"THEY SAID IT" ARCHIVES
FEBRUARY  2002

 

DATE
SUBJECT    (Previous Archive: Jan-02) Return to Archives Page
02/28 Hi Ab,

I've been a reader of "They Said" and of your excellent site for several months, but have only just now got the time to sit down and (slowly!) tap the keyboard.

A little about myself, I am a career (mostly structural) firefighter in Sydney, Australia and also a volunteer firefighter in my local rural fire district where about 70 per cent of our calls are wildland. We have just come off some pretty intense, mostly interface type fires here as you guys would be aware.

In reply to Sven's post regarding vehicle fires being other than total loss, I have had at least two car fires in the last 3 months where "good saves" were made. One was a under hood fire, where the driver had the presence of mind to keep the hood down thereby slowing the fire spread - with engine repairs and a small area repaint, this car would be back on the road. Another was a stolen car let alight (fairly common thing here!), the bad guys set fire to the seats, but then closed the doors!! Result was fire starved due to lack of oxygen, interior damage only, insurance company would repair maybe $5000 damage on a $20000 car. Of course most deliberately lit car fires (stolen or insurance fraud) result in close to total loss.

Also I would like to add that I am visiting the NorthWest USA (WA, ID, MT - I will be based in Pullman WA) in late March to late April. I would like to visit as much Wildland Fire related stuff as I can. On a previous visit last year, I checked out the Smokejumper base at Missoula MT and had a great time - thanks guys, this time I have plans to visit NIFC at Boise ID and the Fire Lookout Museum at Spokane WA and as much other stuff as I can. I would also like to check out and photograph USFS, BLM and anybody else's wildland engines, and also swap wildland fire patches. If any of you guys have any tips or leads here they would be much appreciated.

Take Care -
Peter.

Hi Peter, thanks for the kudos. I'm sure some readers can make some suggestions. Ab.

02/28 Well all my apps are out (USFS, NDF,BLM, BIA and 2 small local agencies here in NV). Now all I have to do is sit and wait. Not my strong point! LOL I guess I will just have to put my extra energy into training for the pack tests that will be coming my way!

Just a school to add to the 2 yr link...mine:)
www.tmcc.edu
They have the brand spankin' new Regional Training Center for police, structural fire & wildland fire. Awesome teachers and good classes!

Again THANK YOU!
Skyeblue
02/28 With the talk of training, there is a need for new communications technicians in the Forest Service and BLM. The only way to get your foot in the door is to go thru the CO-OP program at NIFC or have military electronic experience.

The program at NIFC involves being a second semester student in the electronics program at Boise State University or ITT also in Boise. After classed you have a part time job at the radio shop at NIFC, www.nifc.gov/nifctour/nirsc.phpl. Then in the summer you get a full time detail to a Forest or BLM district. after you get your associates degree they will help place you in a permanent position.

Give NIFC a call and ask for the radio cache for more info.

They have problems keeping people in that some of the students just use the program to have a part time job until they graduate then leave for more pay at Micron or HP, or they don't want to leave Boise. In the FS you have the possibility of going from a GS-2 to GS-11 in 6 years. The problem with the techs on Forest is that they are leaving to other agencies for a higher grade level or to the private sector for more pay. Also in 5 years about 50 percent of the GS 11s are eligible for retirement.

COMT

02/28 Old Fire Guy,

After the 30 mile fire investigation(s) "revelations" about firefighter and overhead fatigue being the major contributing factors to these and other firefighter fatalities doesn't it make sense to have SOs' attention focused on the time sheets and conditions in camp as a way of preventing a similar tragedy in the future? Not just the line crews either! If overhead is not thinking clearly due to fatigue it puts far more people at risk than if a crew boss is suffering from lack of sleep/rest.

I submit that the single most useful thing an SO can do is make sure that everyone is getting adequate rest and quality sleep. This may include providing a place for night crews to sleep away from the bustle of the main camp, or "suggesting" that the IC take a power nap. (I'd pay to see that!) Maybe simply placing the sleeping area of camp far enough away from the caterers reefer trailers and generators could prevent the next fatality. But SOs need to be empowered to do this and I don't think they currently are. I think they have always concentrated on the line because they don't feel free to scrutinize overhead or make major changes in what may exist when they show up for duty at an extended attack and they could probably do more good back in camp than on the line if they did. I don't mean that as a slam on SOs...as long as we have fatalities we need more effective SOs and we can't have that if we don't cooperate. They are our version of an OSHA inspector except they do not have the independence to demand changes to unsafe conditions that an OSHA inspector would have on a private business. Maybe this should be changed as well.

Punishing a crew for not working safe only encourages them to become less cooperative with the SOs. Wouldn't it be more effective to reward crews that consistently work safe in some way? Private industry tried (briefly) the former in the 1950's with dismal results...and adopted the latter ever since simply because it works. It is sadly ironic that in a business as safety oriented as ours our SOs have less clout than in other less inherently dangerous workplaces and are too often reduced to the status of roving nitpickers on the line while these simple to implement proven strategies for safety go essentially unimplemented back in camp.

Dana Linscott
Vicechairperson MWFA (Minnesota)

02/28 Old Fire Guy-

The "Taking Care of Our Own" session sounds like a good piece of work on
someone's part. Who was responsible for that? Can you tell us more?

GGFire
02/28 Here are the daily notes floating among the forests in R3-- from RT
Braising Arizona:

how dry is it? so far---it is so dry that.............................well
you get the picture---see attached!

Little rain portends busy fire season

Dry days fan fears of fiery summer

Wildfires burn 1,800 acres in S. Ariz.

02/28 I just put up a lot of nice photos from northeastern Washington state. Check the Fire 9 and Fire 10 pages, the Crew 4 and the Air Tanker 4 pages. Cape Labelle, convection, lightning tree. Some fine photos of big flamage on Fire 10 and a nice PBY photo on the Air 4 page. Thanks to J. Foster for the contributions. Ab.
02/28 Last week I was in Phoenix attending an interagency session called "Taking
Care of Our Own" which focused on training participants in how to deal with
an on-the-job employee fatality (firefighting emphasis). Leaders of
investigation teams, supervisors, trauma psychologists, and (most
important) a panel of surviving family members led us through this
exercise. We heard stories of horrific treatment of family members,
insensitivity, and plain dumbness. We left with a better understanding of
the coordination needed to ease family members pain, and a profound hope
that we never get the chance to implement the training.

When might it be needed? The next time a crew is out there "getting their
work done" and disregarding the 10 and 18. It's the common thread in all
fatalities and it is literally killing us.

Oldguy: Thanks for your suggestion of resolving on the spot. It may
indeed be better than risking pulling a crew off the line. That's why I
asked for feedback.

CDF Mike: If complying with safety is "keeping us from doing our
job".....God protect you and your crew.

Old Fire Guy
02/28 Hows it going ?

Mellie I was reading your submission in regards to wildland programs
being offered and its great to see your enthusiasm to help others. I dont
mean to be disrespectful by any means but In regards to the JAC program, there
is some more information you might want to pass on. I just recently completed
the advanced academy and at this time the administration is unable to award
college credits upon completion. This was not a big issue for some of the
people, but for others who were depending on the twenty four credits which we
were promised in the contract to finish certain degrees, it was like a war.

Not to discredit the program, I thought it was great and, for any one
interested in attending it ,you can expect to get most all the training from
some of the top people in the fire world. Also it really speeds up the
training process, which for some areas of the country it would take alot more
than two years to get all of these courses offered.

One of the courses that stood out the most for me was the class offered
by the people at MCS. Fireline Leadership . It is a course that finally
deals with the "HOW" instead of the "WHAT" in regards to leadership . With
most all the people who attend the academy, once you're done, your forest or
district will probably be pushing you into some kind of supervision role and
the concepts you learn in this class will help you throughout your career.

Probably the most asked question I get from perspective attendants is how
hard are the PT's ? I can tell you, you better be ready to do some running.
Many of the crew bosses that you might be assigned too are either shots or
smokejumpers. So it doesn't hurt to be in shape when you get there. Cause
their going to push you.

Well thats all I have to say about that.
Big Amish
02/28 Hello!
I just wanted to thank you for this great web site. I work for CDF.
I am telling other firefighters about how cool this site is. I really enjoy
the great photos!!!! Thanks again

FireFighter Crowe

Welcome, FireFighter Crowe. The crowd here has sent in a lot of nice photos. Ab.

02/28 Mellie,

I can only speak for my Forest in regards to the Apprentice Academy. To get picked-up for the Apprentice Academy first you have to apply, and that's for seasonals who want to make the U.S. Forest Service a career. We usually open it up in September to all 1st year thru 10 year seasonals. The Forest generally has a number of Apprentices they want to pick up for the up coming Academy depending on the needs of the Forest and availability of spaces allotted to the Forest.

Once picked for the Academy, the candidate must go through a physical and a drug test before they attend. If they fail to do this then they will be scratched from the program. They also go through an orientation before they attend where they will order their uniforms and fill out the required paper work.

The candidate goes through the Basic Academy first which lasts a month. The following year they go through the Advanced Academy and graduate at the end. As you go through this process, you earn college credit for the classes you attend which can go towards your AS degree. When I went through the Academy, the College through which we received credit was Hanford out of Salinas. Most of the classes you get are S-classes ie, S-131, S-290, S-230 and a host of others.

This is just a brief statement on how the process works. I know I'm leaving stuff out.

College: Our local College offers a State Certified Firefighter 1 Academy and host of other fire tech. classes. It also offers a wildland fire degree. You should have them on your links page (allan hancock college). As some of readers can attest, when you come to the Vandenberg Training Center you are filling paper work for the College to get College credit for the classes you are attending.

Hope this helps out,
R-5 Recruiter

02/27 Since nobody else is biting on Fedfires' hint that
SCBA discussion might get interesting, here goes:
(keep in mind that as of right now, modules on my
forest that were 7-day last year are going to be 5-day
this year due to funding, and BLM is spending their
share of MEL on SCBA's)
1. Has anybody, anywhere, EVER responded to a car
fire and actually prevented a total loss??
2. It's SOP on my forest to respond to dumpster fires
with enough water to flood (not fight) the fire. Is
it on yours?
3. If we're so willing of late to "disengage" from a
fuels/weather/topography situation that is hairy, why
can't we "disengage" from a burning car/dumpster/house
and fight fire when/if the veg. catches on fire? Oh
wait, you say, we might run the risk of the veg. fire
getting out of hand. Well, think back to all the times
you "backed off" of a bee's nest, a snake den, a
cultural resource, a barrel of mystery goo, etc. What
makes a motor home so different? What about the last
time some joker touched off a slash pile in August?
Didn't you back off from the radiant heat to a safe
distance and put your line in there?

Sven
02/27 First of all I like to apologize, I got a bit more negative towards the end
of my last post than I meant to. Recently ran into some of the previously
mentioned "buttheads" (hey this is a family friendly site, can't use the
term I really call 'em) and didn't allow myself time to cool off before
responding to the SCBA post, oh well I'm moving so I'm allowed some
stress....

To rephrase in a more diplomatic way, I should have said..... The two
Forests I worked on as a permanent (I worked on other forests as a
seasonal) had well established "good old boy" networks, rewarding the "good
old boys" and trying to drive out the "new guys" for other "good old boys".
is this situation common on other forests as well or was I just lucky? Lets
just say I wasn't terribly impressed with some of the EEO practices I saw. I
don't want to discourage potential new hires from the job. I enjoyed most of
the time I spent with the USFS and would consider a return at some point. So
again sorry for the uncalled for ranting.

Norcal Capt.
My mistake, I thought the 4 SCBA policy had been adopted since the Model 62's
were coming with 4 SCBA seats until the 2001 models came out.

Mellie
I believe Bakersfield college also participates in ROP and I'm pretty sure
Allan Hancock College in Santa Barbara Co participates in the JAC.

Other schools with 2 year fire degrees are
Chabot college in Hayward, CA chabotweb.clpccd.cc.ca.us/,
College of Marin in Kentfield, CA www.marin.cc.ca.us/,
Cabrillo college in Aptos www.cabrillo.cc.ca.us/,
and Mission college in Santa Clara, CA www.missioncollege.org/

Fedfire
02/27 OFD,
I haven't been west, so I know my perspective is skewed, but we do use SO's on larger incidents here, and my experience is the BS'ers you would hope to help focus would just focus when they see the SO coming. Or they would give a bunch of bull answers. I don't think you can legislate people to think better. Adding another person to look over their shoulder just lets the crew bosses a little bit off the hook. "Why didn't the SO catch the fact that my men were out of the loop?" There already is an accountability system in place, adding more to it wont make it work any better. Those who chose to make their men focus, and lead them to be aware will continue to do so. Those who don't, wont. All that would happen is the SO and the Crew boss, who happen to be old buds, would laugh about what dumb*sses their men are and then go on to share some war stories about the good old days when you only had two men and one shovel to patrol the entire northwest....blah blah blah.

I wasn't picking a fight, I agree with your intent. I don't know how to make someone respect their dangerous profession more. Maybe a trip to the morgue or a hospital burn unit once a year.

On a lighter note, I wanted to share something for the pranksters. As we sat enjoying some liquid sunshine, (4 inches in the rain gauge) my partner and I fell into a great gag on the boss. We had scanned a Florida Fire Fighter's patch onto the computer in order to have some made locally. While trying to clean up the image I accidently turned the patch hot pink. I dont remember who decided to send a "memo" to my boss about the new patch for supervisors, but I will admit it was me that added the line about the new day-glo pink nomex jumpsuits that were on order. You know, to help identify supervisors on the fireline............. When this memo was found on the shop fax the next day, my boss had a fit. He sat at his desk muttering repeatedly "I just wont do it. They can't make me." I let him stew for a long while, but I did let him off the hook when I saw him reach for the phone to "have it out with the DM about this!"

It gave all of us a laugh, I hope it does the same for you guys.

Be safe!!!
Flash in Fl

02/27 RR here's a site for Missoula Smokejumpers - Aerial Wildland Firefighters

www.missoulasmokejumpers.com/

note:  page will not display in some older browsers. Must have Internet Explorer 5.0+ or Netscape 6.0+

Firescribe

A little warning: I use older versions of these browsers and this site hangs up my computer. Ab.

02/27 Here is the link to the Utah Fire and Rescue Academy. The Academy is based at Utah Valley State College and offers some great courses. I didn't see a link to it, so here it is: www.uvsc.edu/ufra/

Thanks,
fifidaCraig
EMFD

If you send these in, I'll forward them on to Mellie. Ab.

02/27 RE: Safety Officer and Old Fire Guy and CDF Mike exchange,

Mike, I somewhat agree with OFG. Safety Officers can be very useful to the IC, and that is who he/she works for. As a safety officer, I have asked exactly those questions and gotten the same answers. It's a "watch out" situation. I do not exactly agree with his problem solving, however. Safety Officer should have the authority to stop an unsafe operation, but should do so with some judgment. Removing a crew from the line at the wrong time, could endanger other people, and may be unnecessary, usually a good Safety Officer is in tune with the IC, he/she functions as the IC's representative and is responsible to the IC. When a problem is raised, mitigate it, move on. Make sure it is not chronic. I do not agree that every division everywhere needs a safety officer. It is an amount of hazard and span of control issue. If the DIVS or IC has time to function as his own safety officer, then fine.

Where I believe safety officers are under-utilized is in extended attack, where things are confused and usually we are hanging out on several of the 18's. The purpose of a safety officer is to have a person who is solely concentrating on safety issues and not overwhelmed by ops, logistics, dispatchers asking for information, etc. Some places use 'em others forget to order them, ICs forget to assign one. Remember, a Safety officer is like that water tender you ordered just to get it headed this way, if you don't need them you send 'em home, but if you wait too long, it can't help you. My opinion is if a type III IC is assigned, a safety officer should be assigned also. Remember, one requirement to be a safety officer in 310 or the USFS quals is to first be an experienced operations overhead, so they usually are skilled firefighers themselves (should be, I have met some I wondered about, another story). Due to 30-mile, ICs in the Fed agencies are going to see increased accountability for operational safety. I think a good safety officer could have made the difference at 30-Mile.

My other experience with safety officers was as a volunteer FD chief. We and the neighboring district worked together and assigned safety officers to each incident, sharing each other's folks. It made a difference in being IC. Volunteers can be an experience, and as IC it made my life easier to have a SO I trusted sharing the load.

Well nuff, but if CDF is fine and safe without Safety Officers, if ICs and DIVS can handle it, more power to ya, but I am certain the Feds need 'em.

Stay safe out there,
olddog

02/27 Hello All,

Boy was it hot in LA on Th/Fri and last weekend!!! Flying over CA always makes me appreciate what a beautiful part of the world I live in. Thanks SoCalCapt for the offer. Good job, too with your research on the CDL and the links.

I noticed two weeks ago that people were asking again about training and schools that had fire science, firefighter training and fire ecology kinds of classes and majors. As a result of those posts, I put a push on to finish up several links pages on 2 and 4 year schools with some fire curriculum and a list of the Regional Occupational Programs (ROP) that have firefighter training. Wow, some of those courses get college credit! I did the Humboldt ROP course in 2000 and found it to be very good - worthy of college credit. Thanks to JBJ in the RO for giving me some info for the schools lists. (Oh, and while I'm thinking of it... someplace in all this should be a link to Camp Blaze for young women. Good summer training there.)

If anyone has schools I have missed, and I'm sure there are a number out there, please send me the link. I'll check them and add 'em on. The object is to have enough places that people can get a start. Many enquiries about how to pursue a wildland fire career come from around the US, especially from the non-west.

For young folks in R5, I still think one of the best ways to make FED FIRE a career is to get that foot-in-the-door FS, BLM, NPS job, get S-130, S-190, etc that comes with the job, do a season of fire and then ask to be sent to the JAC Academy. As I understand it, college credit accompanies that training. (BTW, I'm just picking fed because I'm not so familiar with the state JAC academies.)

Now that I think of it, could someone who refers people to the JAC Academy please explain the sequence of getting hired the first year, the S- and I- Course training, and how one gets to go to the JAC Academy later. What do people have to do to stand out as likely candidates? Can temps go, or just perms? What about perm part vs full-time? (Uh-oh, my ignorance with the process is showing!)

R-5 Recruiter and others,
Please take a look at the ROP classes that have College Credit (A in the Art or Articulated column). Do any of you SoCal and Middle Cal folks know what jr colleges or colleges are sponsoring that credit? I know the Shasta Trinity ROP course is affiliated with Shasta College. What about Calaveras Co ROP, Baldy View ROP, San Bernardino ROP, Fresno ROP and Kern High School Dist ROCenter? I'm wondering if I've missed some colleges/univ on the schools list that are affiliated with those ROP programs. It would be nice to cross-link the lists so people can maximize their career efforts. Does anyone know what school the JAC Academy is affiliated with so folks get credit? We're building a new fire organization here!

Mellie

I put links to these educational and training resources on the Links page. Thanks Mellie, we do get lots of enquiries from wannabees and their moms and perspective ff. Season is kinda past for this year, but this will help for next year and might help some young people decide where they could go for college with fire emphasis if they're so inclined.

02/27 Is there a web site for the smoke jumper training center in Missoula?

Thanks, RR

This is all I know of: www.fs.fed.us/fire/operations/jumpers/jumper_list.shtml.
Readers, anything new with a web page? Ab.

02/27 AB and All,
I appreciate the input I have gotten from everyone on the CDL issue. I
talked to DMV and they told me " if it carries 10 people including the
driver, you need a CDL" and then she went on to tell me that if I really
want to know to call CHP and ask if "you will be cited for not having one (a
CDL)". So much for that, after waiting 15 minutes for a real person on the
other end... back to square one.

My original intent was to conform to the law (Fed & CA), not skirt it and
try and get away with anything. I found in the driver examiner (FS-R5)
handbook that any vehicle with air brakes requires a CDL, even if under
26000 GVW, so be it. As for me and my crew, we will follow the law.

I will strive for the firefighter restricted license, takes less time
and we are pretty picky about "who" gets trained to drive anyway.

BTW, there are 8 seats in back, just like every other crew buggie the FS
has.

So now comes the fun part, with a crew of 29 people, it should be
interesting.

Sting

And on that note this Ab says, "enough of this thread."

02/27 Ok I finally posed the CDL question to hubby (a state cop here in NV) and he said that if you are not endorsed for that particular vehicle "DON'T" get behind the wheel!! You are creating a huge liability for yourself your fellow firefighters and your employer. If you happen to have to deal with this particular situation keep dated notes on conversations with your superiors, when you report it to them so that if you do get hauled into court for an accident caused by an improperly licensed driver your hinny is covered.

From the aspect of dealing with LEO's you take a huge gamble! You could get pulled over and very well get a hard a$$ punk that will nail you to the letter of the law simply because he can. Or you could get lucky and get a cop like hubby who would just make a properly licensed driver take over at the wheel (if one is not rested enough to drive you get to park it until he/she is ok to drive).

Just my/his $.02
Skyeblue
02/27 Fedfire-
Current R5 policy only calls for 3 SCBA per engine (1995 R5 SCBA Standard Operating Procedures), although some forests opt for 4 or 5. The region still interprets 2 in/2 out as only applicable to interior attack. There truly is a huge variation of levels of turnouts as you say. The R5 Captain's Committee is working on an update of the SOPs. Bringing R5 into compliance with OSHA, including requiring a minimum of 4 SCBAs per engine, with full turnouts, and real fit tests, are some of the objectives. Hopefully, the bean counters will stay out of it.

Each forest has a representative to the committee, feel free to contact your rep with your thoughts on this.
-NorCal Capt.
02/26 The Series 0462, and 0455 are updated. Will update the Jobs Page in the morning. Ab.
02/26 "Old Fire Guy" suggested:
<<A Safety Officer is assigned to every division to walk the line. Duties include asking firefighters questions relating to the ten standard orders..... "Where is your safety zone, and what is your escape route?"

Crew bosses may be asked "Who is the IC?" An answer of "I don't know" would result in the stand down of that crew for the remainder of the day. Instructions would be for the crew leader to explain how they will ensure compliance before being returned to duty.

There is certainly room for accountability for STLS and DIVS also, but this would focus on the folks who have the most at risk to ensure they are in full compliance. Suggestions for improving on this idea?>>

Oh yeah. That's what we need. A whole new layer of bureaucracy keeping us from doing our jobs. Boy*6%$Howdy! This is the sort of thing I expect from Sacramento. I'm putting that one right up there with the suggestion that we Crew Captains stop every half hour and compute our firefighter's pulse rate and body temperature.

CDF Mike from Arroyo Grande.
02/26 If Bungie wants to continue to make outrageous claims about driving & licensing violations, maybe he/she should document all these "known violations" and submit them to somewhere or someone capable of and authorized to deal with it, instead of just ranting unleased in the "they said" forum with no attribution or backup.

If what Bungie says is true, we all need to know about this in an agency accountability forum. If what Bungie claims is just claims, then we can do without any more of this.

BL
02/26 Hello A,
Attached is a link to a photo page to the fire in New South Wales this year in Shoalhaven, I hope the link works for you if you do not have it already.

http://www.shoalhaven.info/.au

Greg G.
Deputy Fire Control Officer
Culcairn Rural Fire District

Thanks Greg. I can't remember for sure if we have it already, but it is fun to go and look. Ab.

02/26 Bungie,

The reason they went into the weigh station was most likely they were
OBEYING THE LAW! Federal vehicles are not exempt from motor vehicle
regulations. (At least not here in California.) That includes stopping at
all open weigh stations.

Stu
02/26 Bungie
Just checking, your post made it sound like the restricted license didn't exist. Yes, I too have "heard" the USFS requires the full commercial license but there are many working with the restricted license, and I have never seen anything in writing requiring the commercial license. I have the commercial and always encourage people to get that one, I've seen too many people with the restricted license who think they can drive anything with it as long as they work for fire.

SCBAs
Oh, boy this one might get interesting.
To start with 2 SCBA's on each engine is basically worthless as it does not comply with OSHA as soon as you enter the smoke since you do not have a backup crew (2 in 2 out). R5 has settled on a policy of 4 SCBA's on engines to meet this requirement. However you still find many engines short of this number, the typical answer to this is "we don't have room". Which I think is crap, I've worked on Model 20's, 42's, 51's, 52's, 61's and 62's all except the Model 20's and 52's found room for at least 4 SCBA's and spare bottles, I've seen 51's and 62's that had 5. I never tried to put SCBA's on the Mod 20's or 52's but that was R3 and they don't use SCBA's, but I'm sure I could have found space for the 3 that would be required. I think the real answer for most is "we don't care, we don't want them anyway".

I'm glad to see R5 chose to follow OSHA however the policy doesn't meet NFPA which requires 1 SCBA for each person on the fire ground who could become involved in a hazardous environment (smoke), that definately should include the Engineer (sure the wind never changes direction) and could easily include BC's and DIV's (sorry AFMO and FMO) most structure departments interpret NFPA this way and provide an SCBA for Chief officers.

So to be compliant with NFPA the policy should be one SCBA for each member of the crew (or 5 per engine). NFPA also requires a spare air cylinder for each SCBA carried. Before people start flipping out about how it is not possible to carry all this stuff, I have seen it done, it is not the great hassle people make it out to be particularly with the Model 62's. I find it interesting that the USFS is making sure apparatus meet NFPA equipment requirements but does not follow NFPA 1500 (safety) which has been adopted by most fire agencies. The cost of equipping with SCBA's is relatively low, typical set up of, SCBA, spare bottle, PASS, structure turnouts and helmet runs about $3000 per person, this will last from 10-15 years so it is a one time cost of $15,000 which works out to around $1500 per year.

Don't know if you have any input into the SCBA program BLM is starting but I would suggest, they do it as an AGENCY, not the hodgepodge the USFS has now with every forest running a different brand SCBA, and a thrift store selection of turnouts, some PBI some nomex, some with full gear (Helmet, boots, coat, pants, hood) others with only coats and everything in between, some districts don't even match engine to engine. How many forests are using hand me down equipment from a local structure department. Oh well, its only safety equipment. I do realize most managers are having to do this without any extra money which is not how it should be, sometimes I have to look at the Federal Government and shake my head, you would think we were a volunteer agency that had to hold a bakesale to get new equipment.

I'll get off my soap box now.

I've got another question, ever since I got a permanent appointment I've run into many people in the USFS that seem to believe only they know how to fight fire (the individual not the agency). Coming in as an outsider is a pain, no matter how many times you "prove" yourself on a fire you are still (one of those California guys or a R3 guy), it was so bad when I came back to R5 that the Forest training specialist tried to tell me my NWCG quals earned in R3 didn't count in R5 (they eventually relented). Have I just had bad luck in locations or is this common everywhere. On both Forests I worked on as a permanent most of the people were "locals" born and bred in the local area, never worked anywhere else. I noticed I was not the only one this happend to, this seemed to occur to anyone from "elsewhere", performance had nothing to do with it, good or bad we all sucked and were incompetent, which I find funny since I have never even come close to causing an injury despite busy fire seasons, I am a safe but aggressive firefighter, I keep my fires small (for the most part) and don't break equipment. I have met some great people in the USFS but I seem to wind up working around alot of buttheads (thankfully I have had a few people to guide me along the path, so I don't lose confidence). I was often treated as if I could not complete the simplest task but always completed my work on time and satisfactorialy even while others who could not perform but were "locals" slid by despite failure after failure. Seems that to many time in service counts more than actual ability.

I did structure fire 5 years (volunteer and paid federal) before the USFS and never encountered attitudes this bad. I moved back to a fedfire structure department and again these attitudes are not present (they even made me the resident wildland fire guru, responsible for wildland training and equipment, so I can keep coming here and bugging the nice folks at theysaid). I would just write the whole experience off and move on except I did have alot of fun with the USFS and think that while screwed up it is a good agency. You can't beat the scenery either.

While the new job is going great, I would consider giving the USFS another shot down the road if I thought these were isolated experiences.

Don't see many posters form the NPS, anyone have inside knowledge of working as a parky, I know they seem to be more progressive on the non wildland front than the other Fed Wildland agencies (adopted structural responsibilities and EMS into their job descriptions many years ago).

Fedfire

02/26 An-R5er,

Ten seats in the back? Ten in the back with two up front, that adds up to twelve. With 12, the driver needs a CDL with passenger endorsement and if the vehicle has airbrakes, an airbrake endoresement. Without the two "extra" seats in the back, for a total capacity of ten, a "c" license is valid, even without the airbrake endorsement. (Unless the vehicle is "for hire" as a transport such as a bus, taxi, limo etc.)

Stu

02/26 Regarding CDL's

No CDL in a "CDL" vehicle - You're Nuts! Do you think for one second uncle sam ain't gonna hang you out to dry if you get in a wreck and someone sues them and you? This goes along the same lines why alot of LEO's are getting extra "professional liability" insurance...

I say, if you are not licensed to drive it, don't...let the overhead figure it out.

MrChooChoo
02/26 R5-er.................I know of at least 7 instances of not properly Lic personnel driving CDL equipment. 2 instances where people with Child support revocations were still driving. and one instance of an Apprentice not having a lic at all ( due to something they were doing) I do beleive that obtaining a CDL is a condition of hire....... I know all the above were brought to the attention of MGMT......and nothing was done.........now these are just what I know of........ Also note.........a supervisor with a Firefighter exempt lic can not act as a The Lic driver for a CDL Permitee. Something I have seen happen several times in several regions. On another note........I have heard of several instances where Engines were weighed at weigh stations and made to dump water to meet the weight regulations for particular states. Why a Fed vehicle went into a weigh station is beyond me.....they are exempt......but that happens too....... Bungie
02/26 From AZ republic and Judd Slivka: Dry days fan fears of fiery summer

Firescribe

02/26 Bungie,
Your comment about non-licensed drivers is ridiculous. If that is commonplace, I would apply to another Forest. If there is an accident, then you should feel just as much responsible as the upper management for letting this go on.

MJ,
Just saw the new buggies yesterday. If I remember right, they have ten seats in the back and yes they are nice.

An-R5er
02/26 RE: Jonathan Oppenheimer of Taxpayers for Common Sense

Ol Jonny boy has some good points- waste is a bad thing and the leaches
that are feeding on the fire budget need to be brushed off.
But alas he offers no alternatives. Everybody hates to pay taxes and
waving flags is a hell of a lot cheaper way to show our love of
country. But life isn't free and the country as we know and love it
could be gone in the wink of an eye. That includes our freedom as well
as the watersheds which sustain us. I witnessed the days when we had no
money to staff engines or offer permanent appointments. We were no more
efficient back then. The public saved nothing- the politicians only
forestalled the inevitable at greater cost in terms of national wealth,
resources and human lives. Don't be hosed by the old "something for
nothing" song and dance. It's your lives- it's your communities that
will pay the price of ignoring the problem. I say pay now and spread
the costs among all Americans.

The cost is minuscule in terms of the Gross National Product, while the
cost of doing nothing has been exploding exponentially. The trick here
is to place a limit on the overhead costs and fund "from the bottom
up". We need all those smiling young faces
who have decided to take up our profession.

Without them, we are just another bunch of puking old farts in yellow
shirts- breathing heavy on a steep hillside somewhere- and that could be
a truly ugly sight.

Keep America Beautiful-
Fund the National Fire Plan.

Jimmy Wornoutknees
of the West

Amen. Ab.

02/26 It is too painfully obvious that fatalities on wildland fire most often
involve a violation of one or more of the ten standard orders. Question:
Would the following have a positive effect on attitude/ownership of these
orders? :

A Safety Officer is assigned to every division to walk the line. Duties
include asking firefighters questions relating to the ten standard orders.....
"Where is your safety zone, and what is your escape route?"

Crew bosses may be asked "Who is the IC?" An answer of "I don't
know" would result in the stand down of that crew for the remainder of the
day. Instructions would be for the crew leader to explain how they will
ensure compliance before being returned to duty.

There is certainly room for accountability for STLS and DIVS also, but this
would focus on the folks who have the most at risk to ensure they are in
full compliance. Suggestions for improving on this idea?

Old Fire Guy
02/26 Ab,
On all the driving hub bub, hey guys/gals.. the gov has us getting CDL's to cover a major hypothetical crash. Man, I detailed to a SE NPS area that let anyone.... I mean any one haul a rinky dink, put together trailer that hauled 500 gallons of jet A, across the damned state! No I'm not kidding! Accident waiting to happen... hell yes! So for those of you who are complaining about other districts/forests/parks not requiring one, just wait, they'll catch up to reality. The CDL thing is a good promotion, it may cost a little cash and require a little gov time sitting in the DMV (or a ton if you're in Colo), but over all it make our drivers train a little more for the job that they've been hired to do.

Ab, you already got word but we're pickin' up some fires around the Reno/Carson area, no predictions, but some of us are having to turn that pile of junk in the garage back into an I.A. pack.

All Ya all, quit whining about the CDL's, and we all know that mel maddness sucks!.... and that people who want jobs are getting the royal shaft!

Deal with it for now and write to the right people so that we don't have to deal with this hiring crap ever again and so that we have the right people on the line.

Enough blabbing
Thanx ab
Late
Irate

02/26 FedFire,

If you're not properly licensed you don't drive period. Fire Fighter endorsement doesn't work here."

Yes, it is a valid license, my current forest does not recognize it for the reason it restricts the holder to Fire Trucks only.

Which means you can't drive other "B" vehicles, FS or rented. If you operate a Engine you'll have the full Class B.

Bungie
02/26 In reference to the comment about fire engines being pulled over:

you CA people are weird... in Minnesota the police and fire are on the same
side, dont-ya-know :)

stay safe
AC
02/26 Evening all,

I'm headed to the BLM California Fire Equipment meeting this week and wanted to prompt some discussion on the matter of SCBA's. CA BLM has decided to move into the all risk arena with the addition of BA's. Expenditures have already been authorized to equip each type 3 engine with at least two BA's, turnouts, and one service tech.. BLM will for now utilize them on vehicle fires and keep out of structures. I realize this has been prompted by political pressure and the need to justify budgets and etc. I was however wondering if anybody out there had seen any scientific evidence that justifies this expenditure. Did the pressure to have BA's come from folks wanting us to save lives or property? If BLM equips the engines with only BA's and turnouts how do we perform the extrication? If its just a typical vehicle fire with no accident, then most folks can safely exit the vehicle, right? So BLM arrives and saves the property, which in turn is totaled out by most insurance carriers. Basically I feel that BA's by themselves are cool to have but don't really justify the expense. On another point here we are again training folks up to head to the greener pastures of state and local fire departments.

How big is too big? I had a chance to check out the brand new model 14 coming out of Pierce. Its huge! Its 3.5' longer than the first and second generation 14's. It still only has 500 gal. I was told that you can up it to 750 gal by losing some compartment space. We are getting a new one next year and are opting for the larger tank. Overall its a nice piece of equipment with decent power, an exhaust brake that actually works and some other cool features.

USFS FEO - Maybe I can have your old Alias? (Just kidding, you seem to have a lot of knowledge and I wouldn't want somebody mistaking my ramblings and dumb questions for yours.) I just took a job as an FEO on the Stanislaus. BLM needs more trees man.

BLM FEO (For a couple more months at least)

02/25 Jay,

The new contract for CDF does not address much for seasonals. They continue to be the bastard children for contractual issues. They do receive a small raise in pay I believe. Most of the money CDF folks will receive is in year four and five of the contract. It looks to be significant if the department stays with our current work week schedule. If they go to a traditional 3 platoon system we could loose much of the incentive to this contract.

Open list for Fire Captain is coming so brush up the resume if you willing to cross over to the red trucks? We could use some new blood and expertise from our Federal brother and sister Firefighters.

Jake
02/25 Hey Sting,
Those new crew buggies are nice! How many seats are in the back ?. Someone told me that the
new ones only had 6 in the back.
-MJ
02/25 It has been a normal weekend here on the front range of Colorado. Saturday it was in the 70's, with a 200 acre fire above Fort Collins. A couple of fires in Boulder County. One in Lefthand Canyon, North of Boulder, which burned about 40 acres next to the area I fought the LeftHand Canyon fire in 1988 that burned I think about 1000 acres. My first major wildland fire as a flatland structure, grass firefighter. They also had a small fire down by Rocky Flats.

Then on Sunday they and some guy fall out of his boat on Boulder Reservior and they haven't found him yet. Fifteen minutes later the fire department was called that a climber fell off of one of the Flatirons. So just a normal day in the Emergency business in this area. Oh yes, I woke up this morning to 3" of snow and the wind blowing and now I hear it is sunny. So if I don't like things, I just wait 5 minutes and it will change.

We had a 300 acre fire down in Thornton last week, and a 700 acre fire on Fort Carson land (Army) south of Colorado Springs. It is a normal late winter with no moisture and people thinking that since it is winter that everything is wet. That is all right, in Greeley a couple of weeks ago, they had a warehouse fire with sheep hides in it and they used 2-3 million gallons of water on it. So we will have less water to use on our Blue Grass. Most of that water was in the street, not on the fire, because it all ran out of the building. But water is free.

If I am lucky, the sun is out and I won't have to use my snow shovel when I get home. And we should have more fires by next week.

CAFSman

02/25 chogi.....

No I never said I endorsed anything. However I have seen and heard numerous incidents of non lic drivers driving engines and other function folks driving equipment they are not lic for......it is commonplace...... not legal but commonplace....... what happens to these people and their supervisors....... nothing........ until the accident happens.

Bungie

Not commonplace on my forest. Ab.

02/25 Stu: Your tip on locating Dennis C. was correct. Much thanks!

pulaski
02/25 Does anybody have details regarding the new CDF contract and how it affects
seasonals?

Thanks...
Jay U.S.F.S.

02/25 "I also remember another engine pulled over in Yosemite while going code 3 to structure protection."

A LEO I worked with related a story from his fire days (late 70's), seems he was working in Arizona and went on an assignment covering a station in Southern California, AZ runs Red and Blue lights. CHP pulled them over en route to a fire to cite them for the blue lights (as CA reserves blue for law enforcement) while the CHP wrote the citation the foreman whipped out his ticket book and wrote the CHP a citation for interfering with a federal officer in the performance of his duties. Apparently both citations got thrown out by the judge for being stupid.

NPS can also be weird. I had another story related to me by a CDF captain who went to Yellowstone in 1988. He said an NPS LEO was rabidly trying to write this CDF striketeam parking tickets for staging in a meadow.

Thankfully I have not had to deal with anybody this dense, although I have occasionally wondered if there wasn't more to these stories than I was told.

"If you're not properly licensed you don't drive period. Fire Fighter endorsement doesn't work here."

Understand and agree with the the first of your statement, but you've got me confused with the second part, the Firefighters Restricted License is a valid license.

Speaking of licenses, how many of you are aware that Commercial drivers under 21 can not drive outside of their licensing state. Had this one pointed out by the DMV this past fall. Seems this has been in place for sometime but was not enforced, but since the WTC incident it is being enforced. We looked it up in the DMV commercial handbook and it is there. They can't have Hazmat endorsements either. This is a DOT restriction so it does not vary state by state.

Age
Previous Federal service would have to be in a permanent fire position, seasonal fire time before 1989 used to count, but I have heard that the rules changed last year and no seasonal time may be counted anymore. I have heard military time may be used to offset age but I'm not sure about that.

I have heard that class action law suits have been tried in the past and failed. Age restrictions are rare in the western states but are quite common back east. Boston has an MEA of 32 and I have heard FDNY has one of 24 or so. The courts apparently have no problem upholding these restrictions.

I know of no ways around the age from the employees side. I heard of an incident a few years back in R5 where a JAC was hired went through the program and then personnel decided she was too old by days or months and told the agency they had to let her go. Never heard anything more about how this was resolved.

Only thing I could advise is to look for a secondary position, these vary in type. Sometimes prevention or fuels jobs will be done this way and many tankerbase jobs are secondary. The advantage to this is that it gets you in the system and may help if the agency ever changes its stance on the age restriction. I do know of one individual who got hired in a secondary prevention job, but during the summer his "patrol" (a Type 6 engine) was augmented with 2 seasonal firefighters (the Forest found a creative way around the age to get somebody they wanted as an engine foreman). This same Forest was also looking to start a trail crew that would double as a 10 person fire crew. This was also being done as a secondary position. This was Arizona so you might try looking there. Others in the Region may be doing similar things as they are having a difficult time filling positions with qualified individuals.

Doesn't sound like it matters to you (as with most over 37) but be aware that if you get hired into a secondary position you do not get fire retirement. Unless you are coming in directly from a primary covered position without a break in service, secondary positions only get the regular retirement (which is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick).

Hmmm, I've been putting this off but since I recently took a job outside of the USFS I guess I really need to change my alias. So with a tear in my eye how about changing to.....

FedFire (formerly USFS FEO)

Regardless of what you call yourself and what agency you're with, we're glad you're still with us. Ab.

02/25 If you take a look at Ab's news page, you'll see several articles about the fire in NV and an article about a fire in Colorado. Wasn't someone asking about interface problems there?

The news last night had a special segment on the Governors' Conference and concerns over droughts across the US. Drought areas included 1) the eastern seaboard and 2) the west, east of the Sierra - parts of R1, R4, R7, and R3. Parts of MN and SD were included in this fairly large inland west area. The reporter said that the fact that it's winter and most places have got some snow/rain, masks the severe lack of ppt. I think he said UT would have to have a foot of rain or equivalent snow in the next month to hit avg ppt.

NorCal Tom

News page link button at the top of the page. Ab.

02/25 Bungie,

Just because you drive a "Fire" vehicle does not make you above the law. State or Federal. I remember back in the 80's a engine returning from a tilt table test was pulled over because the CHP officer believed the headlights were to high for vehicle code. And yes the engine was clearly marked as "Fire" . I also remember another engine pulled over in Yosemite while going code 3 to structure protection. If you're not properly licensed you don't drive period. Fire Fighter endorsement doesn't work here.

If you endorse what you wrote, you are the accident waiting to happen, hope no one gets hurt with your practice.

chogi
02/25 I'm new to "They Said" so apologies to all if this topic has been discussed
before. Seems to me the fed agencies are having a tough time filling
positions while shutting out a big pool of experienced firefighters with
the age 37 thing. So some questions...

Have the agencies considered offering these positions without the "enhanced
annuity" (firefighters retirement)?

Has anyone talked about a class action lawsuit on behalf of seasonal
employees and others over 37?

What is considered previous federal service in a covered position to exempt
a person from age restriction. Does seasonal time count?

What are the ways around the age restriction? Anybody have any tips or
experience?

GGFire

Hi GGFire. Welcome to theysaid. This topic has been pretty beat to death but responses to each of your list of questions would be a good way to organize what we know. Maybe someone will be willing to put together the definitive set of answers. (I don't think anyone has found a way around the MEA.) Otherwise, if you use the search button and enter MEA (maximum entry age) or 35 or 37 as the search word, you can probably come up with most of the archived discussion. Ab.

02/24 Sting and Bungie....

I think the CHP officer that Bungie was talking to was either completely unfamiliar with the non-commercial Class B Firefighters Restricted License or he was from the Canadian Highway Patrol. A little humor this time, I think it may be my first humor here!!! Bungie, have your CHP friend study up a little on the California Vehicle Code, which he is charged with enforcing. If he was correct in his views, the majority of the CDF and local government fire programs would be shut down from engines, to crew hauls, to helitenders, paid and volunteer. A restriction is not a learner's permit.

Ab, I initially had a much longer reply but after last nights, I'm having a hard time typing.

Sting, here's a good link: www.leginfo.ca.gov/.phpl/veh_table_of_contents.phpl

I'd go with the info from my post last night and, when you confirm with DMV, ask them for the specific vehicle code that makes it a requirement or non-requirement. I've learned never to let a government agency tell me something was a rule or law unless they could back it up. Its just kinda something I've learned working all these years for the FEDs.

SoCalCapt

02/24 As mentioned the GVW is how the DMV classifies vehicles for licensing requirements below Class A, I've driven quite a few different pieces of fire equipment and have never seen a vehicle under 26,000lbs GVW with air brakes, however I also have never seen any regulations preventing their use in lighter vehicles. But I would look at the GVW very carefully. As mentioned it is the GVW rating of the chassis not the actual vehicle weight that determines the type of license required.

I second the suggestion of contacting DMV Sacramento. Some years back a question on water tank endorsements for Class C vehicles was raised where I was a volunteer. The Local DMV told the Chief that all the drivers of our Type 4 engines (Type 6 for those outside California) would require Class B licenses due to the water tanks on those engines. Sacramento reversed that and our Class C drivers were once again allowed to operate those vehicles.

The bit about the firefighter endorsement is incorrect. An operator with the restricted A or B firefighter license can drive any fire apparatus within their licensing (a firefighter B can not drive equipment requiring an A license). They can drive any fire apparatus their commercial counterpart can under the certain conditions (must be fire apparatus and they must be on duty with a fire agency). The restriction comes into effect when off duty and with non fire equipment. For example Joe Firefighter has a restricted B license; he wants to work for Spiffy Firetrucks Unlimited in the winter; he would only have the equivalent of a Class C license since he is not on duty with a fire agency. Now Joe is back at work and his boss wants him to drive a dump truck for a recreation project; again he would only be permitted to drive a Class C vehicle because the dump truck is not a piece of fire apparatus. The intent of the Firefighter Restricted License is to allow fire agencies to license their people without having to go through the hassle of going to the DMV and keeping the medicals current (the department takes some liability with their own designated testing people and a medical questionnaire). Many fire departments utilize this type of license and drive loaded apparatus all over town between calls, going to the auto shop etc, not just empty fire apparatus to fires, what would the point of that be?

BTW the buggies look good, but I'm surprised they came white, since the engines that came this summer were green. Hope you don't need a Class B, its a pain getting and keeping drivers. On the earlier topic of drinking, if you do have to go with Class B drivers, make sure they understand that the blood alcohol limit is 1/2 normal, a hangover could very well get them a DUI. No big revelation but drivers can not get hammered the night before they drive. Also moving violations are doubled. On second thought, maybe all agency vehicles should require Class B's.

As for the F550's I'm not familiar with the crew buggies but I put 13,000 miles on an F450 Engine in 1999, loved it, great vehicle, only complaint was the forest didn't take full advantage of the chassis, limiting its potential gains over the typical 1 ton.

USFS FEO

02/24 Fire yesterday in the Great Basin, 50 mi SE of Carson City NV... http://www.rgj.com/news/stories/html/2002/02/23/8520.php

Seems there should be some info at the Sierra Front website, but I can't find it. Anyone know the url?
Tim

www.sierrafront.net/ but not much new up... Ab.

02/24 Sting et al,
Just spoke to a CHP buddy of mine......

Any vehicle with a gross vehicle wt. over 26,001# requires a CDL class B Lic. Now that Gross Wt is based on the manufacturer's Max Gross Wt. Not what your rig weighs. That's to say if your rig only weighs 15k but the tag on the door says gross Vehicle Wt of 28k.... you need a Class B CDL.

Now the Firefighter Exept Endorsement, That's a separate Beast. It is ONLY good for driving equipment to and from an incident. That means No personnel other than Driver And definitely no crew in the buggy or Engine.

If it has air brakes you need that "endorsement" or "non restricted" status.

Will you get away with having nothing at all....sure, because the chance of CHP asking you to see it is nil......... unless you have the misfortune to have an accident....... then the heads will roll......

Good luck with the new Buggies, they look sharp.
Bungie

02/24 Ab, BN,

I have been in the prevention game for a long time and pretty much have given up trying to convince home owners that "an once of prevention" might save their home and maybe even their ass. I have participated in numerous programs to lessen the danger to homes in the "urban interface" with varying amounts of success. I have written and received grants and then could not find anyone willing to spend the money to accomplish the task.

I have been through "Home Safe Home" "No Fire in My Backyard" and a few others. Needless to say I am less than enthusiastic for the latest and greatest programs. Fuels reduction is the 'buzz word' now. Homeowners are all for it -- if someone will come and do the project for free. How many times have I heard "I have lived here 'X' years and we have NEVER had a wild fire," even though their property is covered with fire scared trees.

I heard a great quote many years ago "The interest in fire prevention is directly related to the heat of the ashes." This is so true. Right after a large fire, when there is lots of "press" I have had good luck in "selling" fire prevention but for the most part I felt like I was just spinning my wheels. I can't count how many hours I have spent at county fairs, home shows and other community events trying to "sell" prevention and the only time I could get a crowd near the booth is when Smokey was there.

The most thankless job there is in fire world, is trying to do a fire prevention program in January or February when it is 35 degrees outside and the rain is coming in sideways.

Been there -- done that -- and don't want the tee shirt.

former Wildfire Prevention person,

02/24 To Mellie-
You asked me (in They Said) about a link to fire research at Yellowstone for those college guys, and if the link was working. Yes, here is a link, and it is working:
www.wsulibs.wsu.edu/yellowstone/
I don't think there's much there about Ponderosa pine, though.

Jackson

02/23 Sting, here's some info that I drummed up after the marathon chat last night.... Hope it helps.... I think there were 16 folks chatting at one time...
Lots of good info going 'round

California Commercial Drivers Handbook:

Check out section #1 "Who needs a CDL?"
www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/comlhdbk/comlhdbk.pdf LARGE 1485 K

Its says that Class C drivers only need a CDL if they are driving a vehicle that requires an endorsement. Specifically there are two that would be most common... hazmat carriers and hazmat waste haulers...

The air brake thing for CDL drivers is not an endorsement... but there is such a thing as "hydraulic brakes only" restriction. I took my CDL test in a vehicle that had air brakes.. no restriction. There is a whole list of restrictions (ie-manual transmission only) but very few actual endorsements.... As far as I could tell by looking at the CVC and DMV literature today... restriction only applies to Class A or Class B vehicles and not to the very few Commercial Class C endorsed vehicles.

That's just my opinion on my reading. Probably your best bet would be to make contact directly with the DMV in Sacramento. Avoid calling the local DMV offices as you will probably get twelve different answers from twelve different people.

Hope that made sense. Here's the literature... Ab, I hope its not to long or maybe you could just send the rest to Sting.....

SoCalCapt

For the rest of it, click HERE... Ab.

02/23 Greetings All. We're trying to get caught up with photos. Here are some messages, information and links to the updated photo pages:

Ab, Just for the record -- the two photos in Air Tanker 3 photo page labeled Germany 1 and Germany 2 are photos taken by BLM staff photographers. Tanker 67 is an old photo of a civilian C-130; the DC-7 photo is also many years old. We have the originals here at NIFC. BAP
Nice to have the mystery resolved. Ab changed the names to C-130 and DC-7.

Ab, These are some photo's of a chopper that was on the moose fire. Shawn E.
I put them on the Moose Fire page, last two at the end. Nice ones.
Readers, we are still looking for the photographer of the original Moose Fire photos. We have a lead from one of the Humphrey's Team Info Officers, but as the DOI sites have been down, we haven't been able to follow up. Ab.

On the Equipment 4 Page, some So Cal Rx fire photos from R5-er.
Nice helitorch, batch mixer, helo, etc.
Also, here's a photo of a sky crane with fuel tender for size comparison
from Hickman who sez, "How big are those things anyway?"

Ab, I hope this is the how I submit a photo...this is E-91 Mesa Verde National Park. I am seasonal structure fire protection fire fighter for MVNP. Thanx for all the work on the web site. Larry
Ya got it right Larry, thanks. I put it on the Engines 4 Page. Ab.

Also put up a number of photos up on Fire 9 and Handcrew 4.

Fire 9 photos include some shots of the Division Fire plume from EAW, of the Nebo Creek Fire from NP, a Lava Beds National Monument Rx burn from MR, and a spot over a road from JFF.

The Crew 4 photos include a Modoc IHC and Lava Beds National Monument Rx crew pics from MR and a "friends in a hollow tree" photo from Joanna. Read the photo descriptions for all the details.

Many thanks to all contributors. I think we're caught up for the moment. If we've missed one, let us know. Ab.

02/23 Nice rigs Sting.

Any body got any pictures of the new style 6 person crew carriers(F-550)? Also how are they working out. Getting tired or training up CDL drivers and loosing them every couple years, would like to try the small ones next go round.

Backburnfs.

02/23 Ab:

Interesting post about the interface problem in Colorado. I haven't been through there for awhile, but as a consultant to agencies and homeowners associations I can tell you that there is without a doubt a common thread throughout the western states. Universally, wherever I go I get the same response...that being "we're insured". One example in particular is in the same area the 49ER fire ravaged in central California. I consult with folks that rely on a single engine volunteer response as their first defense that saw the glow, watched the flames but escaped the firefront; have given ZERO consideration to defensible space, have high priced homes and rely on insurance to make it right after the fact. Until we change the mindset of those that have more money than brains we're going to have an interface problem that will do nothing but get worse.

BN

02/23 Hi Ab and All,

Just picked up our new buggies. Here are some pictures in case you haven't seen them yet. Yes, they are white. They handle very nicely, good turn radius, governor kicks in about 72mph (someone had to test it!!) 7 speed (Low + 6), cruise control and exhaust brake.

Does anybody have any REAL HARD facts about the licensing requirement for these? they have air brakes but are under Class B for GVW. Any help would be appreciated.

Sting

I posted them on the equipment 4 page. Ab.

02/23 Someone was asking last night in chat if anyone knew about the serious interface problem on the Pike NF in Colorado. None of us chatting were from CO. Anyone hear of any particular problem that is different from anywhere else in the west?

Hickman, I'm having trouble getting an e-mail to you and there are several inquiries from folks who want to get with you about training CDs. Can we meet up on chat tonight at 7 PST or if earlier, send me an e-mail please.

Ab.

02/22 Hi all,

I am looking to buy a line pack / web gear system. Anyone have any suggestions on what to buy.
I do a little of everything, engine work to line work.

Thanks,
RJ MA DEM D-7

02/22 MJ, Thanks for the update and good luck over there. The six rivers has some great people. Anybody hear from the Stanislaus?

BLM FEO

02/22 BLM FEO,

The LP has made all there job offers for the first round of hiring, second round will start soon, we have alot of AFEO (GS-06) positions open from the promotions.

SoCal, It's hot up here also. You be safe down there.

An-R5er

02/22 Hey Mellie!!

I will be out in California...actually San bernardino...April 15-18th taking the Fireline Emt course....I am going to teach it here in NH in June...provided we aren't burning by then!! You guys may have to come East this summer by the looks of things...dry dry winter...drought conditions and warmer than usual!!! Yikes!!! I am also taking the new S-205 Urban /interface in Nova scotia in the beginning of April...on a real training marathon these days!!! Hope you are doing well!!

Firebabe NH
You can e-mail me at: firebabenh@hotmail.com

02/22 Hey BLM FEO,

I recieved my official job offer on the Six Rivers in Calif. already, with a start date in March. So the Jobs are rolling in!

-MJ

02/22 to Stu:
Whoa! cool, I will be there!
Pulaski
02/22 I have given up on snow for MN and bought a pair of those "roller skis" to save my knees while I sweat off the last of my winter blubber. I could have probably assured a good snowfall by trading in my new XC skis on them but I am limited to paved roads on these and I prefer quiet backcountry trails.

NOAH just released its' report for Nov-Jan and according to them the ENTIRE USA has set a all time record for warm temperatures this winter so far. That is warmest in the recorded history of the USA. GO USA-GO USA-GO USA-.
OOPS I guess I been watching too much winter Olympics.

Just out of curiosity I checked "down wind" in the UK and found that they have had the warmest winter since the 1600"s when THEY started keeping records. OH OH!

Nuff said.
Fireronin

02/22 Hi all,

Has anyone received their official job offer from R5 USFS? I know the tentative offers are out, and supposedly a region meeting took place this week to iron out duplicate offers. Anyway take it easy.

BLM FEO (awaiting a switch to USFS FEO in R5)

02/22 Pulaski,

Talked with Gary P. He knows the whereabouts of several others. Catch me on the Chat-Line.

Stu

Sounds good... Chat at 7 tonight? Might turn into a party? Ab.

02/22 So Cal update:

Its HOT and windy again today... 89 degrees, 18% RH, FM 7-8 and dropping after our brief and limited rain (as low as 3-5 at Southern stations) . Several IA fires in RRU, MVU, and CNF... Not much more to speak of so far...

H-406 from up north is pre-positioned at Ramona... H-301 is on at Hemet.... helitanker available CWN at Apple Valley...

Camp Pendleton Fire has a good header showing from here at 40 miles east...looks close to the Cleveland boundary.... but haven't heard much else... radio traffic says that it does have some potential.... Three engines and a BC just dispatched from the Trabuco District to assist the MCP... Pretty large column for winter.....

Weather forecast for this week.. Winds continuing into Friday... a storm moving by to the north and inside Saturday... some cooling on the weekend followed by more Santa Ana's Sunday through Tuesday. No rain in the extended forecast for the next week.

Total rain for my town in February... .17 inches ... the record is .16 ...... Total rain for the season July 01 to July 02 (to date) is 3.76 inches (all from normal Sept/Oct thunderstorms except a small storm in Dec.) ... about 1/3 of normal... the fourth driest year on record as I far as I can tell...

SoCalCapt

02/21 Anyone--
They are all out of my usual boot grease. So does any one use Huberds
boot grease? What do you think of it or should I stick to my obenauffs?
R6FF
02/21 Honorable mouse... Try the law firm of Skinner, Fawcett & Mauk in Boise Idaho. <snip> I used them in the early 90's to get firefighter retirement and they know their business when it comes to taking on the Gov't.

TWO TWO

More info which I snipped was included in this post. Honorable Mouse, e-mail me if you want it. Ab.

02/21 Honorable Mouse,
We had a MWFA (Minnesota) member with the same problem.

He ended up going to an attorney in Boise that specialized in fire employment issues. There appear to be very few attorneys that are familiar with the issues/laws/procedures that are peculiar to AD employment. Bringing one up to speed is at the clients expense and so it usually pays to find one that is already "educated". Typically an attorney that is unfamiliar with a subject charges an initial meeting fee to cover the cost of doing the research to appear at least as knowledgeable as the prospective client on the subject. Those that are already versed on the other hand will usually provide a first meeting gratis...though you may have to bargain for that. I wish I could recall the firm in Boise that handled the case...or knew the outcome.

All I can say is that after meeting with some very high price MN attorneys the other AD decided it was worth flying to Boise to meet with this one after a short phone conversation. This was a major financial decision and apparently the contrast was so great between the level of basic understanding that he felt he had no other choice. If I recall correctly he had to borrow to buy the ticket to get there so it was not a decision made lightly. I concur...if you take the Feds on in court get an attorney that has won a similar case before or you will be worse off than just letting it go and taking the hit. No "suit" is free. (pun intended)

It is a sad fact that ADs get screwed if they are hurt on the job on a fairly regular basis. I don't think that this is intentional...more like neglect. It is just simpler that way.

I hope this helps.
Good luck Mouse.
Dana
02/21 From Firescribe, who says... wouldn't ya know...

$1 Billion in Western Wildfire Prevention Funds Misdirected www.kgw.com/kgwnews/oregonwash_story.phpl?StoryID=37129

Jonathan Oppenheimer of Taxpayers for Common Sense, which
tracks federal spending on national forest management:
"When you start talking about money, it gets political, but
dealing with wildfire shouldn't be political."

Yeah, right. Maybe we should get this guy onto the issues of cost pool rakeoffs and lack of facilities.
Firescribe

02/21 Powerpoints:
Been working my fingers to the bone.....local Forester requested to see if I could put something together.....MAN..... S-390 class on Wildland Fire Behavior Calculations

4 units of Overheads.....converted to 28 megs of PowerPoint. Have about 6 or 8 slides left to redo. If anyone wants it when done...I need a CD disk and an address to where to sent them. Then they can do what ever they want from there.

Feds already have S-234 on PP..was in Arkansas a couple of weeks ago and had the class. Working on getting my hands on one.. Don't have any information on S-211 yet.

Hickman
02/21 Hi All,

I need to go to LA for the next few days. Will be only my third trip there, other 2 were for Disneyland... Does anyone have any ideas for where I might go (not too far from the airport in a rental car) on Fri or Sat for fire enrichment -- fuel type, maybe some fire scars... or maybe could I go to San Dimas? Are they open on Sat?
I know this is short notice...
Maybe just take my binocs to check the fuels from my hotel room window, eh? Are Santa Anas predicted for the weekend? Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Ab, will you forward replies? Thanks.
Mellie

02/21 Hi All Re: Federal Workmanís Comp.

Iím looking for legal council regarding federal workmanís comp. for an AD worker (Emergency Contract Faller) injured while working a wild land fire (Me). So far all but one attorney Iíve contacted only handles "state" workmanís comp. claims. The only attorney willing to discuss the matter would do so for a fee of $240.00 to talk to me for the first time. Any leads, names, address e-mail contact or phone numbers will be appreciated.
Tnx
Honorable Mouse
02/21 Hey BR,
I am a Handcrew Captain in Northern Cal, and I know where you can find your info. On the FS Human Resources website, there is a link called Drug testing, and it has the procedures that the FS must follow. Basically, if Two "trained" Supervisors agree that an employee is using drugs, the person can be sent in for testing. It does not mention anything about testing entire crews, I think your Manager is covering up an important safety issue. I would go over his head to your Forest Aviation Officer and see what they have to say about this issue. The website address is http://fsweb.wo.fs.fed.us/hrm/. (Ab note: this is the FS intranet.) This site also has all of the Fed position descriptions for fire jobs, pay scales, and other interesting HR stuff. Good luck and keep us posted about the results.

-MJ

p.s. Brian, I told you to call Rob M. about Megram Fire areas for your research!
02/21 HSU Gang

Isn't the non-FS land involved in the Goat Fire owned by Fruit Growers or Sierra Pacific? Don't they have their own foresters you can speak with? You may have already tried them though, so this may not be much help.

RxFire
02/21 Pulaski,
Yeah...thank god for all the snow that just got dumped on MN! I guess we can all relax now!
I got out my cross country skis and pretended to have a good run across the muddy yard.
That didn't even get much of an adrenaline rush going.
I, for one, am getting too old for that without a bit of smoke in the air to help.
Old smokechasers version of viagra.

Seriously though, such a small portion of MN "got plastered" with any snow at all in that last pass I don't think I'll revise my early fire season "prediction" quite yet. But who knows we may get some more precip yet come March.

Hey Pulaski, you have to admit this has been one of the driest, warmest winters in MN for what...40 years? Anyone noticin the dryness in the Dakotas or Wisconsin or does it stop at the Minnesota state line?

Oh well, don't think I would snicker too much yet Pulaski.
Save it for March when we usually get our heaviest snowfall.
OOPS...March prediction is for temps not conducive to snow. Oh well again... We'll see.

Fireronin

Ab, don't we always seem to get into this predictin stuff around this time of year?
02/21 Brian @ Humboldt St:
You might want to contact the fuels person on the Grindstone Dist. Mendocino
NF. There is an individual with private lands within the forest who has
undertaken an underburning & thinning p pine project there in cooperation
with the forest and CDF. I dont think that area was affected by the Fork
fire several years ago, but I think there was a smaller fire that burned
into his p. burn area last year or so. Might not be exactly what you are
looking for but it wouldnt hurt to check into it.

Pulaski
02/21 Good morning AB,

I have been reading through the months activity. Interesting chat. One thing that is bothering me is the Work Hard Play Hard attitude. We lost a fellow firefighter this last summer, played a little too hard while off duty and smacked a tree on the way back to the station after he tied one on off station. The days and weeks that followed this tragedy was unforgettable. From the morning we got the call from the EMT on scene, telling us what happen, to making all the notifications to the Managers, Supervisors, and Crew Members. The LE investigation is still ongoing, they issued citations to some of the individuals at the station for MIP, they were honest and up front about having been at parties held at the station, the individuals who were of age, and witnessed the younger kids drinking could still get tickets.

The thing is we have a stressfull job, and we have always played hard. At some point if shit hits the fan, and you are hung over, will you be able to react? Will you be able to respond and help your crew members get out of a jam? Will you be able to save your own life? Or will you be the one leading the motorcade in the funeral procession in your shinny engine on the way to the cemetery? The grief and guilt that his little town went through this last summer was incredible. If we keep up with the attitude that it is ok, it will be.

I was at the station going through a Critical Stress Debriefing with the crew members when OSP, pulled crew members out of the circle to issue citations. Not a good deal.

My advise is, if you are going to tie one on, be responsible, and do not report to work if you are so hung over you are pueking. I do not want my life dependent upon you if we get in a jam. I will get off my soap box now.

BE SAFE:
dispatcher
02/20 Hi HSU guys.
The person on the Six Rivers NF who knows the literature on shaded fuel breaks and the effects of thinning is Lucy S, our fuels and NFP specialist. Exceptional researcher... Ask her for leads. (The phone number for fuels will get you to her.) There was a shaded fuel break created and maintained for several years before the Megram Fire on the Six Rivers, Lower Trinity RD (burned Fall, 1999). Adjacent to the fuel break, the fire burned extremely hot at the highest level of burn severity; where ground and ladder fuels had been removed under the firs, it was a nice understory burn. The site - up near Grizzly Camp - is still under winter snow, but you should take a trip out there and check it out in the spring. Awesome demonstration of the benefits of a little management.

I drove through the Goat Fire along Hwy 36 on the weekend before Thanksgiving, long after it was over, wanting to see what it looked like. It's interesting how close the fire came to the CDF station at Susanville. Must have been rather nerve wracking to be on the deck there with the fire as hot and large and loud as it was. Here's the link to the get in touch with the Chief of the Lassen-Modoc Unit. Perhaps he or his office can tell you which CDF Team was assigned to that fire and you can contact them and go from there with your inquiries. They must have a fuels planner there. I think they even had some photos in the lobby.

As far as more information on the internet about the Goat Fire, there is none that I was able to find. (For fun, I tracked the fires of California, 2001 and created a CA firelinks page listing those I found with internet photos/info.) The fire was not even reported on the CDF incidents page. I think CDF was so busy scrambling to fight the fire they didn't have time to deal with the website. There must have been some FS crews on that fire... Some with cameras?

One place you might scare up some CDFers who were on that fire is via the CDF forum. It's closed, but perhaps you can get a CDFer with access to post your question there and then send you any serious replies. Are any one of the Michael/Mikes or CDF-BC willing to ask?

Jackson, do you know about Yellowstone NP? They used to have a good website for research. Is it up?

Too bad Brooks Sibl*y retired!
Good Luck Guys!!!
Mellie

Not quite on your topic, but for a persuasive read on trees, click HERE or go to Moore's main site. JG, thanks for sending me the links. Ammo...

02/20 Hello
I am a lead on a helitack crew in region 4 . Last season I had a runin with several of my crew members who liked to do a little pharmaceutical research at work. This bothered me big time because of the safety issues involved with working around helicopters, and the fact that we are all supposed to be able to work in a drug free environment. I notified my immediate supervisor of the issue and he told me he would handle it.

Long story short these guys were told to leave the drugs at home. On the very next dispatch several days later on the way to ID. We stopped in the middle of N.V. and overnighted. I told the crew to be at the trucks and ready to roll at 0700. Well 0700 rolls around and I am short one person, I checked the room, no luck. We waited one hour and still no show. I called the district and told them I had one crewmember AWOL and asked what to do. There reply was to find him and hurry up and get to I.D. and catch up with the helicopter, and let the manager deal with the situation. Twenty minutes later we find the individual walking down the main street clearly intoxicated with his bag of weed in one hand and his pipe in the other. I called the district again they said "Good you found him now get to I.D."

Put the individual in the crew carrier and continued on. Upon arrival the manager stuck the guy in camp for the day with out pay. I asked why there was not any immediate action taken and the manager said he didn't want to make a mountain out of this incident. Upon return from the incident I talked with management about the issue and they said we couldn't afford to lose any people on the crew because we were already at the min. I called bull sh-- and told them it wouldn't be hard to detail some one into the position. I also asked them why this individual was not drug tested or terminated. They told me because he was off the clock there was nothing they could do and that if they send one person in for a drug test they have to send the whole crew. I said well what the hell is wrong with that. They basically, in not so many words, said that the district would lose too many good people if they drug tested everyone.

So my Question is: has anyone else heard this rule about having to test the whole crew if one person is suspected of using. And since I made the issue known to management and nothing has been done, where do I go from here?

BR

02/20 -Fire Guy in R-1, If you are talking about S-234, its your lucky day. I
happen to be doing the same thing but am only doing unit 2 of S-234. Of
course I will be glad to share when I'm done putting the finishing touches
on it.

-Hey Dana, Fireronin & NorMinn Firefighter...hows your early fire season
looking now?? ...we just got plastered with 6+ inches of wet sloppy stuff
and still a bit more to come and It looks like you guys got at least some of
it too. You guys should know better than to let the adrenaline start flowing
this early. (snicker)

Adrenalin Junkie: Jim Smith & Sue Husari...wow, havent heard those names in
a long while, not surprised that they are doing an excellent job. Quality
individuals!

Pulaski
02/20 Hello,
my name is Brian and I am a senior at Humboldt State University in
the Forestry Program. I am currently working on a senior project with three
other seniors looking at the effects of thinning pre and post major fire event
in Ponderosa Pine and mixed Connifier forests. Three of us work in the field of
fire fighting, one with CDF and two of us with the USDA Forest Service. I am
seeking information and pictures about the Goat fire which was over in Lassen
County. This event is a prime example of our project though we have had some
trouble obtaining information. If you could send me some information as where
such materials may be found or other people to contact, it would be greatly
appreciated. Thank you for your time,

Sincerely,
Brian, Eric, Ron, Nick

Any photos or information, Readers? Ab.

02/20 hiya Abercrombie,

well ive been trying to access the BLM fire pages for a couple of months
now, and finally today.. i had success.. it looks like the pages are "mostly"
up...

anyway.. im a newbie looking for my first temp job in the R-6 area..
currently im finishing my last few days in the US AirForce in the Republic
of Korea.. so its making the application process a nightmare.. but i think
that im on the right track.. any info that you could pass a beginner would
be of great help.

thanks!

SrA Tucker C. Forlines

Hi Tucker. You're our first poster from Korea. But we've had people there reading the board for the last year or so. We'd suggest you go to the fire hire links at the top of the Job Announcements page and follow directions for BLM or FS or NPS. Ab.

02/20 I updated our Wildlandfire.com links page. We now have working links to the sit report in text and pdf formats.

There are still some broken links. (Still can't reach NM or AK BLM. There's neither BIA Fire nor DOI BLM Fire and Aviation Mgmt. You still can't look up DOI employees.)

Ab.

02/20 Hello again to all!!!!!!!!! I am in the process of coordinating the Firing Methods and Ignition Procedures Class and was wondering if there are any Presentations out there that would come in useful for the course. The PowerPoints are GREAT TOOLS.


Fire Guy in R-1
02/19 Ab, a clarification:

The Bills that Niedermeyer and Myself were talking about (Senate, S.1845
and the House, HR 2163. Presumptive Illness legislation) don't just talk
about "death".. they also talk about disability benefits, retirement issues,
and benefits to families...... It's the difference between a disability
retirement or trying to ask for A/L donations to keep your family well,
and up and going... And when the A/L runs out..... The outcome is grim...

Here's the information on these bills that you requested:

Status of Bills
http://thomas.loc.gov/ type the bill # or key words

Presumptive Disability fact Sheet from IAFF
www.iaff.org/politics/us/content/images/fed%20presumptive%20FS.pdf

Congressman Rodriguez Floor Statement
www.iaff.org/politics/us/content/images/Rodriguez%20Statement.PDF

House Co-Sponsors
www.capwiz.com/iaff/issues/bills/?bill=69798&cs_party=all&cs_status=C&cs_state=ALL

Senate Sponsor
www.capwiz.com/iaff/issues/bills/?bill=83927&cs_party=all&cs_status=C&cs_state=ALL

FWFSA-SoCal

Thanks for following up. Ab.

02/19 I just checked NOAHs' forecast for march-may temp and precip. If I read them right the southwest is predicted to experience significantly warmer and dryer weather during that period. That must come as a surprise eh?

www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov

Minnesota is only predicted to experience warmer temps with average precip. for that period. But it looks like the prediction (FWIW) shows the northern pine forests as the most likely to have highest above avg. temps.

Considering that there is little to no snow under the pines and they tend to "tinderize" fairly quickly (due to their "solar collector" effect when there is no albido in the upwind plains), we might have a "rip snorter" commin' our way this year. Too early to really predict though. March may come through with snowmakers yet.

I knew I should not have bought those new x country skis last fall. Every time I do that we get bupkis for snow... and you can't wax for dirt. I hate runnin' and now I have ten pounds to burn off. It looks like I will have to run it off instead of ski it off. Maybe I should quick.. burn them as an appeasement to the precip gods....Naw.

Fireronin

02/19 The Jobs Page, Series 0462, and 0455 are updated. Ab.
02/19 Ab,

Tonight I was pleased to see several examples of former President Clinton's
Executive Order 12564 being used. (Look in the 0462 and 0455 jobs
updates). The Executive Order spells out a drug free Federal workplace and
outlines the rules for implementing it.

One particular example drove my former charge home.... the announcement
R905-52B-02G stated that a Zone FMO is a position that is drug tested. (Does
this Zone FMO GS-11 have to drive a class B vehicle in their PD or is it
because of EO 12564?... or did this Forest classify the position incorrectly
as safety sensitive?) I also found several other positions that stated the
positions were being drug tested in accordance with EO 12564 (ALL DOI fire
jobs).

I don't know how it is in other Regions, but here (R-5 FS) the only drug
testing that I know of occurs if you have a DOT requirement or your position
is listed as safety sensitive (ie-LEO's).

I have heard (but hasn't been confirmed).. that NFFE and the Partnership
Council disapprove of across the board implementation of drug testing as
part of a Drug Free Workplace. Isn't a safe workplace a goal of NFFE and all
Federal employees? Does the NFFE and partnership council actually have the
power to stall or overturn a Presidential Executive Order on behalf of a
handful of Federal employees?...

I had hoped that when the E.O. was signed it would make the entire Govt. a
Drug Free Workplace. I understand some of their concerns but I have seen
good employees come and go (fired), and some die because of drugs in the
workplace.

Thats my personal opinion, I welcome all others, especially from those in
the Partnership Council or NFFE...

SoCalCapt
02/19 "Federal Firefighters Fairness Act 0f 2001"

In the Senate, S.1845 and the House, HR 2163. Presumptive Illness legislation has been passed in 38 states. IAFF is going to lobby the bills again in March. March is the Legislative Conference for IAFF and FWFSA will be there. We will be seeking support on the Hill for our "Portal to Portal, Hazard pay and Presumptive Illness" legislation. We hope to see the bills back on the floor in April. THEY SAID will be the First to Know when its time to phone a Congressional or Senate Representative.

Niedermeyer

For those who might not remember, this legislation would allow benefits to a wildland firefighter who has died from or has an illness related to hazards encountered during their firefighting career.... Check back to FWFSA SoCal's post on 02/10 for more info. Ab.

02/19 Re Ted Putnam permission to post his article, Fire Safety - Up in Smoke:

...I was following up and came across this - thought you might be interested.

http://www.missoulian.com/specials/fires2001/

em

02/18 yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyy, ok

holy cow batman, NIFC's online.

Firescribe

02/18 Does anyone know if transcripts of the talk by Sue Husari, the Deputy Director for Fire Management, will be available anywhere? It was excellent. Was it taped? Can it be transcribed? It would be a good addition to the documents here. I also really enjoyed some of the other presentations, including Jerry Hurley's.

CONGRATULATIONS to Jim Smith (LPF), this year's recipient of the Cal Yarborough Award for the outstanding Division Chief. It was awarded by his peers and is well deserved.
Recipients of the past few years include Don Studebaker (CNF, '01) and Jerry Hurley (PNF, '00).

Adrenalin Junkie

02/18 Well, it looks like a lot of us are going to get a head start this year. NJ is dry very little snow to pack down the buildup and little rain. NJ fire season usually starts the end of March beginning of April but it seems mother nature forgot to look at the calendar. Fires are popping up left and right our observation towers are up with a little chill. Our fires are burning like a mid spring fire even at 25 degrees although a lot of warm days lately. I guess we will have to sit back and see what in store for 2002 but it sure looks like we will be busy.

EC
NJFFS
02/18 Ab,

The I-00 Program you sent me will work great thanks. One more favor -- does anyone have the S-212 on PowerPoint? Can someone send in a copy?

Thanks,
FFSS in PA.

02/18 Ab,

As far as I know the Mel Madness Schedule is still correct. ASAP is looking for applications that are into the office by the deadline stated. So Round 2 people (permanent or temp) should push for getting theirs into the office by March 1.

Re the MEL Madness schedule: Check the permanent hiring process dates halfway down the sheet. You can ignore the first column (unless you're doing the hiring). Second column says the deadline for apps being in the office. That's important. Third column tells when the roster goes out to the forests. Fourth tells when the forests tell ASAP who they hired.
EXAMPLE: Round 1 says "ASAP creates roster by 02/01". [Then the forests check certs and inquire regarding interest. Forests choose who they want and meet with other forests to trade and decide who gets whom when more than one forest wants a person. That happens very soon.] Forests then make the offers and send in names of people: "Acceptance to ASAP by 03/08". Simultaneously the Round 2 process has begun...

Please correct me if you know better. You want-to-be temps, students looking for summer jobs, etc -- just keep applying and letting forests where you want to work know you're interested. Hiring for those jobs will probably go on for quite a while.

Mellie

02/18 NorMinn Firefighter,

I did see quite a few seasonal and "emergency" firefighters getting advanced training at the academy this year. Most had been requesting this training from the DNR for years and been denied it. The feeling was that since the MN DNR is not competitive economically with the vast majority of other fire employers, they were denying their "seasonals" the advanced training so they could not be carded for better paying positions elsewhere and would to some extent be trapped into working at the DNR's pleasure. Of course when the DNR needed to red card these otherwise very experienced firefighters to run state engines on western fires, the required red card qualifications were hastily added to that year's red card regardless of the fact that they may not have attended the required classes or completed a task book. These qualifications mysteriously would not show up on next year's red cards, but when needed again they would miraculously appear on a red card if the DNR ran low on "legitimate" crews for equipment they wanted to sent to out of state fires. It was once explained to me as a purely economic decision... since without qualified crew the equipment could not be sent and the income not realized by the DNR. Oh yeah...they also charged over three times what they paid for each firefighter. It really pissed off a lot of firefighters and should have pissed off the federal agencies that were getting crews that may have not been fully qualified, let alone properly carded. The agencies did nothing as far as I could see even though it presented an obvious safety issue and was somewhat fraudulent... economically speaking.

The firefighters, on the other hand, helped take the training opportunities out of the control of the DNR and created a plethora of new classes and training opportunities. It appears that these new classes were created at a fraction of the cost at which the DNR had been previously paying as many of this year's academy attendees were full time DNR employees whose costs were being covered by the DNR. Hmmmm....... There were even a few seasonals and emergency firefighters that got the DNR to cover their tuition, though they were planning on accepting jobs elsewhere. I don't suppose they shared that bit of information with their supervisors. Only 34 trained firefighters are under contract to cover the entire state of MN for the DNR this year and I don't even see the DNR advertising for more. I hope federal firefighters are available when we need them cause we don't have anywhere near the level of staffing of experienced firefighters we will need when fire season gets "serious".

Anyway, most of the MN "emergency and seasonal firefighters" that I talked to at the academy were not planning on sticking around MN. They needed the classes so they could either apply for the new federal positions or seek employment in other states that pay better and reportedly treat their firefighters with some respec...t and get their task books filled. Many MN DNR supervisors are loath to sign off on a MN seasonal's task book since they will afterward likely not be available. Until we started supplying members with task books, they were essentially unavailable to most. Many area offices told them "sorry no task books are available....we just can't get them.. sorry". This, of course, pissed off many firefighters who had the required classes but had been waiting for several years for a taskbook. The state of MN does not appear to have "mastered" the art of good employee relations.

I do agree "NorMinn" that everything should be OK until the season gets serious. It looks to me, though, that MN may be screwed when it does, as the "reserves" of seasonals will simply not be there to supplement the small number of "full time" employees trained in fire suppression as in previous years.

Hey.. do any of you firefighters that think they are not going to get in on a full time federal position want to come to MN? Seriously... let me know if you do cause I suspect that the DNR will be looking hard once they start looking and I would be more than happy to pass your names on to them. Traditionally they have been willing to pay out of state firefighters 2 or 3 times what they pay MN seasonals and that is very decent pay indeed. Minnesotans are usually pretty friendly too... I am just a bad example. And, like I have said before, without exception (OK...there is always one) the DNR employees I have worked alongside are among the nicest fire folk you will ever meet... it's just the Top Guys that don't seem to have any respect for firefighters or realize how much they depend on them. If you just fly in... save our bacon... and leave it should be a pretty pleasant experience for you.

As for the disagreement over when fire season "begins": In my experience the southern areas of MN begin to have small fires (under 10 acres) as the snow melts and these small acreage fires slowly progress northward area by area. Then as the fuels dry out, we get larger and larger fires progressing from southern areas to northern areas over a period of about a month. Then we get a period when the southern areas are greening up and the northern forested areas are dangerously flammable as well as the grasslands and swamps of the central and northern areas. Then those swamps and grasslands start to green up and we all sigh a breath of relief, since all we have to worry about are those northern coniferous forests and we can, to some extent, concentrate our resources in the north along with the concentrated fire danger. This year essentially the whole state is in fire danger at once and the fires of last week were of the 100 acre variety, not in southern areas but in central/northern areas. By any account this is a very unusual, early, and potentially catastrophic season MN is entering, primarily because of the extremely dry and warm conditions we have experienced all winter. In fact, we have not had a winter, only a very long dry fall. I wish the head of Forestry and top DNR fire manger were not as cavalier as they seem to be about the upcoming fire season. Oh well ....maybe it will rain.

Dana Linscott
VC MWFA
linscott@rea-alp.com

02/18 R-5 Recruiter and Frustrated in R-2:

I believe most of the forests have gone through and have done their tentative selections. I say tentative, because the week of 2/20-21 in R-5 will be a leveling meeting and duplicated selections will be corrected. During that same time period, phone calls will be made or letters sent to make official offers. So if you are waiting, this is the week for offers for Rnd 1 in California.

djchief
02/17 Frustrated in R2,

1. Round 1 hiring is over, hiring in most areas will be done in a couple of weeks.

2. You still have time for round two, does not end until if I'm not mistaken the 2nd of next month (sorry I don't have the dates in front of me); if you get your ap in by the 31st of Feb., you will be fine.

Boise should be helping you out with any questions you have pertaining to the application process; they will not give any info to you if you are asking where you rated (i.e., grade level and positions) nor will they tell you if your application has made it. When you receive a confirmation letter, it will tell you all that info you need and if you made any mistakes filling out the C-form and how to do the corrections.

You are not doing anything wrong; it sounds like the Forests you are calling don't have their act together. There is only one way to apply for jobs, and you did it correctly. If you applied to all the positions, then your confirmation letter will state that. That is why you have GS-3 Engines, GS-3 Handcrew, etc., on your letter.

The Forest you applied for should only be calling you for positions they are hiring for, and that call should be an interest call, asking if you are interested in a position.

For example: Your local Forest calls you, they should be saying, "Mr. Frustrated this is AFMO R2 (for the sake of "Irate", since he has a problem with Battalion) and this is not a job offer. I am calling to see if you you are interested in a job with the local Forest on an Engine." You either respond yes or no and they should ask you some other basic questions. After that, they rate all the potential candidates and make their selections. That's when you should get a call offering you a position.

I know it is confusing and frustrating, and I'm sure not every Forest does it that way. I can only give you examples of the way I understand it and how we do it on our Forest. You have to keep a positive attitude and keep making those phone calls stating your interest, putting a face/voice with a name. It will pay off.

If there are any other Forests out there who do it differently or can shed some more light on the subject, I urge you to chime in and help this poor guy out.

Hope this helps and I hope I answered some questions for you.
R-5 Recruiter

Thanks again R-5 Recruiter. This is similar to what happens on my forest, but some may differ. Anyone have another process?

Info shared here helps all who are going through hiring, especially when people are uncertain they have done it right. The MEL Madness Schedule for hiring says Round 2 apps should be in to ASAP by Friday, March 1. Does anyone know the latest the apps should be postmarked to make that round? If anyone has an updated schedule including the postmark deadlines, please send it in and we'll post that info.

Ab.

02/17 The rumor is the Local Agency Type One that burned was caused by an ember in the air cleaner catching fire and stalling the motor. This happened to 2 or 3 other engines on last year's Viejas Fire. Is there any fix out there? I know CDF has made a temporary homemade fix with layers of screen on the intake. There needs to be some kind of air cleaner that can not catch on fire. Does the USFS have anything or are the labs in Montana working on anything??

These guys came close to being burned along with their engine.
Abe

02/17 There were actually 3 fire engine "mishaps" for lack of a better term on the Gavilan Fire. Two involved paper air filter fires due to embers from the wind driven fire. One engine company recognized the problem and dumped a pressurized water extinguisher in the air intake. The motor was damaged but the engine will return to fight fire another day. Not so lucky was the North County Fire engine, the air cleaner fire spread to the plastic parts in the engine compartment and in a few minutes the entire cab was utterly destroyed. The Camp Pendleton type 3 engine got stuck off the pavement in a very precarious position and the crew was unable to stabilize the engine and get it out of the way before it was engulfed in flames. The crew fled (we hope through the black) and no injuries resulted from any of the above incidents.

So the lesson here I think is, in heavy fire conditions like we had on this fire, we need some kind of air intake screen protection to trap embers before they catch the paper air cleaner on fire.

Fireball XL5

02/17 ab,

add virginia to the list of states gettin ready to have a busy season. I dont have numbers to back it up, but we've had virtually no snow, and very little rain. Some of the grass fires are going farther and farther into the woods before they slow down, it could get interesting!

sign me: FS Guy
02/17 Fireronin

Fire season has arrived in Minnesota, at least for the moment. It is
early, but not the three months you mention. It often starts in mid
March in some part of the state, and then really gets going in early to
mid April. A good part of the state is snow free, which is quite
unusual. A couple of fires over 100 acres, with one making the national
report. In February??? This has been another unusually mild and dry
winter in Minnesota. We can still get plenty of snow in March, so Iíll
go with the wait and see approach.

I will also go with the wait and see approach as far as the record low
numbers of firefighters. As they see a good season approaching, many
veteran firefighters take time off from their ďregularĒ jobs and fight
fires for the spring. Didnít Dana Linscott mention large numbers of
firefighters at recent training sessions? I expect that we will be OK,
unless the season gets real serious.

NorMinn Firefighter
02/17 Frustrated,

ASAP lost my app. Luckily I have copies of everything and sent it certified
mail. Still doesn't help with the opportunities I lost out on.

Strider

02/17 I have some questions about round 1 mel hiring , is it still going on?,
is it over? , did they hire anyone? is it time to send in my round 2
locations? is there any one in Boise that knows what is going on? or is
there any one who cares? Talked to many supervisors, all sounded
interested but no offers. some also told me that some of the jobs listed
were not even open. and that they did not know why they were on the
list. Most of the hiring people I talked to seemed to be confused about
the whole process. Most have ask how I applied ? Is there more then one
way to to apply ?

I'm still holding out hoping that someone will sooner or later will get
it together.

Frustrated Seasonal in R2
02/17 Fire season has arrived three months early this year in Minnesota. I think it is a new record.
It should be interesting to see how that record interacts with the record low number of available firefighters in MN.

Fireronin

Last night in firechat we were hearing that things are ready to torch off in South Dakota too. Ab.

02/17 heay ab

i just got the second comp letter back and it has Engine crew. i hope to get on for this summer of 2002. we have rain right now and it is going to rain all night all day on sunday . But this has been a dry winter, we need more rain otherwise we could have bad fire season on the los padres forest. It could be a quite a summer anyway. I'll say good bye for now and THANKS.

TOMBO WILDLAND FIRE

02/16 I'll be lurking in FireChat at 8 PST if anyone wants to chat. We'll see if it becomes a party.
Ab.
02/16 Why's the USFS web server down? Well, it's probably an "interagency
cooperation" thing. Or maybe a staff infection. Or perhaps it's all
those DOI employees borrowing FS machines and networks to do little
things like payroll.

wg
02/16 The engine entrapment occurred on the Gavilan Fire in San Diego County MVU.
Acreage 5700 burned on to Camp Pendleton south of Deluz. My understanding is one type 1 engine from Fallbrook FD and one from Camp Pendleton FD were damaged. Fallbrook's engine is totaled. 43 homes were lost and 13 damaged, 49 outbuildings and 40 vehicles destroyed. Santa Ana wind driven fire.

Rhino
02/16 Anyone know why the Forest Service web is down?

backburnfs -- Thanks for the reply on OT caps and your laid-back take on it. If the trend is to legislate top --> down what our people should be doing responsibly, we're in sad shape. Also, I can just see the firestorm of 2002 hitting and... OOPsie... everyone has maxed out on overtime...

Ramble -- what burns me about cost pools is that they've stripped our fuels budget. I'd like to see some figures from other forests on that.

NorCal Tom

02/16 Just wondering if anybody out there has any info on the Fish and Wildlife operation in Lakeview. Just took a job there and was wondering what the word on the street is.

Cur-Dog

As usual, I'll forward messages on if anyone wants to reply. Ab.

02/16 Does anyone have any information on the entrapment of two fire apparatus at the wildland fire in Fallbrook, CA last week??

pmd
02/15 About the IAWF:
Recently there was a question posed on "they said." It read,
"Has anyone else out there had problems dealing with the International Association of Wildland Fire? I joined two years ago, but only received one magazine. I complained, then got the last two before my membership expired. I thought the problem had been fixed, so I signed up for another year. I didn't receive ANY magazines for the whole year. I've called, written, etc. to no avail. I've also had problems getting into their website (has anyone else had "Adult City" pop up after typing in www.iawf.org?????). Does the IAWF still exist? If so, what's the problem?"

The IAWF is indeed alive and well. About two years ago the association underwent some significant management changes, including an office move. During that time several issues of Wildfire Magazine were missed. A number of members' records were lost in the transfer. However, we are now much more organized and back on track with the magazine and with other issues. Some folks are writing or calling the old address, which is why they may have not had any reply.

Membership costs $52 per year, and includes a subscription to Wildfire Magazine. It also includes a reduced subscription rate to the IAWF's scientific publication, The International Journal of Wildland Fire.

The IAWF held a Wildland Fire Safety Summit in Missoula, Montana, last November, which drew a record sold-out crowd (the proceedings are available on-line at our website).

This year we are planning a major, first-ever, Wildland Urban Interface conference in Kansas City, December 4-6, 2002. This conference is being co-hosted by the International Association of Fire Chiefs, which hosts Fire-Rescue International, the largest fire and EMS conference in the country. We anticipate 1,000 attendees plus exhibitors at the new conference.

In addition, just this week the IAWF hosted the first annual Wildland Fire Policy Summit in Washington D.C. This meeting drew together many of the largest and most influential wildland fire organizations, for the purpose of discussing how we can work better together to implement wildland fire policy in the U.S. Represented were the Forest Service, the National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, US Fire Administration, International Association of Fire Chiefs, Western Governors and State Foresters. Look to future issues of Wildfire Magazine for more information about this meeting and its outcomes.

Anyone who has questions or concerns about the IAWF should either visit our website (currently under revision for updates, should be restored in 2-3 weeks) at www.iawfonline.org or contact us at the address below.

International Association of Wildland Fire (IAWF)
4025 Fair Ridge Drive Fairfax, Virginia 22033-2868
(804) 833-2955      (804) 326-0838 FAX       wildfire@iawfonline.org

02/15 Pyrolysis,

Earlier someone already mentioned to you that Western Oregon University has
a fire administration program. I just recently completed my bachelor's
degree in Fire Service Administration from there. I already had a bachelor
degree from another field and was able to complete the 45 credits I needed
through correspondence courses. It was a great program and worked well for
me. If you don't already have a degree, I think there may be some classes
you would have to pick up at either Western Oregon or another college.

Good luck!

Kevin, Firestormers
02/15 Did that bit of wisdom posted from the R-5 Div Chief workshop come to those gents in a blinding flash or ??

LPT

02/14 Hey Ab and all-

Question about ASAP program-
I was picked up last year as a demo. Looking to apply for Round 2 positions. Which would be better to apply to....a demo with upgrade wherever, or a merit promotion wherever. I will have time and grade in for a GS-6. Application needs KSA's for both merit and demo. Do I just fill in KSA's under scantron form C, or do I add KSA's onto resume also? Which form needs answer statements in written form for KSA's? Want to make sure I'm doing this right again. Hearing to many horror stories about screwed up apps.

Sawmonkey

02/14 I found this on my friend's e-mail signature, how true it is...  The Pilot Fire on the Calaveras Dist 1999. I found it funny anyway.

"To those who may not know it, working as a wildland fire fighter is the most rewarding job for the least pay, bar none. Where else in the world can you work up to 56 hours and get cookies? True story."

The meat
02/14 Well I have just been noticing all your articles including drinking in the bunkhouse. I have to agree it goes with our job work hard play hard. I have a story. I stay in a lil ol town of dufur in summer time and pay a renters fee for staying in the old ranger house along with 4 other guys. Well they decided they did not like us drinking and prohibited anyone at anytime drinking in the bunkhouse. Now I thought if you were paying rent they could not do that. Anyone with any comments I would love to hear them. Another thing The university of Montana has a great forestry program working on my degree as we speak.

Bunkhouse Rools

02/14 Another boot pearl, for what it's worth. I mentioned the amount of foam I deal with, working on an engine, to the Nick's folks. Their recommendation to me was to not only treat the outside with Obenauf's, but to do the inside with a light layer as well. This may help.

You are right about the foam though... I has just greased my boots, and got a drop of 100% foam concentrate on the toe later in the day... you could see where the foam had eaten right through the grease the next time they got wet!

Pearl in the Foam? 

Ab doesn't remember your initials or moniker.

02/14 From Firescribe:

Interior Fixes Some Computer Glitches... www.arizonarepublic.com/news/articles

02/14 Ramble, Right on! Good job at breaking it down to the ground level. The public is interested in engines.

Well, Irate, all I can say is cummon'down! I got a hug for you too if ya show up and introduce yourself!

Mellie

02/14 Greetings fellow firefighters,

I promised you more would be coming about cost pools, so let's get with it. I recently overheard a person mention that the average cost pool increase in their region for each new employee they hire was $17,500. I think I must have heard wrong. . .it couldn't be, could it?

To see how this scenario may be evolving all around you, I have the permission of an FMO on Possibly Your National Forest, who chooses to remain anonymous, to get inside their head and follow their thought process as they cope with cost pool budgeting.

<BEGIN> Hmm, last year I had an engine that, due to a lack of available employees was forced to be a five day effective engine, this year I can hopefully add two employees to make it a seven day effective engine. That will be taking it from being theoretically 70% to 100% effective over the course of our fire season. That's what Congress dictated and I wanted to do in the first place.

Let me see, I add the cost of the wages, travel, training, unemployment, uniforms, unemployment, etc., no problem, that's already in the budget. There won't be any additional costs for barracks, rents, or utilities as they already exist and will not increase. But wait, must include another $35,000 for the cost pools. I'm sure these new employees will demand (and receive, heh, heh) that much attention, consume commodities or require whatever else these pools are derived from annually. Ok, since I have five engines to staff up in a similar manner, that would be, um. . .five engines times two employees, wait. . .ok, 5 x 2 x 17,500 = $175,000. Uh, no, I must have an extra zero in there someplace. Let me recalculate. Hmm, let's see, ok, zero, zero, carry the one, add the 7s, jeez, that must be right.

Well, if that's right, $175,000 is roughly the amount I've been given for each engine cost. I'm glad I just have an average cost pool amount and aren't one of those forests with the highest amount. Looks like if I cut one engine, I can afford to pay the cost pools on the others and I should be ok till next year's cost pool increases. Might have to cut another then, but no sense in worrying about that now. Ok, I remember how to do this, where's my old engine efficiency evaluation committee report I had to use two years ago. Here it is, alright, scarcely had any time for dust to gather on it. Now let's revisit, we'll consider the number of responses, station costs, public visibility, political pressure from cooperating agencies, etc., hmm, looks like one of those new engines we added last year isn't looking too secure.

How can I absorb the already existing module leaders into the remaining organization? ok, some engines may be top heavy, what will I tell them? what will they tell their families? Will there be duty stations here. . .oops, that's another cost. Hardly any room for attrition here as they are all younger, new hires just beginning their careers. . .how will. . .<END, or just the beginning of the end>

Ramble, again.

02/14 I want to thank all of you for the info on the Bachelors programs offered at various schools. Im not entirely certain Im going to go for the four year degree yet, but I sure have something to think about now. Also, I didn't inquire about an associates program because I already know that Butte Community College has the best in the north state (CA). It is instructed by mostly CDF guys, and geared mostly toward structure, but I gained an awareness of the fire organization as a whole that has helped me greatly throughout my career so far (especially for the "new" forest service). Again thanks everybody for the info.

*Sorry about the plug Ab*

-Pyrolysis

02/14 Well I guess all the notes on the DIV C meeting explains why this town has been overrun by green command rigs.

Remember kids, tip the dealers and try to enjoy some of the non gambling attractions around here (tahoe/pyramid/mtn biking the pinenuts.....), awww forget it, why else would you plan a meeting here?!

Mellie, we don't need to know about all the people you've been hugging, and I'm sure they don't want us to know that you're....... never mind!

Have fun at your FMO............. errr..DV meeting....... wouldn't want to give you guys a "Natural Resources Agency" tilte. Because we all know that you don't work for a land management agency, right? You work for a "fire service". Right?!

Sorry ab, just had to throw some argummentative dirt.
Late,
Irate

02/13 Hi All,

I'm here at the Div Chiefs meeting and having a fine time with so many folks - Sting, Ted, Firewolf, Abby, original Ab, got to hug Hurley, Firenwater, Horny, Johnny, JoAnn, Adrenalin Junkie, the anonymous one (with changing moniker) and a bunch I'm forgetting. Wow, just a few moments with some but so nice to meet some theysaiders face to face.

The Honor Guard program was moving as always. There was a wonderful powerpoint program. I saw a number of photos from wildlandfire.com, including one of mine toward the end, of Forest Service engines at Five Waters during the Big Bar fire.

More later. I see someone wrote in with Kent C's comment about shelters. Good presentation on the 30 mi incident.

Mellie

02/13 Pyrolysis

If you are looking for a Degree in Fire Science at the Bachelor level, I would suggest looking for a Forestry program that allows manipulation of courses taken and an ability to focus on a certain aspect of the field. Forget anything on the East Coast, I haven't found any programs that are as intensive as those out west. There may be some opportunity in the North Carolina/Virginia/West VA/Tenn areas, you should check with local schools.

As for out west, the University of Montana works closely with the Fire Sciences Lab providing a good deal of opportunities in independent studies and a flexbile Forest Management degree program. As for Grad degrees, you can probably look at all of the same schools you would for BS degrees. U of MT: http://www.forestry.umt.edu/

Other schools worth considering: Colorado State University, Northern Arizona University, UC Berkeley, and Oregon State University,. For more info on schools with forestry programs check out this Society of American Foresters web site: http://www.safnet.org/educate/pforschools.php

Paddlefire

02/13 A message from the Division Chief's Workshop:

BIG Thanks to Ralph Domanski, Ken Kempter (San Bernardino), Carlton Joseph (Cleveland), Norrine Tydingco (Los Padres) and Jim Hall (Angeles) from all of us who have benefitted and will benefit from the special salary rate reanalysis. May those of the north also benefit in this coming year.
HOORAY!

02/13 Wisdom from this morning out of the R5 Division Chiefs' Workshop.

The Fire Shelter should be a tool of last resort but not a tool of the last moment.
 

02/13 NorCalTom, looks like we are in for microscopic review of our time sheets in regards to work rest ratio on fires. Page 8 of the "Thirty Mile Accident Prevention Plan" Dec. 14, 2001, updated Jan. 14, 2002.

A-5, ... "review policy, procedures, and performance expectations to reduce firefighter fatigue. Work with NWCG to coordinate the effort. Consider:

A-5-a." Requiring Agency Administrators to periodically review Time and Attendence records for compliance with work-rest guidelines..."

A-5-b. "Work to build electronic review options in the existing automated payrole systems." ( read "Big Brother").

A-5-c. "Setting a daily duty tour limitation." (emphasis mine).

Don't know if these "fixes" are the rumors you were refering to, but kinda looks that way to me.

(Big Yawn) I guess I better go home and get some rest and reduce this firefighter's fatigue.

Backburnfs.

02/13 Ab,

Pyrolysis's question on where to get a fire science bachelor or master's degree got me thinking and I thought a High School guidance counselor should have that kind of information available. Fortunately my sister-in-law is one and so here is an edited form of our email exchange. I'm in Missouri so that's what she provided. A local counselor should be able to provide Pyrolysis with information for the area he wants. Please feel free to edit/summarize this for theysaid. Keep up the good work. SHEP

SHEP asked Counselor:
How would you as a high school counselor find the answer to this question from a student? "Where can I go to get a bachelors or master degree in fire science?" I guess what I am wondering is how to find out what schools offer a specific type of major.

Counselor replied:
I use a software program called CHOICES. I just find the major I'm looking for and connect it with schools. I can connect with schools nationwide or narrow it down to specific states/regions... Of course the info. is only as good as the data collected. Once in a while I will know of a school that offers something not listed in the database. That would be because that school did not turn in the correct data (doesn't happen too often)...

OK this is what I'm coming up with. I can't find any school in MO that has a Bachelor's in Fire Science. CMSU in Warrensburg offers a Bachelors in Safety and then you can minor in Fire Science. There are several 2 year schools that offer a Fire Science Assoc. degree in MO they are:
Crowder College in Neosho
East Central in Union
Jefferson in Hillsboro
Ozark Tech in Springfield
Penn Valley Kansas City
Rolla Tech
St Louis Comm. College
I checked MU and there is nothing.
I couldn't find anything on a Graduate level in the fire science area.
When I called it up everything stated that a Master's in Business Admin. and additional training were what was required.
There may be other schools that offer a Safety Bachelor's with a Fire Science Minor. A more extensive search in that regard (would be needed). I was surprised at my findings...

02/13 GVD, I don't know if you ever got an answer to the tent manufactuer, but go to http://www.westernshelter.com/.

Hope this helps.
RxFire

02/13 Hey Pyrolysis:

You can get a Fire Science AA at Rogue Community College in Medford, Or. A four year degree in Forestry/Fire Science at Eastern Or. U in Lagrande, Or. and the same at Western, Or. at Monmouth, Or. A Forestry/Fire Science degree at Oregon State University. Purdue and Michigan St. University offer as well if you can afford it.

RH in Medford

02/13 Anything to the rumor that the WO is looking seriously at putting
in or installing some kind of "overtime" limit on fire pay?

NorCal Tom

02/13 Ab:

no, havent gotten to the 17 modules yet...just downloaded them last night, and been working on revising the by-laws for the fire department (some fun) I'll take a look at them and play tweaky-tweaky if need be.

We had a pretty good fire here in central wyoming a week ago...not too big, but with 50 mph chinook, it supported 30 ft or more flame lengths and was tossing marble-size flaming bits all over the place. If the temp had been over 27 degrees, it might have been even more interesting!

the Department is getting spring training in order (Red Card in a Weekend, anyone?) and at work, BLM is visiting with returning fire crew...nice to see some familiar faces. Maybe they will let me play again this year. Definitely time to start humpin' that pack around for the Test just in case...us older types need to start early.

arky

02/13 Pyrolysis,

University of Nevada Reno just reopened their new Fire Science Academy. They are working towards offering a Fire Science/ Emergency Management Degree (this should be up and running this year).

Skyeblue

Ab sez check the links page under training and education for two good AA programs in California and Oregon. Humboldt State University, Arcata CA has courses in fire science and fire ecology that some people have integrated into their BA in Natural Resources with great success. Ab.

02/13 SLC.. and others

To find out about the Haines Index, go to Google.com and go to the links
Great Info... but

From talking to meteorologists and FBA's, you can't solely rely on the Haines as a tool. You need to consider all other factors of wildland weather factors.

Firelake

02/12 the NPS websites are back up! bout time

AC

Great! Ab.

02/12 hi-

Does anyone out there know of a University where I can work towards a Bachlors or Masters degree in fire science? Is there even such a degree? If not, what do the scientists in Missoula go to school for?

-Pyrolysis

02/12 Can anyone tell how the Haines Index works?

SLC

02/12 No new posts on the Jobs Page, but Series 0462, and 0455 are updated. Ab.
02/12 I just wanted to tell everyone THANK YOU for all the input on boots!!

I also wanted to add that I am knee deep in my Wildland Fire Science classes..as well as Environment, Math, English and Crisis Communication Skills...and I am LOVIN' them!! I used to hate science and math but when you attach fire tech stuff to it I can't get enough!

Thank you everyone for all the support and input I am encouraged greatly about my future!!
Skyeblue

You go girl. Ab.

02/12 Justin, Remember "don't ask what Dufer can do fer you but what you can do fer for Dufer".

For those of you who are experiencing the inner soles of your boot cracking and crumbling, Did at any time did you get you boots soaked with water treated with foam? Happened to me, I greased my boots on the out side but the foam soaked the inner sole and DROVE all the oil out of the leather and it crumbled and turned into gravel and dirt. Be careful when working around foam, it will ruin a pair of $300 boots just as fast as a pair of $100 dollar boots.

WP

02/12 heay ab
thank you for putting up my post about the great open house on the los padres national forest. i had to change my application to engine crew for the summer of 2002. i have not heard when they are starting to hire temp jobs for the summer. does anyone know? thank you.
tombo wild land firefighting
02/12 Great Basin--

I'd suggest giving the BLM office a call to follow up on your letter. Like BLMgirl says, if you have a paper trail (SF-50) showing that you've worked at the GS-5 level, someone has missed that in the rush and rated your application too low. Tell them your concerns and ask them to take another look at it. If you have actually lost consideration for a permanent job, they should write you a letter explaining the mistake and give you first consideration on the next similar job.

For future reference, if you can't get ahold of a position description for the job, read the Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSA's) closely and relate your experience to those items listed. You will be rated (by a rating panel, not a machine) by your answers to the KSA's, and that's where it doesn't pay to be humble! The other crucial item is to always put beginning month/year and ending month/year, along with how many hours a week you worked. In GS positions, you've got to have a minimum amount of experience to qualify for a certain grade level. (You can qualify by combining your education and experience also). If you see KSA's on a job announcement, there won't be a form C to fill out. If there is a form C, a personnelist will briefly look at your application to see if you meet the basic qualifications for the position, and then a machine reads your responses on the form and assigns a score. 

Hope this helps. BTW, we're hearing that the NPS sites will be re-connected to the Internet Tuesday morning.

pyrogirl

02/11 that person having problems with freezing web page on multiple computers? may be a java problem...being a mac user, i run into it from time to time.

also...downloaded the PowerPoint training stuff....they're great; thanks to the people who made them and thanks to you guys for posting. I found a lot of typos and stuff and took the liberty of fixing them up...I'd send them back corrected if its proper to do that. What do you think?

thanks for the good work keepin up the Page. I try to look in every day, although with the Internet down at work it limits my viewing (a good place to go whilst eating my noonday sammich)

sign me
arky

We also thank those who did the power points. Please, r'arky' any corrections would be greatly appreciated. Send em in. Didja do all 17 modules???  Ab.

02/11 Hello there, my name is justin. I am a wildfirefighter here in Dufur oregon. I am responding to a note about nicks custom boots. I just wanted to let the people know how happy I am with mine. After breaking in, I love them and have put many miles on them. Thank you for your time and I highly recommend them.

justin

Welcome justin - nothing like boots to draw in those Oregon lurkers. Glad you put in your 2 cents. Ab.

02/11 -->>Drinking in the bunkhouse-->>

I have lived in a bunkhouse for all 11 years of my Forest Service career. I own a house in a city that I winter in for the four months that I am laid off. As long as the empties get picked up, and my beer gets restocked, I am very happy with it. In fact we will be putting a keg-a-rator in the bunk this year. Kegs are cheaper than sixers. It is part of the lifestyle that goes along with this job. Work hard, play hard. If the upper management makes a big deal about me and my boys partying in the bunk, we just remind them that we are the ones who do all their sh*t work on the compound.

If my boys choose to come to work hung over, so be it. Run out the hang over during PTs, puke a little, put in a hard days work and turn around and do it again the next night. Once again people tend to forget who gets the work done, and as usual it is the fire crews on the districts. Other departments have no problem shuffling off their b.s. work to us, but when it comes to our off work hours, they always have their noses in our business. So, keep the good times rolling and remember, work hard, play hard.

SH

02/11 TO: ALL CURRENT and FORMER MEMBERS of:
  • Star Inter-Regional Suppression Crew (1962-69)
  • Rogue River Inter-Regional Crew (1970-79)
  • Prospect IHC (1980-81)
  • Winema IHC (1982 - present)
40th YEAR REUNION!
When: Saturday, April 20, 2002
Where: Rogue Valley area, near Medford, Oregon
Why: To celebrate 40 years of service from the Winema crews.
Who: Any current and/or former members of the above crews, along with guests.
What: Potluck barbecue, overnight camping available
URL: wildfirenews.com/winema

We are trying to contact as many former crewmembers as possible, from 1962 till this year. We need your help! If you have information about former crew personnel, please let us know as soon as possible so we can contact them about the reunion.

02/11 What is the court order restricting access to the NIFC site?

James Mc
02/11 From Firescribe:

Plan would let forest homes burn
www.denverpost.com

02/11 We just got a request again from Detlef, representing the group of German firefighters who are creating a  German Wildfire Taskforce to help other poorer European countries like Spain and Greece fight their devastating wildfires in the summer months. They need equipment. To read their request, click HERE: Hello fellow firefighters.

I explained to Detlef that most American wildland firefighters do not own much of their own nomex etc but check it out from the firecache on a large incident and return it afterwards. Does anyone know what happens to cached equipment after returning from its last fire? Buttons get replaced, tears get mended, tents with broken zippers get sent back for repairs. Where does all that stuff go when it is deemed too worn to mend again? 

Ab.

02/11 Skyblue, J and Hunter thanks for the info on rehab for my knee. Just want to
make it thru the year.

Regarding Boots: I have worked on handcrews, shot crew, and an engine 
crew. I swore by my whites. I have put many miles on the 2 pairs I have 
owned. Until this year.... I had my whites rebuilt and found that later in the 
fire season my soles were getting brittle and cracking apart. I talked to others 
who had purchased whites recently and they were having the same problem. 
I'm not sure if whites has started using different soles or what. But I
never had this problem before and neither had others who I spoke to. So
long story short I bought a pair of Nicks and, after I broke them in,
I am extremely happy with them and their soles. They are a well made
boot and very comparable to whites. After all they should be.

R6FF
02/11 There is a neat article in "Feb.2002 Readers Digest" in the "Everyday Heroes" about a group of young volunteer fire ladies in "Aniak, Alaska". They are between 13 and 19 years old. They make you proud that they are fire fighters like the rest of us. May all young adults learn from these girls.

"No fire too frightening, no accident scene to remote, no call too daunting for Alaska's all-girl rescue squad."

CAFSman
02/11 Good Morning All!   (delivered heartily as Robin Williams did in Good Morning Vietnam)

FireChat... That was fun last night! What a bunch of younger whipper snappers showed up as 2200 rolled around! I hope ya turned out the lights when you left!

We should do that again. Fun. For those interested in chatting, some of us got started about 8 PM west coast time. People came and went and then a new bunch showed up about 9:30 PM. I have meetings this week and will be away, but will plan to show up the end of the week. Feel free to meet without me. Maybe one of the other Abs will make the scene.

In addition to spontaneous chats like last night, we Abs are planning some announced informational chats like the one we did with the FWFSA president we did last Fall. The procedure will be this: We invite a person who is an expert in their field. The discussion with them is the focus of an hour or hour and a half of the chat. People who come should be interested in participating in discussion of that person's area of expertise. After last night, I'm thinking maybe we should invite a Human Resources person who can answer questions about the hiring process. Although we had some knowledgeable people speaking up. What do you all think? When would be a good time? a Thurs, Fri? Sat? night?

Ab.

02/11 SAFETY MONITOR, this one's for you...

Let me start by asking if the court testifier person you're referring to's last name is Dav*s, PH.D, instead of Jones? Mr. D* does have a website advertising that he testifies for an employers protection, one of his advertised specialties is Standard Physical Testing. Now, I couldn't agree with you more about the dangers of administering a physically stressful type of test of this magnitude (not reviewed by M.D.'s or R.PT's because the developer said it would be too expensive) that's not been followed up on, like the employers and safety committee stated was to be done. 

Remember the questionnaires at the end of the test? Where do they go? What are the results? Where can they be found? I could not find the items that you said "FFS&H report" et.al, either. I did find one that's a couple of years old, though. I was wondering myself, after reading your post... if someone does get injured or dies when taking the pack test, since it's not appearing to have been followed up on or reviewed... can the test administrators, or forest safety officers become the fall guys for civil liability and lawsuits? I'm sure a "tort" can come from somewhere, huh? 
I myself am going to have to think about this...for my own medical professional license and malpractice liability as well as my fellow firefighters' safety, health and well being. 

SKYEBLUE, what do you mean there is a stigma attached to your region? Why? 

Take care everyone...
ATTA_GAL
02/10 Ab,

Does anybody ever go into the firechat room? I have visited that site a few times and nobody is ever there.

There are three different fires burning in Calif. right now, one that has destroyed 12 homes in San Diego. Be careful everyone fighting the fires and watch out for the wind shifts and have those lookouts posted.

Tahoe Ted, Keep your head up high and try and over look the small stuff. If you perform well and do a good job then your time will come. Keep a positive attitude and good luck.

R-5 recruiter

Goin' to FireChat NOW. Be there or be square! Goin' to firechat! Struttin' to firechat! Slidin' to firechat! Gone. Ab.

02/10 We decided to put the ICS series of training power points on the website. The link is on the programs page. There are 17 modules,  including I-100, I-200, I-300, I-400, etc. They're bare bones but all the info is there. You can personalize with photos, etc. I zipped the folder containing all 17 modules. The size is about 1400 KB, definitely not too large.

We don't expect problems with download, but try early morning before 0700 when traffic is low if you have problems. Ab.

02/10 Can anyone suggest the best place to work (R-5 especially) in terms of food?

I have heard stories ranging from chewing fingernails for dinner in some forests to regularly eating juicy steaks the size of toilet seats in others. It's possible that I'll be working my first season this year, and if I'm lucky enough to have a choice, I'd like to locate myself in good grub territory, if there is such a place.

Also, does every fed firefighter start out as a GS-2, or is it possible to come in at 3 or 4 with no actual fire training?

Just going by the form C instructions, I qualify at GS-4, and one NPS announcement put me at GS-3 max, based on education and general experience. I am beginning to realize I am entering the field as a senior citizen (25), but I just want to start racking up experience toward a permanent seasonal position, so I'm willing to start at any grade. I might even work for food, depending on the quality and quantity, of course.

Skyeblue -
I have a pair of steel toe Wolverines that I have been extremely pleased with for every job I have done with the exception of hiking. If I give them any more than a few miles of continuous walking, I come home an inch taller at the end of the day (because of the blisters on the bottom of my feet.) For that reason, I'm looking for a new pair of boots, so thanxs for your 'non-silly' question.

Fry.

Steaks? Toilet seats? Now, I remember some brownies our crew made that were that big. 
If you're successful in pursuing this, I think you'll give a whole new meaning to the term FED firefighter. Is your first name Stir? How about French? Ab.

02/10 To Great Basin-
The first rule- assume personnel knows NOTHING about you.

They will assume nothing in your application. They are usually looking for keywords- get a copy of the position description for your job and use those keywords. Focus on span of control and include all the dates/hours you worked at that level.

Rule two- create a paper trail.

When acting, was there a SF-52 that showed your change in status? If so, they should have recognized those three months.

I've seen good people get burned because they don't say enough. Humble doesn't work here. I've worked quite a bit with BLM personnel (in my state) trying to understand the method to their madness. Ignore logic and focus on the rules and you'll have better success- I hope.

BLMgirl

02/01 R6FF,

I have had several knee injuries, and 7 surgeries over the 34 years as a
firefighter. Rehab of a knee should start as soon as the swelling goes away
(my opinion), so the upper leg muscles won't get used to not being used.

My all time favorite, and most effective exercise for strengthening all the
muscles of the upper leg can be done while you are on light duty, driving a
desk.

You are sitting in a high back office chair with five legs on rollers (you
know the kind). Put your good leg on one of the chair legs, and using the
injured leg, reach out in front of you and grab the floor with your heal and
pull yourself forward. Keep doing this until you get tired. As time goes
on, you will be able to move from office to office visiting all your buddies
and making new friends. To start with, do this exercise on tiled floors.
Later on, to add intensity, move to carpet. When you find yourself out in
the brush clearing dead falls, it is time to come off light duty and get back
to work.

Good luck on your rehab.
Hunter
02/10 Boot recommendation-

I'm an engine guy, and have been more than happy in my Nick's Boots (down the street from White's, in Spokane, WA) 25V Hot Shot. Nice thick leather, rough-out vamp, great sole. They provided great customer service when I first ordered the boot and were more than happy to answer my questions via phone. The 25V is probably a little more boot than I needed to start with, but I'm CRWB/ENGB now, and do a lot more walking. My boots are currently in Nick's tender loving care getting resoled.

Nick's has a website, www.nicksboots.com, and so does White's, www.whitesboots.com.

No matter what you get, take care of your boots, and they will take care of you. Put them to bed before you put yourself to bed.

FireBill

02/10 Great Basin,

The hiring system is F---ed, the Central office does not even look at your application only your form C.....so if your modest about your experience you get penalized. Now what makes you an expert on something.......I don't really know...teaching others? having peers ask your input/suggestions?

hard to say, all depends on who's asking and how liberal you are......

I know a guy from a R-5 forest who was a GS5 for years.....got picked up in the JACT program...as a GS-4 perm. the following year he was given a GS-7 on a Helishot crew........now how does that work? Somebody's pet perhaps?

I'd suggest getting another application packet...and reapplying and err on your side when answering questions. And just remember, it's all about who's privates parts you swing from.

Best of Luck
Tahoe TED, now in TX

TX Ted, people may rate out as a GS-8 even if a GS-3 or 4 last year. Take a person who has in 5 or 6 years as a firefighter. If he has performed and gained experience over those years whether paid for it or not and has high KSAs, he could fairly be rated that much higher. There are many firefighters who have not had the opportunity to advance to their level of experience until recently. Region 5 is pushing the JAC Academy because they're building a fire organization. People are receiving college credit with the same goal in mind. OK done spouting off. Happened to be talking with the hiring folks on Friday. Ab.

02/10 Onelick asked about the SACC report. Their sit report at
www.r8web.com/sacc/Intelligence_Products/..\Intelligence_Products\GACCSitrpt.php
is in html and works fine and their morning report at
www.r8web.com/sacc/Intelligence_Products/..\Intelligence_Products\SACCMorningReport.pdf
also works fine. (But hey, are those BIZARRE url's or WHAT.)

I tried both of them in Netscape (4.78) and also in IE (5.5) and had no
trouble with either one. What system are you using, and which browser
and version?

Firescribe

Anyone else having trouble with this? Onelick, what's your modem speed? Ab.
02/10 To all Federal fire folks.... Here's an interesting bit of info on legislation proposed last year.... especially for those of us who have known a brother wildland firefighter who has died from an illness related to hazards encountered during their firefighting career....

FWFSA and IAFF are working for passage of such legislation... will you join the cause?

>From Senator Kerry to President Bush on IAFF-supported legislation.....
"Mr. President,
Today I am introducing legislation on behalf of thousands of federal fire fighters and emergency response personnel worldwide who, at great risk to their own personal health and safety, protect America's defense, our veterans, federal wildlands, and national treasures. Although the majority of these important federal employees work for the Department of Defense, federal fire fighters are also employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the United States Park Service. From first-response emergency care services on military installations around the world to front-line defense against raging forest fires here at home, we call on these brave men and women to protect our national interests. Yet under federal law, compensation and retirement benefits are not provided to federal employees who suffer from occupational illnesses unless they can specify the conditions of employment which caused their disease.

This onerous requirement makes it nearly impossible for federal fire fighters, who suffer from occupational diseases, to receive fair and just compensation or retirement benefits. The bureaucratic nightmare they must endure is burdensome, unnecessary, and in many cases, overwhelming. It is ironic and unjust that the very people we call on to protect our federal interests are not afforded the very best health care and retirement benefits our federal government has to offer. Today, I introduced legislation, the Federal Fire Fighters Fairness Act of 2001, which amends the Federal Employees Compensation Act to create a presumptive disability for fire fighters who become disabled by heart and lung disease, cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma, and infectious diseases like tuberculosis and hepatitis. Disabilities related to the cancers, heart, lung, and infectious diseases enumerated in this important legislation would be considered job related for purposes of workers compensation and disability retirement - entitling those affected to the health care coverage and retirement benefits that they deserve. Too frequently, the poisonous gases, toxic byproducts, asbestos, and other hazardous substances with which federal fire fighters and emergency response personnel come in contact, rob them of their health, livelihood, and professional careers. The federal government should not rob them of necessary benefits. Thirty-eight states have already enacted a similar disability presumption law for federal fire fighters' counterparts working in similar capacities on the state and local levels.

The effort behind the Federal Fire Fighters Fairness Act of 2001 marks a significant advancement for fire fighter health and safety. Since September 11, there has been an enhanced appreciation for the risks that fire fighters and emergency response personnel face everyday. Federal fire fighters deserve our highest commendation and it is time to do the right thing for these important federal employees. Mr. President, the job of fire fighting continues to be complex and dangerous. The nationwide increase in the use of hazardous materials, the recent rise in both natural and manmade disasters, and the threat of terrorism pose new threats to fire fighter health and safety. The Federal Fire Fighters Fairness Act of 2001 will help protect the lives of our fire fighters and it will provide them with a vehicle to secure their health and safety. I urge my colleagues to embrace this bipartisan effort and support the Federal Fire Fighters Fairness Act of 2001 on behalf of our nation's federal fire fighters and emergency response personnel.
Thank you."
This is similar to "disability presumption legislation" many states have enacted (38 so far). The FWFSA supports wildland issues and Firefighter issues such as this. Join today. www.fwfsa.org

FWFSA-SoCal

Could you please update us on the status of this legislative effort? Did it pass the Senate? Was there similar legislation introduced in the House? If it died at the end of 2001, has it been re-introduced? Ab.
02/10 Does anybody know why the Southern area's report still locks up two
different computers? I wrote in acouple months ago about it. it's still
locking up my computer at home and one of the ones at work.

Firescribe, any suggestions?
Onelick
02/10 I am wondering if there is any better Power Point Material out there for the S-231 course and Engine operator courses? I have my own training material and was wondering if there was anyone else that had some extras to share. I see a lot of information on Helo courses. I am a big advocate for Engines - we are the last ones to stay on the fire and work the longest on fires and have no basis for training on the various types of engines - Model wise - 52's, 62's, and so on...................

Lead Engine guy.

Regarding POWERPOINT PRESENTATIONS, we don't have that S-231 material at wildlandfire.com, but someone did send in the entire 17 modules of the ICS series, including I-100, I-200, I-300, I-400, 401 and 402. If anyone needs those, let me know and I'll send them your way... unless or until the process gets too unwieldy. Ab.

02/10 Here's a report on that fire people were talking about last night.

http://www.ocregister.com/news/fire00210cci3.shtml 

Check the wildlandfire news page for more articles on the OSHA report and other fire news. Current SIT Report (on Fridays, once a week) in RTF is updated on the links page near the top.

Firescribe

02/10 My thoughts on steel toed boots.

Reasons for not wearing them:

  • They are inflexible.
  • Mopping up in heavy duff can lead to absorbed heat melting your toes together.
  • Steel is heavier than leather.
Reasons to wear them:
  • Kicking redneck or hippie butt after hours.
  • You are dumb enough to let a dozer run over your feet.
Only rookies or idiots wear steel toed boots on a fireline.

Bear

02/10 R6FF,

I can offer a few exercises that my physical therapist had me doing to rehab my knee this last fall.

You will need an exer-ball and a strength band for most and both can be picked up at your local sporting goods for $40-$60.00.

Forward rolls:
Sitting on the ball (make sure that your exer-ball is big enough to support your weight) hold one leg out in front of you at a 45* angle. With all your weight balanced on the ball (you can't hold on to anything...I tended to look like a flailing bird doing this one the first few times) and holding your grounded foot firmly on the floor roll your weight forward. This is like the motion if you are sitting in a rolling chair and you are pushing yourself forward or backward. The movement should only be a few inches forward and back and make sure that you keep that one leg elevated. Then switch sides. My PT started me with 20 per leg then went up each week from there.

Ball wall rolls:
Standing up-right place the exer-ball against the wall waist height and place your back to it so that you are leaning against the exer-ball. It should be in the small of your back. Squat down slowly until the top of ball reaches between your shoulderblades...don't go past this point. When you come back up keep your back straight but lean into the ball if you need the support going back up. 10-15 to start

Clutching:
Take the exerband and loop it under your foot so that you have one end in each hand and the loop under the toe of your foot. Pull the band tight enough that you get some resistance but not enough to pull your foot up more than 2 or 3inches from the ground. Holding the band tight push down on the band like you were stepping on the clutch of a car. 20 per knee to start.

The reps were what my PT had me doing if they are too much do less and work up!!

I did a few others and need to go back through my journal to remember what they were.

If any of this doesn't make sense please e-mail me!
Skyeblue

02/10

SkyeBlue: one consideration- you don't want steel toed boots in the hills. The steel toes play havoc on your toes going downhill and the steeper the downhill the worse it gets.

R6FF- one exercise that worked wonders for my knees are leg extensions. Several other folks have tried this and had good luck with it also. I use light weights (<50 lbs.) and high reps (one set of 50-100). The way I do leg extensions is sitting on my weight bench w/ a leg extension attachment. They are done from a sitting position with legs bent at 90 degrees (as when you are sitting in a chair) and then you extend the legs straight. One set of 100 reps, with 50 lbs, three times a week worked for me.
j

02/10 EH-
i am not sure if you meant to write in for me or skyblue or if your mind is like mine and likes to wander but.......i am not the one to be writing to, i have my boots and like them just fine. like i said, i am not trying to be a shoe salesman. just giving my opinion to skyblue, which is what this page is for. step back for the big man with more than a few seasons in and 99% of it is shot experience. so what, whatever works for you right? and no, i did not work on an engine or a trail crew for the FS.
NP
02/10 0200:
1200 Acres in Santa Ana Canyon, at the Orange /Riverside County
line area. Blowin' and Goin'. Is it February or August?

Captain 1835

02/09 I am watching the ten o'clock LA news, There is a fire burning in the Anaheim Hills, It's around 100 acres and being pushed by 20-30 mph Santa Ana Winds with gust up 50.

Skyeblue, look into a pair of cheaper boots that Whites makes, they are called Hawthornes which should run around $240-$260. They are a good starter boot.

An-R5er

02/09 Safety Monitor
I know most people think that Florida is in its own "special" place as
far as fire goes, but I can speak to your question at least regarding crews
red carded from here. I hoofed and sweated and strained the measure for my
card and I am not aware of anyone who got a free ride. I work with the
standards administrator for this area and he is a stickler for towing the
line. I respect that, some don't. But no matter what his detractor's say,
he holds to his responsibility that if he says someone is fit for western
detail, they are.

SkyeBlue
I only have one observation on boots, steel toes are either great or highly
dangerous. Ask anyone who operates heavy equip, (tractor/plows)
and they will tell you that the steel toe will cut off the end of your foot
if it is crushed by an extreme weight. If you aren't going to be exposed to
heavy equip., go with steel toes, they will stop a snag, rock, etc, from
crushing your foot. But if you will be around the equip go without the
steel.
True story- I had just finished replacing the tracks , chains sprockets and
more on my tractor unit, I had more help than I needed and a helpy helperson
dropped the jack before I was ready. My foot was under a pad, by the grace
of God it was in the raised area with a 1.5 inch cleat holding the tractor
from totally sitting on my foot. The pressure on my foot was unreal, but
when the jack was pumped back up no harm no foul. (my screaming and using
choice names for the helper seemed to motivate him, also meybe a threat or
three... he he he)
Funny now, but not if there had been a steel toe to roll down and chop my
piddy toes.

Thanks for you ear, uh eyes.
Flash in Florida
02/09 Does anyone have any good knee strengthening exercises? I have had 2
knee surgeries working for Gov. handcrews. 1 minor orthoscopic and 1
ACL. I have not really had any problems with them in the past 2 years.
But, this past fire season took its toll. One of my knees bothers me
quite a bit. Not as bad while I'm working or running but after and
during any strenuous work or exercise. I'm looking for any helpful info
on strengthening exercises for the muscles in my knees. Just looking to
make it thru the season.
R6FF
02/09 GVD

Go to www.google.com  and type in
Canvas Tent

This will get you going.
Firelake
02/09 Greetings,

I had applied for a position with the BLM as a Engine Crew Leader GS-0455-05/06. This past fire season I was first hired on as a Engine Operator, but due to an injury to my Module Leader, I was Acting Module Leader GS-0455-05 for 3 months. Well I heard back from the Reno office and they said in thier letter that I was not rated as qualified equivalent to GS-04 level. How can I NOT be rated as a GS-04, when I served an entire season as a GS-05? Can anyone help me to understand this rating system or how they figure this out? Any understanding would be greatly appreciated.

Great Basin Fire Fighter
02/09 It blows me away, the way the Fed Fire Budget works - or doesn't. We have not yet received a budget... Folks, this is Rx burn time. If we had resources, we could have already done all the burning part of fuels treatment to meet the National Fire Plan for our part of northern CA. Some things like budget are going to have to come in line for us to fulfill our responsibilities. Are we set up for failure?

LU

02/09 Does anyone know where I can purchase the large white tents that are used by the teams in firecamp? I know most of those come from the cache or are rented locally, but I'm looking for a supplier so I can get one for my crew.

GVD

02/09 From Captain 1835:

Here's a link to General Accounting Office Report (GAO-02-259): SEVERE WILDLAND FIRES - Leadership and Accountability Needed to Reduce Risks to Communities and Resources. Might want to link to it under important documents.

www.gao.gov/new.items/d02259.pdf (This is a1191KB pdf file and requires Adobe Acrobat and some time to download.)

It was pointed out to me that the above link in the /new.items/ directory will expire after several weeks. However, the document d02259.pdf will continue to be available from the reports page www.gao.gov/audit.php  on the GAO site.

02/09 Hi Ab

Regarding the Chilao Hotshots

I was a Senior in high school when I saw a fire above Arcadia on the Angeles N.F. I drove up to the Arcadia Fire Whse and Dick Gaspari put me in a truck with Charlie Van Ness going to the fire.

When I got there, I left Charlie and started walking up the fire line to a crew in blue pants and shirts. I grabbed a shovel and started scraping line. Some of the crew started talking to me and asked if I would mail a letter for them. That was 1953 and my first introduction to the Chilao Hotshots made up of inmates with Angeles N.F. overhead. Lynn Biddison was the Supt at the time and I believe Jim Murphy was one of the foremen.

I worked several hours on the fire and was able to take home, and back to school the next day a box of sack lunches. Millers made the lunches then, and they had an unofficial slogan, Millers are killers.

It wasn't uncommon to get sack lunches that were date stamped sometime in the future. Millers put up a submarine sandwhich, fruit, juice candy bar and chips. My high school chums scarffed them up.

I went to work on the ANF a couple months later and saw the Chilao crew over several years and knew other Supts including Pete Trijillo and Bill Longacre.

There was also a hotshot crew at Oak Grove. Dalton and Texas Canyon came 3-4 years later.

Bob

02/09 From Firescribe:

The OSHA Report on the Thirtymile Incident is finally out.
www.missoulian.com/display/inn_news/news05.txt

And a smokejumper's interview with John Maclean.
www.smokejumpers.com/magazine/statmaclean.phpl
 

02/09 To add to this whole boot thing - you need to wear quality socks with
those boots. "liner" style socks with wool or wool blend outer socks
work the best. Unlike cotton tube socks liners "wick" moisture away from
your feet, helping to prevent blisters and foot funk. In my book, foot
care is up there with PT's. Your feet have to be in good shape in order
to fight fire.
-tonka
02/09 Just a public thanks to the folks at with the Kitsap Wildland Team (Poulsbo,
WA) and Poulsbo Fire Department for the great classes they are putting on.
Myself and some of my contract engine crew members had the chance to attend
one of their classes recently. They are great folks and put on a quality
class. We am looking forward to taking more classes from them.

Kevin, Firestormers
02/08 Skyeblue
I started with Red Wings, they worked fine for me. I have primarily worked engines. If you are looking at getting on a hand crew you probably want to spend the extra money. When I bought my Red wings they were only about $140 and Whites were $300. The last time I checked Red Wings where around $180-200. When you consider Whites can be purchased for $329 or so, the extra $120-150 is probably a good investment. While the Red Wings worked fine for me, when it was time for new boots I went with Whites and it was worth the money. 

If you check Drews they have a variety of boots under $300 that you may consider as well, not as good as Whites but most are rebuildable and heavier construction than cheaper boots. Several of the seasonals I worked with this year bought Wolverines and were quite happy with them, they were only $150 or so, I believe. Also feet are different from person to person, I know people who hated Red Wings but like Wesco (about the same price) and others who think Whites are uncomfortable.

You might try on a few pairs if you buy from a store. Two people I worked with this summer used $60 boots from a Military Surplus store. One did fine the other had lots of problems with them and wound up buying a pair of the Wolverines I mentioned above. So to sum up, if you are looking at an engine crew, you probably can experiment with something cheaper, if you are going to do the handcrew thing, I would suggest spending the money. Missing even one fire because of blisters can easily cost you more money in missed OT than you thought you were saving by buying cheap boots.

R6 Firedog
I wouldn't consider myself a great leader but I try to use the example of others I've worked for. If you have had a great boss, figure out why they were and see what parts of their style you can adopt, but don't try to be their clone. Stay yourself, just add some of their style. Bad leaders work well for this also. Try not to make their mistakes and even bad leaders often have a few good points. You might even make a list of people you worked for / with, what did you like? what didn't you like? can you adopt some of the positives? Do you possess some of the negative traits? Ask for input from those you work with. Listen to your employees and coworkers. Finally have fun, if you are always stressed out, it will carry over to your employees.

Ramble
I saw the article you mentioned and had a similar thought. With MEL I planned on sticking around, I thought the light might be around the corner. Now I'm not so sure, all the positive talk about reinventing the pay system, retention bonuses etc, of the past few months seems to have gone bye bye, Congress and OPM are back to the old "we're looking at it", and the "pay gap is a myth" crap. So far in the past couple of months, I've seen congress start a debate on cutting some of the Social Security benefits to Federal employees (Social Security plays a rather significant part in FERS), moving money for retirement to the individual agencies. Bush wants to give a smaller raise in 2003 than the pitiful raise the formula based on interest rate says to give. MEL looks as though it will be cut back already (hasn't even made it three years). We can't fill the new positions or even keep the older positions filled and the "retention pay" given only to the 4 Southern Forests is really only an additional 5% over what they already were receiving. Yeah I'm sure that will stem the flow. If you compare this to local agencies whose pay and retirement IS improving I can't imagine why someone wouldn't look to leave the Federal Government. The 1990's was the time for these changes and it didn't happen, it will be interesting to see what happens to the government in 5 years when the mass retirements begin. Of course it would be more interesting if I lived in Canada or Europe so I wouldn't be as personally involved.

USFS FEO

02/08 NP
I have worked more than a few seasons in fire, 99% of it in the hotshot
world. I have seen alot of guys come in with every bullshit type of boot you
can think of. to tell you the truth they spent the extra money after 2 months
in those "cheap" boots and the reason was, they had so many blisters they
couldn't hardly walk. So if you want to save some money and cheat your feet
it's up to you, however you have to ask yourself how much hiking are you
going to do and if you are on a hotshot crew, you need to spend the money.
If not, maybe you can get away some cheap boots and people may tell you how
great cheap boots are. what it comes down to is comfort. forget how long they
stay together because if you work for a living instead of sit on your ass
you will need to buy boots every year. To tell you the truth those cheap
boots will fall apart on you. I will bet a fire check on it. For what it's
worth I buy Nick's, the best boots you can buy and thats no sh*t. I have
worked in some of the worst conditions a boot can go through from Alaska to
Arziona. I'll bet my nick's will out do any boot you put em up against. Buy
Nick's and you won't regret it.
EH
02/08 HI-

I was wondering if you had any links to equipment websites for engines. I am putting my first engine together this year, and am looking for companies that sell tanks, pumps, hoses, etc. in the Portland area. Any information you have would be greatly appreciated.

Garrett VanDerSys
vandersys@hotmail.com
02/08 For those who have been looking for it, the Versa-Skill Announcement to apply for the NorCal Type II IIMTs are on the Forests in e-mail boxes. If you need one, ask for it. For those on lists, FMOs should be forwarding them on.

NorCal Tom

02/08 As far as I can remember the Chilao Hotshots were a Forest Hotshot Crew on
the Angeles NF. This was back in the 70's and early 80's . When there
were Inter-Regional Hotshot Crews that traveled out of region as opposed to
the forest hotshot crews that stayed in region, mostly. There were a lot
less IR crews then (read IHC). Del Rosa, Vista Grande, El Cariso, Bear
Divide, Dalton, Los Padres, Redding, Rogue River (Winema), Wenatchee
(Entiat), La Grande, Lolo, Bitterroot, are a few of the names of the
original IR crews. ( Sorry if I missed some of the originals or included an
impostor or two.) If anyone has a list of pre-1970 crews it might be
interesting to some of us to see.

I believe that the last Superintendent of Chilao, was the late Jim Olgive,
who started the Silver State BLM Hotshot Crew.

Backburnfs
02/08 skyeblue,

i wore chippawa boots with steel toe when i worked in the sawmill. best
boots i ever wore. daily i was in water, mush, pine and cedar bark etc.
even ash, had a few log deck fires. the stitching never gave out from
all the pine tar and acids, the leather stayed good also. they seemed
broke in brand new, no soreness from my feet, no blisters. by the time i
was done with them (2 years later) they looked so bad even goodwill
would not have wanted them. been through several different brands since
then, and did not get near the life span i got from the chippawas.

can't find them anymore here. :(. hth,
donna, dozer support

02/08 Eric,
A bit ago you posted that if there was enough interest fire courses might be offered online. We have quite a bit of interest in this possibility. Please contact me if there is anything we can do to help this come about.

Dana Linscott
VC MWFA
liscott@rea-alp.com
02/08 skyblue-

last year was my first season and i had no idea what i was doing when it came to boots. my employer gave everyone a list of boots and places to get them but emphasized that the more you pay, the better boot you get. Whites will rebuild your boot (if and when they need it) for half the cost of a new pair. My captain had to send his old ones out and they sent him a brand new pair at no cost. i can't remember what the problem was. anyhow, i bought a pair of whites. i was like  you, skeptical at  spending almost $400 on a pair of boots. but i'll tell you what, i had not  one problem with mine and i put them on the other day for kicks and they honestly felt like a pair of slippers. there were guys on my crew that took the cheap way out and used boots they had already or bought the cheaper pairs and, by the end of the season, they ALL had bought a pair of Whites. i don't mean to be a shoe salesman, but i would recommend Whites. you will pay for them the first week you work and you won't regret it. they are pain in the ass to break in so get them ASAP, but whatever you do be safe and have fun.

NP
02/08 WaFire Guy,

Sorry to hear you did not enjoy your stint with the DNR. I have been fortunate to be able to work with many great firefighters within the organization. Just like anything... one can have a variety of experiences and mine have been for the most part positive. Look forward to crossing paths sometime.

Herr Warden
02/08 Hello fellow firefighters,

    Stephen Barr at the Washington Post has written an article in response to the President's 2003 Budget Proposal that has provoked me to comment. Please click the link if you'd like to read Barr's article: www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A29909-2002Feb5.phpl 

Here's my commentary from a fire budget perspective:

    The new 2003 federal budget proposal has a couple of scary items which, when combined with what I know of fire funding, staffing and workload, have resulted in a vigorous sprouting of seeds of paranoia in my imagination. The 2003 Presidential budget proposes shifting the responsibility of retirement and health benefits away from the centralized, automatically funded, national account that has handled all public servants' retirement and benefits in the past. Instead, the 2003 budget proposes to include the responsibility for dispersing these benefits to the individual federal agencies themselves. On the surface this might seem simply like decentralization -- a prudent bookkeeping move? However, we all know that these agency budgets have traditionally been discretionary, historically fluctuating, and subject to other priorities in spending. Take our federal fire budget. As most of you know, Congress decided NOT to fund MEL at 100% this year and cost pools have raked off large amounts of money allocated by Congress for the National Fire Plan over the last 2 years. Does making the managers within the Forest Service responsible for administration of retirement and health benefits make any sense? I think not. They don't even know the meaning of a reasonable cost pool allowance.

    Regarding the 2003 budget, I concur with the critics in the Barr article that the reasons given by the Bush administration for the budget proposals are nebulous and, as stated by others in the article, suspicious. I personally fail to see how decentralization of our civil service national retirement system, once it is fragmented and administered by a multitude of agencies, will be able to offer "better information" to anyone. Any savings resulting from the reduction or dismemberment of the national process of administering benefits must certainly be offset by the increased demands at the agency, forest, or district level. Observing the current staggering workload of our local personnel department, I'm convinced that we'd need additional staff and to create, oversee, and administer a policy change of such magnitude.

    What would be the costs involved in funding retirement and benefits this way? Any such acute modification of duties and increase of staff and personnel at the field level would need to begin at the highest level (the Washington Office) first, and swell exponentially downward until it plopped on the (new?) desk of someone responsible for doing the actual work. More people hired, more expenses or rake-offs on down the line. Agencies come in all sizes with varying levels of sub-units. How far down the budget chain would additional rake-offs occur? How bloated would they be made to be?

    Once an administrative structure is in place, how would the "benefits funding" be allocated? Would there be a specific, separate, automatic allocation to meet each agency need? Or would each agency be forced to combine their projected "benefits needs" with their annual budget submissions, as is the current process, and have these requests dependant on discretionary Congressional allocations? Could benefits be cut when other needs seem paramount? Could the cost of administering benefits rise and fall with the fire budget as they do now? Remember there will always be priorities.

    If the "benefits allocations" were delegated and budgeted at the lower levels -- let's use a forest as an example -- I fear those allocations could be added to the current "hide the pea under the shell", "read some tea leaves", and "toss the chicken bones" methods used to establish the existing, grossly inflated cost pools. I'm not an expert on cost pools, but I do know they are deceptively labeled as "indirect costs" and the money that's raked off into them are directly removed from fire budget before it reaches the ground. Could these theoretical administrative burdens further bloat cost pools in your agency in ways that don't need to be accounted for? If they did, might your field managers eventually be forced to reduce fire preparedness levels as they cope with mandated benefit distributions during declining annual budgets? Alternatively, might they be forced to reduce retirement and benefits? See my first paragraph wherein I refer to already existing budget cuts.

    I realize I pose more questions here than provide answers. I don't normally fill my days looking for Jesus in stained glass windows or conspiracies in mud puddles, but I do smell something stinky in the wind. As an attempt to provide alternatives to these smelly issues, I offer the following:

    Leave the civil service retirement alone. As far as I know, and I know many retirees, it is working very well. Change for change sake, especially those designed to distance the President or Congress from their duties and obligations are unwarranted and undesirable.

    Don't add another responsibility, that could be used to manipulate cost pools, to the fire and aviation management agencies. Instead, take the cost pool burdens off the shoulders of local agencies and put them at a national level. Figure out what is reasonable and fix the amount so we can plan the rest of our budget. As they currently exist, they are unfair, inequitable, and indefensible as they lay waste to MEL funding -- the same MEL funding targeted to reach the ground and provide for an increase in our suppression preparedness levels. Not that laws or mandates appear to mean anything tangible from one President or Congress to the next, or even to themselves at times.

Ramble

02/08 AB,

Southern California Fire Weather Forecast:

***For Saturday and Sunday: Near record warm temperatures, Humidities near or below 10%. Santa Ana Winds, with possible Red Flag conditions.*** (from CWCG-Fire Weather)

The Forecast for Saturday...
Sunny. Hot and dry. Highs in the 80s to low 90s in the coastal basin, 70s mountains and northern deserts, and 80s in the southern and eastern deserts. Local northeast winds 20 to 30 mph and gusty over the mountains and in the valleys below canyons and passes. Elsewhere in the coastal basin, winds northeast 5 to 15 mph. Desert winds northeast 10 to 20 mph and  locally gusty.

The 90 day Outlook for February-April...
Temperatures: A little above normal.
Precipitation: A little below normal.

Can anyone remember a similar February in Southern California? Our live fuel  moistures are in the 50-60% range, 10 hours are at 4-9%, green grass from  November is dying off.... Offshore winds have been almost everyday....  rainfall only 30-50% of normal....

I've been with the USFS since 1984 and can't remember having to deal with the threat of fires every day like this in the winter.... Seems like the season never ended...... Looking at records from the past, it appears we are in the 1959-1960 rainfall pattern..... Anyone have some fire history info from the 1960 fire season to share?

www.fs.fed.us/r5/fire/south/fwx/drought.shtml 
www.fs.fed.us/land/wfas/fd_class.gif

SoCalCapt
02/08 Ab: I think there was a shot crew at Chilao Flats in the Angeles. If that is the correct one, I believe they were shut down in 70's.
j

Thanks j. Ab.

02/08 Lo ab,

Sky

I have had the same pair of Nicks custom made boots for years now, They get little use as the pair of Drews I have are more comfortable. I use to wear a steel toe till I got it too hot and burned the rat hell out of my big toe.

Whatever you buy, buy a good boot that can be rebuilt. make sure it has a vibram sole, as a lot of rubber will melt and mushroom out - picking up every little bit of forest litter you step on.

look into Nicks, Drews, Whites, Danner, Cheppewa, they all make good boots.
( I have a new pair of Nicks for sale) lol

eric PW
Later AB - thanks for this forum
02/08 The Holy Fire on CNF last month was named after the drainage it was in Holy
Jim Canyon, a tributary of the main Trabuco Canyon.

To The R-6 Dog
leadership is one of those things like art, I don't know how to describe it
but when I see it I know it. Mostly I appreciate leaders that are willing
to do what they ask of their troops. And I much prefer a leader that leads
by example. And if you remember the stuff that came out in the human
factors workshop after South Canyon, remember the paper by Karl Weick where
he described the qualities of wisdom. One of the most important being that
to know a subject is to appreciate how much you don't know. And yet there
must be quiet self confidence. I'm not sure Eisenhower was right, I don't
know if leaders are made or born. I'm not sure anyone has ever figured out
how to teach someone to be a leader.

Captain 1835
02/08 Hi all...

I was wondering about something since the hiring frenzy is on.... actually this has to do with the Pack Test, which follows the hiring. I understand that it was developed by B. Sharkey, Ph.D. The FS adopted the Pack Test as its standardized WCT. Okay, well... I understand that this test was developed in 1997, piloted in 1998, someone died while taking it and the Pack Test was halted for a little while, then reintroduced-unchanged. People continued to take this WCT, some passed with ease and some just passed, some were injured while taking it and therefore failed, some attempted it and quit because it was too strenuous, therefore they failed as well. Then there are those that took it and died, they failed too, huh?

Now there is a fella with a Ph.D last name Jones, who publishes articles supporting the Pack Test. Does anyone realize that this person is an internal affairs type of person? He is a professional court testifier, with WFF experience. There's actually a web site, marketing his specialty, but you'll have to find it yourself, just look for published materials about the Pack Test, believe you me, there is not much. What there is, is at least a couple of years old. You'll see his name, along with Mr. Sharkey (who, I think has retired now, although I could be wrong). Well sorry about that, I just get squicked when I find someone that sells their expert opinions to the courts, especially when the opinions that one sells is related to others' physical well being. 

As WCT Pack Test administrators, do you folks know that there was to be a follow up on the negative aspects of the Pack Test? As far as I know, it was never done, or if it was, the results were not made available. Also, according to the Wildland Firefighter Health and Safety report of Spring 2000, the safety committee said it was going to monitor safety and health issues of wildland firefighters and publish its findings in this publication, which is a twice a year publication. Mr. Sharkey made this statement in this publication. (He's also the chair of the safety committee.)

Well folks, I'm here to tell ya' that I've been following up on the issue. I would hope that others can see where I'm headin' here, and think about it, not just jump up and say, get off the couch and put the potato chips down. Since Spring 2000, there has been no follow up or wildland firefighter health and safety reports published. If there has been, then where are they and why can't we all see them? Also, a pilot thingy was supposed to be implemented in reference to medical standards (a fit to work thing which also has to do with one's ability to even take the Pack Test) in 2001. Was this completed? If so, its findings were to be published as well. Are they and I just can't find them? Am I gonna be told that the NFPA standards for Structure Firefighters is the same as for Wildland Firefighters? Hmmm... somethin's a smellin' mighty fishy there. 

So, now that I have spilled over here, do people that administer the Pack Test honestly feel comfortable with administering it, when the promised and required follow ups and medical standards are not done? I really hope I'm not the only one. Hope this isn't one of those "if ya' don't talk about it, then it didn't happen kinda things either, because there are those of us out here that watch and wait, then we talk about it because it didn't happen. Just a wonderin' and watchin' out for my brothers and sisters out there.

Take care and be good to yourselves,
Safety Monitor.

02/07 I have a silly but need-to-ask question.
BOOTS...what type should I get for my first pair???

I got info on Whites & Nicks boots but just can't see forking out $400.00 my first season in. I found a pair of Logger Chippewa's that I like.

What about steel toe? Do I want or not want this?

What do you guys think?

Skyeblue

Quill asked the same question fairly recently, maybe 2-3 months ago. Search on "Quill" or on "boots" and I'll bet you can find a lot of info from the archives. Of course, people may love to tell you their favorites and favorite horror stories all over again... Ab.

02/07 This Ab is still working on revamping the photos and photo description pages. 

On  the Logo4  photo page, there are two historical logos of the Chilao IHC, from CA. I can't find a listing of Chilao anywhere on the national hotshot pages. Is our information incorrect, or is the CA hotshot list incomplete?

Also, does anyone know why the California hotshots page is unreadable? Is this an intentional putdown or just poor construction? www.umt.edu/globalfirenet/californ.php Compare it to the list for any other region...

Ab. 

02/07 Hi Ab's and Everyone,

There has been alot of talk about the DOI and their internet problems and alot of question as to when the issues will be resolved and the "net" will be back up and running. I am sure that most are aware that Secretary Norton was ordered to shut down the internet due to problems that arose when her Trust Management responsibilities of Native American Tribes and their Monies were being infiltrated on the web and caused a whole heap of problems. Obviously, the shut down has created a set of whole new problems and frustration abroad and until Norton can resolve certain issue don't look ahead to any "quick fix". Daily posting of court hearing and Congress meeting regarding the DOI internet fiasco can be seen at www.indianz.com, they get headlines from papers and sources nation wide and compile them together for everyone's convenience. Also you can see how Secretary Norton's days are spent, being questioned about DOI issues by judges, senators, and representatives.


Thanks,
NativeFlames, a DOI Employee & "Fire-Putter-Outter"
02/07 Everyone who is sending in the Ted Putnam article that has been floating around on the Forest Service intranet, please stop. Since Ted no longer works for the Forest Service, the article is not public domain. We cannot post it here without Ted's permission and the permission of whomever else might have published it.

Ted-- If you're reading and you want us to make your article available, please send in permission . It would also be good to know when it was written and if you're willing to engage in discussion, ie, in providing particulars to back up your comments.

Ab.

02/07 Thank you ons!, Mellie, Pulaski, Sven and EH for your info on alcohol in the bunkhouse.

There seem to be differences in the rules and what is practiced from place to place. I guess I've always tried to think of the consequences of drinking at a particular time. Being hung over is pretty gross. I can't imagine fighting fire that way. Common sense.

Mellie, what is this about getting tipped over while in a blue room? I was never warned about that. Ugh, would be worse than being hung over.

RB

02/07 Herr Warden-

I just wanted to say hello to a fellow WA DNR person. I was with them for 5 years before moving to the federal side of the fire game. Im not sure what your experience was with them, but I am sure happy to be out of that organization.

Good Luck!
WaFireGuy
02/06 Just got off the phone with an FMO in R6 that was very frustrated by the whole hiring process. I was at or near the top of the cert and could not be reached (read MEA... age 37). My fire experience is with the WA DNR, hence I'm not reachable, as my state fire position does not qualify under OPM rules.

Does anyone have advise or knowledge of how I might be able to roll my state retirement into a federal fire retirement system and be able to compete for a federal primary fire position. It is very frustrating that my state fire position does not seem to be recognized by OPM, but is thought of as desirable experience by federal fire folks.

Frustrated but still charging... thanks for any help on this matter and thanks for the great forum.

Herr Warden
02/06 Ab-

We all know DOI website snafu is causing lots of
problems. But for those of us who do not live out
West, or aren't government employees, getting
information is almost impossible. I can't find the
schedules of fire classes to better my career, and
further, when I visited the actual Dept. of Interior
in D.C. (where I'm from), I couldn't make any headway
whatsoever in terms of a job with the N.P.S.

Amazingly the FS, for all its problems, has the
easiest, most direct link to information (your site
excepted). This situation has moved beyond mere
annoyance into a handicap.

Thanks for letting me sound off,

10k

This is frustrating and debilitating for all of us who rely on the web for fire information, training information, jobs, etc. It's played hell with our links page which has almost as many inactive links right now as functional ones. Well, I'm exaggerating a bit. I hope the security issues get resolved soon and the DOI sites get up and running. 

I ran into a NPS friend the other day. She likened it to having to function with a bag over your head in a world that requires face-to-face contact. So how much big money is getting thrown down the toilet with DOI being offline?
Ab.

02/06 Ab,

Any fire employers that are looking for experienced, well trained, ambitious firefighters for the upcoming season should contact me if they would like their job postings to be included in our weekly fire job announcements to our members.

We have also trained up a whole new crop of recruits with one to three years of experience that are itching to see more action and gain the valuable experience that comes with it.

I have had over 80 requests so far this year by members for job opportunities outside the state of MN...which is remarkable since fire season is still several months away. The MN fire academy was overloaded with applicants who were mostly firefighters with a few years experience that were willing to pay for the classes they needed rather than wait for the state to pay for them.

This is only the second year of this academy and the fact that there was simply not enough classrooms available made for some interesting logistical problems. My hat is off to the administrators and facilitators for not turning firefighters away even though it made their job much more difficult.

Most of MN firefighters have practical experience in engines especially slip in 3/4 and 1 ton units and 3 ton interface engines. We also have folks with tanker and helitack experience as well as dispatch. Some of the requests are from forestry techs looking for better opportunities than the MN DNR currently offers and have experience in "overhead" positions. We also have quite a few experienced sawyers and dozer operators.

If you wish to post your job announcement on our weekly email list please contact me at:
linscott@rea-alp.com

Dana Linscott
VC MWFA

02/06 This is about drinking in the bunkhouse sure it say's in any sop that you can't have beer or any such thing in the bunkhouse how ever let's get real here if you tell some one they can't have beer in the bunkhouse i can bet a full fire pay check that you will find beer there if you don't think so get a clue what would you rather have people getting dui's driving back to the bunkhouse all f***ed up or them getting hammered in the bunkhouse as long as people are fit for work let them do what they want if you want to control them like little kids pay them 24/7

EH

02/06 AL,

The fire on the Cleveland was named "Holy" because it started in Holy Jim Canyon. I used to work on the Cleveland awhile back and remember hearing a weird story of why it was named Holy Jim Canyon. Can't remember the story now... must be alzheimers or something. Can anyone on the Trabuco refresh my memory?

SoCalCapt

02/06 Can anyone tell me about a helitack crew called the Siskiyou SmokeSliders? Is it a Contract or Government Crew, what state and what Forest/District is it located on, and is it still in existence?

MOC4546

02/05 The Jobs Page, Series 0462, and 0455 are updated. Outreach for a hotshot assistant sup. Ab.
02/05 Tiny the R-6 Fire Dog:

Looking for good leadership qualities? First be a good follower, kind of what WaFireGuy said. A couple of good quotes included in the Fireline Leadership course put on for the SJ's and IHC's by MCS the last couple of years might be appropriate.

"The one quality that can develop by studious reflection and practice is leadership." Dwight D. Eisenhower.

"He who is to be a good ruler must first have been ruled." Aristotle.

Look on Firescribe's post of 1/27 and read about the Pheonix Fire Dept. Chief, he sounds like somebody who has it going on.

Then there's Charles Blaich, a chief of the New York City Fire Department, who has said what needed to be said about lack of discipline on Sept 11. A Hero Speaks for the Ages 

All the best as you venture into the land of leadership.
Another R-6 FireDog

02/05 New post up on FamilySaid. Ab.
02/05 The latest guess I've heard on the DOI sites coming
back up is at LEAST six more months...this from a guy
who'se pretty connected with some DOI folks in
Wyoming. They're all pulling their hair out, of
course, but until the DOI can persuade the judges
involved in the Norton fiasco that their websites,
etc. are secure, these poor guys aren't even allowed
to send e-mail to each other.

Keep your fingers crossed and hope I'm wrong!

Kibby
02/05 R-6 Fire Dog-
Just a couple suggestions for you. First, get as much knowledge and education about the fire service as possible. Second, work hard at being a good firefighter and the other things will fall into place. You say you would like to serve a small community, be aware that small communities can be very "old school" and set in their ways.
Good Luck
WaFireGuy
02/05 From Firescribe. Not just fed FIRE having trouble here:

Government Pay Review, Recruiting Problems Will Shake Up OPM Priorities.

"By some counts, up to 50% of the federal workforce will be eligible for early or regular retirement within 5 years. Last year the GAO found that 20 large agencies had programs at risk because of staffing shortfalls and loss of some skills."
www.washingtonpost.com
02/05 not hungover:
All I can tell you is the situation that I was in many moons ago in a barracks situation. As I recall there was not supposed to be any alcohol on the government compound. However, it was a 45+ minute drive down a windy road to get to the nearest watering hole. Our solution within our crew was that we had an old refrigerator that was in a separate storage area that we could keep alcohol in. This was locked during working hours. I believe, the reasoning that this was allowed (or ignored would probably be a better way to describe it) was that with a pile of 20+ yr olds they are going to get a brew one way or another, and it was much safer to have some up on the  hill, rather than having us drive down to "town", get tanked up and drive back (this was before having a designated driver was the thing to do, and before the drunk driving penalties were upped).

Im sure if we had had some sort of incident, the poop pile would have been flyin, but it worked because we used common sense and policed ourselves on this issue (made sure everything was picked up by daylight etc). I guess I would say to ask what the policy is, but remember the higher up the ladder you ask, the more likely you will get the "by the book reply".

pulaski

You might also check out partypit on the handcrew2 page. Now was that my party or yours, Pulaski? Clearly we weren't working. Ab.

02/05 RB or Not Hungover....

As I've read in the past (being a former barracks liver many years back) the
OPM regulations regard your living space as your residence IF you are paying
rent (quarters) and it is NOT a public contact location. Thats how they
spell it out. If you pay rent and the public doesnt have access to it... its
OK. Not really sure how other employees/guests really fit in.

ons!!!!

/Info Only/
02/05 Ab,

I was wondering if anyone who reads this could send me a list of
wild fire contractors in Montana, especially around the Billings area.
Thanks

Dy
02/05 On my forest, drinking is allowed in bunkhouses (I
hate the word barracks almost as much as Battalion
Chief!) and common/recreation rooms. Drinking is
specifically prohibited for those under 21, in the
parking lot, and in office space & engine bays.

Sven
02/05 Greetings All-

Itís been a long time. Much too long for my taste, but I have returned to my readings of the site. I must say that college life here at Washington State University sure has had me busy studying. To compare this existence to the lineÖ letís just say Iím scrubbing with a Pulaski through the duff of knowledge. Maybe Iíll even learn to write properly while Iím here.

Some of you might knowÖ othersÖ well okay... none of you know. Iíve changed ultimate career goals (as most young people do). I donít want to be the ground pounder or the engine slug or the rotor head etc etcÖ me? I like the city/county operation too much. To the point I like the idea of serving a small community as a FF. I really want to be a chief eventually. As such Iíve taken a Business Administration route. Most effective for the goal? Probably not. Best thing I can find with in-state tuition? Damn straight.

In any case, as the youngest dog (Youíll notice Iíve promoted myself from pup to dog.. haha..) headed for IC and the rest of the managerial things, I thought Iíd ask the bravest of the woodlands for some advice. Mainly I want to know what you the firefighter or medic like and dislike in a chief/officer/leader/manager/IC. Several of you work for vollie departments, others for municipal departments, still more for various state and federal agencies. The feedback (if any.. and I do expect some) I get will help both me in the future, and hopefully you as well. Iím no longer so naÔve to think I can please everyone all the time, but I would like to try to please most people all the time, and do the job well.

So, that being said, I hope you all can help me out again as I continue to press on in the fire service.

Hereís to a safe season for all of us.
Tiny, the R-6 Fire Dog

02/04 Anyone know why the 100 acre fire on the Cleveland was named the Holy?

AL

02/04 here is a good web site off the Angeles Nat'l Forest www.beardivide.4mg.com
Mads
02/04 Mellie,

A special salary rate review or request is based on the need of an agency having recruitment or retention problems. These problems are addressed in several ways: non-competitive salaries, non-favorable working conditions, harsh working environments, cooperating agencies competition, etc.. There is a whole list of factors too long to state and I don't have the form in front of me.

As for the comparison of salaries, OPM is most concerned with a comparison of the salaries of the agencies that are most affecting your recruitment and retention on a Forest. That means even though you may be a small (or large) forest somewhere, if a competing department is significantly affecting you your recruitment or retention, it should be included in your salary survey. An example would be: the Angeles National Forest (one of the special salary rate forests), does not have any CDF Ranger Units within Los Angeles County. The Angeles National Forest lost many employees to CDF as well as other cooperators. A comparison to CDF would be appropriate in this case. A mention was even made about a Forest that had lost employees to a local fast food chain because they offered a better wage after six months and benefits. They were not addressed in the salary survey, but in the comments. (This can be substantiated AND is still almost true today after the increase.)

A guess another good example would be if you worked on the Okanogan National Forest (just an example). If Seattle, Spokane, and ABC Timber Services (not a real company) created a recruitment and/or retention problem that significantly affected the organization... and their salaries or benefits were higher.... they should be used for a comparison and addressed in the narrative.

The comparison needs to be qualified with numbers of lost employees to these competing agencies. Thats where the fun comes in trying to back track and find out who left.. and why... and where..

As far as retention allowances go.... there are two categories... individual and group. Group retention allowances are the best but the hardest to obtain. From what I've been told, an agency can approve up to a 10% allowance (with documentation) and OPM can approve up to 25%. The documentation must show that a "significant" number of employees could leave for other agencies. At this time, I am not sure what a "significant" number is.

Hope that helps

SoCalCapt

02/04 Just got back from the S.O. and a session of Round 1 Fire Hire B.S. What a messed up system that only a true bureaucrat could love.

Got people on the Merit Promotion roster that are not permanent employees, People with GS-4 experience on the GS-6 roster, applicants who received word from Boise (in writing) that they rated out for a certain job/GS and don't show up on any roster on the forest. (Sorry for you non FS folks, probably dont know what I am talking about or care.)

I know it was a bit more hassle to hire folks the old fashion way, ie. advertise a position and ask for applicants, but at least we got people who actually wanted the job that was advertised and not ones who are just fishing for a better offer.

Yes, I responded to the questionnaire about how to improve the system after last years hiring frenzy, so don't lecture me on putting in my input to the poor overworked Boise personnel folks who came up with this lame excuse for a way to build a "professional fire organization". HA, HA, as Ab would say.

Thank God we only had one position to fill this time. Sorry to you poor AFMOs who have to hire 5-6 or more on your districts.

I am done ranting for now thanks for being there, the snow can go away now so I can get out of the office.

Backburnfs

02/04 Thanks for the great perspective and the information, olddog. Your kind of message is one of the great things about this forum. I love the stories... So, are we a bit like the crawfish in the pot of water that has been slowly warming to a boil,  enjoying the sherry (or beer) around us as we turn pink?

RB, I bet you've been hung over at some time or other! You ever been in one o' them firecamp blue rooms when it's been tipped over? All kidding aside, I know of one ranger district that allows drinking in the barracks. I don't know if that's commonplace or not across the region or the country. A Division Chief friend I asked said he'd never heard of that as a policy.

Mellie

02/04 From Firescribe:

Judge rules negligence, not recklessness likely cause of last Augustís Gap Fire

What does it mean when the forest says "no campfires"? Ab.

02/04 Has anyone else out there had problems dealing with the International
Association of Wildland Fire? I joined two years ago, but only received
one magazine. I complained, then got the last two before my membership
expired. I thought the problem had been fixed, so I signed up for another
year. I didn't receive ANY magazines for the whole year. I've called,
written, etc. to no avail. I've also had problems getting into their
website (has anyone else had "Adult City" pop up after typing in
www.iawf.org?????). Does the IAWF still exist? If so, what's the problem?

PD
02/03 olddog,

Thanks for the comments, I don't feel beat down at all. I need to clear one thing up though. When I made the comment about New York and Southern Calif., I wasn't talking about SoCal. Federal Firefighters, I was referring to LA County and LA City.

R6FF, like Mellie has stated, if you don't accept a job in the first round of hiring, you need to call Boise and tell them to keep your application active. If you feel you're not getting the answer here, call Boise and ask them. Hope this helps you out.

An-R5er
02/03 Hi, I hope I'm sending this right.

Last summer was my first summer fighting fires. I just found your site and have been reading past messages. This is cool.

I have a question. In my ROP class last year I thought they said no alcohol would be allowed in FS barracks. So when I got the job I thought none would be permitted..... But, those who were 21 were allowed to have alcohol in the barracks. I was wondering if alcohol is allowed other places? Nobody drank going off to fires as far as I know, but some people did drink at night pretty often.

Not hungover

Hi, RB. Next time just use your initials, OK? Someone just wrote in and asked if your post is a red herring.
Nope, I can tell you readers, this is a legit post. RB is a young firefighter with a real question. Ab.

02/03 Doesnt seem like the DOI sites are up yet, but I discovered that the old
photo gallery is up and vastly improved! Looks like it is not on a govt
server so I suppose that is why its working.

http://142.163.108.157/nifc/index.phpl 

For the person looking for felling photos for a S-212 ppt, there are some good ones here.

Pulaski

If you get an error 500 message, you have "cookies disabled" on your browser.

Some really nice photos here. To download them, just right mouse click and "save image as". The other route they provide gets you a zip file which you then have to unzip. Zip might be useful if you have a really slow connection, otherwise it's just a pain.

<heh><heh> To you Pulaski! Thanks for the information. Ab.

02/03 Some comments on Mellie's questions of GS rates and An-R5er's response.

Remember that the organization in the BLM, FS, F&WS, and PS is undergoing an evolution. I speak mainly from a Forest Service perspective (30 years and 4 regions).

Not too long ago most firefighting on federal wildland crews was done by short term seasonal employees, many college students, as well as others out for the excitement. Many of these folks did other things, such as thinning, tree planting, recreation management and maintenance, timber sales, wildlife projects, well you get the idea. (Hence the Forestry/Range Technician series assignments some rail against, protection from fire was just one of the forest/range protection/management duties expected). Most of these folks paid their way through college, or had some adventure, then went on and got "real jobs", with advancement, health insurance, retirement, etc.

A lot of the supervisory positions were seasonal, temporary. When I was on an IR crew in the '70's, we didn't have a "Superintendent", we had a Foreman and he was a GS-6 on a 180-day appointment, as were the rest of us. He had 10-12 years (seasons) experience firefighthing. Tanker foremen (engines) were usually GS-5's, as were BD crew, suppression crew, timber crew, silviculture crew, recreation crew, stand exam crew, etc. Some place's and crews had GS-7 WAE (now called PSE) positions as overhead. Not sure when R5 started having permanent 6 and 7 foremen and station foremen, but that is the first place I encountered them, other regions are just now catching up, as R5 moves to GS-8 positions. For those wanting to make a career out of wildland firefighting, moving from a basic pulaski motor position to one of these perm jobs was essential. Being a pulaski motor, hose humper or nozzle jockey was not a career, it was a way to work up, or just make some money (when I was a GS-3 temporary, I thought I was making big bucks, and was compared to washing dishes or pumping gas, or even surveying, my other choices). If time to support a family came, and you hadn't acquired one of those rare perm jobs, you went and got a "real job", that usually sucked in comparison to firefighting. But I tell a story most of you have lived and know all too well. At the time I was a GS-5 and 7 permanent, I thought that was a living wage, and in fact lived on it, as did many others. Overtime and hazard pay were a big part of that. Not sure if I could have made it on straight pay, but at time I worked, had fun, drank beer, and didn't worry too much about it.

Times have changed. Colleges have switched from late quarters to early semesters, making it much harder to hire students and keep 'em when you need them (Aug for example). Fewer folks study Natural Resources and look for experience during the summer any more. The work has changed in these agencies, all those crews I listed are gone for the most part, and with them the backbone of fire suppression on a lot of FS districts. ( the joke on many was if you want fire overtime, forget the fire crew, get on the timber crew, who often relieved the fire crew for extended attack/mopup and went off district, releasing the fire crew to ready for IA on the district, IA that at times never came). Increases in basic training requirements (not just in fire) led to increase in investment in individuals, and budgets go up and go down, so who can plan? We went from nothing (exaggeration) to MEL to -20% in three years. So while upgrades in GS levels are fine and slowly moving forward, they often run up against budget realities and history.

So things in the last few years have gotten a lot better, more permanent jobs at higher rates. CDF changed radically in wages, I can remember when working for the FS paid better than CDF. CDFEA went to work and changed that. I now recommend that people who want to fight wildland fire for a living try to get on with CDFand F, better pay, better retirement, same bureaucratic horsesh*t, different color uniforms, more action in most cases. But except for isolated urban forest stations, comparing CDF and F jobs to FS or BLM jobs is a little tough. Some of those FS Captains, in urban areas, not only should be 8's, but with the urban interface and fuel complexity, as well as supervision, could be 9's, if the PD supported it. Course that would mean AFMO's (sorry Batt Chiefs, sigh for an outfit that loves to slam CDF, we seem to wanna be just like 'em a lot), being upgraded to 10's, hmmmm. Engine foremen in Northern Idaho may not be 8's, may be properly graded at the 7 level. Different job than So Cal with a lot in common, but not the same. If they get 8's more power to 'em. Likewise, An-R5er, comparing wage rates of a New York City Firefighter to a wildland firefighter in the west, particularly a Federal Govt, with little improvement protection responsibility, may not be real valid either. Well this is long comment to a simple question, but unfortunately it is complex and not answered simply.

My final point to An-R5'er, it is not a conspiracy to beat you down, you are just fighting some history, budget realities and tradition. As you suggest, I would look into joining associations (i.e. unions) and going to work. Don't whine and complain, but show inequities, and be politely persistent. You may find some old farts in Mgt. a lot more sympathetic than politics allow to show.

good luck, and Safety first last and always.

olddog

02/03 Some answers:

R6FF, last year you could call ASAP Boise and get them to retain you in their database. I believe the same is true this year. 877-813-3476 Monday thru Friday during office hrs Mountain Time.

AZ FF, here's a link to GS (General Schedule) ratings for Series 462.   www.opm.gov/qualifications/SEC-IV/A/GS-TECH.php
It's a starting place at best. Also, there is usually some description like this toward the end of most USA/OPM job listings. Hope this helps. Others reading here may have a gut feeling about what grade you might be in.

An-R5er, I find that I am often "surprised again" at things that don't seem fair, such as low federal wildland firefighter pay. I had rewritten my last post to make it shorter and the "again" got left out. If you'd been reading here as long as I've been writing, you'd know that I have been one of the ones who has said before that recruitment, retention and pay are serious  issues. What stimulated my new surprise is this. When I was cutting and pasting the Series 462 and 455 as I do for the Abs every Tues and Friday, I decided to look into what fire jobs there really were. Then I looked at grade (GS or General Schedule rating), and then I looked at money. And then I thought of friends who have given their whole careers to this agency and our country, but have trouble helping out their aging mom on what they make -- unless they make money during fire season. I thought of the friends nearing retirement who have not been able to afford buying their own home. I thought of friends whose spouses left them because they wouldn't leave fed fire to get a "regular job" with a living wage. So yeah, at the level I was scrutinizing, I was really surprised -- AGAIN. I hope I never loose the ability to be surprised. 

Answers to some other old questions:

  • BLM FEO, there is no delay in hiring for Round 1. The MEL Madness Schedule for hiring is still correct.
  • For those who are applying in Round 2, the deadline is March 1. If you haven't already, call ASAP (877-813-3476) and ask for the entire packet for the position you're interested in. Tell them whether your job is temp or a permanent demo (or merit). If your packet doesn't come in a week, call again and keep calling. The instructions for Form C differ, depending on whether temp or permanent.
  • Pappy, I also heard that the self-evaluation Form C is easy to manipulate especially for the permanent demo positions. Because of the problems inherent in the automated system (Form C), our local forest is screening all the applications that come in (over 1000!?) to make sure people are as good as they say they are.

    For those who don't know, Demo positions are not tied to time and grade (GS) requirements. You don't have to work your way up over time within the system to apply. Demo positions can be filled with people hired "off the street" so to speak and I think vets get first preference. This is in contrast to Merit.
Mellie
02/03 Hey AZ FF,

The thing I tell Non-Fed folks who are curious where they fit is to throw
out a few apps just to see how personnel rates them. It will most likely be
different depending on agency and personnel departments but at least it will
give you an idea where to focus or how to word your app. Once you get a
notice of how you rated, you can always call that personnel department to
ask what things they looked at. I'm sure there are some other folks that may
have some other ideas on how to go about it but thats my two bits.

Cali Carp&Coot Guy
02/03 Ok, I have gotten two different responses from my question, which one is correct?  

Do I or do I not have to send in an new application to Boise for each round of the ASAP process for Perm. and Temp. positions? Any info would be helpful. 

Also how is the DOI getting their job announcements out to the public , besides some that I have seen here, and where can I find them?

Abs just wanted to say. This web site has been the most informative and interesting web site I have found and I would be lost without it. I ,and I'm sure many others, appreciate all the hard work you guy's and gal's put into it. Keep it up.

P.S. Go Patriots. Gotta love an underdog
R6FF

Thanks R6FF. Ab.

02/03 I wanted to ask a question in regards to where I might fit into the GS
rankings for federal work. I have been a full time structural firefighter
in Az. for 6 1/2 years. I also work part time for a private department
contracting for Az. State Land to do wildland fires in AZ. I am FF Type 2
qualified, and will soon be completing S-131, S-205, S-270, S-230/231 and
S-200. I am also an EMT-B, and a haz. mat. technician. I have done one
season, partime, doing primarily light to medium fuel fires. No timber. I
worked approx. 10-20 hours extra per week.

Would I fit in requests as GS-4? GS-5? GS-6? Any help would be much
appreciated.

AZ. FF
02/02 Ab, I was just thinkin that as I read john Mac's post. I dont have any info on that incident except having visited the site many moons ago. Somebody did say they had some documentation on it and would send it it, but i havent seen anything ...yet.

John Mac, Looking forward to your new book. Have always appreciated both you and your dad's work.

pulaski
02/02 AB-
Any word on the DOI pages yet? It is getting really annoying at this point.

WaFireGuy

I haven't heard any predictions. Readers? Ab.
02/02 Hello All,

Would like your assistance in spreading the word about an opportunity for a helibase manager detail. We are looking for a helibase manager to manage our exclusive use ship from early June 2002 through the middle of September 2002. We average over 100 fires per season and are a good bunch to work with. We are located in Southeastern Montana in the heart of fire country.  Interested persons should contact me at (406) 477-8264.

SE MT FMO
02/02 R6FF,

No, you do not have to turn in another application for the each round of hiring. If you don't accept a job in the first round, you need to call Boise and tell them to keep your application active.

If I were you I would take any perm. position that is offered to you. You can always return to the Forest you desire next summer by merit promotion. The decision has to be up to you. If you are  that confident you are going to get one of the perm. positions next year, then stay where you are. But keep this in the back of your mind: what is going to happen if they don't have any perm. positions next year?

You have to look at the big picture, do I take a job on another Forest or do I take the chance and wait it out for next year?

To be honest with you, we don't know what next year is going to bring. With the war going on and all that money being dropped out of the sky, whose budget do you think will be cut when the President ask for more money.

Good luck,
R-5 recruiter for fire
02/02 I appreciate the interest in my work and can confirm that I currently am finishing a book of fire stories including one about the Rattlesnake Fire of July 9, 1953. I hope, and so does my publisher, that the manuscript will be finished by summer of this year and the book published in the spring of 2003.

Additionally, the History Channel is working on a two-hour documentary based on Fire on the Mountain. While the documentary's main focus is the South Canyon Fire of 1994, it also portrays the Mann Gulch Fire of 1949. The piece is tentatively scheduled for showing in October; presuming on the interest expressed, I'll send a posting to this site once a date is certain. A lot of work has gone into the documentary both by the HC and by many survivors and others who decided to make this their last, best video effort for the South Canyon Fire. The initial rough cuts -- four of eight have been done -- look pretty good to me, but I'm involved and do not claim to have an altogether objective outlook. I can say that everyone involved has tried to deal respectfully with the material.

Sincerely,
John N. Maclean
02/01 R6FF,
Yes, for each round, you have to apply separately.

So, two applications - one demo and one temp. I would encourage you to apply for rounds 1-4.
MGM
02/01 Did you all hear John M<snip> is researching and planning a book on the Rattlesnake Fire (1953) that killed 11 on the MNF?? Keep in touch with your local bookstore.

GP

I have it from a good informant that the Rattlesnake Fire resulted in 15, not 11, fatalities, a total not equaled or exceeded since then.  This was the fire we were all talking about here January a year ago. Hey Pulaski, Mellie and others, remember? Pulaski, didn't you or someone say that an eager person on the forest threw out most of the records in a house cleaning? And JW had some info and was going to gather up some map materials and such. Try our wildlandfire search page, keyword rattlesnake. The archive will come up and then search within the page (control and f button together) for rattlesnake.
Ab.

02/01 Can anyone answer a question about perm. positions and the ASAP process?

First round for Perm is here. Do I have to put in another application
for each round if I do not get picked up in the first round?
Here is another question? If I get picked up for a perm. position (
which will most likely be in another state than the one I live in ) does
my temporary seasonal application get pulled from the seasonal's hiring
round? I'm only asking because the Forest and district I would like to
work in is hiring for Perm. positions next year and have seasonal
positions available. If I get hired on as a Temp with them then I feel
my odds of getting a perm. position is very good or better. Then on the
other hand I do not want to turn something down and miss out on fire
season. I know I'll get picked up it is just a matter of where. Guess I
can't have my cake and eat it to huh?

R6FF
02/01 Mellie,

How is it a surprise that we make so much less then everyone else? Since
I've started reading this forum this very subjected has come up several
different times.

I would guess that the difference in pay from region to region is the cost of
living. I make this guess by seeing the difference in pay between Southern
Calif. Firefighters and say New York City Firefighters, wouldn't you think
they would make about the same amount of pay? I don't have the exact numbers
but I know they don't, if anybody has the numbers please chime in and let
everybody know.

I see changes happening with the agency, like pay and the issue of portal to
portal, I just got an extra 2000 a year from the raise we just got. I made
up my mind several years ago to stay with the agency instead of leaving for
greener pastures, I made this decision thinking someday we can all make a
difference in how things are run and this very issue of pay.

There is an organization that has it's logo in the top left hand corner of
this page that everybody can join and make this an issue instead of a
conversation. Think of this, if everybody who reads this forum joined that
organization, how loud would our voice be with Congress when it comes to
introducing new bills concerning Wildland firefighters.

HMMM.

An-R5er
02/01 FWFSA - Southern California ....

Wildland firefighters that worked on assignment at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon Disasters did not receive true overtime for those assignments. When our Incident Management Team arrived on assignment at the World Trade Center, we were told that we would not get true overtime for the incident because of the nature of the assignment, and to my knowledge that didn't change. Had it been a wildland fire, true overtime would be paid, but not on this type of incident. I believe that overtime in relation to earthquakes, hurricanes, etc. may also fall in this category.

Overtime was the very last thing on my mind on this assignment, however, I can see what you are saying about how the laws are interpreted. Thanks still goes out in a big way to the FWFSA and all of the others that went to D.C. and spoke before OPM Directors and Congress to change the
legislation from what it was previously.

Type 1 Team Member

02/01 Hi Everyone,

I was checking out the series 462 last night to see if there were any patterns in where the fire jobs are, what they are, and if they differ much from area to area by grade and pay. Made this table:  FS FIRE JOBS. I included position, state, GS level and salary. There are many fewer jobs being advertised than I thought. This doesn't count the nationwide job offerings for "Forestry Aids and Techs" and for "Heavy Engine Module Leaders".

What I found was that most openings are in the west. Not surprising. Seems salaries are pretty consistent across states.

I was really surprised at how little wildland firefighters make (except maybe for the higher GS levels, above GS-9). How can families survive? I know many families count on more money coming in during fire season when OT and hazard pay kick in, but these salaries plus fire pay are still not competitive. IMO, firefighters should receive a higher wage based on their training, their duties and responsibilities, the complexity of their jobs and the number of people they supervise. How can we retain experienced supervisors when they can make more elsewhere? Money managers (OPM? who?) should figure in the cost of training new people when we loose trained ones to state and city positions.

OK, so there's been a recent attempt to rectify salary inequities and improve FS firefighter retention in SoCal by increasing pay. Good idea. Weren't increases based on what ff make working for other agencies in that same area? As I understand it, the pay increase in CA resulted from a wage survey. Are such surveys being done in NorCal and across the US? They should be. We need to retain our trained folks wherever they work.

One question, though. If the increase in fire wages in a particular place are tied to what firefighters in other local agencies make, who is the comparison group for those living in the mountains with no city or state firefighters nearby? Do they loose out? They may be the only fire department, medical aid provider, etc for miles around. What happens to the forests when the remote firefighters gravitate toward more urban areas so as to make ends meet financially? I hope there are incentives for some folks stay in my neck of the woods.

Anyone know what's the story on salaries of those lower on the GS scale: the engineers, assistant engineers, foremen, captains, drivers?

What are people hearing about retention allowances? That a solution?

Well, enough of my musings and questions. Am I seeing the larger picture? Fill me in please if you have information. I'm trying to understand all this.

On a lighter note, look on that table at all the different kinds of FMOs there are who need hiring!!! That doesn't even include Regional FMO and Forest FMO. None of those were listed. Thank gawd, Ray didn't retire when I wasn't looking!!

Also, check out how many dispatchers we need! I'm a fan of the fire dispatcher. Have you ever seen what those guys and gals do with maps and magnets and phones and computers and software??? My heroes! They're some of the most important people influencing IA success. Critical micro managers and phone jugglers. It's a no-brainer that fires aren't picked up if the right resources aren't dispatched fast...

I hope everyone has a good weekend.
Mellie

02/01 Hello, I am currently planning the 40th year reunion for the
Winema/Prospect Hotshots, and the Rogue River Roughriders. We have an
event scheduled for April 20th of this year and was wondering if we could
get a notice posted here for users of your website that may be past
crewmembers, or know of someone who was? I will attach the initial
announcement, and hope that you may be able to help us in some way.

Thanks for the help in advance.
-Neil

Sure can. Readers, here's the message: Winema Shot Reunion Ab.
02/01 Lo AB,
I have been reading about training, and inaccessibility.

A friend of mine that teaches Wildfire at a local college (and works engines for the feds in the summer) Is interested in teaching online wildfire courses. He has already approached the College and said they will sponsor it if there is enough demand.

Anyone have input on this? I thought it would be a great idea for some of the courses, others you need to be in the field to learn correctly.

Thats all i have,
Be safe.
eric PW
02/01 Hello everyone! As you may have heard, Long Term Care Insurance will
soon be offered to all federal employees. There is going to be an early
enrollment period from March 25th - May 15th, 2002 for individuals
knowledgeable on this type of insurance. For those of you who want to
take the wait and see approach, educational materials will be provided
prior to the regular enrollment period from July 1st - December 31st. In
order to keep you well informed, I have attached two links. This first
one will take you to the OPM website devoted to Long Term Insurance
information - www.opm.gov/insure/ltc/index.php. This second link will
take you to an article from Stephen Barr's column in the Washington Post -
www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A51951-2002Jan15.phpl.

Karen Ruklic
Human Resources Assistant
kruklic@fs.fed.us
02/01 Dear Ab,

I just found your site today - I feel way behind the times!

Is this the method to post a message on the "They Said" page? Also, I would
like to submit our agency logo to the gallery. It is attached as a .jpg and
a .gif, whichever you choose.

I do have a question I would like posted - does anyone know some good
sources online to obtain fire graphics, both general and pertaining to the
wildland/urban interface. I am trying to design a new logo for a project,
and searching for new ideas.

You can call me CaptFire - Thanks

Welcome, CaptFire. Yep, this is the way to post. I posted your WV DOF logo on the Logo5 page. Ab.

 
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