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09/30 Hey guys, I got a few questions that I have had a hard time trying to find through the regular sources. I am in college now and my summer break runs from (roughly) May 20 through August 20, is that long enough for me to be a federal seasonal wildland firefighter? Or is that time length not long enough, if so, will that deny me a position all together or can I leave early for school if necessary? Also, is the Form C enough to get hired on a fire crew or engine crew? Is there a better way then a Form C?

Thanks a lot guys!


09/30 I just finished going through the August and September archives and had a few things to add.

Hot shields, I've heard good and bad about them. I have talked a few people to who had used them and they all seemed to like them and said they worked pretty good. They do however restrict your breathing reducing your effectiveness so it doesn't sound like you would wear one all the time. They also are supposed to provide very good thermal protection if you get burned over. The bad side is that apparently they basically just block soot particles and a few gasses, not CO or some of the other nasty products of combustion, according to an article I read sometime ago in a wildfire type magazine, carbon particles (soot) is one of the things that triggers your bodies defenses, by blocking the soot your body sort of thinks everythings great, you then begin breathing in CO, CO2 and other gasses and this speeds up your respiration, increasing your intake of these gasses. The result according to the article which claimed to have taken blood samples was that people wearing hotshield type products actually had higher levels of CO in their blood stream than those who didn't, since CO is one of the big things you want to reduce I'd say thats bad.

Boots, I've used Red Wings and never had a problem with them, but when it came time for new boots I went ahead and spent the extra $120 or so and got Whites (at the time Redwings were around $180 and Whites were $299) , much better and worth every penny, I went out with a hand crew within a week of receiving mine and only got one small blister. I have worked engines and gone out occasionally with hand crews and mine have lasted 3 busy years (full years wear not just summers) and are just now reaching time for a rebuild. I have heard good things about Nicks and even Wesco has its supporters, depends how much you're going to be in them, what you are willing to spend and your particular foot. If you had the chance I'd suggest trying on a few brands first but you shouldn't go wrong with any of the brands you mentioned.

Fire Shelters, sure I guess some people would take additional risks if they had a better fire shelter but those people probably do that now anyway. How often have you asked about safety zones and had the response, Well there are some good deployment zones in there (hopefully your response was something like sorry but I'll be waiting right here until there are some). Comparing it with structure gear is a little too much apples and oranges to me, the better structure gear allows the firefighters to enter deeper into structures because they can take much more heat before getting too hot to enter further. Shelters wouldn't do that because the current PPE still only lets you take so much heat. I for one am all in favor of better shelters even though I don't ever plan on using one for real. I had the opportunity to get intentionally burned over in a controlled live fire excercise and that was enough for me.

Speaking of PPE, about a year ago an Austrailian study came out about the pro's and cons of single layer nomex vs double layers, their conclusion being that the threat of heat exhaustion far out weighed the benefits of improved thermal protection. Then if you look at the Fatality Report available on the USFS fire and aviation site, comparing CDF fatalities (double layers) to USFS fatalities (single layer), CDF had several heat related deaths compared to 0 USFS. If I can find the report (it was on the internet), I'll post the address. I was on the Poe fire (CDF team) earlier this year and during the breifing the high number of heat related illnesses was mentioned and people were told to open up nomex, remove hard hats etc when taking breaks on the line to allow their bodies to cool. I hadn't heard this before from CDF and no one on our strike team felt that it was really all that hot (all were feds with a single layer). Is there any discussion about rethinking the double layers? What ever your viewpoint on this topic, the article was very interesting.

I won't even wade into the USFS vs CDF vs the Universe except to say the Forest Service is under mandate to sell all of its old fire equipment to the States at a cost of $1. That sounds like a pretty good deal to me, I believe CDF has a similar program. I was just on the Hyampom (sp?) fire and saw a strike team of local government engines from someplace around Willows, CA it was completely made up of USFS Model 51's and old CDF rigs (Model 1's I believe but not so sure of my CDF engine ID's) these were 1960 to early 80's vintage. Talking to the crews I found out they were from a volunteer department and they had several more at home including a Model 42, a 60 and Model 50? (USFS from the 1950's). It really was neat to see these older engines sort of a traveling wildland fire muster. According to the crews there is plenty of redtape and politics to wade through but they said it wasn't too hard to get equipment once they learned the system. I have seen many ex green rigs in Nevada and Arizona as well.


09/30 Ab and all

The pins have been sold out. However should someone want to get on a waiting list they can e-mail me ihogman@yahoo.com, there may be some cancellations.


09/30 I agree with Flingwing's comment on the Thirtymile investigation. I too have heard through the grapevine that some of the report was "edited" or altered -- much to the dismay of investigators who were trying to do the right thing. Don't know any details -- but there is something afoot. It's time that managers or whoever tries to perform cover ups, stop the you know what -- as it is becoming increasingly painful to believe any of the reports that come out of our agencies. Over 20 years ago, I had a brother-in-law who was killed on a fire, and the same song and dance was performed, at the expense of his reputation and to the torture of his family -- seems nothing has changed -- have we learned NOTHING in 20 YEARS?

Cache Queen

09/30 In response to Fireronin's comments on fatigue. As overhead on a fire I have never had a problem with a crew suffering from fatigue mentioning that they were too tired to safely perform. As a matter of fact I encourage them to let me know their condition when then arrive.

The problem I see more often than not is a group of greedy devils showing up on a fire with no intention of revealing their true condition. When was the last time that you ever heard a fire crew comparing how many times they turned down an assignment due to fatigue at the end of the year? Instead we hear about the hours of overtime -like a badge of courage or something.

Like making money at any cost - become a lawyer.

Want to promote the safe execution of fire suppression tactics- do it right, provide for safety first.

Mr. Unhoseable

09/30 Ab,
Could you please put me in touch with Flingwing. I would like to know the forest where this happened, look at the documentation of the investigations and see whether recording such information has improved.


Flingwing, will you write in again if you're interested in sharing info? Ab.

09/29 Fireronin,

re: malfunction with dispatch tapes. On our forest, over the last seven years, there have been several incidents requiring investigation ( seems it's becoming routine here)....when dispatch tapes were requested to validate what actually occurred, there had been a "malfunction"! In each case the malfunction occured when mismanagement and incompetence of FMO's and line officers were at issue. Sadly, it doesn't end there....reports and documents have been altered after the fact! Hmmm!



The Jobs page, Series 462 and Series 455 are updated.


09/29 So far there are 465 WTC Memorial pins reserved and only 35 left. They'll be here in 4-5 weeks.


09/29 I just found this site, but I already have some comments (I've also been told I have a big mouth).

As far as refusing an assignment due to fatigue, I've done it without repercussion, its a matter of knowing the regs, if your driver hasn't had the required sleep or you're over your work/rest ratio thats the end of the argument. People need to not be afraid of getting sent home, if you're right and you've documented the incident you will win eventually. Thats what the union and grievence processes are for. I'd rather get sent home than have my crew get hurt or killed. I do believe however that management needs to take a hard look at itself, I have seen many teams spout safety, safety, safety during briefing and then watch them on the line ignoring warnings or threatening crews for bringing up safety issues or turning down an assignment.

As to the "all risk" issue, I am a Region 5'r and agree with Socalcaptain, there is alot of foot dragging going on related to nontraditional forest service responses particularly if you leave Region 5, which I did for a couple of years. But I also understand old guys point and why many in the other Regions dislike Region 5, having seen first hand some of the issues (budget, attitude, equipment). Not all can be blamed on Region 5 however. Some comes from the managers in these other Regions, many of whom are entranced by the shiny model 62's. I've been on incidents in several states where the Type 6 engines were completely ignored even though in many cases they were the better resource for the particular job.

I doubt anyone believes any region gets better training than Region 5 (unless you're a seasonal in which case you are better off anywhere else). But the training and equipment required to properly do our job is not being agressively pursued, better structural training is required, EMT's and associated equipment should be standard on engines, hazmat should get more attention, the Suburban Emergency Response class is a good first step but more is needed. The Region and the WO need to be more involved in making policy on these non traditional responses. "Its not our mission", "we don't enter structures", "we don't do medical aids" doesn't cut it anymore because, like it or not, we do all of these and more. In most locations Forest Service engines are at best second in resources for local fire departments and are usually the first in unit. I know in several locations Forest Service engines are providing the back up team on structure fires for local fire departments. Most of these issues are still being controlled at the local level, not the RO because of this few forests have the same brand SCBA, PPE varies by forest and those individuals with the best training in non traditional responses usually got that training on their own from outside the agency. I have heard a few FS employees describe those who are in favor of improving our abilities in this area as being wannabe structure guys who couldn't cut it at CDF, so the attitude socal was talking about definitely exists.

As for the 0081 firefighter series, I think that was was a cheap shot about DoD, I worked DoD at one time and their Captains are GS7's but they also don't have the responsibilities of our Captains, they don't do anything close to the admin work ours do, little personnel, no purchasing authority etc, not a bad tradeoff for a pay grade. Maybe to you 0081 is just a job title but Firefighter gets more attention from congress and potential new employees than Forestry Tech and it is more descriptive of our responsibilities. It's also easier to get some of our issues dealt with when we are only dealing with the group that does our particular job and not recreation, biology, timber, clerks etc.

Serious problems need to be addressed, a temporary work force is no longer appropriate, all our firefighters need to be at least 13/13's. We need to stop abusing people, working them for years without benefits and then telling them they're to old for a permanent job. We need to address salaries, portal to portal pay, proper training etc. Until serious offers are at least being pursued we will continue to lose our best employees to local and state fire departments with the subsequent reduction of the quality and safety of our workforce.

I like my job very much. I have no desire to leave the agency but without some movement on some of these issues my time here is limited and I know I'm not alone in these feelings. I often have the misfortune of helping a temporary employee apply for a job with us while also advising and hoping for their sake they get a job from another agency.


09/28 Concerning the investigation,

I can tell you that some of the firefighters involved in the entrapment saw things differently than what actually happened. I personally know some of the survivors and they NEVER heard an order to deploy. They were told they would not need to deploy. The only thing the crew boss told them was to just put their shelters over their shoulders to protect them from embers, and this was just before the wave hit them. He never mentioned a word about deploying shelters and did nothing to clear surrounding area. I also was told that he never ordered Tom Craven or the others to come down off the hill and personally knowing Tom, I am POSITIVE he would not have disobeyed an order from his supervisor. I think it's ridiculous and seems to me some of the people responsible for this tragedy are covering their a#%!#! Other parts of the investigation are correct, but I hope the particular crew boss involved NEVER commands a fire crew again.

Todays Yakima-Herald Republic has a article about a few other survivors who dispute the findings also.

Sign me-BISON

09/28 I have read the 30 mile report. I would be very interested in other firefighters views on it. Heres mine.

Everyone from the managers to the crews were physically and mentally fatigued well beyond what would be considered a "safe" level due to lack of sleep. The inexperienced firefighters always depend on the "old hands" to watch out and set the safety level in the field. In this case it appears that everyone was essentially on their own after entrapment due to the low ratio (1/3?)of experienced to inexperienced firefighters and severe fatigue.

All of the "10 and 18" are useless if no one is mentally alert enough to implement them. If "safety is job 1" why is extreme fatigue so accepted and endemic in our profession by those in charge of safety? We all accept it as a part of the job...but those in charge leave us no other option. Do they? Can you imagine a firefighter saying to an IC "Our crew didn't sleep well last night so we can't go fight the fire?" The whole crew would be sent home and either unofficially or officially blackballed and disgraced. At the very least the individual would have ended their own fire career. As long as "I'm too tired" is considered whining rather than a major safety consideration the "safety is job 1" is for public relations and litigation limitation purposes only. And firefighters will continue to die because they are not thinking clearly due to fatigue.

Is this acceptable or can we do something about it? Fireline fatigue is accepted by everyone from the line grunt to the WO. Comments? Suggestions?

Did I read it wrong or are the dispatch tapes unavailable for the investigation due to a malfunction? Ever since "Tricky Dick" Nixons' tapes were "accidentally erased" this type of "evidence unavailable" has appeared so "fishy" I would expect an outside investigator to dig deeper. But there are no investigators from outside the agency involved in these reports... which looks even worse. It just looks SO BAD even if its' completely innocent and is yet another major reason that independent investigators should be used in fire fatality investigations.

It appeared to me from the report that after entrapment the ill fated crews' lookout function was turned over to air attack. Did air attack ever communicate with them that they could not fulfill that function due to lack of visibility? I see no mention of it in the report. If the crew thought that they had a lookout when in fact they did not their cavalier attitude shortly prior to deployment and the fact that they appeared to be taken by surprise makes much more sense to me.

I hate to say it because I do think that the investigators were doing their best within the limitations imposed upon them. But I also think that the report as it stands stops short of being complete and therefor is not as useful as it could be in preventing future tragedy. Does anyone else have questions that you wished were answered by the report but were not?


What were the "limitations imposed upon them"? Did I miss something? Ab.

09/28 Training:

Here in the Northwest, The Job corp has forestry & firefighting o.j.t (on the job training) Not only type2, but One type1 crew - WolfCreek Hotshots. It's a Year-round program which pay's Ya to not only get the job training but also schooling.

the Coyote.

09/28 AC, Sammi and Ab,

Thank you for giving me all this information. It has helped alot.


09/28 Pin Update:

I have commitments for 316 pins so far in three days. I expect the last 184 to go fairly quickly. See earlier posts for details and image.


09/28 Debbie,

Minnesota has a summer program called the Minnesota Conservation Corps. this is a summer program for youth and young adults that involves outdoor service and firefighting. they live on site in the areas that they work at. this is run by the Minnesota DNR forestry, i don't know if other states have programs like this. the web site is www.dnr.state.mn.us/forestry/mcc/index.phpl.
i hope this helps you out-good luck


Good idea. The links to all the other state departments of natural resources and forestry are on the links page under state. You could browse them for similar programs. Ab.

09/28 Chache Queen and All,

Sorry for the misquote on price......how's 50.00 for the S-290 CD


09/27 Hey Ab,
Is there a problem with the site?

Nooooooooooo, you're the first to write in today. Everyone is studyin'up.

09/26 Hi All,

Normally we meet under wildland fire conditions, but this time I was a member of NJ-TF1 Urban Search and Rescue Task Force from New Jersey. We were the first USAR Team in NY on Sept 11. We arrived 4 hours after the incident began. During our 10 day stay we noticed the interagency teams (with USFS, BLM etc) start moving in. They treaded lightly and began helping, not to fight fire or dig in the rubble, but to organize the vast supplies and resources coming into the area.

Presently the teams and other state and federal agencies are assisting in efforts of deliveries and relief. It is nice to have someone to fall back on so that the FEMA USAR Teams and FDNY rescue workers can continue the job that they started.

Thank You for your support.


09/26 Debbie,

The fire school our g'son went to is Bates Technical College in Tacoma, Wash. They have a 3 mo program for high school seniors (he earned $450.00 and had a blast.) and then a two yr program for people wanting careers in the Fire Service. Apparently it is a very successful program and has a high placement rate. I recommend also starting out as a volunteer in a dept locally and getting a part time job to support themselves. We called that "cheap college" and have two kids that went on to full time careers....one does wildland in season and structure in winter and the other is full time structure. If you want to e-mail me that is fine...


09/26 Memorial Pin Update

I would like to thank everyone that has e-mailed me with an order or reservation. So far I have orders for 270 pins out of 500. I forgot to add that I would like to limit the pins to 25 maximum per person, but that does not preclude someone from making a group order, just make sure I know it's a group order.

Pins are $5.50 each which includes shipping. The pin is shaped like the picture and is 1-1/4" high with an epoxy dome coating. E-mail your reservations to ihogman@yahoo.com Also don't forget to put a return address on your order and allow 4-5 weeks for delivery.

Make checks payable to: Jim Evans

and mail them to:

Jim Evans
205 Starfield Pl
Hot Springs, AR 71913

09/26 Hi there --

Just wanted to clarify a post on 9/16 from Doug regarding the S-290 CD ROM. He says he believes the "feds" charge $150 for the product.......actually the price from NWCG is also $75 -- same as he is offering. Pick your poison.

Cache Queen

09/26 The Thirtymile Fire Investigation Reports were released today. Links to the pdf downloads on the FS FAM News site here.


Some observations and suggestions:

  • Be aware that if you click on "Investigation Factual Report" you'll be downloading a 12 MB pdf file.
    It's 106 pages and took me 20-25 min with a 56K modem this morning right after the news came out. Download probably would be faster very early in the morning when traffic is low.
  • Please note that there is no "Additional Information" available there. Clicking on the link they provide produces an error message.
    An e-mail from RD indicates that the complete set of documents is available at the new site here:
    www.fs.fed.us/fire/fire_new. She says the site is in transition.

Thanks for the info, RD.

09/26 From Firescribe for comparison:

Here's the long and many-part online article of the ThirtyMile Incident done by the Yakima Herald:

The results of the investigation commissioned by the newspaper.

Here's the location map and 30-mi fire photos - including aerial shots of the valley and other photos that show topography, vegetation, blackened trees along the fire's flank, trees flattened from a microburst and the rubble at the memorial site. Please read the description for the photo credits. Thanks to PNW Team 3.

09/26 Pulaski, you were right the first time. Some folks are an "all threat" resource. I usually try to stay away from them. Ya'll be safe, whatever your job.


09/26 Old guy,

I have read SocalCapt's message also. I think that you are missing the point of what most of the Capts. are trying to do in R-5.

We are tired of losing reliable and seasoned employee's to the County and City departments that pay better and have their employees on FULL TIME. I think what the Captains and some higher managment are trying to do is get us better pay and more people on PFT. It is true we do alot more then fight forest fires anymore. The actions taken in this Region will benefit all who work for the agency, so instead of all of us ripping each other apart on this page we should be discussing on how EVERYONE can do their part in saving this agency.

So that is my observation on the subject.

Also an R-5er

09/26 I do have a question. My son is 18 graduated last June. He is very interested in becoming involved in firefighting. I have heard that there is a place, like a firefightning camp of some sort where you can go and get on the job training and get paid for it. I think its about 3 months or something like that.. you stay there the whole time.. I don't know where to look for that kind of on the job training program.

Have you any idea how to get into that kind of program?

Please let me know. Thank you very much.


You may just be hearing about the OJT (on the job training) that goes on after being hired on a crew for the summer. This Ab doesn't know of any firefighting camps except for young women (Camp Blaze). Anyone out there know anything or have any recommendations? We sometimes get questions such as this that we respond to individually, just want to make sure we have complete up-to-date info.

09/26 I have read with intrest the posts about all risk and the use of Type I National Teams in support of FEMA activities. BC Davis, SoCalCapt and NorCalTom have all hit the major points.

The key to the whole thing, as was pointed out, is the fact that in the Federal Response Plan the USDA Forest Service is tasked with either the lead or support roles in several functions to deal with national disasters. FEMA discovered that Type I National Teams bring not only the ability to set up and be functional very quickly (they bring most of their start up gear with them); but they also have excellent planning, organization, intelligence gathering and execution skills which are greatly needed in these types of operations. They are also a TEAM that does what is necessary to pull it together and make things work. If that means the Ops Chief or the IC mops the floor, or gets behind the chow serving table and dishes meals, it is because that is what needs to happen. Their needed skills are not being firefighters, but managers and organizers. Their job is to bring organization to chaos, not to crawl in buildings, throw dirt, excavate trenches or extricate trapped persons. Those jobs belong to the technical experts in each area.

The Forest Service at the national level and all federal wildland fire agencies are very proud of the accomplishments of these teams and the skills they bring to bear when the chips are down. There will be more use of National Teams to accomplish the mission of the Federal Government as well as those of the Natural Resource Management Agencies. I know for I was there for many years as an Ops Chief and Type I IC.

An old IC

ps mellie the flaps are up!

09/26 To SoCalCapt.

Why don't you put away the ego, guy. You're the type person that causes a lot of the rest the forest service to dislike R-5ers. Perhaps you should walk a few hundred miles in management's boots to understand the real big picture.

I tended to think like you do back in the days when I was a "foreman" or STTO and CDF&FP was California Division of Forestry! Things and views changed when I became management and actually worked in other regions for a longer time than simply going there for fires. I soon realized that R-5ers are not loved by all and learned to shut my mouth and learn from the ways of others.

If you want to be in the 081 series, go to work for the Defense Department and, oh by the way, as a "Captain" your pay rate will become a GS-6 or maybe if you're lucky, a 7. Right now in R5 you have a much better deal than your peers in other regions who are stil 5s, 6s, and 7s and some of them are still less than PFT. R-5 does have the best training, equipment and damn long fire seasons to go with it. If you're so hung up on a job title, you are the one who is stuck in the 20th century! I don't see you jumping out to demonstrate your leadership and becoming part of management to HELP SOLVE the problems and LEAD folks into the 21st century.

Things have changed dramatically in the last decade in the way the FS trains, hires, pays and does business. Think about it, in the last 10 years EMS, Haz Mat, Turnouts, SCBAs, two stage pumps, 2 1/2 hose capable engines. Some engines even have extracation gear and spend a large part of their time on interstate freeways in national forests protecting the natural resources not only from fire but toxic spills and fuels.

And no, I am not one that is ready to retire but standing up to help lead the FS into the 21st century in spite of the egos of some hardline captains.

An old guy who's still hanging

09/26 Here is the address for the Bateman team site that is in New York City. www.fireteam-sw.com. Look under the current assignment link for the most recent information.


It looks like both R3 teams are transitioning websites. We put up both links on the IIMT page along with the new ones. Will someone let us know when the transition is finally done so we can update? Ab.


Memorial 2001


Here is the update on the pins. The cost will be $5.50 which will cover pin and shipping. The pin will be shaped like the image (not rectangular), have what they call an "epoxy dome" and will be 1-1/4" high.. To all who have emailed me already, I will reply now with this information and you will not need to e-mail me again. If you have not emailed me and want one or more pins, please do so to reserve your order. ihogman@yahoo.com The pins will take 4-5 weeks to be made.

Make checks payable to: Jim Evans
and mail them to:

Jim Evans (Pins)
205 Starfield Pl
Hot Springs, AR 71913

After all of the pins are sold I will post the amount that was donated and the cost of the pins so everyone knows I didn't skip out with the money.


09/25 The Jobs page, Series 462 and 455 have been updated.


09/25 Ab, here's a link.

The 30-mi investigation officially comes out tomorrow. This online news article has a bit of info. www.signonsandiego.com

Tahoe Terrie

09/25 All risk

I believe what was ment is that the national incident management teams are all risk. In that they could be called in to manage any type of major incident (fire, flood, tornado etc) and not meant that the base line fire suppression folks are an "all threat" resource.


09/25 Yesterday in Northern California we had a significant lighting event. I personally saw a dozen to eighteen strikes. The lighting map was pretty impressive since we are about 25 miles inland of the ocean. I haven't seen this much lighting in Sonoma County since I moved here 20 years ago. CDF was chasing smokes all over. We did have about 0.2" of rain but stuff is still real dry. Today could get interesting.

My department and our little town has raised about $5,500 for the FF's in New York City. Our Chaplin is going back to his seminary in New York city on Friday, so we will have the good Farther hand deliver our small contribution as well as our condolences.

Still dangerous out there, take care.

09/24 Howdy AB's and all.

This is a little off topic but it impacts us so much in the Nor Cal region I felt it was important enough to post.

On Sat. night 9/22/01 Enloe Flight Care of Chico, CA. crashed while attempting a landing near a vehicle accident at Butte Meadows, Butte County , CA. Veteran Pilot Ron (RJ) Jones was killed. Both Flight Nurses were injured , Flight Nurse Mike Ferris is expected to be released today and Flight Nurse Stacie Reed is in ICU with multiple fractures. She is listed in serious condition. As a 20 yr veteran of EMS in Glenn County I have had the pleasure of working with RJ on numerous incidents and his skills as a pilot, his Big smile and warm greetings will be missed but never forgotten. Funeral arrangements are pending.

My thoughts and prayers go out for the families and crew. This is quite a blow to the EMS family of Butte, Glenn, Tehema, Colusa, and Plumas Counties. May your prayers be with us all during this time of need.


09/24 RE: "All risk agency"

I know that we use that phrase freely in Florida's DOF. We are not specificaly trained in specialized areas like vehicle extraction, but in Fl there are 2 levels of Structure certification, FF1 & 2. FF1 is the level that volenteers are required to achieve. They are taught first responder, and some basics of structure fire fighting, (160 class hours). Although the rules are always changing, at this time all new DOF Forest Rangers are trained up to FF1 as a part of their basic package. More to the point, we are an "all risk" agency because of our constant use of the ICS system, and our training and experience in dealing with high stress/ disaster situations. We get dispatched to flood relief, hurricane or other natural disasters, or any large scale incident. We are all risk because even if the event was totally foreign to us we have first responder training, and the training to implement ICS and help provide the one thing that all large scale incidents need: an organized response.

I hope this clarifies "all risk" I can't perform heart surgery, or stop a tidal wave or whatever else could be the problem, but I have the basic training to address the situation, call for the proper authority, establish a paremeter & to begin to control the incident. (Even if as with hazmat stuff "control" means stay way the heck back and keep everyone else away too!!!

As to the tone of several posts, there are some things better left unsaid. At this time in our country anyone who allows themselves to get sidetracked into PETTY fueds in my eyes is at best a fool and possibly a traitor. Let's lift each other up.

Flash in Fla

09/23 hey all,

someone please explain this argument about all threat fire services. since sept 11, i have been very preoccupied with what happened in the east. is the usfs an all threat service? are they trained to fight structural fire, do vehicle extracation, provide ems service, collapse, confined space rescue and all the other things an all threat service does? i didnt know everyone was trained in this.

the usfs does a great job with wildfires but anything else? please educate me.

i may have misread this whole thing and if i did i apologize.
BC Davis

09/23 From Firescribe,

Teams back east -- here's a good one:


09/23 Jim, you have completely missed the point....

The point is we (the USFS) have been driven to the function of an ALL RISK fire service agency and some have missed the boat. Training and experience has been available. 20 years ago, when I started, there was another agency that had realized you couldn't play "FIREFIGHTER" unless you were a "FIREFIGHTER". They started equipping and training their firefighters as such. That agency was the CDF&FP. Today, most wildland firefighters want to be recognized and paid as firefighters (081 series) but some dont want to be brought into the 21st century. My simple point is that I'm tired of people saying that "its not within our mission". Our mission is simple, "Caring for the Land and SERVING PEOPLE". Think about every statement you say and see if it fits in there. I can't think of any argument that doesn't fit within the "...caring for the people" portion right now. What brought my earlier post was people from within our agency (THE USFS) bitching about why we have people on teams assigned to the east operations... We have THE most highly skilled teams around INCLUDING the military for providing incident management services....

Believe it or not, I KNOW EVERY ONE of the FEMA and congressional mandates for the Forest Service. I was a part of them some 15 years ago. I don't really know what made you think I was high on myself other than the fact that I LOVE THE US FOREST SERVICE, my coworkers, my supervisors and the training that I have been given. And I love the fact that there are many employees who have realized that we must start to perform as an all risk agency as required by mission, charter, mandate, and public concern. How can you champion your cause, when you post a message as such? Its time for you to retire gracefully!!!

In 1985, the Vista Grande Hotshots and Texas Canyon Hotshots were sent to Mexico City. They were actively involved in rescue operations. Today, we have Hotshot crews serving as camp crews. And an operations section chief OPS1 assigned to mopping and laundry duty.... I agree that we must all pitch in... My point obviously was very mistaken by you... I will be happy to discuss in person the realities of ESF 4 with you and how the USFS could really be performing those functions...

God Bless America.....


09/23 Just back from a fire assignment and getting a chance to read over some posts.

I hope we hear clarification from So-Cal Capt.
I have a feeling that those who have posted in response to him don't understand what he's saying. I doubt its primarily about the ops chief, that was just the trigger for him to write in. I think he's saying those of us in FS fire used to deal with only wildland fire but now deal with much more, including medical aids, interface structures, etc etc -- and at the team level with hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, etc and now terrorist attacks. Some of us have the training to do what THE PEOPLE are calling us to do beyond fighting wildland fire and some do not. I remember hearing that the IIMTs have the fastest response time for setting up in an emergency -- faster even than the fastest military response teams.

I'd like to see some more discussion of these issues. This isn't about who gets the "attention" or "credit". I think this is about what the FS mandates are, what we actually are, what we think we are, what the public thinks we are, what the public wants us to be, etc. I'd like to see some of that spelled out in the light of recent events.


09/22 Wow, I am floored by this most recent discussion on FEMA and the Forest Service. I don't think there is any point to a debate about who does what and who gets the credit. The point that seems important is that a number of people from all sorts of agencies (federal, state, local, volunteers, etc.) are working together in both NY and the Pentagon to figure out what the hell to do about each the disaster sites and then to do it. The other point is that there is learning all around, on all sides, about what each person and agency has to offer and how much better they can work together in the future. There was at least one Type I Team in Oklahoma in 91, and there will be many more in NY. Each of these teams has a specific role to play, and each person knows how they fit into the big picture--that's the point of ICS. So, really, who cares if an ops chief is mopping the floor? I thought it was hilarious, and I'm sure he did it because he's the kind of guy who steps in and does whatever needs to get done. Bush, Cheney, and the BLM, USDA, and USFS Chiefs have all been to the Pentagon site--they know who's there and what's getting done.

My heart goes out to everyone in NY and Washington, and especially to the folks who have been digging through the wreckage to find some sign of life, and then carting all of the miscellaneous pieces away for more examination by more people. What a horrendous, horrible, disheartening job. Our people and the folks out east need all the support they can get as they rotate in for their turn. I only wish I could do more, but I'm keeping my eyes open. Please be safe out there and everywhere...


09/22 Our City Firefighters volunteered for a 24 hour drive through $ collection function. They collected over $160,000 during that time. Our City's population is 70,000. The money is going directly to The New York Firefighters 9-11 Disaster Relief Fund. Thank you to all the generous hearts across the country who donated to this fund and many others. Thank you J.E. for starting the process of pin sales. We are eager to submit our orders.


09/22 Here's a link to connect you to some reputable donation sites: www.libertyunites.org/.

When you visit these websites, one thing you should explore is what percent of each donated dollar gets to your intended recipient. Some organizations hold back more than others to cover their "management" expenses. Others have volunteers who donate management time to the organization, which often results in a larger percent "reaching the ground".


09/22 I have just recently returned from the Star fire and am slowly catching up. One thing that I saw that has me completely confounded was an article in yesterday’s SF Chronicle about the firefighters in Berkeley being ordered to remove the large flags from their engines so as to not provoke the “peace” activists. The paper stated that the chief reluctantly ordered the flags off the rigs because he didn’t want his firefighters being distracted by having to fight activists instead of fires. The article went on to state that these ‘peace activists’ were rioting and looting in their anti-war crusade.

Have I missed a page somewhere?? These people are calling themselves peace activists, but their actions are those of ordinary criminals! What justification do they offer for destroying and stealing property? These are not ‘peaceful’ acts and there is no justification; they should not be treated any differently simply because they have mislabeled themselves! Firefighters throughout the nation are flying flags of all sizes in honor of those who lost their lives trying to save others in New York; anyone protesting this show of support by carrying out criminal acts should be immediately thrown in jail. I don’t know what to do other than write a letter of support to the beleaguered chief who had to make that distasteful call — any ideas?

Thanks for letting me get this off my chest—also a big thank you to those who have traveled to the top of the state to fight the Gasquet and Happy Camp Complex. The flag is flying here. Stay safe!


09/22 Hi Ab,

In Reguards to this comment made by SoCal-Capt.

"I feel sad though. I saw a senior Operations Section Chief from a type 1 team mopping the floor on the team site. I am sure that we have folks that could perform more than as a janitor during this national emergency..."

I feel sad for you, being this is a NATIONAL time of disaster, and the need to pull TOGETHER as a NATION, DOING ANYTHING to help out regardless of what the task, regardless of what your training is. No one is above or below, just doing what needs to be done.

As the wife of a Batt Chief, I am very very proud of everything and anything he does, and knowing so many on his type 1 team, and others in the FS, that they would be proud to do what ever they needed to do to help out in this time of Disaster.

A very Proud Wife and American

09/22 To all of my Brother and Sister Wildland Firefighters that have posted thoughtful comments about the WTC Horror and the LODDs that occurred, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. Your thoughts and prayers are very appreciated. We are all Firefighters and are a part of a huge and wonderful family.

DFC (soon to be retired) Boston FD

09/22 RE: PIO making a political comment.

I was there too. I happen to know the PIO was repeating a direct quote verbatim from a newspaper article. The article was bylined from the Copley News Service, which usually leans right.

The PIO was requested by many firefighters for newspaper articles. The remoteness of the camp made getting newspapers difficult. He was merely responding to popular requests.


09/22 AB.

I just wanted to let you know that Nor-Cal IMT #2 was on a fire assignment during the recent terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, and the news filtered in alittle slower there than if we had been home. This team is made up of Fed., State and Local folks and does a great job. During our team dinner (the last night of the assignment) we took a collection for the firefighters and police officers in NY, and from the 36 member team, collected $1,800.00 in one evening. Not bad for abunch of folks who had been in Fire Camp for the past 10 days.

Made me proud just to know them, let alone be part of this team.


09/22 To All

I have decided to front the money to make up 500 pins with our WTC design. The pins will be rectangular in shape and the only wording will be the copyright at the bottom. The cost will be $5.50 to cover shipping. It will take at least 4 weeks to have the pins made. All profits will be divided up between the NY firefighters 9-11 Disaster Relief Fund, NY Police and Fire widows and children benefit fund and an as yet un-named group for the Pentagon folks.

The pins will go on a first come first served basis, and hopefully I won't be stuck with 400 pins left over.

To avoid clogging the WLF bandwidth, please send any questions to ihogman@yahoo.com


09/21 Mellie,

Thanks for putting the site together. Please add Salt Creek and Mt Adams WA to your list. www.fs.fed.us/gpnf. Cam and pictures available.


A link to some cool pics of air ops ferrying crew on the Salt Creek Complex. Ab.

09/21 Here is some current and more accurate information about the International Association of Wildland Fire. Yes, it was reorganized a couple of years ago. It publishes WILDFIRE MAGAZINE and the INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF WILDLAND FIRE and hosts conferences around the world, such as the Safety Summits. It no longer has a bookstore.

It's motto is: "Facilitating communication and providing leadership for the Wildland Fire Community".

The Mission Statement is:

"The IAWF is a non-profit corporation formed to promote a better understanding of wildland fire, and built on the belief that an understanding of this dynamic natural force is vital for natural resource management, for firefighter safety, and for harmonious interaction between people and their environment. The IAWF is dedicated to communicating with the entire wildland fire community and providing global linkage for people with shared interest in wildfire and comprehensive fire management."

The web site for the IAWF is www.iawfonline.org/

The contact information is:
4025 Fair Ridge Drive, Suite 300
Fairfax, Virginia 22033-2868
(804) 833-2955
(804) 326-0838 FAX



TO: Jim RE: FEMA etc. I agree with everything you said except for the part where you said "more folks than you think know about FEMA" --- the media just never seem to note the fact that the femarrhoids cut the checks and it's the firefolks who do the work when a team is dealing with a non-fire disaster. It's FEMA-this and FEMA-that all over the news, but no one ever says or hears that it's our fireboys and firegirls out there doing the support. My guess is that this is two-pronged problem. Number One is that FEMA likes to tell the reporters they're bringing in teams and Number Two is that the teams they bring in don't particularly care to point out that they belong to the BLM or USFS or CDF or BIA or NPS or a state or Kern County or whatever -- and not FEMA. They're there to do the work (!!) and not to hog the credit.

Which brings me to ... perhaps the IO on each team when they're called out could make a special effort to find at least one spiffy reporter to educate on this item.

TO: noname RE: the IMT in No. Cal. RIGHT ON. To anyone else who was there: I'd sure encourage you to run this up the ladder and request repercussions.

TO: Al and Basque RE: airspace restrictions All you need to know and then some is on the tanker pilots board. Check the posts from Our Gal Julie Stewart.

TO: Mur RE: the memorial design and why it won't be a pin: I got a note from Vicki Minor, the director of the Wildland Firefighter Foundation (the one that's sending pins on behalf of wildland firefighters to FDNY), and she said she just got a check for $5000 from the Crescent H Ranch and Indian Paintbrush subdivision in Wilson, Wyoming. They said they were making the contribution in honor of the firefighters who saved their homes and especially the IC (Carvelho) on the Green Knoll Fire. WOW.

and to JIM re: Operations Chief mopping the floor: When I was but a wee lass, I remember the uproar at home when my dad got busted by The Union. He was caught picking up and clearing a bunch of cardboard boxes from the loading dock. The union had a litter of kitties and made it clear that Dad was a management type and couldn't possibly ever do that again - he was required to go find a union guy to do that sort of thing. I do believe it was the first time I ever heard my dad swear.


09/21 You said you would provide a larger picture for T-shirts. Where and how?


09/21 Thanks to Rino, Tom and All for the additional fires to add to the list of CA fires, 2001. I had mostly concentrated on the ones with internet links, but will include the others also. How small shall I go?

Gee, "the shoe" with all the flaming going on here, I'm really glad to hear you aren't "the boot". (And of course I have never criticised the powers-that-be, never ever... <shaking head emphatically> nor have I ever inhaled...)

In all seriousness, I think we all agree this is a stressful time and time to pull together - united against terrorism.

09/21 Lots of apprentice positions open in California - 250 of them. See where they are on the Jobs page.

Also, Series 462 and 455 have been updated.


09/21 Re: the IMT in No. Cal.

Thge fact that the team rotated out before the attack is irrelevent. The FACT is that, no matter what you personally feel about the President (or anyone else for that matter) should be kept to yourself. These people were at work, and at work you keep your mouth shut about politics. The other FACT is that the President is your boss as a federal employee. At work, he deserves respect, not because of a national tragedy, but because he is the Commander in Chief. (Notice the word COMMANDER). An "Incident Commander" would not tollerate being disrespected by a strike team leader, and if this STL had talked to the press about the IC, they would be removed immediately from the incident.

If this, in fact, happened, they should be disiplined plain and simple. Keep your mouth shut about what you "think" and do your job!


09/21 socal capt

I'm glad you are so full of yourself, but maybe if you understood about missions and ESF4 you would know that the USFS is also charged with other ESF missions.

"ESF 4: Fire Fighting. Detecting and suppressing wildland, rural and urban fires. Lead agency: U.S. Forest Service, Department of Agriculture"

ESF2 Communications - Support Agencies
4.The agencies listed below provide the indicated support to ESF #2 efforts under the FRP.

      a.Department of Agriculture, Forest Service

  1. Provide radio communications systems for support of firefighters, law enforcement officers, and disaster response operations;
  2. Provide engineers, technical personnel, and liaison staff to assist the ECS and to maintain the National Interagency Radio Support systems;
  3. Provide National Interagency Radio Support systems for use by damage reconnaissance teams to report information from the disaster area to the DFO, and such other applications as determined by the radio communications coordinator;
  4. Provide a communications officer to accompany radio systems for the purpose of user training and operator maintenance indoctrination; and
  5. Provide additional radio systems required for the establishment of a DFO radio net.

I won't take up any more space with ESF definitions (yada yada), but the USFS has several other support functions. I to am proud of all the folks who have had the chance to serve our country during a disaster. I am also proud of the folks who stayed at home to do the work that allowed me to participate. You might be surprised to know that more folks than you think know about FEMA, and the FRP. Just because a person draws a paycheck does NOT mean they have to run off and do disaster work, one must be trained to do the work. You also don't seem to understand the hierarchy and privates do not tell generals how to do business.

I want to know what you mean by "there are members of our agency (The USDA - Forest Service) that are afraid to perform at the level of their training, experience, and equipment in fear of not "meeting the mission of the agency" and not being supported by the Washington old school FS." Are you saying that USFS employees are afraid to perform when asked? Are you saying that the WO does not support the ESF function?

Lastly, in regards to the Operations Chief mopping the floor. I would opine that he was qualified to do his job and allowed his operations folks to do their job. I also think he is a TEAM player who sees that something needs to be done and has the time to do it. You seem to be hung up on pecking order, but do not understand the team concept.

Ab, sorry for the length.

09/21 A reply to Al's question

As far as I am aware, there is no restriction on aerial fire fighting as of Wednesday (aerial ignition ban lifted) the biggest restriction and problem on the Happy Camp Complex is smoke and the inversion layer, which have left the air assets grounded occasionally.


09/20 Hi, Ab - thank you for all the work you and others did on the pin design and for your email to all of us about why it wouldn't be forged into a pin. It truly is the most beautiful design I've seen on the web or anywhere.

Bless you,

09/21 Ab,

I'd like to point out a little known fact to folks within the Forest Service. The USDA - Forest Service is tasked with a very important national preparedness feature. That feature is coordinating FEMA Emergency Support Function 4, Firefighting. (See earlier posts on IIMT pages). That is, for ALL ESF Function 4 operations within the United States during time of National Emergency, whether it be natural or man made disaster. It has been visible with past operations such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and now.. terrorist acts. The Forest Service provides Interagency Management Teams in support of these functions. There are currently three assigned today in New York and at the Pentagon.

This is not a new operation and has been in effect at least since the mid- 1980's (probably earlier) when I first realized we were tasked for the operation. I noticed this after being assigned to Hurricane Hugo support and looking through some written agency info.

The question comes.... Since we provide this function and are directed by legislation to provide this function during Presidential Proclamation for National Emergencies... why haven't more of our folks been informed and trained... I've known about this for many years (its really easy to look up and find) and I have used it many times in my "discussions" regarding "Thats not within our mission" statements with fellow employees. As an employee in Region 5, I take pride in my knowledge of all-risk operations. I am happy that we have firefighters trained in Heavy Rescue Operations (Rescue Systems 1 and 2) and have some have become instructors for RS1. I also take pride in knowing that we have certified Swiftwater Technicians and Emergency Medical Technicians. I am proud that the Forest Service has been involved in train derailments, medical aids, traffic accidents, search and rescue, law enforcement, disaster relief and support. While these may not be our primary missions, they are the MISSIONS OF EVERY FEDERAL EMPLOYEE who receives a paycheck from the TAXPAYER. I take pride in knowing that I've received the highest level of structural Firefighter certification in the state, as has many other Forest Service Employees..... I ALSO TAKE GREAT PRIDE IN KNOWING that a large number of my peers in the Forest Service (Nation-wide) and other wildland agencies have SIMILAR TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE. I also applaud the National Park Service for putting visitor protection and safety, as well as STRUCTURAL fire protection as part of their mission.

I feel sad though. I saw a senior Operations Section Chief from a type 1 team mopping the floor on the team site. I am sure that we have folks that could perform more than as a janitor during this national emergency..

I feel sad that there are members of our agency (The USDA - Forest Service) that are afraid to perform at the level of their training, experience, and equipment in fear of not "meeting the mission of the agency" and not being supported by the Washington old school FS . For Forest Service folks, our mission is narrow and fairly well understood by the public.... maybe we should stop the BS and look at its true meaning as they do....., and START PERFORMING AS THEY EXPECT...


"Caring for the land, and serving people"
        or should it be....
"SERVING PEOPLE and caring for the land"
Lets start serving the people


09/21 Hey Mellie:

I know the FBAN on Gage's type 1 IMT. He is a computer guru of quite some fame. If I know him, he is probably "testing the envelope" on a few of the Pentagon's computers. HA!

Thanks for a great job on the fires link.

the shoe

09/21 I was recently at a fire in Northern California and found some appalling political rhetoric as part of the evening briefing. <snip> The first member was the teams PIO who used the podium to get bad mouth our Commander in Chief. I was VERY disgusted to hear a team member slander the President of The United States of America in front of more than 200 people. The buck did not stop there. Only a few days later the Incident Commander himself got up on the stage and followed suit.

I do not care to work with or support a team that uses their briefings to get up in front of a bunch of people to bad mouth the President...no matter what party he belongs to! The members of that team, specifically the ones mentioned, should be ashamed of themselves! I have never seen an IC set such a bad example. Nor do I appreciate the PIO using their position in that manner. These are not the kind of people we need to represent us in front of the media, public or other professionals.

I am sure those members will read this. You know who you are. You should resign your post as PIO and IC. These were the most unprofessional acts that I have ever seen in a fire camp. PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH!!

A concerned Patriot

A clarification and perspective: This Ab has determined that the <snip> team the writer refers to had rotated off its fire assignment prior to the terrorist attack on 9/11. Since that unifying event, I don't think many people have criticized our President. I know I haven't and I've certainly been known to criticize Presidents in the past. Ab.

09/20 Here are some prelim #'s of loses to FDNY: Firefighters from 26 Njines, 27 Trk's, 19 Special Ops Apparatus & 41 Chief Officers are missing (presumed deceased).

113 pieces of apparatus including Chief Officers' vehicles


09/20 Hey all,

Here's a quote I heard on NPR today in speaking of the NYC firefighters which needed to be shared.

"these guys ran up the stairs, thought they were fighting a fire, turned out they were fighting a war..."

Stay safe (& think...)


09/20 Vinnie,

The International Association of Wildland Fire (IAWF) is a professional association of scientists, managers, and others interested in wildland fire. IAWF publishes a journal and other information. The IAWF was reorganized several years ago, so be wary of obsolete web sites. The best may be http://www.uni-freiburg.de/fireglobe/literature/iawf.php

Puffin II

09/20 Two newly formed interagency hotshot crews are assigned to the NY disaster, the Midewin Hotshots from Illinois and the Augusta Hotshots from Virginia:

Forest Service and NIFC support recovery efforts in New York and Washington, D.C.


(Note: This came in ..."The Augusta Hotshots are from Virginia, NOT Georgia. They're from the George Washington/Jefferson NFs"... Ab sez, We took the liberty of correcting Firescribe's post. It seems there's an error in the article.)

09/20 Does anyone know who or what the "International Association of Wildland Fire" is? Is it a for profit private entity or what? Vinnie
09/20 I have heard that the current airspace restrictions are making fighting fire more difficult. There's even a news article on it --- check via the current wildlandfire news link. Does anyone know first hand how air ops is being affected? We had 3+ tankers and a slew of helos on the small lightning bust fires in nor Calif but I didn't get to ask.

The Gasquet Fire in the Smith River NRA went from 30 to 130+ acres yesterday. Hopefully cooler temps and moist air predicted for the weekend will help. Watch out for falling snags. They're everywhere.


09/20 ALL: my best wishes for succesful results in this fire business> Folk who have responded to the rescue & recovery efforts in DC & NYC, you are involved in an incredibly arduous job - our hearts and prayers are with you - safe return! Lest anyone forget those fighting wildland fires or mop up - be safe!


09/20 There seems to be some folks who don't have all the info about the upcoming Wildfire Safety Summit in Missoula on November 6-8, 2001.

It the 5th Annual Safety Summit, sponsored by the International Association of Wildland Fire; earlier Safety Summits were held in British Columbia, Washington State, Sydney Australia, and Edmonton, Alberta.

The Safety Summit is truly international in scope: previous Summits have had attendees from China, Spain, Portugal, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the U.S., as well as other countries.

Attendees include firefighters; former firefighters; wannabee firefighters; fire managers; fire vendors; fire researchers; media interested in wildfire; politicians interested in wildfire; literally, anyone who wants to come is welcome!!

The Safety Summit is NOT about sitting and getting lectured to from a podium: an important aspect of the previous 4 Safety Summits has been the "breakout sesions" every afternoon when ALL attendees are encouraged to meet and interact with presenters to discuss ways to remedy fire safety problems.

Keep in mind: this is NOT just a U.S. Fire Safety Summit: while the U.S. is a major player on the world fire scene, there are many nations represented with a variety of situations to discuss.

This year's IAWF Wildfire Safety Summit in Missoula is co-sponsored by the Interior West Fire Council, the NWCG Safety & Health Working Team, and the USFS Fire Safety Group.

For specifics on the conference and registration information, look up www.umt.edu/ccesp/wfs/

09/19 How do we get info on the Missoula seminar? and is it open to the public or do you have to be a card carrying FF? I would really like to hear the info on the shelters......


09/19 Hi All,

I made us a links page of California fires, 2001, that also has some Washington and Oregon fires on it. The WA and OR ones I include have nice internet records and photos, mostly from Stutler's PNW Team 3. I am indebted to Doug Parker (Team3) who had an internet vision and took me under his wing in Willow Camp on the Big Bar incident. He showed me the magic that Kelly Andersson had created on the F&AM links page. It was rich with the variety and the sense of community that fire is. Doug stressed the need for a historical record. It was so clear then that times they were a changing.

My interest in creating this page was to provide links to photos and maps, dates and sizes of the incidents arranged geographically within CA. No such complete organized archival records are available yet in any region. For simplicity sake, I divided the list based on who was reporting - F&AM or CDF. I may try to integrate them north to south or alphabetically by name.

Where photos were available outside of F&AM and CDF, I included links to those photo sites also. Some are County Fire, some are private such as Moss's page of the Oregon Fire at Weaverville or Grayback's collection of photos on the Quartz Creek Fire. Some national forest links to this summer's fires, rich with information, no longer exist. I had collected urls for the Lassen NF's Devil Fire site and the Shasta-T NF's Big and Hyampom Fire sites. These have since been taken down. If anyone knows the urls where these historical records can be accessed, please send them to Ab and he'll send it on to me. If anyone knows of any other fire photo sites, please let me know that too. There are BLM managed fires that I had no info on. Anyone have links to those incidents or photos? (I prefer sites that are likely to remain up and available. Ab tells me it's a pain to monitor for broken links.)

So Firefighters! Take a look at all we did and are doing this fire season in CA, WA and OR! Doesn't include some additional considerable efforts on IA, but it's substantial. To all who worked on the fires of 2001, whether in CA or elsewhere - THANKS. Let's give ourselves a pat on the back. We deserve it.

Happy browsing.

Many thanks, Mellie. Interesting project. I gave it a home on the links page under miscellaneous. Ab.

09/19 L. Anderson from MTDC is scheduled to present an update of the shelter project at the upcoming Wildfire Safety Summit, at 9:45 a.m. on Nov. 6 in Missoula, Montana. Who goes to these conferences? Managers? Firefighters? The Public?


09/19 I am not defending CDF decision not to play 310-1 but socalcapt's comments are not completely accurate. CDF deems you qualified for a position IF you have had the training and IF your supervisor and the Emergency Resources committee in each Ranger Unit approve your listing as qualified in MIRPS. HOWEVER trainee assignments and task books are still required for rating as Division/Group Supervisor and ALL the aviation positions.


09/19 Hello Ab,

Thanks for your help getting me employees. I had one sucessful contact.
I am now looking to get some work in the fall doing some prescribed burning here in the Western U.S.
If you could post something along these lines I would appreciate it. Edit / improve at will.
Thanks again for your help

Type-6 Engine w/ qualified Engine Boss available for prescribed burning assignments.
Much experience in Rx burning w/ NPS.
Scott Love

09/18 Hi everybody, great site! Did you all know that all local resources have been released from the Star Fire except Bridger Fire, from Montana? The Star Fire command seems to prefer bringing in out of state, very high priced Contractors instead of using some of the local qualified contract engines. This an afront to local Region 5 Contractors.

Whomever made the decision to not hire locally should reaquaint themselves with the National Mob. Guide and Region 5 directives to hire locally. This is politically INCORRECT!



The Jobs page, Series 462 and Series 455 are updated.


09/18 To Confused:
On incidents that CDF is involved with, they do a "Green Sheet" review of vehicle accidents, injuries, and fatalities. These are not to point blame, but to analyze what went wrong and let everyone know why it happened. Some take longer to get out because of the extensive nature of the investigation and the possibility of criminal action against the person(s) who caused the fire or allowed it to get away. Check with local CDF folks and see if they will let you review some. California OES Fire Engines are staffed by personnel from fire departments that want the unit to use in their districts. The department or district must staff the unit and send it out when there is an OES call out. It is tough to determine the experience levels of crews or strike team leaders as they are sent out from different parts of the State. Firescope is working on a qualification system for all firefighters in the State (yep, sounds like red cards, except all risk fire/emergency skills will be listed).

To Ab and the Wildland Fire Staff:
Your pin design is a fitting tribute to the sacrafice of our brothers and sisters who went forth to do what they are trained to without a second thought about their own safety. It is also very appropriate to the memorialize the victims of this horrific attack.

God Bless you, our fellow firefighters and the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

Fyr Eater

09/18 I've been catching up with theysaid, following the back-and-forth early in the month and have these responses to moc4546:

On the one hand, I want to say:
MOC, simmer down, just read one of your posts of the month. With our team, 85% of the trainee positions are filled with local agency folks--- The FEDS arent against you.. We need you on our teams .... we just want to make sure everyone mets 310-1....

On the other hand, I want to say:
Right on.... Your comments earlier in the month directly hit the problem in California right now... The problem isn't retirements, new hires, etc... the problem is using folks that aren't trained and qualified for positions.... In California, we (the Federal teams) use local government firefighters to fill ICS positions on national and local teams (type 1 and type 2).. The local government and Federal folks are REQUIRED TO MEET 310-1 and FS handbook direction and most have been on teams for several years.

CDF folks aren't required. Once they take the training or are in a position of supervision, it's assumed they are qualified. Thats the problem. If CDF is a player with NWCG, then they should meet 310-1. The State has adopted 310-1 uniformly (Federal and Local) with the exception of CDF....

CDF-BC -- How come CDF doesn't want to play by the same rules, even though the state has adopted 310-1 as the standard?


09/18 I have been following your postings since I learned that someone I grew up with was deployed to fight the wildland fires. He has been in my thoughts and prayers constantly.

As I read on, day to day I have begun to realize just how courageous and patriotic firefighters are on a daily basis. I admit that I probably took their daily acts of heroism for granted, as I have never been faced with tragedy involving fire, and I possibly do not understand their courage and dedication, but most of all their willingness to put their own lives in jeopardy. Firefighters bring to mind the Archangel St. Michael, protecting us from the "assaults of the demon" and "assisting at the hour of our death."

I just want to take this time to say you are truly our American Heroes, and to thank you for your dedication and caring. I am sorry that it took tragedy for me personally to realize that you are all truly Angels here on earth.


Do you know the whereabouts of the men in Alabama Interagency No. 1? I would like to know if they all made it home safely or if they are still at work on the fires.


09/18 Interesting that nothing was done with this information. It's kind of like where we are today with the fire shelter situation.



http://www.rand.org/nsrd/terrpanel/terror2.pdf Ab sez, this is a large pdf file. Might take 7 min or more to download.

09/18 I went looking for info on the teams that are in the east. Thanks Ab for posting these Type I IIMTs on the links page under federal.

If you look at Gage's CIIMT 3 you'll find some info on what they're doing in Washington DC. Stutler's Pacific Northwest Team 3 which is across the river in NJ has a bit of info on the twin towers relief in lower Manhattan and on their function. They also have a link to photos put up by Bateman's Southwest Team.

It's nice to have the info a comfort to know they're helping with all their focus and attention to detail. I hope they're keeping the FBAN busy with some non-fire tasks! (grin)

09/17 Wildland FF,

Remember to stay heads up. Fire season is not over in northern CA. There were more than 30 fires burning on the Six Rivers NF from Gasquet and Orleans on down south. We had lightning like you wouldn't believe. Last I heard early afternoon Gasquet had only 17 still burning. Thanks to the crews that stayed focused and picked a lot of them up at less than 1/2 acre on IA.

There are also quite a few fires on the Klamath NF, including one that is 100+ acre described in the sit rep. Many of these fires are in remote areas and in tough terrain. Fuel loading is high and the woods are dry.

Thanks to you helo folk out there. We appreciate your bucket support.

Be safe,

09/17 Just a quick reminder of the upcoming Wildfire Safety Summit scheduled for November 6-8, 2001 in Missoula, Montana USA. If you register before October 1st, you save $50 on the registration fee.

For specific information on the conference, and to register online, check www.umt.edu/ccesp/wfs/

Dick Mangan


Memorial 2001


Hello All, Here's our logo/pin design again with a copyright note added at the bottom. Click on the thumbnail image for the full-sized version.

After much discussion, we have decided not to go ahead and personally produce this as a pin that we will sell, although we think the idea and the benefits to New York firefighters a worthy one.

The reasons are several:
We're pleased to learn that 2000 of the Wildland Firefighter Foundation's purple ribbon pins are being sent to the New York City Fire Department as a tribute from wildland firefighters to New York brothers and sisters. This is a thoughtful and generous message of solidarity and support from our wildland fire community. We want to thank those involved in this decision. (We also hope our readers do not forget to support families of our wildland firefighters - both groundpounders and air attack personnel who have died this year.)

In addition, there are numerous nonprofit organizations that are accepting contributions for New York firefighters and others who died in the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. We do not need to create another funding conduit. We urge you to contribute.

Along with our decision not to produce this pin ourselves, we've decided this ribbon image should be released to all who want to use it, provided the copyright info at the bottom is kept with the image. We hope some of you, your families, or friends are inspired to use it in fund raising in your communities. If money is made from this design, we hope that any profit will go to support families of those who died.

We will also provide a larger version of the design for use on T-shirts.

Thanks to those who caught a glimpse of the vision and contributed to its creation. From those of us involved, our wholehearted support goes with it. May the image and solidarity it represents circle the globe.


09/17 Something that says it all.......... eagle


We have printed this photo eagle collage in thumbnail form because we do not know the author or whether it is copyright. It has come to us in two e-mails and is being used in powerpoint presentations in its full size. If anyone knows more about its origins, please tell us. Ab.

09/16 Ab,

That is one beautiful design!!! Out of all of the tribute images I've seen this week, that is the one that I would want on my blouse. Please keep us informed on what is happening.

Also, how about an image large enough for printing out to place in windows?

God Bless America and May We All Be Strong

09/16 Ab

I am impressed with the idea for a pin with the proceeds going to a firefighter fund. I have printed out numerous images of your design and they are showing up around my office (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Region 5 Office) and today I have produced stickers and passed them out where my wife and I eat breakfast on Sunday mornings. Everyone is in love with the design and idea and want more. I would be happy to produce anything that I can.......stickers, T-shirts, etc with your permission. I have done similar projects like this before. All I need to know is any changes, text (if needed), to whom the proceeds will be going specifically and where to send them. I have resources to pull from to help with this project and would be happy and proud to be the "Northeast Representative" if you would like. We have already donated our tax refund to the Red Cross and still are looking for more things we can do to help. This thing is bigger than we all have imagined so far. It will take some time to realize it. We are all only one or two people away from this tragedy, including myself. We have lost a Refuge Manager and my very close friend (firefighter) has lost 7 of his brother firefighters. Our thoughts, hearts and prayers go out to all.



09/16 This came in from Firescribe yesterday: Wildland Firefighters to FDNY - from us to you

Interagency incident team heads to New York

Ab sez, if you read the sit report (Links Page), you find that Stutler's PNW Team 3 is in NJ, Bateman's Southwest Team is is in upper Manhattan, and Gage's CIIMT 3 is in Washington DC.

09/16 The Wildland Firefighter Foundation will be sending 2000 of its purple ribbon pins to the New York City Fire Department as a tribute from wildland firefighters to their New York brothers and sisters.



09/16 First of all, My condolences to our Brothers and Sisters in N.Y., and their Families and loved ones also. I was on the STAR FIRE in Northern California, when we recieved the news over the radio. My crew was preparing to head into camp for breakfast, and we all sat in our crew van, unsure if what we were hearing was actually possible. As the morning led on, we were finding ourselves making out of the ordinary mistakes, and staring blindly into the smoke filtered sun. The events that took place just hours before were finally setting in, leaving very few unaffected.

We were assigned to Mop-Up and were prepared to tackle the task at hand, yet something fell over the Fire that morning and everything changed. We lost motivation, and continued to think about our fallen Structural Brothers and Sisters, and the possibility that we may even have loved ones there ourselves.

The hike up the P-Line was slow and tough that morning. We had covered maybe a 1/4 mile, and encountered some very difficult terrain. I was about mid-pack, and took a step and twisted my knee, sending me to the ground in agonizing pain. At that very moment, I realized that it doesn't matter if you are best friends with all 20 members of your crew. The support that my crew showed me in the next 3 hours was amazing. It took 3 hours for EMT's and other Rescue personnel to rig a rope system and gather the appropriate gear to get me off of that mountain, and other than those that had continued up the hill to the Cat-Line, to begin the days work, my Crew stayed by my side until I was well on my way to the hospital.

I apologize for getting off of the subject at hand, but we all need to realize that within seconds, everything can change, and the person that you swing your fire-tool next to, whether you really like them or not, may need your help someday. My belief is that within the Firefighting Community, we are all equals, all assigned to serve the same basic purpose: To put the fire out, and save lives when needed.

I have since been released from the fire due to my knee injury and I sit at home wishing that: 1) I was with my crew up on the hill, helping make a difference, and 2) that there was something that I could do to help our Fellow Firefighters in New York.

Please, in these times of hardship, remember that whether you are Structural, Wildland, or Volunteer.........WE ARE ALL FIREFIGHTERS!!!! Wear your colors proudly, don't be afraid to cry, and when you see a Brother or Sister Firefighter, please let them know that they are appreciated! My Flag is flying for ALL of you !

" Hazel-Hoe"
Wildland Firefighter Type-2

09/16 Check www.firehouse.com for a really thorough rundown of info on the NY recovery scene.


09/16 Forget for a moment who trained bin Laden. Forget for a moment what was done and by whom. Listen for a moment to a comment made by a Fox News commentator as he was speaking of the Firefighters and the Police.



09/16 I have the S-290 CD rom for sale.......multiple user/student capable.....very good package... believe it's 150.00 from Uncle Sam...I'll sell and ship for 75.00 split it with your buddies.


09/14 Good morning AB's and all,

A few thoughts come to mind I need to throw out to you all.
May God bless us all. We will go through changes in our lives in the next years that only folks like my Father (75 yrs young) has seen before.

Here's a link of links for making a difference:
Terrorist Attacks on U.S. - How can you help? Donate cash, emergency relief information http://dailynews.yahoo.com/fc/US/Emergency_Information/

I love the Pin, I searched my local Walmart yesterday for some red/white&blue ribbon but it was not to be found. It seems to be a seasonal thing.

To Confused; What near miss involving OES Eng's are you referring to ? What Fire ? I was on the Poe Incident the night they sent local gov. Eng's down Yankee Hill Rd. Some of us were sent down Red Rock Rd. It was an UGLY spot! Approx. 10 min after we were ordered down the Red Rock Rd. to do structure protection, we were Spotted around and ordered out. High winds, Flashy fuels, Low RH, Etc. We ran the Gauntlet getting out of there. Lots of fire over the road Etc...

1 of the Eng's on our strike team along with 2 Eng's from Sac. County were trapped down the hill from us on a structure. They fired out a Safety Zone and suffered only from frayed nerves and a 9:10 on the Pucker Factor Scale. No singed hair or blistered paint. All are fine. They were stuck in there for approx. 4-5 hrs till daylight and then made their way out via the road. I consider this a near miss. I was surprised that a Debriefing session was not held. I was surprised at the original order to go down Red Rock Road.

May God bless us all,

09/14 Having read a number of comments I thought I would add my two cents. I believe that each FF is responsible for his or her own safety and whatever management scheme is being used to manage the fire it must be one that supports the FF with timely fire behavior information and a complete understanding of the chosen strategy or tactics outlined verbally in IA situations and written in an extended attack campaign. To this end I instruct my crews to provide for LCES prior to taking IA actions. I give them permission to ask questions and to continue to ask questions of line supervisors and others when the assignment given lacks proper safety mitigations and FF safety is compromised.

Now for the real life side of the application...... Nationwide our on the ground experience levels are unacceptable. We must, as agencies, provide longer lengths of employment and engage our people in fuel reduction programs (slash burns). We need to offer a minimum of 10 months of solid employment yearly so we can build experience levels on our engine and hand crews. We spend big bucks each year training new recruits only to spend more the next year training replacements. As part of a succession plan we need to create more candidates with real life line experiences. Classroom training is like using helicopters to drop water on the fire with no ground resources to hold the line. My most valuable training came at the hands of the old timers. They taught me what to do, from line location to checking your sandwich for bees before biting into it. As I got hooked on the fire drugs (smoke, flame and friendships) I also learned they had shown me what not to do. Don't read this the wrong way. I support classroom training and simulations but this alone can't provide the knowledge skill and ability levels so urgently needed at all levels of every wild land fire agency.

Closing thoughts on FF safety
At 19 I thought I could IA each fire successfully and defined success in acres loss/saved. At 48 my fire actions are confined to IC and OSC duties and I define success by getting everyone home safely. You younger FF'S are quickly becoming the next generation of supervisors and managers. You will have an opportunity to make changes and this will be your history and as a great IC once said
" Men, as long as we are making history let's do it right"

As humans we have the power to decide, to make choices. Each of us must be willing to state what we are willing or unwilling to do. This is what I'm willing to do:

  • I will not unduly risk my life for a forest or brush field, but I will risk my life for another human.
  • I will not ask others to do what I'm unwilling to do, instead I will lead by example.
  • I will not miss a chance to have fun but I will cry each time a FF dies.

For my structural brothers and sisters and the FDNY -
FTM EGH Class of 72

09/14 Just a quick note to anyone that is considering making the trip to NY to help in the rescue and recovery, please wait.

Right now the folks there are being over run with volunteers. They will need the help but not right at this moment. It has turned into a logistical nightmare for those in charge. If anyone wants to offer assistance, contact FEMA or your home state emergency response agency. The biggest problem being encountered is that specialized teams have been ordered but then have to be cancelled due to the influx of volunteers. They will need much more help but in a manner in which it can be managed. For now let those in charge know that you are available, say a prayer for those that have lost their lives, their families and our fallen brothers.

Your offer to assist has not gone unnoticed and I am sure that many of us will be called on before this is done....


09/14 Ab -- good job on the pin and thank you for letting me in. NOTE: We have two type I IHC'c supporting the recovery efforts. Actually they 2 of the new ones. (The IHC's that were created from national fire plan funds.)
>From Midewin, IL and Augusta, GA. -- Heck of an exercise.

On another note, it's real hard to sit here in Boise and not be able to help out in my home town. I think though, that forums like "they said," and other venues - like taking time while at our desks to just call brothers and sisters in the fire community and vent, share, and open up to them -- if only for a few moments -- is not only a good thing to do - but a right and necessary thing to do. This tragedy has shaken us all. I think about "look up, look down, look around" and this picture of being in the center of the rubble comes into my head. Unfathomable. Bros, Sisters - take the time to call a friend - tell 'em you love em. We are shoulder to shoulder - hand to hand - and heart to heart. Let's give each other the strength we will need to carry on when it all sinks in.

thanks Ab --

CJ Appy

09/14 From Firescribe, a link to the story of one engine company:

And a warning about scam artists:

09/14 Harrison Ford carries a positive image. Goldie Hawn certainly understands prejudice and I believe is still a powerful force. Ron Howard would have all the contacts needed. Steven Spielberg has a strong interest in our nations struggles throughout wars.....as does Tom Hanks.

If he wanted to, Bill Gates could probably buy a pin factory and dedicate it to making these full time until Thanksgiving.....for all I know he might already own the equipment needed.

My thinking is that the government can provide all kinds of money......but it won't have the world impact as if our citizens show a special unity, and have the opportunity to show their generosity.

On a related issue I fear a growing animosity towards our citizens of islamic heritage, and that would be a tragedy. We shamed ourselves with the internment of Americans of Japanese heritage during WW II, singling them out while Americans of German and Italian backgrounds joined our armies. Let's not repeat this dark moment in our history.

Old Fire Guy

09/14 To all who are in N.Y. and D.C. there are literally thousands of firefighters who wish they were there to help. My wife and I have decided to give a portion of our tax return to the fund for the fallen. The pin is a super idea let us know when they are available and I am sure our Dept. will buy it's share. To all who serve and defend this great nation God Bless You. But most of all GOD BLESS AMERICA.

To the brave souls on the aircraft that made a stand and didn't let it get to it's target, to me that is the American Spirit. It's all so sad but the great acts of heroism come shining through like the torch of freedom.


09/14 Great job on the "pin". My thanks to all who contributed.


09/14 A Tribute

Brother when you weep for me
Remember that it was meant to be
Lay me down and when you leave
Remember I'll be at your sleeve
In every dark and choking hall
I'll be there as you slowly crawl
on every roof in driving snow
I'll hold your coat and you will know
In cellars hot with searing heat
At windows where a gate you meet
In closets where young children hide
You know I'll be there at your side
The house from which I now respond
Is overstaffed with heroes gone
Men who answered one last bell
Did the job and did it well
As firemen we understand
That death's a card dealt in our hand
A card we hope we never play
But one we hold there anyway
That card is something we ignore
As we crawl across a weakened floor
For we know that we're the only prayer
For anyone that might be there
So remember as you wipe your tears
The joy I knew throughout the years
As I did the job I loved to do
I pray that thought will see you through


09/13 Memorial 2001

This is a pin or logo design that a number of our community members at wildlandfire.com have created and have been working on today. This image has emerged in record time. Last night Ab asked for image ideas on a design with red, white and blue "ribbon" with the twin towers in the middle. Jim put it together with flag, pentagon and a photo Hunter sent Mellie of the New York skyline. Old Fire Guy made the suggestion about raising the flag and added some comments about marketing and how to do this big enough to make it a grand offering of support. Mike and Mellie made some suggestions about reducing the size of the twin towers so as not to obscure the flag. Bob said we needed to lighten the towers to tan. The image you see has evolved over the course of the day under Jim's deft touch.

This was a group effort of the best sort. Thanks everyone! It's clear that this image is developing a life of its own. It seems that people want a pin they can buy, the proceeds going to the ny firefighter's fund.

We are exploring costs and funding and perhaps finding a celebrity to participate. We'll continue to explore and see what comes of this.


09/13 First e-mail:

Re: Artwork suggestion.
Beautiful. Maybe raise the flag so not obscurred by towers?.....or heck leave it as is. Wish I had the artistry and software some of you have.

Want to make this a really BIG thing? Have 1 - 1 1/2" pins made. Get civic organizations (lions, kiwanis, elk, eagles, vfw etc.) to distribute on the street. $5 donation to victims fund. Get artwork and ask every pin manufacturer to cut manufacture price by 1/2, expedite production. Get the endorsement of Congressmen, celebrities. Show the world that the previous benefit concerts, marches etc. were minor by comparison. Pick a special day for distribution.....Columbus day? Thanksgiving? Emphasize this as a united national effort with all donations to the victims.

Old Fire Guy

09/11 As I read the posts, there has been a tremendous outpouring of sympathy and support for our brothers in the fire service, and others who lost their lives in the attack in New York city. As wildland firefighters, we my think that we are somewhat separated from the pain and loss of loved ones that our brethren have experienced on the East coast. Today I received a message informing me that a wildland firefighter in Washington State lost his mother in the attack on the pentagon. If you spent time in Washington this summer you may have worked alongside him. We are all closer to the tragedy than we may think, please keep our brother, his family amd all who experienced a loss in your thoughts and payers.


09/11 Hey Ab(s)

Stutler's Type 1 Team mobing tonight (9/13-14) to NJ. A buying team from the Southwest is going tomorrow (9/14). My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the FDNY and NYPD killed in the line of duty and victims' families who are suffering such agony. America will persevere and we will have justice.

Old R5'er

Our best wishes go with you all. Ab.

09/13 Ab-

How about a printable version of that ribbon?

Ol' Dawg

We're exploring that. Ab.

09/13 We are working to get more prescribed burns in our area. Many of our native prairies and grazing lands are being invaded by eastern red cedar. Fire is the best way to control these invasive species and so it is our hope that we can set up several private operations in the area that will work towards offering prescribed burns as a service.

Obviously one of the major issues that private businesses have to deal with is liability. Do you have any information on liability insurance or other means of dealing with liability? Also do you have any information on cooperatives that work with prescribed burns?

Any help would be appreciated.

Tom Buman
Agren, Inc.

09/13 Hi all

With shock, horror and disgust I have watched the recent events unfold of the cowardly attacks on the country, and the rest of the world.

The measure of a country is not how well it does in the good times but how it bands together in it's darkest hours.

I look on with pride as I hear that there is a problem of getting the rescue workers to go off shift, and wish I could there to help.

Being stuck on the west coast it is impossible to get there to help, but I (and other members of my VFD) are scheduled to give blood on Friday (we would be giving blood earlier but that was as soon as they could get us in, there is that many people) It is a small measure of help I know, but ......

The hardest thing I find is my 10 year old son repeatedly asking "WHY" (yes we have that in hand)

Be Safe

09/13 Just posing the question why when a CDF incident management team has a burn-over or near miss we don't seem to hear all that much about it. From the sit. report on Mon. it mentioned something about these OES engines that were apparently destroyed. If we are supposed to be learning lessons from what people have done wrong or are doing wrong then they need to come clean with some details even if they are preliminary.


09/13 Hey Ab, just heard a report that five Firefighters have been found in the rubble alive. They were possibly in a vehicle. Lets pray that the report is correct and that more good news is coming.


09/13 What a great job on the New York Ribbon. I am no computer expert so is there a possibility that the memorial pic that Jim and Hunter did such a great job on can be placed on the wallpaper page so it can be downloaded to and forwarded to all the people we possibly know. To Sammi I would say,

Sammi we are Americans. We are the greatest nation ever known to mankind. We as Americans will never be defeated. We will always STAND TALL and bow down to NO ONE. The Japanese commanders in WWII stated that "I fear all we have done is awaken a sleeping giant". Well,"THE GIANT HAS AWAKENED ONCE MORE". America will come through this just fine. Although this did happen during our generation, Americans have suffered much worse in the past. I don't think that any of those that have any responsibility for these acts of war against Americans will come through so well. Americans are generally a people of big hearts as you are. But now the hearts are broken and the American people are mad. "Hell has no wrath compared to that of pissed off Americans" . The Americans are now "REALLY" pissed off. Those that have done this will have nowhere to hide. Sammi, I have full faith in our President in this matter. Those that have even the slightest involvement will pay dearly. No matter what he President decides to do, we can no longer allow our families and children to die at the hands of madmen. America will continue to stand tall and be the greatest nation on earth. It is the people of America that make it that way. There are no greater people. Fly the Flag and be proud to be an American.

We have lost some of our brothers in Fire and Law Enforcement. Lets keep them in our hearts as we do all New Yorkers at this time. To all the families of those firemen, we cry with you and you have our love and support. As the one Fireman said on CNN, "WE WOULDN'T HAVE IT ANY OTHER WAY".


09/13 update on sit here on the east coast....

At the present there are three type I teams enroute to help with logistics. There are thousands of volunteer firefighters responding to NY to help in the digging. Presently the situation in VA is doing as well as can be expected, plenty of help and support. Wish it were the same for NY...

Its going to be weeks and weeks getting to the bottom of the carnage, and finding all of our lost brothers... say a prayer for all of us.. on my way to NY in the next day or two, and a message to our country, we will overcome this, it will just take a very, very long time, ..God bless our fallen brothers.....


09/12 Dear Ab and ALL FIREFIGHTERS,

The events of the past few days have been shocking and devastating to say the least. The losses to our firefighting brethren is unbelievable and my prayers go out to their families and the other victims families. I was watching a TV broadcast this evening interviewing a firefighter in NYC. I do not know how the context came up but the firefighter being interviewed said "being a firefighter is the best job in the world". The next question was "After the events of the last few days how do you feel?". He answered " This makes it even better." I do not know if my quotations are completely accurate, but that is what I thought I heard. Those statements impacted me deeply. I am normally a lurker here, reading everyone else' s statements. What I know now is that all the petty arguments about who is better, Hotshots vs. type 2, smokejumpers vs. hotshots, CDF vs. FS, wildland vs. structural, all these disagreements mean nothing now. We have lost members of the firefighting community. As firefighters we accept the risks of our profession but are never truly ready to face a tragedy such as this, but we must continue doing our jobs. Whether it be structural or wildland, volunteer or paid we are tasked to protect the people, structures and land within the United States. Let's all pull together as a firefighting community during this tragedy and lend support to our nation. God Bless America.

R8 Fire Guy

09/12 Ab and Indiana Dan,

The magnitude of what has happened is just sinking in for many of us. I believe many of us in the fire community want express thanks and condolances to our brothers and sisters in FDNY and their families. Would it be possible to set up a establish a section in They Said for such messages and perhaps at some point have these sent to a FDNY representative? Perhaps something like that would provide a forum for the firefighting community to express our thoughts and begin the healing process, I understand from friends in the Critical Incident Management field that things like this also provide support and a part of the healing process for family and co-workers. Just a suggestion. As hard as it may be we need to keep our heads in the game folks. Stay alert, our season isn't done yet.

Ol' Fire Dawg

We'd be willing to do a page for people to post their condolences, prayers and thoughts. Abs.

09/12 Ab,

You could include the ribbon graphics on the they said page as a symbol from all the posters.


We could put a memorial ribbon on the top of the theysaid table. Does anyone have one that's appropriate? I only have the wildland firefighter ribbon. What would be ideal is a red/white/blue ribbon surrounding the twin towers. I have a pic of the NY skyline sent in by one of our community. Could anyone work with that and a ribbon to make a tribute image? Ab.

09/12 Ab and all concerned-

I'm sure there will be many messages pertaining to the terrorist attack yesterday, and I know that this is a forum for wildland firefighting, but please let me speak a piece that I've been thinking about ever since I heard about the collapse and feared the worst.

As a structure vollie who is redcarded, I've been able to see both types of fire. Let me be the first to tell you who may not realize it that we are all brothers in the fight against the dragon. The FDNY firefighters who have lost their lives because of this are kin to all of us here. I don't know if you all realize it or not, but when a wildland firefighter or aviator dies, it is listed right along with the other LODD's in Fire Engineering magazine. We *ARE* family!

Sure, at times, we may not get along, but in the end, we all have one common goal. We see this 'not getting along with one another' almost every day here on this forum, but I would like to think that we all realize that no matter what our differences, we accomplish our goal.

Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say is everyone who has ever fought fire of any sort probably feels very close to those who are now gone. There will be many more bricks added in Emmitsburg because of this attack, and I will be feeling that much more sadness when they are.

Is there any way that we, as a forum, can show our support for those who are gone? Anyone have suggestions? Possibly the 'Abs' could get together and discuss this....

Everyone stay safe and alert!

Indiana Dan

Thanks Dan. We're all still reeling and watching the reports... Anyone have any suggestions? For the 4 wildland firefighters, we closed theysaid and firechat during the memorial service, posted a ribbon and asked people to take the time to reflect. What might we do in this case? Any ideas, Community? The Abs.

09/12 For those going east.

If you're going to be on the ground, take protective eye gear. Rescuers are being treated for corneal abrasions (scratches on their eyeballs) due to blowing dust.

Be safe.

09/12 The situation report is up and can be accessed through the links page. It tells which two Incident Management teams are going east and which one is being readied in addition. There are also new wildfires. For information on who makes up these Incident Management Teams and their histories, you can check our Type 1 teams page. All three teams have websites. For future reference, you can access this teams page link on our links page under Federal Agencies.

Our thoughts and prayers are with families and friends of those who have died and those who continue to deal with this terrible event. It is in times like this that we realize how close our fire circle is.

Be safe All.

09/12 As all of you are already aware,we have lost many brothers in this terrorist attack.I am trying to help us remember our lost with the wearing of the International Fallen Firefighters Memorial ribbon which consists a red and blue ribbon joined in a bow. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.



09/11 From Jim who is from Arkansas:

As I Sit here full of sorrow and rage, it saddens me that many times we let our emotions cause us to attack each other, rather then the subject. So, I can laugh at myself and am giving everyone else a chance in the hopes everyone will relax a little.

Subject: Arkansas Redneck

You take your dog for a walk and you both use the same tree.
You can entertain yourself for an hour with a fly swatter.
Your property has been mistaken for a recycling center.
Your boat has not left the driveway in 15 years.
You think the Nutcracker is what you did off the high dive.
The Salvation Army declines your mattress.
You make an offer to give someone the shirt off of your back and they don't want it.
You have the local taxidermist on your speed dial.
You come back from the dump with more than you took.
You keep a can of Raid on the kitchen table.
Your grandma has "Ammo" on her Christmas list.
You think subdivision is a part of a math problem.
You've bathed with flea and tick soap.
Your kids take a siphon hose to show and tell.
You took a fishing pole to Sea World.
You know how many bales of hay your car will hold.
You have a rag for a gas cap.
Your house doesn't have curtains, but your truck does.
Your lifetime goal is to own a fireworks stand.
You sit on your roof at Christmas hoping to fill your deer tags.
You have a complete, matched set of salad bowls, and they all say "COOL WHIP" on the side.
The biggest city you've ever been to is WAL-MART.
Your working TV sits on top of your non-working TV.
You've used your ironing board as a buffet table.
Your neighbors think you're a detective because a policeman often brings you home.
You've used a toilet brush as a back scratcher.
You missed 5th grade graduation because you had jury duty.
You think fast food is hitting a deer at 65 MPH.


09/11 i have many friends in the new york city fire department and 2 friends from my former fire department in new jersey that are responding with a USAR team, i am not a religious man but this is a time for prayers for all the people who are affected in new york and virginia.

BC Davis

09/11 To all who go east to help--

I am holding all of you in my heart. Please be safe. The thoughts and prayers of our fire community are with you and with all who serve our country now.

We must secure the nation, care for the wounded, and uncover what happened and who is responsible.

For those of you feeling rage remember, "The best punishment is that served cold."


09/11 Mellie, two National IMT's have been staged to the east coast. This no doubt to help manage the aftermath. May God watch over us all!


09/11 Ab,

Southwest Type 1 Team is being staged at ABQ Mob Center and will be transported to New Jersey by military jet tonight or tomorrow morning.


09/11 Fireonin

Damn Son, are you related to the "Scabmeister? Maybe you guys need to get a couple gallons of Prozac.....


09/11 In the heat of our own battles, let's pause and reflect now on the safety of our structure brothers and sisters, who are facing the greatest challenge of their lives........and on those who have paid the supreme sacrifice......Amen


09/11 Ab,

Do you really believe the issues raised regarding leadership attitudes that sacrifice firefighter safety for arrogance and exclusionary empire building have petered out?

I believe that the issues raised/catalysed by "CDF BC" are only the small tip of a very large iceberg.

You should be truly committed to not avoiding the truth as expressed by MOC4546.

If you really care, let me know.


09/11 Anyone know if the Incident Command Teams will be called out to deal with the terrorist attacks? I know there were discussions about this last year.


09/11 Ab,

After watching the C-Span show on fire I felt the need to say a few things about Dennis Pendleton. Dennis is in my opinion one of the true good guys. I had the opportunity to see Dennis on a daily basis for 3 three months last year, and I can tell you there is no bigger advocate of the firefighter than Dennis (anyone who drives a yellow Pourche can't be all bad).

Imagine having to field questions/problems from the Media, DC, Firefighters, Agency Administrators, the White House, etc.. Dennis had the Chief of the Forest Service and the Director of F&A, camped out in cubies on his front door. It's a good thing I'm hard of hearing, because those cubies were on either side of mine and no telling what I might have heard.

Although Dennis has a more than able Deputy in Ms Alice, I hope he will continue to represent the fire community for a while longer. Feel free to show your support by sending Dennis an email attaboy to dpendleton@fs.fed.us


09/11 This is a great forum in which to vent with anonymity; some good topics have been introduced. Discussion and debate are healthy - it causes us, all, to rethink things. Before the "debates" heat up further, try walking a day in the other person's boots before voicing personal attacks. (thanks old&grey in R5 for post of 9/5).

Remember all, humor is a quality to be cultivated! I'm still chuckling about KC's post last month and Basque's story posted on 9/7. Ain't it interesting that the ShowBan sawyer is the star of the CSpan footage?

Since there is so much debate about shelters, who developed the idea?

TO ALL: BE WISE, BE SAFE! north zone is rippin, south zone will be soon.


Mom, if things get too bad which is very rare, Ab steps in with a gentle suggestion. I think you'd agree that for the most part, people are civil even if they show a bit of "attitude" or need a chance to vent. Ab.

09/11 Ab, I felt I had to respond to three issues currently being kicked around on the "They Said" site.

1. I was always taught that the fire shelter was the last resort item to only be used if no other alternative is available. If it is used that way, if our firefighters are trained and aware of the charecteristics of extreme fire behavior and the indicators that are always there and can be determined, then why does it need to be inproved? The last time i went to Canada(98,) they were much more aggressive on initial attack than we ever thought to be and still had not had a deployment.The folks knew the what the trigger points were and pulled off the lines when they were met. Have we lost so much experience in the last few years that we have nobody with big fire experience and expertice left to teach our new folks what to look for and the ways things begin to feel just before all hell breaks loose?

2. To Mr. Brownstain: Go do an 800+ hour season sometime and see how long you want to stand in line to take a shower after you have worked an 18 hour shift and have to make a choice of which true need you will sacrifice to do it. Wolf down your dinner so you can stand behind some of the other crews for an hour that sat all day and shower every night just cause they can. Food and sleep come first. I agree that we can and should wash before meals. I require it for crews I take out. So, maybe I'll see you in a camp somewhere. Calling us filthy pigs is uncalled for and offensive. This doesn't apply to the folks who choose to remain dirty all the time. Maybe in your next message you can approach the issue of landmines around spike camps and the potential for disease that presents.

3.MWFA: You have a problem and I hope you can find a decent solution. However, I feel that to go on strike during your fire season and putt innocent folks at risk because you are a member of the UNION is BullS**t, especially when you threaten other workers with their jobs because they aren't with you. Maybe you can apply some good union tactics and get some fires going to prove that you are needed. Work it out in the winter which I have heard are fairly long. Are there so few opportunities for employment in Minnesots that you can't find another job? Other places have been crying for experienced fire people. Besides, elected officials only get elected because people vote for them. One last thing. If I am dispatched to your state on an assignment (been there before) and you refer to me as a SCAB for doing what I have been trained to do, you'll be dusting off your backside.

Sorry to vent but felt it was necessary.

To the rest of the fire family stay safe cause it ain't over yet.

09/10 To Dana from MN,

I nearly shorted out my keyboard reading your union sob story from the Gopher State. Even so, I was relieved to discover that Minnesotans are the only ones who suffer at the hands of self serving politicians and fire-mercs who believe fires burn so that they can have a job.

I think your support is ill placed. How can you support people who physically threaten those you represent? Believe it or not there are still some of us out here who love what we do; and there is still enough "Polyanna" in us to cause us to believe in antiquated notions like, duty, and the protection of life & property.

I have no plans to visit MN. I just got back from WA. I had no plans to visit there either. If I do get dispatched to the Gopher State, rest assured, I will go with a clear conscience and as a Firefighter, not a scab. I'm just glad you don't work for the Minnesota Board of Tourism.


09/11 not having to do with wildland fire: did you hear about the planes that crashed into the world trade center? looks really bad.

having to do with fire: i am 100% in suport of all the Minnesota employees

stay safe,

09/11 Give ME a break Mellie. The research was done years ago and the expense of redoing it is a waste of time and money. That isn't the way most private industry or govt. agencies do it and it shouldn't be the way the usfsbiablm does it either. Normally contractors are given the opportunity to present their products for testing and the products are tested. A report is produced which details which product is most effective and which product is least expensive and a decision is made by "responsible parties" as to how much of the budget can be allocated for the most "cost effective" product. In this case (modern fire shelters) a series of "responsible parties" have been avoiding that decision for nearly a decade and are loath to make that decision now so they are creating a set of standards that will probably result in a shelter that is neither the best nor the cheapest(God I hope not the cheapest). In this case however firefighters that might have lived may not due to their decision and the "responsible parties" would prefer to not be held responsible but don't want to openly admit that or cede a small part of their control by allowing an independent party to make an unbiased recommendation.
Which WAS my point about fire death investigations. Those that could be held publicly responsible for firefighter deaths should not have the ability to effect the public outcome of the investigations. I am only interested in responsibility, not blame, but maybe that is just semantics Mellie so call it the "blame game" if you must. The simple fact is that each time our superiors can avoid shouldering their part of the responsibility the fireline becomes a little more dangerous and the effect is cumulative. Would you argue that its' less "cost efficient" to have the usfsbiablm employ an outside investigation entity for firefighter deaths because any facts that might lead to judgments against the usfsbiablm for negligence might not be able to be "quashed" or that the "American public" if aware of this practice would be "proud"? I don't think so. Remember Nixon Mellie. He didn't get impeached for the crimes he committed, he got the boot for trying to cover them up. The "American public" never has like that very much.

And yes, I agree there is some neglect at every level in most firefighter burnover deaths. So the rookies get immolated for their neglect (and all the cumulative neglect from above) while their IC gets quietly reprimanded and those at the top whose cumulative neglect helped kill them don't sleep well some nights because they feel someone might blame them. Somehow that doesn't seem fair, especially since the rookie can never be responsible for another firefighters death and those at the top can be responsible for dozens. Those at the bottom take much more than their fair share of the responsibility and those at the top ( and in between) should stand up and take their portion as well. Squarely placing the "blame" everywhere it belongs is a major safety issue and I don't see how you can defend our superiors ducking their responsibility by using the power of their positions to force investigators to create reports that hold them blameless (in the case of firefighter deaths) or to create standards for fire shelters that point to a predetermined budgetary outcome in the name of science (in the case of modern fireshelters). Until the practice of using outside independent investigators and scientists is adopted by the "fire gods" I will remain skeptical of their intentions and encourage all other firefighters to as well. If it aint a buddy watching your back your back aint bein watched. You can "quote" me on that Mellie!

Now, how about a hug.

09/10 To MEDLManyMoons ==

THANKS for the post full of common sense and perspective. Speaking from experience, all you have to see (once) is 50 people in the ER because some joker didn't wash his hands after exiting the john and you get suddenly real fastidious about handwashing.


09/10 Regarding potential infection, it's not just washing hands before meals, firefighters should also be watching and thinking about where their hose has been. Here's a recent story to illustrate my point:

On a fire last week, there was an open septic pit that was not posted. In the heat of IA, no one recognized what it was. Somehow one crew dragged a hose through it the first evening. A large number of them got contaminated working the hose. Then the IC slipped/stepped/fell into it in the middle of the night. (I don't know how far - eeeeeooow, gross.) The next morning everyone figured out what this pit was. Then to make matters worse, the hose was taken home and the crew that began cleaning it up also got contaminated - before they realized where it had been and what that crap was on it. It's fair to say that about 30 people on 2 crews and across 4 districts were exposed to major disease yucko that trip.

Followup: Gamma globulin shots to stave off infection. Hepatitis A and B vaccinations... OWWWW! Evidently different crews chose different treatments... and all are praying for good outcomes.

Moral is, watch for those unposted hazards.

Sign this
"Coulda been me" or
"One who didn't touch that hose" (thank gawd) or just
"One who somehow avoided the $#!+"

09/10 Fireronin, you say,
"Too many of the desk jockeys in high places put too much value on budgetary constraints and too little value on firefighters lives."

Yeah, Ronin, so how do you propose that any new safety "tool" be developed and tested if there is not sufficient budget or priority for it? You've complained in the past about firefighters being expected to work for almost nothing. How can you expect "those in high places" to ask fire researchers to do that? - or do you just expect the researchers to volunteer their time without being asked? Why do the blame game here? It makes more sense to me to get the priorities changed, get the fireshelter budget increased and get on with speeding the process if that is possible... You say,

"the usfsbiablm fire gods want to 'develop the standards for fire shelters' so they can say 'Oh look...the design that we came up with fully meets our standards and is cheap to make as well, what good fortune!'
Well, yeah, gimme a break. Isn't that the idea? Don't we want to come up with excellent safety standards and then find the most cost-effective way to make the thing? Sounds like a good scientific plan and good fiscal policy to me. The American public would be proud of them. But I don't think they want the personal cudos. Finally you say,
"Wouldn't it be embarrassing if independent investigation showed that firefighters deaths were due to neglect on the part of higher ups. Wait, didn't that already happen?"
It is clear that all burnover situations are multiply caused. Such things do not happen in a vacuum. There is usually some sort of "neglect" at all levels from the firefighter on up. And I can tell you, everyone feels the loss and the pain and wonders what they and others could have done differently and what they can do differently next time. If you haven't noticed, firefighters never stop mulling it over.


09/10 Hey Basque,

As a rotorhead and private pilot I can say "yes, in the event of a aircraft crash/fire we WERE expected to go in with our wildland gear...lugging that 250# wheeled fire extinguisher down the runway. Not by the pilots of course who knew that our puny efforts to save them if we had the opportunity would be about as effective as our "shake and bakes" on a bad day in a bad place.

Pilots accept that they are pretty much on their own and cannot expect outside help. Firefighters need to do this as well.

I don't mean to seem harsh but if a firefighter assumes that anyone else is looking out for their safety they are assuming too much.There are those that put others safety as a first priority and those that only give it lip service...and there is no way for a rookie to know which one is which. It does seem though that the further you get from the fireline the less your superiors understand what is really needed for safety and what will simply give them plausible deniability. This may seem like a broad brush but I think it is painfully true as well. Too many of the desk jockeys in high places put too much value on budgetary constraints and too little value on firefighters lives.

I've been getting the feeling that the reason that the usfsbiablm fire gods want to "develop the standards for fire shelters" is so they can say "Oh look...the design that we came up with fully meets our standards and is cheap to make as well, what good fortune!" For the same reasons that there should be independent oversight in fire death investigations there should be independent standards set for our gear, especially our "last chance for life on a bad day". Wouldn't it be embarrassing if independent investigation showed that firefighters deaths were due to neglect on the part of higher ups. Wait, didn't that already happen?

nuff said

09/10 Basque

#1 have you sat down with the folks at the tanker base and discussed your concerns, and asked if they had any other capability? Lots of time the equipment is there, but not evident to someone peeking through the fence. You didn't say if there was a full time fire department there and if the airport had any crash rescue capability? Maybe you need to look at the base crash rescue plan to see what their plan is before guessing about it.

As to the helicopter crash rescue kits. You sure did draw a big conclusion about the kits from a 10 second sound bite. Most folks have a rudimentary idea of how to use the tools, but they are meant for mainly for remote operations, even though they are required at all bases.

I have used USAF crash rescue personnel, VFD folks, and any expertise I can find when setting up or using a helibase/tanker base. So they may not need you, in which case be supportive and stand by at the station.


09/10 Regarding the personal cleanliness issue:

As a MEDL for many moons I have had occasion to come in contact with crews who believe that it is some sort of 'code of honor' to not change clothing or wash any part of the body from the time the crew leaves station until it returns. This is by any means unhealthy, unsanitary, disgusting and disrespectful to those who must come in contact with these individuals.

I believe the comments made earlier were aimed at those individuals and crews who wear this "badge of crud" and expose others, who are more concerned with maintaining their health for optimum performance on the line, to illness and disease.

There are times and occasions when facilities for at least wash-up are not readily available, this is understood. Most Med Units now have available (at no charge) bottles of anti-bacterial hand gel which requires nothing more than a squirt of gel, let it air dry.

The comment regarding coming off the line tired, wanting to eat then sleep is well taken, however, a 2 minute hand wash should not put anyone over the line on stress or lack of rest, and with the hand gel method can be done in the chow line.

Let's all make an effort to be safe out there...on line or off.....


09/10 Well heres' something new... In Minnesota our state employees are getting ready to strike for better pay and benefits. Who can blame them.They have been told for a decade or so "Sorry... theres just no money in the budget and we would have to raise taxes for your pay to keep up with inflation." (of course this didn't stop the legislators from raising their own salaries).So this year we have the second or third huge budgetary surplus in as many years...and the legislature decides that since elections are coming up they might be more "popular" if they returned the surplus to the taxpayers. We all got $300-$600 checks. They kept enough back for a 3% pay increase for state employees...but are only offering 2/3rds of that to the union. Union voted 95-5% to turn it down and prepare for strike in about a week. We are just in the very beginning of the MN Fall fire season...and we got caught short last year in the fall since so many of our "available" firefighters are students.

Because of the way the Dept. of Nat. Resources has mistreated their "casuals", what we call smokechasers (.e.g. non union firefighters)...the vast majority of experienced firefighters have gotten employment elsewhere especially with the Feds -- but the DNR still shows from 500-800 (their figure) available non-union firefighters to "step in" as SCABS for the fall fire season if needed! They just told the media "nothing to worry about as far as fire suppression... we can just dispatch our non-union smokechasers." on Friday with a press release. 15 minutes later those non-union firefighters start getting calls from their supervisors and fellow union firefighters (who are preparing to strike) telling them they will be blackballed if they become scabs. Blackballing is not an unusual "management practice" for smokechasers to be subject to in MN which is one of the reasons we have been hemorrhaging fire fighters for the past few years. Besides, most of these supposed available smokechasers are just getting their resumes together for the next round of federal hiring and hoping for a good review from these same supervisors.

The MN DNRs' top fire manager (who has no experience with fire himself) hadn't even checked with the MN Wildland Firefighters Assn. (who represents the majority of "non-union" firefighters in MN) or any of the "available smokechasers" themselves before issuing this release. If he would have he would have been reminded of how he has been busy SCREWING them since he inherited the position when his supervisor (who did have fire experience) passed away unexpectedly. He also hasn't bothered checking with the rural volunteer fire departments...who ironically are made up to a surprising degree of these same union and "non-union" firefighters. I have however, and the feedback is "structure protection only! Let the wood burn and the chips fall where they may!" I think that until the reporters start calling him that he will actually still believe that he can simply whistle and our members will come running to save his "bacon" and make him look like a hero. This is going to be interesting!!!!

So if any of you folks get a dispatch to MN in the next few weeks...first ask if you are going as firefighters....or scabs...and let your conscience be your guide. Personally...despite thier panic and threats to our members...I fully support my fellow unionized firefighters and encourage all other firefighters to do so as well. Pass it on.

Dana Linscott

09/10 Hi all

Really enjoyed the C-span program, especially the sawyer.

One thing that I saw though was packing the aircraft/ helicopter rescue kits. The kits seemed woefully inadequate. A plane crash is a situation requiring structure gear and BA's. All that fuel (static sensitive), all that toxic smoke. Is the SOP to send the ground crew in with wildland gear??

On a recent visit to our local tanker base in R5, they were also woefully lacking in equipment, they weren't sure if they had BA's, no structure gear, but they did have High Expansion Foam capability (though HE Foam is useless in windy conditions, but there is never any wind on a wide open expanse of a airfield) as well as the required wheeled extinguishers (can see someone pulling that a mile to the end of the runway). Checking back on the Safecom report system, in 99 there was a tanker crash and fire suppression was done by diverting a couple of air tankers.

But what about the local fire dept....... Well the local VFD has a rig complete with AFFF foam, BA's and structure gear and even 2 people that have been trained to rescue people from aircraft (one ex Navy guy from a carrier, and one ex Marine from a helicopter ship) but despite repeated requests the VFD cannot even be notified, frankly there is NO communication between the base operations and the local VFD unit.

Is this another issue of "We'll Look Into It When Loss Of Life Occurs" ??

As U might of worked out I am with the VFD, and not saying that we must be there for tankers to operate, or we must be paid if the base is used, just let us know what is going on.


09/10 Fireronin your comment about logging to stop a wildfire was correct and proven a few weeks ago on the North Fork fire on the Sierra NF.

This fire started down in the low country behind a residence and quickly established itself on west facing slope known as the South Fork Bluffs. It made some spectacular runs during the heat of the 2nd burning period and made it to the top of the Bluffs. At the top, a fuelbreak was just completed using a Cut to Length Harvester which reduced the stocking of the stand to fuelbreak specs and removed all the fuel ladders. The slash work was scheduled to be done next year but the fire pretty much consumed all the downed slash which was only limbs&tops no larger than 4" in diameter. Most of the tree species were second growth white fir with some Mixed conifer and PP stands scattered throughout the length of the fuelbreak.

The fire crested the top of the bluffs and was stopped by the access road and some direct dozer line on some areas that had spotted. But overall this FUELBREAK created by LOGGING under a TIMBER SALE had a profound effect on the fire behavior in that it served its purpose and slowed the fire intensity to a level that was stopable. I am not going to totally discount the weather since it did cool down during this time, but looking over the side and seeing the damage to the untreated areas was a eye opener.

I also would like to make some comments on the drainage buffers that were left untreated due to riparian plants and animals being found. These areas took the most damage and compromised the fuelbreak due to high amounts of vegetation that were required to be left. I can only wonder with the new buffers under the Sierra Nevada Framework if this will only be worse. I know others that read this site were on this fire and on the divisions I speak to and can attest to the effectiveness of reducing fuel ladders. I would like to close by saying we cannot do fuels manipulation to aid forest heath and reduce the risk to firefighters without some type of LOGGING.


09/10 Been having a blast. Northern Nevada is slowing down, so i can sit down and read some posts.

Got some great pics im sending you tomorrow AB.
Mellie hope youve been safe.

AJ550, give me a call. Ill help you out with your contract engines. Ive been contracting for 8 seasons now. wouldn't do anything else. As far as training, you have to find an NWCG qualified instructor. There are several organizations in WA you can turn too.

Later all and be safe,

Pacific wildfire
Winnemucca, NV
Leavenworth, WA

09/10 L.A.V.E et al - heard from the horse's mouth (sorta) - NIFC had an internal computer link prob thus no posts; eventually all was made right.

re the "Dirty Pigs" post: OFFENSIVELY WORDED, BUT TRUE!
Heed the warning folks. Lots of nasty stuff, some life threatening diseases are easily passed on to the unsuspecting. There are many more diseases besides Hep, STD, AIDS, eColi, salmonella poisoning et al caused by human contact with what was left behind by a previous user (mystery meat, green ham, touching lips to a MRE can, etc too) THINK SMART! It's no joke; in the old days it was Montezuma's revenge when you vacationed in Mexico = this is 2001!

Kelly - Thank You for sending the FF memorial info. remember folks, don't buy from another retailer!

EVERYONE: BE SAFE! there may be snow showers in the high country of ID, CO or MT, but the fire season in R5 is still rippin & it's 2 mos till south zone will be relatively fire free.


09/09 I would say to mr. brownstain-

Take it easy on the hygiene issue. If you are indeed at the head of the chow line maybe it's time for you to go out on the night shift. That is if you can drag your campslug butt out of camp. If you had been out on the line then the condition of your clothes would be the last thing on your mind. Maybe a bite to eat and 6 hours of sleep before you do it all over again would be your priority.

Fire camp isn't for show and tell. If the nwcg was so worried about clean hands maybe they would improve the condtion of fire camps, i.e. improve on the blue rockets, lunches would be edible, sleeping accommodations would be sutible for all. BUT WAIT, THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN, now will it? So mr. brownstain let me know what you think.

crisp triggers

09/09 White Tornado

I guess we must have mis-understood each other.... I agree with you that CPS is a good course. What I was saying (maybe not too clearly) that it should be taught to everyone, especially the newer crowd.


09/09 This little pearl of wisdom showed up in my inbox a while back.

Subject: Listen Up You Dirty Pigs!

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.(See attached file: pic59745.pcx)

How many of you people have ever attracted a girlfriend by being a filthy pig? Women must swoon over filth- because there seems to be a lot of fools who never clean up or change their nomex more than once during a fire season. It's nice that the rest of us can be exposed to some sort of creeping crud, just because some idiots think that it's cool to walk around in dirty nomex. It's one thing to be dirty if one has no choice- it's another story when one believes that their social status in fire camp is improved by being a filthy, disease-ridden pig. It would be wise to remember that during the Civil War the majority of causualties resulted from improper sanitation and personal hygene as opposed to bullets.

Bottom line- try and clean up whenever you can. Wash or exchange your nomex whenever you get the chance.

Just a word of advice from your pal at the head of the chowline,
Jimmy Brownstain Stifftrunks

09/09 Rx Fire

Your opinion is noted as stated in your posting of 9/8 that talked about your opinion of the proper place CPS training should have in firefighter training.

Well I have the data on the opinions of the more than 3000 firefighters who have taken the course. 95% of them said CPS should be required training for all firefighters. This information is off of Doug's cumulative evaluation records from 1994 to 2000. Your opinion must be the 5% who thought otherwise. I thank you for sharing your opinion about my posting, but my opinion is strong and it stands as stated. Aren't opinions just the greatest things?

White Tornado

09/09 Just a couple of thoughts:

Training: Undoubtedly, excellent training is a must, but as Firefighter Jane said, every crew may receive training that's just a bit different from the others, and the ratio of veteran versus new hires varies from crew to crew as well. I want our son to have the best training, but I also want him - and all of you - to have the very best safety equipment available. Thanks, Northzone, for the tip about following the money...there's so much to know, and I'm just learning.

Aussies: Interestingly enough, as I understand it, the Australians helped to test Jim Roth's shelter, but the Aussies themselves don't carry any shelter - our current, Jim Roth's or any other.

We've organized to write letters about the need to approve a new shelter -- with the list of priorities that Mellie posted, why can't we mobilize for the other things that were a "higher" priority, especially since they apparently came from FFs themselves. I'm not saying to stop about the shelter, but to become more vocal for whatever our guys and gals need.

Learning about Fire Behavior: Did you guys see the info about the Fire Service using a GPS type system to then relay fire info to the folks making decisions on any given fire?

Take care - thanks for all the words of wisdom.

Colorado Mom

09/09 For Vinnie, who asked about the Wildland Firefighter Foundation,

Here's the response, straight from the foundation director:

I saw today where someone asked you if we are helping pilots and others. We help everyone we can when we have the funds. They go first to the families with kids and spouses, then on to the others.
09/09 I have finally gotten the time to post photos that have come in. They're on

Fire 6 Fire in MN and a firewhirl on the Fish Fire
Fire 7 Oregon Fire (Weaverville CA)
Camp Sleepy91 firecamp
Crews3 Some nutty engine guys aping for the camera.

Thanks everyone for your contributions. Viewers, please be sure and go to the photo descriptions to see what people have said about their photos.

Stay tuned... There is a whole spectacular fire photo page from the Creek Fire that is almost ready to go up. It has helos and ATs and lots of flames.


09/09 Douglas from NC

I agree with you on several points so I won't bite your head off . Yes - there have been success stories with the current shelter, yes - there's always a danger in providing so much protection that firefighters may overextend themselves, yes - there were significant factors (such as poor decisions, etc) that led up to the deployments, and yes - we need to provide an improved fire shelter.

Are the structural departments offering the same turnouts used 25 years ago? What about breathing apparatus? The problem I have is that there has been no improvement of the shelter material for 25 years (until Jim Roth's shelter). The current shelter starts to break down at 475 degrees, average flame temperatures in wildland fires are 1600 degrees. Mr. Roth has been trying to work with our tech and dev to provide an improved shelter (2000 degrees) but the response from our tech and dev is discouragement, or worse - the brush off (as seen on the c-span program).

As I said in my post here on Aug 8th, I myself have tried to work with tech and dev when I realized the current shelter is too big for me and too small for taller firefighters, but I was told that offering three sizes of shelters would create "logistical problems of major magnitudes" - in addition to other lame excuses. Somehow we manage to get the right size nomez pants and shirts.

I agree that there is a danger in firefighters overextending themselves on the line based on PPE, but I believe it already exists. The training that is provided on fire shelters emphasizes the success of the shelter but doesn't detail or emphasize the unsuccessful deployments. We should always use sound judgement based on experience and training when making any decision on the line and not depend on equipment. However, the very best equipment should be provided, which means staying up on the most up-to-date technology. This isn't happening. (Sorry, just a little bite!)

Mellie - I also agree with you when it comes to training but I do believe the fire shelter is a huge issue. We cannot ensure that each and every firefighter across the country, in every department, will receive the same quality training and the same quality experience. However, we should provide the best possible equipment to try to protect those that make poor decisions, failed to communicate, etc.

We must strive to provide the best training and experience possible, but we all have attended training that was not presented at the level it should have been. The experience level will be different based on a firefighter's exposure to different fuel types, topography, climate, weather, etc, and the training will depend on the experience and/or interest of the instructor. Sorry, but it's true.

I believe that we are missing something in our training. I listed several ideas I have in an earlier post. I'll check out the CPS as suggested by The White Tornado (thanks for passing that on!).

Ted Putnam suggested after the Storm King Incident that there was a breakdown in the decisionmaking process that needs to be looked at - unfortunately the folks at tech and dev and/or the WO ignored this. He's since retired.

Sorry, off my soap box....for now.

Firefighter Jane

09/08 I have been reading this page for a while now and couldn't help but put my 2 cents in on the shelter talk. Now before anyone bites my head off, I do think that the current fire shelters could/should be improved and any loss of life on a fire ground is a tragedy, those are points that are undeniable.

With that said, I do want to bring up a few things. From what I have been able to gather, current shelters don't typically fail (in and of themselves), there is normally some sort of user error. God forgive me, but the four who died in Washington this summer (which is what appears to have sparked the shelter issue), died because of poor choice in deployment area (over the rocky area vs. the "road") which allowed for super heated gases to get in the shelters. Something I think that we have really failed to comprehend was that the shelters performed just fine for the rest of the crew who did deploy on the "road." The four who died were not the only ones over run in that fire.

The other thing I want to toss out is that I am primarily a structural firefighter. And like most, when I gear up in full turn out gear (air pack included) I feel invincible, untouchable by fire. Unfortunately most don't realize that they are not until they have been burned, melted a helmet or set their gear on fire. Once they do that the fact that fire is an awesome, powerful and unpredictable force dawns on then. When the 3 FDNY firefighters died on Father's Day no one questioned their gear or claimed that if their air packs had more air in them (so they could last for an hour and not 30 minutes) those three may not have died. Those deaths are a tragic example of how dangerous all aspects of firefighting are and that sometimes no matter what, the fire will get the best of you. Basically what I am trying to say is that modern turn out gear protects much better then the gear of the past and due to that, today's firefighters (structural) go deeper and get in hotter places then they should be because they feel untouchable. Likewise a new and improved shelter (which is probably need) could lead people into less safe and more hazardous areas because they feel better protected than they really are. Just something to think about guys and girls.

To all those on and off the lines, take care and be safe.

Douglas from NC

Welcome to the site Douglas. Ab.

09/08 Ab's and All,

Been a long time since my last posting, but still enjoying the site! Keep up the great work!!!!

In reference to L.A.V.E's posting, no he wasn't crazy....word has it, NICC was having serious computer problems today and the SIT Report wasn't able to post until very late in the day. Also just a heads up for future postings, the SIT Report won't be posted until 0900 on the weekends now, same time as usual during the the week.

Stay safe everyone, we've had FAR TO MANY losses this year!

09/08 hey everyone,

Raise your hand if you like Smokey Bear, maybe even look up to him. i raised my hand. If you didn't know it (i'm sure most of you do) Smokey has made it through around 57 years of fires. Let's all try and be more like Smokey and make it through every fire season we are involved in. It has been said here so many times before and i'll say it again Stay Safe.

I'm proud to be counted among "Americas Bravest"

With that said have a nice day.=)

09/08 kelly

Does that include pilots and mechanics who many consider non firefighters? I would hope these people are covered, because they ARE firefighters!


09/08 The NIFC C-span show is airing again, RIGHT NOW! Ab.
09/08 All of us in the firefighting community share a major sense of family, and we all grieve when one of our own goes down. We've lost quite a few this year, and the season's far from over.

I just about lose it every time I hear about another fatality. Right after the grief comes this terrible frustration, this sense that I can't do a damn thing for the loved ones left behind.

The Wildland Firefighter Foundation is an all-volunteer group of fire people who raise money for two major projects: the monument at NIFC and the firefighter family fund. From this fund, replicas of the monument bronzes are sent to the family of each firefighter who is killed. Checks are cut and emergency financial assistance is sent to the survivors.

I can't send a couple thousand dollars to the family of a firefighter who dies on the line. What I found I can do, however, is contribute to this family fund. Here's two ways to do it. Go to the Foundation page at www.wffoundation.org/Merch/pin.php and buy yourself some of the new memorial pins. I just ordered ten, and I'll bet you have friends and family who might wear them, too. The entire five bucks per pin goes to the families -- there is no "administrative overhead" with this foundation.

The other thing you can do is hike yourself to the nearest U.S. Bank and make a donation to account number 153351069551 for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation "Firefighters Help Fund."

Do it today.


09/08 Here's a picture of the memorial ribbon (pin), sent in by a reader for familysaid.

The Jobs page, Series 462 and Series 455 were updated last night.


09/08 More from Firescribe:

Calaveras Co. - Darby Fire website

CDF - Darby and Poe Incidents

Smoke Problems

09/08 To Mellie,

I have made contact with Doug Campbell re the early fire shelter Hx. He doesn't know where they came from but did say that his hotshot crew tested an early model in 1962. He referred me to Ted Putnam of MTDC USFS. Ted has been retired for more than three years now but is still working on a paper with Brad Butler about the subject.

In a few days Ted will send me a timeline of the progression of the shelter in the US. Of great interest to me is his statement, "actually, the Australians were the first to develop a shelter and we used their design in the early days of development in the US?".

When I get more information I will forward it to you.


09/08 What's up with the daily fire report? I tried several doors to get to it this morning and pretty much was told a link didn't exist, am I going nuts or is something up?

Made a small error in my last post, I said that Wesco boots were cheaper than Red Wings, well duh, that was a space cadet move on my part. What I meant to say is that while they are more expensive than Red Wings they are cheaper than White's.

I believe I heard somewhere that Red Wing tried to has purchased Wesco, anybody have any info on that.

I've been trying too with no luck. But maybe nothing's up - but down instead... Hope all is OK otherwise. Ab.

09/08 Northern CA has three big fires going.


"Authorities said the blaze swept over a fire engine in which four firefighters had taken refuge."


09/08 It's very clear from firechat discussions that firefighters who have many years of experience do not think having a better fireshelter is the issue. They believe that just having one may put inexperienced (or gung-ho) firefighters at risk by creating a mindset that they are protected, when in fact they are not. Such FF may stay in risky situations for longer than they would without it, or they may push the envelope intentionally because the shelter has reinforced a culture of invincibility that is sometimes evident in young inexperienced people.

Being trained in how to stay safe, including knowledge of fire behavior and experience with it seems to be as important as or more important than the fire shelter. As several ff said, "If a fireshelter is deployed, someone has seriously screwed up -- misread the fire behavior or failed to communicate about it."

Perhaps some energy should be put toward figuring out how to fasttrack fire behavior training in our large number of new folks.

Northern California is burning a lot and hot my dear friends. Please, please be safe.

09/08 White Tornado -

CPS is a good BASIC way to understand and predict fire behavior. However, it is very general, and in the way it is taught (and maybe developed), leaves out many other factors that influence fire behavior and spread. We discussed it's limitations in my S-490 class a few years back (I have no idea where those class notes are... too many moves ago). It would be a good course to give to the newbies, but let them get a few fires first to get a feel for things, or put it on specifically for the 2nd year FF's.


09/08 TO FIRERONIN, who said:
"Legal Beagle, I disagree... As far as copying and distributing TV programs, I believe that the line is crossed when you charge something for the copy. CBS vs. Sony. Loaning a friend a copy is perfectly legal. Same as making a copy of a song (napster notwithstanding). No profit motive no infringement. Can't charge for the blank tape cost either...must be no profit...even trades might cross the line. "
Hey Fireronin, I'm open to learning something new. I know where it says you can't distribute, but this sounds like you know what you're talking about. Gimme the URL for where the federal code references this. THANKS!

Legal Beagle

09/07 Ab,

Here is a link to information on Services for Rich Hernandez, Santi Arovitx, and Kip Krigbaum.

They were our friends, our colleagues and their families are now our families. Remember them and honor them by thinking about those around you, your own families, friends and fellow workers.

International Helicopter Firefighters Association


09/07 Aussies to become fixtures on US firefighting scene?


I think your readers should have full access to this piece about sharing firefighters from Australia, Ab.

This will come as quite a shock to some and welcomed by others.

John A.

Full access to the nytimes online requires that you sign up. Doesn't cost anything. Ab.

09/07 $400 for headsets!!!!

A decent but inexpensive aviation headset should work. These have a noise canceling mic and go for around $90. Might need to switch the plugs but King sell portable aviation headsets so maybe not. If you want a source for these let me know and I will post a few mail order suppliers. For another $20 you can get a remote PTT button that will Velcro right onto the control stick under your index finger or wherever else you want... makes talking and working at the same time a breeze.

Legal Beagle, I disagree...
As far as copying and distributing TV programs, I believe that the line is crossed when you charge something for the copy. CBS vs. Sony. Loaning a friend a copy is perfectly legal. Same as making a copy of a song (napster notwithstanding). No profit motive no infringement. Can't charge for the blank tape cost either...must be no profit...even trades might cross the line.

As for cutting timber...or letting it rot...
My father lives in CA mountains and when there was to be some cutting on his mountain very few full time residents objected. But 2 "environmentalists" that had a summer cabin on an adjacent mountain and felt that the cut would "ruin their view" held up the cut for nearly 5 years. Eventually the cut was made after satisfying the frivolous suits these two started..often they would not even show up for the hearings. Two years later I was visiting Dad and I smelled smoke in the middle of the night and stepped out on the deck to investigate. Ash was falling from the sky though no hot embers. It nearly killed me to not be able to go to work on the fire which lasted 3 days...but I helped Dad and his neighbors set up sprinklers run off the head of a nearby creek and a few small dams for draft points along the road...just in case. Well, the fire never did quite make it to Dads...cause the cut allowed the CDF guys to run the head into the fuelless acres and shut it down about a half mile short of his place.

The firefighters I spoke to claimed that without the cut and its access roads they never would have been able to stop it at the ridge and it would have likely spotted over into his valley. I hate to shout but... LOGIN IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF WILDFIRE CONTROL.


09/07 Here's info on the Montana memorial service for Dave Rendek today.


Let's take a moment to remember all who have died this season.

09/07 Oh the times U wish U had a camera

Whilst on a Grass land (and 10 foot high juniper trees) in a wildlife reserve. As we were heading back for water, rounded the corner and see an engine stopped with juniper flaring about 15 feet off their rear. Look in the cab and here is all 4 of the crew on their cell phones chatting away. Point to the tree and underbrush around it and the crew thought we were waving to them, give them a call on tac, and no answer. Looking back as we drove away, saw the BC roar up, and from the way he was throwing his arms around pointing to the crew, the engine, the tree and the unburnt, U didn't have to be close to work out what he was saying, rofl. (rolling on floor laughing)


09/06 Firefighter Jane
In regards to the ole dfmo r-5 posting.

The training course that covers these and other elements that occur are in the course material of CPS, The Campbell Prediction System. Campbell, the author of the book "The Campbell Prediction System" and the course titled: "Wildland Fire Signature Prediction Methods" teaches as requested.

This course is also delivered by Will Spyrison and Lance Cross of the Ojai RD of the Los Padres NF They present it to the Redding Hotshots each spring and in Vandenburg Training Center twice each year. In addition, Pat Shanley of LA City FD and Brad Smith of the Livermore/Pleasanton FD teach this course.

My remarks were developed from the CPS course. I have taken the class several times thru the years and find it more valuable each time it is presented. We all need to continue trying to improve and embrace new and different ideas to be able to impact the problem of how long it takes to learn what the fire is telling you. What if we could teach from the experience levels of some of the old timers like, Marc Linane, C. Caldwell, JW Allendorf, Terry Raley, Pat Shanley, and some young "up and comers" like Marc Castellneau of Spain, Drew Smith of LA Co. FD.?

There are many who have a handle on predicting when and where wildland fire will change. Campbell has tried to describe what they know that has not been taught in classrooms. Could we shorten the time it takes to learn to understand wildland fire? I think so, because these guys do know it and they learned it nose to nose in the field. Keep up the pressure Jane

A CPS advocate.......
The White Tornado

09/06 AZ Trailblazer - sign me up for your tour of those areas on the Mount Hood NF with 120 - 150 Million board feet per acre!! As an ole Forester who worked Pre-sale on the Willamette NF about 100 miles South on the West Slope of the Cascades, I thought we were "in tall cotton" when we found 200,000 board feet per acre....and half of it was standing rotten Hemlock! The whole Willamette could only make an allowable cut of about 750 million B.F.'s per year during the high rolling days of the 1970's.

More seriously, I'm starting to see a trend where we find "environmentalists" an easy target to blame for our wildfire woes. The alarmist response of a US Congressman from Colorado about water use and the ESA on the Thirty Mile fire will be shown to be bogus, but the accusations were made, and take on a life of their own. Federal and State land management agencies don't make the laws that govern their activities: those laws come from the Congress elected by you and I, representing ALL the people of the US that hold ownership rights to the Public Lands. When the agencies vary from those laws, they get challenged in the US Courts on PROCESS, and are often found lacking. Fire Suppression is no different: remember the CDF Engine person in 1988 that claimed that he could stop the Yellowstone fires if they would only let him use dozers in the Park? Wrong process in the wrong place!!

Having flown over much of both Western Oregon and Washington, I've been embarrassed and ashamed what I and other Timber Beasts did in the 1960-1980 era, and can appreciate why folks don't want the Mount Hood cut like in past years. Yeah, there's a big fuels problem, and some combination of timber harvest and fire use is probably appropriate in some areas, but until we convince our US Public of the need...........?? I too have fought wildfires in all the Western states, and a few Eastern/Upper MidWestern ones too, and get frustrated by the direction from the Line Officer and Agency rep. But.....my job is to implement their direction, or leave and go home.

So, remember the beautiful Ollalie Lake country, the rest of the Mt. Hood, the Columbia Gorge and the new sights and experiences you found.


09/06 Anyone following the South African fires? 28 Have died and counting; most of them running away from wicked grass fires. Part of the precious Kruger wildlife reserve has gone up. I'm not sure they have proper firefighting equipment and techniques down there. www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/12320/story.php

Savannahs are the burningest places on the face of the planet. Most have no idea how big the continents which contain savannahs really are. To check it out. To see just how big Southern Hemisphere continents are, check out this website: www.webcom.com/~bright/petermap.phpl

John A.

09/06 Ab,

Just got back from a "northwestern" stint. I hope that not letting you sit down to eat isn't becoming the shape of things to come. After a long shift on the line, they have you standing like cattle for chow instead of putting out more tables and (say it isn't so!) some chairs. I heard that their thinking was that you won't tend to "lounge" that way, which goes to prove that some people just shouldn't try to "think". We never had to do that at the Ponderosa, huh Paw. We did find a way to stay in shape though... You place the blue lagoon out 440 yards from the chow table, take a State of Oregon meatball, pull the pin, then swallow it, after that you'd better be quick!

For people looking for Cry Cry Cry's "Cold Missouri Waters", you can order the CD through their site at www.razorandtie.com for $15.98. Pull up the site, hit "featured artists", go to "C", then scroll down. I did notice a little ditty on the CD "Unauthorized duplication is a violation..." Good thing this is an original, otherwise I'd have to bury it in the yard with my new C-Span tape and all those old mattress tags.

The "Cartwright Family" is a tight one, each fire assignment brings familiar old faces, and this site gives us a "porch" where we can all hang out at the end of the day.

Thanks Ab!

Ya'll'r welcum. Ab.

09/06 Ab,

My posting of Aug 8th regarding the fire shelter, in addition to others that have posted, seems to have created a movement. I want to thank you for this site! The ability to raise issues here that otherwise have fallen on deaf ears is truly amazing. Great job!!

Sammi, Colorado Mom, Mellie and others – all of us out there thank you for your work and support! Sammi, I'd be more than willing to help you with information on the fire shelter. I can be reached at firefighter_jane@hotmail.com.

You're right about Pendleton's response to Jim Roth's phone call. It's typical of what we've heard from MTDC and others. No personal attacks here. Like I said in an earlier post - while tech and dev is developing testing parameters, Mr. Roth has developed a superior shelter (which has been published for 6+ years!!).

I agree 100% with you on the elements that you identified in your message. There seems to be a break down in recognizing the transition from a passive fire to an aggressive fire. The warning signs were there.

I've been thinking a lot about this since Storm King, and unfortunately now again after the 30 Mile Incident. The best way to do this would be increased fire experience for crewbosses, but with the sudden increase in hiring, and with our leadership and experienced folks spread thin, how do we do this? I believe the only way to address this is through training for all levels, maybe part of the mandatory training we provide each year.

A training session that would teach firefighters to identify when fire transitions, what are the elements of a fire transitioning, what is extreme fire behavior, what does extreme fire behavior look like, what are appropriate defense modes and offense modes, etc (just a few thoughts). We have the experience base still working and/or available in retirement to design and instruct such a class. Anyone out there have any thoughts?

Just got back from several fires in CA. Lots of potential still out there. Take care and be safe!

Firefighter Jane

09/06 Ok ! I had to step out of lurking for this one about fire teams. CDF from Arroyo Grande must not be experienced enough in command, or he would have tipped his hat to many in California who do work for local agencies. Some of the most experienced and qualified wildland Chief Officers in California work for the so called "contract counties", or those Counties who for decades have managed wild fires on State Responsibility lands in lieu of CDF. These Counties include Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Kern and Marin Counties. If you will look at the Forest Service's stats., some of the largest structural losses in wildland fire history include contract county locations such as Malibu, Castaic, Santa Barbara, and Laguna. These agencies field outstanding Command and General Staff folks and quality Division Sups. The agencies send there folks throughout the state and the country routinely for wild fire assignments just as CDF does. By the way, CDF is loosing many of their experienced folks to retirement and new promotions are rampant. The general lapse of experience in CDF is of big concern. A recent example I experienced myself on a CDF responsibility- Sierra foothill fire was a CDF Branch Director who was promoted the previous week to Battalion Chief running the largest structure protection operation in the state in 5 years. Now this kid was a good guy and he was trying very hard but his inexperience showed. Point being, people who live in glass houses.... My word to Arroyo Grande is wise up, there are many in California prepared to do the job as well as you and your agency peers. Good fire people with experience from many agencies generally do recognize each others skills, regularly see each other on each other's fires, and have a "world view" more in common than they do otherwise. That's important news for a State that needs to share resources more than anybody. And one more thought for the masses....Does anyone else in the world out there shake their head with wonder and question how we managed the last 25 years to get fires put out without management teams? I'm obviously being facetious, but I think the bureaucracy of large teams begets longer and maybe larger fires and higher costs. Seems like the pendulum has swung far to one side. Years ago it swung far the other way when all you had was a cigar chewing Fire Boss. Now we staff even mediocre fires with teams, sometimes larger fires even get two teams (state and federal). Where is the middle ground? Teams often replace local staff with extensive fire behavior knowledge. As an example, tell me what a Northern Region federal team knows about Southern California brush and interface fires? A quick pole at one recent fire of team member's experience in Southern California showed one of the team's members had been to Disneyland (Anaheim) once...so much for experience.....On another fire a team that had traveled from the North Zone of Region 5 was deployed to a fire in the South Zone that was dead out over political concerns that to have called them and not deployed them would have been inappropriate- then they remained assigned for 2.5 days more. Just guess what that cost! Surely better sense can be made out of the current team dynamics! Fire season is still booming in California...please be safe my friends.

Contract County Stumpy

09/06 Dave Rendick's Memorial service in Hamilton MT is coming up.


In Hamilton, a memorial service will be held Friday for firefighter David Rendek, killed Monday after a falling tree
struck him as he battled a small blaze near the Lost Trail Pass ski area in Montana's southwestern corner. Rendek,
24, was from Hamilton.


09/06 Here's an interesting article, that ought to get some attention!


09/06 Re Dozer Head Sets:

To join in on this issue, I don't have to be a Cartwright, do I Ab? All the good roles are taken. I am too young for Ben, not big enough for Hoss, and I ain't smart enough for Adam. I guess that only leaves Hop Sing for me. My cookin ain't all that bad if ya don't mind alot of sea food.

Anyway, I have yet to see any of the headsets in Florida either. We still have tractor/plows that are open cab and it can be really hard to hear radio traffic even with earplugs in. You have to stop and throttle down to hear. I operate an enclosed JD 650 LGP and it has its draw backs too. At night, I usually get into some thick rugged bay heads and really have to concentrate on the fire behavior and trying to create a path to travel around the fire. The fire reflects off the other window and causes you to believe for a second that you gotten yourself between two fires and for a split second it scares the "CRAP" out of you. You also can't hear what the tracks are doing either.

But the communications side of the house are good. You can hear and talk. It is also a lot cooler inside. I think the headsets are a great idea and would work well for enclosed cabs also. Just the issue of not reaching for the mike and having your hands more free sounds great. I hope our equipment managers adopts this program also. Sounds great.

I just changed my mind, Sammi can be Hop-Sing, I'll just be a special Guest Star and eat!!
Be safe my friends,


09/06 Sorry but I have to take back my offer to share the c-span tapes with the list....the feds showed up last night and confiscated all my Disney and c-span videos. They even took my beloved copy of "Always"...(kidding). Anyone that would like to come visit and have a cup of cocoa and watch them is welcome. (not kidding).

Ab, I want to audition for the Hop-sing (the Chinese cook).......except the food would be old fashion Southern....beans, corn bread, biscuits & gravy - that kind of big cholesterol stuff......tell me when to be there for the try outs....


Will do. Ab.

09/06 Ab and those interested in safety in the air:

When the two air tankers collided, I asked a helo friend if there wasn't an avoidance system available that could prevent or minimize such accidents. He said that there was a Traffic and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) but that it wasn't used on ATs that fly fire. When I asked another friend why, he said that in the past the air tanker pilots thought it would be too distracting. It sounds like some of that is being rethought following this recent accident.

For those interested, you might want to follow the discussion:
Airtanker Pilots' Message Board


(To Ab, I know we focus on groundpounders, but this is important fire safety info. I promise never to call you a puffed chest again unless I mention the star. <grin>
I have another question. <shy look><toe kicking dust in the road> Can I be Ben?)

We'll see.

09/06 Last night I was talking with some other members of my department and we came up with what I thought was a good idea. You take photo's of your local tanker pilots, lead plane pilots, chopper pilots and any other crews you "work with" but never get to see and make a poster or flyer with the aircraft they usually fly, their name, and a face. At least you will get to put a face and a name to the guy or gal that slimed you or saved your back side. The death of the two air tanker pilots was a body blow to a lot of folks in Northern California, I know I have been on fires with one or both of the pilots. But as your average engine guy we don't get to the air attack base all the much and don't really know these folks and hardly ever get to say thanks and develop relationship like you do on the ground. At least this way it would give a little more personality to the aircraft dudes and we would now know who to thank for pulling our butts our of the Fire, sometimes quite literally.

On the boot issue I have suffered through the Red Wing ( did you aver wonder how the red got into that name? ) thing. More recently I have been purchasing Wesco boots. They work pretty well for an engine slug and I wear them on my regular job 8 to 10 hours a day 5 days a week. They are a little cheaper than Red Wings and they work well for me. The one thing I highly recommend is to use Obanouf's ( spelling maybe incorrect, English was never my best subject, just read some of last posts ) boot wax, the stuff is not cheap but of all the products I have used I think it's the best boot treatment out there.

My thoughts and prayers to all of you who have lost someone this fire season, it's tough and it sucks. Be safe, keep you head up and your mind sharp.


09/06 To The Quill....

I had to voice my 2 cents worth on the boots issue, as I've felt your pain. I too started with Redwings when I was completely broke but needed boots. Bad Idea. Those damn things were at least partially responsible for ending my brief hotshot career. Anyway, realizing that success in firefighting directly correlates with your own personal comfort (or pain) level, I splurged and went for a pair of White's (from Drew's, I think) lace-to-toe Smokejumper boots and am happy to report no blisters, etc. etc. in the 2 years since. Plus, I'm flatfooted and the orthotics I use work fine with them. My sympathy is with you on the Redwings... I've met few others who have faced the same demon and been brave enough to tell the tale. Good luck!

Be safe out there....


09/06 This came in from ole Abe.

Food for Thought:
"To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards out of men."

~ Abraham Lincoln

09/06 The AP Wire reports that 3 Park Rangers and 14 Grass Cutters (contracted from local villages) were killed Wednesday on a fire in Kruger National Park, South Africa.


09/06 Hey Gang,

Been back for almost a week now from the Olallie Lake Complex on the Hood and getting sent out to the North Rim on Saturday. Since it's been almost 6 months from my last posting, thought I'd take a little time and send something in.

The Cspan program the other night was well thought out and prepared I thought. Of course, when you have a couple of "upper echelon" government reps in the hot seat, you are bound to get a couple of bureaucratic style answers. Like some of the postings, I too thought that some of the answers were a little "vague" and even a few times the panel seemed to beat around the bush with some of their comments. The video was great. I especially liked the rawness of the interviews from the folks on the line. Nothing rehearsed at all. I loved the sawyer from the reservation. Very honest and funny. How many times have you heard of firefighters out on the line tell a reporter that the biggest problem on the line was staying awake?!?! Loved it! In retrospect of the program in general, I feel that it should be thrown out there in prime time network TV. Not everyone has access to CSPAN, and truely, it would be an educational program for the general public. After fourteen years of firefighting, I even found the trip through NIFC interesting.

On to other things........
My trip to the "Hood" was and eye opener for me. I have fought fire in all western states with the exception of Washington and Oregon. I was truely amazed of how unhealthy the Mt Hood Forest was.... The Olallie Lake fire was a lightning ignited burn which initially started on the Forest. In time, the fire moved over the hill to the Warm Springs Reservation. I have never seen such a "dirty" fire. Lots of downed material and incomplete burn. Talk about a sprain ankle/broken leg potential. After talking to a couple of local forest service "timber management" folks who were out on the line, I learned that due to Portland's environmental groups ability to launch court ordered injunctions against the forest, the Mt Hood Forest hasn't had a forest sale in 15 years. Also, their last "real fire" of only 300 acres was some 20 years ago.

I would have liked to have taken a group of Sierra Club folks out to this fire and show them the amount of timber (120-150 million board feet per acre), bug kill, and hazardous fuel accumulations that this forest has. I can only imagine that the rest of the Pacific Northwest is just as bad.

Hope to be able to spend more time on the computer later this season, but for now, be safe and we'll see you out on the line.

AZ Trailblazer

09/06 Sammi asked: "Does anyone know if it is legal to copy the FF program on c-span and then pass the tapes on to other people?" The answer, in two easy lines, is:

1. 2001, National Cable Satellite Corporation (from the C-SPAN website) and
2. No. Check out the federal copyright law about distribution.

Legal Beagle.

Thanks Snoops. Ab.

09/06 Bob- Re the dozer head sets.

I know at least some of your folks down ther have seen them as we have a number of our units down there over the last couple of years (97/98 & I think 99 too) Ours are not real cheap, I think about $400 ea not including the radio of course. We use king portables and you just plug in the push to talk button to your radio then plug your head set into it. We did make one modification after the fact that made it even nicer. It used to be if your push to talk button was plugged into the head set you couldnt get sound except through the head set. If you unplugged your head set you had no sound for your radio. It was a simple fix for our radio tech to fix the radio so that the radio speaker works all the time wheather the head set plug is in or not. We sell the units stock from our warehouse so if ya got the $ to buy one I hear by grant ab the mother may it of giving you my work email address.


ab...can I be Hoss???? heh heh heh

Sure, Pulaski, an interagency Cartwright family. How about Adam? Ben? We're intreviewing to be ready for the next sho'down or ho'down whichever comes first. WP, where are you? Ab.

09/05 Yep -

Pulaski and Little Joe are right. I shot from the hip and was being too provincial, thinking of the Western States and particularly California. I should simply have pointed out that the whole point regarding IA responses was irrelevant in that MY statement was specifically regarding "large wildland fires". But I DO stand corrected on the subject of IAs. Mea Culpa.

Mike, CDF from Arroyo Grande.

09/05 On familysaid, Sammi asked the question:
Does anyone know if it is legal to copy the FF program on c-span and then pass the tapes on to other people? I have the complete copy and am willing to share but would'nt want to go to jail.

A note from Ab: C-span holds the copyright, so it is illegal to copy and disseminate the show. I don't know if they'd consider it illegal to loan the video to a friend for viewing, though. We wouldn't want you to go to jail, either, Sammi.

Here C-SPAN is where you can link to order the video from c-span. I searched on the term "wildfire". Cost is $49.95.

Here C-SPAN FAQ are some frequently asked questions, which include info on copying/sharing purchased copies.

09/05 RE: Mike from arroyo grande

Well, Im not going to voice an opinion or step into this bs pissing match. But would like to clarify one point in mike & little Joe's battle. Joe stated that: The majority of the municipal firefighters that also do wildland are from the small rural departments that IA fires as a part of normal operations - if you check the stats, rural fire departments IA more wildland fires than all of the government agencies put together.

And Mikes reply was: Ahem.... Say what??? You have to be either joking or extremely delusional.

Well, I have news for you mike, you need to look beyond your back yard and CA and look at the big picture. While I do not have the numbers to substantiate it, I would put my money that local agencies (IE fire departments) respond to many more (numerically!!) wildland incidents than the federal government or fed and state wildland agencies. No, the acres are not there, and the difficulty in alot of cases is not there either. But in numbers I would expect it to be a good bet. Take into account that there are many states where the local FD is the only agency that has initial attack responsibility outside of federal lands (and in some cases within federal or state lands as well).

And dont look at NIFC's fire numbers as a solid count. Those "totals" fall short of all wildland incidents that have occured simply because so much from the local level goes no farther than the specific F.D's report if one was even made out. (but I know there are also those that do ship their annual numbers in too). A good example is my state. Local FD's have IA responsibity in about half of the state with the other half being state/federal wildland agencies. To the best of my knowledge the numbers from FD IA fires do not get into the system. It was only a few years ago that our agency began pouring our info into the federal info pool.

Well...thats more than enough on this topic... ..in my perfect world, all patches & logos would be left at the front gate with only experience and training being the deciding factor on qualifications and assignments.


Mike, maybe you'd better not take on "The Cartwrights". They'll always step up to the line for "Little Joe". Pulaski is correct on IA responses. Now, can we call a truce here before someone shoots themself in the foot? Ab. (the one in the middle with the big star on his puffed out chest)

09/05 Re Pat L's request for info on a wildfire tragedy song.

Might be "Cold Missouri Waters" about the Mann Gulch fire. Best known version of the song was recorded by a band called Cry, Cry, Cry. The song was written by James Keelaghan, a Canadian folk singer. You can download JK's orginal version of the song here: www.keelaghan.com/index.phpl. If you do a internet search under "Cold Missourri Waters" or "Cry Cry Cry" you'll find the lyrics posted in various places.

The song is based on the elder Macleans book "Young Men and Fire." Lyrics tell a story of the classic "big mistake." Good enough to underscore basic training elements. The words stick in your mind long after you've heard it.

--Peter Pan

09/05 Time for an announcement from the Abs:

The Macleans' books are listed on the Fire Books page. Wildland firefighters have reviewed them -- the FF Reviews page. Let me take a moment to plug our partnership with Amazon.com who supplies these books. You can help wildlandfire.com pay its bills if you buy from Amazon, having entered through our website. This includes books, computers, anything they sell. We make a *small* commission, but only if you get there through one of our book jacket links on either of those pages. As you can see, the site is growing and so are the bills.

Thanks, Ab.

09/05 Hi Pat,
You heard a song about the Jumpers who died at Mann Gulch. We searched for this and then discussed it on theysaid almost a year ago. You should check the Theysaid Archives for Sep-00. At that time MP3 was working and all who wanted to and could downloaded a copy from the free site (and yes Kellegan's version was free at that time as a promo). The song also was covered by a group and is on a CD titled "Cry Cry Cry". Anyone know if Kellaghan's version is still available for free somewhere on the web? I must do a little searching...

Wow, ya'll, look at this! Go to Google Search and enter the following: Kellaghan "Cold Missouri Water". Put the quotes around the title and it treats it as a search "unit". The only link that comes up is the location on theysaid archives when we talked about this song. Ab, that's about enough to give you a swelled head and puffed out chest!

A bit more search... I found this: www.keelaghan.com/down.phpl Takes a bit to download -- 3510 K in size. Worse than pdf format -sorry I couldn't resist!

Thanks Norcal Tom for the photos and links. Hyampom Fire is burning and Hayfork is in serious trouble. The fire is 2 mi from the edge of town...

Please be safe, my friends.

Watch who you be talkin'  smart'mouth to about puffed out chests. Ab.

09/05 Pulaski,

Great idea on the headsets for dozers. Then we wouldn't have to scream, holler, and get in right "in their face" to communicate. But, I've not seen them here in Texas yet. Still just a mobile radio with an extension speaker on the units I'm familiar with. TFS is beginning to change over to some cab w/ac dozers. Most of our problems locally, stem from too small of unit. The JD-350-450 line seems to predominate. They get "hung-up" on some of our Yaupon thickets. Ride up on them, and then just kind of hang there, suspended, while they try to find traction. I saw a few of the new cab units at the Interagency academy last fall. They seem to be the "ticket" for the sort of situation we usually encounter.

And no, I can't figure out why it takes so long to "re-invent the wheel". But it does. Time and again. I'm not sure why an Agency can't see something that works, and then apply that to their own system. Maybe the old "we know best" attitudes.


09/05 Hey Quill,

Remember- You get what you pay for! I went through two pair of Red Wings my first year as a hotshot before taking the advice of the more seasoned members of the crew. I ended up buying Turners out of Mountain Home, ID. They were a great boot but I don't know if they are in business anymore-try the web. You should also take a look around, Anyone who is anyone is wearing Whites. Don't skimp on your feet, you are already paying the price.

DB beantown shot

09/05 Hey Quill,

I just got back from a 14 day trick in Northern NV and CA. Last year a friend talked me into getting a pair of Nick's Hotshots. Best $335 I ever spent. Not one hotspot or blister. Didn't even need moleskin. The only time you need the extra $80 is if your foot doesn't fit one of the lasts that they already have. My friend happened to be my squad boss this trick and I was thanking him every five minutes. I used to wear Carolinas being a cheap skate, but they don't even hold a candle. Just my humble opinion, hope it helps.


09/05 I am wondering if you can help me locate a book or the name of a song I heard the other night. It was about wildfire firefighters who died in a terrible incident. I don’t know if it was about firefighters who were lost to a fire in the 1940’s? or if it was a more recent tragedy during the 1990’s? Can you help me with this? Can you tell me the names of both incidents, and the name of the song?

I know this is not a happy topic by any means, but your help in finding the information requested would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Pat L.

09/05 Has anyone had any experience with the Hot Shield's? Do you use them? Are they worth the money? is this something the guys would not wear because it is not cool?

Thx - Sammi

09/05 Little Joe from MT - good point! Hope those who are into the infighting and squabbling, read & heed.

Egos are what cause casualties! Foster good relationships within the fire community, especially the wildland-urban interface (notice my W-U instead of the U-W?). Red card- no red card, methinks it is a major issue & a potential time bomb. Isn't everyone in this business to do a job, safely? ya work with the tools & experience at hand!

old&grey in R5

09/05 ICS Line Assignments vis-a-vis Municipal FD's (Again, sigh..... I do not intend to beat this dead horse much longer, but his response seemed to miss the point in several respects.....)

"Little Joe Fire" from Montana wrote:

<<What's all of the talk about municipal firefighters not being trained as well or the same experience as the agency folks?>>

How could you even question that? "Agency" folk (I am assuming you mean USFS, CDF, BLM and the other major wildland firefighting agencies) have made this their life work. Are you seriously suggesting that people who have specialized in wildland firefighting their whole careers, be that a few years or a few decades, are not superior to municipal firefighters in their understanding of wildland fire behavior and utilization of resources etc.? As a CDF FC, I spent almost five years in Orange County, exclusively on 100-foot sticks and 85-foot Snorkels. I was an excellent Trucker. I had initially spent three years as a seasonal firefighter for CDF doing almost exclusively wildland fire. At the end of my Orange County experience, I would not have been qualified to operate a Pulaski at a wildland fire.
<<The training, task book and the sign offs are the same. Sure there are some terrible DIVS from municipal departments out there, but I have found the same with USFS and CDF people. There are not a lot of wildland firefighters from the big cities out there, they don't have a clue what a wildland fire is.>>
It takes a bit more than "not having a clue what wildland fire is" to safely, effectively and efficiently operate a Division or a Branch. Some will be astounded at this admission, but I, after 31 years of CDF experience, in very active assignments, all over the State, many years on Engines, a few years in the ECC, and the last 12+ years as a Crew Captain, would not accept a Division Assignment on a large wildland fire because I know I could not do the job properly. I have VASTLY more experience than do many of those who are chosen from local agencies to do this job. If you have really found no difference between the quality of CDF/USFS DIVS and Branch Directors and local agency personnel, then I suggest that you are drawing from way too small a statistical sample.
<<The majority of the municipal firefighters that also do wildland are from the small rural departments that IA fires as a part of normal operations - if you check the stats, rural fire departments IA more wildland fires than all of the government agencies put together.>>
Ahem.... Say what??? You have to be either joking or extremely delusional.
<<I would like to say, judge the person not from which agency they work for but how they perform. Yes I am a DIVS from a municipal department with 24 seasons spent in fire camps.>>
Quite right. Next Space Shuttle launch, I'll be happy to take the controls. Let me know how I'm doing!! :)

Mike, CDF - from Arroyo Grande

09/05 Memorial pins

The Wildland Firefighters Memorial is selling the purple ribbon with a flame pins for $5 each. Lets support the memorial and not buy from a third party.



09/05 The Quill,

Nicks or Whites?? Decisions! Decisions! Both are some of the better boots you can buy. When you earn your living fighting wildland fire and your life may depend on the condition of your feet, don't skimp on the price. Your quote is alot of money, but if you buy either the Whites or Nicks you will ever regret your investment. (Provided you take care of them that is!) Go for it!!!!


09/04 I'm opening up a can of worms, here, but I think I need to...

I'm fed up with my Red Wing boots. I'm footsore and in a bad mood because of them. I'm not out there hiking a whole lot, but enough that after a fair walk, I find myself fantasizing about killing the guy who designed my current boots because it takes away some of the pain. In any case, I'm not out there cutting line all day and all night. I am doing a lot of walking, though, and I'm tired of the achey feet and blisters.

So it's replacement time.

I've heard good things about White's. There are some people who swear by Nick's. What about Drew's? Their prices are better than either White's or Nick's. Catalogs on the way from White's and Nick's ... Leaning towards Nick's Hotshot -- at the moment. $335 for the boot plus $80 for the custom fitting. Is it worth it? Or am I better off with the far less expensive -- but apparently custom-fitted, at least according to their web site -- Drew's 10" Roughshot?

The input of the many wise men and women is appreciated.

The Quill.

09/04 Ab, I found these today.

on the Star Fire:
www.r5.fs.fed.us/eldorado/incident/star/ and some very Nice Fire Photos.

and, Mellie, some *excellent* photos of the Oregon Fire at Weaverville

Oh, this site is not nearly so sophistocated, but here's some important nuts and bolts info on the Hyampam Fire if anyone needs it:

NorCal Tom

09/04 Just returned from Larry Groff's service. I have some pictures I will send in when the roll gets shot up and developed. Very nice service. About 1000 firefighters, pilots, friends and family. Had a large procession of engines, utilities, dozers and assorted rigs. Departments from all over Northern California were represented.

Very fine service, for a good man. I hope we don't have any more deaths this year, it's been a costly fire season. At the end bag pipes and drums with a fly over by helicopters and the S-2's, got a little teary eyed. Go with God.


09/04 I watched the NIFC c-span show last night. They did a good job. Only criticism, Jim Roth's call was welcome but Dennis Pendleton's answer was not very satisfying in that he did not include the work already done on Jim's shelter in his comments.

I printed the Yakima Herald report this morning when I saw it listed on theysaid. The elements of the accident, as I see it are:

Ethics of firefighting again made some firefighters stay until they got run out. Proper ethics should be to fight when you can win, pull back when the fire will prevail.

Getting worse, spotting, logical implementations of that situation allowed firefighters to worry but not to take evasive action. The fire danger was worsening, the fire behavior was getting worse, spotting ahead and beginning to torch trees. Yet no one said there will be more spots and potential for area on fire, fire on fire, angry fire.

Some did the right thing and knew the score but as always in these cases, they did not deter others from going where they shouldn't go. Understanding the fire, what the fire is telling you, is crucial and the fire is telling you it is getting worse. It is the time to re-think tactics and go defensive. It is a situation that requires crews to move before the fire does, based on the potential as seen and felt. The fire was warning them, talking to them, but the entrapped firefighters did not understand what it was indicating.

If we don't do something different to impact these elements of death, we will be in for a long spell of disasters like this and many others with the same elemental flaws imbedded in firefighters psyche.

Abs, thanks for all you do.
With aching heart
best regards

09/04 Just returned home a few days ago from a trip to Calif. on the North Fork fire. With all the talk about the feds & CDF I must say coming from the North East, all were great to work with. We always hear how everyone from CDF has an attitude about them. We felt like we at home everyone had a job to do and it didn't matter what agency you were from we all worked together. What an interesting year starting out in northern Nevada bouncing around from fire to fire then a nice trip to Cali.


09/04 What's all of the talk about municipal firefighters not being trained as well or the same experience as the agency folks? The training, task book and the sign offs are the same. Sure there are some terrible DIVS from municipal departments out there, but I have found the same with USFS and CDF people. There are not a lot of wildland firefighters from the big cities out there, they don't have a clue what a wildland fire is. The majority of the municipal firefighters that also do wildland are from the small rural departments that IA fires as a part of normal operations - if you check the stats, rural fire departments IA more wildland fires than all of the government agencies put together. I would like to say, judge the person not from which agency they work for but how they perform. Yes I am a DIVS from a municipal department with 24 seasons spent in fire camps.

Little Joe Fire, Gardiner MT

09/04 Jobs Series 462 and Series 455 are updated. It's a slow season for additions to the jobs page itself. No new posts have come in there, but there are changes on the series pages. Ab.
09/04 So who called in to the C-span show ??


A whole lotta people from around the US, some were the public, some were firefighters. There was a great deal of information that clarified how the ICS works. There were a couple of acronyms that weren't explained that are not on our acronym list. I must check what those are again so we can add them. Ab.

09/04 great media coverage of wildland firefighters

Check out the C-Span coverage tonight about wildland firefighters. It is a four hour segment that they are running continuously all night long. It is the first national news that covers the whole spectrum.

R-5 alien head

09/04 OK I have the 4 hour tape complete and ready to share for those who did not get to view the C-Span program. I am willing to sent it to you if you need it but I will need a snail addy to mail to.

Let me know.

Thanks Danny. A worthwhile thing to watch. Ab.

09/04 Hey folks,

Sorry to hear of another fatality. We've been flying the flag at half mast a lot this year.

AJ550. Try the Supervisors Office of your local National Forest. Ask to speak to the contracting officer. If that dosen't work try the Wenache National Forest. I hear they've been signing up contract engines for years. Contractin Officer: In english: That's the high preist that tells you what to do. And if you do it right he (or she) sprinkles holy water on you, allowing you into the lucrative world of wildland engine contracting.

I work for a contract outfit. We recruit manly from ex agency fire folks.

There's a lot of scruntiny to get signed up now, as well there should be. They don't allow any gyppo outfits anymore.
Good luck

09/03 Ab,

Here is the news release on the firefighter that was killed. Our thoughts are with the family.

Bitterroot Fire Fatality


09/03 A firefighter was killed this morning by a falling snag on the Bitterroot NF, according to our local TV News. A 5-10 acre fire at Lost Trail Ski Area, in the "leave strip" between ski runs. No more details yet.

Dick Mangan

09/03 Bad News: The CBS Evening News reported today that a firefighter on one of the Montana Campaign Fires was struck and killed by a falling limb from a tree.


09/03 One post says the c-span show on NICC has already begun. I can verify that.

Update: A post from Tree says they will repeat it at 9PM Pacific time. Warm up those VCRs.


09/03 thefish, AJ550, L.A.V.E. et al

Re the CDF vs USFS vs the World

Aviation had some of the same problems with different requirements, training, full time personnel, etc. the visionaries Hugh Carson and Lannis Allmaras, conceived the IHOG to address these problems. This single document provides a level playing field for all agencies to participate. Many States bit the bullet and obtained the training specified in the IHOG and are now major players and suppliers of personnel. CDF had a representative on the IHOG steering committee, yet elected to opt out of the IHOG. So on an interagency basis CDF gets to sit out when it comes to federal helicopters.....

Why not adopt a similar device for the rest of our firefighters? (I know is just another thorn), but as the old saying goes "No pain, No gain".

A side note on training. I have a friend who works for the Texas Forest Service, who is one of their Ops Chiefs/IC's. He has spent the whole of this year going back and taking the classes he missed. I say BRAVO to the TFS....

Bottom line is we need to work together to be the best most professional and SAFE firefighters we can be....


09/03 HEY LARS,
I watched in amazement your tenacity,
To lay the red line,
To stop the orange monster,
To slow the beast so I could move safely,
To slow the beast so memories could be safe,
In and out of the bowl,
Without fear,
Another day at the office,
Until the time came,
Forget why, how or even who,
Now you soar with wings like an eagle,
With the angels that watch over us,
No more of the menace,

I am sorry that I did not know the other pilot but these thoughts are for him also, I grieve for the families and friends. I even grieve for the poor lost misguided person who caused the blaze these men were called to battle. Maybe I'm crazy, but Ithink that poor bastard didn't have anyone in his life to give him the love that would teach right from wrong.

I sit at the keyboard sick as I just saw the flyby from my backyard with the lone S2 pulling up and away. My prayers are with the families and friends of those pilots.

Eric- Firestorm WFS

09/03 A reminder for today (Mon Sept, 3rd). Tune in c-span at 9PM PDT. It runs until 11. Check in a bit earlier, just in case it begins early as c-span programs can sometimes do.

A Tour of NICC on c-span.


09/03 The Moose Fire, west of Glacier NP, has grown to more than 50,000 acres, 48,000 acres inside the park. Crews were pulled off and aircraft were grounded due to 65 mph winds. There's spotting up to 1 mi ahead of the fire.

Heads up. BE SAFE.


09/03 CDF vs USFS vs Local Govt

Hi all,
I saw that there were just a few cans of worms left on the shelf in this debate. (Gawd, what a great quote!) I just wanted to ask a few questions and maybe tell a story or two. This is coming from a guy who works for a local gov't agency, but is on a Type 2 team. Guess you won't have to ask Federal or State 'cause that bit has already been discussed. ;)

On a recent fire my team had 4 DIVS and 4 DIVS(t) on the fire. Of those 8 folks, 1 was USFS, the others were local gov't/county employees. None were CDF. I was privvy to a converstion between several high ranked (on the team) USFS employees, the gist of which was that these DIVS did a good job... fire still runs uphill in the city, but that they weren't quite doing things the "Forest Service way." So, the unanswered question in this conversation was how do we achieve that. Training is, of course, the answer. I do want to stress that this was a positive conversation.

I'll be the first to admit that _some_ city folks are best left in the city. After all, should I take a fully qualified DIVS from, say, Moosehead Junction Ranger District of the East Great Egypt NF and ask them to supervise Division 23 of a 35 story highrise fire, they may not be the most effective. If I'm going to run out of city DIVS-types what do I do? Well, train some wildland folks to step in and get them the experience.

I've noticed that both major wildland players here in CA will try to use their own folks first. That's to be expected. One, it's just natural. Two, it's probably more cost effective. But... it hinders the training and experience that we all need.

I routinely see CDF strike teams from 200-300 miles away come into my area rather than using local gov't engines. A CDF buddy has told me that this practice is supposed to stop, but I haven't seen it yet. Maybe someone can confirm or deny this rumor. I actually saw _one_ local gov't engine used as a cover engine in a USFS station near here last year. Heck, that should happen all the time. When the forest is in draw down, why not charge fire replacement for a local gov't engine and get them some experience. I know, easier said then done... but why? Heck, if they called me and asked me to take one of our Type 3's to a USFS station for 10 hours on my day off, I'd jump at the chance.

That leads me to my last point... my own agency is very rank conscious when it comes to ops quals. No way in hell am I going to be allowed to become a qual'd STL and take a strike team out because that's the realm of Battalion Chiefs. Just being a BC does not make one qualified to be a STL. Heck, I overheard one of our BC's running a S/T last year ask if she should show up at morning briefing. Duh. (Note: Here's the place where the naysayers will be thinking, "I told you so") Why does this happen? The same empire building that everyone else does. God forbit a Captain or below should lead other Captains.

So here's a question to ponder... if I'm on the local forest or ranger unit's list as a engine boss trainee on up, what are the chances that I'll get called for a overhead spot _below_ DIVS. Slim to none. Why? Well, I dunno. Why would they want to call me for a DIVS spot when I haven't learned "the Forest Service way" as an engine boss? That's asinine. Start the local gov't folks lower in the totem pole... everything else will go together more smoothly.

Everyone needs people now. Locals, CDF, USFS, countys, everyone. Now's the time. Cross-train. Call the locals on your lists to fill lower spots if ya can't fill them with your own people. Set up exchange programs. Set up mixed strike teams. Make it happen. I understand that California may implement a program requiring that 310-1 be met for all fires. I welcome it, so long as it's not pencil whipped for those already in power. If need be, I'll step back to fill out a FF1 task book bit at a time... agency specific be dammed.

Sorry that got a bit long.. my spleen was a bit overpressure and needed some venting. Hopefully I offered some solutions, or at least raised awareness rather than just bitching. Changes do need to be made, and the people who read this forum are just the folks to make it happen.

You can sign me,

09/03 ab,

I went to the Yakima Herald website to see what I could find on that investigation cited by the AP news story on the 30 mile fire.

Its there and its in two parts, long and detailed, and will make you feel pretty sick inside. There are many photos taken by some of the young seasonals as events unfolded. They show you what was going on and where they were at different points. Here's the url:


This is the result of the investigation commissioned by the newspaper. that url is:


on some of the pages you have to be sure to scroll all the way down to the "continue" or "next page" link that might be buried at the bottom.

The investigation part contains good photos of the topography. Those of you who don't take the Campbell Prediction System seriously might want to rethink that after reading these articles.

--Peter pan

09/03 Hello All-

I own 2-new fire engines (200 gallon, CAFS, Loaded) I purchased these for controlled burning my own property 10,000+ timbered acres in Washinton and Idaho. With all the fires in the country I thought I would sign up these units as contract engines so I called the Forest Service in the area as well as many other areas and many state agencies and got the same response: I need to have all my employees Red Card Certified. When asked who does this training I was given a few numbers that said they only did the training for government employees, however, I see contract engines all over the country. Does this mean I have to work for the government, get the training and then leave to contract these engines out? Does any one know how I can get 8 people certified? Also what about contact names for getting these units out doing what they are made for? I also have two dozers available and are signed up but not one call!!

Any help would be appreciated. Also if anyone is interested in working for a private contractor running one of these engines (if I can ever get them on, maybe this person could help) please post.

Thanks in advance for your time!!


09/03 Hello,
My name is Scott Love and I am a private wildland fire engine contractor / engine boss, without a crew.
I live in Chico Calif. and am looking for folks around here or Reno, Nevada to work on my 250 gallon, type-6.
Quals. needed are S-130 / 190 and current annual refresher. I would also be interested in talking to any qualified engine bosses.
Thank You
09/03 From Firescribe, a link to a message of THANKS:

"Thanks, firefighters: Wildfire crews deserve praise" - The Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon, USA


09/03 In support of MOC4546 - sort of

In my combination department we have a number of ex-CDF seasonals, so there is a lot of wildland experience in the Dept. In CDF's defense in my area we train with the local CDF crews and we work well with them. They have saved us a few times and vice versa. The CDF Bat. Chiefs I have had the privilege to work with usually are goods folks and treat the local government agencies with respect and are happy for our help.

In other situations I have run across the problems that MOC4546 has outlined. I think there is some of the "kingdom building" going on but any sane firefighter knows the next engine in (CDF/ USFS/Local Gov. or even Alien Mutual Aid Strike Team from MARS ) maybe be the one that saves your ass. In many instances I think it is fear of the unknown, unknown training, unknown people, unknown work ethic, unknown equipment, etc., that make The Big Guys shove the local folks to the rear and tend to discount them. Also I have seen even some local Fire Agencies trying to gobble up the county side and the desire to become a 500 pound fire Gorilla (the local term I like is Fire Nazis).

I think the answer is to become familiar with your local big fire agency and to develop a good working relationship with them. When you do go out of county you will not have that trust and continuity. Enough for now. Got to go. Tomorrow will to the Larry Groff's (CDF tanker pilot) funeral. God I don't want to go to another this year, BE CAREFUL!


09/03 The complaint regarding use of relatively inexperienced local government (read: municipal) personnel to fill crucial line positions on wildland fires is thoroughly legitimate. I will stop complaining about that as soon as municipal fire departments start using CDF and USFS personnel to command large high-rise, industrial, refinery and commercial fires. We could receive about 40-hours of initial training, and then remain proficient through occasional (once or twice a year should do it) actual assignments.......... NOT! It is demeaning to see how our very specialized and knowledge-intensive profession is somehow seen as requiring of less experience.

Division and Branch assignments on large wildland fires belong in the hands of full-time professionals with many years of experience. This should not even have to be said!

Mike, CDF - from Arroyo Grande

09/03 MOC4546

Reading your comments to CDF BC gave me several impressions of you and your views. One, your pretty bitter about something the CDF or USFS has done to you in the past....

Let's get one thing straight here. CDF and USFS have statutory responsiblities to complete an assigned mission.

These agencies are loosing hundreds of folks to retirements and better paying local gov't fire jobs. There is limited opportunity for CDF folks to get experience in some of these ICS positions with the advent of the Team concept in CDF.

When I view a local government employee in a CDF team assignment-I see another lost opportunity for one of CDF's people. That might piss you off but that is the reality.

I'm sure the feds see it the same way.

It would be like one of these guys coming into your town and running the show on your big fire. How would that make you feel.

Regarding the competency deal. I have seen good and I have seen real bad from ALL the agencies. We have starts and we all have our share of the others. Who carrys the friggin' lawn chairs on the big lime green OES rides and posts up on the fancy houses while the rest go to work?

Let's not get into a discussion about how type 2's kick ass on type 3's ect... a good DIVS knows how to use both.

In my opinion, local governments are buying all these type 3's for one reason: they are revenue generators for their departments. They come to the state and federal fires and rent them out at OES rates. the money then goes back into the FD budget.

Same thing happens to the salary of the FF's. It is a scam of the highest order. Why do you think there are so many local gov't type 3's out there now a days?

In short, the big sandbox is a money maker for local FD's.

Knock that chip off your shoulder MOC4546....and hang in there....you'll get that job with CDF you been lookin for.... all these 18 years!

Then again, maybe that's why you don't have one?


09/03 An article on the 30-mi.


Anyone know when the report on the official investigation comes out?

09/03 Differences in training and quals from the FFT2 to ICT1 have been in doubt for the whole program of wildfire suppression for years. Can teams of CDF folks run a competent fire safely? From my 13 years of shot experience I have to say that they know the R-5 fire scene better than anyone else. So, how to deal with the bovine residue with this latest arguement? Training and expertise is available from all regions from the thousands of years of experience from each and every one of of us who enjoys this job. Quit chirping and help each other out. The arguement is getting old and the teachers are out there. This complaint was here in 1985 when I made my first trip to R-5 South to work the Wheeler Fire and others around Ojai.

Make it work when you get there instead of whining about how things don't mesh. Last time I dealt with a CDF team was on the Plumas and things went very well. Differences in abilities were dealt with and we all adapted to the show (MHRD) at hand.

The Moose Fire will make 70,000 at least when the snow flies here in NW Montana.

No precip in site and the Flathead River funnels wind like you won't believe. Fox broadcast that there were 9,000 firefighters here.Gotta see it !


09/03 For people really interested in the safety topic, the Tri-Data study reports are mandatory reading:


09/02 After seeing Blaze's list of the Fire research priorities from MTDC, I remembered seeing the actual report: It's based on input from the field firefighters. The 1984 Survey had input from 1026 field fire folks; the 1998 Survey got 1622 responses. The whole report makes interesting reading.................. engine personnel were the largest percentage of respondents. I think that the entire report is on the FSWeb??


Is it also available to non-fs folk on the internet? Ab.

09/02 Thanks for MTDE priority list Blaze,

While I certainly am not in the loop in everything I was surprised at a few things on the list. Improve communications with dozer operator was at the top of the list. Im not sure what they are looking for but 6-7 years ago our agency went with a pelter head set with noise reducing boom mike that improved our communications ten fold. Keep in mind that we use open cabs and our dozers are our main suppression unit. (very few crews or other people walking the line) It used to be where we had to stop the dozer or at least idle down to talk on the radio, now we can babble on while we are doing whatever we are doing. Many of us use the headset even we are working with the engine or other tasks on foot as its almost a hands free unit. What about all the other states/agenceys the use dozers or tractor plows alot...CDF, Florida, Texas, Michigan etc? What are they using? Seems dumb to reinvent the wheel, but it happens all the time.

On a similar note #4-improve protection of the dozer operator from dust and smoke. Ummm...doesent an enclosed cab do this? ..I have never run an enclosed cab so I dont know, but I would assume it does. Might be they are looking at improving something in the AC or filtration.

#7-develop maps with lat & long marked off. UMMM....dont the topos have the lat & long on them? ..Dont use them much but the ones I have seen do have it on them.

#10-develop standardized engines between agencies. What a pipe dream! ..just wont happen and probably shouldnt. Ive been around long enough to understand that what works great in one environment will not necessarily be effective in another. The landscape of this nation is just too varied to have a one size fits all engine

all in all, I see no reason why the shelter thing isnt at the top, especially with the dated technology of the current shelter and it seems pretty obvious that we are certainly at the point where we can produce a more effective product.

OK, thats it. Guess that soap box wasnt so high.
See ya


09/02 Dear MOC4546:

My earlier post was not intended to be an attack on local government although in retrospect I can see how it was interpreted as such. For those who read it in that light, I apologize.

I began to answer your letter MOC, point by point but soon realized that that would probably end in nothing more than the shouting match I was hoping to avoid. When it comes to opening cans of worms, we’d pretty much clean the shelves.

One quote from your comment though highlights the crux of the problem I was attempting to expose:

“I don’t care what management team shows up to manage the fire, or what team members work for who, just as long as the closest resources are called in sufficient numbers to do the job.”

Well the point that I was trying to make is that we do need to care. Without the proper management those resources, whoever the owner, can be as good as useless. To simplify and reiterate my post:

  1. The wildland agencies have a lot of new employees coming up through the ranks that need to train in large or extended attack fire management. I saw virtually none of this happening this season.
  2. A system needs to be put into place that ensures the ability of those in charge. A classroom and a task book can never make up for experience.

Understand as well MOC, this problem is not just the forest agencies, it is all of ours. Local government is as integral to fighting wildland fires as any of the state or federal agencies. No one entity has enough staff available to fill out the overhead chart and put personnel on the line as well. Unfortunately, and you have enough experience to know this, not all like resources are created equal. We need to ensure that quality is maintained for the safety of all of us.

I want to point out that nowhere in my post did I say that local government should be excluded from wildland fire fighting. That is senseless. On the other hand MOC, you went to great lengths to bash many of us. That won’t help anything. What we need is solutions. All of us need to come together to fix this. Any suggestions?

An arrogant SOB (aka cdfbc)

09/02 Thanks, Blaze, that is an interesting and thought provoking set of priorities. I would also like to hear what wildland fire fighters think of the list and their order of importance.


09/02 I am writing from the State of Virginia. We have a couple of folks on the Star Fire. They called last night for the first time in a week from a satelite phone and talked for about one minute because of the large line waiting to use the phone. It has been interesting reading the local papers and following the firefighting progress on the web. Also our southern coordination center out of Atlanta, Ga. has a good daily crew report. We are interested in hearing from others involved with the Star Fire.


09/02 What is the weight of the gear we can take?

I just got back form the Virginia Lakes Fires and someone in the course of the incident made a comment that the 65 lb bag was or had gone up to 85 lbs. Any one have better or newer info than 65 lbs.?

I can live with the 65 lbs but it sure would be nice to increase by 20 lbs.

Thanks Don Z

09/02 Mellie, heres what you want,

Wildfire Equipment Development Priority Needs

- the dates don't match with your dates, but the priorities are from '84 and '98. The shelter is "tied" in rank with other things. I don't know how they got the priorities. Does anyone know? These are for MTDC. Is this the only fire research group studying shelters?

I would like firefighters to comment. Are some of the priorities ahead of the shelter more important to firefighters? Maybe shelters are where they should be since there was not much money in the budget to study them.

The publication was done last year.


09/02 Monday's C-SPAN program info from Tree:

Also check their page on the program: www.c-span.org/wildfires/

From C-SPAN's online schedule (Times are Eastern Daylight Time)

Note what it says in italics: The beginning and end of this live program may be earlier or later than the scheduled times.

It appears that the length of the show is 4 hours. Ab.

09/02 Any word on folks on the Star fire in Ca.? I know phone lines are down and no cell coverage is working. Just getting antsy.


09/02 Thanks MOC,

You hit on something that seems to be quite widespread. How many of the folks griping about how much they are paid (or underpaid) would do it for free? But they are quick to gripe about our "untrained" people. Here in Texas, we've received a lot of help from the TFS folks on fires that were too large for us to handle, but, we've found it quite hard to "break in" to their training and certification. The local TFS folks are fantastic at working with us on fires, but at the upper levels, the help seems to fall apart. When trying to recertify for the physical requirements for red-carding, it becomes apparent that there is just not much interest in helping the "little" folks out. And the training to get the red-card means lots of travel, and time away from work. There does not seem to be much interest in providing the training to us "little guys.

If you do a good job with your donations, save, stretch your dollars, work for grants, and try to build a decent department, then TFS says you are too well funded to help you with much in the way of grants or cost-sharing on equipment. Perhaps they are just underfunded also, but, I've heard an awful lot about all the money being made available for training and equipment. We've seen very little if any changes that help us. You've got to have some serious time spent as grant proposal writers to see much help there. We already do what we do in training and firefighting for free, what does the Government want? Either quit complaining about our lack of training/certification or provide us with accessible training programs.

Thanks for letting me air some gripes.

09/02 hey MOC4546

thanks for sticking up for us local people. I don't live in CA but CDF-BC's comments also struck a nerve with me. i am a member of a local paid-per-call fire department and unlike CDF we try our best to be team players when we have more than one agency at our incidents. i think that it has to be realized that we are all working for a common goal here-to put out the fire quickly without loss of life and as little damage as possible. when we have to do things quickly we have to work as a team. heres a little homework for everyone, at your next incident talk to someone from a different type of fire agency(in a friendly way please) and you'll see that everyone has something positive to offer.



Fierce wind doubles wildfire near Glacier

Wow, what a photo: McDonald Lake Moose Fire

For Zeke and Jeremy: Info on Hotshot Crews. Reference the National Mob Guide, (Chapter 63). It's online in pdf, but a warning, it's a very large file, 320 pages, and will take a long time to download (7-10 min or more).
National Interagency Mobilization Guide, April 2001

Jeremy, here's hotshot crew list and info online:

and more to the point for Zeke, Interagency Hotshot Crew standards in pdf format (but a much shorter document, 41 pages):

On Page 41 (last page) of the IHC Ops Guide, there is a chart comparing Type 1 crew and Hotshot crew standards. Zeke, dig around, maybe you can find answers to your other question about your specific crew - or maybe someone's memory will be jogged. How long ago did this "Forest Service Inter-Regional Fire Crew" out of Whitebird ID exist? Is it around today?


09/02 KC - Thank You for your post, laughter is a great stress reliever.
Zeke - maybe OldR5er's post of 8/26 will answer some of your questions.
Basque - re your inquiry about "typing resources" - check the National Interagency Mobilization Guide

QUESTION: Why hasn't the daily NIFC sit report expressed words of condolence following the recent deaths of the "contract" folks? Did someone forget that the next slurry or water dump might save their bacon?

old&grey in R5


09/01 AB, In a recent posting by CDF-BC I felt that a powerful, direct, and all encompassing rebuttal to his statements regarding local government firefighters, particularly volunteers.

Hello to all,

This has been a sad week for us all with losing five of our fellow aerial firefighters, and I hope we can finish the season with no more incidents.

Unfortunately, a recent comment made by "CDF BC" brought up a sickening trend that is getting more prevalent with CDF and the Forest Service. The background is his derogitory comments about local government fire agencies and the functions that they perform on a wildland fire. His commentary:

  • "A large number of local government folks filling command roles on Forest Service and CDF fires."
  • "An overwhelming majority (of Local Goverment Agencies) did not have a clue about nuts and bolts of wildland firefighting."
  • "FS engines being sidelined by type 2 engines pulled assignments on uncontrolled line."
  • "Branch Directors from volunteer fire departments try to direct Forest Agency Personnel in handline and firing operations."
  • "I don't think one of the individuals understood the versatility of a Forest Service or CDF Engine Strike Team."
  • "Resource misuse was rampant and the potential for an accedent or additional resource loss was very real."

You went on to make comments about the impending retirements in CDF and FS, asked why local government FD's are being trained to fill wildland fire positions in regard to teams and crews, and that those filling the slots were inexperienced. At this point please review the comments on the They Said by "CDF BC" and "SoCal Capt." dated 08-31-01.

As I read your statement I want to say I am glad for such a forum to discuss topics openly, that anyone can bring their point of view on any subject matter regarding wildland fire operations without fear of repercussions from supervisors because of annonimity. Because this is a public forum I will censor my next comment serverely (in that it was more than a paragraph long with many four-letter-words).

To "CDF BC" regarding your recent post: "YOU ARROGANT S.O.B.!!!

What you said in this statement was local government fire departments, paid or volunteer, are not equipped or trained to handle themselves in these situations, and they have no business having anything to do with wildland firefighting, and that only "trained" wildland firefighters such as CDF and the Forest Service should have anything to do with it.

Let me tell you something, BUDDY! Local government firefighters (Paid and Volunteer) are trained in wildland and urban interface fire situations, many of them are trained or have held operational, support, and administrative positions on wildland fires, and many of them (paid and vol.) have more wildland firefighting experience than those seasonal firefighters or LT engineers you put so much pride into.

I want to go over some of the points you made in your commentary. Local government (LG) fire people (in R-5 California at least) get called in to help support these operations in the initial and extended attack modes on fires and usually stay on through the incident. LG firefighters have to go through wildland fire training as part of their job, use training programs such as the CDF 40-Hour and USFS 32-Hour through fire agencies or community colleges, they get training in ICS, and in general have had wildland experience. They do know the "nuts and bolts" of wildland firefighting.

Having been a Local Goverment Volunteer Firefighter of 18 years and a paid firefighter, I have found that a Type 2 Engine in R-5 can outperform a FS or CDF Type 3 in water output, versatility to mission, and flexibility. Those crews can work just as effectively as plain "wildland" firefighters. If FS Type 3 engines were being held back while Type 2s were working, what was the reason given? What happened to "make due with what you have"?

A number of CDF captains, battalion chiefs, and division chiefs have directed LG firefighters (paid and Vol.) to function as division supervisors, branch directors, staging managers, resource co-ordinators, firing ops, and other ICS functions that paid people fill also. They have the experience and training to do it before they are designated for that task. If they are assigned that position then the CDF and FS fire crews better follow directions if that's where they are assigned.

Since when did Strike Teams suddenly become exclusive to CDF and the Forest Service? Local Government Strike Teams are formed up through out the fire season for Type 1, Type 2, and even (OH MY GOD!!!) Type 3 engine teams. Looking at the fires that have been burning in August alone in California many of the engines on the fire lines, doing structure protection, mopup, or support functions were local government, paid and volunteer.

You're right about one thing, there is so much involved to get those taskbooks signed off and get those training assignments in and it takes a long time to get someone up to speed for a position. In Fire Season 2000 shortages were supposed to be so bad that you were drawing overhead from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and other places overseas that it was suddenly forgotten that "Oh, WOW!! We've got several HUNDRED PEOPLE who could fill those positions around the country from the FS and CDF!" but who were never called.

Your whole statement was aimed at Local Government firefighters saying they weren't good enough. More and more local goverments prep their firefighters for wildland operations by purchasing Type 3 apparatus, participating in Type 1 and Type 2 Interagency Fire Teams, and taking on special roles such as the Firing Crew that Kern County FD has.

Let me tell everyone what you don't want them to know. This whole Red Card System, Taskbooks, and training positions that CDF and the Forest Service are good to ensure quality personnel in ICS positions, but you have set up the system so only CDF and Forest Service people can fill those roles. You want it locked down that only your boys can do wildland fires, that the local governments won't know when or can't afford to send people to the classes necessary for those specialized positions, PARTICULARLY VOLUNTEER DEPARTMENTS. You know how I know? Because a number of CDF and Forest Service chiefs and training officers have made that known to people looking for all these specialized classes, and when the trainee positions come they chose their own personnel over anyone else, even if no one is readily available and a local firefighter is.

You're using the system to force LG firefighters out of wildland fire operations (particularly volunteers) by regulating them to death or making it impossible for them to meet the requirements. These things have come from your people's mouth, and you just confirmed it by your statements here on THEY SAID.

Lets be very honest CDF-BC. Why don't you ask Director Andrea Tuttle to come out in public and and simply say "It is CDF Policy to use any and all Predatory Means to undermine, take over, reduce effectiveness through politics, state policy, unreasonable rules, and bureaucracy to allow us to move into a position to take over all the local government fire agencies and put in more paid firefighters wherever we can so we can be the Big Guy on the Block." I say this with very little levity and humor, because a CDF battallion chief said to one of my fellow volunteers last year "I won't say I said this if it gets out, but CDF's goal is to take over all of California fire departments, and get rid of the volunteers in favor of paid firefighters." It happened, folks. There are no lies here.

I'm sure CDF-BC is saying "Thats not right at all!". Well, look at how CDF has been trying to demise volunteer fire operations in contracted counties such as Tehema-Glenn, Riverside, Butte, Shasta-Trinity, San Bernardino, and Madera-Mariposa-Merced Ranger Units. Things like unreasonable delays in new volunteer applications, drastically reducing the level of training provided by CDF personnel for volunteers (saying "we have to train the career people more"), getting rid of perfectly usable turnouts for volunteers and sending them to Mexico saying "NFPA says we have to" and telling new and current volunteers there is no safety gear for them, reducing fees paid for volunteer water tender rentals, playing games with PCF monthly and FC-42 checks, failing to have volunteers dispatched to wildland fires in their response area, not allowing seasonal personnel to function as volunteers on the area on days-off or when off for the season, and the demoralizing of local government paid and volunteer by the newer CDF firefighters, engineers, and captains coming into the ranks by telling them "We don't need you. You can go home".

Your agency, CDF-BC, is doing all of this and more so you can go to the County Boards, City Councils, District Boards, and say "We don't know why we keep losing volunteers, but we can't find any new one, so you need to pay us more so we can hire more paid Firefighter I and II to fill the cracks. The Forest Service is pursuing a similar game by regulating local government FDs by trying to keep them out of federal fires and make themselves look like "the only game in town".

You know, its ironic that CDF and the Forest Service teach their fire crews who are not familiar with local factors to ask local residents and local goverment firefighters what weather and fire conditions are like for the areas they are covering. CDF was told by the locals on numerous fires what the winds did, where water was, and other helpful information but it was all ignored, particularly durning last year's fire season, and in one fire it may have contributed to a death and many homes destroyed.

I don't care what management team shows up to manage the fire, or what team members work for who, just as long as the closest resources are called in sufficient number to do the job.

What CDF and the Forest Service are trying to do is either take on more missions and duties or restrict who can respond to their disasters so they can justify their existence. You guys ever heard of discrimination? That's what you've BEEN DOING and ARE NOW PRACTICING.

I'll grant you this, there are some poorly trained and equipped volunteers in R-5 California, and perhaps you saw a few on some of these fires, but overall the local government fire departments are well trained, dedicated, and experienced in wildland firefighting. Maybe you should be asking why you (CDF and the Forest Service) are not doing more to help out California's local fire agencies who cannot and never will be able to afford your fire program. Maybe you can ask CDF Administration why they won't give their retired engines to needy agencies at no cost. Maybe you can ask your fellow firefighters at the California Office of Emergency Services why its more important to SELL old OES engines to Mexico when there are so many volunteer departments who could use the equipment should be getting them for FREE. Same goes for the Forest Service, but at least you make more of an effort when your fire crews get involved with local government crews.

We are all supposed to work together regardless of our agency affiliation to protect LIFE, PROPERTY, and THE ENVIRONMENT IN THAT ORDER! Not who works for who! This is what your statement said to me CDF-BC, and this is what it said to me after what both agencies HAVE BEEN PRACTICING for the Last 10 Years!!! Actions Speak Louder Than Words!! And before you make a comment regading these things I have presented, look at what's happening in the Ranger Unit's I've mentioned.

I hope someone sees this and does the right thing by correcting someone's personal agendas for the sake of the Public.


Pushed a button, eh, MOC... Ab.

09/01 Sent in by AZ Trailblazer, this one is good for a grin and is making the ethernet rounds:

On Friday, August 17th at 0945, an incident occurred at the Libby fire cache in which an employee was struck in the head while not wearing a hardhat. This was not a near miss incident. Todd M was loading equipment into the back of vehicle #3175 directly in front of the fire cache office while preparing to patrol our recent lightning fires. Todd was pre-occupied with his task and failed to check for overhead hazards. It is Libby district policy to wear a hardhat when in the presence of aerial hazards, and Todd was wearing only his Dale Earnhart/Chevy Bowtie/NASCAR ball cap at the time. He recalls hearing a swooshing sound immediately followed by an impact across the top of his forehead. The blow stunned him, but did not knock him to the ground. Todd experienced strange high pitched screeching noises and was seeing multiple shadows darting across the ground around him. After a few moments passed, he looked down to see a 2.5 lb - 18", Sucker fish at his feet. In disbelief, he looked skyward and saw an Osprey and two American Bald Eagles breaking off from an aerial "dogfight". The mature eagle was apparently teaching its fledgling how to steal a meal from their raptor cousin. Todd was not seriously injured, declined to fill out a CA-1, and resumed his assigned duties. The incident was witnessed by 6 fire engine crewmembers and will become lore. What are the odds?

FMO, Libby RD
R1-Kootenai NF

Acting Safety & Occ. Health Manager
Colorado BLM

Ab sez, "Odds are 100% it will become lore. At the end of the month it enters the wildland firefighter theysaid archives. If we get a request from those involved, we'll enter their full names in the record. Until then, it's initials only.

09/01 I want to offer my condolences to the aircraft pilot's families from the recent accedents in California and Montana.

Informationally, a few years ago there was a case where a son of a CDF Airtanker Pilot killed in the line of duty applied for the State program that covered college expenses for fire personnel killed on duty. He was enrolled at Humboldt State University when the State said he didn't qualify because his father was not a state employee, but a contractor flying state equipment. I don't know what the details were, but a number of state politicians and Fire Political action groups got involved and the boy got an exemption, and they changed the rules. Someone check with CDFEA or with the Califoria State Firefighter's Association.


09/01 SoCalCapt

It was not my intention to denigrate the CDF Teams as some of the best firefighters I know are on these teams and, after being involved in CDF Team 3 taking over what was every bit a Type 1 incident last year in Idaho, I can honestly without prejudice say that the CDF Teams can compare to any of the Type 1 Teams that I have seen, (especially this year with so much turnover on the Type 1 Teams, some are running pretty rough). As for the team meeting last year, I dont remember the program you talked about, I do remember Greg G from National Team 3 being the Keynote speaker though.


09/01 Hi all

What are (or where can I find) the requirements for engine/ crew types (1,2 &3)


09/01 I'm sputtering with anger following CNN's news report last night! I can't believe the statement that those who lost their lives in the tragic helicopter crash in MT "weren't firefighters" - doesn't anyone proofread the news blurbs before some newscaster says the words? What did the writer think that helo was doing in MT - logging?!

Last nights doozie must have been written by the same uneducated fool who wrote last weeks blurb about a fire being controlled with no estimate for containment!


09/01 Don't forget to read familysaid. There is at least one post there (Diana's) that could use an answer to some "benefits" questions. We might all learn something from the answers. Ab.
09/01 I'm trying to find out if there is a difference between the terms "hotshots" and "Inter-Regional Fire Crew". Is there a qualitative difference, or are the names interchangeable? When I was a firefighter out of Whitebird, Idaho, near Riggins, Idaho, I was on a U.S. Forest Service Inter-Regional Fire Crew. We fought fires all over the country, all over the Western U.S. and we got there by air, helicopter or vehicle. We ran into a lot of the crews you mentioned, such as the Bitterroot crew etc.

Thanks for the help.
Zeke at zsanch@aol.com

09/01 My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the helo crew in MT. Remember everyone, watch out for unsafe conditions. We don't need to add anyone else to list of fatalities this year. please STAY SAFE!


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