May, 2002


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05/31 Ab, Cheryl and Pyrodactyl,

Thanks so much! The books are in our system, and we'll have a look at them.

-- Judy
05/31 Rogue Rivers:

In answer to your question of me ("Are you ready for that"):

05/31 To Judy re. Oregon Novel -

How about 'Heckletooth 3' by David Shetzline? Published in 1969. Loosely set in the Oakridge area of the Willamette NF. Out of print but I got it recently with a search through Barnes and Noble's website. I first read it years ago when I worked on the Willamette, long story about how the book got lost/stolen on a big project fire. Anyhow it's a good read for anyone who has ever fought fire, burned slash, hunted elk in the Northwest.


05/31 Judy, about the Oregon fire book you're looking for

Did you check out Epitaph for the Giants on the FireBooks page? I don't know when it was published, but it could be the one.


05/31 From Firescribe, another good from-the-ground article from Judd Slivka on the Bullock Fire in AZ:


05/31 morning ab,
this was in the corner of my local squeal sheet this morning, not online
yet, so i copied it for you.

yakima, wash. eleven u.s. forest service employees should be disciplined
for their actions during the deadly thirty mile fire last summer in the
north cascades, a multiagency review team recommended thursday.

the proposed punishments range from losing their jobs with the forest
service, to being placed on leave without pay, to a letter of reprimand
in their personnel files.

the eleven employees have three weeks to review and respond to the
proposed punishments, and the response would then be taken into account
when a final decision is made.

a forest service investigation after the fire concluded that fire bosses
and managers broke basic safety rules of firefighting and disregarded
numerous warning signs of danger.

donna, dozer support
05/31 OK: 
here is the poop for R-6 
2-1 rest period will BE the rule UNLESS there is specific reason to exceed the 16 hr duty RULE AND DOCUMENTED and APPROVED by the IC

IT STARTS when you start your duty day STARTS ( 0900- fire at 1600 work till 0200) YOU DONT COME TO WORK TILL - 8 1/2 hrs of rest..............


05/30 A hiring freeze is in effect for CDF. We had an exemption from this up to now. From this point forward, unsure of how things will proceed. Have heard everything from position cuts to individual exemptions for positions that then can be filled. If you are on this list, you will be offered a position with CDF eventually once this is all sorted out.

If your goal is to go CDF, don't be picky, and take the first offer you get. As an open list candidate, you are limited to three waivers. After that you are taken off the list. To limit offers in undesirable areas, only go active for the units you would like to work in rather than being active "statewide."

It's getting ugly, with the minimum wage ruling yesterday. I think it is political posturing to get the legislature to do their jobs. In the past, only vendors doing business with the state were hurt. Now with state employees impacted, I predict a result much more quickly than before. We will see.

"Another CDF BC"

05/30 As this phase of the work at Ground Zero in New York City ends, we invite all to take a moment and reflect on what we've lost - and what we've gained - since September 11. A moment of silence...

Photos of Ground Zero, the Pentagon and descriptions of the support of the Interagency Incident Management Teams who went to help can be found in the following places:

Our Ground Zero Photo Page

California Interagency Incident Management Team3 at the Pentagon

Pacific Northwest Team3, World Trade Center Support

(The Bateman Team site appears to have disappeared, perhaps because of the fires burning in R3. Can anyone update or explain? There were some historically important slide shows at this site.)

On another note, there's a post on FamilySaid. Welcome, fire family members.


05/30 This question is directed to CDF personnel in-the-know. Does anyone have any further information about a hiring freeze for the State of Calif., specifically the CDF?

I was just notified by letter that I had passed the examination for the Fire Captain and that I am now on the eligible list. I am one of the 60 from outside the agency who made it through the process and exam. I would really appreciate any reliable news concerning the freeze. I would also like to know what the process usually is from this point forward?

Thanks much
R5 Engine Slug
05/30 BLM Bob, no high horse for me.. just safety in mind....we've probably hit
the point that we must just agree to disagree... and let the topic die until
some official guidance comes out.

BLM Bob, I'm here to learn, as are many of the WLF.com folks are... we're
just a little cloudy on some things.. and work:rest is one of them.

My interpretation of work rest guidelines and yours seems to be like
comparing apples and oranges... They both fit into the same box.. but there
are distinct differences...

The interagency guidance you refer to in 12.7-1 (for USFS folks FSH 5109.34)
is for shifts in excess of 16 hours... It doesnt relate to the 2:1 anywhere
that I can see in the text (other than the fact its in the same
sub-heading), only to shifts exceeding 16 hours. After the first operational
period... even if it exceeds 16 hours... adequate rest should be provided.
The folks involved in Thirty Mile were either in their rest period following
the "first operational period" or didn't have any rest following

And if everything does go well after the first operational period, how does
a firefighter make up the sleep deficit from the first operational period?
... if it goes for a week or two and they only got a max of 5 hours of rest
from the first shift and then go straight into 16 hours of work and 8 hours
of rest?... The Military has some good studies on sleep deficits and their

A stress psychologist might be a good one to give some input on this

Rogue Rivers
05/30 Could you help me identify an older novel for one of my library borrowers? It was a book about
an Oregon forest fire published around 1960. (It's supposed to have been written by a student
of Ken Kesey, but that's not much help as a clue.) I have found several titles about Oregon
forest fires, but none published at that time. Thanks for any advice or referral.

Judy <snip>, Reference Coordinator
Mountain-Valley Library System
Sacramento CA
05/30 Rogue Rivers andd SoCalCapt,

Don't go getting up on a high horse about this. Go back and carefully read
what I wrote. The interagency guidance refers to 2:1 AFTER the first op
period. I'm not sure why you are overlooking that, but those are the
guidelines and no one here suggested breaking them. The Forest Service isn't
different from the BLM on this.

05/30 Ab,

Just returned last week from my first trip to Italy. The most interesting thing I saw was a swamp fire on one of the islands of Venice. Fire boats were used to wet down the few buildings threatened while a helicopter with a bambi bucket attempted to pinch off the running fire. No ground crews so even though the water run was short 60%-70% of the line hit each run had reignited by the time the helicopter returned. It took forever to pinch that fire off. I was chastised by the rest of my friends for sitting at an outdoor restaurant and having a beer (ok several) and watching this fire across the bay for hours with all this "culture" everywhere around me. I just sent them on their way and enjoyed my beer with this dumb smile on my face thinking "what a nice break from culture". I managed to find the "firehouse" the next day and spoke to some of the firefighters. They were very interested in forest fires in the US but had a hard time understanding the problem of controlling them or how thousands of acres could be burning at once. Of course Italy's forests are very actively managed and from what I saw had been for hundreds (possibly thousands) of years. Small tracts of selectively harvested and trimmed trees were all I saw from the Cinque Terre to Venice. Tile roofs...stone or masonry walls on the urban interface and very little in the way of fuels on the forest floor. Anything bigger than your thumb had been picked up for firewood and sold or used by locals. About the only thing I saw that could have gotten a large fire going were the huge tracts of olive trees interplanted with grains...and it appeared that farmers had cut firebreaks around each of their fields and disked them to dirt to compartmentalize any fire that started.

Contact me and I will see if I can help you. It may be too late to get the required safety refresher course though. Without that...no red card. You may be able to get part time employment with the MN DNR as they are pretty short handed...with good cause.

I suspect that the MN DNR will keep some "emergency firefighters" on duty most of the summer so they don't all disappear like last year...and of course they are keeping the full time seasonal positions on all summer. Are you looking for work?

Dana Linscott
Vice chair
Minnesota Wildland Firefighters' Assn.

05/29 23,

"If a couple extra hours will catch a fire you're probably better off doing it."... from your earlier post.

My hindered view (not familiar with AFS) is: What if, during those last couple of hours trying to catch a fire, someone makes some bad judgments and gets hurt or worse yet.. killed, because of fatigue?

What if an act of "nature" happens and a tree falls and hurts someone. What if... ANY type of injury or worse yet, a fatality occurs... from chainsaw cuts to entrapments.... The IC may "document" the reasons for continuing.... But the mere appearance of fatigue will be the haunting of the fire.... And a key point in the investigation. Are you ready for that?

Rogue Rivers
05/29 There's a pretty good discussion regarding the work rest guidelines going
on... I thought I'd add my thoughts.....

In the Forest Service, we received a letter from the very Top that said we
would ADHERE to the work rest guidelines. That makes it policy for all of us
USFS folks as far as I understand.

In California and abroad, our California Incident Management teams actively
use the work rest guidelines while managing incidents.

It does happen that folks work over 16 hours in a shift... sometimes a whole
lot more. The excessive shifts are documented and approved by the IC... and
then the crew is rested according to the 2:1 Work/Rest ratio.
Here's an example: Crew 999 worked 19 hours completing a burnout that was
critical. They return to camp. They are advised that they will be off duty
for 9.5 hours before they are returned to the fire line. A special briefing
is held for them before they return to the fireline.

Bob, the Interagency Incident Business Management Handbook does spell out
the requirement for the Agency Administrator or IC to approve all shifts in
excess of 16 hours... but I dont think it gives them power to not meet the
2:1 work/rest guidelines. Maybe BLM is different.

Just my thoughts...
05/29 Well, just as things were going to get interesting, word through the CDF channels is that the Gov has lifted our exemption from the state hiring freeze.

CDF can not hire for now.

This occurs with a tremendous amount of vacancies in fire protection.

Interesting times ahead. Get ready for OT and no days off. Coming up.....

No Budget
No Spending
No Hiring
Maybe no paycheck

Another CDF BC

Work/Rest Guidelines? Ab.

05/29 Rogue Rivers,

All federal agencies use the 2:1 work-rest guidelines. Key word: guidelines, more on that in a bit. Get a copy of the Fire Business Mgmt Handbook and read 12.7-1 Work/Rest Guidelines: www.nwcg.gov/pms/pubs/iibmhb2.pdf (Warning - huge file)

It sez:
"12.7-1 -Work/Rest Guidelines. To maintain safe, productive incident activities, incident management personnel must appropriately manage work and rest periods, assignment duration, and shift length for crews, overhead personnel, and support personnel. Plan for and ensure that crews, overhead personnel, and support personnel are provided a 2 to 1 work to rest ratio (for every 2 hours of work or travel, provide 1 hour of sleep and/or rest). The Incident Commander or Agency Administrator shall document, approve, and include in the daily incident records, the justification for work shifts exceeding 16 hours, including travel time, after the first operational period."

Note what it says about ICs approving shifts greater than 16 hours, and also "after the first operational period."

Now, as to your questions: A-175 The Milepost Fire - they're showing 8 1/2 hours off duty, at least by my math. No problems there, right?

A-215 Dawg Fire: It's an initial attack, and Alaska Fire Service (AFS) has a Work Rest Policy that states : "The first operational period will be limited to a maximum of 19 hours with a minimum of five hours rest before beginning the next operational period. Each subsequent operational period will be no longer than 16 hours with a minimum of eight hours rest in between."

That is interpreted as a standing justification for the first shift of initial attack exceeding 16 hours, which is in line with the Fire Business Mgmt Handbook. On the Dawg Fire, they got 6 hours off, now they would be expected not to exceed 16 hours per shift.

Right now, because of the Forest Service's (Note that AFS is basically a BLM outfit) 30 Mile fire action plan, there are a lot of rumors and misconceptions about work/rest ratios. The Fire Business Mgmt Handbook sets the baseline. Units may set more stringent guidelines, but so far, no one that I'm aware of has done that in writing.

So, what you read in the AFS Sit Report meets the official guidance.


05/29 Rogue Rivers:

In AK we run our first operational period on a fire up to 19 hours; 16's
after that. Due to the remote characteristic of many of our fires we
are not able to staff at Lower 48 levels (airplanes cost $). Our folks
are very cognizant of the 2:1 ratio. Bottom line: IC makes the call &
must justify (in writing) anything over 16 after the first operational
period. If a couple extra hours will catch a fire you're probably
better off doing it.

05/29 Hi,
Anyone from Minnesota, is the DNR going to keep smokechasers on for most
of the summer this year? thanks

stay safe,

05/29 Does anyone know if all Federal Agencies are using the 2 to 1 work rest
ratio guidelines?

I came across some info on two fires in Alaska that just "glared" at me. I'm
not armchair quarter backing... but they just seem to stand out since they
are on the Alaska GACC website.... And we have been hounded so bad about
these guidelines since 30 Mile....

A-175 - "Milepost 78" Crews off duty at 2300.. on duty 0730 (IHC CREW and
EFF Crews assigned)

A-215 - "Dawg"..... IC+7 will bed down @ 2400 and resume activities at 0600
5/28." (Smokejumpers assigned)

Rogue Rivers
05/28 AB,
I am in need of information on how to get on some fires this year.

I was a DNR wildland firefighter in Minnesota from 1996 to 2000. I then
joined the Navy. I am currently stationed in Bremerton, WA and I would like
to find an agency to fight fires with this summer. I recently participated
in the annual refresher course required for my red card. I have not taken
the pack test.

If you have any information on how I could contact an agency or make myself
more employable, please let me know.

Very respectfully,
05/28 Here's an interface AZ community near the Coronado NF that's doing its best to reduce fire hazards.

Mount Lemmon Fire: http://mountlemmonfire.com/Firewise%20Index.phpl


05/28 Ab,

Nice link to the Bullock fire, with lots of pics.


My daughter's on this one, as are a whole bunch of others. Be safe out there.

05/28 The jumper hit with a tree on the Berrago is fine, he was
observed overnight and released. The liner in his hard
hat broke so there was some concern for him. Berrago
received very light rain Sunday with snow above 11,000
feet, Overcast with reduced temps and higher humidity
Monday. Warming up with thunderstorms in the evening
for the next week, showers possible. Problem areas are
in the Pecos wilderness with numerous spot fires.

and there I was
05/27 Any info on the firefighter that was hit by a tree on the Coronado NF?


An article describing that fire just got posted to our news page. Ab.

05/27 I have a CDF aircraft safety ppt that is public domain, its 7mb though, not
emailable, but I would make it available if anyone wants it.

Capt 180
05/27 Ab, I just was given this link ( http://envweb.env.gov.ab.ca/env/forests/fpd/ ) for the Alberta Forest Protection web site. Thought you would be interested.


Thanks RxFire. Nice site. I put it on the links page, world section. Ab.

05/27 Here is a link to some web cameras that show smoke from the Bullock fire near Tucson. The cameras are operated by the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality.



Thanks Jackson. Thanks also to Danny who sent in a link to the web cam on the Bullock Fire. Ab.

05/27 Another CDF BC,
I pulled my copy of the list to get better numbers. There are 62 outside-CDF persons on the Open list. Total number is 248 for the entire list. 1.4 persons per currently open jobs on the Promotional list and 1.9 persons per job over the entire list. That's better odds than getting a date! Rumor has it that there are plans to fast-track a new exam.

Saw the lead pickle, gave him a copy of the list and directions to the uniform shop.
05/27 Hey everyone in the firefighting community.

Down on a 2 week detail in Colorado right now as a dispatcher. Memorial day is tomorrow and I thought it would be fitting to remember those fallen comrades. The latest big fire in Colorado broke out on my desk - The Schoonover fire. Since I am from Washington (western WA at that) we don't get large fires like that, so it was real challenging and exciting to deal with one that had the momentum that one did.

The IC and crews out there did a PHENOMENAL job. Pulled back to safety zones when they needed and didn't try to push it. I would like to say thanks for making my job on the other end of the radio an easier one. The winds just carried it away form them--it was REAL windy that day. I also worked in Wenatchee last year right after 30 mile, and had friends on South Canyon. Being only 28, I am still just a fire pup. I have spent time on the line with a crew and on an engine. This radio girl would like to say to everyone out there, just starting their fire season or coming back from a detail... let's be safe and watch out for each other...the fire community is very small and caring, let's keep it that way.

hugs from the radio girl :)
a moment of silence for those fighting the big fire in the sky.

05/27 Hi Ab:

I guess I have been lurking long enough. Fire season is just starting here in Nova Scotia Canada with a few small ones over the weekend. Our fires don't get as big as yours out west. We had one here in my fire coverage area last year that was about 80 acres and that was the second largest in the provence for last year. Most of the fires here are an acre or two. Most wildland fires are fought by volunteer fire depts with air support from Dept of Natural Resourses's 5 choppers and sometimes a rented fixed wing from either Newfoundland or Quebec when their FWI is down. Natural Resourses also supplies a few trucks and some firefighters (mostly students), they also keep a series of towers manned for the summer. I guess that's it from here. Keep safe.


Good morning and welcome Dodge. Glad to have fire info from our northern neighbor. Ab.

05/26 Hey Ab
I saw a couple of posts about the sigg drip torch I have to say they are
nice and small and fit in your pack pretty good they also work in a jam
however we sent them back because we just didn't like them because of too
many parts to loose and you have add more bar oil to the mix because the
fuel burns to hot so we keep it simple just pack a few drip torches. I
reckon my biggest bitch is too many parts to loose.
05/26 The mini drip torch, "Fuel Bottle Drip Torch" officially, comes from Fireline Engineering. Contact Chris Johnson @ 760-375-3109 or Email johnsonc@ridgenet.net.
They work using saw gas/oil mix, and hook right up to a Sigg Bottle; about 10 -15 minutes of firing time. A slick tool, and can be transported cleanly and safely in a red pack (without the Sigg bottle, of course!!).

05/26 Dear Ab,
We use a few of those mini drip torches on the Roosevelt Shots that "boss" was asking about please forward my e-mail address to him . I am on days off when I go back I will pull info off the containers that they come in.
Rocky Mountain
p.s. They're sweet and a ton of fun to use

Thanks for your input Rocky, see the above post. Ab.

05/25 Ab,
Im looking for anybody who might have a power point program of the NFES 2097 Basic Aviation Safety or a similar version of this class. Any help is appreciated.
Ray C.
05/25 I've been trying to locate a vender for the mini drip torches that I've heard about, have you heard of them, and w(h)ere to get them?
05/25 Good Morning All!

Happy Memorial Day Holiday or work day, as the case may be. Be SAFE wherever you are, whether on the fireline, on the barbeque with friends and family, or on the road. Things are definitely heated up, fire-wise. Many are heading out to R3 from R5 and around the US.

A post came in from NC Crew who put all capital letters in his "subject line", he was so excited to be leaving today for R3 with his crew. Unfortunately because of the caps, I deleted his post with the spam. Just wanted to let you know that he invited theysaiders, if you come across a NC Crew in firecamp, to look him up and say hi .

The Jobs Page and Job Series 0462 and 0455 Pages were updated yesterday. Check the need for Hotshot Crew Bosses and Asst Crew Bosses.

We're still working on the many photos that have come in. Hopefully we'll be caught up by Tuesday.

Have a good'un.

05/24 Quill,

>"My question is this: Is having to run up a somewhat steep, brushy hill really an escape route, knowing that fire moves more quickly uphill? "

Two words - South Canyon.

>"And if that's considered an escape route (and it wouldn't surprise me if it were, having once seen a 1.5 mile run through heavy canopy and litter called an escape route) does there need to be a change in thinking?"


05/24 Ok -- here's a question for you. When people talk about escape routes, does
there need to be more of an emphasis on realistic escape routes?

The scenario: 9:15 a.m., large fire burning in manzanita and Ppine. Your
crew is on the west flank of the fire, which happens to be burning the
hottest. This is day 2 of the fire; day 1 included several hundred acres of
continuous crown fire in Ppine. ERCs are at historical highs, 1,000-hour
fuels are running at <5%. Weather is clear skies, 65 degrees, upslope winds
are 10-15.

You are on a two-track in the wilderness which cuts a steep, manzanita
slope in two, horizontally, like a belt. About 1/8 of a mile above you is
another two-track. To access it , you'd have to go up the manzanita hill; a
line has been cut down the hill, but it is still steep to get up there.

The fire is 1/4 mile below where you stand. As you look into the basin
in which it's burning, there's considerable smoke, and occasional torching.
The fire has spotted to your side of the basin, about 100 yards or so below
your two-track. There's good, cold black a half-mile away (but if the fire
comes up, it will cut you off from that route), and a little tiny patch of
hot black 200 yards away.

Though the manzanita slope is covered in dry retardant from the previous
day's air show, the spot fire brings forth the questions of safety zones.
The designated safety zone is the two track further up the hill; thus, the
escape route is straight up the hill.

My question is this: Is having to run up a somewhat steep, brushy hill
really an escape route, knowing that fire moves more quickly uphill? And
if that's considered an escape route (and it wouldn't surprise me if it
were, having once seen a 1.5 mile run through heavy canopy and litter
called an escape route) does there need to be a change in thinking?

Be safe folks,
05/24 Rogue Rivers and DM,

I concur. However, DM, don't get the statements made by the Forest Supervisor, Sonny O'Neal, confused with "fire management on the WEF/OKF". In my opinion, that has two different meanings.

Predictable, predictable, predictable!(Gordon Graham makes this case pretty well). I agree, what we do is "PREDICTABLE"! As far as I know, there is no new and innovative way to fight fire. We are doing it the same way as our predecessors. Although no two fires are exactly the same, the inherent hazards are always there, we mitigate our hazards and anchor and flank. What happened to the "keeping it simple" theory? It works!

We avoid entrapments through "prevention", not after the fact. This responsibility lies on the leader of which ever module/crew, not to mention each individual firefighter. We as an agency are spending to much time and energy in creating more policy as a "reaction" to something instead of "LEADING" our people and "TEACHING" our people about how to prevent these things and mentoring our people through "on the ground" fire experiences. We need to pay attention more to our workforce. One simple rule of leadership, "If you take care of your people, they will perform to the maximum extent of their capabilities". We, as an agency, fail in this one basic rule of leadership. There has been great strides made in the arena of "human factors" training and to me, this is the "meat" of our current situation. We are not learning from our predecessors or from their/our mistakes. We need to concentrate on "testing" our people in stressful-situational training, we need to raise the bar on physical fitness standards (a fit body = a fit mind), and we need a screening process to ensure the people we put into these leadership roles are up to the task.

As an agency, our workload is increasing more and more everyday and as I watch this happening, I'm watching "leaders" pay less and less attention to the people they should be leading, mentoring and challenging through "realistic" training.

Can an agency hold people, such as District Fire Managers and Forest Fire Staff, accountable for not providing a crew with escape routes and safety zones? I wouldn't ever expect a Duty Officer, FMO, IHC Supt, Engine Captain, or anyone else for that matter, to identify my crews' escape routes and safety zones. If you can't take care of "your" people(your crew) and provide sound leadership, then the failure lies with "you", as well as the accountability for failing to mitigate any unsafe situations.

I'm not claiming to know all the facts, I'm just stating the obvious. Hopefully when all is said and done, we as a firefighting community can stand up for what is "right" and back our fellow firefighters. We can't allow the media, politics and the agency itself to drive us away from what is fact and "morally right". Don't get me wrong, people need to be held accountable, as long as the "right" people are held accountable. I could go on and on, this whole thing upsets me.

Ab's, thanks for your site.

2nd Generation IHC Supt.

05/24 Please mark your calendars for an important event on December 4-6, 2002.

The IAWF, in cooperation with the International Association of Fire Chiefs
(IAFC) and the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, are
pleased to announce "Wildfire 2002: Surviving the Interface Danger Zone."
This is the first-ever national Wildland Urban Interface Conference. The
conference will be held in Kansas City.

Contact mcdowell@iawfonline.org to receive the pdf flyer.
05/24 Howdy fellow fire fighters.
Does anybody know if there are any engine boss presentations or class that is on a power point program.
05/24 JW:

You have any idea why many of the names on the promotional list are duplicated on the open list? With only about 250 names on both lists combined, this is still about 100 shy of what some of our recent list sizes for promotional FC used to have. Looks like all will get an offer. The "auction" will remove many for sure.

With only 60 names roughly coming outside CDF, a fair statement is made on how the economic package for this position had deteriorated in comparison to agencies and departments.

PS. Good job to lead pickle. Time now to learn again how to count to 17!

"Another CDF BC"
05/23 my district (in regards to not paying OT or Comp for training over base 8) does this: you are in travel status on the way to a training class that might be anywhere from 1/2 hour to 45 min. drive from your duty station. If you have to pick materials up, fuel gov. vehicles, outfit an engine for the class, its considered volunteer time. You are supposedly "covered" under workmans comp for an injury but if you wont "volunteer" your time to get things set up for a training class (in this case its ENGB) then someone else will (most likely a temp seasonal). The budget is the main concern here because the overtime will come out of this budget and thus shorten everyones season due to budget constraints. Management considers it a pissing match over a few hours, which I discovered totals nearly 6.5 hours. EEO and OPM sources say its up to the district and its an uphill battle not worth fighting (if you value your job and performance rating) I say its a huge problem considering the implications of volunteer work that involves the same type of work you would ordinarily do on the clock. Its required training after all... and Im not headed there driving my personal rig, enjoying a cigarette and some CDs.
05/23 We're now under a Winter Storm Warning... funny how this weather is so hot
and cold.

Anyway, here's a link to www.pinecam.com if you don't have it already. They
are providing the most current information including pics and maps of the
latest fires in the Pike Natl Forest areas. There's also a webcam that
updates every 30 minutes (I think) and is usually pointed at which ever fire
is the most active. Take notice of the Scanner Updates discussion area...
people are listening and updating this area frequently with information they
hear coming over their scanner.... interesting concept -- what do you guys

We've been very busy this year already... everyone is a little jumpy...
hopefully the snow will help. BE SAFE!


Yes, everyone, be safe. Ab.

05/23 Please see that the Washington State press has INACCUARATELY reported on the Thirtymile Administrative Review. <Ab snipped name> is currently reviewing recommendations from the Administrative Review team who completed their interviews in early May. As a precautionary measure some Okanogan and Wenatchee forest personnel were asked to "stand down" from fire operational work until decisions are made. These folks are still going to work everyday on the Oka/Wen forest - assigned to non-fire operations work.

We expect more negative and/or inaccurate press to occur regarding Thirtymile. Let's be professionals - and not spread rumors that are likely untrue and painful to those involved in the tragedy.

Ab Note: Until the process is done and actions are officially taken, I am pulling the link to the article from 05/20 Register Guard (OR) that was based on the Associated Press report that was based on the Yakima Herald article of a few days ago. I am told that we may not know for perhaps a year what the outcome of the legal (due) process is.

05/23 I urge readers to not assume that any of the Methow Valley FS personnel named in one of the Methow Valley News editorials are being reassigned or subject to personnel actions.
AG, legal beagle
05/23 From Firescribe:

CNN.com - Colorado wildfire tears through 4,000 acres


05/23 For Those Who Are Wondering, The new CDF Fire Captain list is on the street. Here are some bullet points.
-Approximately 800 employees and outside firefighters applied.
-About 425 accepted for interviews.
-After no-shows and not-minimually-qualified ratings the Promotional list has about 185 names and the Promotional and Open combined list has about 285 names.
-Roughly 130 jobs open at this time.
-Some Units will not be able to use the combined list due to the number of transfer requests and interest in available jobs. Some units will be able to use the combined list for the opposite reasons.
-Normally a Promotional list has to be exhausted before an Open list is used to fill a vacancy. It is not quite clear to me when the Combined list enters the picture.
-Large scale hiring should start within the next two weeks.


05/22 CFU or Community Fire Unit -- information about these can be seen at

Background information dated 30 December, 2001 17.30pm
Sydney, New South Wales (NSW),Australia,
Weather Forecast: Today WSW winds in W half of NSW. NW elsewhere.
VH/Extreme fire danger.
Total Fire Bans are in place for all areas of the State.
67 aircraft will be deployed today
380,000 acres of uncontrolled or controlled fires
>From NSWFB site

Dec. 26,2001 Property losses include 141 homes, 19 vehicles, 40 other structures including factories, shops and sheds. One school in Waterfall has been lost. Over 8,000 firefighters are fighting fires in the Hawkesbury, Blue Mountain and the Illawarra areas today. Successful back burning conducted by fire crews last night and this morning has meant that the fire threat has eased and to some degree kept within the containment lines. There has been no property loss in the last 48 hours; however, fires are still burning in Spencer, Nattai and the Shoalhaven areas.

The top temperatures, which were predicted for today, have now been revised and not expected to rise above 30 degrees, which has been a blessing for fire crews and people living in the affected areas. However, the southerly winds which were predicted yesterday have come earlier than expected and fire crews are still on extreme alert as the bushfire danger is totally dependent on the erratic weather behaviour which is still continuing to create unusual effects. Today's NSWFB commitment is:
13 fire engines Wollongong
11 fire engines Wollondilly
15 fire engines Sutherland
24 fire engines Blue Mountains
4 fire engines Penrith
1 fire engine Baulkham Hills
And all other Brigade resources are on standby and to be used on request by
the Rural Fire Service.

Please Note: Aussie Terminology Bushfire = Wildfire = Forest Fire)

It was about 8:00pm Jan 1st 2002 (Happy??? New Year) and I was staring at flames that were close to 120ft tall less than 100 yards away from my house. The fire had been started by some @#$$%* arsonist that afternoon. I stood in a pair of jeans, work boots, long sleeved shirt, a respirator, leather work gloves, snow skiing goggles (better than nothing) and hardhat. The garden hoses were on the roof wetting it down and the sprinkler system, in the backyard that bordered onto the about 150 acres of National and local Gov’t parkland forest, were going full blast. My entire street is surrounded by that same forest, a typical Sydney urban/wildland interface. However I am less than 10 miles (as the crow flies from Sydney’s CBD).

Looking at those flames I thought to myself, there has to be a better way to protect my house and myself. As a result of a small bush fire that an arsonist had started less than a mile away on Boxing Day, I had installed a sprinkler system to cover my backyard and parts of my neighbours' yards. (I had gazed longingly at a fire fighting gas powered pump and hose kit, as I have a swimming pool, at the irrigation placewhere I bought the sprinkler system but at $1,200, I didn’t have the money.)

I had been told (by the previous owners when I moved into this house 4 years ago) that in the 1994 bushfires, which came to within 100 yards of my house, that the water mains had dried up once the Fire Brigades had connected up to them. (4in. diameter, what can I say for 50 plus houses?)

With what I had, plus the expected weather forecast, it seemed that I would be just as effective if I dropped my pants and tried to put the fire out via the Boy Scout method, should the fire get past the crews on the road below. Luckily the forecasted 30 knot winds stayed away. Between that and about 20 fire trucks and crews lining a road conducting a back burn operation between the fire and I, the fire was contained.

Finally about 1:20am I went to bed. But got up every hour to walk around the house and turn on the back yard sprinklers for 20 minutes to prevent embers from restarting the fires. Next morning I went for a walk along the road to check the damage to the local bushland and to ensure that there were no flare-ups.

Over the next few days I saw some articles in the newspapers about some Community Fire Units (CFU). This seemed to be the answer. So after doing a bit of research on the CFUs I called a local community meeting of the houses that are in my local. I explained the concept of the CFUs and asked people to go away and consider if they wanted to participate in the CFU program. The end result is that we have about 30 people that will join and put in an application.

So what is a CFU? Well, read on. (Tahoe Terrie, Sorry but at this stage I can not answer from the side of the question that you want but I will give you some insight as I move through the process.)

Community Fire Units (CFU)
The NSWFB (New South Wales Fire Brigades) have instituted this progamme, in response to those devastating bushfires that raged through much of NSW in 1994. The concept of a CFU is to act almost as a sort of a first aider to a bush / urban interface wildfire. They are there to do property protection and to assist in setting up for the Metro (NSWFB) and Bush (NSW Rural Fire Service). Now it is important to remember that the role of the CFU is to help set up for the NSWFB and NSWRFS, i.e. have the stem pipe installed, pump set up near a static water source See my previous post on 15.05.02), hoses laid out and members in their PPE in order to assist. The members are there to protect property and NOT to go into the burning bush/forest or into structures to fight the fire.

At this time the CFUs will only operate within their assigned location (street) where they are based. If the fire arrives before the brigades do, then the CFU fights the fire with what they have. Once the fire has passed or been put out then they will also conduct mopping up and fire watch operations begin. This frees up the NSWFB & NSWRFB to move with the fire front, without leaving crewed trucks behind.

In the recent fires in Dec and Jan, the CFU concept was put to the acid test in a full on state-wide emergency. It was recognised that they fulfilled their role better than expected. Much praise has been given to those CFU’s by both the NSWFB (paid} and NSWRFS {mainly volunteer} fire-fighters and their commanding officers. The extent of that praise was such that special funding ($400,000.00) is being given to the programme. At last count there have been over 70 new requests to set up new CFUs in addition to the current 150-odd active units.

Each CFU is allocated the following equipment which is either stored in a locked outdoor storage cabinet or covered box trailer.

  • CFU Equipment
  • A stand/stem pipe to tap into the water mains,
  • gas (petrol) powered water pump, to pump water from a pool or dam,
  • 180m of hose (2” I think),
  • a Y joint,
  • two nozzles,
  • an assortment of shovels, rakes etc.,
  • two water back packs,
  • 1st aid kit, and
  • some witches hats.
  • PPE -- The members (between 6 – 12) are issued by the NSWFB with :
    • boots,
    • gloves,
    • goggles,
    • helmets,
    • respirators, and
    • overalls.
We are given an initial 20 hours of training before we can become active and then have a minimum requirement of 20 hours p.a. to remain active (set-up cost per unit approx.$10,000.00 including training).

2/1/2002 From NSWFB site
More unprecedented hot and windy conditions and a record low humidity level on New Year's Day meant Sydney's New Year started with more bushfires. Yesterday's breakout in South Tarramurra, North Epping and Pennant Hills, suspected to be deliberately lit, is still burning within containment lines today.

The NSW Fire Brigades has over 400 firefighters committed to fighting those fires and at least 25 community fire units with about 400 community fire unit members who are significantly assisting bushfire operations in the Pennant Hills area. NSW Fire Brigades Superintendent Ian Krimmer says, " The early intervention and continuous work conducted by the community fire units has played a significant role and contributed to saving houses.

"The community's involvement and co operation in a range of ways like being a member of a community fire unit, preparing their homes in case of a bushfire, and branding their letter boxes and fences with coloured tea towels so that our firies know they have a swimming pool has made all the difference in the number of properties that have been saved."

"There were several cases yesterday where fire crews were able to go straight into homes and obtain water from pools because the Static Water Supply plates were displayed on people's homes/fences. The SWS program has certainly proved a life and property saver and can certainly be expanded to include many more areas in Sydney in the future." Superintendent Krimmer said.

In addition to the NSW fire Brigade resources an extra 37 fire engines from the Rural Fire Service, National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Country Fire Authority are also committed to the outbreak in the South Turramurra area.

So far the NSW Fire Brigades have the following crews committed:

I post this information as a person who has stood on the wrong end (i.e. helpless interface home owner with little equipment to fire a wildfire) in the hope that this program will be examined, adapted (to suit US/Can. or wherever) and instituted where appropriate on the wildland/urban interface. The Australian experience has been a very positive one and has certainly helped to reduce loss of property and possibly people. Please let this be discussed as well as my previous post (15.05.02) on the concept of SWS (Static Water Supply).

I will be happy to answer any question that I can or direct you to …...???
Aussie CFU

Thanks Aussie CFU, again very interesting. Readers? Ab.

05/22 Ab

Here's some help maybe for MOC4546.
This brings up a big point with an injury during this "training." I would
check your HR (Human Resource) person either in the office or at your region
office and ask them what about FECA (Federal Employee Compensation Act).
Would it be considered an on the job injury, will the agency cover it? Next ask
them if this is compliant to FLSA Fair Labor Standards Act? Sounds really
fishy with me.. My agency does not offer OT for training that is not during
my scheduled work hours, usually on my on time or my boss might give me comp
time. But if required to attend I think it's an auto qual for pay at least,
OT might be a little tougher to find. I asked a HR prof of mine and I'll try
and get you some more info.

Also check www.dol.gov and look around the Department of Labor website.

Hope this helps,
05/21 MOC4546 and anyone else that can tell me what a PAC test is:

Let's all get on the same page and call it what it is: Work Capacity Test (WCT). There are 3 fitness levels of the WCT, a person's fire qualifications will determine which test he/she will take. You can't take one at a higher level than what your qualifications require. The first level of fitness is "Light" which is required for such jobs as Type 3 Information Officer. The test is called the "Walk Test" and involves walking one mile in 16 minutes carrying nothing. The second level of fitness is "Moderate" which is required for such jobs as Operations Section Chief and Safety Officer. This test is called the "Field Test" and involves walking two miles in 30 minutes carrying 25 pounds. The final level of fitness is "Arduous" which is required for many positions including Firefighter. This level requires the "Pack Test" which involves walking three miles in 45 minutes carrying 45 pounds. Actually I forgot one level of fitness, "none", which is required for a whole bunch of jobs, none of which involve firefighting.

The FMO that is requiring a Field Exercise on top of the other basic requirements for annual firefighter certification is running a real chicken-sh*t operation. If I worked there, I would be doing my darndest to find another job somewhere else, hopefully working for someone with some common sense as well as a sense of moral values. Someone needs to call bullsh*t on this guy.


05/21 TC,

The problem is can an Fire Management Office make a mandatory policy that any primary or secondary firefighter must VOLUNTEER, AT NO PAY, PROVIDING FREE LABOR, guised as a Field Exercise in order to have them eligible for off-Forest/District/Park/Reservation Fire Assignments? Can anyone from these offices say "You work for me for free on my project or I won't let you go to fires when we receive assignments". That is the issue.

Many have told me that the field exercise for firefighters is not to be used as a means of free labor when an FMO does not want to pay for personnel for their project. I have worked in places where they did periodic training to test firefighter skills through the season, but not where the employees were blackmailed to work for free under the guise "Do what I say or you can't go".

The firefighter is willing to go to the Field Exercise, but if her boss says "I can't send you because of other work" or "I can't pay overtime or give you Comp Time" then she gets left out because she won't perform and act of free labor.

As to overtime, I got paid last year to go to a two-day class of which one day was 8 hours of overtime. There was no issues about it.

I looked up where you said but could not find where it said "you have to do training for free". I know that private contractors have their employees do the training for free, and I know that secondary type-II crews also have to train for free, but this is in regard to permanent employees and seasonal federal firefighters who are being told you have to work for free in order to get your red card and go on assignments.


What if someone gets hurt when they are doing the mandatory "volunteer" field exercise? Seems a big risk to the agency to have people who are not covered by insurance. Accidents can happen. Ab.

05/21 Hey AB,
I just wanted to let folks know about the Ranger pack....I
ordered one last fall and it came but it was just to big...the harness
was too big all around...I am only 5'4" and small....so I loved the
concept of the pack and I called the factory and talked with those
guys. They told me that it was common for small people to have a hard
time getting hip packs to fit properly. We discussed the possibilities
and i took some measurements and we thought we could try downsizing the
entire harness system...well I sent the harness back to them and they
downsized it and sent it back (at no cost) and it fits perfectly!!! In
fact it is like not having a pack on my back at all!!! It is great!!!
all the compartments are easily reached and it holds just enough!!! Just
wanted to give those guys an "Atta Boy!"" for their time and effort!! so
if you are looking for a great pack...Ranger is willing to work with you
to make it fit!!! Looking forward to a busy fire season!
You all stay safe out there!!
Firebabe NH
05/21 www.fs.fed.us/r3/fire/webdaily/swaintnn.php

The Southwest is really rock'n'rollin' now.


05/21 Rouge Rivers,

I fully concur with your post. It is sad that many in fire management on the WEF/OKF hold on to the ‘uncontrollable, unpredictable, overwhelming event" theory as the root cause to the 30 Mile tragedy. I guess many have to subscribe to this personally because to believe otherwise one would have to recognize the fact that a collective organizational failure put the elements of the tragedy into place. And also, to say it was predictable is to say it was preventable. Those are very hard things to admit to, given what resulted.

If I were to believe that there are uncontrollable, unpredictable, fire behavior events waiting out there that will "overwhelm all who face" them, I must resign myself to an eventual entrapment, serious injury or worse. I will never do that, nor should anyone else.

05/21 Links from Firescribe:

Article on new Colorado shots

Article on hotshots fighting fire in Georgia

05/21 MOC4546

In answer to your question, it can change from agency to agency. In the FS
if you look at the 5109.17 (Incident Qualification Handbook), it states
that local units can make additional policies, that are more restrictive,
as long as all the requirements of 5109.17 are adhered too. On the
question of overtime, it depends on the person's position, however as a
general rule, overtime cannot be paid for training. The person with this
problem should check with the local personnel office, to see what her exact
status is. She might also try contacting the local Union to see if they
can help her out.


05/21 Last month I posed this same question to the lurkers and readers but find I have to do it again.

Today I was approached by a person who attended the Wildland Firefighter Refresher Course I gave and asked about requirements for going on fires as a secondary firefighter. I told her that she had to attend the refresher course (which she did) and pass the PAC Test (which hasn't been scheduled yet) in order to be re-certified for the Fire Season. She brought to me a memo that stated "In order for you to be eligible to go on Fire Assignment you must pass a PAC Test, attend a Refresher Course, and participate in a Field Exercise. Anyone who does not will not be sent out on assignment."

The problem is the regs require only the PAC Test and the Refresher Course. The Fire Management Office is trying to force people to come in, help them prep an area for burning by cutting line all day for their project. Here's the questionable act:

*Those who participate in the "Field Exercise" will not be paid overtime if its on their day off.
*If the secondary firefighter cannot get the time to go because their boss needs them at work, they can't go.
*The Field Exercise is only offered once.

Here's the question: Can a Federal Wildland Fire Agency force an employee to attend an all-day class without being on-the-clock in order to meet this requirement? Can the FMO stop someone from being sent an assignment if the secondary firefighter's primary supervisor tells her "I can't afford the overtime and I can't let you go to the Field Exercise due to other work"?

People I have polled in the Forest Service and BLM have told me that an employee cannot be forced to work for free, that NIFC regulations require only a Recert Class and PAC Test for returning firefighters, the Field Exercise is not a valid requirement for returnees, and that an FMO cannot enforce that requirement for either primary or secondary firefighters if it is not possible for them to attend.

Can anyone supply me with a legal rule or department regulation that could answer this question? I need something factual or that can be demonstrated on paper that I can take and say "You can't do this!". This FMO has used this as a tactic to get free labor for project work they don't want to pay for and is being used to prevent some firefighters from being red-carded. This would not be an issue if the employees were being paid OT or if it were done during normal working hours, but this is "come work for me for free or you won't go out on fires".

The people who want to go on fires don't have a problem with attending a Field Exercise if it's to evaluate their skills and if they are on-duty. None of them feel they should be threatened to be held back if they do not want to work for free. This has happened the last three years with this FMO.

05/20 Mr. Roeder, I have been reading the articles you have been writing, you may
work for a "prize winning" news paper but I see factual reporting getting
close to turning into a "witch hunt." Do not let your quest for the "prize"
blind you to fair, factual and honest reporting.

The other thing that surprises me is the attention that Washington State
senator Maria Cantwell is paying to the investigation and the "uninformed"
statements she is making, and it is not even an election year!

*read that pulling it out her *****.

Sign me "one from the wet place"
05/20 I'm a high school senior who is looking into firefighting as a career. I
have to write a report all about what firemen wear and what their jobs
entail. If there is any way that you could possibly send me any information
about what their turnout gear is made out of or from, that would be greatly
appreciated. Also any other information you see as useful or important I
wouldn't mind having either.
05/20 Hey Ab, just happened to run across these and since they have been recently discussed I thought
I'd pass them along.

30 mile newsflash from AP

DUI firefighter (Reno Gazette)-- Fatal crash driver had previous DUI conviction
>From the story it looks like this guy was a federal firefighter and it wasn't his first DUI.


Thanks Fedfire and others who sent in the link to the 30mi AP Newsflash. Ab.

As of 05/23, a further update. The AP report on which these articles is based is in error and the links to the articles have been deleted. Ab.

05/20 To All-

I ship out tomorrow from the East Coast for another summer with the 'shots.
Thanks to all of you for providing me with fire topics to keep my mind sharp
during the down season - city life can get pretty boring. Hope to work
with, or along side, some of you this summer,


Check in when you can. Be Safe. Ab.

05/20 From John:

28 Countries to Jointly Practice Forest Fire Fighting in Croatia 22-24 May - Invitation to Media

"The exercise, labeled "Taming the Dragon - Dalmatia 2002" is the
biggest ever conducted in Europe, with 28 countries involved"


05/20 Hello all,
I finally got a chance to check my e-mail and found this link.
I thought everyone would like to see this. Check out the fire simulator
also, its really cool.
Take care and have a safe season...
Dennis R5


Heya Dennis, we hyped the NOVA Fire Wars show here on theysaid for weeks before its debut and then reviewed it afterwards. Did'ja notice the link to wildlandfire.com on their links page? Haven't been reading here lately, have you? HAW HAW. Ab.

05/20 The reason the FS has not divulged details of pending disciplinary actions
is it is illegal to do so. The Privacy Act and several other Federal laws
prohibit the release of such information until after disposition of the
case, and then only limited info is available to be released to the public.
This is not the FS stonewalling or intentionally covering something up, it
is obeying laws passed by Congress.

You may obtain some information from the in-house rumor mill, which may or
may not be accurate or factual. But you should check with your legal
department before publishing any information obtained from other than
official channels. Inaccurate or sensational reporting may ruin careers and
damage personal lives of innocent people.

05/20 Re 30 Mi info on individuals being released to Mr. Roeder,
I don't think the govt can share that info with the media or the public at large prior to settlement of the the whole incident without risking lawsuit.

Re announcing the IC by name on an incident,
I am worried that if first and last names are released over the airwaves on an incident, I will then start getting phone calls at home from the media wanting to know this and that about the fire. I am not alone in being very displeased by this prospect. I have no concerns about being accountable for my choices, actions and oversight. I always act with that accountability in mind as do all R5 managers I know. Mandating name announcement is bull$h*t in my estimation. Find some other way to make clear and reinforce the chain-of-command if that is necessary.

NorCal Tom

05/20 Ab,
The CDF four person engine companies were in the North Region only last
year. Supposedly there was an analysis that showed values saved by the
additional person were significant. I haven't seen the report. There has
been some talk about beefing up SoCal this year either by hiring or
pre-positioning resources. For a couple of years my unit beefed up engines
on strike teams to four and five persons. It made a dramatic difference in
production and capability.

So far the state budget cuts haven't made it to the fire protection side of
CDF. However, the emergency fund from which we pay fire suppression costs
above IA, was restructured so that we have about half the spending authority
in total dollars. This means that we spend out of our general fund budget
until we can get a "reload" from the legislature. With the E-fund tapped
the only way for CDF to stay solvent is to delay payment to vendors. The
double edged sword is that there is a payment penalty imposed on the state
if vendors aren't paid in a timely manner and small business operators can't
afford to carry the state for six months. This harks back to 1992,
ancient history to some, where we had to negotiate with vendors to take
purchase orders in order to feed our traveling crews.

Static water supplies are not new to the fire service. The NFPA has a
standard for rural water supplies that involves developing streams and water
bodies to be usable year-round. The ISO (Insurance Services Organization)
recognizes these water supplies when rating fire departments. Since we are
talking about interface fire fighting where water is important and municipal
type supplies often fail it would be a good idea to overlap the hydrant
system with a static system. Section 4290 of the CA Public Resources Code
suggests to local government a model code where each rural house not on a
municipal system have at least 2,500 gallons of water available for fire
fighting. The CA rural fire service and wildland agencies have not been
aggressive enough at developing static water sources. Even the City of San
Francisco has a major static water system, it only took one good earthquake
for them to get the idea. We fight fires in the same places over and over
without improving infrastructure.

05/20 dunno what the weather is like in So Cal, but most of north zone received lots of rain Sunday, more forecast for
Monday. It poured in the Mendo region and into the ElDo.

so, kids, time to practice the drills for a fire safe season to come.

be well and stay safe wherever you are!

05/20 Mr. Roeder:
While it is our business to know what happened at Thirtymile and what we can use to learn from it, it is my belief that it is not our business as to the specifics of the discipline.
Unless the individuals want to come forward and tell us (you) the details, this information should not be released.
I believe the direct families should possibly be the only one that know the fine details of the discipline, with permission from the FS and employees directly involved.

I can't answer the question have they fought fire since then.. my guess.. no.

Yes, your articles deserved to win awards and was an excellent way to get the facts straight. Thanks you for that. I understand the need to dig for information but I just think your request goes too far.

05/20 Excellent posts by the paper......

"While Forest Service investigations found serious safety violations at Thirtymile, Okanogan Wenatchee Forest Supervisor Sonny O'Neal and other officials have attributed mistakes to an unpredictable fire that would have 'overwhelmed any who faced it."

Serious Safety violations... YES (*ten of them* at the bare minimum).....

"Overwhelmed by ANY who had faced it"... NO WAY IN HELL... We have Hotshots Superintendents, HS Captains, Engine Captains, and Module Leaders who make those decisions every day.. It Seemed a HS Supt. made the decision to disengage on the fire and wasn't listened to....... He used his training, experience, and fire knowledge to make that decision... It was a good decision.

Holding folks accountable has always been the problem... the safety mechanisms have always been in PLACE... holding folks accountable hasn't taken place.

Fire is a PREDICTABLE thing when you realize the signs around you... The inability to recognize these signs is NOT an excuse.

Drought, inexperience, multiple fires, topography, the total lack of adherence to the 10 Standard Fire Orders, lack of LCES, and the lack of recognition of the 18 situations caused this incident.

Adherence to the 10, 18 and LCES have been policy for the USDI and USDA since "Storm King". Enforcement hasn't. Nothing more and nothing less.

Rogue Rivers
05/19 From the Washington Post... And it's about time.

"Computer Upgrade to make Savings Plan a Daily Affair for Participants"

05/19 Hey, Ab and firefighters:

I'm a reporter who has been covering the Thirtymile Fire since July 10. Our paper has won
several national and regional awards for our investigation of the circumstances that led to the
deaths of Jessica Johnson, Karen FitzPatrick, Tom Craven and Devin Weaver. Having just found
your site, I noticed several of our articles referenced. Here's one more. On Sunday we reported
on how the Forest Service is dealing with the commanders at Thirtymile and how they are
training firefighters to avoid the mistakes that killed last year. That can be found at
www.yakima-herald.com. All of our Thirtymile coverage can be found in archives on the site.

Now, here's the catch: The Forest Service hasn't been very forthcoming on couple of items that
I need to know more about -- who is facing discipline over their role at Thirtymile and have
those people facing discipline fought fire since Thirtymile.

I could use your help. And if you have comments on our stories, I'll take those too.

Tom Roeder
The Yakima Herald-Republic
05/19 I just wanted to let everyone know that nimrod packs are the absolute
toughest on the market. i just bought the fl n-350 to replace my old pg bag
and i have not been disappointed yet, these packs offer unparalleled
comfort. i hike 4-8 miles every other day and my shoulders feel just as fresh
at the end of my hikes as they did when i started. i would recommend the
nimrod line of packs to anyone HANDS DOWN.

05/18 Two brush fires have been cooking along today scorching more than 1000 acres, forcing 30 families to evacuate an area north of Ft Pierce FL. Temp was 91 degrees today, cooling now. Fine fuels are VERY dry. Winds that played a part in fanning the flames earlier are lessening as evening comes on. We have 300+ firefighters and helo support working on the fire. Green burns even with high humidity.

Be Safe All!
FL Ranger.

05/18 Speaking of the funniest things ever on an application, this is my all
time favorite. " I didn't ever graduate from high school but I was Valid
Victorian of my freshman class." If you don't get it have someone help
you with any future apps you might put in.

Later, Rudy

PS Good to hear that Prescott, AZ dodged that bullet.
05/18 Hi all,
Just wondering what everyone thinks of Nimrod line packs.
I am thinking of getting a nimrod or eagle gear.
Any input would be great.


Hey, Nimrod has a classifieds ad with us and came recommended by firefighters, as did others on our Classifieds Page. Check 'em out. Ab.

05/18 FireSandwich,

Wish that was your app. we were looking at but it wasn't. This guy had NO fire experience, although he was an EMT. Hope I didn't offend you. It was a humorous note in the midst of a pile of apps. It got us to look twice. Hope with your fire experience that it worked for you.

05/18 Ab please post this. Readers, please RSVP if you plan to attend:

All are welcome to attend:

The California Fire Chiefs Association, Communications Section, in partnership with the California Office of the State Fire Marshal, presents:

The Utah Olympic Public Safety Experience: Planning for Success

The 2002 Winter Olympic Games: Lessons Learned for Homeland Security and MCI A Presentation by Capt. T. J. Kennedy, Deputy Director, Utah Olympic Public Safety Command

Also Presenting: World Class Winter Olympics Dispatching
Randall Larson, 9-1-1 Magazine/San Jose Fire
Chuck Barker, Placer County Communications

Held in the shadow of September 11th, safety and security at the 2002 Winter Olympics Games in Salt Lake City, Utah were of paramount importance. Hundreds of law enforcement, dozens of firefighter/EMS personnel, and nearly 50 public safety dispatchers volunteered or were assigned to make the 2002 Winter Olympics a safe experience for all concerned.

This special FREE presentation will immediately follow the general CFCA Communications Section meeting.

Weds May 29, 2002
CFCA Communications Meeting 09:30 - 11:30
UOPSC Presentations 11:30 - 2:30

San Jose Airport Inn - 1355 N 4th St @ E Gish Rd

Hosted by the San Jose Fire Department
A lunch order (min. $10) will be taken at the start of the meeting. Morning refreshments will be provided.

Please RSVP:
Randall Larson, 408-227-8027
05/17 R5-er,

So you saw my application, ehh? Which forest? I personally thought the "Sandwich Artist" experience on the resume fit in nicely with the previous fire and EMT work.

See you this summer!

<HAW><HAW><HAW> Small fire world! Ab.

05/17 For R-5 fire hounds. does anybody know where I can
find a document or manual regarding 8hr or 24hr
refresher for camp support people (non-fireline). Or
does it even exist? We had a long discussion about
this on forest and there were mixed beliefs on this
subject. My thing was show me on paper where it exist,
not that it's a bad idea, we have had a few camps
burned out over the years. So if anybody can give me a
place to look these up I would appreciate it.
Lost in paperwork
05/17 Fireguy,
I e-mailed the Snake River IHC Superintendent to see if they still had
openings earlier today. He told me that he IS looking for an experienced
person to fill a crew member position, but the only way he can pick anyone
up at this time would be to detail a current federal employee. You can get
the phone numbers and email information at
05/17 There is a vacancy for a LEAD HELITACK CREWPERSON, GS-462-5/6 in the Black
Hills of South Dakota. The position is with the National Park Service, but
it primarily works on an interagency helitack crew at Custer, SD. It is a
career seasonal (subject to furlough) position, normally funded for 13 pay
periods (26 weeks) each year. The Black Hills is a great area with a lot
of fire activity. The vacancy announcement will be open until the position
is filled, but the first cut-off date for applications to be received is
May 21. For more information, check USA jobs at
http://jsearch.usajobs.opm.gov/ftva.asp?OPMControl=ID2675 or contact

The Jobs page, Job Series 0462 and 0455 Pages are updated. Ab.

05/17 Greetings All,
This last topic has prompted me to turn off the lurk mode and post a reply. On the issue of burning filter elements my suggestion would be to add a cyclonic pre-cleaner. It will filter substantially more than a screen and will greatly improve the life of your current filter element which means better air flow to the motor. I know that Enginaire pre-cleaners (www.enginaire.com/) were spec'd on all the Unimog engines in use with the BLM & USFS - and I had good results from mine last season.

Stay Safe,
05/17 Firescribe,
Boy have you said a mouth full, I am currently in the SW and we are expecting more dry lighting for Saturday, it should be interesting.

I know what you mean about the CDF or LA County Crews, I have talked to alot of those guys over the winter time, some of the guys were honest and others tried to hide it. I would probably give one of them a chance. As for your application experience, here is one for you, "I worked as a sandwich artist".

Stay safe everyone, R-3 is looking for people to come out.
05/17 Does anyone know if the Snake River Valley hotshots are still hiring or need
detailers??? I've spent a few years on a shot crew and currently work as a
Crew Leader on a Heavy Engine....I'd love to get back on a GOOD shot crew.
Thanks for the info.

05/16 FireBill -

In response to your question about air filters catching fire (5/14), I do have quite a bit of experience with this problem. There have been several agencies plagued by this problem in recent years, and it's a costly one. From my observations, most if not all of the engines involved were in wildland urban interface situations (structure protection). This basically puts the apparatus at the head of the fire.

Most of the fires that this has happened on have been wind driven (Santa-Ana) type events producing a lot of fire brands. The only fix that we have come up with is to put 1/8 - 1/16 fine mesh metal screening on the outside if the air-intake. This hopefully will catch most of the embers entering the air duct. This also does not restrict the air flow.

There are long term fixes being looked at. I have heard that K&N filters is being asked to produce a filter that would suit the fire service needs, although I can't confirm this. There are also other vendors that already have products to prevent this, but to my knowledge they are for only type I engines.

In addition, it has not been just the air cleaner that has destroyed an engine. On the Viejas Fire (Jan-2001), a local government type I engine was destroyed because of an ember that had got underneath the cab of the engine catching the plastic insulation for the wiring on fire. The firefighters could not raise the cab to extinguish it because it was electrical. Needless to say despite their best efforts, the engine's cab was destroyed. I don't know what the answer is to that one.

I hope this suits your needs.

05/16 Aussie CFU,
I thought everyone Downunder had firefighting experience. Sure you're not reeeeeeeeally a firefighter?

I, for one, am looking forward to hearing more about your system, your problems and issues, how you're funded, your chain-of-command when working with civilian volunteers with household tools. Seems like safety, training, and gear would be big issues. I'm just picturing The Australian PUBLIC in shorts and tennis shoes as the fire front roars in, blithely wielding their garden hoses. Do they know enough to stay safe? Many interface residents in CA do not.

(Out of curiosity, what time is it there? Must go ask Jeeves. When is your most active fire season? the fall?)
As we say here, Be Safe.
Tahoe Terrie

05/16 Some more budget talk.
Funding for fire for the Forest Service is going to be
another problem this year. Last year, FS fire
overspent, and to make up for it national management
robbed WCF money intended for purchasing fleet
vehicles. The fleet manager reduced vehicles and had
to hold off on receiving new vehicles. Lately FS fire
people were scouring the shop yards looking for rigs
for the summer, not enough to cover their needs.

This summer the word is to take the budget for the FS
fourth quarter to cover fire expenses. Heard this from
a contracting officer. The usual method for most FS
departments is to be conservative with their budget
until the fourth quarter then buy your supplies for
the next year. This is to avoid overspending your
budget early.

Not this year, so I recommend the FS people spend
their budget early to avoid losing it. There also has
been quite a stir about the 30% reduction of the FS
budget in the fiscal year 2005. This is going to
affect all departments including fire. The FS will
just have to do less with less. It is not looking good.

05/16 "Todd's" list of Interface watchouts is one of the many in the Incident Response Pocket Guide (PMS 461/NFES 1077) available thru PMS at NIFC: a "Must Have" tool for firefighters at all levels, and only $2.27 each.

05/16 As many of us were busy hiring folks today.... one captain called me over to look at someones application.

The application looked O.K. but with little related experience except backpacking and outdoor experience. The other Captain then asked me to look at a particular sentence. The sentence read ... "Longest time without a shower: 30 days". I thought, "wow, thats the first time anyone has used that as a selling point".

I have to put this as one of the 5 most hilarious things I've ever seen on someones application. The funny thing is, stinky is probably going to be offered a job because his application was complete and honest. Has anyone noticed the "I worked for CDF or LA County FD... I got paid $1.00/hr". ... no mention of CDC or CYA time? Don't get me wrong, I am not against hiring ex- CYA and CDC folks... just against hiding it in a cloudy mess on the application.

Stinky, if you get the job, please shower on a regular basis.

05/15 Firescribe note:
After yesterday's dry lightning pass, the Southwest is spooling up:

05/15 Dear Ab,

Here is the first post of the three that I intend to make. What do you think? If it is too long then please cut/snip/edit what you think should be and then post it. For the time being I would like to sign off as "Aussie CFU". It seems quite relevant to now post this after seeing Todd's post.

Okay, you have just arrived from interstate and your first deployment is to some suburb that bulges 3 miles into a national park and you can see that towering pall of thick black smoke. The flames are visible from 2 miles away. The fire is burning in the crown of the eucalyptus trees. It is 95 degrees F, humidity is 0%, no rain for 3 weeks, fuel loads are at a 7 year high. Already there are at least a 10 helicopters water bombing. There are fires all over the state. Total fire bans have been in place for the whole state for a week now. Some 10,000 people are working on over 120 fires. As you drive into the suburb you notice that some houses have funny little signs with the letters SWS printed on them. Most of the streets on the edge of the suburb point into the forest. All up some 67 trucks and 600 crew members will be deployed during the next 4 hours. You locate the nearest hydrant to your assigned location and hook up. You then run 2 hoses into the nearest properties and wait. The residents are all out there in their gardens hosing down everything that can burn. You tell your crew to help and start pumping water but notice that the pressure is lousy.

The fire is approaching and spot fires begin to flare up. It is all starting to happen as the fire front arrives. The pressure from the mains begins to drop and you do some quick mental calculations (30 trucks, at this time and more arriving every minute 30 x 200 gallons per min = 6000 gallons per minute drawing water from a 12in main, as well as about 400 houses, all with garden hoses and sprinkler system running) adds up to.... not enough water. The pressure continues to fall and soon you can hear shouts for more water as the mains run dry. You switch to the truck's 1000 gallon tank but know that will last 10 minutes, max. You know that you are going to start to see houses burn. Now what?

Over the command radio comes the word to draft from the backyard pools. You look frantically around. How do you figure out which houses have a pool? One of residents comes over and says they have a static water supply program. Just look for the house marked with a SWS sign and there will be a pond, pool or spa that you can draft water from. You uncouple from the useless hydrant, as you recall your crews and move your truck to the nearest house with an SWS sign and draft from a 10,000 gallon pool. The house next door also has an SWS sign so you send your portable pump over. The fire front moves on and, as you pack up, you look at the burnt forest and scorched houses and you think that you were lucky, as things would have gotten really bad with no water. Turns out that over 400 homes were threatened but none were lost.

What do you think of the above scenario? (Yeah some parts of it are cr%p but that is because I have no experience in fighting fires so please allow some poetic license.) The answer is that it actually works... so read on.

Static Water Supply
The Static Water Supply ( SWS ) concept used in Australia is to let fire fighters know where there is a safe and reliable source of water that they can either draft from or use a portable pump to fight fires with, where there is little or no water, poor pressure or simply the water mains are too small to provide the quantity of water needed. The project was started in Australia by the New South Wales Fire Brigades and was deemed an outstanding success during the recent Dec / Jan bush fires.

If the home owner decides to participate in the program then they put a standard sign out the front of their property. NSW has adopted a vertical rectangular format ( approx. 3in wide by 8in high ) made from white engineer grade reflective sheeting as the background with transparent blue letters mounted on a piece of 1/8th inch thick aluminium. They are given away for free.

There are two levels to this programme.
Unofficial ? This is where the home owners just stick the sign up out front and if the brigades need water and they see the sign, then they can just grab it.
Official ? This is where details of the water are lodged with the local station and can then be listed as a resource, put onto maps, crews can be directed to by local commands, etc.

Either way in most cases, for Sydney, the water would be from pools. Besides which, if you have one of these out front with a fire coming and the brigades arrive they are more likely to set up at a house with a pool than without one. From asking a few of the fire fighters who were at my place they say that the average pool (8,000 to 10,000 gallons) will take about 45 minutes to drain using one of their portable pumps. Additionally there is no reason why dams or large ponds can't be used for those semi rural or rural properties.

The standing offer is that once things quiet down they the brigade will come back and fill your pool from the mains so you don't get charged for it.

More information is available at the website below.

Aussie CFU

Thanks Aussie CFU. (CFU = Community Fire Unit) Very interesting. Ab.

05/15 Here are some Wildland/Urban Interface Watchout Situations I found helpful while down south this last week:

1. Wooden construction and/or wood shake roofs.
2. Poor access and narrow one-way roads.
3. Inadequate water supply.
4. Natural fuels within 30 feet of structures.
5. Extreme fire behavior.
6. Strong winds.
7. Problems with evacuating the public, panic or determination to stay in unsafe conditions.
8. Structures located in flashy fuels on steep slopes, in box canyons or chimneys.
9. Bridge load limits.

05/15 In response to L.A.V.E

No rumors yet on the staffing levels this summer. But in response to Ab's statement on feeding the crews, CDF did loose their contract with safeway, and I really haven't heard if they have got it back or not. It's getting hot here in NorCal and we are starting to hire seasonals.

05/15 From Firescribe:

Flathead MT County Officials to sue the Forest Service

05/15 LAVE

I have been talking with my CDF buddies and here is what I have heard. Last year CDF staffed their wildland engine with 4-person crews across the state. Thanks to "GUBENOR" Grey-Out Davis and the energy mess he allowed to happen the state is 24.6 BILLION DOLLARS in the red. He said yesterday that his priorities were "education, public safety, and no new taxes".

However, this year CDF will only be staffing their engines with 3 firefighters, and there looks like, regardless how bad the season is, there will probably not be augmented staffing like in years past. There are a lot of CDF seasonal firefighters who aren't going to have a job this season and are not aware of it. I heard that if augmentation happens this year then it will probably be for Southern California only.

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. CDF evidently has a lot of people who are retiring this year, a lot of people who are going over to local government FDs (better pay, hours, and benefits) and there are expected to be a lot of promotions and new openings but it's unknown how this will be affected by the budget crisis. We have a guy at my work who left CDF to work for the Feds because they couldn't offer him a permanent slot, and it looks like he may now get it later this season.

For those who don't know, our idiot governor started this fiscal year with a 9 Billion Dollar surplus, got sucked up in the Enron Mess, and brought the state to 24.6 Billion Dollar Deficit. It's a bad situation all the way around because there are local governments who don't know how the budget crisis will affect their operating budgets (ie when the State is short on money they try to reduce the funding to local governments). The Feds are on the last year of the $1.6 Billion supplement and its unknown if that money will be given back to the Feds for the next 3 years with the War on Terror going on.


Ab heard last night via a state news feed that the deficit is now projected to be 27billion and Davis is planning to raise taxes.

05/15 Wonder how CDF and local fire departments will fare with the money woes? I wonder if all the seasonal firefighters that are needed will be hired or will they try to do some kind of pick up program when things get HOT? Anyone out there with CDF have any good rumors? Will the local government agencies be asked to pick up more of the "slack" when the poop hits the props? (I'm not bad mouthing CDF fire people, I just wonder about the bean counters that seem to run everything nowadays.) Just wondering since Southern Cal. has had a couple of good fires lately and things look, well HOT.

Be safe and sane on the fire lines!

I heard they're having trouble trying to figure our how to feed their crews. Is there any substance to that rumor? Perhaps one of the CDF BCs can fill us in. Remember, Folks, when budgets get really tight the rumors start flying. Ab.

05/15 Folks;

Here's a bite-sized chunk from NASA on the role of biomass burning in climate change:

Here's the same thing in an expanded version from the UN: www.unep.org/geo2000/english/0040.php

I wonder how many SUVs you could drive and for how long by knocking off one large fire as if it never existed.

For satellite pix, go to Earth Observatory, which is killing the competition in the Webby Awards for best in science category. http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/

05/15 Contractor Redcards:

I work for a contractor in Oregon and am already carded, still N.W.S.A. training and still carded by the O.F.C.A. Haven't heard anything about problems with them.


So we have two coyotes, maybe three? Yeah, you are real alright, and the first. Ab.

05/15 Ab,

Just a few comments about who is supposed to sign red cards.

The USFS the task is assigned to the Forest Supervisor (or his delegate)
except for those on type 1 teams in operations section, then the cards go the
Region Office for the Regional Director to sign, as per 5109.17.

The WA DNR, the authority to sign red cards from Crew Boss down is delegated
to the Assist. Region Manager and anything above CRWB is signed in Olympia. I
sure hope the folks at SLICC (spelling?) have written direction to sign for
the "boss".

As far as red cards for contractors, in R-6, they do not get issued red cards
from the state (Oregon or Washington). As per agreement with the contractors
associations, the associations will train and certify the employees of the
contractors with a laminated picture ID with qualifications on the back. Now
some of the contractors may be printing the quals card on red paper but that
does not make it a "red card."

One more change of note, there will be an increased emphasis on current red
cards this summer. In R-6 the teams have been instructed to have every ones
red card examine by the status check in recorder. If the card is out of date,
or does not have the correct quals listed for the job at hand the person will
be placed in a position they are qualified for or sent home. If I remember
correctly there was an article posted somewhere about a contractor in Oregon
who gave cards to employees that were altered. Due to that little incident,
you can be sure all contractor issued certifications will be looked at twice
or more. If any thing suspicious if found it is more than likely the entire
crew will be sent home.


Just put up a link and info for the National Wildfire Suppression Assn on the Classifieds Page. Their name has come up on theysaid on more than one occasion. Check 'em out. Check out our other folks advertising here also. Ab.

05/14 Ab,

Heard on the news today that a fatal accident on I-80 east of Reno was caused by a drunk driver that had California Firefighter license plates. A mother and 3 small children were killed and several more are in critical condition at Washoe Med. The drunk driver walked away with no injuries. Ab, it's things like this that just make me sick. If you insist on flying your colors off duty, do so responsibly. It is bad enough that someone in our profession would be involved in something like this but to represent us all with a statement like the plates and commit a crime like this is sickening. I think some believe those plates give them license to act above the law. I've got to sign off before I really start to rant.


Here's the story: Reno Gazette Journal. Another article said his agency was unknown. This Ab adds, "Firefighters don't let firefighter brothers and sisters drive drunk."

05/14 Hey Ab,

Some discussion lately in my community about all youth doing 2 yr of service for the US, if not the military then in fire or law enforcement, etc, etc. Smoke Chaser by Warren Yahr mentioned Conscientious Objectors during WW II years smokejumping and fighting fire. I found this interesting article on the subject.

'Peace Jumpers' Fought Forest Fires Instead of Soldiers (1944): washingtonpost.com

Sign me: Firefighter who believes in service

Smoke Chaser is available on Amazon. If interested, please go to our Books page and enter Amazon through the portal there. Purchases of books or other products that you make after entering through our portal gives us a small "commission" and it helps pay our bills. Ab.

05/14 Hey Ab and all you ECC Folks out there:

I just want to say THANKS to ECC PERSONNEL everywhere for what you GUYS and GALS do each and every day to make our lives in the field better! We think it's crazy on the ground. It's 10 times more crazy in dispatch. You dispatchers make a difference! Keep up the good work!


05/14 Ab,

It is my understanding that contractors will no longer be able to issue red
cards unless they have an MOU with PNWCG. Does any one know or foresee
what problems will arise this year with contractor issued red cards? Just
wanted to predict what is going to happen so we can try to mitigate the

Any help or comments would be appreciated.
05/14 Question on firefighter fatalities:

Have any FF's been killed on a wildfire that was accidentally set, campfires/fireworks etc.?

And if so what were the consequences to the guilty party?

Hope all is well where the earthquakes happen.
05/14 I see the Govt is working right along at their usual snails pace from the "Memo" put out by NIFC concerning the changing of flagging from Lime Green to Hot Pink. Not sure what "Rocket Scientist" came up with the original idea to begin with several years ago. Has been so long ago I don't even remember how many years; but think it was in the mid-90's when the first "Memo" came out of R-6 about using "Lime Green". We tried it on a fire and the relief crew that went in the next day to take over the fire from IA found the the first ribbon at the road, then found no more after an extensive 2 hour grid search. Gave instructions to go back to "Hot Pink" and fired off a letter to R-6 Fire Management. As usual, it went nowhere.

Glad to see wiser heads have finally prevailed!

05/14 I saw something recently, but only in passing, about some engines being
burned up due to sucking an ember into the air cleaner and starting an
engine fire, usually destroying the engine.

Anyone have any experience with this, seen it, heard about it with more fact
than anecdote? I'd be anxious to know a little more about it and what
agencies did to prevent a reoccurrence.

Thanks in advance, gang.
05/13 Here's the MEMO from NIFC on escape route and safety zone flagging.

05/13 fed fire backpay update:

Looks like NFC has started the process of paying on fire backpay for round
2. Some of you may have noticed a separate deposit that you received in
PP07 (it will come as a separate deposit, not lumped with your salary
checks). According to the RO, NFC is processing these payments in social
security number order, so if you hear of someone who has received theirs and
you haven't, this may explain why not. A letter from the WO is supposed to
be sent out sometime soon with further information. That's about all we
know at this point.


05/13 Jake &
MNM561 &

The crews that do most of the IA are already on engines or a Type 1 or 2 team that have been pre-qualified so to speak. In the Fire Service it will be up to each agency to ensure their people are certified to fight fire within their own jurisdiction or for when they travel.

Even though there have been some issues with cards in the State or Federal side; most problems arise in the Fire Service or Contractors.

The reason for this problem is usually a lack of education or a lack of understanding the system. I spend a lot of time educating department leaders who have never dealt with redcards. As stated before WADNR will be checking the cards for the 02' date on them when you check into the fire after IA.

I applaud this move, since I do not want to be working with or working next to crews or individuals who may cause safety problems at crucial times.

We're all watchdogs and we'll watch up and down the chain.

05/12 Hey ab,

I haven't posted in a while so I thought I would send word from the bizaro
world of wildland fire -- Florida.

Things have been quiet much later into the year than the last three years.
We kinda expect the lightning to start within a few weeks so things will
break loose. It is still really dry here. The kbdi for our area is
around 610 or more.

I'm carded again this year, so maybe if we aren't gettin our bums kicked
like last year I will be able to go when the western call comes in.
That's about it.

Everybody remember, the first and last person concerned for your safety is
you. Keep your heads up out there, and if a florida crew comes in with
their @ss's in the dirt because of the elevation just cut us some slack, we
have to take turns using disney's magic mountain to train.

05/12 Greetings,
To help point you in the right direction for redcard signatures. My agency (WA State DNR) used to have it done by the regional Fire Protection Forester. But last year that task was reassigned to our dispatch Central Washington Interagency Communications Center or something like is commonly known as CWICC (Pronounced swick) in Wenatchee. This was the logical move since they also keep track of our agency training records.

I've not heard anything of the new policy about checking redcard since i've not returned yet for the season. I imagine it depends on who you work for and the like, a good resource might be to check your local dispatch fire center, local State agency (eg CDF, ODF), Regional FS office, or NIFC. Good luck with the search.

Also one thing I strongly recommend is to get a copy of your training records and check to see that it is current and Accurate, Especially if you are in fire for a state or govt. agency and a local fire department and go to wildland classes under your Fire department's name. This happened to me and was worth the time to track down and have current records.

05/12 "CDF Mike" said, in response to my posting about the trend in the average
size of fires over the last 40 years: "Except that I would point out that
when he and I started, circa 1969, Hand Crews were not using chainsaws, and
chainsaws seem to me to be vastly superior to brush hooks."

Here on They Said It, we seem to be very interested in WHEN tools first
appeared on the wildland fire scene (see the "Inquiring Minds Want to Know"
page at /docs/imwtk.php) I was using a chain
saw, a Homelite Super XL, on fires in 1968 and was a sawyer on a southern
California Hot Shot Crew in 1970 using the same model of chain saw. Other
hot shot crews were also using them during that period. I believe it was 5,
10, or 15 years after that date that CDF inmate crews were given chain saws.

And, if anyone wonders where I got the statistics for the chart that
accompanied my earlier post, the number of fires and total acres per year
came from the NIFC web site at
www.nifc.gov/stats/wildlandfirestats.phpl I did the math (using
Excel) to compute the average annual acres, and used the "trend line"
feature of Excel to show the linear regression lines.

Be careful out there!

05/12 On increased fire numbers and increased acreage .... how many of you have read the Rains Report? This addresses fire cost more than size, but it also deals with why and how large fires get large. If you can wade through the agency/political language in the report, there's actually some enlightening content in it.
Rains Report


~.~.~Happy Mother's Day~.~.~.~.~Happy Mother's Day~.~.~.~.~Happy Mother's Day~.~.~

Here's to our moms and all moms everywhere!

05/12 "Jackson's" post of 05/11 regarding wildland fire statistics was very interesting and enlightening.

I had earlier made the point that acreage increase per year on average had not increased over time due to better training, tools, etc. Jackson's stats, if accurate, showing close to a 35% increase in average acres per fire was surprising. I would not have thought the increase would be that large. And once again, despite the fact that Jackson seems very competent with his analysis, I would reserve judgment on what the explanation for the trend is until concentrated studies have been done (which are probably not forthcoming). To me it seems unlikely that the fuels build-up has been so great that it would result in such a dramatic increase despite what I feel to be (counter to Jackson's argument) much better tools available nowadays. For the last 13 years I have been only on Hand Crews, so I agree that THAT aspect of firefighting has not changed much. Except that I would point out that when he and I started, circa 1969, Hand Crews were not using chainsaws, and chainsaws seem to me to be vastly superior to brush hooks. But Jackson minimizes the improvements elsewhere.

My case is that engines are much more powerful, easier to use, effective and efficient. Helicopters have improved dramatically both in numbers and capabilities. Likewise airtankers and bulldozers. Don't want to beat it to death, but it IS an interesting subject. If indeed the fires are burning that much more intensely and difficulty of control has increased that dramatically, then it gives me an even greater appreciation of the dangers and difficulties we are all facing.

Finally, I note that Jackson did not address the issue of Phaedrus' "flat-line" over time in number of fires per year. Do his statistics bear that out? Jackson finishes by inquiring whether there have been changes in the way fires are REPORTED, and to what extent that factor has skewed the stats. I sort of made that point obliquely, inasmuch as I suggested that any of these statistics must be scrutinized closely for methodology and data, etc. The way in which fires are reported is just one confounding factor.

CDF Mike from Arroyo Grande, CA

05/12 gee, Jackson

as you pointed out, statistics are based on information reported or used for anything.

my comment to all of the readers, is be SAFE use your previous training to your advantage, and THINK! I don't like reading bad statistics, but news stories about unnecessary accidents are much worse!

05/12 Medivac51,
I know a couple of guys that teach S-205/215 at Alamosa that have some pics of some stuff on L.I. One of them is also a Structural Protection Specialist on an Alaskan Type 2 and has some awesome shots of fires up there. Anyway, you might try:

Rapid City Fire Dept
Attn: "A" Shift Lieutenant
10 Main St
Rapid City, SD 57701

05/12 Anyone know what happened to the Fire-Stop (Bowman-Grey) website?

Contract Guy

05/11 The discussion that the NOVA program "Fire Wars" provoked is very interesting. Phaedrus, CDF Mike, John, and Adenostoma all had very thoughtful and lucid posts.

There was debate about the significance of the total acres and the total number of fires each year. Phaedrus pointed out that there has been a relatively small increase in the total number of acres burned over the last 4 decades, which is accurate according to a linear regression analysis. But, there is one element that has not been discussed, and that is the AVERAGE SIZE of wildfires during that same time period. Using the same linear regression analysis technique, the CHART that I attached shows (according to the statistics on the NIFC web site) that the average size of wildfires has increased from about 28 acres to 37 acres during that same time period. That is a 32% increase, which intuitively seems to be in the ball park, for those of us who have been battling fires for several decades.

The criteria of average size takes into account the resistance to control more so than the total number of fires or total acres. However, this is just a statistic, like all of the others. A more detailed analysis of just the large fires, say, 100 acres and larger, leaving out the 1/4 acre spots and little lightning strikes, would be more instructive in giving us a trend of the average size of the larger fires..... the ones that cost large dollars and have the most impacts on people and the environment.

CDF Mike said: "The fire-fighting technology, equipment, training and tools over the last several decades have improved dramatically." I would not agree. I received my basic wildland fire training in 1968 and have been fighting fires ever since. While there have been incremental improvements in all of those categories, we have not seen "dramatic" changes.

We're still fighting fire with sharpened pieces of metal attached to the ends of sticks.

Chain saws are lighter and more dependable, our line gear is much better, training has improved somewhat, we've been using infrared aircraft since the 1960's (basically the same technology), air tankers and helicopters are larger and more numerous (but we're using aircraft that were designed in the 1960's or earlier), and we arrive at fires in trucks, cars, aircraft, and by foot. Engines pump water through hose---bound by the same laws of physics we were under in 1960. But, there is still not much we can do to put out a large fire. We follow it, flank it if we can, but generally we have to wait for the weather or the fuel to change. Then we say we put it out. Yeah, right!

I think it will be another 50 to 100 years or more before we know if global warming is affecting wildland fires right now. Trying to say climate trends are changing fire behavior in the year 2002, is like looking at a wildland fire through a drinking straw, and extrapolating what you see to the entire fire.

And, one last thing about all these fire statistics. Has the way fires have been REPORTED over the last 40 or 100 years changed? Of course it has. To what extent? We don't know. How valid are the raw numbers? We don't know.


05/11 For those who haven't heard, there's a big fire on the Angeles NF, Bouquet Canyon. It started about 1045 and has grown to more than 650 acres. Plume, ash chunks raining down, yellow sky. Animal Control went door to door encouraging horse owners to get them to the highschool and to the equestrian center. 300-500 evacuees expected at the high school. All the ATs at South Ops were committed at about 1600. Winds reported increasing with gusts to 30 mph, moderate fire behavior at that time. Stay tuned.

Be safe all.
05/11 Question on redcard administration

I never had to deal with the administration of redcards beyond maintaining crew records. How does a department get "red cards", I'm qualified to perform most of the necessary training needed by the department but I don't know how to provide the redcards. Would I sign them as the most qualified redcarded individual in the department, does the Fire Chief, the Admiral? This was always done by the FMO or higher up in the Forest. This has not come up yet but I'm sure as soon as we start getting local fires this will be added to my to do list, particularly if redcards become an issue at incidents. Hopefully we will have the staffing to participate in striketeams this summer and I don't want to get bamboozeled by the redcard police. Also for documentation to maintain my quals, is there a standard or do I just continue to keep track of my assignments. Any help would be appreciated.

Saw the Nova episode the other night and agree nice job and now I know what all the Type 1 crews were doing while I was tramping around the Manter with a very green Type 2 crew.


05/11 The red card system I believe is a great tool for many reasons. Safety, tracking, goal setting, just to name a few. Please clarify for me how "checking cards at the door" will be done on I.A. fires? Much less I.A. fires in the interface and while homes are burning down? I can see an administrative bureaucratic nightmare, at least in R5. Additionally if you're part of the four party agreement in California, you do not need a red card for an assignment on Federal incidents. Qualifications and certifications are recognized by participating agencies in this agreement. i.e. State agencies. However this is not the case, I believe, in local government departments like city or county fire agencies. I hope that the powers that be in Washington have enough sense to allow flexibility in the policy. Otherwise I foresee a Cluster @#$@ coming on the fireline.


05/10 Some good news here in Washington:

DNR states that they will be checking RedCards at the door this year. This is good news since some counties were sending non-carded people to fires on mobilizations.

One of the problems we have seen has been a interpretation of the law as it relates to what is required for wildfire mobilizations when responding to interface fires with crews. Part of this was to cut training costs down.

If you're not issued a redcard that has 2002 on it; you won't play

Stay safe
05/10 Does anyone have any pics of LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK brush fires or trucks?


05/10 Greetings from R-3,
Got called up for a Helicopter assignment on Monday for SW Large Fire Support. Two out of the three days have been spent Initial attacking fires in AZ.

You couldn't believe how dry it is in R-3, been in Red Flag Warning's everyday so far for high winds and low RH.

Everybody be safe and be heads up. 11 more days to go.
05/10 Firescribe:

NZOOM sez Elvis is fighting fires down under

Photo of Elvis on the Helo7 page. Ab.

05/10 Hello:
I have been going to a training class with "Ferguson Management
Company" for a wildland fire crew job. I am in Salt Lake City, UT. and
they are trying to set up an district office here. I would like to know
more about this company if at all possible. I have found them listed
under the Oregon state private contractors, where they are based, but no
other information. The city they are based in is in Albany, Oregon. Can
you tell me anything about them? Or direct me to someone who could? All
I know about them is what they tell us. They sound good, but would like
another persons or agencies point of view.
Thank you for your time in this matter,

Ab will pass any comments along.

05/10 Comments regarding NOVA/global warming discussion...

I don't claim to be an expert on global warming OR wildland fire, but as
a grad student, I have been studying wildland fire using remote sensing.

Regarding global warming and increase in fires (acreage or numbers):

My understanding is that weather patterns from year-to-year have a *stronger*
impact on the occurrence of large catastrophic fires than total fuel accumulations.
For example, research has shown that El Nin~o can be linked to western wildland
fires- i.e., a wet (El Nin~o) year followed by a dry year = BIG fire year.
Obviously, the consequences would be worse if more fuel is present. Global
warming plays into this, because some predictions suggest that extreme weather
events (like El Nin~o) may occur more often under global climate change scenarios.

I guess I just wanted to say to "Phaedrus" and "CDF Mike" that I think YOU'RE
BOTH RIGHT! I wouldn't expect to see an observable direct increase in fires
over that 1960 to 2001 graph, either. I agree that fuels are only continuing
to accumulate and that isn't a good situation, but it seems that the weather
plays an important role, too. I'm sure the firefighters have firsthand experience
with that.

I taped NOVA last night, but haven't had a chance to watch it yet. I'm even
more interested to see it, now following all the comments. I am a firm believer
in human-induced climate change, but I am always skeptical about the predictions-
they vary so much!

Take care everyone,
05/09 Union response to the 30 Mile Fire and investigation:


Not sure if you guys saw this
www.nffe-fsc.org/Thirty_Mile_Fire_Statement.pdf (Ab Note: This is a pdf file.)


05/09 From Firescribe:

Denver Post article on cause and consequence of the Snaking Fire in CO. Three boys face arson charges

Yakima Herald regarding 30-mi and the investigation. Cantwell Sees Smoldering Problems in Forest Service

More articles on the News Page. Ab.

05/09 Ab Note: I'm posting these 2 jobs notices here and on the Jobs Page. Don't forget to go look. Tomorrow the Wildland Firefighter series get updated. For new people writing in asking for jobs, go to the jobs page and apply to the Forest Service, the BLM, the National Park Service or to one or more state agencies. Links to the Fed sites are listed at the top of the jobs page. State pages can be accessed through our links page. The two posts below are for experienced wildland firefighters.

The Burns Interagency Fire Zone is searching for Detailers. We would appreciate it if you would post this on theysaid.

We protect @ 5 Million Acres of Public Lands, FS, BLM, FWS, ODF. Last Year we had over 200 fires. Great people to work with and lots of fires.

We are trying to fill some leadership positions. Here is the list:
2-ENGB: individual needs to be redcard as a qualified ENGB & ICT4.
1- THSP SUPPRESSION OPERATION SPECIALIST : individual needs to be redcard as a qualified DIVS & ICT3.
1-THSP UNIT AVIATION OFFICER: individual needs to be redcard as a qualified HELB,HCWN, & HEB1.

Requesting unit is paying all costs. Detail runs between 30-120 days depending on individual availability.

Burns is willing to discuss shorter lengths of time. If you have anyone, we have started the process through the coordination center. Just trying to put out some feelers to see if we can get some quality folks to come
help for the summer.

Interested in any of these details? Give BICC a call: 541-573-1000. Thanks for the help,

and another -----------------------

Hey Gang:

We've got a really great Supervisory Forestry Technician--Engine Foreman (GS-462-6/7) position open at Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks in Southeast New Mexico/West Texas. This job is
permanent-full-time. There is plenty of opportunity for interagency involvement in all aspects of big league fire management. We are having a banner fire year in this area already. Fire personnel from the area will
likely follow fire season north after the monsoon hits this area, usually about July 4.

Carlsbad is a nice town with all of the amenities of a middle size city minus all of the hassles of a big city. Housing and the cost of living in general is very affordable.

If you are a qualified engine foreman (or are close to being one) we would like to see your application. The full vacancy announcement can be seen at NPSFireJobs (www.nps.gov/fire/jobs/state3.php).


05/09 Dear Ab;

Boy, am I relieved to find somebody ("CDF Mike from Arroyo Grande, CA") weighed in on Phaedrus' comments re global warming, wildfire and the NOVA's "Fire Wars".

One of NOVA production's contributing scientists said he'd heard there may have been a not precisely scientifically correct (or at the very worst, "misleading") sound bite.

My guess is this sound bite wasn't quite as outrageous as, say, early disclaimers discounting links between tobacco smoking and lung cancer, emphysema et cetera. Perhaps some of us are old enough to remember a time big tobacco was telling us on TV how healthy smoking could be. (no kidding)

If I'm looking for somebody to quote on wildfire and climate change/global warming, I look to Goldammer at the Global Fire Monitoring Center (1). Or to scientist James E Hansen, so far perhaps the ONLY scientist to have advised President Bush on climate change for the public record and who has a passion about black carbon aerosols (2), one of the more suspicious global warming gases and a product of wildand fire/biomass burning.

Thanks again CDF Mike from Arroyo Grande, CA.

Speaking of Fire Wars, I see NATO's got a big fire/disaster exercise coming up in Croatia. (3)


1 check the piece "Fire Watch" at www.ourplanet.com/ for scientifically correct ways to combine "global warming" and "wildfire" in the same sentence and get away with it.

2 check Hansen on black carbon aerosols here: http://environment.tqn.com/library/weekly/blclimate14d.php

3 www.nato.int/eadrcc/tdragon/exercice2002.php
05/09 That video on fire that nova did on fire was the best that i have seen ever
my hats off to the people that put that together. I wish we had some training
videos that measured up to that. There was a alot of cool fire behavior in
that you don't see in nifcc videos this day and age. Anyhow sweet job nova
& pbs.
05/09 new south welshmen make great fire fighters

I am looking for some good leads and any other relevant info on how I can gain employment fighting fires in canada or the states. I am fully trained by the one of the worlds largest and best wildfire services, nsw rural fire service, and have been since the age of 14, now 21. I seek to become a frontline professional and am hoping that you can be of some assistance.
thank you.

05/08 More on Fire Wars

"phaedrus" wrote:
<<......[snip]....I've attached an excel worksheet with information taken from the nifc web site that provides fires and acres involved back to 1960. A look at THE GRAPH gives a very different impression than that conveyed by pbs. The regression trend line for acres burned over the 40 year period is almost perfectly flat, i.e. there is no trend of dramatic increase in wildland fire in terms of acres affected and the trend for number of fires is actually in decline........[snip]......>>

I don't agree with whoever said there are "Lies, damned lies, and statistics". Statistics if very rigorously applied is an incredibly powerful tool to be used in reaching rational conclusions. I have no clue as to "Phaedrus"'s competence, but I know that it is extremely important that such tools be used by very well-qualified people, that the results be peer-reviewed, and that the exact question that the statistics are purported to answer be precisely expressed. In this case my suspicion is that the latter requirement, at least, has received short shrift. My personal guess is that if "Phaedrus" is attempting to show that the National wildland fire problem has not actually increased in severity over the intervening years, that he/she has not precisely expressed the question that is being answered. The fire-fighting technology, equipment, training and tools over the last several decades have improved dramatically. I believe that the degree to which this improvement has been made is in very close correlation with the increase in severity of our fire problem. In short, the intensity of our wildland fires has increased enormously, but there has been a commensurate improvement in the tools available to us to fight those fires. THAT is the explanation for the flat graph on acreage. As to NUMBER of fires, I would be extremely surprised if that was actually in decline. The numbers and methodology would have to be subjected to intense scrutiny before I would believe that.

"Phaedrus" went on to say:
<<The global warming projections are way over the top and not supported by conclusive evidence of actual warming much less from the effects of forest fires.>>

This seems to me to be a politically or ideologically inspired opinion, inasmuch as the overwhelming consensus among real scientists is that global warming is in fact taking place and that the degree to which it is taking place is primarily due to the activities of man. I would agree that there is no consensus as to how much of it is due to forest fires.

And, "Phaedrus" went on to opine:
<<Only the projections of possible warming based upon computer models support the potential of warming.>>

Say what? Many, many, many computer models, of more and more refinement and accuracy, support it. As do many logical arguments and compilations of statistics which do NOT depend on computer modeling. In any event, if it was not a reality, computer models would be expected to be more or less equivocal about it or negative about it. The fact that almost all of the best of them support it should at least be considered...........

And, here I cannot overlook the apparent ignorance, he or she wrote:
How such projections of a 2 to 4 degree rise in temperature can be so conclusive when local forecasters can't predict temperatures 24 hours in advance with any such precision is beyond me.

I am sure that this must just be a facile simulation of ignorance on the part of someone who is likely intelligent. There is a VAST difference between CLIMATE and WEATHER. This type of argument is sophomoric and intentionally obfuscating. It will fool only the unsophisticated. I can take many measurements of the water temperature in an Olympic sized swimming pool and provide an extremely accurate measurement of the average temperature therein. And the trend over time. But if you ask me to tell you the temperature of the water at any specific coordinate at some particular time in the future, I could be way off.

NOW! As to whether the undoubted presence of global warming will have an effect on wildland firefighting in any particular locality, competent scientists would undoubtedly demur. In many areas the expected increase in temperature is expected to be accompanied by an increase in humidity or a changed pattern of rainfall. In many if not most of these areas where increased temperature is predicted, fire ignition and intensity could well be reduced. These calculations are in their infancy and await vastly greater computing power and data acquisition before they can be answered with any degree of certainty. One thing that is very sure is that large, global, and sudden changes in Earth's climate are far more likely to produce negative effects on human activities than positive ones overall.

"CDF Mike from Arroyo Grande, CA"

05/08 Dear AB,
I unfortunately missed the Nova show any idea when and if it will be broadcast again ?
Rocky Mountain

In our area it is being rebroadcast at 0100 and 0400 tomorrow morning. Check your PBS listings. Ab.

05/08 I'm glad the Summit fire incident was brought up,
there is something to be learned there. I don't know
all the details, but from what I heard it could have
been the biggest loss of life at one wildfire incident
in recent history. I'm surprised that it is not
mentioned during training to learn from past mistakes.

Maybe someone that was there could tell their story of
what they saw. What I have heard is that the fire camp
that ICP was located at was evacuated at night due to
oncoming fire front. This resulted in a breakdown of
command due to the confusion of a evacuation in the
dark. The bad part of it was that a spike camp was not
informed of the bug out and crown fire coming. What
saved them was the Indian Rock lookout that was able
to contact them. There were several bus fulls of folks
that had to drive out with flames on both sides of the
road. One tree across the road would have caused a
disaster that would have made history.

What I would like to see come out of this is for
people to consider a plan of action on what to do when
everything goes down the tubes. A situation that no one
really wants to think might happen; loss of command,
life threatening situation staring you in the face,
confusion and fear taking over. Respect fire and never
underestimate its power, admit you lost it and get

My opinion of global warming is that we are still
coming out of an ice age. The earth is changing,
deserts are getting larger, once fertile land is
drying up. Human time is nothing compared to the
earth's own clock.

and there I was
05/08 My 2 Cents,

You bring up a good point. What caused the large fires before fire suppression was a common thing? Look at some of the fires that occurred long before wildland firefighting ever became a word...

October 1825 the Miramichi and Maine Fires alone burned more then 3,000,000 acres.
Then in October 1871 the Peshtigo fire burned more then 3,700,000 acres and killed like 1,500 people.

Fires like these are common until 1910, when the Great Idaho fire marks the end of multimillion acre fires. Until the Yellowstone fires, but that's the exception. Nor have there been mass causality fires since fire suppression kicked into high gear. Seems that maybe the "natural fire cycle" isn't so passive as people want us to believe...

Can anyone break this down so it will make sense to a southern hick?

05/08 NOVA

I give credit to NOVA for a great job. It was a great show. Did anyone see that some of the scenes were of the Silver State Hotshots on the Martis Fire 2001?
Can't wait for school to get done and the season to start!

NV Driptorch
05/08 I watched the pbs NOVA Fire Wars and was impressed by the coverage of fire fighting crews. The animations and explanations of the Mann Gulch and Storm King Mountain tragedies were chilling.

The general impression conveyed by the program seemed to be that the year 2000 fire season was a warning of the disastrous fire seasons to come. The implication was that the 2000 experience was unprecedented and was just the start of a cataclysmic cycle of wildland fire.

I was interested in the past history of wildland fires to see just how bad the 2000 season was compared to past years and also to find out how bad the 2001 season had been in comparison. To my surprise the 2000 season, although high was not unprecedentedly higher than other event in history. Also to my surprise and contrary to the prediction made by the program, the 2001 season was significantly lower in terms of acres burned. Although one season post 2000 is not an indicator of long term trends there was no qualification in the program's message. The repeated message was that it was almost certain that 2000 was just the start of a long period of serious and devastating fire. As 2001 showed, mother nature is not as predictable as the producers of pbs and former Interior Sec Babbitt would have us believe.

I've attached an excel worksheet with information taken from the nifc web site that provides fires and acres involved back to 1960. A look at THE GRAPH gives a very different impression than that conveyed by pbs. The regression trend line for acres burned over the 40 year period is almost perfectly flat, i.e. there is no trend of dramatic increase in wildland fire in terms of acres affected and the trend for number of fires is actually in decline.

In my opinion, the program would have been better served to concentrate more on the fire fighters including the Mann Gulch and Storm King Mtn tragedies and the no burn policies effects on forests. The global warming projections are way over the top and not supported by conclusive evidence of actual warming much less from the effects of forest fires. Only the projections of possible warming based upon computer models support the potential of warming. (How such projections of a 2 to 4 degree rise in temperature can be so conclusive when local forecasters can't predict temperatures 24 hours in advance with any such precision is beyond me.)


Thanks. How instructive graphs can be. Phaedrus, interesting moniker, are you really the "Roman writer of fables"? Ab.

05/08 Good show as far as the fire stuff. Have to agree with LAVE about the
Global Warming propaganda though, It SNOWED 2 INCHES last night at my

Also if the 100 yrs. of fuels build up is responsible for all the big fires
the last couple of years, what happened in 1910???? I thought the Indians
had all the fuels problems squared away according to the earlier segment in
the program.

Really liked the animation/simulation of Mann Gulch and South Canyon.
Wonder when we can get that level of technology for fire simulation
training?? It would be a great training aid. Hey San Dimas and Missoula
are you reading this? Quit trying to figure out new packs and headlamps
and put our money to work on something useful for a change.

I am buying the video just to show the crews the MG and SC scenarios. Good
job and thanks to the producers.

My 2 Cents
05/08 The latest from NASA's Earth Observatory (05/7/2002)
Fire: Wildfires in Northern Australia

Dust and Smoke: Dust over Cape Verde

Fire: Fires in Central America

Fire: Fires in Pacific Northwest

Fire: Fires in South Central Russia

Smoke from Fires in Central America Drifts over Texas


05/08 Does anyone know where there is a decent PowerPoint presentation for S-231 Engine Boss on the Web?

05/08 Fire Wars

Very good, I thought it was a pretty good 2 hour view of the wildland fire
situation as is stands today. The only thing that kind of stuck in my craw
was when they started banging the woe-is-me drum on global warming.
Like the guy said, this has been a long time in the making and it's either
pay now a little bit at a time or pay later with a big balloon payments.
We are starting to get small grass fires in Northern Calif. so it looks
like show time. Keep safe, have a good Fire Season all.


Ab's take on that is that we need to have manual fuel reduction go hand-in-hand with fire. I thought it particularly fine that they showed the benefits of the shaded fuel break at Yellowstone.

05/08 All of the talk over flagging comes back to one thing. Every crew and
supervisor should be briefed at the change of shift or upon arrival to an
incident. As part of our safety plan, crew leaders and members should know
where the safety zones are and how to get to them. All of the flagging in the
world is not better then informing your crews of escape routes and how they
are marked. How many times have you gone to supply and got the only flagging
they had? It is nice to start out with the proper color but when beggars cant
be Choosers, flagging is going to be flagging.

Be Safe
05/08 After reading the comments from CJD, a few thoughts come to mind when dealing with a stubborn homeowner who refuses to leave.

Of the five bullet points you list, only the last is relevant-and that's done later. I'd give a radio call to the Division Sup and advise for the record. The other four tactics employed will most likely be viewed by the homeowner as unprofessional and threatening (at least that is how I would view an approach like this).

In a running I-Zone fire, firefighters have little time to devote to a situation like this. You need to focus your energy on other areas of the mission. Try and utilize the individual in other productive ways like gathering intelligence on the structure, water sources, access routes, etc. This will develop a relationship where when it becomes time to leave, they may go with you (in their own vehicle with you following in your engine).

It has been my experience that unless you are working a fire next to a metropolitan areas (southern CA), cops are going to be pretty hard to find in terms of talking to individual homeowners. You are correct in your assessment that we can not force people to leave their homes-it is still America. Remember though, a person who interferes with your ability to safely perform your firefighting mission (i.e.: grab your reel lines or tools from your engine) can be forcibly removed by the gunfighters.

On whole, I favor an approach of honest forthright and cooperative demeanor with folks in these situations. Remember that it is a very stressful situation for them one they have probably never experienced before, while it's most likely just another day at the office for you.

Be professional, but don't spend a lot of energy on the situation, above all, don't threaten or scare people with tactics like that, the grandstanding will surely backfire on you at some point.

Remember too, that your represent your agency (or the agency you are assistance to hire for) when your wear the patch or uniform.

They will see through the smoke (screen)!

Another CDF BC

05/07 Good Job, NOVA!

Tahoe Terrie


The first showing of FIRE WARS on PBS tonight. It's at 8 PM where I am. Check your local PBS listings.

Also, the Jobs page, Job Series 0462 and 0455 Pages are updated.

05/07 Here's the map and here's the current fire info as of this morning:



It's Gelobter's California Team 4.

The R3 Fire website is www.fs.fed.us/r3/fire/ if you want to follow it. At any point if you want to open the frame in its own window to see what the url is for that page, right click your mouse and choose "open frame in new window".


05/07 Yesterday there was a report that the Dalton Fire near Pecos NM on the Santa Fe NF had grown to over 700 acres with 500 residents evacuated. Word was that an Incident Mgmt Team was being called in. Anyone know which team and what the current status is?


05/07 The new website for the International Association of Wildland fire (IAWF) is up and running at www.iawfonline.org


05/07 RE: Evacuation Protocol -

We have often called upon to lead evacuations because we know the maze of roads in our area and the imported FF crews do not. The sheriffs department often does not have the manpower to carry it out. Years ago a sheriff gave us some great hints on encouraging people to leave.

If the resident still refuses to leave after you have explained that it is time to leave and that there is a serious danger, we do the following:

1) Get the name of next of kin
2) Get the name of their dentist (explaining that this helps in identifying remains)
3) Explain that there will be no attempt at rescue (and stick with it)
4) Flag their house and leave
5) Make sure you keep good documentation

The line about the dentist seems to be the one that gets people thinking about the fate they may be facing. I think it is better to have people evacuated and out of the way in an emergency situation (especially if their home is not defensible).

The sheriff also told us that we have no authority to make people leave their homes, but we can refuse to let them back in to the area. As a result, when we want to clear out an area, we just make sure the deputies are posted on all roads to keep folks who leave with a load of stuff from returning. It is handy to let those guys that get to carry firearms play the enforcement role. It also helps on the PR front. We are an entirely donation based department. If we anger our customers/neighbors, our funding base could dry up. We have to walk a fine line.

Stay safe out there. Still hoping for rain.
Take care & Adios,


05/07 Within all of the hot debate over flagging of escape routes, oddly enough I
detect areas of "violent agreement". Here is how I see it:
  • Yes, we all agree that we want to improve our opportunities for a safe
  • Yes, we have national direction (whether we agree or not) to flag the
    escape routes using a consistent flagging color........and we must all
    strive to work to that standard.
    I don't hear anyone saying, "no" that they want to use a different
    flagging or leave the escape route unflagged......just there is concern
    over how to implement that strategy (flagging availability) and the wisdom
    of "blind faith" in a flagged route. Both are excellent points
  • Yes, I will do my best to comply with that direction, let's see....I've got
    my boots, my lunch, my hardhat, radio with extra batteries, and oh, a
    supply of ribbon.
    But.......in the event I run out of ribbon, or find a route not marked to
    standard, I will share that information widely, and see that it is included
    in the shift briefings.
  • Yes, I will not have blind faith in either ribbon or a host of other
    information. I will "check it out" for myself (or rely on my scout) the
    location of escape routes/safety zones.
Work to standard, double check for certainty, communicate the information,
always have a backup plan......go home safe.

Old Fire Guy
05/07 Hey Kibby,

I also have been looking up from the ground here in Littleton (Arapaoe/Broadway) to be exact. You know, I started my career in So.Cal, the home of the thirteen month fire season. People there knew/understood the risks involved in living in fire prone areas. Since moving to CO in 96 it is frustrating to see the plain and simple lack of respect for what wildfire can do by the people who live here. When I was a kid, I watched the Panorama fire gobble up 400 or so homes fed by 80 mph + Santa Ana winds. I think that is where fire earned my caution/respect.

On evac, I'm not sure of the legal consequences, that sounds like an LEO type duty, but after trying to urge someone out, why put your people or yourself in danger for some guy who wants to look cool on the 10:00 news ? From my perspective, telling someone to get out twice would do, if they don't want to come, I hope they like the burn unit, or even worse, feeding the fishies ..........

p.s. I cant wait to get back to the shots next pay period instead of watching it like a geek ..........

Rocky Mountain

05/07 Hey BLM Bob!

I saw that "great for camping" fire shelter on e-bay as well. What's even
scarier is that one of the States was going to put excessed (not up to
speed) shelters on the site as well (like HUNDREDS of them) -- the fire
people from the state put the skids on that one, and MTDC got involved as
well. Hate to think we're going to have to monitor everything for nuts
trying to make a buck at the price of safety -- but........I guess that's
the times we're living in. By the way, when you get ready to clean out
your locker, I'll clean out mine, maybe we can do a joint auction --
problem is, we'd have to advertise under the "antiquities" section.

As for the flagging -- I hear everyone's side -- but here's what's coming
down -- so just prepare and use that amazing thing called common sense!
Safety and Health Working Team of NWCG recommended the adoption of the new
flagging, MTDC did the study -- results were accepted as the new standard,
and it will also be adopted by the Incident Operations Standards Working
Team to make the appropriate changes in the Fireline Handbook. Bitch,
moan, carry-on as you will -- but those are the objective, "third party"

Cache Queen
05/06 We'd like to invite everyone to take a look at the new Arroyo Grande Flight Crew Photo Page. Be sure to read the great descriptions. You can click on the words under the photos for the full story. Thanks to Tom and Mellie for working on the page. Thanks also to Ted for input.


05/06 "Kibby" inquired about what firefighters should do when homeowners refuse to evacuate. Having much experience with cases where wildland fire has swept into developed areas, my opinion is that Kibby should inform the residents that he is recommending evacuation, since that protects him/her from any further liability. But beyond that Kibby should do nothing since, for the homeowner, staying put and protecting the residence is almost always a rational and correct decision. Far more homes have been saved (directly, at least) by homeowners than by firefighters. Simply because there are far more of them than there are of us. And in the vast majority of cases, the scary-looking advance of the fire either subsides or hits with much less fury than was thought. Of course there are exceptions but, as Jimmy the Greek said, "The race is not always to the swift, the battle not always to the strong, but that's how to bet 'em."

I know this conflicts with the naive self-image of some firefighters as brave professionals who rush into situations where everyone else should be departing ASAP, but sometimes imagination has to deal with reality.

Just a wild-ass-estimate, but if every person who had ever been advised to leave a threatened home had either complied or been forced to comply, the total property loss per life saved would be in the many, many millions of dollars. I won't even respond to those who say. "You can't put a price on human life." We do that all the time. An automobile could be made completely and absolutely safe so that it would protect its occupants from any conceivable impact, however that automobile would cost somewhere in the neighborhood of a million dollars.

Of course, anyone non-essential and/or physically or mentally impaired should be VERY strongly encouraged to leave.

"CDF Mike from Arroyo Grande"

05/06 Kibby, heres what we were taught about evac in the interface.

Inmost states you have the right to defend your home - even if it seems hopeless.
When we are asked to notify citizens, and they do not want to leave, we ask them for their next of kin. Let them know you need this information to notify survivors of your death. This lets most homeowners know what they are in for.

Some states allow for the physical removal of children (by Law enforcement or Protective services) It is child endangerment to defend your home from a conflagration with a 7 year old at your side.

Remember it is your right to die with your home, short of the governor declaring Martial Law, law enforcement has little they can do to remove you from your home. (that is what I was told by the attorney general in our state).

hope this helps eric PW

05/06 Landon,

Try calling the Redmond Shots, awhile ago they were advertising a few seats
in the classes they were presenting for the crew. If you are a agency
employee you might find one or two of the classes you need right next door.

05/06 >From the "I'll Be Damned" files - a fire shelter for sale on eBay:



I'm at a loss for words.

PS, I also saw a great old style fire shirt with the covered buttons:

Wrong size though, dammit.

I wonder what I could get for my old Whites or cruiser vest?
05/06 Flagging?

Yes There Have Been Many Times, Not Just My Crew, But Even Fed & State Crews Don't Always Have The Required Colors. Especially On Initial Attack, Where There Isn't A Camp Set Up Yet And You Run Out Of A Certain Colored Tape. What Are You Going To Do? STOP ALL ACTION Until Someone Can Get To A Hardware Store To Get Some? What If The Closest Store Is 100 Miles From There? You Have No Choice But To Use What You Got Even If It's White With Pink Polka- Dots.

When It Comes To Safety You Got To Do What You Have To Do. That's Why You Have briefings, When You Get There. And Even If You Are Told What Color They Are Using, It Still Has To Be Scouted Out Just To Be Sure That It Is A Real Safety Zone, And Just Not A spot Fire That Someone Flagged And Didn't Write It Down. That And Communication Is What's Important.

But as Far As Just Seeing Flagging And Assuming What It Stands For, Unless Like Killer Tree, And You See It On A Snag, Follow D.T.A. DON'T Trust Anybody, Especially When IT Comes Down TO You & Your Crew's Safety. After All, The Hotshots On Storm King Went By What The Smoke Jumpers Said. And Didn't Scout it Out Or Ask For A full Briefing And We All Know What Happened. I Might Look At That Tragedy Different than Other People, But then My Crew Was On Their Last Successful Fire. And I can Still See Them Without A Care In The World. Just Diggin line & Kickin Ash.
Oops Got Lost In The Past. Sorry For Ramblin.


05/06 Hey Ab and Company-
I'm sitting here in beautiful (smirk) Littleton, CO, listening to the
tankers go by, watching the latest conflagration on the news, wishing it
was fifteen days later so I could be working rather than watching, etc.,
and wondering about these news reports that some folks in the evacuation
area around this fire are refusing to leave their homes. Now I'm
wishing I'd had a chance to take the Urban Interface class before the
season starts. Hopefully someone out there can provide some info

Some questions:

I've heard of fast-moving fires where the proper authorities weren't on
scene yet, or were busy with something else, and the fire crew had to
deal with the evacuation of homeowners. In most cases the owners
cooperated, but what, exactly, are the protocols when they don't and
there's no 'proper authority' to consult?

What if the residents are drunk or stoned or just plain not in their
right minds when they refuse to budge?

If a crew boss makes the terrible-but-necessary decision to pull his or
her crew out of an area and residents left behind are injured or killed,
is the crew/agency/whatever open to lawsuits for leaving them?

Seems like some folks defy the evac orders and then expect extraordinary
measures to be taken to save them, their trophy home with trees and
brush all around it, their two Mercedes in the garage, etc. Perhaps
THEY ought to be prosecuted for putting emergency personnel at risk.
(There's gonna be extra pressure to risk your own safety if you are
defending an occupied residence. A LOT of extra pressure.)

Anyone care to comment?
Stay safe out there!
05/06 HI

I am a third year fire fighter who would like to take several fire science
classes to help in my making an agency hand crew next year. I was wondering
if you could pass on some information on what classes would help out my
chances and where they can be taken. I signed up for three classes down at
Klamath Community College (S-270,S-212, S-234), however they where canceled.
I live in Bend and I am willing to drive several hours at this point. I am
FFT-1/squad boss qualified. Any information you could pass on would be
greatly appreciated. Thanks

05/06 Mollysboy, I am not going to call you names or infer that you don't care
about the safety of anyone but yourself or your crew, as you have done to

What I will say is, re-read my post about the flagging and tell me how you
got the idea that I am somehow over confident or how you could ever know
what the scope of my experience is.

If you can tell me how you are going to guarantee that the other 99
crewbosses and FBAN, FOBS or any one who may flag a line or escape route is
always going to have a supply of the APPROVED color of flagging every time
they need it, bring it on.

Until then I will do what makes sense, and do my best to communicate my
actions to my supervisors and adjoining forces, just as I have for the last
27 fire seasons.

If I see lime green flagging out on the line, I am not going to assume that
it leads to a safety zone. I hope you won't either because you just might
be wrong.


05/06 Hi there --
A few days ago there was a question posed about the three-letter
identifiers. Here's the latest info---It will be posted on the NICC
website (accessible through www.nifc.gov) no later than 5/20. They are in
the final stages of gathering and inputting the existing and new unit ID's
that have been provided by the geographic areas. Doug Shinn at NICC is the
data steward for this info, so any questions can be directed to him.

Cache Queen

Thanks Cache Queen. Thanks also to those who wrote in with updates on the other links. Ab.

05/06 The last couple of days postings have offered several interesting comments that, although they seemed pretty mundane, really struck at the heart of some key issues for firefighter safety.

First, "backburnfs" feels that she/he should be able to use whatever color flagging that she/he wants to indicate an escape route to their safety zone, and indicated that "standardized schemes are stupid". Her/his attitude seems to me to read that as long as me and my crew know the drill, to hell with everyone else. I strongly disagree: there are other folks out on a piece of line, somewhat transitory in nature, like FOBS, FBAN's, OPS1/2, Safety Officers, etc that also have to know the escape routes too, and shouldn't be expected to realize that "backburnfs" is the one crew supervisor out of 100 that chooses to march the beat of her/his own drummer and use a non-standard color scheme. To me, this is the essence of the ICS concept: we all - not just some, but all - agree to play by the same set of rules for personnel qualifications, engine/crew/aircraft typing, forms, and yes, flagging colors! If "backburnfs" can decide that she/he doesn't chose to accept that standard, why should I or others worry about qualifying our folks to ICS 310-1, when I know that the "tried and true" method of selecting my ole buddies as STL or DIVS has always served me well??

The other posting that caught my attention came from "eccl": over the past 10 years or so, there have been too many events where the designation of IC was not clearly defined, and confusion reigned as the incident escalated, sometimes resulting in close-calls, entrapments and even deaths. Think back on the lack of clearly defined roles on South Canyon; the engines that didn't check in with the IC on Thirtymile; the transition on Dude that left Perryville and the Navaho Scout crews without a responsible DIVS; how about the Santa Ana events in Southern Cal where there are mixed jurisdictions, and folks decide to free-lance; remember the close call for the crews on the Summit Fire in eastern Oregon in 1996 when the IMT split?

From my read, it seems that both "backburnfs" and "eccl" have no problem with self-confidence and the now-famous "can-do" attitude, but may not have a thorough grasp of how things need to work when incidents evolve beyond their scope of experiences.


05/06 To All,

While I will ignore Tom’s personal attack, I also feel I may not have
been clear enough in my first message explaining my distaste for the new
OSHA directive requiring an IC be “identified” by first and last name
instead of just by their regular unit identifier (which has routinely
been done, at least on my forest) and why I think it is a waste of time
and will fail to produce any reduction in injury or death on the

First of all, any fire over “spot” sized will normally undergo several
IC changes. Let’s imagine a fire called the Brush Fire for instance.
Prior to ground or air resources arriving on-scene, the initial attack
dispatcher is the IC. Should the IA dispatcher announce their name? If
the original dispatcher needs to take a break, should the replacement
dispatcher give their name and announce a change in ICs?

Many times, the first unit on-scene is a faster moving, or nearby
prevention/patrol unit. Often times it will be a helicopter
superintendent first assuming command (right after the dispatcher of
course). Once the first engine or crew arrives, their module leader
most likely assumes command to free up the prevention/patrol unit for
investigation or the helicopter captain to focus on getting their crew
on the ground and begin water drops if needed. How many IC changes
possible so far?

With the new directives proscribing a Type 3 IC assume command for what
may still be a very small fire with moderate spread, there will most
likely be another quick change. Since the first Type 3 IC may be
attached to a suppression module without a qualified module leader, the
next arriving Type 3 or higher single resource, such as a Battalion
Chief or Division Chief, may need to assume command. Now how many
possible IC name changes have there been?

I’m of the opinion that the existing (prior to this year) training and
directives worked pretty good, with the possible exception of those who
failed to understand or became confused over that darn “command
structure” issue. I personally don’t recall the ICS “command structure”
changing much over the last 20 years and may not be able to relate to
their confusion. Incidentally, for those needing clarification (and for
those who require constant hand-holding), ICS stands for Incident
Command System. Seems to me that the Standards/Watchouts/LCES/ and
ICS-100 were designed to provide this necessary awareness of whom one is
working for.

For those whose minds remain clouded after attending the above training
courses, which are mandatory for new firefighters, I suggest a career
change, and perhaps a “new” life would be appropriate. As for me, I
have and enjoy a life. One favorite part of my life includes
scrutinizing proposed changes and offering my opinions. Especially
those I consider useless, being implemented from knee-jerk reactions by
other agencies who are even less informed than those responsible to
implement existing directives.

I challenge anyone to provide a logical scenario wherein having the IC
identified by their first and last names contains the potential to
prevent injury or death to a firefighter. I include any representative
of OSHA who had the dubious luxury of creating the new policy. I watch,
and must protest, as the lemmings overrun the sheep in my agency.

But, the kid said, “the king has no clothes’.

Brush IC. . .<click>. . .ecc1.
05/06 Guess I should have asked a question about flagging or boots. Obviously no one is concerned about working for unqualified and inexperienced supervisors this fire season. Oh well watch your backsides on the line. I know I am.

"STILL" Frustrated in California

05/06 Ab:

I am trying to find out if there is such a thing as a "Wildland Fire Flag"? I find the red fire department flag and was wondering if there is something that the wildland people have of their own. I take care of a 46 Chev fire truck for my old district and want to put a flags about Structure and Wildland on poles on the back for parades.

Well we are burning again southwest of Denver. In the same area as last week. When I came to work this morning, I could see the planes setting over at Jeffco airport. I just heard one take off a minute ago. They are trying to hit it early I guess. The winds are suppose to get up again today.

Everyone stay safe. We lost 2 FF in St Louis over the weekend. I think they were in looking for a buddy.

05/06 Cody,

I'm going to chime in with everyone else on the boot issue. When I was a rookie I went the way of the $150 boot, and was miserable every time I got into camp, and that was doing engine work. I can't imagine how my feet would have felt after a day of pounding line.

Get the $ together to get a quality pair of boots that you can get resoled or rebuilt over time. I'm on my second pair of Nick's and wouldn't wear anything else. All 3 of the previously mentioned boots (Nick's, White's, Wesco) are fantastic, and I know several people who swear by each brand. What sold me on my 2nd pair of Nick's was the great service I got from them when I was breaking in my first pair. They were incredibly helpful and answered every question I had about breaking-in, cleaning, and "routine maintenance".

Spend the $ and take good care of whatever boot you buy. They will take care of you.


05/06 Ab,
Here's some other info for Cody,
Depending who he works for his job might give him a boot rebate purchase.
With my agency will "refund" up to $180 of a purchase towards boots that
qualify (NFPA) which is all the good named boots.... Spend the money on
the boots and good boot socks. If your feet are unhappy then you'll be
unhappy for sure.
05/05 Sounds like yet another one outside of Denver. Sounds like about only about 200 acres, but interface concerns with the mandatory evacuation of around 2,400 homes . More info on

Rocky Mountain
05/05 Firebill,

Someone did a study about lime green flagging and it turns out that color blind people can't see the stuff in the woods. I have also noticed it is hard to see and quit using it for any thing except flagging roads when you can use a lot of it. Lime green also goes invisible at night it seems.

The new direction is to use lime green and pink for escape routes.

If you ask me (but nobody ever does) I think using standardized flagging schemes is stupid. How many times have you been flagging spot fires or scouting line and ran out of the color you were using and had to switch to another color??

I say that there is no substitute for the tried and true method of telling your crew and those you work with what color flagging you are using for what purpose and posting notes on the flagging so some one can read what it is. Sharpie permanent markers and grease pencils work good for this. If you dont have that write on a notepad and attach the paper to the flagging.

If you see green and pink flagging on a piece of line I would strongly suggest that you follow it out and see if it does in fact lead to a safety zone before you need it. Who knows it could lead you to a spot fire 1/2 mile into the green.

I am not going to trust anyone in this regard, the price is too high if they're wrong.


05/05 To eccl:

Its people like yourself lacking some common sense that gets us all in
trouble. It's not the fact that you personally know the IC's name, it's the
fact that you and everyone else know who the IC is and that there is a clear
chain of command all the way down the line. Take a look at the most recent
fatality fires. Was there maybe a little bit of confusion surrounding the
command structures? Get a life! No, better yet, save a life!

05/05 Cody,

I know you're on a budget, but find a way to get a real good pair of boots. The best ones out there are White's, Nick's, or Wesco. Don't go out and get a cheap pair of boots; your feet will hate you if do.

When you get your boots, here is a good way to break them in. Find yourself a creek and stand in it for a minute or two, then wear them the for a few hours or as long as you can. "Don't over do it," or you will pay for it. Keep doing this for a couple of days; by then they should be broken in enough to wear all day. Plus get some boot grease and grease them up real good. The best kind that I have found is Obeanuff's boot grease.

Good luck on your first season.

05/05 Cody,
Perhaps you should take a look at your budget and rearrange some of your priorities. You will indeed make your living on your feet, so it is of the upmost importance that you have a good pair of boots! Think of it this way, spend 350 or so now on boots that can be rebuilt after the season, or lose money being in camp because your feet are hamburger and you can't walk!! I don't mean to scare you, I'm only giving you advice based on experience. This is a dangerous job Cody, why not get the best equipment money can buy, and level the playing field a bit?? I'm sure alot of other posters will agree with me on this point, and I'm positive your supervisor will too. Good luck and stay safe Cody, and let us posters know how it goes this season.
05/05 Here is a direct link for BD IHC

05/05 AB, on May 3rd, Wildman CK was inquiring about Bear Divide Hot Shot Site. Here is there link


05/05 Hi,

Been looking over your web site. You've got some really nice air tanker photos. I wonder if I could get your opinion on something. There seems to be a lot of air tankers in use in this country. Best I can tell there's close to 200 Type I and Type II on the national contract.

But I have been able to find much info on Type III tankers at the State or Regional level. Do you think there's any room for new entrants into the market? If somebody was to come along some new 1,000 gallon air tankers that met all the requirements, do you think they'd be able to find work?

Thanks. I appreciate whatever information or insights you'd care to offer.


Someone may have a response, but also take a look on the Links Page under "Aviation" for the link to the AAP (Association of AirTanker Pilots) Message Board. Ab.
05/05 I'm going to be fighting wildfires for the first time this summer, and I'm curious if you could recommend some boots. I'm on a budget, and I'm hoping to spend around $150. Can you recommend a few quality brands. And I do recognize that with a lower price I'm sacrificing quality. Thanks for your help.

05/04 Hi Ab,

I was browsing through the Links Page and saw that the 10&18's link
under Safety was bad. Here's the new one:

I can only suspect what a pain it is to keep the links page as clean as
you all do. I don't want to pick on any certain site, but do you think
there is any long-term plan on those who are maintaining the
www.fs.fed.us/fire site? Do you think they come to work each day and
just arbitrarily decide to form a whole new web site without warning
anyone or providing forwarding links after they have done so?

Whatt'a directory name. . . "fire_new". The old folder list worked just
fine, why not create the new look in the background and just swap them
over some night around midnight? What will the folder be renamed when
it is no longer new? I appreciate the stability and continuity of
wildlandfire.com as I realize you all have undergone some big changes
over the last year. I can't quite imagine how you were able to swap
such large parts of the site to your new wlf2 site with nary a hitch!

It kind of reminds me of how hard it is to keep track of the GS-5, 6's,
and 7's, the last couple of years as they jump from place to place
promoting. I'm not blaming them for moving around from one "choice" job
to another, just that it's hell'a hard for me to keep track and remember
who's doing what and where they are. I think it would be much more
informative to everyone on a fire when a resource arrived, that they
announced THEIR first and last names along with their module identifier
instead of having the dispatch office always announcing a new IC's first
and last name. But that's another personal button, I won't go there

Ok, maybe I will. Just what the heck benefit is supposed to be obtained
by everyone knowing the personal name of the IC on a fire? I don't
see that my not knowing the first and last names of the IC ever
put myself or my module in danger. What the heck, when
necessary, I just called for the Fire IC (substitute Fire with the name
of the fire). I always knew the name of the fire I arrived at. If not,
then I must'a been the IC and I could either name the fire or ask
dispatch. I'm not sure that knowing the IC's name was "Bob" would
have ever made me feel any safer.

Maybe I'm just a little dim-witted and don't have the brains to realize
that I've chosen to place myself in harms way with my beloved career
by not knowing the IC's name!

Duh. . .g'night all!

Hi ecc1. Fixed that and some other links. Thanks for being observant. We appreciate notice of broken links.

I can speak a bit to the first part of your post. Ironically, I worked on our Links Page most of today. I do this every month or so. As it turns out, many links needed updating just since last month. I had to track down new locations for 4 state's fire (or DNR sites). Across the page, I deleted 3 sites that just disappeared, including the ICSU training site. As you mentioned, all the FS Safety sites also just disappeared with no forwarding. I knew those had to be somewhere. Loosing some sites may not matter so much IMO, but safety sites should have forwarding links. Not everyone is internet savvy.

I have some needs for things I couldn't find. Anyone know the url for "how to find a DOI employee", the DOI BIA Fire site, and the "New Mexico BLM" site that we had on the links page under Federal? We also need the complete list of ICS Unit Identifiers under Federal (was a pdf file on the NWCG site, I think) and the NOTAMs site under Aviation. Lots of us use this links page and we need all links to work. (The banner link to the SupplyCache works!)

As far as working on a website and then trading it out middle of one night, that is possible for sites like ours... but, even that took a lot of work. I know the FS web overall is huge and has a lot of people working behind the scenes across the US, converting some files into html and some into pdf, making many files that have been stored in different data bases as consistent as possible so as to store them in one location -- and making them 508 compliant so people with disabilities can easily access them. FS Fire is just part of the change. To change a large web, some would say it's easiest to do it piecemeal and make the parts public as they're converted and tested and linked. Others might suggest your middle-of-the-night strategy is better.

Then there's naming. There's been a big discussion among the Forest Service websters about naming protocol... within the FS and across the internet globally. I hope the FS managers are listening to what the websters are saying.

OK, that's my take on the FS web process tonight. From my perspective, it seems that many fed and some state agencies are upgrading and streamlining their websites also.

As for your other issue, I'll leave that one for others to respond to.

05/04 Anyone know if the National Interagency IHC Guide for 2002 is out? If it's not, any prediction on when? Will it be online?


05/04 Some catching up with additions on wildlandfire.com:

New books that have been suggested are up on the books page:

Fire by Sebastian Unger.

A bunch of books by Stephen Pyne including Intro to Wildlandfire, Year of the Fires, Vestal Fire, World Fire, and Fire: A Brief History.

Also Wildfire: A Reader by Alianor True.

If anyone has read any of these or any other unreviewed books on the books page, please write a brief review and send it in for us.


05/04 Hello Ab -

Please add our crew's logo to your site. We are a Statewide Response Crew that is also exploring to be recognized by FEMA as a Community Response Emergency Team (CERT) that will assist with man-made and natural disasters.

Respectfully submitted;
North Valley Hills Forest Fire Crew, Berwyn, PA

Put it on the Logo 5 Page. Ab.

05/04 Here is a picture from the Rex Fire in Washington, 2001. I was the FBAN on
the Icicle Fire Complex looking at the Rex Fire.


Quite a column. Thanks. I put it on the Fire 10 Photo Page. Ab.

05/04 Forgetful,
Here is the photo I sent the other day. Minutes after this photo was taken
the SEAT arrived and knocked down the head enabling the tractor/plow unit to
get a line across the head hand contain the fire. Unfortunately the pilot
failed to get a photo of the seat drop.
<<DNR 450 furrowing on active fire.jpg>>

better sign this one ... jj, I guess.

Who's callin' us Forgetful? Better call us overworked!
If'n you weren't jj and I didn't know you were teasin', ya just might just deserve a little hosedown with my turbojet nozzle. Readers, sometimes it takes us a few days to get to photos.
It's a nice one. I put it on the Fire 10 Photo Page. Ab.

05/04 FireBill -

It is true about the color of flagging for escape routes. Apparently we should be using pink to mark escape routes. Lime green will be used with pink for people who are color blind. There are "flagging standards" published by NWCG that list most of the colors we currently use, and what each of them is supposed to identify. Hope this helps........

05/04 I am hoping that someone can help me find 2 particular short movies about the Yellowstone fires...they are...

Yellowstone fires
After the Flames, 1 year later

They are supposedly each about 20 mins in length and my Environment teacher is searching frantically to find them to show on our last day of class in 2 weeks.

05/03 Mellie,

The CIIMT meetings seemed to be very successful. There were some very good presentations of current and future uses of Incident Management Teams.

It seems that IIMT's are the future of incident management.... even some kinda "Turkey Flu" that seemed to be the humor of the whole meeting..... seems some flu is affecting some turkeys in Region 8 and a team has been managing it... future thoughts are hoof in mouth... WMD... as well as natural and man made disasters....

The 30 Mile implementation plan seemed to highlight most meetings (at least IC's and OPS)... still a little bit fuzzy here...More items are to come in the next few months about 30 Mile.... Most implementation items so far are pretty much common place in R-5 with a little tweaking around of the forms and style we currently use... The big thing is documentation of what we have been always doing.... Most folks are still questioning how we mitigate ALL of the 18 Situations....an informal general discussion came to the conclusion that the strict adherence to L.C.E.S. mitigated ALL of the 18 Situations.

The biggest changes from 30 Mile seem to be on type 3, 4 and 5 incidents. Thats where we have a little work still to do...


05/03 I'm hoping someone can answer a question about flagging. Sometime last season we were told that the standard flagging color for Escape Routes was going to be changed from lime green to pink. Our District Manager told us that it had been studied and is found to be more visible than green, etc., etc., but I haven't heard anything official yet. Anyone have an answer for me?

05/03 Any feed back on the program in California that will allow local agencies to
"grandfather" in those deemed qualified to fill positions (including
operations) on wildland incidents. Its hard enough to work your way up the
ladder without insult from within our own system!

Frustrated in California
05/03 Don't forget the NOVA Fire Wars show on PBS, premiering next Tues, May 7:

NOVA accompanied the men and women of the Arrowhead Hotshots during the
summer of 2000 as they worked on the biggest fire of the season, the Clear
Creek fire that burned for almost two months. The program also looks back at
a century of fire policy.

For show dates/times check with your public television station and local TV
listings. Here's for NorCal:

On DishNet and Direct TV Satellite (PDT):
May 8 5:00PM and 10:00PM
May 9 1:00AM
May 11 3:00PM

On KVIE Channel 6 for Northern California:
May 7 8:00pm
May 9 1:00am
May 9 4:00am

Visit their website: NOVA Fire Wars: www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/fire/

NorCal Tom

Ab Note: One of our wallpaper images is of a blowup on the Clear Creek Fire. Entitled Idaho or Idaho Fire, it was taken by Kim Soper, FBAN for Joe Carvelho's Type 1 team on July 27, 2000. For your enjoyment, here's a smaller version of the blowup from the Fire 5 photo page - ID Fire. Awesome. Ab.

05/03 Does anyone know what happened to the bear divide hotshot site? It
appears to be off the web now, and I am unable to access any of the
pages there. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

"Wildman CK"

05/03 Will someone who went to the CIIMT meetings in San Diego give us a report?
What issues were paramount? What was talked about?


05/02 Gooood Morning Wildland!

Great job on the new Classifieds, Quality People, Quality Products.

05/02 MR,

I am not a HR type or retirement specialist, but I am approved for
firefighter retirement so I can provide some information based on
experience. Your question regarding firefighter retirement is an excellent
question. Not sure whether you work for a Federal, State, or local agency,
or contractor. If you are a Fed, the Federal Law Enforcement and
Firefighter Retirement (LE/FF) system is covered by statute and regulation
(see, for example, 5 CFR 842.804). There are specific position description
issues, age issues, retirement system issues (CSRS vs. FERS) etc., and a
very formal (and time consuming) application and approval process. There
are also interagency issues such as getting approval for "primary" time in
one agency accepted by a subsequent employing agency. In addition, there
is the contribution issue where employees in the LE/FF retirement system
have an extra 1/2 of 1% withheld from their pay. Finally, there are the
special retirement considerations which are also covered by statute. On
many Federal units, many ("militia") employees spend a great deal of time
on wildland fire and fuels issues, but that doesn't automatically qualify
them for firefighter retirement. Additional information on this retirement
program is available for DOI employees at http://fire.blm.gov/retire/ (this
site is somewhat dated) and for USDA Forest Service employees at

Puffin II

PS. Earlier today I sent the message above. Amazingly, a new website, with DOI
Law Enforcement and Firefighter Retirement information, came on line this
afternoon. The new URL is http://flert.nifc.gov/.

05/02 I'm a new hire who is hoping to make wildland fire my career. What do I have to
pay attention to so I make sure I have the retirement issues covered? Seems this
is critical info since some wildland firefighters change organization pretty often.
I've heard the terms primary fire and secondary fire. I assume these relate to
some legal stuff.

DW (starting as a temp, seasonal)

05/02 so grumpy yer a little miss informed obviously it seems...
here in r-6 we have some of the best crews (who are now in the sw and are contractors in fact)
in central Oregon one organization I know of excels above the rest
so let tucker decide.
we are hiring the best so bring on your r-5 wanna be hotshot crews.
we believe in doing the best.
enough said
got any further comment?

05/02 MR

Firefighter retirement is based in law and has established requirements.
Included is time spent as a "primary" firefighter. This translates to 50%+
time spent in duties that are fire......not 49%, not 20%.....(every law has
to have absolute standards). So......although the "militia" can be/is a
highly trained force (which the FS is dependent on in the east)......most
still do not meet the requirements of the law. A shame, but a fact.
BTW I recently attended the "firefighter retirement" training put on the
the FS's head ff retirement guru from the WO. (Excellent presentation).
This will be my 31st year participating in fire......but I too did not meet
the 50% for every position I have held, and hence do not qualify. For me
that's okay, I never expected 20 year retirement.
The instructor also went into "why" the max entry/retirement age should not
be messed with........but that's another topic.


05/02 FireBill

Why didn't you put on your PPE crank up the pump pressure and make believe
you were fighting a fire as you cleaned the pole barn? At least you could
have done two things at once, training and station maintenance.

Yea, I know how it goes, all dressed up and ready to go and no incident, not
even a campfire for two counties in all directions. The season hasn't even
started yet, it will happen grasshopper, one must be patient.


05/02 So here I was this morning, our first day with a couple of engines
available, at the office, all ready to go at 0800, my first day back.

I've been training, reading up, going over things I wanted to try this
season, all ready to combat the roaring beast with my mighty engine!

So what did I do on my first day back, you ask? I/A on some running fire?
Call for a helicopter, get in some OT? Welllllllllll, no.

Just when you think it's all glitz, glamour, and glory, think about the two
poor guys pressure-washing the pigeon poop out of the pole barn for a
longline class on Friday! LOL (pictures coming soon, against my better

But it still felt great to be back! Everyone have a safe season!!!

05/02 Gentlemen.
I have a burning question (pun intended). Here in the east, fire fighter retirement is being offered for fire positions with 50 percent or more of their time spent with fire related activities. I know of no person at least on the district level, that has this much time. We all fight fire, those of us who pass the pack test do anyway. So why do we all not qualify for fire fighters retirement?


Good question, but Gentlemen......? (checking a few things).... ummmmmmmm, don't think this particular Ab fits in that category.

05/02 hey tucker,

have you thought of headin to r-5 for work? i am not sure you will find a
reputable contract crew in r-6, you might find one that is satisfactory
but thats it. most everyone here in r-5 knows that if you want to really
work and go to fires and missed gettin hired with us. check out a company
called <snip>, i know they have tons of project work, they go to lots
of fires, (i believe they are in az. now) and are most likely the best
contract crews around (even better than most of the beloved hotshots) i
know from being on fire with them, those guys are fire savy. to anyone
else reading, i know i sound like a traitor but these guys remind me of
the old school when we worked for our money and got the job done. i dont
mean to sound harsh about r-6 contractors but i have had too many issues
over the years to give them a nod. i know we all get weird about
contractors but there is a need for good ones and hey, why should we be
the only ones to suckle off the cash cow we call "fire". if the taxpayers
only knew


Ab will pass the company's name on to Tucker.

05/01 Say What?

Northzone5 wrote: <<did someone finally get through to CMFMike, that HOTSTOTS are not inmate crews? If "mike" thinks otherwise, he has never been assigned to a large interagency complex, and for reason!>>

Ab! I would've thought you'd exercise your editorial prerogatives and straighten this out!! Anyways, I was one of those who corrected the initial misinformation about Shots being inmates. NZ5 should go back and re-read my post, but I doubt that he/she will be mollified by a correct reading of it!! : )

BTW, modestly tugging my forelock, scraping my boot-toe in the sand and examining my fingernails, I just happen to mention that I've been a California full-time wildland firefighter for thirty years......

I love the Shots! Their constant derision is what has whipped me and my Crew into a frenzy of over-testosteroned competitiveness. And by the way, we've been hiking heavy duty in full gear and nomex and cutting fireline in heavy brush constantly since mid-February. In our spare time we are going to projects, not exactly breaking rocks in the hot sun, but very arduous and team-building type work.

I find that up until about mid-season we can zoom past the Shots. After that they are harder to beat.

CDF Mike from Arroyo Grande

Ab usually tries to say as little as possible.

05/01 Ab,
Classifieds look great!!!
05/01 hi ab,
just came from the classified. LOOKS VERY NICE. GOOD JOB, as
always. this site just keeps getting better and better. :)

one thought from me, how about a wanted section in the classified ?
donna, dozer support

Good idea, Donna. Thanks. Ab.

05/01 Tucker,
Don't feel bad about working for a contractor this season. I have worked for one for the last two season, because I too didn't get on with the government this season or last. I have seven years experience fire fighting, five years structure and two in wild land. I have had my red card for all this time and I'm one step away from being engine boss certified, so I know how you feel. I would like to know why I have got passed over the last two years. Maybe I have too many years of experience and they don't want to pay the price for experience.

Working for a contractor is O.K. The downfall is waiting for a call from dispatch, this is the hardest part of contract work.


05/01 The Ryan Fire, a link from Firescribe:


and another

Wildfire chars 36,000 acres; 75 percent contained

05/01 Welcome to our new sponsors, Wesco BootsThe Supply Cache and  Weightvest. Each of these companies has been recommended by members of our fire circle here at wildlandfire.com. It's clear they're an important part of the larger firefighting support scene in our country. It's been a pleasure to get to know and work with their owners and representatives.

Wesco sponsors our Theysaid and News Pages with particular emphasis on their Firestormer Boots. Five percent of the proceeds from those boot sales go to the Wildland Firefighter's Foundation. They are generous in their support.

The Supply Cache sponsors the Links Page and has fire gear of all sorts. Jim is a wildland firefighter and is a long-time theysaid lurker and participant. (Oops, hope that wasn't a secret!)

The guys at Weightvest. com sponsor the Jobs Page and have a product that is useful in training for and taking the pack test. We look forward to a long relationship with them.

We also have a new Classifieds Page and welcome the companies and individuals advertising there, some of whom are long-time theysaiders. Each company comes from a list we made up from your recommendations. Some of you suggested one or two, some suggested a dozen. We appreciate the suggestions and will continue to invite those on the recommended list to join our advertising links, aka classifieds page, when we have time. These first companies saw the opportunity and took it. Ab says, "HAR, way to go!" There are more on the recommended list that will appear over the next days as their graphics people get their mini banners made up. So much work and so little time...

We appreciate the contribution these sponsoring and advertising companies make to the wildland fire community and particularly to our ability to maintain this website at wildlandfire.com. We hope their affiliation with us will benefit them. Readers, please click on their banners to visit their websites, browse, and purchase goods from their businesses. Continue to recommend them to your friends. When you need something specific for the fire season, please go first to these, our supporters, to see if they have what you need. This is a give-and-take relationship.

Roberta and Ben, Jim, Jeff and Jack, Wendy, Debbie and Dick, Kath, Chuck, Scott, it has been our great pleasure to get to know you, the people behind the company names. Very nice folks indeed. Welcome. And to the rest of the our wildlandfire.com community who are advertising, thanks for the support.


05/01 Ab,

Please post this emergency request on your site. The Zuni Agency, BIA is
advertising for the Zuni Hotshot Assistant Superintendent position. The
crew is still a Trainee Crew with hopes of receiving certification before
the end of the 2002 fire season. Don't let the Indian Preference in Hiring
statement bother you. We will ask for a non-Indian cert. if there are no
qualified Indian applicants. Our personnel officer has a one person
campaign for hiring only Native Americans. To that end, she advertises
positions first within our region of the BIA, if no applicants after some
unknown amount of time, it goes out to Bureau Wide, and then if no takers it
goes open to all applicants on USAJOBS. Personnel has no choice but to
accept applications if they come in for a position.

How to apply; Call (505) 782-7281. Ask for Don Geesling. I am the Fire
Management Officer for the Zuni Agency and will be glad to fax or mail a
copy of the Bureau Wide Announcement that cannot, as of this date, be found

Where the hell is Zuni? Try 35 miles south of Gallup, New Mexico. We are
nestled in the Pinyon/Juniper, sagebrush country. Have no fear. There are
plenty of tall ponderosa pines on the reservation and to the north, east,
south, and west. Our SWFF fire crews go all over the country and have good
reputations as reliable and safe firefighters. The Hotshot crew is
comprised mostly of Zuni firefighters with a few Navajo firefighters in the
mix. The Superintendent is from the Blackfoot tribe and is known nationally
within the Hotshot community.

We need a good Assistant Superintendent for our Hotshot Crew. Can you
measure up to the standards? Find out, call today, apply today.

05/01 Hotshots (those are inmates you know)

Whoops, sorry, wasn't meant to be derogatory, I've just found over the years
probably due to the large numbers of inmates used in fire in the west that
the public (especially the media) tends to think all hand crews are inmates.
Just one more example of the lack of understanding the public has about
wildland firefighters.

Just an off the cuff sarcastic remark, wasn't meant to be insulting to
inmates, I've worked with many and even run one briefly and I do know the

Feelin the Twitch
You sound to be about where I am, I doubled my income but lost alot of pride
in my work. With the USFS I knew I was working for the best wildland agency
in the world (even if everybody else doesn't know it, US who? or agree).
With the DoD I have a good paying job, but its no better or worse than many
other structure departments and I don't get the same sense of accomplishment
and freedom I had with the USFS. As you say, its slow and the scenery doesn't
change much.

I have alot of gripes about the slowness some in the wildland community have
about accepting their non- wildland responsibilities and accepting the fact
the Federal Wildland agencies need to become a more career oriented
"professional" fire agencies. There are many old-timers with attitudes
towards the up and coming crop of employees, and I have had the misfortune
to be around some just plain horrible stupervisors, but I still had more
fun, worked for some of the best supervisors, helped many eager seasonals
begin their careers and met many great people working for the USFS. Loved
the travel, the scenery and the ability to be in California one day, Nevada
the next and New Mexico a few days later, sleeping under the stars after a
helicopter flight into a wilderness area, good, bad and ugly fire camps and
a long list of other good memories. So I'm having a hard time, I like
structure fire, the money and the time off (if we ever filled all the
vacancies so I could go home) but am really having some mixed feelings about
my change, but also having many about the impracticality of leaving.


Abs I'm not really pleased with my "alias", its kind of stiff, I'd like to
change to something a little less serious and more suggestive of where my
loyalties really lie, so how about

Engine Slug
and I promise to stick with this one

Fine with us Engine Slug, formerly Fedfire, formerly USFS FEO. We'll print your good comments whatever your moniker. Ab.

05/01 did someone finally get through to CMFMike, that HOTSTOTS are not inmate crews? If "mike" thinks otherwise, he has never been assigned to a large interagency complex, and for reason!

Pulaski TY for you post I thought it was long overdue

For all you who want a job in wildland fire, do your homework, be persistent and professional, if you are serious. Most western and southern states will be hiring soon. Dought = fires.

HEADS UP THERE YOU OLD FIRE DAWGS be safe and sane, and watch out for the new kids, train em right!


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