think so.

Do it BJ! Go for it! We can't predict where the lightning is going to strike, but we got's the documentation on where the big old human caused fires start. I guess a new 4-party agreement would need to be signed. Yes, the state would probably be more than happy to step in and help some. But have ya ever seen a daily invoice for a state engine crew compared to a federal engine crew? Didn't think so.

How much timber stock do you own BJ?

Bear really doesn't care. I just wanted to provide another perspective and defend our guys in green. Thanks Ab, for the opportunity to blow off some steam.

Ab sez, "OK Fuzz Face, blow away!"

05/24 Hi All,

I found a link to that story Roses was talking about: Plumasnews.com
Couldn't find the whole story here. Newspaper hasn't archived the may 16 2001 edition yet.

I'm not familair with the situation.

Thanks Lucky. Readers, I have a faxed version of the two articles and will send them to whoever wants to read them (unless there are way too many of you). Drop me an e-mail. Ab.

05/25 Ab,

In response to Roses posting, I would sure like to see that article. If nothing else, perhaps at least the Newspaper and date.

Having not seen the article, I'm only guessing, but I can't help think that QLG (Quincy Library Group) money is at stake. And yes, currently there are private contractors out there that are doing prescribe burning and timber thinning in Roses area. And yes, these types of activities sometimes generate wildfires. But Forest require all operation plans to include fire suppression resources at site and when conditions dictate, patrols and even shut-down of activities.

One question for Roses. Concerning prescribed burning and timber thinning, you make the statement . . . "is it not true that if we allow county workers and private industry to come into our forests and do these projects that the risk of a possible wildfire is even more so??" How could this be? Every prescribed burn on NF has a Burn Plan approved by the Forest! If the Forest does not think the resorces on the Burn Plan are adequate, the Plan is not approved and the burn does not happen! Even when approved, the Forest has the final say when it's time to light. (Like 30 day moratoriums during prime burn windows.) Also, I doubt there is a private contractor out there who would like to see his profits eaten up by an escape prescribed burn.

Roses, don't fear the private contractors abilities or presence. You might be surprised at their backgrounds and by taking on prescribed burning, they are freeing up agency resources for other missions and activities!


PS: Plumas County taking over burning, that's one I'd have to think about!

05/25 To "Roses" re: Plumas County and the news:

"I have been reading this one-sided story, but yet there has not been any comment from the USFS regarding any of this."

Dear Roses, try to get used to it. This is what USFS public affairs (even in F&AM) is all about. They don't like to comment officially or unofficially on stuff that looks like this. Take a look at the lead plane issue over the last 9 months for a clue. If you are a FS employee and you get hung out to dry by the media, do not expect any help from the agency, because it likely won't happen. Quite a few people (on the ground, with the media, and in the WO) have tried for the last few years to change this unfortunate and archaic situation, but ----- well, don't hold your breath.


05/24 Dear AB,

It has been ages since I have been here and visited. Due to poor health, I was forced to turn down my job with USFS this year. I've been reading my local newspaper only to find that the USFS is yet or still under attack.. I have been reading some disturbing news the past few weeks in regards to one of the district supervisors in Plumas Co., BJ Pearson, saying that the USFS has not been performing to the standards expected of them. And more of this story goes on to say that there is some discussion and possibilities right now of the county workers taking over to do the prescribed burning and timber thinning on the LNF and the PNF. This really disturbs me. As I know up until this year, we have been short on resources to do some of these projects that are on the blotter for the "things to do" list, but is it not true that if we allow county workers and private industry to come into our forests and do these projects that the risk of a possible wildfire is even more so?? Please tell me that somebody is going to respond to these stories in the newspaper..

I have been reading this one-sided story, but yet there has not been any comment from the USFS regarding any of this. Has anybody even contacted either Forest Supervisor for a comment on the matter? If BJ Pearson is allowed to go forth with this plan and do these things, I strongly suggest to all of the firefighters out there to gather up their gear and keep it at arms length at all times because our conditions are very dry and the forests are just waiting for something like this to happen.

Although I am not with the USFS this year, you are all in my heart and it is obvious by reading these articles that the person who submitted this article does not have all the facts nor have they talked to the people who really know, to get the facts. Why havn't the Forest Supervisors or the Public Information Officers responded on this total attack on the USFS?

I have been hearing a lot of people in town talking down about the USFS right now and that worries me. These people have no idea what kind of crap you guys go through to get anything done, let alone to put out a fire. A lot of folks are talking about the poor response on the Warner Fire that happened a couple of weeks ago and are saying that you guys just let it burn, but they are not aware of the fact that there were no resources available yet because the fire crews weren't even on yet. If it had not been for some fast thinking by some folks to open up the Chester Air Base and get some mud flowing and gather up a couple of tankers, that fire could have been a whole lot worse. I'm just slayed at the people in my area as I have lived here for almost 10 years and they are always quick to dis the government without looking at the whole picture or seeking to get more information on the facts.

If you want Ab, I'll fax you a copy of these articles as I'm not too sure your paper has them..

Good luck to you guys this season it's gonna be a good one.
My heart goes out there with you all
Remember Stay Safe and Keep Smiling!!

Anyone know about this? Hope you're feeling better. Ab.

05/24 Ab,
I'd like to know if there are other Canadian firefighters reading theysaid or browsing the website.

Could you please add this link to your international section on the links page? The Canadian link you have there is no longer being maintained. www.ciffc.ca/cif.shtml

One issue we have in Canada that I don't think you have in the US is two languages. We have both French and English speaking firefighters. It can make for some interesting situations that shout watchout.

Does anyone know what kinds of training US firefighters are offering abroad? Last summer I heard something about chainsaw training in the South Pacific. Are there any other ways US firefighters are sharing their expertise? Anything between the US and Canada?

Thanks for the site. I'm a pretty regular reader. I may be back in the US this summer. I like the sense of a global community of wildland firefighters.

Canadian firefighter

We appreciate the heads up on links that no longer work. We'll add your link soon and take down the old one. We do have other Canadian readers and posters here. Ab.

05/24 Ab,
I came across this and thought it useful as a review and focus on safety.

NorCal Tom

firefighter safety in the wildland/urban interface

05/24 Where is best place to get all the gear?

We have started the training for wildland fire at Fultondale Fire Dep. and we need to buy some gear to train with.

Thank You

What part of the US are you in? Ab.

05/24 Jim on assignment in Florida-

Most in the Fire World know that Minnesota has a large cadre of aviation folks. These include ATGS, ASGS, HEMG, and HEBM. What most don't know is that the "powers to be" in MN DNR Forestry have declared a moratorium on assignments for regular employees based on workload here. I think that you would see a fair number of the above mentioned positions, plus many others on the SACC list filled by MN folks if it wasn't for this moratorium. As long as the National Planning Level remains at 1 MN won't be sending any regulars. What I heard is that it will have to move up to 3 before they will lift the restrictions on assignments.

The right people need to write some letters for this to change.

Stuck in Minnesota

05/24 Hey -- can anyone tell me what's up with the Helishot programs?

There's one in Apple Valley, CA (I think). Are there any others? I thought a few more were starting up, just never heard of the status.

Also, I'm curious on what the typical experience level is for new-hires on a helishot crew. Any help from anyone with expereince or knowlege would be greatful.


05/24 Seldom Seen,

Good to hear you have a type I this year and the helishots are back. Have a safe year and fly straight.

Ex-LP dispatcher AKA "Los Padrrrres"

05/23 Ab and All

I'm down in Florida and there is already a REAL shortage of ATGS, ASGS, Helicopter Managers, and Helibase Managers. What is going to happen later in the year when things go Tango Uniform? Anyone available for details to FL should let their dispatchers know. Lets play the "Price is Right" and COME ON DOWN.


05/23 -- To Purple:

Yes, NICC and the GACCs are hiring their own fire mets, paid for with DOI funding this year. The story you read on wildfirenews.com is three years old; an update on the fire weather issue ran in the January 2001 issue of Wildland Firefighter Magazine.


05/23 I just updated the jobs page and added the alternative html sit report to the links page under news and reports. The pdf version is still available there for those who need crack'o'dawn information. We will provide a link to the NIFC sitrep when they get the crack'o'dawn html version online again. Ab.
05/23 Ab - Could you pass this message along?

We're trying to find former members for the Bushmen IR and Entiat IHC who might like to attend the 35th Anniversary of the Bushmen/Entiat Hotshot crew Spring, 2002. We plan to tour the Entiat Valley, IHC facilities, followed by social hour, dinner and presentation/speakers. Knowing how many people are coming would help. If you are a former crewmember and/or have stayed in touch with others, please contact us and let us know your and their names, addresses, and phone numbers so we can keep track of those who have been contacted. I'm sending our logo also.

Some additional info -
Location: Wenatchee Convention Center
Date: April 6, 2002
Accommodations: West Coast Center Hotel
Dinner: Dinner Buffet for $25.00 per person

Contact person:
Kyle Cannon, Entiat IHC
PO Box 476, Entiat, WA 98822
e-mail: klcannon@fs.fed.us

05/23 Hi there --

I am among the throngs that can't read the sit report either, so I went in person straight to one of the head gurus, along with the address for this website -- and because this un-named person is very "rooted" among all of us field folks, they will be reading -- probably posting and HELPING. Here's what I gathered: Evidently someone (that MUST) have more time than the rest of us, and knows what they're doing in cyberworld, downloaded the .rtf version of the sit report, then imbedded a virus and sent it back, where it crashed the entire NIFC web site. SOOO, that is the reason for the "unavailable until further notice" posting. What they are in the middle of doing, is working on the problem, trying to see if some other easy way to read files will work -- (ASCII??) -- for the computer literate. The problem has been personally taken to the folks there, and after getting ahold of this bulletin board address, I think they will get some very valuable feedback, that otherwise they might not have gotten!! Let's keep our fingers crossed.

Cache Queen

ASCII? How about HTML? Do it simple. Do it not so pretty, if necessary. Use the same minimalist codes that are used to archive. Here's that archive url again. www.cidi.org/wildfire/index.phpl

The archive for today's sitrep should be up at 0830 or 0845 PDT if they do it the same as in past days. Thanks for the legwork, Cache Queen. Ab.

05/23 Here's the web site for the 5th Wildfire Safety Summit; a joint effort of lots of groups (International Association of Wildland Fire, Interior West Fire Council, NWCG, etc). Missoula offers lots to do, and the University of Montana always puts on a great Conference, so plan on coming!


And, we're still looking for a few good papers, so send your abstract in as soon as you can. Topic areas are on the web site!

Dick Mangan

Thanks for the update, Dick.
Here are some of the topics: Staying Safe on the Fireline (LCES, Fire Shelters, Avoidance, etc.); Safety in the Interface for Homeowners and Firefighters; Health and Fitness in the Firefighter Workforce; Making Firefighters Safer (training, lessons learned, human factors). Check out the website. Should be an interesting conference. Ab.

05/23 R8 Fireguy,

Have an opening on the Type 1 Helicopter at Arroyo Grande, Pacific Southwest Region for at least one Apprentice at this time. They will get both Helitack & Helishot experience in one year. We pay Salary & you pay perdiem. If you have any questions call Ted Mathiesen at 805.481.1280.

seldom seen

05/23 Hi Ab.

I just read the article titled 'Fireweather Controversy' on wildlandnews.com and it certainly made me stop in my tracks to think. The NWS has consistently slashed meteorologist positions that are dedicated to fire weather forecasting. Instead they are making everyone into general forecasters with 'training' in fire weather. If we get an old fire weather forecaster putting out reports, all well and good, but what happens when a general forecaster with 'fire training' is doing the job? The article indicates that the training course ciriculum is put together by NWS, and is not acredited by fire agencies. Now I don't know about the rest of you folks out there, but this doesn't sound too good to me. I have no problem with fire weather forecasters mentoring new people into their specialized field but where does that expertise come from if everyone is just a general forecaster? Mr. Stokols' comments in regard to these changes within the NWS sound like bureaucratic double-talk. I would like to see some thoughts from the rest of you out there on this topic and on IMET availability. Also, I have it on good authority that NICC has hired their own fire weather forecaster away from NWS because of previous problems with them (NWS). I am unsure how far this new arm of NICC will extend but perhaps it is an indicator that fire agencies will hire their own fire weather specialists in the future because NWS can't meet fire needs with their reduced budget.


05/23 Pulaski, thank you for the advice. It worked. True story, I hit 40 last year and within a week my vision changed. I swear I'm not making this up.

Anyway,thanks again,

05/23 Well, I haven't posted in awhile but I got the call yesterday that I am heading to Florida. I am going to be running an engine down the in the Ocala district around Lake George. Anyway, if I don't see everyone before the full swing of the season, everyone stay safe...

Darren R-1

05/22 New State Agency Links are up. Some interesting browsing here. Thanks adftr, fireronin, Todd, AL, onea you PA guys, someone from WA, the Hawaiian fire woman, JK, TR and probably some others ... Anyone have any more, send em in. Ab.
05/22 Well, Washington state is dry and has had a few fires so far, today it is headed up to the high 80,s and getting real dry .. anyone working on the west side here, the local fire depts are not up to par yet .. the state is getting there. and me, i am all set to go..

stay safe
Engine 88

05/22 R8 Fireguy:

Check with R9 fire staff. The Midewin Tallgrass Prairie in Illinois is going to host a new future hotshot crew. Their target date is July 1 to have people on board. Hiring a crew supt., assistant supt., 2 formen and 3 squad leaders plus the 13 firefighters......They are hoping to get some of these folks from the round 3 hiring, but hey, give them a call and maybe there's another avenue open.

Old Fire Guy

05/22 Everyone,

I know this stuff about the SIT Report is getting to be old, but the lack of a SIT report in html seems so silly to me. Look, wildfire.com is doing a sit report modified to html from somewhere. I appreciate their efforts, but am concerned regarding safety.

We really need an alternative to the current NIFC pdf version. However, in retreiving, converting, then posting the SIT report, transpositional mistakes can be made. Suppose one made a simple mistake in the conversion and left out information on a new large fire. What impact might that have on readers or citizens living in the area of the missing fire? The SIT is and will be large enough to make side-by-side comparison very difficult and that would probably be what one would need to do before posting, just to make sure there were no mistakes. Even a single typo in the fires/acres portion might have serious consequences.

Readers, I invite you all to check this out - yesterday's sit report that I did as an exercise for Ab to see how difficult the process is. Even working backwards, it's not hard. I did it by cutting and pasting from the nicc archives which were posted yesterday morning:

here are the SIT report archives put up about 0830 daily: www.cidi.org/wildfire/index.phpl

and more specifically, the first one, which is yesterday's, posted in the morning: www.cidi.org/wildfire/ixl20.phpl

It's quite simply amazing that the archive contains the SIT rep in a wonderfully easy content which can be read by ANY browser without the use of a sub-program crutch, yet NIFC still insists on pdf'ing it. What an ass-backwards process. (Scuse my language Ab, but it is!!!) Without checking too closely, it also appears the archive would be 508 compliant and be able to be read by txt readers.

Ab, at least we should link to the archived SIT so that readers can have access to it.
Wildfirenews.com I appreciate your efforts in providing a html version, but think mistakes could be made. Boise should be doing this job. They make the big bucks (yeah, right).

Boise, please just make the SIT report available to folks in quickly-readable html. I know ya'll are probably doing the best you can as quickly as you can, but we need it in html. This is all really silly and potentially compromises safety.


05/22 Northern CA fire conditions:

Yesterday we had a 25 acre fire in the morning and 1 acre of timber in the afternoon. This is quite unusual in MAY. A number of fire folks are shaking their heads and hoping it does not get as bad as it looks. Having a small heat way right now, the grass is cured and fuel is ready to burn. Keep your gear handy and by all means be safe.

Heard a rumor that a CDF crew was burned over up north, no details just a "rumor report". If anyone know more... I just hope the crew is O.K.


05/22 Pulaski,

We are using the Wick 250 currently to meet our contract specs. Having used Mark 3's for years, I personally would pick a Wick 250 anyday! Near equal performance with a much lighter package. Two minor problems that I have found with the Wick are, like the Mark 3, when shutting down but leaving the the pump connected to the hoselay, disconnect the fuel line during cool-down to allow for ALL the fuel in the system to be burned. Leave the fuel line disconnected until ready to restart. This prevents liquid fuel from being forced into the crankcase by siphon or expanding pressure in the fuel tank during non-operational periods. This also prevents fuel residue deposits in the fuel system. (I don't know how it gets through the carburetor, but I have poured fuel out of more than one pump engine!) The second problem is the high-speed cut-out switch. Our switch was really tempermental. I DON'T recommend our solution, de-activating the switch, unless your operators KNOW how to operate pumps and you are pumping from an endless supply!

Forget the Mark 3, go for the Wick!

05/22 Ab and All,

I have been dubbed Supervisor of Apprentices for Region 8's first two apprentices. They have just completed the basic academy 16 and I want to get them on an organized handcrew. I know this is a little late since most crews have completed hiring, but we selected our second apprentice only 5 days before the last academy started. I have some R5 contacts but I need to expand my possibilities. Region 8 is new to this whole program and we want to provide our apprentices with the best possible training opportunites. If anyone out there knows of any openings (before or after round 3 hiring) I would appreciate their assistance.

Thanks R8 Fireguy

05/22 Lo AB, et al.

Congrats Tiny. sounds like you have a lot going on. If you want to work an engine this summer (after your 18th) call me and well make some arrangements.

Pulaski. I used the wick 250 a few times last summer. They dont have the gusto of the mark 3, but are immensly easier on the ears. I found them easier starting, and less tempermental than the MK3. price wise looks like to me that they are more money. (the wick versions)

The wick 375 looks like the same 4 stage head as the MK3 just a different power plant driving it. Never used that one so cant say.

If I was looking for another portable. Id buy a MK3. then silence it with a bigger muffler. doesnt take much of a muffler and any home hobbiest should be able to do it. You might lose a little performance, but it would be worth it. there are a million of these things out there, almost every cache has repair parts for them, everyone knows how to operate them, and they are a powerhouse.

heres the site I got for the dollar comparison: www.onestopfire.com/pumps.php. never heard of em till I ran a search. some company out there sells a silenced MK3. ive seen their site.

later eric pw

05/22 Regarding the posts from Tired of it in Pa and FD15:

Both of these writers have some valid points but this topic has to be put into perspective in light of PA's conservation and fire history. PA was a forerunner of forest conservation as it began buying cut over forests before 1900. Fires were raging and out of control. That current State forest fire laws were begun. It a short time, the State was given the charge of protecting all forests from fire. A fire warden system was passed by law. It established a State Fire Warden, District Fire Warden, and local fire warden. We have a long and proud history of volunteers. The payment schedule still is not minimum wage because it is not a wage or salary. The system worked. Local fire wardens gathered up their crews and reported to the fires. Railroads also supplied labor. Fire companies stayed home to protect the towns.

Today, we still have the fire warden system. However, the independent warden's role has decreased over time and the volunteer fire company's role has increased. A fire warden is a legal state officer who can investigate, suppress and train. The DCNR appoints a fire warden in each fire department, provides equipment, training, and handles the various federal grants to rural companies. The fire departments, fire wardens, and firefighters are covered by the State's workmen's compensation. I now offer the following opinions/comments as an individual who is a state employee and a past member of a volunteer fire company and a volunteer ambulance association, I intend no disrespect to the volunteer companies.

The staff of the Bureau of Forestry cannot possibly respond to each and every wildfire in one the most populated but yet blessed with wild forested states. Praise be to the VFD. Their service to the people and protection of our natural resources is not appreciated enough. Most wildfires are grass and brush fires. People now call 911 and bazillions of firemen respond. With small fires, no one worries too much about who is the boss. The fires get put out. When the fires get into the woods and one cannot see all of the fire, communication and safety are # one. Thank goodness our fires on the average stay small but once in a while they get big. like they used to. The Camp Fire was one of those. I was not there but this information comes first hand. The fire was remote in steep country and included the west rim in our PA Grand Canyon. The flames were higher than the trees. It crept, it crowned, it was a monster. It was a time for the incident management system. People were put in charge who have vast fire experience including fire boss ratings, strike team leaders, etc. They combine for decades of experience. It was not time for our usual and get away with it clusters. Safety was paramount. It took a plan, it took air resources, it took backfiring, it took firefighters trained for this. Many of the volunteers just showed up were toned out by fire companies on their own. People showed up and were not used to this type of emergency and were naturally agitated if not used or included in the planning. Those who wish to be included should check out a relatively new in-state fire warden specialized crew program. These were used on the fire by folks, mostly VFD members who have trained hard and with many members experienced on western details.

If PA ever gets a rash of big fires or urban rural interface fires, we will relearn what we helped the nation learn a long time ago. It will be time when the fire department will be so busy protecting structures, that who is charge of the firestorm will not be an issue. If I am assigned to help protect structures, I will take my orders from the fire chief. The reverse was necessary in the Camp Fire. The recommendation to talk to the District Forester (also the District Fire Warden) is what should be done.

Everyone have a safe fire season from one too old to go out west but who is, never-the-less, a proud PA fire eater, both with the State and the VFD.

05/21 Reposting my question...someone has to have used these.
Im looking for someone who has used a wick-250 or wick-375 portable pump that is willing to pass on a review on its performance/reliability.

..on the sit report issue, I have found that in the pdf version if I click on the little enlarge thingy once, It brings it to an acceptable size to read ok.


05/21 RE: whether the sit report in PDF is hard to read ---

It's not you, Ab and Biz, nor your eyes, nor your computer. I have a spiffy computer and 20/15 vision and extremely good light. And that thing is a bitch to read. A PDF will crash some browsers (or even an OS) but it's not hard to read BECAUSE it's PDF. It's hard to read because the person who builds the sit report either doesn't know how to or doesn't care to build a file that's easy to read. I'm not trying to be mean here, just stating fact.


05/21 There is an html sit report online here: http://wildfirenews.com/fire/sitreport.phpl

It's not there on weekends, but they usually have it up by mid-morning M-F anyway.


05/21 GEEEZ, it just gets weirder. For a while there NIFC was posting the sit report in PDF and then adding an RTF version (which they called a text version but which was not a text version). Now the RTF isn't there anymore. Their page says "Current report (in text file format) Unavailable until further notice."

What is UP with those people????????????


05/21 Is it just me or are others having trouble reading the first part of the sit report? I don't know if I need new glasses or a new computer.


It is hard to read, isn't it? Eyes aren't as young as they used to be and even with good light. Maybe they could do a darker print even in pdf.

I changed the link to the sit report on the links page on Saturday because a slew of readers had e-mailed that the old link address that warns of the upcoming pdf file disappeared and the new arrangement was crashing their computers. Wonder how many people around the fire world are experiencing that phenomenon? Well, our link now goes directly to the pdf sit report. Not the best situation fer sure. Compromising safety? Hope they're working on providing a html version. Ab.

05/21 23,
Just to set the record straight, I was not referring to myself in regard to the PT program.

There are other reasons as to why I believe that the retirement age should be left alone, but this is not where I choose to discuss them. I have however let my elected representatives in the House and Senate know my position on this issue as I would hope you have.

So enough on this subject ..... have a safe, productive summer!


05/20 Ab...

Sorry to get ya the information through back channels but you have a pretty good crew that posts here and they tend to pass on all the important stuff.

Thanks to all for your congrats for my Eagle and FF1, but strangely I have a suspicion that the real work lies ahead. Maybe I'll meet up with a few of yas as I get signed up for more training and red cards and stuff like that, of course maybe a few of you I've already met... hard to say...

Mellie - In my experience, being modest is a good way to go about doing things, but thanks for your enthusiasim all the same. Shyness is not something I'm known for.. modesty is. If you think I'm shy ask me what I think of politics some time <grin>.

Here's to all for a safe season.

Tiny, the R-6 Fire Pup

PS "Pup" ain't no misnomer... I am and still will be a young kid, thanks to one very good man who served as my Admin Chief throughout my Firefighter 1 Academy and who said, "It takes a boy or a girl to be a firefighter, not a lady or a gentleman.. Why you ask? Becasue no true adult would ever want to do what we do."

05/20 its nice to see some of the younger folks that know what and how to get what they want out of life. tiny you are now a eagle scout, a firefighter, and an adult, go out and show the other younger folks what they can do to get somewhere in life, you will go far .. god bless ..
05/20 Mellie,
Thanks for giving us a heads up on "PUP"
It is refreshing to hear of a young man who is taking great steps to succeed in life. Congratulations on achieving Eagle, "Tiny", it is an honor that few earn. I know how hard it is to obtain. You serve as an inspiration to the many younger Scouts that are hoping to someday be there. I have a 12 year old that is already working on his first class. Keep up the great work!!!!

On another note, east Texas is very quickly losing the edge that we had with a wet winter and now all of the sudden all of that rain has brought on a very heavy fuel load looks like its going to be another hot summer.

Stay safe, Keith

05/20 For years we had a tiny guy leading our crews. He was so great with the big chainsaw we took to calling him "Small Bunyan."

The stature of a firefighter has more to do with character than size. Congratulations to Tiny for his recent accomplishments.

BTW, a New York publisher has asked to see my book, Woman on Fire, so I'm sending off the proposal this week. Maybe you'll be able to feature it in your "books" section next year?


Good luck. Ab.

05/20 congrats tiny, gonna be running with the big dogs real soon!!!!!!!!

:-) donna~doser op~support

05/20 Everyone,

As regards fed wildland firefighter age, there are two issues here. Manditory Retirement Age (MRA) and Manditory Entry Age (MEA).

Senate Bill 3178 introduced by Senator Diane Feinstein would increase the manditory retirement age to 57. (A similar bill HR 460 has already been passed in the House.) Passage of the Senate bill would not only increase the retirement age to 57 but could also increase the MEA to 37, as ff need 20 years of payment into a federal retirement fund. Why shouldn't qualified and experienced firefighters who are somewhat older than 35 be considered for permanent jobs if there is need? Many of the shortages in qualified applicants under the current MEL and counter-attrition hiring are at the DIVS level. We do have more qualified temp people out there who would have applied for such positions if they had had the opportunity. As most of you know, with downsizing and ceilings on permanent positions, there have been minimal permanent and seasonal job opportunities.

A bit more info: The MEA is set by agency heads, in the FS case, the Dept of Ag head. It is not fixed by law. Agency heads can grant waivers. Perhaps we need another summer of burning before she decides that the MEA for experienced fireline firefighters can be waived. MEA is waived for pilots when it can be documented that applicants will not be available under current the MEA of 35, why not firefighters?


05/20 Killer:

I don't know what to tell ya - I can't do P.T. for you, so that part is truly your call. The point is, an arbitrarily determined mandatory retirement age from anything is probably a little more intrusion than most of us need in our lives. As stated before, your ability to successfully perform the duties of your Position Description should be the determining factor in whether or not you retain that position. If you want to retire at 50 or 55, retire - that's cool, nobody's tryin' to rain on your parade; but, keep in mind, one size rarely fits all. What works for you in your world may not necessarily work that well for others. Something wrong with giving the individual & the agency a collective choice in these kinds of decisions?

As far as "mentoring" goes, as long as the organizations continue to hire brand new people, you'll never run out of folks to mentor (many of them appreciate the help). I salute you for what you've given the people in the fire world & wish you well in retirement (if that's looming); but, retirement should be your choice if you're acquitting yourself well on the job.


05/20 Ab and All,

Great site. Have been a firefighter in a small rural town in north western Pa for twenty two years and it is nice to see such a site as yours. Great job and job well done - keep up the good work.


Welcome, Dennis. We have had comments from posters out your way. You could say that we provide the site and the posters provide the trappings that make this a community. Ab.

05/19 Congrats to Tiny,

I know how hard it is to attain the rank of Eagle Scout. This accomplishment is one that will be with you for the rest of your life. I'm almost 36 and I still am reaping the benefits!!! So congrats to Tiny.

A fellow Eagle Scout, and professional firefighter.

05/19 Everyone,

This last year our TINY has been doing the high school thing, SATs, Junior ROTC, applying to universities and racking up the achievements. While he may shy at sharing them, I'm not! Most of us have known him here on theysaid for the last year and a half. (Remember, at first he bent the truth about his age, implying he was 2 yr older than he was! He still won't be 18 until August.) Please join me in offering him BIG congratulations on his good work! Here are a few exerps from some recent e-mails I've received.

From Tinypup's Scoutmaster:

"Congratulations" to <Tiny>, our newest Eagle Scout! He passed his Board of Review this evening (5/16) with flying colors, and was deemed an Eagle Scout at 1923 by the <snip> District Board members. Our thanks go to them for selecting such a fine example of today's youth for Eagle Scout. Very well done, <Pup>! This is most deserved and I know how hard you've worked to get to this point. Well done <parents>! You've a fine young man in <TinyPup>.

And from Tiny:

Effective 18 May 2001 at 2052 hours, I was promoted to the rank of Firefighter in <snip> County, Washington and have recieved Firefighter 1 Certification in the State of Washington. Pretty cool huh? Man it's been a busy year.. and in 18 days I Graduate from High School.. Man.. I'm one tired Pup!

Ab, I know we don't put up much personal info about people, but I want to say that "Tiny" or "TinyPup" is something of a misnomer. You know those dogs that are born small but within moments have REALLY BIG feet that they then proceed to grow into? Well this TinyPup is one'athem! and lets hope he doesn't get much bigger! or, as my mom used to say, "we'll have to find a place for that 'pup' outside!"

CONGRATS, Tiny, for multiple jobs well done. May you continue to DO US PROUD!

05/19 Hi everyone --

Just another heads up before anyone gets too involved in going out and purchasing BDUs from private vendors.....I realize GSA is behind in production, but there are some rumors lurking out there, that if anyone purchases the BDU style nomex pants from other than required sources, they may have to pay for it out of their own pockets (if you want to and it's NFPA approved -- that's your choice -- although spendy!).....just be aware, and maybe check with your units on the policy in place before making any purchases.

Cache Queen

05/18 Ash

There are a few vendors selling "BDU style brush pants" or variations thereof. Heres a partial list and personal thoughts:

National Fire Fighter Corp., Eugene OR -- 6.0 oz. nomex; sized S M L XL etc., standard inseam sizes; cheesy metal zipper
Cascade Fire Equipment Co., Medford OR -- 7.5 oz. nomex; custom sewn to your size; good heavy nylon zipper
Wildfire Pacific -- Portland OR -- 6.0 oz. nomex; S M L XL etc., standard inseam sizes; the metal waist tabs dig into your waist
Supply Cache, Ft. Collins CO -- 6.0 oz. nomex; custom sewn to your size; suspender buttons; sized smaller than usual
JG Enterprises, Mayaquez Puerto Rico -- 7.0 oz. Advance (kevlar/nomex blend); S M L XL etc., button fly; reinforced crotch; best pants on the market and the price reminds you of it

National, Cascade, and Supply Cache will make their pants in Advance if you want to pay $50 more. Advance looks nice but is thick material can get your "black leg" itching if its hot outside. Advance also deteriorates due to UV faster than nomex. My personal choice is the Cascade pants cause of the zipper and heavier nomex. They will do custom work also. I had some Nomex IIIA material shipped from Southern Mills in a **different color**, sent to Medord, and requested some knee reinforcements added onto their standard design. We'll be "stylin' and profilin'" this season.

Blue Light

05/18 Series 462 and 455 are updated. Ab.
05/18 23,
While you may have some valid points in your mind......get a clue...the youth needs room to grow and our mentoring should be DONE prior to reaching 55 (or 50 depending the retiree's viewpoint).

Wishfully thinking, a vigorous PT program is part of ALL of our daily regimes. You are absolutely correct in the statement that there are still some very sharp minds out there past 55.....duh.

Obviously there are two sides to every position and mine happens to be that if you have info worth passing on then you have already passed it on and are probably past due for a well deserved retirement at 50 with the option being 55.

Are two more years going to provide you the perceived time you need to pass on the experience you haven't already passed to the youth?? I think not.

I respect your position but think you need to take another look at "your agencies" youth and mentoring program.. Killer

05/18 Recently, Stephen Pyne wrote a book called "Year of the Fires". Here, he attempts to give sufficient detail in order to help the reader arrive at his/her own conclusions. His book was reviewed for the New York Times. The NYT reviewer summed up this way:

"The problem...., is that ..Fire suppression is bad and does not work. Prescribed burning is good but does not work either.... However, (Pyne's) implied conclusion is obvious. Government has to give up fighting fires in the wild and allow the normal cycle of growth, fire and regrowth to be restored, after which controlled burning may be safely used.

Given his obvious desire to contribute to the policy debate over forest management, Pyne would have done better to shrink his narrative and expand his thesis."

In other words, the reviewer isn't convinced Pyne has the answer.

05/18 Re: Killer & Old Boy & the 55 retirement age:

Hey, guys, we've got P.T. thresholds that were not in place when 55 was designated the mandatory retirement age. Theoretically, these thresholds should prevent the old, sick, infirmed, & out of shape folks from being on the fireline. Check out the airline pilots - there's a bill in congress that will eliminate their mandatory retirement age. There's lots of folks out there in the fire world who are approaching 55 who have lots left in the tank.

Why not lift the mandatory retirement age & allow folks to make their own choice, providing they can maintain the P.T. thresholds. Think about it - what do suggest the mandatory retirement age for a brain surgeon should be? A lawyer? A baker? A candlestick maker? A pool boy? Some federal firefighting organizations might not be as "deep" as you seem to think yours is. &, BTW, you might be missing out on some pretty good people who want to give to the fire mission who happen to be over 35. "Can you still perform the duties of your position" should be the sole criteria of whether you are retained in that position - not an arbitrary age affixed to that position over 30 years ago. Experienced, creative thinkers & doers are welcome in my fire camp anytime.


05/18 Tired of it in PA,

I understand how you feel about the Camp Kline Fire. I had two crews, brush unit and tanker there 3 days. and the crews from Lycoming and Clinton County's told me that DCNR would not let them put the fire out and kicked them off the fire every day in the afternoon but called them back every morning to just stand around. Being in Forest District 10 this is not how we fight fires, we have a great working relationship with DNCR District 10 personnel and they are helpful in obtain equipment, reimbursement, and working with us. In District 12 rumor has it the they don't want volunteer fire department on wildfires. Hang in there don't let them push you out.

Suggestion to you is to have the county fire chief meet with DCNR and iron things out. My district forestry were upset at what I told them about the fire management.


05/18 engine 88,

I am familiar with the MN problem. Resources are "held back" from availability to cover the DNRs' ass. Due to mismanagement of human resources the MN DNR is very uncertain how many firefighters will actually show up to fight fires. Last fall although their official list indicated they had 800 available firefighters they had to call in out of state resources because less than 80 firefighters were willing to show up at a major fire. This cost the state half a million dollars additional just for the out of state personnel alone and they were embarrassed when I brought it to the attention of the legislature this winter at a series of hearings I was asked to testify at. The DNR officials responsible sent an employee to each hearing that was unable to answer the questions posed about the fast deteriorating situation in MN...which really pissed off the legislators after the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th hearings. It is likely that as a private contractor you are running into the same problem that MN "casuals" have had for a long time. You are being held in reserve to cover a probable shortage of experienced firefighters that is so severe that there are not enough to man the engines and other equipment the MN DNR has invested millions in over the past decade. They don't seem to care that by holding you in "unpaid standby" they may be ruining your business any more than they cared that they were screwing their firefighters out of valuable experience and paychecks they could have gotten elsewhere. Priority number one for MN Fire Management is CYOA at all costs.

Contact me...I may be able to help.
Dana Linscott
Vice Chair
Minnesota Wildland Firefighters Association

05/18 sec,

No, wasn't in Salt Lake for the event that included Pyne for dinner, just read the article and got a good chuckle out of the metaphors of grizzlies and fire always ready to go wild (or feral, as he puts it). Smokey now says, "Only you can prevent wildfires." How do we change thinking?

Why were you less than pleased with his presentation? any of the points John raises figure into your dissatisfaction? Please, let's not jump on Pyne with both boots. But what do you think he overlooked? How could his talk have been better -- or less irritating?


05/17 I admire Professor Pyne's work and respect his message.

He should have a cost-benefit analysis done on his work having regard (inter alia) for the following:

  1. the number of fire starts attributable to human negligence, inevitable accident, or crime;
  2. the effects on human health of smoke, especially among the very young, the very old, and the breathing-affected;
  3. the estimated affects of the thinning program;
  4. estimated risks to human life and property losses directly due to dropping suppression efforts by some factor; and
  5. a reconciliation of the excess carbon load placed on the environment by allowing more burning in the context of the climate change debate.
If there were no humans, there would be a true fire ecology. Introduce any appreciable number of humans, and the sheer complexity of the issues takes us well beyond the aboriginal fire cultures Professor Pyne is fond of quoting into a whole 'nother world.


Ahem, "inter alia" is Latin for "among other things". Ab.

05/17 Wayne, Fire crew bus driver, this might help you.
Here is the name and phone number for a design shop
out of Grangeville Id. They make a lot of the T-Shirts
for the fire season.
Gem Sign and Design (208) 983-2320
Everybody have a safe fire season, it's going to by a
long and hot one.


05/17 ab. something i like to ask some folks . it is about name requests. how can a contracter out of minn. get a request for engines and bypass local folks. i keep hire this and have seen this in the last few years .. is money changeing hands here under the table some where. are we back to the you pat my back i pat yours days.. i hope not .. this is not a beef with the guy from minn. but it is just that i have seen folks that work hard and still get passed up for fire work.. thanks engine 88
05/17 Does anyone know the best place to purchase the new style nomex brush pants. I've looked around and can't find any.


05/17 Firescribe--

Were you at that gathering & Pyne's after dinner speech in SLC on Tuesday?

I thought the first 10 mins were interesting, but the rest, well, let us say we were quite irritated.


05/17 Nice article here: http://www.sltrib.com/05172001/utah/98053.php

This is a wonderful, if daunting, Stephen Pyne image:

"Reintroducing fire will not be unlike reintroducing grizzlies," Pyne told a gathering this week of the Western Rural Development Center. "Fire does biological work that nothing else does. But it's always ready to go feral."


05/17 Ab,

You wrote something a few days ago that stuck in my mind and prompted me to write. You said "A lot of people in power read this board". I hope you are right and that this information that I am about to pass along will reach some very powerful people who can put a stop to this nonsense.

To give everyone a little background: In March, I saw a memo dated February 22, 2001, and signed by Neal Hitchcock from NICC, that stated:

  1. Name requests for individuals for suppression orders should be a rare exception.
  2. The 2001 National Mobilization Guide states: Name requests will only be accepted for highly specialized positions or to meet specific agency objectives.
  3. Dispatch centers, GACCs, and NICC all have the responsibility to "screen orders" to ensure that assignments are being offered on an equitable basis within their sphere of influence.
  4. Name requests need to be validated using objective criteria, for example: this person is a priority trainee or is in a critical shortage position.

I received a second copy of this memo in April. This is a shortened version of the memo and I could go on and on, but I think I've adequately set the stage for everyone.

Recently, I received information that Region 8 placed a name request for an AD (retired agency employee) from Region 1 to fill an aviation position. The order was initially filled with someone from a closer region who was equally qualified basically not honoring the name request. When Region 8 heard that the name request was not filled as specified, they cancelled the filled order and resubmitted the name request which was then filled. My frustration with this stems from several issues:

  1. The agency is not following national direction set by NICC.
  2. By sending ADs in these positions, the agency is not giving its own employees adequate training opportunities.
  3. The agency is spending a significant amount of money in paying AD rates and travel when other more cost efficient alternatives are available.
  4. This situation puts support personnel (dispatchers) in a bad situation trying to enforce this national direction without management support. (I mean, how can NICC issue the direction and then not enforce it themselves?)
On a similar note, why are we sending ADs out, but not enforcing our own 14-day assignment policy? Can't somebody in the higher ranks of agency management give us some better direction to follow or the support to follow the direction we've already been issued???

Before I close, I'd like to say that contrary to how it may sound in the message above, I truly appreciate the AD personnel who so willingly give of themselves to help us accomplish agency goals and missions. We couldn't do it without them. This issue in not a personal attack on any AD, but rather an attempt to pinpoint some flaws in agency processes and procedures. -


05/17 Pulaski,

Lots of good pumps on the market now, take a look at "Wildfire Pacific's" web site, they have several wildland type pumps listed with specifications (www.wildfire-equipment.com/index.phpl). I am not recommending the company but it is a good place to compare different pumps.

The Mark III is the standard by which all other pumps are judged, it has been around for 40 years or so. When they are working, they are great, if you know how to operate a Mark III you can make it suck a lake dry, but they are just more than a bit temperamental. I have used a relatively new pump by Wildfire Pacific, the "Mini-Mark" and was impressed, it is worth a look. I also have used a small "Sindowa" pump and for the size it was impressive.

In the last few years portable 4-cycle pumps have come on the market that some claim will out perform a Mark III, and are not as near temperamental. Plus, they have the advantage of not using mixed gas, run cooler longer and can take rough handling. My information on 4-cycle pumps is second hand, but if correct, they are worth looking at.

Good Luck,

05/17 I heard the union was writing a letter in April in support of the MEA being increased to 37. Anyone know anything about that?


05/17 I second Killer's sentiment, leave 55 retirement alone. You want to have time left to enjoy what you missed all these years. Less than 55 leaves a lot to be desired in annuity/benefits. What is the latest on HP being added to the high 3 computation? That would make a difference.


05/17 **for the links update**

Pulaski sez: WI DNR just got their fire program page up and running. There is not a whole lot there yet (cept for the prev & wx pages which I did) but the link is online at least.

Jim "Hurricane" sez: I look at your site everyday! Great Job! When you are updating your state agency links, please put in the link for the South Dakota State Forestry Fire Information Page -- "The latest and greatest from the Coyote State".

I linked to 'em on the links page. Ab.

05/17 Hi Ab,

I've been lurking for a while now. Terrific site!

Just a quick update on the fire situation. The Twin Coulee fire in centeral Montana that broke 2 nights ago was reported at 500+ acres burning in timber and green grass. The timber was carrying the fire. This is not a good (depending on how you look at it) harbinger of things to come for the 2001 fire season. Keep your heads up folks, we are going to be seeing some incredible fire/fire conditions.

In response to Puzzled's questions about the crew weight in the IHC spec's. Puzzled was right on the money. Each crew is allowed a total weight of 5100 lbs in order to fly on government contract or large transport charter aircraft. The 5100 lbs refers to body and gear weight totals for 20 persons. The government contract jets are configured for 101 seats (5 crews and 1 loadmaster). That's why when you fly, your strike team leader is a member of one of the crews instead of taking an extra person along. Also just a heads up for you chief of party's out there. Keep your manifests totally strack. If names or weights have changed, correct them before the aircraft arrives. Even worse if you show up without a manifest, the flight crew will have to do a roll call which takes lots of time. Those large transport jets cost big money, and I mean BIG, not to mention throwing the whole eta off! Everyone on the line, stay safe out there this season!


Welcome Purple. Ab.

05/16 Mellie,

Thanks for the heads up, but its all ready started. We've been kickn' out 1 and 2 acre fires all day like they're going out of style. 100 + degree days already and single digit day time humidities, with lots of wind and no rain in sight for a while. You folks might get to come out West this summer sooner than you think!

County Rover

05/16 Regarding fire packs and packing:

I have recently purchased a LED head lamp. While it isn't much for throwing light to work by, its somewhat adequate. It's great for general moving around and excellent for reading or any close up work. It takes 3 AAA cells and it weights less than 5 ounces. I will pack one for a spare head lamp, not much weight for a lota light and it's supposed to last a long time on the batteries. Cost is relatively high $35, by Petzel, but I think it's worth it. The bulbs are supposed to last a really long time.


05/16 Ab,
Here is a photo for you rotorheads taken on the Jones Incident.

Thanks Stu, I put the heli photo on the Heli3 Page. Ab.

05/16 Readers,

The next mini-project coming up at wildlandfire.com is to update the links to state DNRs and fire sites. We're going to be expanding the State Agencies section of the links page: www.wildlandfire.com/links.php#state

Take a look at what's there. We want to focus on useful wildland fire sites at the state level. Also, MOC, you had a national level agency link you wanted us to add some time back. Wanna refresh our memory?


05/16 I have a job as a firefighter. What equipment, clothes and personal things should I take with me? Thanks in advance.


Ted, take a look at the FAQ page. A bunch of readers wrote in with suggestions for the list. Ab.

05/16 I'm looking for a little info on portable pumps. We are looking at buying a portable pump comperable to the mark 3 in performance (or close to it), but hopefully without such a hefty pricetag. Ive seen ads for some newer brands ( wick etc) but have not seen or used any of them personally. Would appreciate any input from folks who have used any hands on info.


05/16 Soon to retire,

Lets hope that no matter how much folks cry wolf that the retirement and entry level age get LEFT ALONE!!!!!!!! While it is true that a lot of experience is reaching the magical age, it sure doesn't mean that quality folks are not there to step up to the plate......Let's let the system work.

another old guy with not much time left......Killer

05/15 With the shortage of fire supervisors available for hire, has anyone heard any more about raising the MEA to 37 and/or increasing the retirement age to 57? Are any groups working on advocating this to Congress?

Soon to retire (and concerned for the safety of those I'll leave behind)

05/15 Not much detail lately on the regional or national sit reports, but here's an update from your friendly local NPS folks:

Everglades NP (FL) - The Lopez Fire (8,030 acres - no change from Saturday) has been 85% contained. Full containment is expected on May 15th. A total of 83 firefighters and overhead have been committed, along with four engines and three helicopters. Here is yesterday's update on the Lopez Fire. This information, photos and a map are posted on the park's expanded web site and can be found at www.nps.gov/ever/fire/fire01.php: The fire has burned an area of sawgrass prairie and hardwood hammocks totaling 8,030 acres. It has not increased in size for several days due to air attack and continued suppression efforts. Helicopters continued to drop water on the fire through May 12th. On May 12th and 13th, ground crews worked around the fire's northern and southern flanks, dealing with hot spots in the hardwood hammocks with the potential to escape into unburned vegetation. This work was completed on Saturday. Engine crews held the fire along Context Road, on the southern perimeter, and mopped up hot spots in the hardwood hammocks. While initial attack is winding down, there is still some work to be completed to fully control the fire. A burnout of about 300 acres was planned for late yesterday afternoon to secure the control line on the fire's southeast corner at Context Road. This action will consume unburned fuel between the line and the fire, making it possible for a smaller number of fire personnel to safely control the fire from the road. One engine and crew will remain at the Pa-hay-okee overlook; the sprinkler system that has been set up to protect the Pa-hay-okee boardwalk will remain in place through today. Fire monitoring will continue via aerial reconnaissance and road patrols. Fire danger remains high in Florida. Some of the resources (personnel and equipment) brought in to fight the Lopez Fire will remain staged at the park in order to support initial attack on fires that may occur in the region. There's an article on the fire in Sunday's Miami Herald called "Fire Destroys, Renews Area In Cycle Of Life - About 8,000 Acres Expected To Thrive." It's on the web at: www.miami.com/herald/news/etc


05/15 Jobs page, series 462 and 455 are updated. Ab.
05/15 hey Ab-

just came off the Rock Creek fire in the TahoeNF
Burned pretty steadily and hot. the season has begun

Brett- D Mtn Shots

05/15 Hey Mellie,

Yes we are having some incredible fires here in NH. We have been consistantly having red flag days...the RH in the white mountains last friday was only 23% and had been as low as 9% a couple days before. We are finally getting some cooler temps and the promise of rain however it just evaporates before it reaches the ground! We had so much snow no one can believe this draught!!! Anyway fire season is off with a bang in this neck of the woods!! Hope we get to go out West again this summer...otherwise we will be right here!! Hope all is going well for you!! Getting a chain saw course in next week!! One more addition for my red card!!

Stay safe!!
Firebabe NH

05/15 Ab,

Yesterday you posted the IHC Appendix. What does the row "weight" mean? Is it that all crew together can't weigh more than 5100 lbs.


05/15 Ab,

I have been a daily reader of your web page and figured it was time to send you an e-mail and to let you know that you might want to update your list of shot crews. I have enclosed an attachment to this with the logo of the recently disbanded St. Joe IHC. I hope you will get it to your Logo's page.

Formed in 1967 on the St.Joe National Forest (now the South Zone of the Idaho Panhandle N.F.) the "Joe" was the last of three Inter Regional crews hosted in Northern Idaho. The other two crews hosted by the forsests of the Idaho Panhandle were the Kaniksu I.R. and the Coeur d'Alene I.R. Both were disbanded in the late 70's-early 80's. The St.Joe was hosted by the St.Maries Ranger District from 1967 to 1997. The crew celebrated their 30 year anniversary function at Clarkia Work Center. The crew was relocated by the Idaho Panhandle National Forest to Coeur d'Alene to be a more centrally located resource for the other districts on the forest after the 1997 fire season.

As happens to most good things moved by a government agency, things didn't proceed well for the St. Joe after the move. The 1998 fire season was great but things began to fall apart. Internal conflicts, conflicts with the local district personnel, micromanagment at the district and forest level, and animosity from local district fire personnel, the last of the St.Joe IHC members moved on to bigger and better careers during the ASAP/AVUE hiring in 2001.

In March of 2001 the last of the St.Joe overhead that moved in 1997 left and the St. Joe was no longer. The new organization there will be known as the Idaho Panhandler (did I add an extra letter to this) Hot Shot Crew. The many ex crew members of the St.Joe are proud to have been members of this former outstanding national resource.

Readers and users of this websight please welcome this new Type I crew onto the fire scene in 2001 and give them any breaks deemed necessary while they get on their feet.

Ex Joe Boy

Thanks. I put the patch on logo4 page. Ab.

05/14 I'm Trying To locate Any T-Shirt Vendors That May Still Have Shirts Available On The Manter 2000 Fire, And The Montana 2000 Fire.
Also Any T-Shirts On The Fires In No. Carolina And Tennessee.. Also Sweat Shirts... Also Looking For Saint Florian Medal And Statue. (Patron Saint Of fire Fighters)
Mine Are Getting Worn......

Fire Crew Bus Driver
Special Ops./

05/14 These are some fire photos from burning out several of the many lines in Idaho this last summer, 2001.

Hopefully people can use these photos for their powerpoints. I have used some from this site and appreciate having such pictures when I have needed them. Thanks for the site. You provide an unparalleled service.


Nice pics. I put them on the fire5 page. Ab.

05/14 Michael,

You can't e-mail part of a pdf file. Here is the Appendix G of the IHC Ops Guide in html. Thanks for that, Mellie!


05/14 Hey Firebabe NH,
I hear you had a fire upriver from you a ways, the "biggest fire in a decade", and burned 100 acres of woods that were dry.

On the other side of the US, the Lassen NF was flying four air tankers on Sat. just north of Chester CA. They're flying air attack on places that usually won't burn in July! At least the Klamath and Lassen fires are contained and ff reportedly got a handle on the Nevada fires. The Oregon Statesman has a well-written article with some dire fire season predictions. The Fire Danger Map Fire Danger Map shows the hotspots and the Keetch-Byram Drought Index Map reinforces those.

At the moment, I'm feeling pretty good. While the New River is at low mid-July levels, it's gently raining. Perhaps it will keep raining for a while. <fingers crossed>


PS. You guys down in R3 better be ready. Look at the current lightning map from intellicast! It's dry down there, too. (Thanks for the weather links, Ab).

05/14 Ab,

I don't think that there is a huge concern about the military (National Guard) taking over the airshow side of fire suppression and heres why.

In a recent AP release it was reported that National Guard helicopter pilots were unable to get enough airtime to meet NG proficiency requirements due to a shortage of spare parts. The average NG rotorhead was only getting around 30% of required airtime to remain "qualified" to fly due to the high maintenance requirements of military helicopters and the attendant shortage of spare parts. As I understand it military helicopters, due to their high performance, are much less reliable and much more expensive to fly than those common on the fireline curently.

As for fixed wing NG pilots taking over retardant dropping. Most of the NG pilots I know that fly the large aircraft required to lift the required weight are airline pilots who spend 99% of their time flying at 35,000 feet and get real nervous when they have to fly at the low altitudes required for effective retardant drops. These are guys that make six figures in real life. You cannot order a pilot who makes $150,000 to $250,000 per year to fly beyond what they feel is prudent. By its very nature flying low with heavily loaded large aircraft is very imprudent. We are likely to see a lot of 2,000 foot retardant drops...which are not very effective at stopping fire.

I admit making generalizations in my above statements and that there are exceptions. Feel free to point out the exceptions but remember they "prove the point" when you do.

Finally, what would happen if the NG were needed to support real military action in some other part of the world, as they frequently are, during fire season? How high of a priority would wildfire suppression have?

Oh, I almost forgot....does anyone remember $2,000 toilet seats and $400 hammers? 1.6 billion goes pretty fast when you involve military procurement techniques.


05/13 Thanks to "BLM 'ex-Bear Divide HS' Bob" for his information regarding national Type I Crews. Good info!

However,I cannot seem to find a link to the IHC Operations Guide which goes past Page 8. I tried the link that you provided, Bob, and another that I found via search engine, but no luck. Can anyone help? I would be satisfied if someone could just send me the text of page 41.........


05/13 Darren -- refreshing change from the type I type-- II crew hallaballoo.....

Might as well pick on the army and their water dropping abilities. Just wanted to point out that there are quite a few things we may want to learn from these folks. As far as professionalism, command presence, etc. I have had wonderful learning experiences while working with many of these people on fires and support roles. I also personally know that some of the army helicopter pilots were former IHC foremen........so they do have some dual knowledge and capabilities. Many times, with the shortages of resources we have now days we are lucky to receive the assistance!!

By the way, just to clarify, the incident you were working on was near Burgdorf, Idaho.

Cache Queen

05/13 Re the Emma Brown letter:

Wow! Just imagine that you've landed a fire crew assignment and, to your suprise, you learn that a certain Ms. Emma Brown is on your crew. Wouldn't that be exciting? Here are some situations that should shout "Watch Out" just in case...

  1. You don't get ground transportation like everybody else. Instead, you are instructed to utilize your "LPC's" (leather personnel carriers). Fueling all those old busses when you have perfectly good feet? Besides, it would be cheaper to walk, and probably faster too!
  2. Your incident doesn't get bucket drops, it's "dry mop" instead. Those Helitack crews were just sitting around doing nothing, so we put them to work making up those "bag nasties" for lunch.
  3. The Med. Unit doesn't carry insoles or moleskin anymore. Go to the commisary, they're "your feet", you buy it!
  4. You can't get lip balm either. They keep you hunched over working so much that your lips forgot what the sun even looked like.
  5. You can't get a new file from supply until your old one looks like a butter knife.
  6. You get warm water (not that expensive bottled stuff though) and a some Gatorade. Ice costs money and it just melts anyway. Besides, cold liquids will just cramp you up.
  7. You can't exchange your Nomex unless you can prove hat the old stuff is "suitably soiled".
  8. You don't have to be on the clock until 10:00 am.
  9. You don't see coyote camp. You've humped in your red pack so that you can spike out instead to save more money.
  10. You don't have to do staging. You just stay off the clock unless something really heats up.
  11. It's raining... and you're in the tent. Off the clock again, stand by to stand by... Why pay you when the rain is free?
  12. Your camp gets burned over by the fire that they decided to leave unstaffed.
  13. You've actually nailed down a "motel trip" and you're the tent in the parking lot.
P.S. If you really want to fight fire for free, would you consider relocating to PA?


05/13 Good site. I am from Alberta, and we have the same "discussions" about which type of crew is better. I am not going to get into that. The Brown letter has made the rounds up here and has got the same response as I've seen in the messages here. Right now we are maned-up, with a extreme hazard, weve had real dry winter and spring, good thing no lightning yet.

Anyways, good site, stay safe.

Welcome, you northenern neighbor. Check out our photos pages. We have some Canadian Scoopers on the AT pages and a spike team camp located in Canada on the Camp page. Ab.

05/12 Hi there, my name is Suzie Ford, originally from Wa. state, lived in Central Or. for ten years. We were involved with wildland firefighting and a small rural vol. dept. for those ten years, my buddy and I were the only women on our dept. to be state cert. She still lives down there and is very involved with the wildland side of things. I am missing all of this and to get to the point, would like some help.

I am sure I logged onto ODF, (Oregon Dept. of Forestry), some time ago, and realized I could keep updated on all the fire info, etc.. It didn't seem like I registered with a user name, and password then. Why do I have to now? Can you help a lady that is missing all the fire stuff?

By the way, you folks have a super site!! Thanks for any help you can give me.


05/12 I think that smokejumpers are better looking than hotshots.
However Hotshots are stronger under the arms than smokejumpers.
Together they are not quite as smart as Type II people, yet they can drink more beer than most Type II crews.
It is hard to beat a shiny fire truck however.
Most women prefer a shiny fire truck to a DC-3, except if it has been upgraded to turbine engines, then they like smokejumpers better than water lizards.
Hotshots walk in straighter lines when going to chow than smokejumpers, yet type II crews are more polite when scooping up chow.
Type II crews can be arrogant as well however. Just last fire season I saw a Type II crew that had their noses so high in the air that they failed to keep their line straight when going to chow. They did have really cool T-shirts though.
The best T-shirts however are sported by rotorheads.
These are the best of all Type I and Type II crews.
And to think that it's all because of their T-Shirts!
Water lizards could learn a thing or two about T-shirts from rotorheads.
Well that's about all I have to say about this pissing match between Type I and Type II crews.
Now about those problems in New Jersey.....
Havin fun out West.
05/12 I was wondering if anyone could tell me how I can get the notes from this years Interagency Hot Shot Crew Sup's meeting. I have looked and looked but, can't find them anywhere. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks



Cute logo up on the Logos4 page. Ab.

05/12 Steve,

In response to your query about the Klamath, at the Jones Incident, the grass is cured, star thistle is greening up, poison oak and manzanita in bloom, don't recall status of buckbrush other than decadent buckbrush bone dry and breaks easily! Blackberry and grapevines looked like they could sure use some water. GET READY FOR SOME EXTENDED STAYS ON THE KNF!


05/12 A report on the Tahoe NF (California) fire. The fire is on the Eastside of the Sierra, and the smoke column can be seen on the Westside.



05/12 Jim and All,

We do need to be very careful in balancing the need to meet Rx burn targets with weather and safety. Good points. I know the senators weren't thinking of those issues. I was simply amazed they were *for* fuel reduction. Are they different than most? or has someone been educatin' em up on more than jus ff pay issues?

Sometimes it's hard to balance meeting the targets with staying safe. I want to salute the FMO and and forest sup on my nor-cal forest for their decision not to Rx burn yesterday. After checking on the status of the Klamath and Tahoe fires and looking at resources available, our FMO decided to be careful. He called off the burn - a prudent move given the current dry conditions and drawdown of resources committed to the other two fires. It's more like midsummer than May. Five Waters is dryer than I've ever seen it. We're going to be extra careful. Could be a long dry season.

Good luck to fire managers in making the right choices this season.

PS. Enuf of the serious stuff! To Dennis <chuckle> and John L <smerk> and Larry <raised eyebrow> and WP in your new job <pinch> and all you other wonderful lurkers of type 1,2,3 or 4. You take care, ya hear! <giggle> <smooch>

05/11 Readers, a few more comments:
Please, crew bosses, quit sending in your full names. For the most part, I believe that anonymity is beneficial - so people can say what they need to say freely. In the recent past, some folks have been at risk for whistleblowing or asking the non-pc question. A lot of people in power read this board. There needs to be a free sharing of information and ideas without threat of repurcussion. This board has shown that if someone is not correct or if their concerns are not complete, the mulitple sides of the larger picture will emerge, as it has in the case of the type 1 vs 2 vs hs vs other crews. We all learn from this. Trust the process.

While this Ab is addressing personal "beefs", I am tired of messages all in CAPITAL LETTERS! I sent the last post that was all in CAPS (yelling), immediately to the trash!

Phew, I think this Ab needs a happy hour and a relaxing weekend. Busy week. It's not even fire season exactly, although a lot is burning in norCAL.

Be safe, folks! There are a lot of newbies out there. Instruct them well. Take care of yourselves. A lot of us count on you being alert.

05/11 All this Type I vs Type II is crazy.

When Michael talks of CDF crews being the caliber of all hotshot crews, I think he trying to convince himself, as everyone else reading this seems to agree otherwise. Not all IHC crews are of the same caliber. The experience of the overhead on a IHC seems to make a tremendous difference. Crews with a very experienced supt. and two forman, seem to be the best crews around. Some crews in cali. have 30-50+ years of IHC experience between the supt and forman. While some have very little. The experience level of a CDF crew can never amount to that of an IHC crew or the training that comes along with it. I'm not knocking CDF crews, they have a place, and many times do their job very well. My complaint would be they get too many "privleges", and SOME leave trash on the line, or try to bury it, but this had been discussed too much already. I know when most overhead make orders for Type I crews in cali. if they specify a Type I FEDERAL crew if an IHC is wanted. I have many times also heard of IHC crews being Type I "A" and CDF crews being Type 1 "B". I have to wonder about some of the people who have taken on supervisory positions on some of these new shot crews. I hope that everyone works to their capabilities, and has a great summer.

Can't believe that the Klamath is already burning. Does anyone know if it is green on the Klamath where the fire is or is it pre-green? Just curious. I hope I didn't ramble on too much, I know this discussion has been beat into the ground, just thought I'd had my two cents worth.

-ex cali. shot-, (not of the prison system)

OK, Ab says enuf of this crew stuff, ihc or otherwise. Everyone has had their say.

05/11 If you haven't seen it, here's a fairly new feature from NIFC: Six Minutes to Safety.

Seems to me I heard at the Division Chief's meeting that LA County (?) began a safety program that involved taking 5-10 minutes first thing every morning to review safety issues. Seems like a good idea: Early morning and short timeframe, so not a major loss of attention. The routine of addressing safety in little bits every day. Repetition, so as to better get it into long-term memory. A little time to discuss the points...

Anyway, this seems like a nice way to refresh some major safety points.
(Alternatively - There was one crewboss who had a rock with numbers on it. Driving to a fire he'd get everyone "refreshed" and focused by tossing the rock to someone and getting that person to tell the group which one of the 10 or 18 the number referred to.)


05/11 Jobs page, series 462 and 455 are updated.

New logo from Peter on the Logos4 page. Ab.

05/11 Michael,

Nationwide (other than USFS and CDF), the BLM, BIA, NPS, and two states (Utah and Alaska) field (Type 1) Hotshot Crews. Reference the National Mob Guide, Chapter 63, or:

As you pointed out not all Type 1 crews are Hotshot crews. You can read the Interagency Hotshot Crew standards at:

On Page 41 of the IHC Ops Guide, there is a chart comparing Type 1 crew and Hotshot crew standards.

BLM 'ex-Bear Divide HS' Bob

05/11 Look at this. Russia is having big fires too, in eastern Siberia near China.

BBC on Siberian fires

I wonder if this is in the same general area as the Great Black Dragon Fire, the catastrophic stand-replacement fire of 1987 in western China on the Russian border. There were fires on the Russian side that devastated large tracts of larch forest there as well. Anyone from Russia reading theysaid? Could you fill us in on what's going on? (For readers interested in the other big Siberian fire in China, check out the book on the book page.)


Cheryl, I linked to your review of the Black Dragon fire: Great Black Dragon Fire
(Readers, a small plug -- if anyone buys a book thru us, we get a small percent from Amazon to defray website costs. Mother's and Father's days, birthdays and other summer events are coming up.)
Thanks Cheryl, that was a nice review. Ab.

05/11 Northern CA has started. It was 95 degrees in Redding yesterday. Two fires are cookin':

The Jones Fire mentioned in a post yesterday is near the town of Klamath River in the Siskiyou Mts. It is now more than 1000 acres and has more than 550 people working on it (McElwain's Type 2 team).

The Tahoe NF in the Sierra near Truckee also has a fire - Rock Creek - that is more than 250 acres and has about 75 people working on it (starting today, Szcezepznik's Type 2 team).

Lets be safe, people. Watch out for the pups.
NorCal Tom

05/11 Tired of it in PA:

I know how you feel. (Maybe not as bad.) I'm originally from MN, and individuals get nailed to the wall there.

I decided I wanted to be serious about fire, so I moved west. I would recommend it.


05/11 Say Ab. Is this assault for real or is this just loose talk?

Calif. Air Guard could get greater firefighting role


05/11 Hey,

I haven't looked at your site in a while and I just noticed some fire photos from the '99 fire season taken and submitted by someone on the Los Padres Hotshots. I recognize those shots cuz I was on the crew, and I am just wondering who sent them. I haven't seen some of those guys from that season in a while and I would like to get in contact with whoever took those photos.


05/11 The discussion seems to be entering a fairly level-headed phase. I only write to correct some possible misapprehensions. It should be noted that the virulent feelings have not only been directed at Type II Crews, but also at other Type I Crews. I am not sure which Crews nation-wide have attained Type I status, but wish to emphasize that among non-HotShot Crews, the California Department of Forestry's Fire Crews are ALL certified as Type I. A rigorous exercise and evaluation is performed on each of them in the Spring of each year, and if they don't pass, they don't fight fire. Some USFS personnel have tried to circumvent the system by specifying "Type 1A" Crews, but they are not fooling anyone. I sincerely hope and believe that when USFS Crews are assigned to our fast-moving urban interface fires, they are utilized exactly as are any other Type I Crew, and I have had the enjoyable opportunity to work with some of them in those circumstances. There's nothing quite like a professional, co-ordinated attack by people highly proficient in their chosen profession. Competition is good, but we could do without some of the mean-spirited BS that we have had to occasionally endure. Usually our experience has been some initial insults or arrogant disavowal of our existence, followed not long after by some heartfelt congratulations and camaraderie.

So - nationwide, what agencies other than CDF and USFS field Type I Crews?


05/10 For those who are interested in the Klamath Fire News (California). This event is only a couple of months early.



05/10 Brush Operations With Hand Crews. Very interesting reading from Chief R. D. Neamy, Deputy Chief, Bureau of Emergency Services for the Los Angeles City Fire Department. Follow the link.



05/10 John, I read some of the article you posted. Personally I don't give them much of a chance at all. I worked with some Army personnel in Idaho and Montana last year. We had I Black hawk helicopters in Burgos and the thing about it was, they wouldn't drop there water if they even saw one yellow, red, or whatever color helmet on the ground. Now, you mean to tell me that when I'm calling in a water drop, my crew and I have to leave the area? Don't think so. They should leave the fire fighting to the professionals, air or ground.


05/10 Hi, just came across your site, and wondering if you have any pictures of the Tatanka Fire Crew from S.D., Custer. My son was a crew member under Jeff Geof, for the last 2 years. Name is Willie McDarment Jr. (Lil Will) as his Dad is Big Will Sr. and works for the Sequoia Hot Springs District here in Porterville, CA. The site is awesome, and I plan to use some of the pics as my screen saver. Well gotta go for now, keep in touch, I will probably be looking at this site often. Keep up the good work and my prayers go out to each and every one of you that you all do a good job and arrive home safely.


We have a tatanka hs logo on the logo3 page. Perhaps someone (the person who sent in the logo?) will send in some tatanka hs photos. Ab.

05/10 My wife teaches a course in fire time keeping. She is looking for a 15 to 30 second movie of an active flame front to place in a Power Point Presentation.
Do you have any leads where we might get a mpeg or avi movie?
I have put a call into NIFC for some help but have not heard back.


Welcome to the board, David. Readers, any help? Ab.

05/10 Since becoming somewhat computer literate, I have read the "They said" column almost daily. You have a great site Ab, please keep up the good work !

Now to the good stuff .... Any PA. firefighters out there that were on the Camp Kline fire this week (May 7,8,9.... or as long as DCNR dicks around with it ) notice the cluster---- the bureau was running up there? Well guess what guys ? While we were out bustin ass for our measly 3 bucks an hour ( yes thats right readers! ) the state boys were collecting their OT and the bean counters were at work screwin the crews ! Rumor has it ( from a reliable source I might add ) that all the crews out there who depend on fire season to finance crew operating expenses ( never mind paying for equipment, training, and personal protective gear - you can sell pizzas for that ) may not be coming at all !!!! The Commonwealth has apparently decided that we all do this for practice! You guys think about it, We do the work , un-f---- their so called "fire suppression effort" and most of us, if not all of us get not one red cent !!!!!! Well I say screw'um!!!!!!!! Wildland crews in PA get NO support from DCNR! WE pay the cost, not only in dollars, but time away from loved ones and our full time jobs and businesses. Try to get funding from the Commonwealth and it all falls on deaf ears !! Someone needs to make a stand, be OUR voice, so the elected officials get the message LOUD and CLEAR, NO MORE FREE RIDE!!!! Get your fat asses out there and protect our natural resources! It would seem to this firefighter that the Commonwealth isn't gonna buy the cow when the milk is free!!!! Next time they call crews, tell'um to pound sand!!!! If we don't, we can count on more of the same bullshit thats been going on for too long ! I have lots of ammo left Ab, lets see if any of these jerks from DCNR or the Commonwealth respond ! Are there any other PA firefighters out there that feel the same way?

Tired of it in Pa.

05/10 Ab,

I haven't posted for awhile, mostly because of a lack of time, not a lack of interest. But, the recent discussion compels me to say SOMETHING...

I've had a chance to see the evolution of the discussion about Type I and Type II "stuff". I say "stuff" because the "Type" and "Kind" of "stuff" is based on "minimum standards" and qualifications. But being "Typed" I or II doesn't necessarily indicate "quality".

I'm glad I didn't get wrapped up in this discussion earlier. I can see how I could have easily had a different perspective than I have today. Now that I've had a chance to read ALL the comments (to this point), I have to say I'm really proud to see the discussion evolve to the bigger picture.

So, what's the bigger picture you ask? The bigger picture is that we are all in this business TOGETHER. Our work is not a "one-size-fits-all" business. We need different "types" and "kinds" of resources, and different capabilities to get the WHOLE JOB done.

As for the specific Type I vs. Type II discussion...

I have been in this business for 24 years, and have served as a ground pounder, worked in an EOC, been a member of the militia, and have been an advisor to management on fire administration.

I have seen Type I "resources" who were damn good, and some that weren't. I've seen Type II "resources" who were damn good, and some that weren't. One of the things that happens when we "type" resources is that it can *sometimes* create a sense of arrogance.

I have been blessed to work for some of the TRUE Fire Gods in the history of our business. The thing I value about these people is they had all these traits in common:

  • GLOBAL respect from their peers as well as those who worked under them.
  • They reflect "quiet competence". In other words, the behavior they display is humble, professional, competent, and they never have to TELL you how great they were. You can see the quality of their character and their skill by how they do their work.
  • They care about the "greater good" more than they care about themselves.
  • They create an environment where it was OK to take a (reasonable) risk. Those that take these risks are praised for their successes. Those who aren't always successful are encouraged to learn from the lessons of their failures.
  • They never lose an opportunity to mentor; yet don't know they are doing it most of the time. They're just sharing...
I could make a longer list, but I think I've made my point.

Think back on someone you consider GOOD at what they do (did). I bet you will see most (if not all) these traits in the people you think about. These qualities mean more to me than whether they're a Type I or Type II "something"...

(Feisty Old Broad Still In Fire)

Welcome back FOBSIF. We've missed your sage comments here, but understand the time constraints. One other thing I would add to your list is that such leaders are able to put the "we're better than you" competition into the proper perspective when it comes up. Competition has its place as Bear mentions, but can be limiting. Ab.

05/10 Hello, my name is Chris Hilleke.

I want to work hard suppressing, preventing and controlling wildland fires as a fire tech this summer! What are my chances of getting work for a period that is less than 4 months as a temporary or seasonal fire tech? I have not begun the application process and would like some leads on where to find the kind of arrangement mentioned above.

I have five years of volunteer firefighting experience (West Nyack, New York - Duncanville, Alabama - Milton, Florida) Most of my experience is related to fire suppression at structural incidents but I do have brush fire experience, mostly with the crews in Florida and Alabama. I also served in an Air Force organization called Civil Air Patrol (CAP) and was on ground teams that performed search and rescue operations and have experince gained through Army ROTC (Universtiy of Alabama) and CAP with ground to air coordination (med evac and spotting). Am very proficcient in Land Navigation. I have a wide variety of certification, mostly obtained in New York ranging from car fires, incident command system training, extrication, haz mat and did complete Rockland Coutny Firefighting Essentials training which was a thirteen week, 130-hour curriculum with hands on and classroom instruction. I also have a B.S. in Telecommunications and Film from the University of Alabama.

How will this experince be considered and stack with other applicants?

Is their a service area that has a high turnover and would be looking for temporary fire techs and how do I contact them in a direct manner?

If I did get hired for this season or the next what kind of wage would be reasonable to expect?

I guess I know that I am going to have to move fast to pull this off and would like advice on how to talk to the right people and not just become another application on file. In short, how can I increase my chances of being considered seriously for work this season?


05/10 Mellie

One item not covered in the your fuels reduction post is WEATHER. It has been my experience that folks burn on marginal days to meet targets, and then the wind kicks up and away we go. If for some reason an area is unusually wet it makes meeting your targets very hard, and someone gets dinged for it, but on the other hand, if they lose a PB no one seems to get dinged very hard.

Congress must understand that there are times that burning targets CAN NOT be done safely and targets won't get met because of weather.


05/09 I am a wildland firefighter, I have a webpage about - what else? Me, fire and tons of pictures, with more to come. Here are a few pictures of FL fire. I also have some pictures of the Florida DOF Cobra.

I worked this year with Brainerd's Firehawk on an island restoration project of the Pelican Island NWR. Well like I said, I have tons of pictures and more on my CPU so if anyone is interested in the ones of the Firehawk and the three yard hoppers we used to haul the rock out to the island just email me. OBTW the hopper used NO2 I believe to operate it so he would just fly over where we needed it dropped, and would release, this was actually very precise once we got it down. I think I have over 95 pictures from that project.

See you all out on the line I am sure...


Welcome Josh and thanks very much. We don't have many photos of Florida burning. Readers, I put photos of cypress and palmetto burning and of a ff burning out on the Fire 5 page and the two photos of the FL-DOF Cobra helicopter on the Heli 3 page.
If you want higher resolution photos, contact Josh.

05/09 Ab,

Here's a picture for your files. Taken last year on a Rx burn outside of McCloud, CA............


Thanks, posted it on Fire 5. Glad some burning got done. We need more.

Also got some photos - superscooper and spike camp - from a team fighting fire in Canada. Thanks Marie. Scooper is on AirTanker 2. We made a new page "Camp" for the camp photos. Your favorite camp photos... Send 'em in.

05/09 Smoke jumpers practice deploying fire shelters behind a DC-3 to simulate the wind in a blowup.



05/09 Chief of the FS, Bosworth, spoke before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources yesterday. He made this opening statement and then answered questions.

Bosworth on FY 2002 Budget

I was glad to see him saying that the money needed to get to the ground. I was surprised at how adamant the senators were that fuel reductions *must occur* on forests -- 32 million acres of forests, or 39 million acres including the ones that burned last summer.

One senator said that three obstacles stand in the way of getting on with reducing fuel loading:

  • the numbers of lumber companies with equipment to do the work have dwindled,
  • there is little use for the small diameter stuff that needs to be thinned,
  • the process of getting to the point of thinning is cumbersome because of a small group of extreme environmentalists who throw up litigation blocks at every step of the way.

The public does not know that for every dollar spent to reduce fuel loading, we save $7 on the large fires requiring IMT efforts. Emma should go a little further with her discussion of fire costs. The key is to be proactive in dealing with fuels so as to reduce the incidence of large fires. A formidable task...


05/09 Ab has caught up with posting most of the photos and logos - there are quite a few. We still have several more logos and a very few other photos to do. Thanks for your patience, everyone, and thanks for your contributions. The messages that came with the photos can be found by clicking on the link below the photo. That'll take you to the photo description page.

We have one or more new photos on fire5, engines2, helicopters3, air tankers2, equipment2, logos3, miscellaneous.

JT, your photo didn't come through either time. Maybe it's too large for hotmail. Countryman, only one of your three multiple photos made it. Those we got of the airtanker drops were very nice. EC, we didn't get yours photo either. Hope you all try again.

With luck we got everone's logos. I may have misplaced one, so if yours isn't here, please resend it.

Thanks again, contributors.

05/09 Haw, haw, haw. What a topic. Type I versus Type II handcrews. The only people who would try and compare individual types of crews from around the nation, let alone the world occupy one of two catagories, idiots or ignorant fools. To broaden the foolish discussion, it doesn't matter if you are comparing hotshot crews to each other, helitack crews to hotshots, or engine crews to helitack crews.

I've not been on a hotshot crew as a full time member, but I've responded to fires with them before and after normal fire seasons as a module leader and a squad boss. I've supervised engine, helitack, and initial attack 10 person hand crews for many a year. My crews have cut line behind, bumped in front of, and had others bump past, countless times over my 19 years on suppression crews. You know what? Each crew was different. Each crew did exactly as they were trained and instructed to do. I think I even remember having my crew throw dirt on that ignorant old Emma's crew as they lay sleeping under the pines on one fire. Might as well bury that worthless bunch of leaderless wannabe. . .

Lest I forget myself and wonder, my arguement here is, that unless you know where the crew you are following/leading on the fireline came from and what they have been doing for the last week, you lack necessary information needed to compare yourself against them. Even if two seemingly identical sets of crews arrived on the fire well rested, you probably don't know their experience level compared to yours. Is this your crews second fire? Has the nearest crew you compete against (cut line with) already experienced ten fires? They'll probably kick your butt and be safer in the process.

Kelly said it well regarding crews and the pride they must have in themselves and their abilities. There is, with every knowledgable supervisor, an inherent desire to instill in their crews the desire to be the best at what they do. The fundamental requirement of all firefighters should be the ability to produce quality line construction. Anytime, anywhere.


The existing human desire to excell (in most of us) is normally enough of a basis for a talented supervisor to mold their individual crewmembers into a team willing to rise to the challenge of kicking an identical teams (or anyone else's) collective butts. Quality leadership supported by a collective crew effort is the nucleus of any firefighting crew.

Handline, hoselays, helipads, hover-hookups, it just doesn't matter. Any singular comparison between two adjoining crews on a fireline is subjective from any observation OR perspective. Then again, how else might a crew determine their efficiency or abilities lest they compare themselves against the nearest similar resource?

Now, if you want a real competition, let's set some standards and have a big old get-together wherein we have the best of the best get together and have some head-on competition. Course, the government wouldn't ever sponsor such an event. Way too many liabilities, costs and such. Each crew would have to pay their own way.

Wildlandfire.com presents "The World Championship Challenge of Wildland Firefighters". I want the exclusive rights to sell t-shirts and beer! I even have a place in mind to host such an event.

Haw, haw, haw, and kiss my fuzzy butt! I've kicked many of yers, and had my own kicked! By some of the best!


05/09 Hey Ab;

The military fly-boys are trying to take over. What chance do you give them? Check it out:



05/09 Hey Stiff Boots,

After my rebuild, my whites were stiffer than a board. I filled them with just-off-the-stove-boiling-water, then let them set for 5 minutes, dump em' out then where them dry(after they cool down a bit), then oil the crap out of them. Pecards is a great oil to use, but anything will work, as long as you are as liberal with the oil as the democrats are with your tax dollars...... er..... welll.... maybe not THAT liberal.

Well, its getting almost as dry as august here on the eastern sierra, and after what I heard from my friend about the conditions back east... I believe that its going to be a banner year for OT..... stay safe everyone

Beigefoot (the name is a looooong story........)

05/08 -- The rotorheads responded in print to the Washington Post, offering an opinion somewhat different from Emma's.



05/08 The jobs page and series 462 and 455 are updated.


05/08 LA Cnty Fire's Hawks:

OK. Now that a few other folk know about them permit me to state the following: I attended the City's Fire Expo @ Dodger Stadium last Saturday and had the opportunity to speak w/Lee (Cnty's Chief Pilot) re: Hawks. He stated that Cnty has taken delivery of two, that they are in Denver being configed to Cnty's spec's, would be numbered 18 & 20 and that the Chief would make the decision as to where deployment would be. I guessed that one each would go to Camp 9 (Santa Clarita) and Camp 2 (Oak Grove). Two of the current roaster of 8 would be housed @ Barton as spares.

Now 2K1 fire season could prove to be a super opportunity for folks w/digital video and still camers to get some really great aerials of da Hawks flying various incidents. And look for fires to be cooled/contained quicker w/the volume/turn around time for the Hawks.

For those of you w/a map of all of LA Cnty take a look @ Helicopter coverage as follows:

  • 1 @ Chantry
  • 1 @ Camp 2 Oak Grove (La Canada/Flintridge)
  • 1 @ Whittier Hills
  • 1 @ Camp 8 Malibu So. (Rambla Pacifia/Las Flores)
  • 1 @ Camp 9 (Santa Clarita)
  • 4 @ Barton w/new Hawks make that 6 (anyone want speculate as to wheather or not Cnty would deploy 1 or more to inmate camps)?
  • City's 6 @ Van Nuys (+ I believe City Trans Dept will provide an unmarked bird during fire season if requested)
  • Helitanker @ Van Nuys
So now we're looking @ 20 Helicopters for the immediate LA Cnty Area including Forest. Let's not forget how quickly other agencies assets could be rerquested.


05/08 BCDavis

You are missing all the fun back east. NJ is dry with fires everyday. We have extreme fire days for the past 3 weeks. Div C has been on patrol for the past 2 weeks and good old Hank has been earning his pay up in section 11. Well, good luck on your new adventure and hopefully we can get some good trips to the West this year. Oh yeh if your trying to figure out who???? One of the Div - C sawyers on Kentucky trip of years past.

Good Luck

05/08 OK, I can't resist, a little bit of scientific psychological insight into the "ingroup-outgroup" Type I and Type II team discussion:

We humans categorize things because it is one way to reduce the mass of information we're confronted with every day. Undoubtedly, being able to categorize people and things into good and bad, pleasurable and dangerous, friend and foe has been of selective advantage for our species, allowing us to make important and potentially life-saving decisions more quickly. The ability to automatically categorize and even to favor those whom we see as our own group members is hard-wired into the human nervous system.

In one classic study, people were randomly assigned into two groups or "teams". Thus members of the two groups were no different from each other on any measurable characteristic. However, people were told that they were in their particular group based on their music preference. So everyone thought they belonged to their team because everyone on it liked the same kind of music.

Individuals from the two groups then played games with each other and won prizes. The winners were encouraged to give away their winnings to whomever they chose. So, who did they give them to? Well, to their own team members of course, even though this was not suggested, even though people were arbitrarily placed on teams, and even though they knew their team members no better than members of the other team. When participants in the study rated all the other individuals in the study, who do you think they thought were the best, smartest, cleverest, most insightful? Why the members of their own group - even though their teammates were no different from those of the other team on any characteristic.

We humans don't realize how automatically we engage in this categorizing process. In a sense it is our greatest strength, in that it allows us to function without sensory overload in a complex world. However, in some circumstances it may be our greatest weakness, in that it may limit us when flexibility and "thinking out of the box" - or sharing ideas with folks who are not just like us - are to our best advantage.

The Professor (married to a Fire Ecologist)
Hats off to you Ab(s) for creating and supporting a forum that lets people think outside of the box!

Why, thank you very much. Are you on my team? Ab.

05/08 hey all,

EC you got me trying to figure out who you are ! if we played in kentucky together then we did have a good time !!! despite all the bs about type1 and type 2 crews, i am looking forward to eating smoke ( and too many mre,s ) and battle the red dragon !!! i do hope we can get some of the nj guys to fight fire in this neck of the woods. things are definitly different here then the wharton state forest !!!! i think we could use some power wagons here ! its drying out pretty quick and we will have temps in the mid to upper 80s this week. well i better get off of here before the wife starts nagging ( bought more fire toys today !!!! big grin !! ) and she threatens me with going back to nj.

BC Davis

05/08 Well I think the point to be made about the HS vs Jumpers vs Sliders vs yada yada is that nobody likes to work with a jerk. It does not matter how much you know or how much experience you have, if you are going to be an A**hole, folks will not want to work with you again.


05/08 Ab...

What has the world become, eh? Last time I checked, it wasn't within OSHA or NFPA regs to wallow around in slop in your PPE... so, I'm gonna throw my pup's two-cents in and see if maybe it'll help..

Fellow firefighters, might I ask you why we are discussing the Type 1/Type 2 'efficiency' topic? It serves little to no purpose, except for making this page a hell of a lot longer to download for someone with a 28.8k modem...

Is it too late for someone to point out that all firefighting is a fraternity (sorority for those who like political correctness)? Is it too late for this young pup to try and nip your heels with his milking teeth and tell you that you are all on the same side?

I would hope not.

Since I joined up with my local VFD I've been able to drill with them, conduct equipment checks, and work on attaining my FF1 certification, of which I am now finished and just waiting for the test score. I've met some of the most enthusiastic people I have ever met, the people who when needed will throw on the gear, and do the dirty work because someone needs their help. They are able to cast aside their personal differences, their prejudices, their attitudes.. They work together as a team. What's more, is that even though we are only a volunteer department, I can tell that every member of the department is a professional. How can I tell they are professional? Because they do their job well, they interact well, they operate in a clean manner. They don't berate each other outright unless it is mutually known it is a round of festive joking.

I had thought that all firefighters were professional, whether they wear silver haz-mat suits, turnout coats, bunker gear or the simple yellow and green Nomex.. at one time I had thought that I would be ale to absolutely trust any member of any fire department or agency or orginization. That is, until I've read the recent flotsam here.

Truly, from my perspective I have to wonder how some of you have even survived the various seasons with such large chips on your shoulders. Disdain and disrespect have been the downfall of armies before, and they certainly will be a downfall of the army of firefighters. I wonder how you can efficiently put out the flames when you can't have the common decency to realize that everyone out there shoveling dirt, driving rigs, dropping retardant, plowing line... realize they are human, that you are human and that no matter how macho you think you are, the fire is hot, it kills, and most importantly... the fire doesn't care who you are. It doesn't care wether you are Type 1, Type 2.. it doesn't care if you are a 'HotShot' or an 'Engine Slug'... to the fire, you are just another fuel.

In closing I ask that you remeber that the fire is your enemy, friends... so fight it, and not your fellow fireman.

Tiny, The R-6 Fire Pup

05/08 Man!!! Enough with this Type 1 versus type 2 stuff. It's tearing apart the fabric of our universe. That other person was right when they said it's a result of lack of fires.

I liked LAVE's suggestion about the fire survivors show. Sounds better than those other reality show's.

And in that spirit of eliminating waste of taxpayer's money, I have another suggestion:

There are a lot of network news crews in camp on large fires. That translates into high media exposure, which advertisers pay huge sums of money for. The I.C. or information officer could wear a Pepsi ballcap and a NIKE jacket while they were being interviewed by CNN. Then sell endorsements to national restaurant chains like Red lobster or sizzler. In exchange for being "The official food of wildland firefighters", the restaurant could handle the catering, free of charge.( Hmmmm, I can taste those lobster omelets already)

Of course theirs always the danger of some pencil pusher in DC giving the food endorsements to arby's or macdonalds. Point is, things like that could generate money to offset the cost of the suppressing the fire. Heck, fire might even make money. But that's what we're about, positive solutions to real problems.

Seriously though, A friend of mine who works for BLM, tells me that early every season, BLM puts all their engine crews in R-5 through proficiency inspections. I hear that they are video taped while performing hoselays, among other things. It sounds like a great system for maintaining high standards. Why isn't this being done on a national and interagency level? When contract engines are certified in the spring by an agency rep, do they even see if It'll squirt water?

The reason I bring it up is because every year there seems to be less qualified engine bosses who are savvy to engine operations. Especially once you get out of California. (This is not ment as a slam on those outside of R-5. They're just more anal about that stuff in Calif.) I watched a couple of F.S. engines last year in Idaho that didn't know how to do basic mop up with garden hose. They burned up a lot of hose. They were very conscientious people and hard workers, They had just never been taught how to do it right.

Just my opinion,

05/07 If McCoglan couldn't make any money from his "Elkbath" photo, why should Brown make money from an article she wrote?


I am not defending Brown's article in any way, shape or form. However, if she doesn't work for the government full-time, no one has a right to say what she does on her own time. If she is full-time, what she does on her evenings and weekends is her own business. On another note, articles do not pay much. One article I did on fire that was much longer and more involved than her article paid all of $200. I don't think that she's making much money. Ab.

05/07 Hello all!

I have had massive computer problems for the past week or so, and I'm kinda out of the loop right now. I'm looking for something and can't find it. What I need, is some old or new FSS Ganzier Packs with or without hose (preferably without). They don't have to be in perfect condition, but not out of service or close to it. If anyone can help or knows of anyone who has some please let me know. I would probally buy them from you. Thanx!

County Rover

05/07 re: IHC argument

from a rookie, this looks very bad. Isn't the idea to work towards a common goal? I had a class that was taught by the overhead of a shot crew. Sure they had there quips and comments, but they also made it clear that that was their opinion and regardless of what they said, we all are important. Another thing that was told to the class, that sticks out in this situation: try it for a season, learn about the job. It may not be your thing but you'll know what they do. If it's not your thing, I think you should respect those folks even more because they are doing a job you don't want to. As for guys like me who will be working their first season, you are setting a bad example (those causing the problems, and those griping and not doing anything). You should teach us well, to work together, to respect each other. Our lives depend on it.


05/07 All the talk about Type 1 and Type 2 crews did we forget 2 things we are all here to do a job and the other is we are all here because we love our job. With all the moaning going on it sounds like we need fire season to come to focus our minds back into our life of eating dirt breathing smoke and dancing with fire.

Hey Davis how Ya making out new job doing good? Just an old friend from back in SJ and one of the Kentucky runners of 2 years past.


05/07 Sorry folks, but this debate/discussion/bashing of type 1's vs. type 2's is getting nauseating and demeaning for this board. The only comment I'll make is that because of all the variables involved, there will never be a single or completely blanketing statement or answer to the issue. I will use the comment given by someone along the lines of: What are YOU doing to make things better?

OK, enough of that. On to another topic and hopefully an answer to my situation.

I just received back a pair of Whites I had rebuilt. I think it's about my fifth pair of Smokejumpers and I've had all of mine rebuilt at least twice in my 8 years. The reason I bring up numbers is not to sound as if I'm boasting (and I'm sure I pale in comparison to you other people) but rather to point out that I've broken in new pairs and rebuilds before.

It would appear as if everything except for the tongue was replaced (what a deal for $180!). But, I'm having a HELL of a time getting them broken in. Any suggestions from you wise one's out there?

By the way, return for a pair of Whites being rebuilt is about 8 weeks now.

Signed: Stiff Boots in Idaho

05/07 Re emma brown letter;

Again, a very interesting posting. Im interested in knowing if Emma had such a problem with the money, why didn't she give back her paycheck? If it was such a horrible time, a waste of money, time, etc, A full fledged raping of the Government, then she should give up her paycheck, quit her job, and go be a reporter with the newspaper. It sounds like thats what she wants anyway, judgeing from her article. Its rather clear that she is one of the filthy few who isn't in the game because she loves it, rather there to stir the pot. I find it sad that she would sit there and record all this, and still take the check. The handing out of various items issue was absurd I guess she can't understand that you need to take care of people. Period. If she was experienced at all, she would know people work themselves into the ground, and should be taken care of. These folks are not being forced to, rather CHOOSE to, and whats wrong with helping them out?

Another interesting item was the food. She should try eating crappy food, then working your tail off. A Army works and fights on its stomach. This has been common knowledge since the Romans. I agree with the dude who said if she had a problem with the food, then she should bust into a MRE. I know I am greatful for the good food after a week of MRE's, three times a day.

I hope this lady doesn't return for this season, she ruins it for the people who love to do this job. She should stay in the woods, and not go on the fires if they're so bad. This may shock her, but its O.K. to say I don't want to go on a fire, even with the Park Service.

Ya Know, the more I know about people, the less I kick my dog.

05/07 Larry,

As usual well said. I agree 100% with your points. Now the folks posting to this site need to move on to more "productive" issues. Posting behind a moniker has always been a sore point with me.

take care and have a safe season,

Killer aka Tony Duprey, Los Padres HS

05/07 The hotshot attitude discussion (and the octupus-like spawned discussions on relative merits and non-merits of all sorts and types and flavors of crews and personnel) reminds me of similar discussions I've had over the years with people who claim that all cops are bad, evil, mean, nasty, and overloaded with attitude.

yeah right.

Because I've had more than a handful of cop friends over the years, I used to get mad and get engaged in that discussion. Now I just grin and get amused. It takes a certain personality, a certain set of characteristics and background, a certain group of skills and abilities, to be a cop -- good cop, bad cop, any kind of cop.

It takes a certain personality, a certain set of characteristics, to be a hotshot. There's a sort of quota of attitude that will make you or break you as a hotshot. Part of that is aggressiveness, part of it's attitude, part of it's the willingness to get beat up bad in training, physical abuse, challenging physical/mental/emotional situations, the willingness to face truly shitty situations and come on grinning: YEAH GIMME SOME MORE ABUSE, I'M UP TO IT!

To a certain extent, this is true of all firefighters, and particularly the jumpers and sliders and 'shots. It's *really* true of the long-timers. You're either going to make it in fire or you're not. You have to actually enjoy challenge, you have to get a rush of "yes I can" when people say you can't. You have to really care about doing the right thing despite all the signals that you're doing the wrong thing. (For example: I could be home watching "Survivor" and drinking a beer and grilling a ribeye, but oh no, I'm out here eating dirt and sucking smoke and yes it's for a good reason even if I can't explain it to my parents and my buddies. Even if my parents and my partner and kids and best buds give me eternal trouble about it, I know this is The Right Thing.)

The leapers and the 'shots and the sliders and everyone else just love to pick on each other. Picking on each other, namecalling and pissing and whining and moaning and kicking, is part of the FRATERNITY, okay? Part of the attitude, which is necessary, is a certain sense of "WE ARE THE BEST" and "we are as good as it gets."

Everyone who works in fire is as good as it gets. If that were not true, then fire would not be as good as it gets, and we know it is. Okay?


05/06 hey ab and all !

once again a subject has started a fire storm on here. both sides has good points and bad ones. i know i sound like i am riding the fence on this. as someone who has worked and will continue to work on a type 2 crew, i have seen the good, bad and the ugly in all types of crews. nobody is perfect. you can run the best crew and have one clown screw it up for all. its life. all we can do is the best we can under the circumstances. sometimes i think we need to focus our energies at the ones who make our job harder than it needs to be, management. those of us who toil out in the field need to stick together. stop all the petty bs. until we knock off the name calling, bitching, and attitudes, we will never get what we deserve. i have to remind myself where i came from and where i am going. the grass isnt always greener on the other side. lets all relax and have a ass kicking fire season !!!!

BC Davis

05/06 Been sit'n back and watching what's been going on in "They Said" and got to throw in my thoughts, for what ever it's worth. This dis-cuss'n about Type I and Type II's and which is better or gets preferential treatment, sound like a bunch of us Structural Dudes.

Which is better, Volunteer Fire Fighters or Full-time Fire Fighters? Now I won't go there either! I can say that I have seen both. Just like in the wildland sitting, is a Type I better than a Type II? I guess I have been lucky, I was once on a Type II where we worked close with our assigned Division Sup, which thought we were a Hot Shot Crew, it was a real good day. Then I've been on yet another Type II where I wanted to run away and hide, one of them real bad days where nothing went right.

Just remember when you get upset: The only person I have to be better than or impress is MYSELF. Guess the same might hold true with a crew's attitude and their crew boss's ability to keep it together. A 'Wink' can do alot more work than a 'Whine'.


05/06 Well Ms. Brown's article just came out in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette in Little Rock. Seems that most papers treat a subjective article as gospel.


05/06 Re the shot bashing:

I have been reading with interest the latest round of postings, and am going to get on my soapbox for a moment . First with the 'Shot issue, this has been going on for ages, one crew is better then the other, etc. It is wrong for the type 2 dude to class all shot crews as the same, just because he had a bad time with one doesn't mean we are all that way. I could turn around and say that all Type 2's and such are worthless, and should go home and leave the fires to the shots, but IM NOT. Truth is there are some very good type 2 crews out there, and some that are not, same with Shots, helitack, engines, teams, etc, etc. Its Life. We are all out there to get the job done, and fight the fire. Sure attitude does get thrown out there, but don't most firefighters have the Can-do attitude? Most that I have met are. What did you do to improve the sitituation, I wonder. Did you bring it up with the sup, or did you just let things lay? How many times have you flown while others hiked? Isn't it up to the teams who fly? I don't remember any rule in the IHOG that says all shot crews must hike in, because they're shots. Isn't it about fighting the fire? Shot crews are still, at least in my opinion something to work up to, Goals in young FF's minds, the same as Jumpers, etc. (I can hear the groans already, a shot saying something good about jumping.) A lot of folks on shot crews have been around for a while, have some higher training, etc. But all them were at one point on a type 2 crew. We need everybody out there, helitack, shots, jumpers, etc. Again I bring up its life, and its too bad that your typing a group based on one expierence, and that there are some out there who's attiudes could improve. In the words of one Rodney King, " Can't we all just get along?????" Lets just have a good season, stay safe, and leave the bashing at the bars, with the empty beer bottles.


05/06 First let me say this is the first time I have looked at this site...very good. Some wonder why the agencies do not have something like this for internal use...because it would cause some uproar and not be politically correct. What more can you say....

I think no matter what your job is while on a fire the first thing you must do is understand what the common results are...and that everyone has a job to do some are more experienced then others, a fact of life folks so get on with it. Those who have more experience have a responsibility to share and transfer that knowledge to others no matter what the situation. Not to transfer that knowledge, in my opinon means there really is not room for you in the fire fighting arena.

I have to say that managers must give better direction and clear instructions to the line and support areas to make sure the daily accomplishment is understood and everyone knows what is expected. We fail in this area and the Division sups get the blame...not all their fault...so those who receive instructions and they are not clear have a responsibility to speak up and ask those questions to get the instructions clear...those who give the instructions must take the time to make sure all are understood.

To me an easy solution to some of the problems....but then you know what the fire goes out....eventually.......I wanted to comment on the discussion of a " Hotshot " super lecturing a division supervisor..the bottom line is that DIVS is responsible not the Hotshot sup....so HS soups get a grip and do your part in teaching and cover that self made glow......your just a firefighter and nothing more....just like the rest of the people working...do your job and let the others do theirs....


05/06 Jeremy,

You should have received a letter back from Boise about a month after you've sent your application in listing all your responses to the questions on the application. Unfortunately, a couple of my friends that also sent APS into Boise did not receive a letter of confirmation that the application had been received. I think they might have had a few problems this year, thankfully they got mine. If I were you I would do what I told my friends to do and contact San Bernardino NF personnel as soon as possible. It might not be too late, but your running out of time. Good luck.....

Eric G.

05/06 My, my, my, all this slamming of the brother hotshots! Do I detect a trace of jealousy or perhaps insecurity? Keep smiling folks....and do the best job you can.

an old hotshot......killer

05/06 regarding the current hotshot crew bashing ...

to chastise all hotshot crews as "aloof", egocentric, "prima donas", etc. is wrong!

if you have a complaint involving specific hotshot crews and/or superintendents you need to;
- document the issues/problems while the crew is on the incident or assignment,
- speak directly with the superintendent, at an appropriate time, prior to the crews demobe,
- follow up with a discussion with the crews host unit supervisor, if necessary.
better yet, if you want to help improve the hotshot crews, get involved with the hotshot steering committee group in your geographical area.

posting on this board behind a moniker is a cheap shot and does little towards making the hotshot crew program better.

larry edwards
helena hotshots

Larry, thanks for writing in. Involvement is always the best course... But, don't you be taking a cheap shot at this "board" ya hear! We get enough of that from the WO! AArgh, too early! It's good the other Abs aren't awake yet or they'd probably be throwing in their two cents worth on this one. We Abs had a reunion/barbique/party yesterday and most are still sleeping it off. I drew the short straw.... Ab.

05/06 Personally I think Hotshot crews are very good and well trained crews. However, I do agree they ( when I say they, I mean most, not all ) have a huge ego problem. They treat other crews, both type 2 hand crews and engine crews like dirt and sometimes worse. I am on a type 2 crew, by choice, not by not enough experience or anything. The reason I chose to go type 2 was better money. This job isn't supposed to be about money, at least to me, but I have made a career out of wildland firefighting.

Now, on more then one occasion my type 2 crew not only had more experience then a shot crew or two, but we out preformed them and were , believe it or not, in better shape. With us out performing them, they got really pissed off at us and actually, after the fire, tried to fight with my crew. Now, I believe at one time Hotshots were truly a step above the rest, both in physical and professional ways. However, somewhere along the line that went to peoples heads and now they have the whole "God" attitude.

My opinion, we are all there to do the same job. Don't dog a crew if they have less experience then you for we all started somewhere. And if by chance they are out performing you, think of it as a friendly competition to make time go by. Don't sit there and knock other crews just because they are type 2 or whatever. You will accomplish nothing more then showing people how much of an ass you are.


05/05 Ab, the call was out today for rotor types for Florida and NC, yesterday NIFC was looking for ASGS (T) and ATGS (T). Lots of the requests went unfilled for various reasons. Also, requests are out for crews to assist in RX burns, those orders are not always being filled also. Things are starting to "heat" up.

Dispatch Person

05/05 In response to DEEFAMO and Capital crew boss;

I find a lot of wisdom in DEEFAMO's words and commend them to the shots who read this. Mainly because we agree for the most part. I too have watched with dismay as the "the attitude", as I call it, has gotten worse and worse. IHC's (I will capitalize) are fine fire crews, don't get me wrong, but the aloof, "we are better than you" attitude, the "we can't interact with you scum" attitude does get a bit old. I am not sure if some of the IHC folks understand that is how they come off, but they do. If a fire gets tough, who am I gonna call? Type I of course. Part of the culture that makes an IHC work is the certain knowledge that your crew is the best. Of course when I was one, we were the best. But that doesn't mean that the other folks in yellow are not fine folks worthy of respect, they simply have a different skill set.

I was embarrassed to observe an incident where an IHC Sup lectured his DIVS for about 10 minutes having arrived on the fire about 10 minutes before that, showed little respect for the man and was dead wrong! The DIVS just tiredly and patiently listened (I would have lasted bout 3 minutes in that situation), the crew ended up sullenly doing what they were assigned anyway, I had a nice chat with one of the foremen later and he was a bit embarrassed by the deal. Turns out the local guys kinda knew the local fuels, weather and topography better than the Sup. who I believe was in that country for the first time. I chalked it up to being tired as we all were, but still........?

Capital Crew Boss - well, others have said it. I suggest a new line of work.


05/05 Sorry about the caps. But iam seeing exactly what i described with alot of Type 1 crews the last several seasons. By the way, worker, i have also worked rigth along with many shot crews. I hope you do your part to stop a trend that is not good. I am not sorry if i offended you, it just means you are too sensitive or maybe i was to close to home. In fact, i have several crew performance reports that say " this crew outperformed several type i crews". Would you like to see them?

Capital crew boss

05/05 Re: The Washington Post Article:

Having served 24 years in the federal wildland fire service I applaud many of the points that Ms.Brown mentioned in her article. There is no excuse for squandering the nation's wealth upon wasteful tactics. I will always welcome the fresh views of people such as Ms. Brown. I believe that the public should always be involved in the workings of their government.

Having said that, I believe that it is important to shed a little light upon the context in which this business of fire management is conducted. Wildland fire suppression is conducted in an environment that is much the same as warfare. If these situations were totally predictable and conducted within a political vacuum, we would have no problem managing logistics, strategies and tactics. We could passively manage all fires for the benefit of mankind and the earth.

With regard to sitting around, any wildfire tactician with any experience at all is going to provide a thorough reconnaissance before he or she commits firefighters to any tactical situation. At the micro level, it can often be more cost effective and safer to have a fire crew "sitting around", than it would be to redeploy that crew time after time in the wrong place.. Simply put- one does not jerk a crew around just to keep them occupied. This applies to the macro level as well. If the conditions warrant, resources need to be moved up and staged- even if that means that crews are dispatched across the country, only to sit and wait for a deployment. The trick is to catch fires while they are small. Then the landscape can be treated in a controlled manner through a future prescribed fire.

Along with thorough reconnaissance comes the need for proper timing and sequencing of tactical actions. This requires that the tactician anticipate the logistical needs and the performance of any given resource. The tactician needs to have a good grasp of fire weather and behavior. Experience provides this knowledge. Experience also provides a good grasp of sound fireline economics. Experienced fire managers do a better job at managing costs because they understand the capabilities of the resources that they manage.

So what happened to the ranks of America's professional fire managers? To answer that question one simply needs to look at the demographics within the federal wildland fire agencies. There is a glaring gap that started in 1980 and lasted over 15 years. The present shortage of experienced firefighters was due in large part to the past efforts of politicians, who's primary agenda was to show that they were tough on government waste. If any human endeavor, whether that endeavor be government or business, were to limit the number of young employees to the extent that the federal government did during the 1980's and early 1990's, I bet that they would be a little short on experience as well. Simply put -you get what you pay for.

I fully support the notion of weighing the cost and benefits of suppression actions. Yes I have seen many situations where resources were deployed for show. The problem here is that one person's "show" is another person's critical presence. As a fire manager I can only offer my professional advice, based upon my experience and judgment, whether resources should be deployed or not. I will continue to err on the side of safety. If a local community demands the presence of my resources, I will offer my advice. In the end I will be bound by the direction that I receive from the public that I serve.

I am sorry if Ms. Brown thought that she was paid too much for her efforts. She always has the option of donating her salary to a worthy cause. When I started fighting fire I was paid $2.57 per hour. I received few benefits and worked hard. I climbed up and down 60% slopes and most of the time I didn't whine. In the winter I found other work. Ms. Brown's complaints of mopping up in the rain brought a smile to my face. I wish I had a dollar for every time I mopped up in the rain. Unless the rain was a "season ending event" (usually by October in the West), it would always stop and the smokes would pop up within an hour or so of drying. In the end it's better to complete the job than be redeployed later, under worse conditions.

With regard to "smiling teenagers handing out boot grease, liquid soap, metal files, throwaway bath towels or whatever other goodies" without a sense of limit. I say that in a nation where pet food sales number in the billions of dollars and the three martini lunch serves as a tax deduction, I will continue to provide for the welfare of my firefighters from their heads right down to their little toes. If that means salmon and 4 types of desert at dinner time -so be it. I remember many times in my career when we slept in the dirt with only the clothes on our backs. Those unsavory times when the food never arrived, we ran out of hot drinking water and the fire jumped our firelines faster than we could construct fireline. I suppose that I am one of those "longtime firefighters" that Ms. Brown referred to, "who love what they do are fierce about putting out flames, and they are used to having ample resources to do their job". I love what I do, I am practical about managing flames and I demand to have ample resources to do my job.

Ms. Brown stated that, "Most of us were there for the money, or because we had been sent without choice." These two factors explain rather vividly, the context in which Ms. Brown and many others have operated in recent years. If one is involved in the fire service simply for the money, then there is indeed no reason to extinguish a wildfire. Why ignite prescribed fires if wildfires are so much more lucrative? I say that career federal wildland firefighters are in this profession for reasons that go well beyond money. As Ms. Brown illustrated, money alone will not sustain a firefighter when they are cold or hot, soaking wet or bored to tears. Something much deeper in the human spirit sustains a person when times are hard. Something much deeper motivates a person to manage fire upon the landscape for a living. When motivated career firefighters have been in short supply, other employees have been called upon. Ms. Brown stated that her crew had been "sent without choice". If this is true, it is unfortunate, for no firefighter should be on the fireline unless they want to be.

The views expressed here are my own. They are expressed as a taxpayer and one who's life is intimately involved with the management of fire on the landscape. In the end it is the duty of all citizens to oversee their government in all it's endeavors, just as it is the duty of every civil servant to discharge their duties honestly. I can understand Ms. Brown's frustration with the limits we humans portray whenever we come together to achieve any sort of common goal on a large scale. In retrospect federal wildland firefighting agencies have been effective enough in their mission to alter the ecosystems of millions of acres within the course of 80 years. These agencies succeeded in the mission that the American People charged them with, under the conventional wisdom of the times.
Was it costly in the past? -Yes.
Is it costly now?-Yes.
Will it be costly in the future?- Yes.
Can we do a better job of controlling costs? -Yes

Indeed Ms. Brown you don't know the whole story- none of us do. But I do know one thing for certain; this nation needs experienced, well trained and well equipped firefighters and fire managers. We need dedicated people, who understand how fire interacts with the landscape. We will not be able to effectively restore fire dependent landscapes without this expertise. The blind slashing of fire budgets results in bigger wildfires, bigger wildfires are more expensive to manage. In the end taxpayers save money when wildfires are kept small and prescribed fires are large where possible. The choice is ours.

Sign me
"The Other Side of the Coin." Or,
"You Get What You Pay For." Or,
"What Ms. Brown Missed in the Translation."

05/05 In regards to Capital Crewboss.
I could have laughed outloud. Someone dared to question the type I crews. Capital Crewboss hit it on the head. Has anyone read the notes from the Hotshot Sup National Meeting. I wonder how they found a place to fit in all those egos. Hopefully it was an open air arena.

Type I crews are without a doubt quality firefighters, I will never question that. I am an alumni. But, I have moved on, I got my experience and realized I did not want to run a pulaski for 20 years. Yeah, I am a management puke now. I went from the shots to the jumpers to the district (where the real work gets done!!!!!!!!!) If I was to make a general statement it would be Type I crews are the folks you need if you have a tough assignment. But, you need to balance that need with the BS you are going to put with to have them on your incident. That is a hotshot problem, and they need to figure it out. They are not god, they are a quality outfit that is supposed to have a mission, just like army rangers or green berets. That does not mean they get to run the outfit. They accept the mission or they don't. Unfortunately the outfit lost track of that and now we have all these folks (hotshot sups) who want to bad mouth management but don't want to be any part of it. Well then you take what you get.

Ab, I would encourage you to post the notes from the national ihc meeting (and I left that in small characters for a reason) for all to read. There is a time when ego gets in the way! These guys/gals get the cream of the crop and have all the tenured overhead and then the poor guy or gal that takes out a type 2 crew for 14 or 21 has to deal with all the problems inherant with that assignment and he or she could be a GS whatever. These guys and gals have the cream of the crop that they personally selected and they are still whining. I find it unbelievable that they want more training in personell and finance, holy cow! I thought that is why they got the grades they have. If they cannot handle that stuff then we are all being bamboozled. If there is a sup out there that needs training in those areas, he or she should not be in the job. Gads, they are PFT's what the hell are they doing in the winter??? Waiting for personnell or B&F to come knock on their door and see if they might want some training??? This is a real sore subject with me and I fully expect to get blasted by the shot folks and their supporters. The fire folks lost control of the shot crews years ago. They have a purpose, and that purpose it to take care of the tough assignments. Unfortunately, they bitch and whine and then work (that is a generalization), but hopefully the crews will recognize that.

They have a national organization, so that is where this stuff needs to be recognized. They don't want to do wildland fire use because they are suppression folks, but then they don't want to do Rx fire because they might miss a fire assignment.

Again, post the notes from the prima donna meeting and see what the reaction is from the folks on the ground. The hotshots don't have work unless we miss on the initial attack!! And now they might have to share the wealth with the new Type I crews, but the new crews have to pass muster with the established crews. Is the fox in the hen house?? I guess that is enough. I will sit back and wait to get blasted by the ihc community. But you ihc folks remember, I am not a voice in the wilderness, but you can treat me that way if you want.


05/05 Capital Crew Boss,

I know this is a forum for information sharing and at times venting, but damn do you want a little cheese with that whine? 20 years as a Cat-II CRWB hmmm what does that mean? Do you run a 20 person crew on a daily basis or do you get called out when its your turn on the rotation? Either way what you see in 20 years with a Cat-II crew a Hotshot crewperson will see in 3 or 4 years. "MY crew is hiking while they are being flown", blah blah blah, and semi-pro baseballers ride buses while the pro's fly in jets. Only so many people can fly in a day, and lets be realistic if your going to fly someone it will be your A-teams first. It's life deal with it. I'm not saying you exaggerate but I'm calling B.S. on a few of your statements. Get their tents flown in on a coyote type spike? I've never seen it in 15 years with the shots. Paper bags if your lucky and a hot meal if your realllllll lucky. 95% of the time it is a space blanket and MRE's. 3 or more crewpeople to sling load gear "ALL" day? What were they moving a Walmart storage room? 1 maybe 2 people, 3 sling loads at the most and oh yes that would enclude the tents.

One thing I do agree with you is there are primadonna crews out there, but you know what there has always been primadonna crews, and some of those "old timers" may have been apart of them. Times are changing, either change with them or get the hell out of the way. Sounds to me like your getting a litle long in tooth, maybe it's time to move on or get your CRWB rating taken off your red card. The whining is contagious so give it rest or better yet step up to the big league's and run with a shot crew for a season or two(if you can handle the challenge, my guess is you'll find an excuse why you can't). My crew averages about 30 fires a year, multiplied by 15 years equals about 450 fires so far, and I still love being in the game. I don't push my crew to be like any other crew, just to be the best they can be.

Sign me, Worker Bee

05/05 Jeremy

I'm assuming you are referring to the San Bernardino National Forest within the U.S. Forest Service. (When someone says "forestry" in California, it could also mean CDF California Department of Forestry. But I'll assume you mean the former.)

So, are you sure your application made it through the process in Boise? If you are sure, then I would contact personnel in the San Bernardino N.F.at the Supervisor's Office. If you don't have confirmation that your application made it through the Boise process, then I would call Boise and see what you need to do.

But I would get on this right away! Good Luck


05/04 Series 462 and 455 are updated along with the jobs page listings. So many jobs, so few qualified applicants.


05/04 My name is Jeremy Mushinski and I sent in an application to San Bernardino forestry agency a while back. I was wondering how to check on the status of that application. If you could get back to me as soon as possible I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you.


05/04 Ab, Regarding the article from the Washington Post titled What Burns Me About the Way We Fight Fires:

I have been waiting to see some posts regarding this, glad to see it ticks off some other people too. The author is obviously one of those individuals who has never made any mistakes in their life and everything they have ever done has went exactly the way that they planned. Perhaps she needs to spend some more time out on the lines getting experience to learn that fires don't always follow the morning IAP and sometimes things just don't go the way they are supposed to, such is the way of natural\disasters.


05/04 Notice from Clyde Thompson and Michael Rains about permanent FS fire positions.
05/04 After reading Emma Brown's article I could not help but think, "yea, I could have wrote the same article 20 years ago after I had logged enough seasons to be qualify as a critic." Waste, fraud, abuse? Always has been. Downtime, waiting, staging, milling, smokin', jokin', loli-gagging, hacky-sackin' and grab-assin'? Yep! Cruisers. users, losers, milkers, slugs, whiners, nit-wits, mis-fits, bozo's and camp potatoes? Yep! Hotline, burnout, close-call, near miss, scared witless, smokin' nomex? You bet. Rained on, snowed on, shit on, dumped on slimed, frozen, fried, baked, lost and forgotten? Yes indeed! Hungry, sick, sore, blistered, filthy, stinking, sunkeneyed exhaustion? That to!

But, I never wrote an article and long ago learned to accept the imperfections of large wildland fire management. (The only thing that really tips me over is when the system fails to properly support the line). So, while Emma's statements are accurate her points well taken, she has simply reached lower level of consciousness. If she gave up the wilderness patrol and became a full time wildland fire fighter she could achieve full enlightenment and she would, no doubt, look back on her Washington Post article with a grimace and a smile.


05/04 Someone wrote in with a question about starting a bus contracting business. Now I can't find it. To whomever that was, you might take a look at WP's comments last March in response to someone else who asked the same kind of question. It's in the 03/17 archive. If you have other questions, please write in again.


05/04 www.bangornews.com/cgi-bin/article.cfm?storynumber=33504

Ab- Here's a link I stumbled on to, sounds like Maine, NH, VT are seeing a bit of action. I thought they all had received lots of snow and were supposed to have a wet spring in the east? Sounds like a turn in the forcasting.


NJ had some fires last week. It's really quite dry in the east. The sit report had fire weather warnings for northern CT, RI, and Mass, for low RH and strong winds. Also were warnings for northern FL and parts of southeast GA for the same kinds of conditions. Ab.


capital crew boss (moniker supplied by Ab)

A note from Ab: Posters, please don't yell at us. Capital letters indicate yelling to those of us who work on the web. All cap messages are difficult to read, as well. If you can't be bothered to exercise the shift key, please use all small letters.

05/04 Here's the link for the Oak Ridge Boys contribution.


Recording at the end of article


05/04 Re Ms. Emma Brown's letter, I guess she was never in the right spot to be one of the engine crews, hand crews, or air crews ( helitack or smoke jumpers) that actually was the cavalry and arrived in the nick of time to save the day. I have done that twice is eighteen years and it makes you kinda forget about all that time you sat at the station or in staging waiting and waiting, and training and waiting etc. . . I been on many a wild goose chases to, but sometimes they actually use us for something worthwhile.

I really like Lucky's suggestions for saving money, with one more thing added, we get CBS to film it and call it Fire Survivors( generate some dollars too ), and the last person there gets a permanent job with the fire department of your choice, not a million bucks.

Looks like fire season is rapping, gently tapping at the door. There is one 500 acre fire in Mendocino County and several smaller ones in the last couple of days. Here in Northern Cal., we have had a few windy days and things are unseasonable warm so far, and we didn't get our normal amount of rainfall.

Took a firefighter safety class last Saturday from a B.C. from L.A. County Fire, Bat. Chief John Harris, great speaker and very good program if you get a chance to attend his presentation I think it was worth it.

All for now, keep safe and watch for the Dragon.

05/04 Hi there -- just found your site a couple mos. ago...... good to get opinions from all over -- helps keep everyone remember WHY we are here. I think I can help on the quarter turn issue.... it is NOT going to happen this year. People who proposed it didn't thoroughly think through the expense and the amount of fittings it would affect. So -- don't go crazy and buy adapters, or new fittings, etc. The reasoning behind the original direction and the "halt" order can be directed to Kim Christensen (the National Fire Equipment System chair) at 208-387-5400.

Cache Queen

Welcome to the posting side of theysaid Cache Queen. Ab.

05/03 Dear Ab:

I read the article in the Washington Post and though I am a newbie I have some knowledge from education and growing up around it (dad was a CDF Capt.). I have to say that in my opinion that the author has some legitimate points. I also have to agree with the author when she states at the end of the article that she doesn't know the whole story. I believe that if she could see it from some of the many other facets of wildland fire suppression she may understand, or see some things different. That is just my opinion. I'd like to hear what others think.


05/03 I have a few things to say about that Washington Post article.

Apparently anybody with 2 months actual line experiance is considered an expert by the Post. She was very shocked that people paid to fight fires were hoping that more would break. Anybody that does that kind of work realizes that they won't have a personal life for 6 months. You have to compensate people for that if you want good ones. There's probaby people out there willing to do it for less with no free lunch. But chances are they don't speak english.

She also mentioned that she'd be willing to fight fire for free. Anybody would, after all those gravy runs the author went on. I'd suggest a 90 day detail to a south zone hotshot crew. (Might get lucky and last until lunch time)

Last summer I heard the 19th stituation that shouts watch out. #19 "You notice the presence of poilticians and media becoming more frequent. "

That, is why resources are staged in high visibilty areas during periods of high fire activity, to re-asure the public.

Being an ex rotorhead, I took exception to her slamming of helitack. I recall slinging up a few $100,000 outhouses in and out the backcountry on behalf of the recreation program. Some of those lazy helislugs had to get hepetitus shots because raw sewage spilled on them.

I was also wondering what her solution is to all that money being spent on food?

You could just use MRE's for every meal. Although each MRE probably cost more than a sack lunch, so that's not really an option. They could declare all fire fighters temporarily exempt from fish and game laws while working a fire. This would allow things like gillnetting of salmon and shooting elk from helicopters and vehicles in order to feed the those working the fire. It wouldn't cost the taxpayers anything.



To Abby, sorry I never got back to you about the Arcview extension that you sent to me. It is excellent and it may be useful to all of the new GIS/Fire folks that they are hiring these days. It might be worth posting on the pc programs page.

Things are good here in R4, getting all the ducks in a row before the helicopter arrives.

Keep it up,

Catching up... If any of you GIS/Fire folks want a copy of this Arcview extension, ask and I'll send it to you. It takes up a lot of space on the server so I don't think we'll post it there right now. (This was compliments of DM.)

Also available is a powerpoint from TC entitled WFSA 99 TRAINING PPT.ppt. It is an introductory course for fire managers and line officers that they will need to understand what the program is and what it does. I will send this off to those who want it as well.


05/02 Thanks All for the many responses. What follows is a sampling of e-mails with the link:

Here's the link to that washington post article.
(In Case the link doesn't work, it's at www.washingtonpost.com; then do a site search for fire, then scroll to April 29th, near the bottom.)
I'm attempting to keep many of my comments inside.......(sec)

Link! Also, he said "Ab - the readers of "They Said" might find this dialogue real interesting from 'Firenet'. (Dick)
Ab sez, Got a link for that?

Here is the link for "What Really Burns Me About the Way We Fight Fires. W-O-F

Here 'tis if you don't already have it. (Mellie)

Ab, Try this link: Washington post story, wildfire. (Lucky)

Here's the link for the "What burns me..." article that you asked for... (Houston)

Hickman was just fullof links: in addition to the Washington Post link, he sent another one: Smokey Says http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A25410-2001Apr30.phpl
and On the Net: Wildland Fire Employment: http://www.doi.gov/fire

Oh, one report he sent in says that the Oak Ridge Boys are hep'n out the wildland firefighting effort, "Country Crooners Fight Wildfires".
Got a link for that Hickman? This Ab is too jet lagged to muck around much on the web right now.

AZ Trailblazer Tim sent the article out to everyone on his list, including Ab.


Hey Ab,
here is the link to that Washington Post Article. It is an excellent article worth discussion. (Firepup21)

So, anyone want to comment on the article? Ab.

05/02 greetings

i am a 39yr old firefighter. i am redcarded as a engb, crwb, ICT-4, E.M.T-I. i have 18 years exp in wildland and firelookouts. i am also married and need work. i have been offered some fed jobs but i do not want to move down south.. i am hoping a honest contractor may be able to use me.. i live in the state of washington..

ready to work

05/02 what a great web page, outstanding photos.


Thanks for stopping by. Come again. Ab.

05/02 Readers,

We're getting a lot of mail that includes a reprint of the article "What Burns Me About the Way We Fight Wildfires" Sunday April 29, Washington Post. I am willing to link to it for discussion sake if I could find the place to link to. So far we've only gotten the text. Anyone know of a link?


05/02 Round three re-advertising a GS-7/26-0 Helishot Captain at Arroyo Grande (Type 1 Helicopter) Los Padres N.F. Call Ted Mathiesen 805 481-1280 for details.
05/02 Hey SC!

The choice is yours. But I would do some homework on each position/location. Check to see which position might lead to the most training, how active each is, available housing , how much project work is normally done (not that it's a bad thing, but you don't want to go into a situation where the fire crews are used primarily for stacking sticks vs. being ready for I.A.), etc. If you haven't been to either place, it might pay off to visit each place and meet the people. If you don't have the time to spare and they are hounding you to make a decision, then flip a coin and enjoy the season!


05/02 Fire season is upon us all, very soon. Recently I went to your web site to look up some info and came upon the photo archive of "Manter Evac". That's my crew! We're in #01,02,03,04.(Not the "orange guys") We were one of the first 5 crews to arrive. My first fire season. We ran through flames to get that meadow about an hour or two before those photos were taken, that was the day before my 33rd birthday. It was an awsome experience.I have a pile of photos, of the entire fire as well that EVAC.

Those guys in the orange gear are convict crews. They were in front of us. Being a Swamper, my Sawyer and I were right behind them. When the proverbial "SH-- hit the fan" we got seperated by about 200 yrds. from the rest of our crew. We saw the order was given to the con crews to reteat down the escape route. Some CDF guy told us to follow. Not everybody carries a radio. which was the case for us. I told the guy "no way, not without my crew. Call my crew boss on tach 1. I'm going back to get them."

My sawyer and I turned around and ran back to get our crew. We met up with some of our guys about 100 yrds. back and passed the order,"We lost it. Where's our crew boss?" We found him @ another 100 yrds back with the rest of them. Relayed the message, organized and headed down the escape route. 200 yrds to where I was working, we met a wall of flames.

Knees shaking, hands on our fire shelters, I think some of younger guys in my crew met GOD at that moment. I certainly had a few words with him. Our crew boss told us to hold, count out, make sure we are all here and he waited. It seemed like days while he looked forward toward the flames. Then all of the sudden he called out, "Get ready, ready to run." And the flames opened a corrador like hallway about 6' wide, we ran!!!! for uor lives.

My knees didn't stop shaking til after those helicopters picked us up.

Right before all that, I had the oportunity to work side by side with @ eight of those "orange" guys. All I can say is that I have the utmost respect for them. We tried to handle the spot fires together, and together we rejoiced in the meadow. "A good day in Hell was had."


05/02 Darren,

As a 20 yr. Vol. F/F and a 25 yr. employee of a major fiberglass building Insulation Manufacturer, I seriously doubt that any lung problems that you may have had is not due to exposure to fiberglass insulation. I am an hourly employee so don't try and tell me I am just singing the company song. I to am worried that someday I might be wrong and find my lungs are shot. Darren, PUT THE SMOKES DOWN AND STEP AWAY WITH YOUR LUNGS. Good Luck. I think Norman had the best idea...

Nor Cal Dan

Dan, it's not clear with your double negatives. Do you think the problem is fiberglass insulation or not? Ab.

05/01 Montana State University, Billings, is going to offer a two-day course
(June 18-19) titled, "Trial by Fire:  Smokejumpers and the Mann Gulch
Disaster:  History of Fire Management and the Norman Maclean Story."  One day
in Missoula at the Smokejumper base, Region One Firelab, Aerial Fire Depot,
and one day at Mann Gulch. Their phone #s, 406-657-2203, 800-708-0068,
website www.msubillings.edu
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