April, 2002


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04/30 sounds like several fires in sw:
the Ryan fire, the reeves fire, the penasco fire, plus at least 1 more fire.

two type 1 teams ordered -- Bates and Humphrey ....

we're off to the races folks

04/30 Jobs page, Wildland Firefighter Job Series 0462 and 0455 Pages are updated. Ab.
04/30 Tucker

Don't feel so bad about not being hired right away. I'm going to be a
rif'd (fired due to down sizing) fed employee and I can't get hired either.
You should try looking at State level firefighting. Try all the west coast
states and start submitting applications. Don't loose hope! Try and get your
red card if you can. Keep your head up!


If you go to the Links Page, then to State Agency, you can work your way through state fire employment. Ab.

04/30 ryan fire

100 structures threatened its moving sounds like another ripper


04/30 Has anybody heard about the new product expected out sometime this year from
the pharmaceutical companies? It should have a tremendous impact on the
wildland fire community. Its called Eegonot. Manufacturers claim that when
taken prior to assignment to an incident it will render invisible any agency
patch and deflate, in the early stages, any agency chest puffing providing
for a truly unified non-judgmental team effort. No longer should we hear
"Thats not the way "WE" do it". Instead all parties will work together to
do what ever is most safe and effective to control the incident. Not only
does this product affect the user, but it has a cascade effect between the
user and anyone that comes in verbal contact with the user by modifying
physiological attitudes that provide for recognition of the fact that
everyone has an important role to play, from initial attack forces right on
down to the guy that cleans the porta potties. This product also allows the
user to understand that each suppression unit is made up of a team of
individuals and consequently each unit is somewhat unique. Meaning that even
with units of the same type, regardless of the agency, they are not all the
same. Some are great, some are not so great and as always a few are
pathetic, it just depends on the individuals that make up that unit and a
multitude of other factors.
--dingdingdingdingding---dingdingdingding---dingdingdingding ...wha???shi...,
my alarm...I musta been dreamin.

04/30 Tucker,

There Is Nothing Wrong With Working For A Contractor. Just Watch Out Who You Work For. Though Most Are Good, There Are A Few Out there That Aren't Worth the Paper Their Contract Is Written On. (The Employment Office Tried To Get Me To Work With One And I Would rather The World Burned Down Than Work For Them.) How Ever, A Couple Of Good Ones Where You're At Are <snip and forwarded> Just Because You Didn't Get With The Government This Year, Go Private, And At least You Can Get Some Experience For Next Time.

Coyote (F.S.E.)

04/30 JVH,

Your concerns about ATV helmets and fire are an issue. The National
Forests in Texas has this spring sent a request to the San Dimas Research
Center to develop an all inclusive helmet for riding and fighting fire.
Right now you have to have a ATV helmet for riding, which is hot, limits
communications and limits vision. Once off the ATV you must switch to a
hardhat that meets standards for firefighting.
We have asked them to develop a prototype helmet that will serve both
purposes - meets stds for firefighting, improves vision, communications and
vents heat buildup. Don't expect anything soon but will keep the board

04/30 JJ,

What I was trying to say about getting hired as a wildland fire fighter is that the job is much more attainable to someone trying to break into the field than becoming a structural fire fighter would be. In California, where i am from, it takes several years to become a city fire fighter. In comparison, it only takes a matter of months to get a job as a wildland fire fighter. All you need is a Red Card and a heartbeat. But getting the job and keeping it are two different matters. Wildfire is incredibly hard work- it requires dedication, tenacity, and a lot of insomnia. Working as a city fire fighter is different altogether- structure fires last hours rather than days or weeks. You work 10 days a month instead of 5+ days a week. And you make a lot more money and deal with a lot more PR issues. Yes, you have to be smart and fit and upstanding to do both jobs, but the jobs are not the same.

The way you learn how to be a wildland fire fighter is by going on fires. There is no substitute for this training. You can spend a year or two at junior college going to a structural fire fighting academy. You cannot do this for wildfire. The paradigm of wildfire suppression training has been hands on. S-130 & 190 teach the very basics of fire behavior & weather. They do not teach you how to fight fire. The only people who can teach you how to fight wildfire are your supervisors and co-workers, which typically means you learn by someone else's example.

As for the distinction between seasonal and career firefighters, well, i don't really see any appreciable one. Everyone has to be in good shape and have their act together, period. But if you want to try out wildfire for a summer you can, and you are not bound by any commitment to take the job again the following summer. This means that a certain small percentage seasonals will not be very serious about fire fighting, which is unfortunate and a pain in the ass, but nonetheless true. But again, when we're on the fireline we all breathe the same smoke, eat the same bad food, and sleep on the same hard ground- so as long as you pull your own weight and act responsibly and safely, it doesn't matter.


04/30 "Zimm" wanted info on the strategy, tactics and planning of Demob:

In my opinion, after 30+ seasons doing wildfire operations in more than 20 States, I'm convinced that a knowledgeable Demob Unit Leader is critical to maintaining morale and efficiency! among the troops on the fire! While I 'ain't one", I think that I can recognize a good one when I see one: they think way ahead, talk constantly with OPS and Plans, and apply a large dose of common sense to the process!

{I can recommend a real experienced Demob UL for Zimm......one-on-one, off the main page}


04/30 CDFMike,

Type 1 Handcrew and you like it when IHC Crew's back you up.... HAHAHA you're kidding right.

04/30 hi ab

well ive been trying my hardest to get hired on in the r-6 region (central oregon area) but it seems as though ive been passed over.. now it seems that the only option is to either go private or not go at all.. is there anybody out there who can tell me if this is a good idea.. or should i just volunteer structural this year and wait for next season?? what is the deal with marking crews.. they tell me i can work over time fires on the weekend?? whats what??

tucker (used to be in Korea.. now in the grand ole states again)
04/30 Ab,

I have a question about ATV helmets used for wildlife and prescribed fires.
What are the current USFWS regulations about them? Do they have the same standards as the Forest Service?
My concerns about regular atv helmets include:
1. heat stress due to ambient temperatures when using atv helmets while running the line;
2. lack of radio communication with full helmets;
3. possible combustion of helmet materials including the chin strap and lining;
4. lack of suitable design to allow accessories such as nomex and full face shields during extreme heat.

What do you know about this subject?

Can you email me with some suggestions that will meet NFPA standards as well as USFWS standards.
Thank you


04/29 I am looking for some information regarding the strategic & tactics & planning of demobilization or who might have that kind of info. Help is very appreciated.

Hanford Fire Department
04/29 Bustin as@ in Colo.

Pegged me right. Pat is here (duty station wise) but somewhere in MO? on
a Helitack detail. ......


Oh yeah ..Lars sezs ..???????

04/29 From Firescribe, an article on the Snaking Fire:

Park County conditions stun firefighters

04/29 MM,
It's great, you make a few phone calls, sound enthusiastic, fill out a few
applications- and bamn, you're a firefighter.

I am not a firefighter, but I've been reading this site for some while now
and I've learned there is a bit more to the business than you suggest. Why
would you want to give the wrong impression to individuals who might
consider this profession? Are seasonals less professional than career
firefighters? Is it okay to be less educated as a seasonal? Does that keep
everybody safe whether they get to the fire by dropping in or hiking?

I'm assuming you had a thought or two about mentioning being trained but you
missed putting them in your post.


04/29 Hello there

I just wanted to say what a great site. I have one question. My shoulder pad for my saw recently tore apart and I am seeking a replacement. That should be easy but I am having no luck whatsoever. If anyone could point me to a website or someone willing to sell one, I would be much obliged. You can reach me at JLB2400@hotmail.com I would really appreciate anyone who can help me.


04/29 Ab-

I don't know if this counts, 'cause its not a exclusive fire book, but
Sebastian Junger's book "Fire" is an excellent read. only the first two
chapters are about wildfires, but they are very good, if brief, descriptions
of life on the fireline. any book that includes the line that "the
government throws money at a fire until the weather changes" is pretty
dialed into to the thoughts/feelings of those who chase smokes all summer.
one chapter deals with the south canyon fire, and while i disagree with some
of the statements made, it is nonetheless a fine piece. I would give the
chapters dealing with fire 4 chainsaws. (and the rest of the book is
fantastic also).


We'll take a look. Ab.

04/29 Plethora of Book reviews:

Wildfire Loose: The Week Maine Burned
History Buffs pay attention to this one! Fact by fact recounts of fires in
southern, central, and down east Maine make this work somewhat patience
testing to read. If you are interested in the history of Maine and it's
wildland fires, this book is a great source of information. If you're
looking for entertainment...bump by. 2 saws Paddlefire

Two Man Stick
This recounting of how a young east-coast man broke into the art of flinging
oneself out of a perfectly good airplane is entertaining and informative.
Recounting early firefighting efforts, the author does a great job setting
the scene for the reader, and leading him up and down the Idaho 4 Saws
Mountains. Paddlefire

Fire Lookouts of Oregon and Washington
Well, I used this book to look into the history and information available
for the Goldbug (I think that was it, on the Willamette NF, Detriot RD)
Lookout. A small wooden Lookout with a road almost all the way to it.
Directions were good, although renovation was just beginning the summer I
visited it. This book was useful. 4 saws Paddlefire

Whew...I've read a few more, but will need to brush up on the Specifics
before I write anything. Also- Stephen Pyne's Fire's of 1910 book is not
listed. I'm almost through it, I'll put in my thoughts once I'm finished.

On another note, gearing up for the season. Running, pushups, situps,
pullups. Boy winter was tough.
Have a good season all.


Thanks from Ab, and, I'm sure, thanks from future potential readers. Go to the Book Page and from there to Reviews if you're looking for a good book. Buy 'em from Amazon and we get a small cut that helps pay the bills. Ab.

04/29 HooBoy!!

Coyote was certainly right to call Fedfire on his remark about Hotshots ("Those are inmates you know"). We who run
California's Type 1 Inmate-Firefighter Handcrews take extreme exception to being confused with Hotshots. The Shots are good, and we like to have them up on the line with us, backing us up, but what was Fedfire thinking?

CDFMike from Arroyo Grande

04/28 Fedfire,

I was just curious as to how things are panning out at your new department. I, too, made the transition from the FS to a DoD fire department and I 've been there for a year now. I think the only reason last summer was bearable was because it was pretty slow. I think that having a DoD firefighter job is a good one but it is very slow and the scenery never changes. Pay was a big reason for me leaving the FS, but I will tell you this, going to all those fires and working with some great people made for memorable times. I wonder sometimes why I even left. I know "pavement queens" serve their purpose just as all FS resources do, but trust me, once wildland gets in your blood, it stays there.

Feeling The Twitch

04/28 Fedfire--

What Did You Mean When You Said "(Those Are Inmates You Know.)"?

Who Hotshots? I Know Cali Has Type I Inmate Crew's. However I Do Believe If You're Talking Hotshot's, The Flame-N-Go Was The Only IHC In The Country. But Are Now A Type II Crew, Due To An Incident Where They Lost A Couple Of Members -- And Since They Were Inmates, Their Family's Didn't Get The Benefits That F.S. Crew's Receive.

I May Be Wrong, But I Don't Think That There Are Any More Actual Inmate IHC's.


"I am sad to see the "us vs. them" mentality rise to the surface again (engines vs. hotshots and smokejumpers). I don't think that it adds to anything positive, and it indicates a lack of professionalism. Engines, shot crews, and jumpers all are valuable resources with unique missions. All of them see interesting fires, and all of them sit around at times."

Don't disagree with you on the value of bashing each other but it is obvious that the agencies along with the public place importance on Smokejumpers, Helitack, Hotshots (those are inmates you know) and finally engines (usually big red pavement queens and half dressed guys in structure turnouts) in that order, while the work load is for the most part organized in the reverse.

I generally try to stay out of these arguments as being unproductive since we all have our strengths and weaknesses. But as an engineslug, I know I get really tired of hearing how we have the easiest job. Wildland engines are the back bone of IA forces but still have no national standard, unlike IHC and Helitack and we have many more requirements to perform our job (EMS, SCBA, Hazmat) with less support, and for some odd reason usually get stuck with facilities as a 6, 7 or 8 while 9's just run their crews.

Go check out the new USFS fire and aviation website, people in fire, engines don't even get a coming soon space like Type 2 crews, I pointed this out to the webmasters and even wrote up a nice description for engines following the outline of the SJ, HT and IHC descriptions which I was thanked for but that was over a year ago and engines still don't have a space. So you have to give us engineslugs a little space to fuss otherwise we wouldn't even know we exist. You know if you're nice to an engineslug they might even let you trade them for a T-shirt (cash has been known to work too).

Enough of that

This is going to be my first summer without the USFS in many years, looks like I'm going to miss a busy one too :( I'm already starting to twitch. When does MEL start next year?

There was also talk about extending the Socal retention pay to some of the other R5 Forests earlier this year anyone know whats going on with that? Wouldn't take much to pry me off my pavement queen if I didn't have to go back to a diet of ramon noodles every winter.


04/28 Ab,

This is in answer to "Food for Thought" and for ALL WILDLAND FIREFIGHTERS…
Let's make this information a little more accessible so folks can read it more easily without going through all the CFRs, USCs, pages and hoops.

Here's the skinny before it gets out of hand..
If wildland firefighters were PROPERLY CLASSIFIED as Firefighters, all of the issues described would be fixed immediately.

Currently under TITLE 5.. Wildland Firefighters ARE NOT CLASSIFIED AS FIRE PROTECTION (Series 0081). (For those who do not know, they are Series 462 and 455, Forestry and Range Technicians, respectively.)

IAFF DoD firefighters have already fought the BATTLE to get Title 5 amended as it is.
It's time for wildland firefighters to unite and do the same…. to be properly classified under the Fire Protection (0081) series.

READ ON for the full information. Then...

Join the Federal Wildland Fire Service Association (FWFSA) and fix these problems.
………… http://www.fwfsa.org


04/28 Two things, Ab...

First, let there be no more mention of IHC/Jumpers/Engine rivalries... We all do different jobs in different roles, with the same end in mind. As the state equiv. of an Engine Captain, yeah, I can put out a lot of fire. However, some the the wildest fire behavior I've seen personally was in support of an IHC. New to me, routine business for them.

Friendly rivalries in and around the district are good builders of esprit de corps; but for an Engine Capt, IHC Supt./Crew Boss, or Lead Jumper to instill in their crew that the way they fight fire is superior to all others in all manners is downright arrogant, and probably fosters an unsafe attitude and certainly an environment without the coveted "Mutual Respect of Differences" the HR officers on the teams never fail to mention.

Second, the CRT/Lunch issue... I can't count the # of times I've been told to add a 1/2 hour and claim a lunch, even when "lunch" consisted of a sandwich in one hand and the nozzle in the other. Other times I've written "Initial Attack, no lunch taken" or some similar disclaimer. Often times I hear "We (the overhead/team/mgmt.) will get in trouble if you guys don't show a lunch and work too many hours." Length of shifts/rest periods is another matter entirely. I'm sure the meal break answer lies beyond us line folks, but I'd sure like to hear it.

That's the end of my diatribe (for today).

Stay Safe, gang.

04/28 I was reading on the Nova Website about Fire Wars and I was reading I saw the name of someone I knew. The director of photography, Jon Else, is a professor at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, where I am studying. Big surprise. I'm going to go talk with him on Monday about doing a documentary on the Alaska Jumpers.

I've wanted to be a jumper even since I got into this business, and i think that it would be great to share that life with a public that really doesn't know jack about it. Except for working last season in Montana, I have always lived in urban centers. And in those urban centers, no one knows anything about what we do. "You mean you can be a fire fighter as a summer job?" People are clueless, totally clueless.

Now, I know that the jumpers get a disproportionate amount of attention when it comes to the press, but I think that the dream of becoming a jumper is what gets a lot of people into this business. Now, if they ever want to leave their engine again after their first day on a handcrew is another story. But I think that in this world there's not a lot of options for young people growing up who don't want to do the whole 9 to 5 thing. Where I'm from, there's a helluva lot of people doomed to Office Space & Dilbert type lives. Deviation from that norm requires a whole helluva lot of effort, outside of seasonal fire fighting and a few other select professions. It's great, you make a few phone calls, sound enthusiastic, fill out a few applications- and bamn, you're a firefighter. Compare that with city firefighting- you gotta spend several years on wait lists, doing interviews, not fighting fires and when you do get the job, you see a lot less fire than you do in the wild. We got a sweet deal going here folks!

I think that kids should be able to dream of jumping out of airplanes or rappelling out of helicopters or just plain fighting fire as a real way they could spend their lives. That's what I want to do- expand people's vision, let them know that they too can do this stuff. Because if you've ever been on a fire you know that you don't have to be an Olympic athlete to do this work, but you just need the will to press on, no matter how tired or how hungry or how sore you are. This is hard work.. When you're really busting ass, it's just different degrees of misery separating you and the next guy. It's like the military- anyone can do it physically, but the mental part is what will get you.

On a related note, I am trying to get together a website for the University of California that actually teaches people how to get a wildfire job. The site would be geared to students looking for summer jobs. If you have information or suggestions email me at Mireles@uclink.berkeley.edu.

I don't know how I'd feed myself without this job- what a life! All praise to Big Ernie.


Ab bites lip, holding back reply...

04/28 Re: Hellroaring, Life and Times of a Fire Bum

Ran across this book in a used book store. It was one heck of a find.
Peter Leschak did a great job of outlining what it takes to go from
volunteer/AD firefighter to a Gov't paid working bum. I found that I could
relate to a lot of the stories and chuckled time after time thinking of
situations I have been in that have been very similar. I recommend reading!
3.5 saws

Thanks, I put your review on the Book Review page. Ab.

04/28 Hey AB,
Do you have any info on fire jobs in South Carolina including the Savannah River Institute??? Also I did a season on the Shasta-Trinity Forest 13 years ago does that help? I was 18 then but still in good shape!

Anyone answer John's question? Hmmmm, Shasta T, well, we mighta crossed paths. Ab.

04/27 Hello All,

I noticed that Hellroaring, Life and Times of a Fire Bum is on the FireBooks page and no one has reviewed it. Has anyone read it? Is it worth the money? How many saws?

Good to see Seasons of Fire got reviewed. I like that book.

Tahoe Terrie

Readers, please browse through the books list again to see if you could contribute a review to one of the books that doesn't yet have one. O'course you musta read it first. Ab.

04/27 661 short timer-

thanks for relayin the message. I been busy and cant find his #, are you workin at Lacroix? if so does PAT still work there? I was there last summer and just lookin for some of those folks, 661 short timer is this 3B..burn boss barton?

bustin as@ in colo...............

bustin, You in firecamp? Roger Dodger Over'n'Out. Ab.

04/27 Power point anyone?


04/27 bustin as@ in Colo.--

I relayed the message to Lars L. Now I need to give the ol' feller
cumputer lessons.

661 short timer.

04/27 Well folks I thought I would toss out a new can of worms for everyone to kick around for a while.

I know many of you have been in the situation where you skip a meal break and eat while driving to the scene, walking up the line etc. and did not take your leisurely half hour meal period.

The Interagency Incident Business Management Handbook, (IIBMH), Section 12.6, which covers meal periods states, “Compensable meal periods are the exception not the rule.”. A long list of conditions follow that first statement that must be met before you can be paid for the missed meal break.

When it comes time to turn in the CTR you may be asked by the time unit to supply additional documentation verifying that you did not take a meal break.

How many use the old tried and true method of falsifying a govt. document by adding an extra half hour on to the end of the day to cover the missed meal period and avoid the hassle of having to do the additional justifications?

My point and/or question is why are we required to show a meal break at all?

It appears to me that The Code of Federal Regulations, (CFR), is quite clear on this topic, it avoids all those wiggle room words like may or can and instead says that the tour of duty SHALL include all the time on duty including meal breaks when engaged in fire protection or law enforcement activities.

5 CFR 551.541 Employees engaged in fire protection activities or law enforcement activities.
b) The "tour of duty" of an employee engaged in these activities shall include all time the employee is on duty. Meal periods and sleep periods are included in the tour of duty except as otherwise provided in §§ 551.411(c) and 551.432(b) of this part.

5 CFR 551.411 Workday

(c) Bona fide meal periods shall not be considered hours of work, except for employees engaged in fire protection or law enforcement activities who receive compensation for overtime hours of work under 5 U.S.C. 5545(c) (1) or (2). However, for employees engaged in fire protection or law enforcement activities who have periods of duty of more than 24 hours, meal periods may be excluded from hours of work by agreement between the employer and the employee.

5 CFR 551.432 covers sleep time and meal breaks on normal tours of duty greater than 24 hours.

5 U.S.C. 5545(c) (1) & (2) covers night, standby, irregular, and hazardous duty differential.

No where in these rules, regulations, and laws did I see anything like the requirements of the IIBM handbook, the law simply says that if you are engaged in firefighting activities meal breaks are included in your tour of duty and you get paid for them.

Are cutting line, running an engine, etc. firefighting activities? What about all the support positions in fire camp, dispatch etc.?

If they are why are all the requirements in IIBM 12.6 in place?

Hopefully some wiser heads than mine can shine some light on this topic and explain why agency polices are not in accordance with the laws in place.

Call me Food for Thought
But don’t call me Late for Dinner

04/27 I am sad to see the "us vs. them" mentality rise to the surface again (engines vs. hotshots and smokejumpers). I don't think that it adds to anything positive, and it indicates a lack of professionalism. Engines, shot crews, and jumpers all are valuable resources with unique missions. All of them see interesting fires, and all of them sit around at times.

04/27 Hey Does anyone know if and when the third round for hiring for the FS is
going to happen? Also, Do you know when we as applicants should hear


Look at the MELmadness-2002. Scroll down to Permanent Positions then critical dates and look for Round 3. Those dates also work for temp hiring as I understand it. Ab.

04/27 Hello Ab. and all

Cap't Pete:
You said "most any engine captain could tell the world how to put a wildland fire OUT, much better than most hotshots or smokejumpers"

I think that maybe an eng capt can but, I'm an ex Hotshot, and now I'm running engines and you know what? I"d rather see the footage of the Shots!!!!!!! I've experienced more erratic fire behavior while on a hand crew and had to deal with it, than with the engine. With the engine you can just leave. Just as scary though.

Both would provide great footage.

Bottom line, just remember L.C.E.S.

04/27 Ab,

As several have stated, the NOVA program is set to air May 7. I understand that we have a good relationship with NOVA. They linked to us and we've linked to them on theysaid. I looked at their link and it looks awesome except... they state the South Canyon Fire was the "worst wildland firefighting disaster in history".

I have some exceptions:

1910 - "The Big Blow" ID, 72 firefighters killed, 7 large crews overrun by fire

1933 - Griffith Park CA, 25 firefighters killed, 128 injured

1937 - Blackwater WY, 15 firefighters killed

?? 1930-1940's or 50's - 20+ Marines killed while sleeping on a fire on the Cleveland NF... More info is still needed to confirm... possibly the "Tragedy Springs" area... i cant find my notes on the old source

Maybe they should have put "recent history."

04/27 Skyeblue:

First thing- if you get hired as a first year FF with no experience through
a Federal Agency, you will be sent to Fire Training (lasts about a week) to
get your red card. You will be paid for this.

But, if you are interested in bettering your chances for a job, go for the
redcard. A redcard is usually good until the end of the calandar year it
was issued, (or it may be 1 full year from the date it was issued, ANYONE
ELSE KNOW THIS?????). The courses you take to get the red card will help
you out in the long run though.

S-190, S-130, and I-100 are the 3 basics for red carding. Once you receive
your card you will be a FFT2 or Firefighter type 2. This is the basic entry
level position, but you will have your foot in the door. At the training
you will probably meet local fire managers and fire officers who may still
be looking to hire for this season (nothing is final in the fire world,
people who took jobs may end up going somewhere else) or they may be able to
direct you toward a crew that works on call.

Anyway you look at it, if you can afford the class it will help you.

Well, those are my 2 pennies.
04/26 Hey Ab and All,

Glad to see the wlf link on the pbs resources links. BUT. . .could
it be that most any engine captain could tell the world how to put a
wildland fire OUT, much better than most hotshots or smokejumpers?

I know, it's just not as glamorous, what with jumping out of
airplanes or hiking five miles to the fireline.

I still say, as I've said here before. . .stick a camera crew with a
hot wildlandfire engine crew for a season and they'd do much less
sitting around and have a lot more HOT footage and action for the

Ok, I'm done. Again.

Cap't Pete
04/26 Ab,
Good morning. Congratulations on the new record on unique hits. I enjoy
this site more that any on the web. I find it both informative and
entertaining. Keep up the great work and thanks.

I just checked out the NOVA site for Fire Wars now that it is open. It
looks like it will be an interesting show. They have a link with a nice
blurb about wildlandfire.com so expect the hits to keep increasing. Be
sure to check out the picture of the polar bear at a fire. That's
something you don't see everyday.

04/26 Hey Ab!

You ever been a smokejumper??? <smerk> Check this out. We're on the resources list for the NOVA site. www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/fire/resources.phpl

I see that K's article about how to be a firefighter is up there too. Are we gettin' to be main stream or what? Ab, do we have to watch our language? <wide eyes><little madonna smile>

OFG> I would like to see that movie- Did the hero look good because he (she??!! if they're being PC) broke every safety rule in the book? Isn't that the way hollywood does it?

SCC> and Tiny> the packages are in the mail. Thanks!

Skye> I was told when I finished my training for FF1 that it would be good for two years and then I'd probably have to retrain if I hadn't gotten a job (and a redcard issued) before then. This was an interagency ROP training but was headed up by CDF, so it's CA standards. Don't know if there are other time standards for FF1 training in other states. Some certs like the EMT may last for longer before being viewed as outdated. Anyone know? Study your butt off on everything you can get into. This new organization (in CA at least) is heavy on getting training and the college credit for it. On another note. It was pretty funny to have you studying while we're all chattin' the other night -- like some teenager hanging out on the fringes while the oldsters talk to each other and to the youngsters who are asking questions...


Never been one. Never wanted to. Even when I could'a. Give me fire and smoke and dirt and a crew bumpin' up. Ab.

04/26 Wow Everyone, we had 4941 unique visitors yesterday, a new record, and looks like we're going to exceed 100,000 unique visitors again for the month. Ab.
04/26 Ab,

I've just completed reading alot of the Standards for Fire and Aviation Operations 2002. I was interested to learn that the original document came from the OSHA citations from the South Canyon Fire.

It appears as though the re-write came only after the 30 Mile Fire. The interagency cover letter specifically states that it meets action item 17 of the 30 Mile Prevention Action Plan. Hate to say it but the whole document smells of crisis management following policy failures.

After the Dude Fire, a very knowledgeable HS supt. came up with a great idea... He understood the answer wasn't adding layers to the 10 Standard Fire Orders and 18 Situations.. but enforcing them and recognizing the CRITICAL items. He came up with LCES (Lookouts, Communication, Escape Routes and Safety Zones).. It wasnt meant to do away with the 10 and/or 18... just pull them together so ALL firefighters could be safer.

I am a firm believer that the 10 & 18, and LCES work perfectly fine when used in conjunction with experienced leaders.

Adding additional layers of responsibilities and documentation isn't the answer. THE ANSWER IS FOR FIRE MANAGEMENT TO HOLD THEIR FOLKS ACCOUNTABLE. Making the IC's personally accountable for ensuring the 10 and 18 are adhered to is not achievable and will probably someday result in another OSHA citation for not ensuring Agency Policies were adhered to. We need to make SURE each crew or engine boss is FULLY ACCOUNTABLE for their operations. We need to make sure EACH firefighter (all of us) understands and follows the 10 Standards and that each firefighter recognizes the WARNING signs given by the 18 Situations. Before we engage, we MUST make sure that LCES is in place.

Rogue Rivers

04/26 Another announcement came in. Don't forget that Fire Wars, the NOVA special is coming up on May 7 on PBS.
04/26 I have the opportunity to take a 5 day class up in Lake Tahoe through the local community college that, when it is all done, I get my Red Card. As it looks that I am not getting on anywhere this season, I want to get all the training I can get my hands on this summer and fall (registered to get my EMT etc.). Is it worth it to spend the time and money on this class and how long is a Red Card good for?

04/25 Someone sent in the final draft of the

Long-Range Fire Risk Assessment Southwest Geographic Area 2002 Fire Season (23 pp in doc format).

Topics include Current Situation, Weather and Climate, Fuels and Fire Behavior (Fine Fuels, Pinyon - Juniper, Coniferous Forest) Fire Behavior, Management Implications, Season Termination Events. It has some fine descriptive maps and illustrations. It begins

"Fire management has significant concerns about the severity of the 2002 fire season and the implications as the season progresses. These concerns include potential for extreme fire behavior, fire fighter safety, and risk to communities, public expectations, to list a few."

Creators are Chuck Vickery, Fred Schoeffler, Dean Clark, Ron Moody, Roberta Bartlette, Chuck McHugh, and Rich Woolley of the USFS and NPS.

If anyone would like to read it, let me know and I'll e-mail it to you. Ab.

04/25 From Firescribe:
A small NM fire on the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation.


Daily Fire Behavior Outlook Map: www.fs.fed.us/r3/fire/outlooks/daily/SWAdaily.gif

Large Wildland Fire Location Map: www.fs.fed.us/r3/fire/swa-fire.php

Fuel Moisture Maps: 10 hour 100 hour 1000 hour

Ab note: Here's a good place to check the R3 Sit Report and Morning Report, etc. www.fs.fed.us/r3/fire/

The National Sit Report is up on a daily basis. You can find a link to it link on our Links Page under news and reports. It appears that you need to access the pdf file for the current day's report.

Other ways to find fed info on current fires from our links page is to go to the Situation Reports by Geographic Areas also under the news and reports. For example, to find the r3/fire/ link above, you can choose Southwest Area Communication Center from that GACCs page.


04/25 Hello all --
Qualifications system guide for wildland and prescribed fire (310-1) can
also be found on the web. Don't need to order hard copy from NIFC to
answer many of the questions. This particular publication can be found at

There are alot of other very useful publications, task books, forms, etc.
also available at this site for downloading -- check it out! www.nwcg.gov
-- then click on "publications" in the upper right hand of the home page.

Cache Queen

Ab didn't link to to the large .pdf file. Those interested will have to cut and paste the url into the location line of their browser.

04/25 http://web.wt.net/~jagski/fire.phpl

HA This is just too funny...neighboor pissed off at his neighboor for burning.


Thanks JJ, the wonders of the internet. Forest fire, eh? Ab.

04/25 Parts of southern Utah were declared a drought emergency yesterday, expect
more to follow. And the snowpack is mostly gone. We're in for a "good" year!

Utah County Firedog
04/25 Update of Snaking Fire This is what they are saying this morning.

between 2000-2400 acres.
Evacuated town of Bailey yesterday for a time but let people return later.
Suspect a teen smoking near high school might have started it.
200 FF arriving today with 150 here already.
30 fire engines.
5 air planes with 3 more in today.
4 helos with 4 more today.

Winds are down here at work this morning. I couldn't see any large smoke clouds. But very smoky looking south from here at work. I see 3 planes at Jeffco airport. I work a mile from it and can see them coming and going at lunch when I go outside. I enjoy watching them, but wish they didn't have to be here. But sounds like I will get to see them more then I want this summer.

Thanks to the FF and the Type One team for being here and helping save what they can.

04/25 Mellie,
If you've changed your mind and want the video, give me an address. No
need to return it. Share the pain.
Nah! We take ourselves to serious. Who wants all movies to be
documentaries. Do we believe that "City Slickers" offended ranch hands?
Does "Armegeddon" dis-respect real astronauts? Is "Casablanca" hurtful to
those real participants in the WWII underground?
Truth? My favorite movies include John Wayne's "Big Jake", and for
firefighting....."Always". Thirty years of fire and I still believe that
the end of the rainbow holds a firecamp with cold beer, live band, John
Goodman being excellent in every scene he is in, and (best of all) Holly
Hunter sans undergarments in a white dress.
04/25 NorCal Tom,

Yes, others of us are concerned for the same reasons you state. The CIIMT meetings are next week. Maybe this issue will be discussed. How do we have accountability for following the Fire Orders when they are so subjective? Kent Connaughton (Dep R5 Forester on the 30-mi investigation team) said at the Division Chiefs Meeting that he feared another 30 mile tragedy was inevitable sooner or later because of the nature of firefighting regardless of how safe we try to make it. Accountabilities are important, but can they be legislated like this Standards for Operations, 2002 document?

SoCal TH

04/25 For "RW in North Carolina": Safety Officer 2 (SOF2) only requires a "Moderate" on the Work Capacity Test under ICS 310-1, but you must be a fully qualified Division Supervisor (DIVS) before you can initiate the Task Book and eventually "be one of them". You can get ICS 310-1 (NFES 1414) from NIFC-PMS that has all the ICS jobs and requirements.

04/24 Is anyone besides me concerned about the new 2002 Standards for Operations?

It's new guidance that hasn't been seen by most fire management staffs, but is our new "Standards". This page is part of the 30 mile action items and recent letter. (No link was added in the letter but I found this page addressing it.)
Here it is... www.fire.blm.gov/Standards/redbook.php.

Note the USFS concurrence in the pages and reference.

As of today, I'd hate to be a type 3, 4 or 5 IC and have to follow all of the guidance that USED to be relayed down to the Crew Bosses and Firefighters. As it is written now, the ICs are fully responsible. Its probably the last time I take an IC job.

As it is written, an IC MUST personally mitigate all of the 10 and 18 AND ALL SAFETY HAZARDS.... I have lots of questions about this memo but... personally... how do I personally mitigate "the weather is getting hotter and drier" ?... should I make a prayer to God since he caused the weather to get hotter and drier... How should I document my prayer to god as required by the document?

Just my questions as well as a few ADFMOs, DFMOs, FAFMOs, and FFMOs.

NorCal Tom

04/24 Hi Ab

Here are some photos.
Column from the Buck Mountain Fire on the Blue Ridge Parkway, NPS, in Roanoke VA. The forest fire burned into a tire dump of 4 to 5 million tires. Total size was 1046 acres. (Fire 10)
Here's a photo of Allen L. of the Blue Ridge Parkway during a burnout operation (Handcrew 5) and
a photo of our NPS engine lineup (Engines 4).


04/24 Hi Ab,
Josh From Fort Hunter Liggett Here, Here are some pictures for the Engine Page.

#1 Type 3 4x4 W/CAFS

#2 & #3
1250 Gal. 6x6 Combination Water Tender/ Brush Engine.
Both serve the U.S. Army Fort Hunter Liggett F.D. in Southren Monterey County CA.

Put em on the Engines 4 page. Ab.

04/24 Ab, here's the Forest ranger LOGO.


Check Logo5. Ab.

04/24 meredith, glad to hear from you,
Check out Galls catalog. or Galls.com they have something like you're looking for. Its a belt holster for holding EMS shears, notepad, pens, papers (maps), has a radio holster, small cell phone/pager pocket, and some other little doodads. I put the shears in our med kit, and stuffed my leatherman into the pouch the shears go, it fits perfect. later and see you this summer.
04/24 hey Ab,

I want to share these two pics of the Oversite Fire, March 1, 2002
to March 12, 2002 in the huachuca mountains. sierra vista az


Thanks, I put them on Fire 10. Ab.

04/24 Say Ab,

Here's a fresh pic of my motley looking crew from Bullard VFD (Handcrew 5), and yes I'm the oddball one in in the group, I told them I would wear my day suit but I was also wearing my SAR colors as well. So I'm the on one on the end with the red cap on. I will cautiously say that I watched Superfire cause I was home babysittin and weren't nothing better to do, but I'm glad MOTOS wasn't here or she would have nitpicked it to death she hasn't stayed married to me or 18 years without learning what we do. Just say I won't watch it again.:o)

Saty safe all.
04/24 Ab,
I'm trying to find the requirements for the different ICS positions. I've been redcarded for different jobs for years now, but the 45 lb. is gettin' a bit tough. I'm specifically interested in IOFC2 or SOF2 since I'm carded in both, and hear they require the moderate level. Can you help with a link or site that lists the requirements? Thanks in advance

RW (NC Forest Service since '88)
04/24 Here is a link for news on the 'Snaking" fire SW of Denver. Last I
heard it was 1400 acres, no containment, high winds, and a town of 4400
people (Bailey, CO) being evacuated.


Take care & Adios, CJD
04/24 I intend to use the original intent ten standard firefighting orders written
by the shoshone national forest forester for a standards class I'm teaching.
However, I find it very disappointing that after all these years people like
this forester continue to use phrases like "maintain control of your men at
all times" and "maintain prompt communication with your men" The orders he
wrote are very good, but other than that I don't think very much of this
man. We are in the year 2002 and this is the progress we have made?


Here are the Original Intent 10 Standard Firefighting Orders again. ME, do you object to the "men" or to the "maintain control" or both? Ab.

04/24 I was recently on your website previewing some photographs. I work for SRA/McGraw-Hill a Children's Textbook. I am currently doing some photo research looking for some firefighter photographs as follows.
  1. factory-type building on fire, and after fire, standing but damaged.
  2. fire helicopter, if people are visible must include women and all people in uniforms
  3. arm and basket of a fire snorkel
  4. group of firefighters with a life net
  5. firefighter wearing hazmat equipment, prefer African-American or Hispanic person
  6. Firefighters Acetylene torch
  7. Firefighters chain saw
  8. fire/rescue squad diving suit
  9. firefighters doing routine housework at firehouse
  10. firefighters washing firehoses as diverse as possible
  11. 911 operator with headset
  12. fire inspector at work
  13. fire snorkel on the way to a fire. the firefighters should be visable.
Would you have any of these photographs? I would be interested in seeing some digital previews if possible.

Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.

Lori Shetler
Ph: 614-430-6655

Readers, I told Lori we may have some photos in the helo and ff and chainsaw categories but probably only at 72 dpi. Maybe some of you have some of these other categories -- especially some of you more urban interface type firefighters. Do you urban ff even use a life net any more? Why would that surprise me? Ummm, I may have a washing the firehose photo.... Ab.

04/24 I found this info on one of local TV stations web site. Thought you would like to know more about this fire. I think reporters said yesterday that the fire was burning at 10,000 feet on the side of that mountain. Right now there is no snow on the ground at that height, but normally we would still have it. Looks like the beginning of a rough, long season.

Snaking fire burns 1,000 acres, threatens homes, closes schools


Good map and photos. Ab.

04/24 Good Pre-Summer to you all out there in the wild frontiers.

I understand the “Dragon” Has gotten a head start this year. Don’t sweat it too much, I trust all of you to be fully capable of doing your best. That is all I, or anyone relegated off the line could ever ask from any of you. Make us proud. The topic of my once in a blue moon fusee tossed your way this day is a book I found in my campus book store under the philosophy category. (This Category is located next to the Cliff’s notes if you mistakenly thought your “Pup” to be wiser than his years…) It is titled The Seasons of Fire and is authored by David J. Strohmaier, a 15 year veteran of the firelines. This book is published by the University of Nevada Press. Mr. Strohmaier has very interesting ideas on why we as the guardians of the wilderness continue to punish ourselves year after year. This is a good read for both the firefighter and the family member. Maybe you can actually justify that new set of Nicks, Whites or Wescos to your significant other after letting them read a few chapters, who knows.

Good luck, and stay safe, hope I won’t have the need to meet many of you this summer, but it will be an honor to work alongside you all. Here’s to a safe season.

Tiny, the R-6 Urban Interface / College Fire Dog

Hi Tiny, and thanks. Someone else just sent in a thumbs-up review of that book for the reviews page. I'll get both of these up soon. If people want to order it or any other book or thing sold by Amazon, please enter through our Amazon portal and help pay the bills. Thanks All. Ab.

04/24 Burnin' in CO! Other fires in AZ... Be ready to go!

Wildfire chars 800 acres in Colorado


Check our Fire News Page. Lots of fires burning. Ab.

04/24 Kirk,

I would like to say hang in there. Right now I am going through cancer treatment with my mother who was recently diagnosed with throat cancer (squamous cell or BDS). She has never smoked or drunk in her 55 years of life and it is amazing that she has this type of cancer .

Hang in there Kirk and have a positive attitude. My prayers are with you and your family.

04/24 Snaking Fire In Colorado is now over 800 hundred acres!!!




* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Today is birthday day for Krstofer. Please gang up on Krs and send him an email birthday message:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

04/23 The Snaking Fire in Colorado is ripping. 200 acres, growing fast, lots of evacuations and homes threatened.

04/23 Still Trying,

Sounds like you have the right career path lined up for yourself if you are shooting for a jumper job. 1-2 years on a Hotshot crew will benefit your resume immensely when reviewed by the jumpers. Be aware that BLM jumpers follow higher physical fitness standards for their program over and above the National standards. 9:30 or better mile and a half, 12 pull ups, etc. Best thing you can do is alot of running and hiking under heavy weight (90lbs) during the winter in case you get an offer.

Also talk to the base or ops managers. AK is probably out of the question to actually visit but if you are in Boise, stop by and introduce yourself then follow up with phone calls. Boise jumpers can be reached at 208-387-5426 and AK at 907-356-5540. Dunno about actual training classes to make your resume look better except maybe ICT4 and ICT3. Anyone?

Old R5er
04/23 Wow - been working with the VFD here in the Foothills of Colorado for 20
years and I can't ever remember a Red Flag warning this early in the
season. Got a little rain/snow over the weekend, but two days of dry
wind took it all away. Put us into a Red Flag warning today! The
Governor has declared a drought emergency in the state as well. Heads
up and stay safe out there. Still wishing for that 4 foot spring snow!

Take care & Adios, CJD
04/23 Most likely you may have seen this by now, but just in case.
How it the time to be thin'n about what's happening and getting ready for what will happen.

04/23 For the person who asked about the movie "Superfire" and wanted opinions,

start here:
and read the rest of the responses from the airtanker pilots.


<haw><haw> the truth will out! Old Fire Guy, I do want to borrow your copy. My local video store doesn't have this one. Ab.

04/23 From Firescribe:

Fires in Arizona

04/23 Jobs page, Wildland Firefighter Job Series 0462 and 0455 Pages are updated. Engine Boss wanted based out of Wenatchee WA, and lots of fire ecology positions for those who are academically inclined.

Remember if you have had jobs or the series pages book-marked, hit our new links here and update your bookmarks.

04/23 ***In response to Eric PW on 4/17, Thanks for the wishes...I am very excited about working for this district (ok, so it is closer to home and my husband, than my last 2 districts) I'm sure it will be a very busy season (as usual) and I look forward to the work. This district seems to have all their ducks in a row & are big on training, can't beat that! When you are this way, get in touch...we'll be having BBQ's with the fire folks as much as the dragon will allow us.

***Also, does anyone know where to get a organizer that attaches to your belt and holds, multi-purpose tool, pen/pencil, small notebook, small flashlight, etc? I have looked all over town, Wal*Marts, Kmart's, and various other sporting/camping stores and can not locate one. Any help would be greatly appreciated. They are so convenient & are easier to access than digging in your pockets.

***Despite all the recent moisture this winter, I am sure that this years fire season will still be a great one, Just wanted to wish everyone a safe & exciting summer. Please be safe and remember, NEVER compromise our 10 & 18!

I'm sure this will open up a can of worms, and I understand that the movie industry does not know real fire fighting tactics, but my husband and I both watched the show "Super Fire" and wondered how many "bloopers" were so obvious to everyone else? Just a thought though...when they dropped the "bomb" it was designed to "take the O2 out, resulting in putting the fire out." But what about the smoke jumpers & kids that were stuck in the middle of that fire? Wouldn't they of been deprived of O2 as well? And since when did a hotshot crew "carry" such a device since it had to be dropped by an aircraft? I wonder if we'll get one to carry with us on our engine? Just a thought.

Great Basin Firefighter (the original) --noticed there was another. lol

Lotsa classifieds ads coming out next Wednesday. Bet you'll be able to find something there. Ab.

04/23 hey gang-
does anyone out there know of anything i can do to better myself in the competition for a position in smokejumping? i know i can't be picky but if i could chose, i would like to work for the BLM doing it. i have one season on a type 2 crew and i am going to be on a shot crew this summer. what about training? there is a fire academy near my house that teaches wildfire. any recommendations on courses to take in the winter? i am aware that busting your ass on the line on a shot crew greatly increases your chance of a good recommendation from the supt., but so does working smarter, not harder correct? thank you in advance as any help or advice will be much appreciated :)

Still Trying

04/23 You can read all about the Osborne Firefinderfire and detection in the
"Firefighter's Guide" NFES 1571 available from the NIFC fire cache. I'm
surprised so many are unaware of this valuable guide which has basic nuts and
bolts information about fire detection, prevention, pre-suppression
(preparedness), and suppression. The distance and line-of-sight tape on the
firefinder is scaled in inches and as most firefinder maps are 1/2 inch to
the mile, once a fire is pinpointed correctly, the crow-fly distance to it
from the lookout is simple to figure out.

04/23 For anyone who wanted to make the Winema Hotshot Reunion (and Star Crew and Rogue and Prospect), if you couldn't make it, we have the first round of photos up:


~ kbob
04/22 Everyone,

First of all THANKS SO MUCH to those in the fire community who have donated leave to Kirk Smith, the Mormon Lake Hotshot Superintendent. All of it is very much needed and appreciated. All of those individual contributions add up to being really helpful for someone who deserves our support.

For those of you that may not have the privilege to know him, Kirk has been on the Mormon Lake Hotshot Crew on the Coconino National Forest in R3 in one capacity or another for nearly 19 years. He was diagnosed with sinus cancer in April, 2001 and went through radiation and chemotherapy throughout the spring and summer which meant lots of time off work. By November, the cancer appeared to be in remission and Kirk returned to his job. In March of this year, the cancer returned and had spread to his spine, bone, blood, and liver. The gift of science has come a long way in the treatment of cancer and now Kirk faces intensive chemotherapy, along with a future blood infusion and bone marrow transplant. Because of the expected ten+ month duration of this treatment, he is really in need of leave. None of us can help to this extent, but everyone can help a little bit and every little bit helps!

Kirk has given so much not only to the Hotshot community, but to the wildland fire community as a whole. He is a great employee and a great friend to many. I can promise you that the donated leave and support that is being given makes all the difference in the world. Right now his medical expenses are pretty well covered, and it's the leave and support that are needed the most. Kirk has a wife and three children.

AB ...... thanks so much for sharing this information. I know you have the leave donor case number info that you have been forwarding on to those who ask. For those who want to access this information directly on the FS Intranet, here's the link for all leave donors in the FS. Kirk will be found under R3. http://fsweb.wo.fs.fed.us/hrm/ If you work for the Department of Interior, the form to use for leave donation is the OF-630 A/B form.

If anyone would like to send a card or note, they can send them to me and I'll make sure that Kirk gets them. Thanks again so very much for the support.

Cathie Zettler
District Fire Management Officer
Mormon Lake Ranger District / Coconino National Forest
4373 S. Lake Mary Road
Flagstaff, Arizona 86001

Kirk, my prayers are for your good recovery. Cathie, please keep us up-to-date. Ab.

04/22 Thanks, Firescribe, for the Sadler Report link. Ab.
04/22 A couple of News Notes from the Abs at wildlandfire.com:

We have moved the links page, jobs page and jobs series 0462 and 0455 to our new server along with the large training power point files which we moved last month. Last night we changed all the internal links and border buttons to reflect those changes. If you have any of those pages book-marked, please go to the new location via the border buttons and update your bookmarks. Those pages will remain on our original server until Friday so your bookmarks will access them directly until then. After that, if you use your old bookmark, you will get a page that has a forwarding message and you'll be sent to the new location.

The Classifieds Page is going to make its DEBUT next Wednesday, May 1, 2002. There has been a fine response from the fire business community who think it will benefit them to have links to their businesses on the Classifieds Page. There are also some fine folks who will be supporting some of the pages with banners that link to their businesses. We appreciate the support of all involved.

So far we have invited and involved people and businesses who have come recommended by you or have been posters/lurkers here for some time. If any of you have any other favorites and haven't let us know - in chat or in an e-mail - who might like to profit from this new opportunity, please let us know now (abercrombie@wildlandfire.com).Nothing like having these great resources right here on wildlandfire.com when questions about gear and boots and sanitation, etc comes up. Nothing like browsing and purchasing from the businesses of those who are part of our wildland fire community and want to support us. We also appreciate those of you who are supporting this site simply because you want to.

If any of you want to put in a free firefighter-to-firefighter ad, please let us know that also. We all have gear and stuff in our closets, garages, and yards that could get recycled. For word limits and format, click on the classifieds button in the top border and go to the FF free link.

We Abs want to THANK  OUR  WILDLAND  FIRE  COMMUNITY again for existing, for being so open with your information, questions, opinions, personalities, venting, humor and photos. As all who read and participate here know, we are truly enriched by each other.

OK, final Ab question: Anyone know where the Sadler Fire Entrapment Investigation report is online besides on our links page? Now that the DOI sites are back up, we'd like to put the link to their copy and take it off our server which has been full to overflowing for some time and has also exceeded bandwidth on more than one occasion as the site has grown.


04/22 If any of you need Donor Leave Case Number info to donate leave time to our hotshot supt who could use it, let Ab know. We have it and will forward it on.
04/22 RE Osborne fire finder

The other sight was for a vertical reading. Dispatchers had a set of
panoramic 360 degree photographs from each lookout calibrated to the
horizontal and vertical angles. With both readings a dispatcher could look
at the photos and see exactly where the fire was, fuel type, etc.

Many offices still have some sets of these old photos stuffed in drawers
somewhere. I have seen a few on display in visitor centers.


So you think maybe they would know the distances from factoring the fire location on the photo into the mix? Ab.

04/21 MOC4546

From what I understand a Federal employee can not "volunteer" (as in unpaid) for anything within the agency while employed (you can volunteer while on furlough if a WAE or temp seasonal employee). If you are providing a service for the agency you must be compensated. I have been prevented from attending training and interagency drills I was willing to "volunteer" for.

Most other employers have similar rules and I believe it is a Federal law because I recall reading about career firefighters in the Eastern US being barred from also being volunteer firefighters with the employing department, this was a court ruling not a departmental thing. The reasoning for this is to avoid situations exactly like you describe (Mandatory volunteering) and is part of the reason for things like Comptime and credit hours, however if you are an exempt employee I don't know if any of this applies to you, OPM would be another good place to start looking for information.


04/21 hey All,

Did anyone check out the primetimer "SuperFire" on ABC??

I suppose the C-47 must have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express, 'cause C-47 (DC 3) aren't tankers, they just play one on TV.... :o)

Anyhow, the guys at the station seemed to like the show (since they don't have much wildland fire knowledge), I could have been doing something else, like running EMS calls.

Does anyone know where the show was filmed. The local fire department depicted in the movie looked as if the engine and ambulance might have been Aussie or Canadian.

R-3 has sparked up again with a 2000 acre fire (Merick) on the Coronado down towards Sierra Vista AZ. Get your gear ready, the southwest is primed!

AZ Trailblazer
04/21 So did anyone actually watch Superfire?

I just read the blurb on it from ABC's website, and at this point I think I'm glad I was out sampling (in moderation, of course) some of my areas finer micros... Thanks for the link, Ab, I appreciated the chuckle.


Well this Ab was ready for sampling the flick (good or bad), beer in hand, kicked back... there was a local fundraising telathon on instead. Yeesh. Had to go rent a movie. Heard I missed the action in firechat too. Hey SCC and lptd, if you're on tonight, I'll be sure and stop by. I heard there are lots of fires in SoCal as well as elsewhere in the West.

04/21 First time poster looking for Lars L out of R-9 Superior National Forest,
just wanted to say hi and see how ya'll are doing. I hope that this works....

bustin as@ in colorado

Someone off on fire, the lucky dog. Ab.
04/21 Ab,

Here's a question about the Osborne Fire Finder. The front sight has two
sets of crosshairs and then the rear sight has that "slide" which is used to
obtain horizontal degree readings. I've figured that there must be a way to
determine distance but have never been able to find anything in any
literature. A couple weeks ago, I asked an old tower guy who recalled having
read that you could "get a second cross by yourself" by using that slide
piece. If anyone has the "formula" or any info about that it would be much

Stay Safe! "Kicks"
04/20 WP!

Oh-my-gawd-- Have I been operating under a misperception!!! I always thought WP stood for Whine-y Person. I am sooooooo sorry to have misjudged you these last two-and-a-half years!

<small smerk><raised eyebrow><cocked head><laughing>

04/20 There has been a question posed regarding Primary and Secondary Firefighters performing an act of "free labor contrition" before being allowed to go off-park/forest/district in the Federal Wildland Fire System. Where I am working Secondary Firefighters have been told by e-mail and paper memo that "Before they are allowed to go out on assignment for the season they must have the Refresher Course, the Pack Test, and must perform "a 1-2 Day outside course to demonstrate skills for off-park assignment on "X" Dates".

There is no overtime authorized, scheduled vacations are not an excuse, simply not being able to attend or if there is no work relief to go to the class because the secondary firefighter's supervisors know that FMO use this tactic to get free labor out of those outside FMO for a project that they either don't have the people to do or don't want to pay for it. Furthermore, if the date set by FMO cannot be met people will be held back from going on assignments. This is even being applied to Primary firefighters saying you won't be allowed to go off on assignment if you don't perform the free work.

Is this legal anywhere in USFS, BLM, NPS, BIA, or USFWS? I've heard it go both ways but I would like to here what some of the other forests, districts, parks, reservations, and refuges require of both types of firefighters, and what they legally can do to stop someone from going because that individual did not perform a free act of labor.


04/20 superfire airs on abc   (Ab note: Tonight at 7PM Central time and 9PM Pacific.)

check it out should be good for a laugh or who knows?



04/20 To whom it may concern,
My name is Andy <snip>, and I am 17 years old. I live in the suburbs of Denver and am a Junior in High School. I am very interested wildfire fighting, and was wondering if you could please send me any information on any programs you might have for someone of my age. I am not sure of the age requirement for wildfire training, but if there is any opportunities for a person of my age, I would greatly appreciate any information. Thank you very much for taking the time to read this letter.


Hey, CAFSman and other Colorado Firefighters, is there a ROP (Regional Occupational Program) in CO or any other kind of participation in wildland fire for teens? Have to be 18 to fight fire for the feds. Ab.

04/20 Ab, the post by Snake River Sparky is excellent! Could you put that on the
FAQ page so it could be easily found, I get lots of calls from people who
want to get into the "business" and it would be a good place to refer them

Also, quite a few posts (with passion) concerning Hot Shot Tee Shirts, I
don't know what the fuss is all about, I got mine at the HS gift shop -- only
cost $10. When I wear it nobody EVER would confuse me with a REAL HS, I
don't whine nearly long and loud enough.


Good idea, we get those also. I put it on the FAQ page. Ab.

04/20 I myself was on a crew and I know what being a hotshot is all about.

I'm not stupid, only trying to help out a friend. For those of you who do not think that I have earned the collection, you have another thing coming. As My 2 Cents has mentioned, I would have not got the collection started had it not been for specific reasons. I have many letters from crews and superintendents quoting "after all you are a part of our crew". I know the value of the possession and know of no other collection in the nation. Looks like the consensus is to see that the public never gets a hold of them. I will do my best to see that they always have a good home, even if I keep them forever. I will continue to work with the crews and continue to finish the collection, not many left to get. I will not mention the person's name either, only that he is in need and is one of our own. If we say we are robust bunch, then let's be that bunch. Whether it be "Leave Time or Money", we can help.

P.S. If any of you have a better idea for the collection or a good home, please let me know.


Thanks for your comments, My 2 Cents, Old Fire Guy, Houston, ab, Firebum and SLN (and whoever else has written in since I sent this to Ab).

04/20 Ab,
To AJM regarding R-4 contract. Here is a quick primer on R-4 fire contracting and my view from the cheap seats.
  1. NIFC is messing around with a national "call-when-needed" engine contract based on geographical locations and "best value" pricing to the government. This means, basically, they take into account experience of crew, equipment and engine age and capabilities and throw them all into a blender and come up with what they call "best value." I know NIFC is trying to get it out this year, but it is behind schedule as it is being churned in the political grinder. As this document has been explained to me, it is basically a location-based "super EERA" with no guarantee of income.
  2. Most regions have what are called EERAs (emergency equipment rental agreements). Although some call these contracts, they are really agreements that mean if the government needs what you have, the price has already been agreed to by both parties and the contractor agrees to follow government rules of operation such as equipment, min. insurance and workman's comp., etc. There is no promise they will ever use you, only how much they will pay you if they do. But for many, this is the starting point of their businesses.
  3. Great Basin EERAs are managed out of the R-4 Forest Service office in Ogden, Utah. Contact the contracting officer responsible for engine and tender EERAs.
  4. In the past, contractors with EERAs were mostly dispatched out of the regional dispatch centers. R-4--as are other regions--is moving the responsibility for dispatching contract fire equipment down to the district and forest level. The region is doing this because, in the past, when the NIFC sit report said there was a 50 acre fire in Elko or wherever, a pack of out-of-region engine contractors descend on the place, banging on the door looking for an equipment order number (E-number)--which is the holy grail of getting paid. So basically, the gov is trying to get rid of the smoke chasers and fire Gypsies. In the world of EERAs, good operators get asked to the Ball by dispatch, sleeziods just roam around from fire to fire hoping to get a date. One quickly learns that the wildland fire community is a very small world with a grapevine that travels at the speed of light. In the fire contracting business, your good name is your most valuable asset. So play by Uncle Sam's rules.
  5. Since there is a push in R-4 for engine contractors to be dispatched by their local agencies, it would behoove anyone getting into "the business" to get to know the Fire Management Officer, the Fire Control Officer and the Lead Dispatcher in the forest or BLM district These people need to know who you are, your level of experience, personnel and equipment. If you have a good operation and equipment and well-trained people who know what they are doing, and the local agency is somewhat open to using non-agency resources to pull up the slack on a fire or two, then you might get lucky and get a call if the season heats up. You might get ever luckier if the year turns out to be a big burn, which are far and few between.
               But then again, you might live in an area where "no way in hell" will you ever get a call unless the last dog is hung or River City is about to be overrun by fire and they don't have anything else to throw at it. In this situation, either you're a lousy operator with a bad reputation--sort of like the Clampets showing up with a flatbed farm truck with a septic tank and trash pump on the back and helping themselves to agency equipment whenever no one's looking--or, the fire gods may have an attitude towards non-agency fire people in general. If either of these is the case, find another line of work. You're screwed.
  6. Although they're about as rare as 1943-S pennies, some forests let "exclusive use" engine contracts. In these situations, contractors are paid to place personnel or equipment in a specific location for a specified period of time. There is a highly competitive bidding process for these.
  7. Now, a reality check. There is no shortage of contractors with Type 6 engines looking for work. Since they are easy to build and relatively cheap to operate, and can be used in the off-season to haul concrete forms, hay or whatever, they are quite common. I was on a fire in R-5 (California) several years ago and saw a 1/2 mile long line of private Type Six engines.
               Approach fire contracting with your eyes open, realizing that the engine itself is just a fraction of the total cost of keeping it and its crew on the road with specialized equipment, vehicle insurance, general liability, fuel and maintenance and workman's comp. Since Region 4 is not known for its thousands of rippling lakes and other handy water sources, fire managers in the Great Basin like rigs that carry a lot of water, such as Type 4s and 5s. But the bigger the water payload, the more expensive the rig.
  8. Then there is the issue of Red Cards, the universal proof of fire training and qualifications. If you or your people don't have them and are not qualified at the level you are trying to work at, then you are going to get shown the door (and rightfully should). Also, even though you may be able to take wildland classes from a local forest or BLM district, they generally will not issue Red Cards. Consider joining one of the contractor associations such as the National Wildfire Suppression Association (NWSA). They have a good Red Card program.
  9. Finally, good fire contractors are a vital resource to the Government. Making a fire contracting business work takes a lot of planning, training and effort. Not to mention a good business sense, a source of capital and people skills. Many failed fire contract businesses learned through hard experience that putting a pump, tank and hose reel on a truck was one of the easiest parts of starting the business.

Bon Appetite!
Snake River Sparky

Nicely done, Sparky! Thanks for the info. Ab.

04/20 hey there nevada terratorch,
hey it is jackson rookie here, hey thanks for writing back. if you could like to stay in future contact you can write me at my email address @ tut_981@hotmail.com. feel free to drop me a line. i just worked with a guy from elko nevada that detailed on there
with us just this past month or so. his name was steven <snip> i think it was. 

well every one again have a safe and wonderful fire season and hope to meet some of ya guys out there on the line...

jackson rookie
04/20 To everyone who seems to have a comment whether they were a Hotshot or not
and what their t-shirt means to them. Take heed.

Its time to stop making the statements like "I'd rather put up money than buy a
Hotshot shirt!!!" PUT UP OR SHUT UP!!! A brother is in need...

I may not have been around for as long as many, but I did serve almost 9
years on a Hotshot crew and I am sickened by the Bullsh*t that is going on
here as well as in the chat page. Thats not what I learned from being a
California Hotshot!!!!

If you are a Hotshot or former Hotshot, put up or shut up. Donate A/L or
give money, or offer to buy the shirts.... dont just talk shit.... A TRUE

Enough of this BS... Whoever buys the shirts could donate them to a museum
and make all the parties happy....


Didn't make chat last night. Was some kickin' needed? Ab.

04/19 Here's some interesting stuff from the National Weather Service (posted April 1st):
LOS ANGELES DOWNTOWN     4.27...13.94......31%
LOS ANGELES AP           3.98...12.20......33%
LAKE CACHUMA            11.18...24.93......45%
MOUNT WILSON            11.91...36.80......32%
OXNARD WFO               6.19...14.95......41%
PALMDALE                 2.16... 6.81......32%
PASO ROBLES              7.88...13.42......59%
SAN LUIS OBISPO (POLY)  14.12...22.49......62%
SANTA BARBARA CITY       8.65...17.37......50%
SANTA MARIA AP           6.17...12.79......48%
It gets worse the further south or inland you go.

Any one got any info on the I-5 fires down near Stockton CA? Just caught a mention of them on the CHP CAD page and one note said "Big".... Is that 5 acres big or 5000 acres BIG?


04/19 My Two Cents & SLN,

I think you guys are getting a little carried away with the "Be One, Love One, or Kill One" and "NO MATTER WHAT" cliches. They are just shirt, I know what these shirts mean to Shots and how they feel about having them out in the publics hand, but again they are just shirts. Here's something to think about, if you see somebody out wearing a IHC shirt and ask him about it - chances are he is from that crew or has been on that crew and has earned the right to wear it. If the person wearing the shirt is not from that crew or hasn't been on that crew then it's just a shirt, a shirt that represents that IHC. A IHC shirt doesnt mean anything without a person or crew to go with it, without an IHC member wearing it, its just a shirt - a good shirt - even a great shirt that represents something great - but just a shirt. Rowdy is wanting to do something great, with a great thing, for some great people...let him. Myself, I would rather see my crew shirt "out and about" on someones back that is appreciative of the IHC rather than stuck on some wall in a museum. Get back with me.........I got more.......


04/19 What alot of words flying about clothes.
I spent a decade on a shot crew and I hate to think how much money I've spent hats, coats, sweatshirts, long and short sleeve shirts, buckles and who knows what other crew stuff. I don't believe the clothes should be out there for the general public, "BUT" the agency doesn't by the stuff for you and the minute any of them try to tell me what I can do with something that doesn't belong to them they can kiss my fat (__.__). I understand the heartburn people having, especially shots that have earned their colors, but I have known a good number of them that don't belong in them. Take a chill pill it's for a good cause and hope that person will do the right thing with the collection. A butt-chewing isn't what they needed but I don't know "maybe" some ideas would of helped. I'll tell you what I would have done if someone would of jumped my butt like some of you people did. I would of went out and gave them to every bum and dirtbag I could find. Maybe even donated to the county jail. "but" if I did that some old hotshots might end up with them.

Take care and be safe, sorry for being so long winded.
Sign me, "Hotshots shirts for sale"

04/19 As "My 2 Cents" suggests, donate some leave to the IHC Supt. Let's help
take care of one of our own. I won't mention the person's name here to
protect privacy, but Ab can tell you who it is. Thanks.


Ab feels privileged to play the middle man on this one. Let's support our own with leave time.

04/19 Hotshot shirts
As a member of several hotshot crews over the years, I can tell you that selling those shirts to the public is not right. As someone else already stated, there are only a couple of ways to earn those shirts -- be one or love one. Those shirts are not supposed to be passed around or sold to anyone. I don't think there is one IHC crew out there that differs. Alot of pride and hard work is put into those shirts and they should not be for sale to anyone that has not experienced what being part of a hotshot crew is all about. We have even had individuals that quit mid season and all shirts, hats, and patches were bought back because they couldn't make it. Keep the shirts with the people that have worked hard and earned them, thats who they are for.
04/19 Get Off Your Highhorse:

You obviously ain't got a freaking clue what you're talking about .

Rowdy would have never gotten hold of the IHC shirts from any of the crews
if it was not for a specific purpose, such as was previously mentioned.

Crews historically have not given out their shirts to anyone, except for
special reasons.

There are 3 other ways to get a crew shirt from a Hotshot Crew. Be One,
Love One or Kill One.

The IHC Supt. with cancer is a friend of mine and I have already donated
leave, and will do so again as long as he needs it. If you are a Federal
Employee I would suggest you do the same for someone you care about.

So why don't you apply for an Interagency Hotshot Crew and if you are
fortunate enough to get hired, you will see why the shirts are
"treasured" by the people who wear them.

My 2 Cents
04/19 OK PYRO,

There are several companies that make the helo-torch they may also make the terra-torch. Check at terratorch.com. Keep in mind they have to be DOT approved now days. Completely enclosed so the human body is not exposed to the surfire and gas. This goes for all models as I was told, some can be retrofitted for about 12 K. Not sure if it's a Region 5 thing or national.

One company is Fire Specs. in Carmel Ca. another company is Western Helo. torch based in Canada, which has a sister Co. somewhere in US. and as we speak Boise is testing some units to see if they can be approved.

the meat

04/19 Hey ab,
I was wondering if anyone knew of any Group or Individual Health Insurance
plans that specialize in either Temporary Gov't employees or Wildland

Just checking to see if there are any other options out there for me.

04/19 Jobs page, Wildland Firefighter Job Series 0462 and 0455 Pages are updated.
04/19 Here's a link to those Colorado fires. It snowed overnight, which helped. Don't miss the slide show.



Thanks Firescribe. We also appreciate the heads up from those who are local to the fires (thanks cs) or have knowledge (thanks r6). Ab.

04/19 To "my 2 cents" whoever that is:
Well, aren't you special. You think somebody ought to not be able
to do what they want with IHC shirts? How do you figure this person was "were
presented the shirts from the crews " anyway? You don't know that.
We're not talking historical artifacts here, just tee-shirts, okay? If you
want to "donate a higher market price" you better find out what the market price
is first. (and then what are you going to do with your treasure anyway?
Donate it to a museum? Which one?

Get off your high horse.
04/19 hey all, crapy weather here in north central nevada. bring on the heat !
hey ECS, talked to harry in the tower yesterday. c-11 was on a fire and harry told him i was on the way. too funny. you be careful this summer. i know things are pretty ugly out there. ya can always give me a call as a single resource !
hey eric pw, maybe we can get together this time. let me know when you will be in town.

we will be hiring for crew supervisors soon. here is the linc. look under agriculture and conservation http://www.state.nv.us/personnel/joblist.phpl

04/19 Michael, I know people who have had both Wesco and White boots and have preferred the Whites. I have used Whites for over 20 years, and the only other boot that I would consider is Nicks. One suggestion that I would make for any boot is to get the rough-outs. They are much more comfortable.

04/19 Michael:

Please do yourself a big favor…buy a pair of White’s “Original Smoke Jumper” boots with a 10” top. Though it is true that there are many quality boot options to choose from such as, Buffalo, Nick’s, Wesco, and Danner to name a few, don’t take a chance on something as important to a wildland firefighter as your feet. I have been a wildland firefighter for 29 years (16 years on a Hotshot Crew) and during that time have been closely associated with hundreds of friends and co-workers who also work in the wildland firefighting arena, so I have a pretty good base to develop footwear recommendations from Over time, of these folks (firefighters) I’m acquainted with have settled on one brand or another of boots that may suit their own personal needs well, and will whole heartedly recommend/argue for the brand of their choice to/with all, hoping that it will satisfy the needs of the person or person’s they are advising, and in many cases the advice is sound and well meaning, but, I warn you to take the advice with a “grain of salt.”

Boots are a very personal item and folks tend to demonstrate strong devotion to the boot they wear whether they fit well or not, just because it’s their boot. Advocates of a certain boot brand will argue their point vehemently with anyone who questions their choice, primarily because they are afraid of being stigmatized as having made a poor choice, and will wear that boot brand for their whole career just to prove that they have the best boot brand even if their feet are hurting like hell. Some good analogies of this phenomenon, would be how people argue their point concerning crummy dogs, horses, firearms, beer, girl and boy friends, and wives and husbands. It’s just human nature to want our choice to be the best even if it’s wrong.

Now back to the point of this long ramble (sorry), that is, why I think you (or any body) should go with the White’s brand. The majority of wildland firefighters, who do a lot of walking/working such as hotshots, smoke jumpers, engine crews, and even helicopter personnel (though they don’t walk/work very often…just kidding) have settled on White’s. All these folks went with this brand for a reason, they just plane, hands down, bottom line, fit the majority of people the best. The odds are, for your first pair of boots, White’s would most likely fit you well.

After you are a little more seasoned, and have gained a knowledge base concerning what would be the best for you, shop around and maybe one of the other brands will fit you better (doubtful, but you never know). Some other suggestions I would pass on to you are…take a look at the elk-tan rough-out (lighter than the black-kip and wont crack as much over time), stay away from the lace-to-toe (sticks, mud, and slurry will get caught in the laces. Will provide a rough point that could hang-up and trip you). Honey Vibrams are softer to walk on and wont leave black marks on the floor (but do wear out faster). The black-kip are more water resistant than the elk-tan, but only 5 minutes more, so I don’t feel they are worth the extra weight.

Good luck on your eventual choice and I hope this information helps you, I also recommend you ask around, I think most folks will agree with my thoughts, but a few won’t (and I bet we’ll hear from them!).

Once or twice around the block

04/18 Ab

Another fire going on in CO in addition to Topaz, its near Ft Collins and last estimate was 600 acres.

04/18 Good Afternoon Abercrombie,

Wesco is currently looking into interesting or amazing firsthand
wildland firefighter accounts that involve our boots (eg. how they may
have gotten in a situation but their boots never failed them). I was
wondering if you could do a posting on your site in the "they said"
section and see if anyone is interested in telling us their story and
possibly having their name and picture appear in a magazine (15 mins of
fame!). You can have these people contact me at ben@westcoastshoe.com.
Let me know if you have any questions and if this is doable. Thanks,
Ab. Talk to you soon.


Here it is, Ben. Wearers of Wesco, want to exercise your storytelling skills? Ab.

04/18 Dear Ab,

I was wondering if you or anyone else knows of a website for terra torch
design plans or fabricating. I have found several pictures of terra torches
but none that show an up-close view of the pump and nozzle. Thanks for your

04/18 colorado has a fire going on topaz mountain sounds like a ripper going 250 acres in a hour

04/18 I'm looking for a cap with the El Cariso logo ("Ruptured Duck"). Anyone out there know if the crew has its logo back?

Rowdy: It would be great if some ff was willing to buy the collection from you intact. They could display, and you could make a contribution to a friend in need. But.....firefighters are a robust bunch, most not particularly concerned about the trappings. What we are is not in a shirt, and not requiring enshrinement. Sell the shirts if you want, and do a good deed for someone else. It's cool.

Old Fire Guy
04/18 My 2 Cents has a good point.

IHC shirts are not to be sold (or given/donated) to the public, NO MATTER WHAT!. I too would rather donate money instead of my shirt. I am sure most IHC members feel this way as well.


04/18 Rowdy, you have raised a sensitive issue about selling IHC shirts on the
open market. The idea of a fund raiser for scholarships or a welfare fund
is as good as any. However I don't think the general public has any cause
to possess crew shirts. The privilege to possess an IHC shirt is earned
through hard work and sacrifice. They are not a commodity to be traded for
any (no matter how worthy) purpose.

You were presented the shirts from the crews on the presumption that they
would be used as a display at NIFC or some appropriate place that would
give the shirts the respect that they are due.

Please keep the crew shirts off the market, if you cannot work the display
thing out at NIFC maybe the Boise or Idaho City Shots can get it done since
they are close.

I would be glad to donate a higher than market price of a crew shirt to a
IHC welfare fund or scholarship fund if it would help keep the shirts
available for their original intention.

My 2 Cents.
04/18 Michael,

You should try Wesco boots. I've worn this brand for years and find them to be terrific. Just broke down and got a new pair of Firestormers on sale. Breaking them in now. You should check em out. I think they're on sale thru the end of the month.


04/18 From Firescribe:

Fire Rages in Pike National Forest

04/18 Not long ago there was talk about an up and coming program on Nova.
Which had something to do with the Arrowhead Hot Shots. Does anyone
have any info on when it will be aired?

May 7. Look here NOVA Fire Wars. Ab.
04/18 Cap Emmett

I heard that when a cooperator calls re an IA fire originating in their jurisdiction, we will limit what we send for free. I know CDF is facing budget cuts, but this doesn't help our relationship with our cooperators and getting the fire out to be dickering over what's for free and what's not. Pretty soon they're going to do the same with us and we'll be there figuring costs while the fire rages on.


04/18 What rumors are those, Al? Please be specific, maybe us CDF’ers can lay your fears to rest. We are facing a $20 million budget cut, but I don’t think we are cutting engine companies or closing stations, if that’s what you heard.

Captain Emmett
04/18 Help!! I need a good pair of boots, I have info on Nicks boots and Whites. Both look the same. Which is better, and how is the lace to toe? Is it better or worse? why?

Thank you
04/18 Smitty:

"Just reading an old book dated 1966, "Principles of Forest Fire Management
by Char and Chatten (no pun intended I'm sure) "

The correct citation is Principles of Forest Fire Management by Clar and Chatten. Ray Clar was a venerable CDF firefighter and the primary historian of CDF and there has never been a better book written on fire management. Never.

Capt 80
04/17 Any one know anything about getting a type 6 engine contracted with region
4? Thanks for the help in advance...

04/17 Does anyone know whats up with CDF scaling back on the types of resources that will be available for free on IA? Lots of rumors out there... Has this been spelled out anywhere?


04/17 Lo ab, mellie, et al. BC we'll be staffing our winny office may 15. Reno and SLC around then too. Looks to be a ripping season, (course everyone says that this time of year;))
anyways hope to cross paths with you.
Meredith congrats on getting a position so close to home! see you in Elko
eric PW
04/16 I have a large collection of IHC t-shirts, probably the largest in the US. What does anyone out there think its worth? I started the collection some years ago and have them boxed up. Some new, some used and some you cant find anymore. Thoughts are to sell the collection and give the proceeds to a IHC crew member for a scholarship. I also know of a IHC-Superintendent going through a real battle with cancer, I would gladly try to finish the collection and sell it with proceeds going to his family. He is a great friend and I would like to help out. I know if it were for a benefit it may be worth more. Any ideas on how to market this collection? Maybe on ebay? 

04/16 Jackson Rookie

I am a wildland firefighter in Nevada and have worked with Jackson quite a bit. They are a very good crew. Lamar runs a great program over there. I had a buddy that detailed over there and he had a wonderful time. You're in good hands.

NV Driptorch
04/16 CR-
i don't know about the rest of the west but we had a hell of a storm here in SLC yesterday. knocked power out and rained mud and the wind was blowing trees over. turning out to be a good start.....


04/16 Hello, just found out about this site a few weeks ago and have enjoyed reading they said it. This is my first time writing in.

Just wanted to let you know we've got a 100+ acre fire in the Dixie NF near Parowan, UT. They think it started with a lightning strike last Fri and grew with the winds yesterday. They're calling up some additional crews asap. Maybe some of you will come. The woods are tender dry.

Be Safe,

04/16 Hi Ab,
I'm a college student and have applied to work as a wildland fire fighter this summer, I have always wanted to do this, and have applied with several  different agencies for the summer 02' fire season. I've been told that a good way to land a fire fighting job is to be persistent, so I've tried to do that, and I check your site a lot for new job openings and think its really great! Anyways, I called a Forest Service Ranger District at Bighorn Nat'l Forest in WY and was told they don't know when they'll be able to start hiring, one person told me they thought they were having problems with the budget, is this true with all Forest Service Districts?

Are they all having a hard time going through the hiring process? I have been waiting a while now and call every once in a while but haven't heard much from any other places I've applied to either. I am an Illinois Certified EMT-B, but am taking the National Registry exam in May, and have been a cadet on my local fire dept. for several years and becoming a wildland fire fighter is something I have always really wanted to do, as you can probably imagine, in Illinois we don't get too many wildfires though. If you or anyone has any advice for this fire fighter hopeful I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks a lot! Hope everyone has a safe season!


Some places in CA are making temp offers now. Some FS Ranger Districts in northern CA are still sending out letters to people who worked last year and won't make new offers until they hear back from those folks, maybe in 2 weeks. Readers, anyone know about elsewhere across the US or about other agencies? Ab.


Here's what I've found out about the lookout question on IMWTK.

Q: Were early lookouts mostly women and, of them, which one might be considered the most "stylish"? (Tongue firmly in cheek!) 
A: One of the earliest and most stylish women lookouts has to be Helen Dow who "manned" Devil's Head Lookout in Colorado's Pike NF during most of the 1920's. Lookouts might see no one for long periods of time but could look across the forests below and see towers of other lookouts that might be as much as a hundred miles away.

During World War II, many lookouts in Idaho and elsewhere in the west were staffed by young men, many not much more than boys (16 yr old). One such story is that of Warren Yahr who describes his experiences in Smoke Chaser. He describes talking nightly with other young lookouts whose lights he could see on distant mountaintops after dusk on the partyline phone.


PS Ab, please add this on. I am curious if anyone remembers when the driptorch was invented and what preceded it. Dodge lit a backfire to save himself at Mann Gulch in '49. Presumably the driptorch wasn't invented then. Some old dogs must still be alive who can remember its development. I wish they would fill us in. Still makes me feel in awe when I watch a large fire suck the smaller backfire up into its flames and then the fuel is spent.

04/16 Anyone know if CDF is officially in fire season and staffed in SoCali? Staffing up to snuff?

My elderly aunt in the Yucipa area (interface) is worried about something regarding fire protection but doesn't know enough to tell me whats going on. Sure would appreciate any info good or bad to figure out what she's talking about. I know there was a Rivers Fire last week in the Riverside area. Are cooperators on the same page?

Any big politics? Anyone know what's happening with the CDF budget? Are big cuts planned? Any insight would be appreciated.


04/16 The latest word from the WO- NFC will start manually processing the Fire
Overtime back payments for the last half of the 2001 this week.
  • It will take NFC several pay periods to calculate the interest due and
    process all the cases.
  • NFC is working from a service wide list so we can not estimate when
    individual employees will receive their payment.
  • Because these are manual payments, they will be made separate from the
    salary checks and could start arriving in the employees bank accounts later
    next week.
  • Human Resource Offices will be able to see the NFC 29 information in
    PQ032 the pay period following the payment. Once all payments are made,
    we will receive a listing of each payment (base and interest).
  • A new prefix code of 11 (to be used with TC 21 to indicate exempt fire
    suppression overtime) is being added at NFC and in Paycheck (see WO
    6150-3-1 ltr dtd 3/6/2002). We have not heard if this will be in place in
    pp 8 as proposed.
  • Yes, BLM is currently paying exempt fire overtime at the new rate. We
    are payrolled thru NFC, they are not. Once the programming is complete at
    NFC, we too will be paid each pay period at the correct overtime rate.
  • Remember that the pay period earnings limitation does not apply during
    fire emergencies, but the annual earnings limitation is still in effect.
Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.


04/16 Hello Ab,

Hi. I am from Brainerd Minnesota and I just got on as a federal employee with the Jackson Mississippi Hotshots, it is a Type one hotshot crew. I am a rookie this year and have lots of good things about the crew but I am just wondering if there is anyone out there that has anything to say about the crew. I am really looking forward to having a great and safe fire season with them. Well, thanks for all your guys help in the links and all the info.....


Jackson Rookie

04/15 BCdavis long time no see. Looks like it could be a crazy year in good old NJ. 
We are in drought conditions and are over 20 inches behind. Its been a slow 
start but we are picking up. See ya around the West.


04/15 MJ, if there is a 2002 edition of the Interagency Hotshot Crew Operations
Guide it would be nice to get copies out to the IHC's real soon. The only
one I can find on the web is the 2001 edition. Also, there is no mention
of a new edition in the National IHC Steering Committe notes.

04/15 With all of these questions about Strike Team leader Quals required now for IHC captains, why don't people just look in the Interagency Hotshot Operations Guide (ask your local Hotshot Crew for one). The 2002 edition discusses these new quals, as well as the differences between an Interagency Hotshot Crew, A Forest Type 1 Crew, and Type 2 crews. There are big changes this year, and people will just have to get used to them! Also, this guide explains just what a new Type 1 crew will have to do to convert over the next few years into an IHC. Also, there IS motion in Region 5 to reclassify Type 2 crews as Type 2 IA and type 2 Regular, to allow for the new FS 10-20 person Initial Attack handcrews.

04/15 Skye,
Speaking as a Captain with the NDF, you gotta shine in the interview. we are probably going to interview 55+ candidates, and you don't want to get lost in the crowd. Dress to the nines, don't fidget, look em' in the eyes and try to remember that they put their pants on the same way as you do. We all started out the same and we know what you're going through. Be relaxed and have fun, even though you're probably nervous. We are a fun bunch, we love fighting fire, and we enjoy a camaraderie that is a rare thing in these days.
So good luck!

04/15 Hi,

Thanks for the site. I've been lurking for a while as I've applied for my FS seasonal job and have learned alot that helped with that. It's great to finally be facing a season of fighting fire. I'd like to become a hotshot when I can move up. Thanks for the site Ab and thanks for doing the jobs page Mellie.

I am trying to understand how things work. The comments about hotshot standards got me thinking. There are national fire standards that are a minimum (?) for redcard positions (interagency), then there are fed agency standards (FS, BLM,etc), and also state standards (CDF, etc), county standards etc. Then according to CAP and Squaddie there are also regional fire standards that are higher in CA (R5) than even the national agency standards?

On another organizational track, there are National Forests with their organization and also there are regional fire organizations for the FS that has a head and some highest managers? Those people do or don't directly integrate with the national forest people for all their meetings and decisions? Same for CDF (or whatever state); are there two parallel organizations in terms of decision making and standards at the state level? Are fire managers ever called line officers?

This is all confusing. Do you know where I can find some of the guides to the different standards? Why is CA demanding more?


Dan, it is confusing until you live in the fire system for a while. Fire managers are not called line officers. That term usually refers to Rangers and Forest Supervisors.

Take a look at the links page under training/education for the NWCG 310-1 (interagency fire) and the FSH 1509.17 (forest service fire). That's a start. Use the Acronyms List and the Red Card Mnemonics Links at the top of this forum if you have any questions about acronyms.

Also, Doug had a question last week about Type I and Type II hand crews. The Mobilization Guide is a good source of info on that and other requirements. It is now online at NIFC. 


04/15 Cap and All,

What is the thinking behind having all the R5 hot shot crew leaders be strike team 
leader (crew) qualified right off the bat? Seems like it would be better to set a goal to 
have them reach that standard by some "reasonable time". We don't want to 
shoot ourselves in the foot here while moving to be the best trained we can be.


04/14 hey all, 

been a long time since i have posted anything. no one told me that the teenage years can be sooooooooo fun.

my camp just spent a week on a project in western nevada providing fire hazard reduction. since i have a new crew for this fire season, it was a great experience for the crew. i was able to really explain some things that i couldnt do during our normal projects. we need more of this! not just to provide a learning environment for the crews but to provide the people with some education and protection against wildland fire. i hope NDF expands this program. 

how do other states do this? where does the money come from?

on a bitter note, the rumor is that ndf is slashing up to 25 structural fire fighters from the ranks. ndf will be giving fire protection back to certain counties. i guess ndf is still trying to find itself. we will have some crew supervisor spots opening up in my humboldt camp, so if you are looking for a job give it a try. 


04/14 Here are a couple of jumper pics if you'd like them. 

Arbor Sky

I put those up on the Miscellaneous 2 and the Fire 10 pages. Thanks Everyone. Ab.

04/14 Sean,

Here's ours: Twin delivery - Two Type 6 CAFS engines, Powerstrokes on the 550 Super-Duty chassis, 300 gallons with a 125 gpm pump, 10 gallon foam tank, and another one of the easiest to use pump panel I've come across on an RFD brush rig.


Put em on the Engines 4 page. Ab.

04/14 Hey Ab,

Here are some photos for the site. Coloriver is of the Colorado River Crew at the helibase on the Elk Creek Fire in Idaho, August of 2001. The other two are from the Winters Flat Fire GJD BLM in May 2000. The helicopters an Alouette (sp) and I have no idea what the air tanker is.

Thanks for the great site,
sign me CS

Ab put em on the Hand 5, Helo 7 and AirTanker 4 pages.

04/14 Appreciation:

Fire: What a shame that something so awesome and beautiful could be so destructive and dreaded. My family wishes to thank those who put their lives at risk to save our lives and natural resources. Thank you for providing the photos and text.


You're welcome, James. We also appreciate the photo contributions and information from our readers. Ab.

04/14 Congrats SkyeBlue. NDF is full of professionals We work with them quite a bit and find they have great people, great gear, and looks like they have a blast doing it.

as for interview questions 
Ive always heard some questions that would throw you.

like halfway through an interview one of the guys will interupt and ask you "do you think you are dressed appropriately for an interview" Ive seen this actually practiced so they can get the interruption right. 

They are testing your composure to a difficult question. No matter what you are wearing this certain department likes to ask that. The ones that balk look up and down, make excuses and stumble dont usually go on. The ones that say "yes" or something else and keep their answers short - and then go back to the original question move on more often.

Anyways, have a safeone folks and see you on the line
eric pw
04/14 ab thanks for updating the job pages as often as you do. I find the opm page
way to complicated. No such luck finding a job yet but wanted to say thanks


Big thanks to Mellie for that. Ab.

04/14 Squaddy-

Each Hotshot crew captain does have to be STL Crew qualified according to the standards set by the Hotshot crews in region 5. Ray Quintinar made it clear that those standards will be followed. The R-5 Hotshot crews can not revert back to the national standards because the ones in region 5 are more stringent. This isn't the only qualification speed bump either. So if this holds true.......there are going to be a lot less Hotshot crews in region 5 for now. Of course this is always subject to change.......Stay tuned.

Stay Safe!

04/14 I GOT MY FIRST LETTER! Yippie!
I have an interview with NDF next Saturday! I am so excited I could just pop!

I have to say thank you to everyone that gave me input! I am one out of 100's but interviewing in the top 20...not sure how I pulled that one off but am not going to argue! Even if it was just luck of the draw I am happy!

Ok now for more questions....what should I expect on an interview? Also, they say to bring my current pant and shirt size with me? is this mens sizes? or womens? UGH! I know both, I just prefer to be properly prepared!

I am just shocked right now...silly I know but just the thought of being one step closer to doing what I want to makes me downright giddy (not real firefighter like I know...oh well I'm still doing a happy dance) geesh if I am this happy now I will probably lose it when I "get" a job. HEHE.

Again thanks everyone you are all the best!
04/13 NCCrew-

The NC Division of Forest Resources works with colleges to
provide handcrews for local fires, especially in the western part of the
state. Check on the Web page (on the links page) to find local contacts.


04/13 Hey Ab!

I've heard that R5 is now requiring each hotshot crew to have both their Captains be qualified as Strike Team Leader. Is this a National thing? Or just R5? Apparently those hotshot crews whose Captains aren't qualified as such will be de-certified as a hotshot crew. Does anyone know the truth about this rumor?

04/13 in the laundry guy way of thinking...

ok, here ya go, if a tractor trailer car hauler gets in a wreck , would
that be considered an M.V.A. with no casualties ? 

hehe, couldn't resist.
donna, dozer support

04/13 Today was a fiasco as usual at the annual R6 Engine/Tender inspections. 
There was absolutely no consistency in the inspections of vehicles. Some Engines had everything measured with a tape measure, such as the length of their draft hose, while others had the ends of the hose looked at and passed while the hose was still in the hose tubes. Entire inspection stations were failed because the contractor provided 4 individual quarts of drinking water per worker instead of a 1 gallon canteen for the whole Engine crew. I think we all stopped sharing crew-canteens years ago, but don't tell the inspectors about personal hygiene and communicable disease prevention, you simply fail if the water is not contained in a gallon jug! 

How about radios, the contract calls for one field programmable radio with a cloning cable, some contractors were again failed because they had a $2,000. Kenwood mobile programmable radio dash mounted and the inspectors wanted a handheld radio. The contract simply says a field programmable radio with a cloning cable. The Engine operators know that a fixed antennae 24-45 watt dash mounted mobile can get transmissions out a whole lot further than a 2-5 watt handheld. Maybe the inspector thought that "field programmable" meant a field radio, who knows but you shouldn't fail a whole inspection station because of misinterpretation, BUT it happened today! 

Most Engines had every adapter, stick of hose, and gated wye counted but again some contractors who had "best value" Engines were allowed to move one set of their adapters, hose, etc from one completed, inspected apparatus in the parking lot to another not inspected Engine that was starting at Station 1. The older apparatus was inspected with a fine-toothed comb and the "best value" newer models were inspected as just described. It is unbelievable that these inconsistencies are occurring at the same inspection facility, at the same inspection, day and time with the different apparatus in the same inspection station sequences, BUT it happened today! 

We all want and need top notch apparatus on the R6 contract but it was clear today that there is a strong bias among the inspectors and there is a whole lot of personal interpretation and personal opinions that are completing the inspections rather than objective tests and simple common sense like following the contract and the simple inspection form. I really try hard to enter and complete the inspection with a positive attitude and a smile, but after two inspection stations I was quite disconcerted at the process and the attitude of the inspection personnel. Standards must be enforced consistently and even-handed, and with respect!


04/13 Coyote, although the pump on the truck in question puts out 250gpm. A type 5 must have 500 gallons, and no more than 750 (that makes it a type four).

a six meets these minimums. 200 gallons (no more than 500)
147PSI @ 50GPM (amount required to get 50GPM through 3/8 straight bore)
that makes it a type six.

have a good one;)
04/12 Onelick -

Training for elevation really can't be done without training at elevation, in my opinion. All you can do is try to be as cardiovascularly fit as possible. As for the minimums, it's good to do the minimum, but more tends to be better. You might also want to hike that 2000' hill by where you live for practice, with weight. Running is a good way to get a lot of the muscles you use for everything in shape, and again you should be able to, at the minimum, run the mile and a half in 11:30 or better. Good luck this summer if and when you make it out west, and with your "normal" fire job too.

04/12 Doug,

I work on a Type 2 IA crew in the Great Basin, this will be my 4th
season. We do have at least 60% of the crew with 1 year experience. We
get 2 weeks of classroom and physical training at the beginning of the
season, usually at the end of May. In the Great Basin area I'm in, we
have 2 Type 1 crews and we get dispatched at the same time and from the
same dispatch as they do. We get the same assignments and work
side-by-side with the "Shots." Our overhead right now consists of two
Strike Team leaders, and two Crew Bosses. We are not from a National
Forest, or the BLM, BIA, or NPS, nor are we AD firefighters We are a
municipal Fire Dept. We have Crew Carriers, and Chase Trucks, we get
paid at the same rates as GS3, GS4, and GS5.

So what I am saying is that just because a crew is a Type 2 crew doesn't
mean that all they do is Mop-up and bad assignments. It just depends on
the type of people you have leading and the type of workers on your

Good Luck on your "Shot" crew

04/12 Eric It Does Look Like A type 6, But Isn't the tank Bigger Than A 6 Like Maybe A type 5?

04/12 Lo ab.
Sean looks like your rig is a type "6" is it still road legal with all that weight?
We have several crew cab chevys with 300 gallons on board and they all sit close to their GVW.
Anyways i hope this helps you somehow.
Eric PW
04/12 If all you ever put in your dryer is nomex, and you never clean the
filter, is it still a fire hazard?

laundry guy


04/12 Did some more research on first air tankers............... Probably more
than anyone ever wanted to know, but here goes.

Operation Firestop, which someone else mentioned, was an experiment in
1954, in which fires were set, and then different types of aircraft were
tested. I believe this took place on Camp Pendleton Marine base, near San
Diego. The result of this, it was felt that the aircraft were not an
effective method of fire suppression.

The First Operational Air Tanker was developed by the Willows Flying
Service in 1955. It was a Boeing Stearman 75 "Cadet" Agricultural
Aircraft N75081, modified with a 170 Gallon Tank. This was done under the
guidance of Joe Ely, who was the Fire Control Officer on the Mendocino
National Forest, at that time.

First Air Tanker Drop on a wildfire was made on the Mendonhall Fire, August
12, 1955, on the Mendocino National Forest. Vance Nolta Was the Pilot.

In 1956, the Willows Flying Service increased it's fleet of air tankers, to
the first Air Tanker squadron of 7 air tankers, which consisted of, 4
Stearman PT-17's and 3 Naval Aircraft Factory N3N's.

Tanker Pilots were: Dale, Floyd and Vance Nolta, Ray Varney, Frank
Prentice, Harold Hendrickson, L.H. "Mac" McCurley, and Warren Bullock.


Thanks, TC, way to follow up with interesting info. Put it on the IMWTK page and put a link to that above. Ab.

04/12 Yesterday's mail contained my acceptance letter for the class I wanted at
the Wildland Fire Academy in Missouri next month. I'm sure excited. If
anyone is coming from far away and has some questions about the area or the
Summer Fire School in general, please feel free to catch me in the chat
room during the daytime and fire away.

On the lighter side ... I checked the site from Firescribe on the Engine
Academy in MT. I noticed it is in Louis and Clark Caverns. I haven't been
to any caves in MT but they must really be something. Around here the
caves aren't big enough for one engine, not to mention enough for an
academy. Also I was wondering what kind of trees grow in those caves or is
the fire load from the bat droppings?

Everybody have a good day. You can tell that I am. Thanks for the great
site, Ab.


<chuckle> You're welcome. Ab.

04/12 Eric and Woodsman,

It has a 300gal tank, with a 250gpm pump with two 5gal foam tanks. 200ft 1" attack line on the reel, 150ft 1" on a pre-connect, and 150ft 11/2" pre connected. 12ft 4" hard suction. it also has 2, 1" spray nozzles mounted on the front of the cab on the bottom of the front bumper. 

It seats 5, carries enough hose 300ft 11/2" stored, and 50ft 5" LDN. plus two MSA SCBAs, 1halagen, 1kelley, axes, sledge hammers, and an EMT(B) trauma kit.

04/11 Sean, heres the federal engine spec guidelines by engine type.
COMPONENTS MINIMUM STANDARDS FOR TYPE         4      5       6      7
Pump Capacity (GPM)                          70     50      50     20
Tank Capacity (Gallons)                     750    500     200    125
Hose, 11/2" (feet)                          300    300     300    200
Hose, 1" (feet)                             300    300     300    200
Personnel (minimum number)                    2      2       2      2
04/11 Hello Ab: Couple of comments to make here.

Type 1 crews have to have 18 people with at least 1 year of wildland fire experience. Only 2 rookies on the crew per year. Type 2 crews are not always AD folks. They can be and usually are gov't folks who primary job description is not fire. You also have your Type 2 crew folks who work on BD crews etc. Now for the fun part, the new crew types. Just heard that they are going to further define the Type 2 crews. Type 2 and Type 2 IA. Type 2 IA must have at least 60% of the crew with at least one fire season of wildland experience. Type 2 crews must have a level of 40% with one year experience. Just to let you know.

Nice picture! What can it do. cant type a engine just by looks alone. give us some info and I'll try to get you an answer


Type 2 IA as in Initial Attack? in contrast to Type 2 MU (mop up)? Doug, check acronyms glossary for BD. Ab.

04/11 Re IMWTK first woman retiree:

Liz C's older sister held off on retiring for one year after she was eligible for 
some reason She would have retired before Jennifer deJung.

After Liz told me that, she and some others found out that there was a woman 
in fire on the Klamath who preceded Jennifer and would have preceded her 
sister too. Evidently  this woman still works in fire AD but is retired from the FS.
I'll look back through my Div Chief mtg notes and see if I can find her name.

If I recall correctly, some of the other IMWTK questions related to the first
Mexican/Chicano crews, when and where. Danny, did you get those?


04/11 Re IMWTK first air tanker drop:

Just reading an old book dated 1966, "Principles of Forest Fire Management
by Char and Chatten (no pun intended I'm sure) and it states; " Then the
fortuitous circumstance of testing the bulk release of water from a torpedo
bomber on the Jamieson Fire in Orange County in 1954 gave renewed hope of
technical success. This occurred during a joint agency experiment known as
"Operation Firestop."

04/11 Ab,

What class or type is our Salem engine or truck according to fed standards?

04/11 An answer to at least part of one of the unanswered questions...............
The First AirTanker used on a fire was based out of Willows, California, on
the Mendocino National Forest. Unknown what the first fire dropped on was.


Do you know the year? Any old timers around? I added it to the IMWTK page. Ab.
04/11 Ab,

Last year we had a bunch of historical fire questions and answers that we were throwing around on theysaid, like the first PPE, fire shelter, etc. IMWTK -- Inquiring Minds Want to Know. That was interesting. Did anyone ever make a list? 


Yes, Danny did then the thread died. I just got his list out and put it here: IMWTK. I know there were more questions after that. Anyone remember them? have any more questions? or know any answers? Ab.

04/11 Some terrific new photos up on Crew 4 (Hazard Trees and Sawyers, among others) and Crew 5 (check Crew Cohesion) and on Helo 7 (including the "Elvis" Sikorsky of LA City). Many thanks, contributors.

04/11 Future FS
It is the responsibility of the Crew Supv/Boss to get the CTR's signed and into the Finance Section. Travel to the fire should be broken out from the regular work hours. (T) Anything out of the ordinary should also be annotated. For instance: if no meal breaks are taken you should put down NLT and indicated what Div you worked. It is also nice to know what Forest you are from and you can do that by just putting down the 3 letter designator. Some crews will come to the fire with FTRs already headed up. If not, the Finance Section will do it for you. The 2nd to the last stop in the check-out process is Finance (Demob being the last stop). At that time, Finance will pull the File copy of the FTR and return the rest to the crew to take home. If for some reason you don't pick them up then Finance will mail them to your home forest.

Incidents will be trying to use the computerized ISUITE program. They may ask for additional information up front, but it makes posting time easier and you do not have to be as concerned about the math.

If you have ADs on your crew then it is a different ballgame. Finance will need the SS#, the emergency info and all the blocks on the top of the FTR have to be filled out properly, including AD step and rate of pay. So be prepared.

Finance folks try to be as helpful as they can on incidents. If you need any help with the paperwork, drop by and talk to them they will be glad to help you out.

It has been my experience that the difference between the Type I and Type II crews are: Type I crews are made up of permanent/temporary govt employees. They all have some type of appointments. Type I crews have a lot more training (both physical/classroom)  Type II crews are usually make up of AD firefighters. They are hired to fight a particular fire. They usually only receive @ 40 hours of training before they go out.  They do not get the in-depth physical/book training that the Type I crews receive. Forest's are give @4,000 to train and outfit a Type II crew(s).  ICs usually try to put the Type I crews on the hottest line. They are banking on the experiences of their leaders. That is why you may feel they get the "better" assignments. Often, the Type II crews are assigned to mop up. Not always. Type II crews are usually sponsored by either a local forest, college or Indian tribe. As far as pay goes, one is under the GS schedule and one is under the AD rates determined by where they are dispatched from. This year ADs are paid either under CONUS, Hawaii, Alaska rates. These rates are predetermined. They receive no overtime/HP or holiday pay. I'm sure others out there will tell you the differences better than I can.


04/11 Hey all- 
i was wondering: what are the technical differences that separate Type II Crews from Type I crews? i was on a Type II last summer and am going to be on a shot crew this summer and i was just wondering what really separates the two? different assignments? pay? i mean, they both hike their asses off and dig line. at least we did last summer. our crew rep last summer told us that, essentially, there is no difference between the two except for the overhead and where the money comes from etc,etc. but i have heard that Type II can't perform the same assignments, technically, as Type I. one fire i was on last summer, it seemed like the shots where always getting the best assignments. is this typical? can anyone help? thanks alot and be safe!
04/11 From Firescribe:

Engine Academy in MT 

Man Sentenced for Theft During Fire

Bush Admin Creates New Interagency Wildland Fire Leadership Council 

04/11 HEY AB -

I enjoyed looking at your fire site. I used to have one of the Chilao HS
patches on my hat when I worked there in the late 1970's. Don't know when
Chilao was disbanded, but I think it was sometime in the mid 1980's. They
still had an engine up there in 1994 ... ran into some of the guys on a fire
up on the Yakama IR.

Do you keep in touch with Jim Beard? I worked with him at Chilao. If you
do, please tell him hello from me.

Thanks for putting this website together.

Bill "Tex"

You're welcome. Ab.

04/11 Hey all,

I've got a question for ya. Can someone explain the time keeping and pay procedure used on large incidents? Is it the crew/engine bosses responsibility to prepare FTR's (Red Dogs), and then turn those into finance at check in? During the incident the crew boss completes CTR's and turns those in to div. at the end of an operational period? On check out/demob does the crew boss get the FTR's back from finance to turn in at home? Or do they stay? Anyway, any help will be appreciated.

Future FS
04/10 Hey, proud papa,

I just finished reading Smoke Chaser by Warren Yahr, a book listed on Ab's firebooks page. It's a must for anyone working as a lookout and I'd also recommend it to firefighters who read here and others who are interested in the days of yore.

The book is a cohesive collection of personal true stories told from the perspective of a 16 year old kid who went to work as a lookout on the Clearwater NF in 1945. The book is easy and engaging reading and interesting as regards the lifestyle and the problems he had to troubleshoot. He thought nothing of a 7 mi hike into an area where he fought a lightning fire alone... and tells of having to go out to repair downed telephone lines almost routinely and his trepidation in climbing the poles. He describes what he cooked with limited supplies and how he improvised with ice cream. One of his stories describes the mental and practical tasks his supervisors let him figure out, like how to single-handedly get a new woodstove up the stairs of the lookout. Self reliance... Some very captivating tales. I give it five chainsaws.

Tahoe Terrie

I put it on the Fire Books Review page. Pulaski said he liked it too. If you enter through the Amazon portal to purchase this book or any other book (or anything else that Amazon sells), you help pay the bills here. Ab.

04/10 Hey All you California Residents, 
Please take a moment and go to the Assn of Airtanker Pilots board via the links below. We need ya to write some e-mails please.

For those who haven't followed this, Assemblyman Dick Dickerson (R) of Northern CA introduced a much needed California bill to assist families of Contract Fire Pilots, like Lars and Larry (AT pilots), who die in the line of duty. He also introduced a Joint Resolution to urge the Federal Government to recognize Aerial Firefighters as Public Safety Officers, making them eligible for the PSO Bill. (I believe this  recognizes ALL contract firefighters as PSOs, making it possible for their kids to go to a state college or university for free if their parent dies fighting fire...)

Anyway, Wanda Nagel reports that California Assembly Bill AB1748 is soon heading into the “Appropriations Committee" and will be voted on within 7 to 10 days. Timing is important here. We could use some e-mails to the committee people to pass it on.

For more info from Wanda, and to see what your email should say, go here.

Here's a followup from Kelly on how to email all reps simultaneously. Will take but a moment. Please do this for our fire contractors and their families. Don't forget to include your name, address and zip code on the e-mail.

Do this mass mailer that Kelly suggested: EMAIL

Then cut and paste... your e-mail could simply say:
Dear Committee People,

Please vote YES on Assembly Bill AB1748. 

Please do NOT put it on suspense because it will cost the state far less than the $150,000 suspense limit.

<Your Name>
<Your Address> (a *MUST* for this to be taken seriously)


04/10 Onelick-

Sadly, there is nothing you can do at sea level to simulate the effects of
altitude. You can only acclimate when you get there. But in the meantime,
I suggest you hike the hills as much as possible, at least you'll be
prepared for that. I'm in the same boat now, and not looking forward to the
first two weeks.

04/10 Papa-

Just tell your daughter those big black nose nuggets are "Money Boogers". When you have those, you're makin' money!

04/10 The question of what radio contractors should get to use to meet the Forest Service contract came up as inspections are being done.

All the contract says is "a King or Kenwood, 148-174MHz and capable of Federal and State frequencies". The contract also states that the operator will get their radio programmed at an incident.

I would recommend getting a King GPH for a few reasons.

  1. The king radio is the standard of the FS. It is familiar to COMTs on fire, and they are prepared to program it. The FS does not furnish Kenwood programming software or cables, or training to COMTs.
  2. Replacement battery clamshells are generally available on an incident for the King.
  3. Some states have been assigned frequencies spaced so close that they overlap each other some (interstitial frequencies). The GPH was made to operate on these freqs, the EPH cannot do interstitial freqs, newer Kenwoods can.
  4. Narrowband analog, coming to the FS in 2004. GPH can do both narrow and wideband, some newer EPHs can, Kenwood can, LPHs cannot. Plan on getting a radio you can use in a few years.
  5. NIFC frequencies assigned to incidents cannot be used in a radio that transmits more than 10W of power. So technically you cannot use a more powerful mobile radio to transmit on the NIFC command freqs.
I know it can be confusing, asking a contracting officer isn't much help. Trying to debate needed clarification with a contract writer was futile.


04/10 Onelick wants to know:
My question is, how do I train for

1. Start smoking a pack a day and keep training.
2. Hold your breath for periods of two minutes while training, breathing
deeply every three minutes.
3. Tie a sweatshirt around your face so you can't breathe well, and
train faster.
4. Don't eat any food for 3 days, get rip-snortin' hung over, and THEN
do your training routine.
5. Carry a spare 30 lbs. while training.
6. Breathe through a straw while training.

All seriousness aside, I'm not sure there's much you can do other than
what you're doing. Maybe the exercise physiologists will have a straight
answer. I saw military troops from Texas and Louisiana on fires in
Montana in '94 -- the poor dogs were used to zero elevation and they
were up fightin' fire at 7200 feet with slopes so steep you could stick
your hand out in front of your face and touch dirt. They were HURTIN'

04/10 Ab
Has anyone got any information on the others who
died during the Pack Test?

Names, ages, who they worked for, any and all
information about their units.. Trying to keep a
little better information on LODDs than what the NFA
comes up with...

We lost a firefighter in Missouri this week due to
smoke inhalation which is believed to have cause a
heart attack.

04/10 Ab,
Since you let us spout off about most everything short of broken relationships and jilted lovers, I just wanted to warn those in the fire community to avoid roadside weigh stations in South Dakota, especially the one entering from Minnesota on I-90. Come to think of it, why would you want to go there anyway?

In a very unusual policy, the state requires vehicles over 10,000 GVW to stop at the scales (most states are 16,000+ GVW). They have a big surprise waiting for you (and get your wallet out, as Sheriff Coaltrain and Boss Hogg only accept cash).

I recently ferried a newly purchased Ford F-450 Type Six engine from Kentucky to Idaho. Since the rig has a utility box and a GVW of 15,000 lbs. I, like a dutiful citizen, drove across the scales. And was--surprisingly--waved into the office. In addition to my driver's license and vehicle registration, I was asked for a commercial driver's log book, Federal DOT registration and a current commercial driver's medical certificate--things, of course, all of us know we need when driving an overgrown pickup from state to state. I guess I slept through that part in the last DOT-EVOP class.

As my jaw dropped in amazement, the officer handed me a ticket for $86, payable in cash. Oh, and despite the truck having current Kentucky registration, there was an additional $15 for a trip permit. Payable in cash, of course.

In defending the state, though, the officer was very helpful in explaining that I could show up at Minnehaha Circuit Court in Sioux Falls on the 30th of April and contest the ticket.

At least I didn't get fined for a broken tail light, a la nightstick.

Oh, and as I left, there was quickly growing line of incredulous Ryder household moving truck drivers at the counter getting out the Green. Funny, but I swear I heard banjos.

Snake River Sparky

04/10 Onelick,

Take a vacation to Denver the month before fire season starts and continue your workouts there.

NorCal Tom

04/10 A question for anyone who works for the BLM or FS,

I was up training at Fort McCoy WI. with the reserves. I was in a formal school with people from all over the US. A few of my classmates happened to be with the BLM and the FS. They all put it out that this year because of manpower shortages with both agencies, Guard and Reserve soldiers are going to be trained and activated to help with fires. They said it was because the regular Army could no longer provide the people and that it was going to be a bad season. They said that they were going to pull from every guard state. Is this rumor true, or is it what I think it is, just a rumor.

04/09 Hi all-
I found pictures from a fire today (Tuesday) in Riverside, CA - good
indication of fire conditions in southern CA... maybe a bit early for this
time of year. Here's the address:



Mighty fine. Ab.

04/09 Jerseyboy,
I am an east coast full time structural firefghter who comes west on a state
AD crew. I do the WCT every shift that I work (every 3rd day on 24/48s). I
also add extra weight to my pack and get on the stair machine for 30 min. in
addition I do the minimum standards for a shot crew - 40 sit-ups in 60 sec,
25 pushups in 60 sec, 7 pull-ups, etc. My question is, how do I train for
elevation? I live at the top of a 2k foot mountain, but that is just a small
hill compared to some of the places I've been to the past several years. I'm
sure any help you or anyone else can give, will help any of us east coasters
that come out to play.
04/09 MOC,

I couldn't find the financial stats you were looking for, but there's an interesting report on the 2001 fire season. Here's the access page for it. The reports are in pdf.



04/09 Ab-

There has been a lot of discussion about the WCT and its value and merits for its ability to indicate a fitness level that might be necessary for fireline assignments. I am entering medical school and have a strong background in exercise physiology (as well paying my dues on a 'shot crew) so i hope i can clear some things up:

The worlds of medicine and exercise physiology, though related, are markedly different. Medical doctors study illness and health, while exercise physiologists (of which the terminal degree is a Ph. D) study performance. Medical doctors have the knowledge to treat disease and sickness (and prescribe drugs), but i wouldn't consider a Ph. D. in exercise physiology any less educated than a M.D. (even a specialized one such as a cardiologist). The two study different things. Thus, as we wouldn't go to an exercise physiologist when we are sick, we wouldn't expect an MD to develop a test to measure a specific level of fitness.

Taken another way, there are plenty of healthy people who could not pass the WCT, and plenty of sick folks who could. If any folks remember Jim Fixx, the guy who wrote all the books about running in the late 70's - he died of heart failure on a run. Probably on any given day he could have passed the WCT, except one - the day he died. Fixx's problem that day, like many who suffer heart disease, was genetic.

Although our knowledge of heart disease is still relatively recent, it's pretty well known that there are genetic and lifestyle factors that contribute. If it's genetic, then most likey nothing will ever be known (even with an ECG), until a problem arises. Lifestyle choices are easy to point out, though rarely followed: diet, exercise, alcohol and tobacco use. I know this will probably touch a nerve with some folks, but any tobacco, including smokeless, can lead to a thickening of the arteries. This realm belongs to the M.D. The fit-to-work guidelines, a physical, etc., can help prevent, but not entirely stop, folks from dropping while testing.

All this said, there are those folks who appear out of shape who can whip more fit folks hiking in or digging line. This is where the exercise physiologist comes in - measuring performance. The WCT, from what I have gathered, is designed to be a simple, efficient way of determining if someone is fit to attend fireline duties, encompassing both rate and endurance. I guess it would be a lot like the intelligence tests created by the army. Do they exactly predict someone's abilities? No. However they do a good job. But since they need to be administered on a large scale (how many people pack test each year? about 15,000?) it needs to be consice and easy to score. I think the WCT fits this bill.

This doesn't mean that the WCT is perfect, or that it shouldn't be studied or even revised (I would love to see more testing like those standards for hotshots). But it should be looked at in the proper context. The role of a MD, determining the risk factors and ability to begin a training program, coupled with the role of a Ph. D, developing a test to measure performance, is a pretty effective and safe set-up.

As for anyone who doesn't train for the pack test, I would question their desire to fight fire, because it means that they probably weren't training for the season. Fire is a physical job, like a sport, and one needs to train to be good at it.


04/09 Anybody heard anything about the overtime backpay for FS exempt employees?
Last I heard they were supposed to start working on it the middle of March.
I guess now we know what all the FS's contractors feel like with the FS's
slow pay system.


04/09 Here's some information that the folks at NOVA sent in regarding the upcoming show FIRE WARS that will air on Tuesday, May 7, 2002 from 8 to 10 PM ET on PBS.
04/09 From Firescribe, a couple of articles on the Dedication of the California Firefighters' Memorial:

Press Enterprise
Sacramento Bee
04/08 To Cache Queen,
Thank you very much for the information. I got my tax return back and was able to order what i needed from NIFC. No one else was able to help me, including the people I know in the wildland field.

Does anyone know where to find the Monetary Costs for the 2001 Fire Season? I can't find it on the NIFC Site.
I need the breakdown of Cost by Federal Agency, and the monetary loss due to fire damage.
I need it ASAP. THanks.


Good luck with teaching your class with few resources, MOC4546. Ab.

04/08 RE: NEWRL
(National Emergency Wildfire Resource List)

We have changed the process for facilitating the hiring of available wildland firefighters. There is no longer a fee for to either the prospective employer or employee for this service and the process has changed slightly as a result.

Any firefighter may post their qualifications and availability at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smokechasersforhire free of charge. Any prospective employer may subscribe to receive instant email updates or weekly "digests" free of charge or simply check the site for new posts when they need firefighters.

The instructions at the link are pretty clear but if you simply cannot get subscribed, email me and a volunteer will contact you to help. This site is maintained by volunteers from the Minnesota Wildland Firefighters Assn. as a service to our brother and sister wildland firefighters nationwide.

Prospective employers are encouraged to contact me directly and I will help set up access to your specifications.

Since this is a new service, I imagine there is a lot of room for improvement. Suggestions welcomed. If you have questions please contact me at the email address on the end of this post.

To subscribe or post a work wanted ad just go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smokechasersforhire.
Dana Linscott

04/08 Hi folks,

In 1975 and '76 I was a Catalina Hotshot on the Coronado NF (I still have the logo patch to prove there was such a crew). My wife was a R3 dispatcher. Not only didn't we see each other much during fire season, but she was responsible for sending our crew.

We spent the 80's and 90's back in Ohio, raising a family. We still live in Ohio, although you might not know it during fire season.

Now I'm re-living my earlier times vicariously. This upcoming season my daughter will be a R6 Hotshot, my son will be a R1 engine crewman, and my wife just accepted a lookout job on the Clearwater.

Last August, my daughter called me from the Indian Springs fire and was complaining about the "freakin' big, black nose boogers." And I got this instant deja vu rush; Ab, I swear I could feel and taste those boogers just like it was yesterday!

This firefighting, it just gets in the blood. Family, I'm proud of you.
04/08 To MOC4546:

If you can't get ahold of 100 copies of the 1077 Pocket Incident Response Guide......here's a last resort. Go to www.nwcg.gov on the web -- click on publications in the upper right hand corner, then hit publications on the next menu. The guide can be downloaded from this page. I know this is a pain in the you know what -- and making copies is also expensive -- but the info is there for FREE in pdf format......good luck.

Cache Queen

04/08 In regard to the WCT, pack test.
Our county department has been using it for a couple of years and recently we are using it as the standard for all of our firefighters.

It is our feeling that out on the line is not the time to see if one is fit for doing the job. This not only puts the individual in jeopardy but all of the others on the line are put in danger.

While it is a fact that people have died doing the pack test it is also a fact that people have died sitting at their desks. If we were to look at those that died doing the test, how many were in proper shape to even attempt it? Is this something that we have to regulate and force more requirements because people are not able to say 'I sit at a desk 40 hours a week and then go home and veg until bed, maybe I should be working out getting ready for the test'.

I feel that there should be more responsibility to the individual in taking the test to take it upon themselves to do a personal assessment of their abilities. Why must we continue to try and fit everyone into a set pattern. Not everyone should be firefighters for one reason or another, this is just another weeding out point as far as I am concerned. I do my pack test once a month to check myself, so I am not just blowing smoke and no I am not just a youngster at just under 50. I say it works and lets work towards getting ready for the season.

I do not mean to sound uncaring but at least with this occurring in a testing situation there is a better chance for EMS to render aid and no one else was put in danger.

No, the test is not a perfect way to check the ability for the job, but short of taking an individual out for a 12 hours of cutting line, it is what we have.

Smokeater STL

04/08 John,

Wow, seems like you are a little late getting a type-6 engine together.
Have you read the contract, are you familiar with all the stuff you need,
training, experience, nozzles, fittings, hose, inspection, insurance, etc..?
I am saying this because I tried last year to get a contract and I have
finally finished putting an engine together, wow call me slow!!

You are probably going to have a hard time finding any new equipment as
most tanks and pumps seem to be on back order. I could be wrong but I had
a hard time getting all my stuff and am waiting on the final package today.
I am not trying to deter you from trying, but last year I spent alot of
money and time too late in the game. I have some tanks and hose that may
help you but not sure how far away you are? As soon as ab gets the
classifieds up I will be posting this list of equipment and a job posting
for engine boss.... come on Ab!!

Wish you the best of luck...


04/08 On March 18, the Chief's office (USDA FS) issued direction clarifying the
use of the HSQ (health screening questionnaire) and the WCT. The HSQ has
been revised and will be the instrument (based on employee response) that
determines the need for a physical. Those requiring a physical will be
issued form SF 78 for their physician to complete. The physician will also
receive the HSQ and the Pack Test information sheet. This information, the
patient's history, and the exam will be considered by the physician in
responding to the "conclusions" block as to any limiting factors for the
individual to meet the requirements of the job and/or the WCT.
The WCT is now considered the only acceptable test that the FS will use. I
am sure some debate will continue to surround this or any process.
Personally, I would like to see a stress EKG administered in a medical
clinic as our test. But, again, the WCT is the standard we have for
today.......and there is always room for improvement.

Old Fire Guy
04/08 ATTA_GAL,

On our district in r8 we are getting what I think to be an excellent physical that must be done at least one month before takin the WCT. Yes, pulmonary function tests and EKGs. Some over 45 are getting the nuclear stress test. All of my physicals have been extremely detailed and the Dr. understands what I am going to do, take the WCT and then fire details. $3000.00 a physical for those that get the whole ball of wax. And you can sit down with the Dr. and discuss all your test results in depth. I am pleased with our district's approach and support in making sure we are healthy enough to start training for the WCT. There are the keys. Support and Training.


04/08 Curious wrote:
>...Sometimes when questions are asked it appears they may be attacking established policy or proposed change and those accepting or contributing feel threatened.

If you mean me, I don't feel threatened. Sometimes policy is good, sometimes it's not. I just like to discuss the issues.

About medical testing:
>I say about time and too little, too late!

Maybe so, but on the other hand at least something's been started.

>I again say that too many have died trying to complete an unproven testing.

Have you read that book yet? I'd feel a lot better about your saying the pack test is _unproven_ if you had. But I'm not sure you would be saying that if you had read it. Why don't we discuss the correlations established by that study?

>The above paragraph from your response appears to be strictly focused on existing agency employees. One of my main points was on providing some modicum of protection for contracted laborers,

I don't see any problem. Contracted firefighters can certainly undergo medical testing. The whole point of contracting is that the contractors are self-employed - the gov't gives the contractor the money, and the contractor hires the employees, sees to the administrative matters (like health and fitness testing) and completes the job. If someone wants the government to provide all those things for them, they should probably be government employee. It's the contractor's responsibility to take care of their employees in those areas. I hope contractors provide medical testing like the feds are developing.

>whom I did not identify as "just" laborers. Those were your words. You chose to interpret my designation of the use of the word laborer as denigrating, not me.

Look, I made a point of saying "no slam on laborers...but firefighting is more complex and strenuous." Let's not twist my meaning.

>Are not the majority of firefighters, "laborers"?

I've been a laborer - union, in fact - and though firefighters labor, they are much, _much_ more than laborers. The work is harder, that was my point.

>I did not say "there is no relationship between the pack test and fireline assignments", you did. I said, "as we force them to pass a test that may have little or no relationship to their fireline assignments or capabilities".

You're taking what I wrote out of contest and playing word games.

>My point was that a contract faller has the option to stop and take frequent rests en-route, during, and after their assignments. Initial attack forces do not.

All due respect, but I don't buy this argument. Falling is a strenuous job. Unless I'm mistaken, all red-carded faller positions are "arduous" as are firefighters. Same rating, same test I figure. Are you suggesting fallers should only require "moderate"? Though some people on crews work harder or have harder jobs than others, they all take the same fitness test.

>You said I "may be getting out on thin ice by just blaming the deaths (of the 30 Mile Fire) on extreme conditions", when I said that, "This bullsh*t, self-serving citation resulted from a wildland fire where extreme conditions occurred". I was blaming OSHA for being the self-serving culprit in this case. They (OSHA, dammit) wouldn't know their ass from a stump hole on the fireline. My question wasn't directed at supervision or management.

My mistake, then. Incidentally, I don't see OSHA going away. They are interested in wildland firefighting, and (many of them) believe they have a mandate to see that the gov't provides safe conditions for firefighters. It's up to us to give them a clue and I've spent some time doing that. We may just have to to get used to it and work with them to get them clued in.

>You also failed to understand my analogy of a roofer compared to a firefighter. I can understand your position on that also. I surmise from your having a moniker as BLM Bob that the roofs in your area are flat. In my part of the world they are steeply pitched and dangerous.

Hey, what's with the geographic profiling? Are you sure that I don't work in Fairbanks or Lander? Or Coos Bay or Glenwood Springs? Even Boise and Arcata are pitched-roof towns, and there are BLM fire offices in all those places. If I was FS Fred, and I worked in Forest Service offices in Tucson or Santa Fe, I'd probably have a flat roof. It gets kind of tricky when you start surmising.

I'm not sure why you need a Cardiologist ot MD to approve a fitness test
that is easier and less dangerous than fighting fire and is closely related
to the tasks performed. That's an interesting assertion you make that
doctors wouldn't sign off if they knew what they were actually insinuating
- you seem to be saying that the docs have no idea what they're doing.

It should comfort you that the agencies actually have already started the
medical testing that you heard were too expensive. It's in the pilot
program, but the Federal Fire and Aviation Leadership Council (I believe,
or maybe NWCG) decided sometime back that in the future all federal
firefighters that take a pack test will need to pass a physical first.

By the way, for a while BLM was ordering pre-pack test EKGs for people that
indicated there might be a problem, but there were a lot of false readings.
Seems there are some problems with EKGs, though expense wasn't one of them.

The pack test isn't "the sole determination of your abilities to perform
your jobs...regardless of anything else..." It's just the determination
of your fitness. "Years of experience and dedication, coursework and
education, performance evaluations, safety records" all come into play as
well, but I don't have a problem with the idea that if you aren't fit, you
can't work on the fireline. Unfit people endanger themselves AND others.
There are non-fireline jobs where people with a solid background are

I agree that too many people have died pack testing, but it can be hard to
tell if the problem was with the pack test or with the people. The book I
mentioned is very clear that there are medical and conditioning precautions
that people MUST take before even training for the pack test. I don't know
if the people that died followed those directions closely - does anyone
know if they did?

I maintain that firefighting is an extremely strenuous job and that unfit
people are an unacceptable hazard. We need to be as certain as possible
that people are fit enough to do the job, and medical exams plus fitness
testing seems to be the only way to do it. I do not believe the step test
is a valid indicator of fitness, but I'd be interested to hear about any
other fitness test that someone can come up with that is work-related and
has the amount of study behind it that the pack test has.

04/07 Some more neat photos came in. From No FX, some of the AG flight crew on the Shields Fire and AG helo at the helispot on the Kelly Fire, and one of the Blue Fire. Those are on the Helo 6 and fire 10 photo pages respectively. Also a photo of fire from "the meat" that I put on the Fire 10 photo page.
04/07 John,
You might want to stop in at your local Vol. Department and ask for their used Equipment catalog. I've seen allot of what we call brush trucks for sale. also look at these web sites, www.northeastfire.com, www.firetech.com, also try www.hillbillyfire.com.
04/07 Heard the Saturday dedication of the Calif. Firefighters Memorial was a success. Is it true that inmates who were killed on fires were not included?

Tahoe Terrie

04/07 Lo ab,

Alex, we were on the Tyee Creek / Rat creek fires in Chelan.

Had a blast. We have a photo on this site of one of the fires.
I still have a couple of shift plans but thats all I have.

Try contacting the ranger district in Chelan:

United States Government - Chelan Ranger Station
428 West Woodin Avenue, Chelan, WA 98816
(509) 682-2576

later and be safe
04/07 Ab,

I'm new to this site and can't figure out how to post a message. I think it goes to you first.

This is way off topic, but since the classifieds aren't up and running....here goes. I need a USED slide in unit for my truck so that I can contract and fight wildland fires this summer. I've been looking for quite some time, very hard the last couple of weeks since the bid packs are due the 15th. Anyway, I need a 250 gal tank, 50gpm/100psi pump, hose/reel, nozzle, valves, gauges, etc. I would like a foam unit as well. If I can't find a complete unit, I will buy the parts and pieces and build my own. Can anyone help me or point me in some direction? ANY help is greatly appreciated!


John, welcome to the world of posting. You did it completely right. There is no such thing as "off topic" as long as it relates to wildland fire. Ab.

04/07 Hey ELS,

The rig that burned up on the Mendo wasn't an engine, it was a 2001 Ford 6-pac that belonged to the Six Rivers N.F. They went to assist on a burn, parked it on a landing, went burning, heard some noises later, went to investigate, and the rig was fully involved!! The investigation is continuing on cause, etc. it happened on 3/21/2002.

04/07 To Whom It May Concern:

I am looking for any information on the July 1994 Tyee Creek Fire that occurred in Chelan County, Washington. If you have any documents or other papers that address this issue I would greatly appreciate it if you could email those to me as soon as possible. Thank you.

Alex Roy

Alex, we don't have any on the site. Often fire records are kept at the Forest on which the fire occurred. Many records from those days were not saved at all. You might try getting in touch with the local forest. Readers, anyone know anything? Ab.

04/07 I've been reading and must say that there seems to be quite the dialogue goin' on here about the WCT...

Well it's about dam'd time that some folks are having questions about this, rather than just followin' along like sheep. Anybody care to add more? Hey folks, these are your jobs and your bodies and you are your families and friends. I just never understood why this test was approved and enforced, when it hasn't been reviewed by a Cardiologist M.D., or any M.D. for that matter. Yet M.D.'s and mid-level clinicians sign the okay for folks to take the test. How strange I find this... They wouldn't, if they knew what they were actually insinuating...(that they are familiar with each job position and its duties as well as the pack test???) Ya' know, a Ph.D degree is quite honorable, but it's not an M.D., especially when people are dying while engaging in WCT activities.

Second, Why were there "WCT Talking Points " issued last month? Nobody likes to call their baby ugly, now do they? Do those Talking Points say anything about any injuries or deaths that have occurred in the very last 3 years, or do they only mention the one that occurred back in 1999, right after the WCT was actually introduced? Don't those people that died, or their families or yourselves and your families matter? Are you only worth what your current wage is, at your current job? Is there a dollar sign that could cover you? It's said that medical exams could be done, but it would be too expensive. (A Pulmonary Funtion test and an EKG) Too Expensive? To who I'd like to ask, to some employers who wish to enforce a standard physical testing? Or to the families and friends of someone who wanted to be able to bring home a paycheck... I worry about all of you that must engage in this un-medically reviewed and approved activity for your job...remember...it's being used as the sole determination of your abilities to perform your jobs...regardless of anything else... (years of experience and dedication, coursework and education, performance evaluations, safety records (especially for those of y'all that are supervisors), umm uh.. lets see...there's just all kinds of stuff that just doesn't matter anymore importantly, than passing that WCT...to certain employers. All of you must be willing to DIE or risk severe injury to keep your jobs, by taking and passing this once a year. I just needed to blow off the steam about the WCT, cause it's WCT time again, and people are dying again, or getting severely injured while engaging in it...thanks for the space.


04/06 Photos up.
From NoFX: "Sikorsky helicopter 746 and Ventura County fire dept. water filling operation- Camarillo."

Ab put them on the Helo 6 Photo page.

From Mellie: On May 30, 2002 FireWolf and his bride were married. On their honeymoon, they visited Five Waters where we all made merry and they engaged in the ritual of torching off and burning dual piles of slash, in this case piles left over from the Onion Fire. They leaned on their shovels waiting for the chunking stage when they would help each other consolidate the fires. Mellie says, "I snapped a few photos and kept snapping as they grabbed a hot kiss and a little more!"

Ab put them on the Misc Photo page.

04/06 wanted to know if any crews out of r 6 have been sent to the southwest for severity or fires. if so what crews private or government?

04/06 Info on the SW fires: www.fs.fed.us/r3/fire/webdaily/swaintnn.php. For more info at the R3 site, shave the url back to ...r3/fire/

NorCal Tom

Ab sez, keep watching the site as info like new fire starts and photos (of fire, crews, and snow on 04/07) are added daily.

04/06 BLM Bob,

Thank you for your sincere response to many of my questions. I truly
appreciate them, especially coming from a historically knowledgeable and
wise participant of this forum. Sometimes when questions are asked it
appears they may be attacking established policy or proposed change and
those accepting or contributing feel threatened. It was not my
intent to directly accuse any agency or position of any wrong doing,
merely to expose questions I imagine others may have. Questions can
stimulate thinking, provoke discussion, and the resulting conclusions
may modify policies or proposed changes to enhance the well being of us

I'm not one to normally sit back and accept a change as being good just
because it was studied by experts, voted on by committees, or because
someone wrote a book about the subject. While I do admire, respect, and
applaud the efforts of the majority of the leaders of my agency, I also
am aware there may occasionally be subjects they are unfamiliar enough
with to make an informed decision. Those who know me are aware I may
initiate and support sustained aggression against issues I feel

As I consider and evaluate your well written response to my questions, I
feel I may not have been clear or pointed enough in some of them and/or
you responses may have provided additional questions.

You said, “ The federal agencies are currently developing a Firefighter
Medical Standards Program designed to identify health problems in
firefighters _before_ they take the pack test. The DOI agencies in the
Southwest are in the pilot program this year - look for it in an agency and
area near you soon. This should mark some significant progress in identifying
health problems before people take the pack test”.

I say about time and too little, too late! I again say that too many
have died trying to complete an unproven testing. The above paragraph
from your response appears to be strictly focused on existing agency
employees. One of my main points was on providing some modicum of
protection for contracted laborers, whom I did not identify as “just”
laborers. Those were your words. You chose to interpret my designation
of the use of the word laborer as denigrating, not me. Are not the
majority of firefighters, “laborers”?

I did not say “there is no relationship between the pack test and
fireline assignments”, you did. I said, “as we force them to pass a
test that may have little or no relationship to their fireline
assignments or capabilities”. My point was that a contract faller has
the option to stop and take frequent rests en-route, during, and after
their assignments. Initial attack forces do not.

You said I “may be getting out on thin ice by just blaming the deaths
(of the 30 Mile Fire) on extreme conditions”, when I said that, “This
bullsh*t, self-serving citation resulted from a wildland fire where
extreme conditions occurred”. I was blaming OSHA for being the
self-serving culprit in this case. They (OSHA, dammit) wouldn’t know
their ass from a stump hole on the fireline. My question wasn’t
directed at supervision or management.

You also failed to understand my analogy of a roofer compared to a
firefighter. I can understand your position on that also. I surmise
from your having a moniker as BLM Bob that the roofs in your area are
flat. In my part of the world they are steeply pitched and dangerous.

As we embrace the future and the inherent changes to come, let us not
forget to question.

Still Curious.
04/05 DMG

We're going to put up a banner for www.firecache.com/ on the links page soon. Check out what they have available. We appreciate their support for our community's voice here at wildlandfire.com.


04/05 From SoCalCapt -- In response to the comments about the early and dry season, here's the NWS rainfall update:

149 PM PST     FRI, APR 5, 2002


For many areas of the southwest California the December through March period
this past winter was the driest... or second driest on record.

The following is a sampling of sites. Precipitation amounts are in inches...
                                     DRIEST              BACK TO
LINDBERGH FIELD     1.40   2001-02    1.90   1899-00     1850
CUYAMACA            5.29   2001-02    7.69   1998-99     1948
PALOMAR MOUNTAIN    5.06   1998-99    6.08   2001-02     1948
BIG BEAR LAKE       1.79   1998-99    2.09   2001-02     1960
RIVERSIDE...UCR     1.46   1960-61    1.57   2001-02     1924
PALM SPRINGS        0.31   2001-02    0.39   1998-99     1927
Our official rainfall season runs from July 1 to Jun 30. If Lindbergh Field gets
the average amount of rain for April through June... 1.05 inches... we will still
be on track to beat the previous driest season overall which is 3.46 inches in
04/05 Brandi - I have been a firefighter/emergency responder for a VFD for a
long time (20 years this season). In my "real job" I am an engineer
(the geek kind not the train kind). As a women, both of these roles put
me in a rather small gender minority. Over the years, I have encountered
a few men as you described who had some chip on their shoulder about
women getting the job because of their gender (or who they slept with,
or whatever). Frankly, they are pretty rare. The world is pretty full
of men (and women) who will judge you for the job you do. So the next
time some guy rags on you about getting a free ride, just walk away - it
makes them look like the jerk. It is a lot easier to "prove" you are
better qualified for the job by doing a great job every day than to get
in a big argument about it.

As far as "statistics" go, our VFD of about 30 active responders has six

Stay safe out there - fire danger in our area is bouncing from Moderate
to High depending on winds for the day (awfully early in the season for
that). Still hoping for snow.....

Take care & Adios, 
04/05 where can i find u.s. government issue wildland fire gear to buy like packs and more


We're going to have a page of classified ads. Stay tuned. Ab.

04/05 Humphries IIMT (R3) is on the Middle fire which is 37000 acres.

Sit report is up. Link to it on the Links page. Very high to
extreme fire indices were reported in California, Arizona, New Mexico and


04/05 I hear CDF is sending  people to the Middle fire in New Mexico. Don't know how many.

SoCal has early fires. The Riverside Ranger Unit had an 80 acre fire in heavy brush in the Elsinor/Corona area last weekend. A strike team of engines was sent to LA. I think there was a 150+ acre fire there. It's early for such activity. 


04/05 Are resources being sent to NM from R5 and R6? Take a look at the News page (button is above in the top border). Sounds like the Gila National Forest is burning.

NorCal Tom

04/05 Anyone got details on the engine that burned up during the Rx burn on the MNF?


04/05 AL, 

Dont know anything about it, but there's a new product "safewater anywhere" at Eagle Gear. Anybody tried this?

Tahoe Terri

04/05 Brandi-
I would like to add a mention of a frustrating aspect of being a woman or minority in fire. I've been around (season 27 coming up) but every year I run into at least one relatively inexperienced man who expects me to prove myself to him. I've known male hispanics and blacks who have had the same experience when they go to regions where the anglos are not used to working with minorities, so it's not a totally gender based thing. It can be a safety issue though, in that prejudice (literally, to pre-judge adversely without just grounds) will slow down the development of crew cohesiveness and leadership effectiveness. Fighting prejudice is what feminists do. It's too bad we've let reactionary right wingers and radical women extremists conspire to redefine a word that was once useful.

Curious -
Packtest deaths are a genuine tragedy, and I hope no one takes the following observation to mean that I am not concerned with the situation. But, people who go into severe physical distress on the fire line can take a whole crew or more, plus aviation resources, off of the job at hand and put them into med-evac mode. Depending on the situation, med-evac's can increase risk to all involved as well as reduce our ability to implement the tactics planned. We absolutely have to reduce the chances that a person's health or fitness problem will show up somewhere out on a fireline. I agree we may need to give more thought to who has to take the arduous test, but to me anyone who will be on the line more than a short distance from ground transportation needs to be tested in a meaningful way. 

To all-
I heard a great safety briefing a couple of seasons ago. A military doctor was working the med unit, and she was cranky because she had sent a number of patients to the hospital - heart symptoms, heat stress, kidney stones, and severe coughing - and it turned out that in every case dehydration was either the cause or a big factor. Until then I didn't understand how many ways not drinking enough water could screw up your body, from causing the salt in your kidneys to crystalize to preventing your lung lining from coping with even clean air. Drink up, and limit your consumption of high salt sports drinks.

anon ms.
04/05 Curious wrote:

> Do statistics exist of those dying from taking the old step test?

   I don't think that those stats exist, but it's also interesting to note that there aren't stats on how many people died on the fireline because they were out of shape even though they passed the step test. 

> Within the last few weeks, two additional people have died while participating in the work capacity test (WCT). While first applauding the apparently fair and uncompromising appearance of the WCT, I now find myself questioning its value and safety.

   Well, those are two very different things, value and safety. As to value, if  you haven't read the 1997 MTDC book "Fitness and Work Capacity" by Brian Sharkey et al then you need to. It thoroughly discusses the relationship between the Work Capacity Test (aka pack test) and the job of fighting fire. The correlation of the pack test to fireline work tasks is closely examined in the book. It also establishes the crucial importance of fitness to safety on the fireline. 

   There is not question in my mind that the pack test is a much more valid  indicator of fitness than the step test. And there's also no question in my mind that the more fit someone is, the more safe they are. For what it's worth, I'm entering my 29th season in fire.

   Taking the pack test is safer than fighting fire. However, neither the pack test or fighting fire is safe for a person that has health problems or isn't in shape. "Fitness and Work Capacity" discusses in depth how important it is to begin a fitness program well before taking the pack test, and it lays out fitness programs and precautions for potential testees. It would be interesting to know if the recent fatalities had followed the advice in that book. 

   The federal agencies are currently developing a Firefighter Medical Standards Program designed to identify health problems in firefighters _before_ they take the pack test. The DOI agencies in the Southwest are in the pilot program this year - look for it in an agency and area near you soon. This should mark some significant progress in identifying health problems before people take the pack test. 

> Are our agencies responsible for killing prospective employees over the last three years as we force them to pass a test that may have little or no > relationship to their fireline assignments or capabilities?

   You need to read that book before you say there is no relationship between the pack test and fireline assignments. Also, I don't believe there is a valid relationship between the step test and fireline tasks. I've often hiked long distances with heavy loads on the line - I've never jumped up and down on a box for five minutes...even at a helibase (heh heh). 

> One person who passed away recently during a WCT was a contract faller. I realize we desire fallers and other contractors to be in good physical condition, but should we expect the same physical conditioning as our initial attack resources?

   Contractors are going to the same places and working just as hard. A couple of years ago I was in Montana, and walking the line one day I came across a contract faller that was on his hands an knees, exhausted, unable to move. He was stove up from exertion and in trouble - it didn't matter that he was a faller and not an initial attack resource, everyone working on the fireline needs to be in shape. We had to divert people from cutting line to take care of him and drag him off the line. 

> Why is a contract laborer obligated to pass a physical fitness test? If I  hired a private contractor to replace my roof and he suffered a heart attack or stroke on the job, am I liable or responsible? 

   Well, in the first place, roofing isn't near the same as fighting fire - fighting fire seems to be pretty clearly more dangerous and strenuous. And do you really consider contract firefighter to be just "laborers"? No slam on laborers (that's what I was doing just before I got on with my first fire job), but firefighting is a lot more complex and strenuous. Actually, I thought what you wrote was kind of cold - wouldn't you think it was a good idea to do whatever you can to prevent problems, instead of just saying, 'hey 
it isn't my problem'? 

> If I had them submit to a physical test prior to signing a contract and they died during the event, would I then be legally to blame? 

   No. Why would you be? What's your point? (By the way, I am not a lawyer - I don't even play one on TV - so take that for what it's worth) 

>Would I have the next potential contractor sign a waiver providing a list of the possible physical consequences and a fatality history prior to testing them?

   Again, I'm having a real problem with you comparing roofing contractors with firefighting contractors. It's peanuts and oranges to me. 

> Have we seen any tangible benefits from adopting the WCT over the old step test? Are there any measurable increases in fireline safety, efficiency, or production? Is there a corresponding ratio of reductions in fire-based fatalities as opposed to increased fatalities during pre-employment testing? 

   How do you measure an increase in fireline safety - how do you separate out all the other factors? How do you measure efficiency? Same with fatalities - how do you separate all the other factors involved? 

   My guess is that you have some real heartburn about people dying while taking the pack test, and there's nothing wrong with that. But let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater. Firefighting is a dangerous job, and people that aren't healthy and fit put themselves _and_ others at risk. Based on my reading and experience, I don't believe the step test is a valid indicator of fitness. But the pack test is not totally risk-free. That book I mentioned above stresses that people need to take physical exams and begin a serious training program before they take the test. 

> Is there even any fiscal benefit gained from transferring the statistics of  “employee” deaths to pre-employment status? Or are there subtle rewards achieved by those responsible for adverse agency statistics?

   This is just a little cynical, isn't it? Are you accusing agencies of trying to kill people before they get to the fireline because it's cheaper or the stats would look better? 

> OSHA recently cited the US Forest Service because, “The agency did not furnish employees employment and a place of employment which was free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm. . .” This bullsh*t, self-serving citation resulted from a wildland fire where extreme conditions occurred. 

   Well, can we at least admit that there is a lot of valid debate over whether the management and supervison of the Thirtymile fire could have done things differently to prevent the fatalities? I think you may be getting out on thin ice by just blaming the deaths on extreme conditions. 

> ...But that’s another subject.

   Yes, it is. 

> What if we apply the wording in the above citation to the Work Capacity Test  process?

   Good point, and this is why the agencies want people to evaluate their health  and begin a fitness program well before taking the pack test. And also why they working on establishing a program for evaluation of firefighters health before they take the pack test.


04/05 A couple of thoughts on the Packtest....
First of all, I'm not in the best shape but the pack test is nothing more than an inconvenience to me, not particularly difficult. However I also have nothing to prove and complete it somewhere between 40 and 45 minutes. I have seen many including those older than myself who think it is a race and quite a few people seem to encourage that attitude. I wonder how many of these people who died taking the test were pushing beyond the required pace. Another thing is with the old step test you had the opportunity to retest (I think you had 2 weeks to pass before getting the boot). Now with the Pack test you pass or you're gone. Makes me wonder how many of these deaths were of people who should have stopped but were afraid of losing their jobs? I've seen a few people hobbling around for days after the pack test from pushing after their body told them to stop. Some days its easy but other times you just are not having a good day. Have there been any studies comparing the effects of the pack test on the line, are crews more efficient? are there fewer deaths due to physical exertion on the line? I thought the old step test was worthless as a test and in general like the pack test, but I do wonder about these test deaths. It also brings up the question of what people over 57 are doing taking the test, if 57 is the maximum age for permanent fire folks who presumably have spent at least the past 20 years maintaining their bodies to perform, then why is it ok for non permanent people over 57 to be on the line? Logic like this can only come from the Feds.

AD crews
I know of two forests in R5 involved in college AD crews: the Sierra NF has some crews out of the Fresno area (Fresno Blues), and the Eldorado NF has (or had, its been a few years so I don't know their status now) some crews out of the Sacramento area (Sierra College I think). There also were some crews out of the Davis area but I don't know who administered that program. All of these crews had their own overhead and the Forest Service sent along a Crewboss to work with them and act as a Crew rep. The Sequoia NF has a similar program out of Porterville, but these crews are not affiliated with a college and seem to work more like the Indian crews in the Southwest.

Skyeblue and AZ
I worked in R3 for a few years. As mentioned the opportunities are statewide and cover the range of agencies. Several local agencies also hire seasonals, in the Tucson area. Northwest fire and Rural Metro had seasonal crews when I was there. From my limited experience in R3, I was most impressed with the fire programs on the Tonto NF (near Phoenix, Central AZ) and the Prescott NF (near Prescott, Northern AZ). Regardless of where you wind up R3 provides some pretty good fire experience and with the monsoons I found the season split: early on you got your local fires, then the monsoons hit and ended your season but then the fires start up in other regions so you go on the road, then the SW dries up a bit and you might get a few more fires at home. I had a pretty good time when I was there but I'm not a desert rat and had to come back to R5. A big advantage for some one starting out was that R3 seems to treat temps better than R5 and often will send them to training in the off season.

Women in Fire
I have worked with several exceptional firefighters who were women. There has been political mucking about, which has placed women in positions before they were qualified but the same can be said for men and the good old boy system. I've actually even seen a case or two of the good old girls system. I am far more concerned with the ism's (favortism and nepetism) than what some ones gender is. I have had at least one women on my engine every year and out of those there is only one I wouldn't work with again and that wasn't due to her gender or ability. She was just an unpleasant person to be around and I've worked with many more men that can claim that attribute. Just do your best and do your job, don't worry about insecure idiots. They will find some reason you are second rate whether its your race, gender, the fact you went to college or because you're from Region not here.


04/05 NCCrew:

University of Wisconson Stevens Point was running a crew in the mid and late 90's, check to see if they still are. They did have it on a web page at one time.

UM Grad

04/05 NCCrew, 

I know that some colleges have had crews in the past (80's) in California. I cant remember the schools they came from but maybe some of the old R-5 guys can. I think Fresno or some other central/northern CA schools did it. They had crewbosses from the FS I am pretty sure.

I hope it works out for you. We can always use the help. Get professional training, and supervision. Offering to volunteer for your hours of training can go a long way in getting support because most agencies already have their training money spent or spoken for. If it is enough of a priority for you and your fellow students you can make it happen. 

One more word of advice, loose the "sort of a club" mentality. Nothing is going to turn off professional Fire Managers quicker than someone who thinks this job is about being anything other than serious. If you want to form a club go play soccer, ultimate frisbee or chess.


04/05 To All...

It seems to be a fitting moment to stop 'lurking' and make one simple request.

The perpetual "Exodus of Wisdom" continues to take place around us. We lose, through retirement or otherwise, many of those who have come before us, taught us, and protected us from our own ignorance. They have great wisdom to share. Each one of us can probably name at least one 'old salt', who has made a difference in our careers, and lives. 

If you haven't done it...take the time to listen to some of the old stories...

and then, don't forget to say Thanks...

Thanks goes to the Bear.

04/05 Do statistics exist of those dying from taking the old step test?

Within the last few weeks, two additional people have died while participating in the work capacity test (WCT). While first applauding the apparently fair and uncompromising appearance of the WCT, I now find myself questioning its value and safety.

Are our agencies responsible for killing prospective employees over the last three years as we force them to pass a test that may have little or no relationship to their fireline assignments or capabilities?

One person who passed away recently during a WCT was a contract faller. I realize we desire fallers and other contractors to be in good physical condition, but should we expect the same physical conditioning as our initial attack resources?

Why is a contract laborer obligated to pass a physical fitness test? If I hired a private contractor to replace my roof and he suffered a heart attack or stroke on the job, am I liable or responsible? If I had them submit to a physical test prior to signing a contract and they died during the event, would I then be legally to blame? Would I have the next potential contractor sign a waiver providing a list of the possible physical consequences and a fatality history prior to testing them?

Have we seen any tangible benefits from adopting the WCT over the old step test? Are there any measurable increases in fireline safety, efficiency, or production? Is there a corresponding ratio of reductions in fire-based fatalities as opposed to increased fatalities during pre-employment testing? Is there even any fiscal benefit gained from transferring the statistics of “employee” deaths to pre-employment status? Or are there subtle rewards achieved by those responsible for adverse agency statistics?

OSHA recently cited the US Forest Service because, “The agency did not furnish employees employment and a place of employment which was free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm. . . This bullsh*t, self-serving citation resulted from a wildland fire where extreme conditions occurred. I’m not sure how our agencies are going to be able to remove or avoid all those darn wildfire hazards for our future fireline health and safety. But that’s another subject.

What if we apply the wording in the above citation to the Work Capacity Test process?

As always, I’ve more questions than answers.
Just sign me 

04/05 Brandi--

I'd like to know exactly what your paper is about?? Great topic (thought provoking).
Here's my experiences as a woman in fire--hope it helps!!!!

I have been involved in some kind of fire related stuff since very young child. I started on a volunteer Structural Dept. at 19 years old, I am 28 now. I spent 4 years there, also recieving my EMT certification during that time. I spent a season on a wildland fire engine after that, now I have worked for 5 years in a wildland fire dispatch center. As with most traditionally men oriented careers there will ALWAYS be some guy out there who doesn't approve. Maybe his Mom didn't give him enough love???  The point is be true to yourself, do the best you can and what other people say doesn't matter- when you have the stuff to back it up. Keep these quotes in mind---"Real success is finding your lifework in the work that you love" and "I would rather have a mind opened  by wonder than one closed by belief." This one is kind of cute too--"We can learn much from wise words, little from wisecracks and less from wise guys".

I have had several run-ins with closed minded guys, who probably just worried that a woman is going to show them up and somehow reduce their manhood. The key is don't dwell on the few amount of men that will have a problem- but embrace the ones who will be there to support you--there are quite a few out there. 

Radiogirl :)

04/05 Hello, I'm a long time lurker. But as it looks like it'll be a nasty fire season, thought I'd share an idea I've had for a while.

Urban interface fires get worse every year with more people building houses in the sticks. I've also noticed during instances of interface fires that there are problems placing engines and water tenders (narrow roads, etc.) and securing enough water to make a fight of it. ( Hydrants being rare or sucked dry from overuse, backyard  swimming pools and creeks not accessible to larger engines, or not enough available manpower to commit a portable pump operation) I believe a good solution to this could be to  outfit small 4 wheel drive pickups with two people, a portable pump(s), appropriate amounts of hose and fittings, and pillow tanks. These units could used to supply water to engines or if need be do direct structure protection in otherwise inaccessible situations ( Safety permitting)

Among the advantages are the following:
---- Cost. Personnel and equipment are already available at the district level. No new personnel would need to be hired and no new vehicles would need to purchased. Everything would be on "Call when Needed basis" The rest of the time, people would return to their normal duties.
----- Mobility. These units could be deployed on or off forest rather quickly with minimum time lost rounding up personnel 
----- Complies with Navy SEAL acronym KISS ( Keep It Simple, Stupid )
----- Training. Newer personnel could be rotated in to assignments while paired with an experienced individual. This could give the less experienced people in a good education in the tactical aspects of Structure protection/Urban interface. I'm sure there are some disadvantages to this, but I can't think of any off the top of my head.

This is just a suggestion to any of you big honchos that might be reading this. 
Heck, Kick it around.
~Tango Uniform~
04/04 April 6th the long overdue CA firefighter memorial will be dedicated. If you are attending as a spectator, I urge you to dress appropriately - wear your FF shirt with logo, in support of all firefighters, wildland, volley, local, state, Fed, or contract. If you attend as a spectator, no need to wear a uniform.


I presume you did mean if attending as a participant, dress up and as a spectator, dress down. Ab.

04/04 In your definitions of acronyms, you list BDU as some type of pants from
GSA. The acronym stands for Battle Dress Utility. It is a specific style
"cut" of the current nomex pant the National Cache system is changing to.
Patterned after the Vietnam military pants where the user has a greater
mobility in hiking and can carry a variety of gear in the over-sized
pockets. Everyone loves them and they are being manufactured by vendors
other than the national contract in various colors.


Thanks, fixed it. Ab.

04/04 Anybody know what the options are for drinking water in the mountains
aside from hauling a filter along? Any recommendations on water filters or
any thing else as an alternative? What's new with technology? Uggggh,


04/03 [[clink]]

In the spirit of esprit de corps, anyone who reads this tonight and knows Pendleton, join me and raise a glass (single malt preferably, or a good zinfandel, or whatever you have handy, and pineapple juice if you don't imbibe) and toast one of the finest firefighters-cum-WOmanagers the agencies have *ever* been blessed with. We mourn his going, but try to be happy <wipes a tear> for his new life as a retardant (oops, I meant retiree).

THANKS, Dennis, we love you.

[from about 100 of us]

04/03 Brandi-

I can't help but reply to your post... First, I don't think agencies are "forced" to hire women. Certain administrations and administrators do pressure hiring of all "minority" (don't even ask my opinion about this word) groups, but this does not always happen or work. I heard a good point at a big meeting last year where someone said that in reality, hiring a "diverse" workforce is unrealistic and difficult as not everybody really wants to be a firefighter or even a forester or park ranger and live a life in the woods and in remote locations. It's a tough job, with few traditional "benefits" until you are permanent, and it involves long trips away from home, weird hours, a tough environment, hard work, smoke, etc. etc. In other words, not everyone appreciates the real benefits of firefighting.

As for your other questions, I don't think underqualified women are hired any more than any other unqualified people. I think bitter people who complain when other people are successful are just looking for someone other than themselves to place blame. I am a woman who is something like an administrator in fire, and I have a pretty decent position for my age. I worked very hard to get here, and I do think I am well qualified for this position. However, I heard many rumblings from others about why I got the job. I can't say it didn't bother me. But, I've stayed in the position and been generally successful with it. It can be a challenge, as I'm a young woman who knows the fire business fairly well, and some of the less enlightened individuals I've come across have a hard time with this concept. You don't have to be on the fireline for 20 years to know fire and how the system works.

I am sad to hear that you don't consider yourself a feminist. A feminist really just a person who believes in equal treatment of everyone. In my perception, this means no one gets special treatment, and everyone gets the same opportunities, whether society "supports" it or not. Women are not new to firefighting, although general society may not know this. I think there are a lot of things society is unaware of.

On terrorism....

Which brings me to one other point, on terrorism. LAVE, you bring up a good question and no doubt a relevant one. This is probably one of thousands of valid questions out there about the preparedness of the US that are waiting to be answered. Especially when it looks like we (wildland fire mgt. agencies) were in fact not actually funded for close to 100% of MEL (most efficient level) as was planned. The number is more than 10% lower than that. I realize we are at war and spending 3 or 4 billion on homeland security, but I would argue that wildland firefighting resources are definitely related to homeland security. We sent several Incident Management Teams in addition to overhead, supplies, crews, and equipment to NY and DC to assist with logistics and management after the attacks, and we assisted after the Oklahoma City bombing as well. In reality, wildland firefighters are probably better at managing long-term large-scale incidents than lots of other emergency management folks simply because they do it more and use ICS well (of course it's more complicated than that). Underfunding our agencies is probably not helpful, especially as LAVE has pointed out, with a probable lack of support from the military this summer.

On this site...

Ab(s), I know I tell you thanks for the site all the time, but having the opportunity to write whatever I want and still remain somewhat anonymous is invaluable. I absolutely depend on this site for a heads-up about what's happening, or what people are grumbling about. I have used it as a sounding board for my own ideas for five years. I have had thought-provoking discussions and arguments, and found that others share the same thoughts, passions, and concerns that I do. I get information out that I can't distribute in other ways. Et cetera. I know this site has been controversial in some circles, but there are those who follow it anyway and take the variety of information and opinions for what each is worth. Thanks again for what you're doing, in maintaining a neutral forum with few boundaries and no tiers.

On another and final note, I am surprised and saddened to hear of Dennis Pendleton's retirement. Good luck with your retirement Dennis, and thank you for your leadership and vision.

Be safe ...

04/03 Chuckle of the day from Firescribe:

www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1002,53%257E500156,00.phpl about the Pike Forest Fire

Check out the image that goes with the article. Think they're sending a message? Maybe directed at those pack testers who are not quite in shape? Oh well, if Ab can cut a paragraph out of Dennis' final comments, maybe someone on a newspaper can get the wrong image up with the online story.

Yeah, well, I'm not going to reply to that dig. Ab.

04/03 Hey,

Just wondering if anyone has further information on the gentleman who passed away in Northern Idaho while doing the Pack Test for the Idaho Dept. of Lands. I hear he was an ex-logger, 65 years old in good physical shape. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

04/03 hi abe,
a nice article on the unveiling of the new fire fighters memorial that
is taking place this saturday in sacramento california, in the today's
front page of the marysville appeal democrat.


thanks, donna (dozer support)

Thanks Donna. The paper doesn't have the article up on its web yet. I'm reposting the info sent in by djchief last month in case anyone wants to make a little (or BIG) trip to the event. Ab.



On April 6, 2002 there will be a dedication of The California Firefighter's Memorial. This is a wall type memorial of California Firefighters that were lost in action. The Memorial is located on or adjacent to the State Capitol Grounds. The schedule of events on that Saturday starts with breakfast with family members. Then at noon there will be a gathering of uniformed firefighters on the North steps of the Capitol with a procession starting 1300 to the Memorial site. Then speeches, and dedication with the Governor and other dignitaries.

You can contact the Memorial Committee at 916-921-9111; Fax 916-921-1106. They have a very good website that has the most up to date information http://www.cpf.org. You can e-mail them at info@cpf.org.

If you plan on attending, they strongly suggest you call and let them know what department, agency you are representing along with the number of people. If you want to be in the procession, remember you need to be in uniform. The Forest Service Honor Guard is scheduled to be there. For Forest Service, it is highly recommended that dress be uniform trousers and shirt, badge and name plate. No non-uniform baseball caps or NOMEX. Other departments are Class A's or station blues.

For those who can make it, let's show up to honor our fallen comrades!!


04/03 NCcrew-

I applaud you for your drive to start something you enjoy. I have heard of
only one other college/university that has such a club. The University of
Maine in Orono used to have a Forest Fire Attack Team, complete with a tool
cache, Engine, etc. They work with a few local structure departments, the
Maine Forest service, USFWS, and others for training, jobs, equipment. You
can probably find the phone for the Forestry office or a contact on the
Maine web site. www.umaine.edu

Keep your head up,

04/02 Hey All,

I inadvertently cut a paragraph out of Dennis Pendleton's post when converting it to html. Readers, if you read the abbreviated version earlier today, I recommend you go back and read the whole thing. Such a polite man you are, Dennis, didn't even ask me WHATSUP? Sorry 'bout that!


04/02 Could any of you CDF seasonals out there please explain your
new contract and how it affects the seasonals vs. the


Or, maybe one of the CDF BCs could explain. Ab.

04/02 AZ Trailblazer,

Thanks for the info about the Bad Guys roaming the hinter lands.
I'll let the folks around here know about such going on.
My brother was a close friend to the Roswell Fire Chief as well.
<AB snip of details> Just bad luck that the Chief was doing his
job and got shot dead from it. Just goes the show you never know
what or who will get you.

Keep your eyes and ears open and be ready duck. Stay safe!

04/02 Ab, - Well it's time. I been working with a man for seven years. A
person I respect for his courage, honesty and wisdom. He started full-time
when I did. He did helicopters, I did parachutes. Neither one of us ever
thought we'd make it beyond an AFMO. Time goes by, flames grow, smoke
curls, and then the fires go out. Seasons change, they come and go, and
every year in the fire world another memory gets engraved.

Well, it's a tough time now. I'm watching a steady stream of friends and
comrades, brothers and sisters walking thru those doors. Some will be
back, and some will stay in the clean air for awhile. But I tell you.
Today is a sad day for the Forest Service. And a sad one for those left to
fill the void. The guy from the apple hills of Wenatchee is retiring.
Humbling and quietly. No last hurrah. No fanfare. But! A last note to
"they said" no less! Cool. How very cool - but sad.

Just out the door - quietly - but with the greatest taste for dignity and
grace. Dennis - it was an honor working with you.
Not just the good times but even the few too many funerals, and the episodes
others will never know.
Well folks, we just lost another of the Forest Service's best "can-do"
good ones. Read what he wrote and pay heed.

Pay attention to the 10 and 18. If that's all you can remember after so
many fires, so much smoke, so many tears, so much to do and never an ending
in this endless three dimensional checkerboard of wildland fire, then go
content and with Peace.... Vaya con Dios. It was a good run.

Next season when we hit PL V - I'm gonna grab a coke - go outside and sit
near the NIFC monument. You bring the chocolate chip cookies - we'll watch
the airtankers fly.

04/02 Brandi:
I also have worked with many females every year I have been in fire. Some
better than others, just as with men. The level of commitment seemed to
set apart those who performed better than the rest, whether male or female.
Some people just want to put in their time and not get to know the inner
workings or phenomenon of wildfires.

Anytime men and women work closely together there is the possibility for
conflict. Almost all of the people I work with in the crew setting are a
sort of surrogate family. Often men on the crew become the big brother
protecting the little sister, or the women become the big sister bullying
their siblings. I have seen few problems as long as intimacy is not
involved. Once that starts, the fur tends to fly for everyone.

As to when it all started, that is going to be a bit more difficult thing to
research with accuracy. You may be able to find when a certain agency first
hired a female firefighter, but as to the root of when females became
involved, anyone's guess is as good as mine. Please post further if you
need clarification or have other questions
04/02 Brandi,
As a woman just getting started in Wildland FF, I had many of the same questions you posted and searched after the answers for many many months before announcing my career intent recently.

Regarding dates:
Some of the best info gathered in this area has actually been from a book I purchased through recommendations from here! "Fire Line, Summer Battles of the West" by Michael Thoele. He has a good chapter on women. All and all the book is great! It says in the book that women were scattered presences in Wildland FF until 1971. That is when we started to make our mark. By 1978 women were succeeding at obtaining and doing jobs on Hot Shot & Helitack crews. In 1981 the first woman Smoke Jumper made her first jump into the Idaho sky.

I have talked and talked to people of all ages, genders and beliefs and I think that what it comes down to is this. No matter what any person does in life someone is going to disagree with what we are doing. And what is important is that we as people (male or female) do what makes us happy! There will always be the "good old boys" (I say this as an attitude...good old boys can be young in age) that think that women only belong home raising kids or if they have to work it is behind a desk. Ignore them. Do what makes you happy and live your life to its fullest!

04/02 Brandi:
Women started in the federal fire service in the 40's as lookouts but
didn't start as firefighters until the early 70's. A good source of
history on the subject is a book by Michael Thoele called "Summer Battles
of the West" and the chapter on the "Sisterhood" . In the 80's and early
90's the federal agencies went through a very intense effort to "diversify"
our workforce and also an effort to change the culture of recrimination
against anyone who didn't fit the mold. Since those days (yep, I have
been around awhile....) I have seen a definite change in the culture and
there are certainly quite a few women in the workforce. Not at the levels
that management would like to see, but what the heck.....we only reflect
society at large and alot of women have darn good reasons to not want to do
a job like firefighting. Thank the fire god that alot of them do want to
do it. They are some of the best firefighters around.

The state wildland agencies have generally lagged behind the federal
agencies, but still have a number of women that have been around long
enough to move into management positions. And the city structural fire
service hasn't come far at all, although many volunteer companies have seen
the light.

As for the small brained person that accused you of being hired just
because you are a woman....Don't worry about him. He is insecure and life
will give him just what he puts into it. Focus on always doing your best
and you will go however far you choose to.


You can pick up Thoele's "Summer Battles of the West" from Amazon. Remember if you want it, enter through our wildlandfire.com Amazon portal to help defray the costs of running this site. Ab.

04/02 NCCrew -
Many Forest's do sponsor On Call (OC) Crews, from colleges, tribes,
migrant workers, etc................... You just need to check with the
forest's in your area, to see if they're willing to do the work (training,
outfitting, WCT, etc..............). Another option is to go contract,
however then you need to come up with gear, training, etc............ on
your own.

04/02 LAVE,
My God, what have you been reading......just kidding.

Your thoughts on wildland arson by way of terrorist has been spoken of before. If anyone has ever read the book "THE 12TH PRINCIPLE OF WAR" by Sun Tzu and had a chance to read or speak with ex jumper Troop "Tom", there is a real potential out there. Something that some may want to look into further.

Here in Northern AZ, we had a very scary situation about a month after 9-11. On a Indian Reservation just north west of Flagstaff AZ, a 4 door sedan was spotted by a local hospital security guard check out a local airport, which is used specifically for medivac transport to Phoenix. When the female guard arrived to open up the gate and turn on the landing lights, she was approached by two Middle-Easterners and was questioned by them as to who owned the airport and how active it was. She of course gave false info, and as the two men returned to their vehicle, she contacted BIA police, who responded and subsequently became involved in a high speed chase across Northern AZ. The two were never caught, but their vehicle, which was stolen out of Phoenix was recovered by the FBI. Approximately one week later, this who incident occurred again, in the same part of the state, this time during broad daylight and with four males in the vehicle. They were caught and arrested and turned over to the FBI for further questioning. This is the only info that was given to my office regarding this incident. I have no idea what ever happened to the men or the outcome of the investigation. Now, at this particular time, here in AZ, we were a little frightened due to a large power plant on a nearby reservation, Hoover (Boulder) Dam on the Nevada and AZ boarder, and a large nuclear generating plant west of Phoenix.

As a result of these incidents, we've gotten prepared. At my local fire department where I work as a firefighter/paramedic, we have completely revamped our response to motor vehicle accidents. We have no way of telling if the one vehicle roll-over that we are responding to is just folks from Phoenix heading up to Flagstaff for the weekend, or terrorists on their way north to scope out a little known airstrip, and further, what they are carrying inside their vehicle.

Since I also work for a local indian tribe/BIA, as government employees, we have been trained to look for certain things and/or actions that folks might have or do. Also, having the local haz-mat team at my disposal, we had some very trying times as far as anthrax scares go. Fortunately, things have calmed down a bit, but not our awareness.

Again, LAVE, I think that your statement is justified, and with the decreased in MEL and no military back up when we hit PL5, we are in for a long season. Our fire season here in R-3 has already started and my folks are on the trucks as we speak.

welcome to AZ. If you need help finding a forestry/fire position whether GS or AD, send me a note. Lots of positions here in AZ already posted on USAJOBS.COM

PLEASE, everyone be safe in their endeavors. I just lost a friend who was the fire chief in Roswell NM to a GSW to the head while he was on a structure fire. One never knows one's fate....

AZ Trailblazer
04/02 Too often we look at our WO folks as remote and removed. We forget where
they started and we often don't value what we are losing. Dennis is a
mentor and friend and will be painfully missed. The worst thing he's ever
asked me to do is to write the attached retirement announcement. I
thought, although it is lengthy, your readers might want to know a fraction
of what he has done. We are so fortunate that Alice Forbes will lead us as
Acting Director, since she too began on the ground.


Pendleton Retires From Forest Service

After 35 years in federal service, Dennis Pendleton, Forest Service Director at the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) and Assistant Director of Fire and Aviation Management for Operation is retiring from the U.S. Forest Service. A Washington native, he currently resides in Boise, Idaho, but will be spending a great deal of time in Leavenworth, Washington.

Dennis Pendleton began working for the Forest Service as a seasonal employee in 1969 in Leavenworth, Washington on the Wenatchee National Forest. He held a variety of summer jobs on the Leavenworth Ranger District including planting trees, working on the Brush Disposal Crew and serving as an engineering aid. Dennis got the "fire fever" in 1970 when he was introduced to firefighting as a helitack crewmember. In 1971, he became helitack foreman on the Leavenworth Ranger District of the Wenatchee National Forest. During this time, Dennis was attending the University of Washington where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Forest Management in 1973.

In the fall of 1975, Dennis finally got a permanent position with the Forest Service, and in 1976 went to the North Bend Ranger District on the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest as a fuels management specialist.

Pendleton accepted a promotion to the frozen north in 1984 as the Regional Fire Coordinator, and remained in Alaska for five years working his way up to Regional Fire Director for the Alaska Region in 1987.

Returning to the lower 48 in 1990, Pendleton accepted the position in the Forest Service Headquarters in Washington D.C. as Branch Chief for Cooperative Fire Protection, working with programs that assisted States with grants for fire protection, training and equipment. Pendleton also assumed the National Disaster and Emergency Specialist duties as Forest Service liaison to FEMA.

In 1994, Dennis Pendleton returned to the west as Forest Service Director at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. In 1998 he was promoted to the National Assistant Director of Fire and Aviation Management for Operations while continuing to serve in Boise.

Dennis Pendleton's career in Fire and Aviation Management has taken him through many years of wildland fire suppression and prescribed fire assignments. His commitment to everyone working in the fire arena, whether directly or in a support role, has never wavered. His dedication in collaborating with other land management agencies, the military and fire leadership in Australia, New Zealand and Canada has brought effective coordination to national and international firefighting that continues to serve all our citizens and protect our National Forests.

Remarking on the last 35 years, Dennis said, "Participating in all the different facets of Fire and Aviation Management has meant a lot to me - especially working with firefighters". Pendleton credits the firefighters as the most important asset in the Forest Service, whether they are Type II, engine, helitack, or Hotshot crews, dispatchers, smokejumpers, smoke chasers, rappellers, prevention guards, contractors, backcountry guards, coordinators, prescribed fire specialists, lookouts, Brush Disposal crews, and Incident Management teams. When asked if there was any parting message, Pendleton said, "I'd like to offer a heartfelt 'thank you' to all firefighters for all you have done, all you do, and all you will do".

04/02 Ab.

For several years, I have read the information exchange and commentary found in "They Said" with a keen interest. I've never written to this web site and since I'm leaving soon, I wanted to do so. I wanted to write to say thank you to "They Said" (the Ab and Mellie chronicles) for its role in the wildfire arena. But specifically, I want to say a hearty thank you to all the firefighters. All of you . . . dispatchers, hotshots, engine crews, Type II crews, smokejumpers, helitack, smoke chasers, BD crews, prevention guards, all the contractors, state crews, VFDs, lookouts, county firefighters, backcountry guards, coordinators, prescribed fire types, overhead, IMTs, etc . . . Thank you for all you have done, all you do, and all you will do. In my thanks, there's a couple things to say.

What of the rhetoric regarding responsibility and accountability? What are they? They are 14 letter words. Pretty much these days, that’s all. You firefighters can help change that. Change it to make those words mean something. Firefighting is risky business. It always has been. It always will be, even when done the right way. But, it is a risk that can be managed. It can be managed if we stay focused on the basics. For strong wildland fire suppression success we need strong preparedness and that means a strong initial attack capability. For, whenever initial attack emergencies occur, we will not have the time to train and prepare amateurs. Our success will depend on the professional force we already have hired and trained. Initial attack and extended attack will be the decisive phases for wildfire suppression, safety, efficiency, and success.

Beyond that, what better basics do we have than the Ten Standard Fire Orders? Our Code of Conduct says, "The Ten Standard Fire Orders are firm, we don't break them; we don't bend them." Bullshit. We see it on most of our fires when Standard Fire Orders are bruised, bent, bowed, and busted out there. This has to change. We need to make this personal to us as firefighters. The Ten Standard Fire Orders have their origins written in firefighter's blood. If we bend them, firefighters can get hurt; if we break them, firefighters can get killed. We have a responsibility to prevent this. We as the firefighters on the ground, en route to fires, in offices. Therein begins the accountability for our actions. All of us in the fire community. The Standard Fire Orders have everything we need to guide us to manage the risks from initial attack to large fire suppression. Focus on constant situational awareness and the basics to be safe and to be responsible.

Another Code of Conduct tells us: "Every firefighter has a right to know that his or her assignments are safe." Bullshit. Safe assignments aren't about our rights on the fireline, they are about our responsibilities. Take that responsibility on ourselves! Take it on so we can become more accountable for our actions. All of us in the fire community. Make it personal as firefighters. Every firefighter has a responsibility to make sure his or her fireline assignments are safe. Safe for us and safe for others on the fireline. Safety isn't a right, it's a responsibility. When we are responsible, we begin to become accountable for our actions. When in the commission of fireline duties, you should safely and responsibly conduct the charges of your duties such that you bring honor to yourself and advantage to the fire community. Again, thank you firefighters, be safe out there.

Dennis W. Pendleton        4/02/02

Thanks Dennis for your contributions. Ab.

04/02 I was surprised to discover that the reason most high performance 2 cycle engines fail is not due to the oil to gas ratio but rather to old mix. It seems that once you mix the gas and oil the lubrication properties begin breaking down immediately. Mix that is even three or four days old can have lost as much as 20% of its' lubricity. Heat and light accelerate the breakdown. Folks that race high performance dirt bikes mix their gas immediately before they use it. Ditto for 2 cycle homebuilt airplanes. That is why so many outboard and snowmobile manufactures went to oil injection. And mixing more oil into the gas does not help either as this tends to just carbon up the piston rings and leads to scored cylinder walls. I have heard of folks mixing in fuel stabilizers to slow the lubricity degradation down but the motocross racers I spoke to just felt that was a half measure. Bottom line...mix small batches, use high quality oil, keep the mix out of the sun, and don't use last seasons (or last weeks) mix.

While we are on the subject of engine care...
I run a compression test on all our small engines at the beginning of the season and at the end. If there is a significant drop in compression I pull them for closer inspection. Usually this has meant that we catch the problems before they cause self destruction of the engines. This precludes the embarrassment of a non functioning pump at a critical moment on the fireline and lowers our expenses. It only takes a few moments to pull the plug, screw in the tester and turn the engine over. In the fall I squirt in a little light oil to prevent cylinder rust over the long winter. Don't forget to drain the old fuel in the fall as well as it will be worthless in the spring and could cause a perfectly good engine to crap out later in the season due to lack of lubrication on its' first tank of (old) fuel.


04/02 LAVE,

MN still has a law on its' books that REQUIRES any citizen ordered by any firefighter to fight wildfire to do so or risk fine and imprisonment. It is a hold over from the 1920s' but the DNR freaks out whenever it appears it may be amended in any way. I suspect that many other states have such laws still on the books which allows for citizen conscription if the need arises. A declaration of martial law would ,of course, also allow for citizen conscription. The mutual protection agreements with states would also kick in pulling in all available structure firefighters as well as state forestry folks who would normally only fight fire a few weeks each season (if at all) out of state. Canadian resources might be available as well as National Guard units not other wise occupied. Still I have to agree with you that it seems even a single resourceful terrorist might light up the forests with little likelihood of getting caught. The Japanese tried at least two schemes to set the western forests afire during WW2. I have to wonder though if terrorists are not so centered on creating human casualties that they might miss this particular symbolic "opportunity". I sure hope so.


04/02 Brandi
In ten Years I have worked with alot Of females that are just as good if not better than some of the guys. So as long as it's in Your blood It doesn't matter what Your sex, we're All Firefighters.

04/02 hey there, I have some questions about wildland fire
and the role of women in fire. I was wondering if you
could give me some answers. Do you know what
percentage of firemen are women? Also, when did women
first become a part of the fire world, was there a
certain event in history such as a war or something
where there weren't enough men and women had to step
up and fill that position, or did it just evolve? What
do you think the general feeling is about agencies
being forced to hire women? Is there a big problem
with under- qualified women being hired because they
are women, or do you think that women are still being
discriminated against? I had a guy on my fire crew
last year go off about how I had just gotten hired
because I was a female, and he never even took into
account the fact that I was more qualified than he was
to be in the position. Do you think that society is
supportive of women trying to do a new thing? I really
want some honest answers on all of this, I'm not a
feminist, quite the opposite, and this is for a
research paper, I'd love to have some of your views on
the subject if you have the time to answer me.

Thanks! Brandi*

04/01 Hey guys!
Being the college student wildland firefighter wanna be that I am and since
my school has no programs to develop this career, I have taken the fledgling
steps to form a fire hand crew at my school. As a sort of "club." YIPPIE.
Well, here is where you guys/gals can play an important role... HOW DO I DO
Does anyone know of any other crews like this?
Would the FS or possibly state agencies be willing to help sponsor a crew
like this? It could be run sorta like a developmental or project type deal
for the agency.
Any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated!

04/01 Pulaski_
I too use optimal and it works fine. I recently (6/01) broke in a bunch of
new equipment (mark 3, shindowa, & 3 huskys) with it and they all work
perfectly. For those machines, optimal is all they have ever had. I might
be afraid to go back to the "real" stuff (something I hadn't thought about
04/01 Well, I have thought of this for a few weeks now. Ab, you may not want
to post this but here goes. With all the talk of drought and all of it's
implications, what is our government doing about terrorism and
large scale arson? I don't want to be chicken little running around and
screaming "the fires, the fires". But a smart and prudent man will always look
at a situation and brain storm, and if an average guy like me can see the
large scale potential for terror, confusion, and general mayhem then I'll
bet that a few other not so nice guys and gals have to. In 1987, and again
in 2000, we had massive fire seasons in the west and most of that was from
mother nature, can you imagine what could happen if just a hand full of
terrorist with a little knowledge and some luck could do? Need I remind
people of Los Alamos or Hanford, Washington. There is still Oak Ridge,
Tenn. and other Defense Dept. facilities. Also it looks like most of the
airborne or marine units may not be able to play firefighter this year, they
have bigger fish to fry. Is there any kind of plan for a reserve force of
firefighters if the old poop hits the props? Has any one even got plans for
anything like this, we always get stretched thin in the late summer and
early fall. Are the government big guys thinking outside the box?

Terrorist are a pretty resourceful lot and seem to be fairly ruthless and being
arsonists in forests is so damn easy. I would bet that these folks wouldn't
mind setting America on Fire. I don't have any answers, but
man, do I have questions and yes, FEARS. It has been my experience that
generally the people don't need help in burning up the wild lands, they do a
bang up job on their own, but if WE do have some nasty bastards like the
ones who flew planes into the WTC, it could get wicked hot.

Again I am not promoting this I am asking a question any sensible
firefighter and or tax payer should ask!

LAVE (don't kill me I'm just a messenger!)

Sounds like with a budget of less than 100% MEL and the exorbitant cost pool levies, we will not be up to the level that might be needed. Ab.
04/01 As far as I know, the CDF Green Sheets are a public document, they are posted on the CDF internal "intranet" and are usually found laying around most fire stations in plain view. I find the comment interesting that our prevention bureau releases them. I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

I've seen them included as part of CDF curriculum in student manuals, so they can't be that confidential. Sounds like some one gave you the run around on this one. You have more specifics?

Another CDF BC
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