"THEY SAID IT" ARCHIVES
Home of the Wildland
These links should be interesting to the fire history buffs:
Comets? Astroids? Great Fires of 1871? Strange.... Ab.
These photos are from Marcia Shorter, a recreational boater on
Roosevelt Lake who was in the right place at the right time. PBY is a
belly-scoop air tanker on contract with the Washington State DNR.
I hope to have some killer shots of the Chelan fire coming you way
J.Foster, Highlands 26.
Nice action shots. I put them on AirTankers
6 photo page. Ab.
||T-123 Memorial Photos:
I found these pictures of PB4Y-2 Tanker 123 and thought you would like
to add them to your other photos of Air Tankers and list them as In Memory
of PB4Y-2 T-123 as you did with the C-130A T-130.
Jerry, an Air Tanker Buff.
Thanks Jerry. I put them on the bottom of AirTankers
5 photo page. Ab.
This issue on mandatory retirement age and minimum entry age and its
on people coming into our workforce as permanent employees has been
on this site more than once. I for one do not want to lose my fire
retirement, which seems to be a possibility if the feds allow those over
37 to sign away firefighter retirement (young vigorous workforce, etc.). I
believe that there are plenty of secondary fire positions out there for
those people who are over 37 and just now trying to get a permanent
position. These positions include dispatchers, warehouse, some fire crew
supervisor positions, some helicopter managers, and a myriad of others.
None of these jobs preclude anyone from working on the fireline as a
resource type in any position they are qualified for. These secondary
positions allow those with primary coverage to continue with firefighter
retirement and allows those without coverage to work also under regular
retirement. The only requirement some of these have is prior line fire
experience, which in my agency is one 90 day season in a primary position.
With the number of both Primary and Secondary positions that are becoming
available from the National Fire Plan, finding one of these positions
not be difficult. To get a one of these jobs a potential employee need
be flexible about the position and location. If they are intent only on a
specific position on a specific Forest or District they may well be
Just another perspective.......
||more info on the helicopter accident in CO at; www.thedenverchannel.com
||Readers we're getting questions from the public as well as ff family
members about the Southern Oregon Fires.
Let's take the Biscuit Complex as an example, since M and others have
asked. Here's how to start to research a fire:
Here's wildlandfire.com's list of all fires this season with website info
Here's the Biscuit Complex website from that page
New vicinity map (yesterday) for the fire from the Siskiyou page
(You can also go to the sites at the top of the state listings including
the ODF site that sometimes have other links and info.)
Southern Oregon Fire Weather Forecast (Red Flag means watchout for wind,
Siskiyou Fire Weather links page
Wildfire news search engine on our site, takes 15 sec to load
Lots of articles on Oregon fires
If you really want to get into it, you can go to our Links
page under News and look at situation reports by Geographic Area
(GACC). If you go on down to Weather, you can check NOAA Satellite images
for infrared and smoke patterns. If you go to Geographic, you can check
the GeoMac site for topography and fire perimeter. Sometimes you can luck
into extra photos of large fires on the Incident Management Team websites.
The list of Team sites are linked under Federal
Pages on the Links page.
Just a few ideas for people lookin' and hopefully save answerin' a lot of
||Red Army Wife:
These house are just material things you're right there, but some people
have spent their entire lives working for these homes. You should not view
them as material, but as someone's life work. I've been lucky enough to
only have to let one house burn in 8 years of fire. It also doesn't matter
if it's a small trashy trailer or a multi million dollar home, it's the
fact that it is SOMEONES HOME and we should do everything we can to save
We're not wildland firefighters anymore, we're interface firefighters.
Just about everything that breaks 100 acres is threatening some sort of
||Given the fire behavior, etc, I want to remind us...
COMMON DENOMINATORS OF FIRE BEHAVIOR ON TRAGEDY FIRES
Five common denominators that contribute to accidents/incidents have
been identified through studies
of tragedy fires. It is important for firefighters to readily recognize
the following common denominators so that future
tragedies can be prevented:
For firefighter safety tips, go to www.nifc.gov/sixminutes/s_six_minutes.asp.
- Most incidents happen on smaller fires or on isolated portions of
- Most fires are innocent in appearance before unexpected shifts in
wind direction and/or speed results in flare-ups or extreme fire
behavior. In some cases, tragedies occur in the mopup stage.
- Flare-ups generally occur in deceptively light fuels, such as grass
and light brush.
- Fires run uphill surprisingly fast in chimneys, saddles, gullies,
and on steep slopes.
- Some suppression tools, such as helicopters or airtankers, can
adversely affect fire behavior.
The blasts of air from low-flying helicopters and airtankers have been
known to cause flare-ups.
I have different Japanese interpretation of ronin e.g.. Samurai whose
master has been outcast or assassinated. Rogue samurai. But your
interpretation is not so far off. 18 years FF. Now ex FF. Outside the
Fedfire system looking in. Pot stirrer? Yeah...but not just a potstirrer.
I make a living now recognizing corporate inefficiency and fraud. I saw
the Enron thing over 3 years ago. Worldcom was obvious by then too. I am
slowly putting check marks along side the names of over 200 major
companies that I recognized quite a while ago as "playing fast and
loose" with their books. I wonder why it was so easy to see from the
outside when even mid level managers did not have a clue?
Sorry I struck a nerve. In retrospect I see how it appears to be tossing
rocks. I am sure lots of federal fire professionals have worked long and
hard to provide the fire protection plan we now have. >From the outside
looking in it still appears to be patched together and far less integrated
than such a vital service should be. The efficiency of multiple
bureaucracies attempting to coordinate with each other while each ones'
bean counters attempt to shift "fire dollars" into non fire
related programs as much as possible appears, from the outside, wasteful
and dangerous. For Gods sake, most fedfire agencies don't even recognize
experienced firefighters as professionals. It appears from the outside
that a lot of thought has gone into a long series of mitigating programs
rather than an integrated fire suppression effort. Having said that.. what
exists now does pretty well with the resources they have. My main issue
with the age thing is that there appears to be at least a
"decade" of experience being wasted by the current age
restrictions. If they are being recruited as ADs successfully and
integrated into the fire management effort then that issue is moot.
Regardless I don't advocate 50 year old FFs being "recruited"
for permanent positions.
I think the "news agencies" including CBS have discovered
that they get much more interesting stories if they look further than the
"media handlers" provided by federal agencies in response to
requests for interviews and information. The "pertinent
information" they receive from those sources tends to be pretty
"dry" and is often provided simultaneously to all the media. For
better or worse as wildfire has become a "better story" they are
going further and further beyond the "normal channels" for their
stories. I think if you look closely you will see that they often feature
some of the same issues discussed on this forum shortly after they are
||M asked if the fires would burn into CA? They already have! The Florence
and Sour Biscuit are approaching 200,000 acres as of Tuesday night. They
are less than 5 % contained and current plans are to backfire the two to
make one fire, they are less than 2 miles apart. They have 27 dozers
making a 30 mile fire line. Some line is on the power line corridors
because they are a fire break as it is. Most people are on a 48,24 or 30
minute evacuation order. Houses and mail boxes are flagged with blue
ribbon as being indefensible. One wildlife rescue is hauling away 10 +
tigers in horse trailers! The fires are 3 miles from the towns. We have
one truck on that fire and one on the Timbered Rock Fire. It is being
described as hellacious fire behavior. Safety Zones have been used many
times. Unbelievable flame lengths and it doubles in size every 24 hours it
seems. The Timbered Rock is holding due to the weather inversion.
Keep safe and remember that a house is only a material thing.
Red Army Wife
||More memorial information courtesy of Redding.com 7/31/02:
"Meanwhile, in the Almanor Ranger District of the Lassen National
John Self's funeral will be held in Wynoma, Miss. A trust fund for his
where Engine 11 was based, friends and colleagues of the trio killed
plans to attend a memorial service for Self tonight.
The service will be held at 7 p.m. in the Westwood High School Gym, said
Rebeca Franco, a National Forest spokeswoman.
has been established at the Plumas Bank in Westwood. Heather DePaolo's
being planned in Buffalo, N.Y. — her hometown. Details of SteveOustad's
are not yet available.
I'm not sure if this is the same web site referred to in an earlier
"They Said" comment:
"Franco said the Forest Service is setting up a memorial Web site for
the three at www.R5.fed.us/lassen."
More heavy hearts for the helicopter pilot...
Thanks DG. Ab.
||No, not again!!!!!
Goodby G, we will miss you.
Fly with the angels!
||Once again, sincere condolences to the family and friends of the heli
pilot who passed recently!
any stats on the percentage of contract aircraft that have gone down this
year? contract vs agency
re Fireronin ronin is an ancient term Japanese for an outcast Samurai is
this guy just a pot stirrer, an ex FF, or
on a diff note: a 1st yr ground pounder is asking me for advice about how
to avoid FLEAS in fire camp.......... sounds like a wonderful topic to
introduce to They Said as a defuser, or maybe it would just open up a new
can of worms. (*L* I read the info on my dog's monthly flea stuff, not for
||Greetings and thank you for this great website.
When it comes to wildland fires, the United States is divided up into
several different regions. For example, Northern Idaho and Western Montana
are in Region 1.... Washington and Oregon are in region 6, I believe. I am
looking on the internet for a national map which shows these different
regions. Any suggestions?
at bottom. Ab.
||So sorry to hear of the helicopter crash in CO. Too many deaths.
Condolences again. When will they end?
Wasn't there some question last year on the appropriateness of using helos
for mop up?
||The "Pines Fire" is really rippin' here at Julien (hills e of
San Diego). I heard 13,000 acres. Can that be right? CDF is out in force
for structure protection identifying the keepers and the looooosers.
on SanDiego News is reporting:
After dispatching a force of 450 firefighters by Monday night, the
augmented to nearly 1,400 on Tuesday. Firefighters attacked the fire this
with 85 engines, 11 helicopters, nine air tankers, six bulldozers, and 31
That one is up on the current FIRES 2002
list. Link at the top of theysaid. Ab.
||Are Sour Biscuit and Shelly Creek fires going to burn into California?
Maybe they already did?
Been working hard here of late and have'nt had time to check the
postings, but I'll throw my hat into the ring on Inmate Crew usage. I have
worked with inmate Crews in the State of Utah and I have to agree with BC
Davis posting of 7/28. The "Fellas" as we called them were some
of the best Type 2 Crews I've had the privilege to work with. Skilled in
the Art of WF, in great shape to do the job, did'nt bitch and not one
discipline problem. Perhaps some of the other postings were correct in
their assessment as well, but speaking from experience, I agree with BC. I
say "Right On" to the inmate crews out there and the personnel
who are in charge of the Crews. Keep up the good work and hold your heads
up high !!! Perhaps some of the "naysayers" lack the experience
of working on fires with these Crews, but if you get the chance, talk to
some of these guys and gals and you'll find out their human beings just
like you and me." Paying their debt to society" ? I think so !!
I appreciate your desire to change the retirement and mea system, but I am
in that 50+ category and people our age who have worked in fire for many
years should be thinking about turning it over to the younger folks one of
these days soon. Along with experienced firefighters, many friends and
coworkers who have chosen to retire are working AD in various supportive
roles to transition the agency to younger folks. It is in the process of
Granted, we have deficits in staffing of STL and other mid- to upper-
level supervisors. On a whole, our work force is somewhat less
experienced. Ten years ago we could call on our captains whenever we
needed division group supervisors. Now we're lucky if captains are STL
trainees. It's the Bat Chiefs that are division group sup qualified.
If we changed the mea, would we pick up many more that are division group
supervisor qualified? I wonder. Let me point out that even if people in
current positions are not as qualified as in the past, the way the system
is set up, they still work within their capabilities and redcard quals. If
we're short sups, we pull crews off and let it burn.
As Ab said, we're doing our best to get folks trained both in the
classroom and on the job. Many (in R5) who retire continue to serve the
agencies as trainers and mentors and fill-in in other ways. It is my
opinion that we do not need to change retirement or MEA rules, simply
fight fire safely, continue to train and mentor those less experienced and
let the experience level rise. It may or may not take 10 years. Experience
depends on where you are, what's going on, who's sponsoring you and
supporting you. Some people see more fire and gain leadership skills
faster than others. (Some few never learn even with the classroom and OJT
we're dishing out.)
In my opinion, it would be beneficial if there were a few more bucks in
the budget to allow each of our upper level FMO type folks to have a
"shadow" so that when they retire there is someone to step into
their shoes. Don't know if that will happen, though.
Regarding this summer and shortages. I would venture to say that if we had
the same staffing levels as in the late 70s or early 80s, we would still
be short this summer. This summer fire is different, vegetation is
different, climate is different. Fire season started early and with a
vengeance. Already I see people stressed, stretched and tired and we still
have 2 months to go. Yup, this would have been a marathon year regardless,
even if staffing was at pre-RIF levels. Generally I feel that on the fires
I've been on we're doing our best to put safety first.
||Heartbreaking news, a helicopter working in Colorado's Grizzly Creek
area has crashed. It saddens me deeply to report the pilot did not
Condolences to family and friends.
I say enough! One life is way too many to lose.
PLEASE REMEMBER SAFETY IS NUMBER ONE! YOUR LOVED ONES AND FRIENDS WANT YOU
SOMETHINGS NEEDS TO CHANGE, TOPIC FOR ANOTHER TIME.
Here's a report: www.abcnews.go.com
Two nights ago the national news included a story on how the retirement of
experienced firefighters has left the US with too few "managers"
to safely put all the available firefighters on the fireline. Retired
"managers" were being called upon to come out of retirement and
Aussie "managers" are being "imported" to help
alleviate the shortage short term. No plans were suggested to solve this
shortage long term nor was mention made of any efforts to encourage the
experienced firefighters who are not eligible for permanent positions to
make themselves available. It went on to indicate that...over the next
decade we will need more and more experienced "managers" while
at the same time going through a period of accelerating retirement of
individuals that have the needed experience and skill.
While this shortage was entirely forseeable/predictable I have yet to see
indications that any preparations were made to prevent it when the
decision to implement the current hiring push for firefighters was made. I
appreciate our Australian counterparts helping us out of this fix,short
term, but I can't believe that the USFS, BLM, and BIA seriously consider
this "band aid" solution a responsible manner in which to
provide a long term fix by simply repeating it year after year. Has there
been any long term solutions proposed at the WO to this problem? Who would
I contact to discover this?
Maybe I am missing something or don't have my facts strait.
The facts as I understand them are:
1.We are entering a period of accelerated retirement of personnel with the
needed fire "manager" skills/qualifications.
2.During the forseeable future we will need more personnel with these
skills/qualifications due to the increased likelihood of a higher number
of difficult to suppress/contain wildfires due to drier/warmer weather
trends and an exponentially increasing urban interface.
3.The needed skills/qualifications take at least 10 years to acquire and
not enough "manager trainees" are anticipated having the needed
experience to fill the projected need for at least 10 years. There is no
safe manner to "accelerate" this qualification process since
actual experience is so key.
4. An untapped "pool" of folks with the needed experience is
currently ineligible for use due to current legislation which preclude
them from "permanent positions" if they are over age 37. While
they may be available as AD's it is unrealistic to expect them to accept
these positions of high responsibility at AD pay rates. It is equally
unrealistic to expect the USFS, BLM, or BIA to allow ADs to perform this
function regardless of skill, experience, or ability.
I am sure that there are folks in the "upper echelons" that are
smarter and better informed than I am but as hard as I look I can see no
indication that a long term fix is being pursued/considered. Essentially
they are "contracting out" these positions to the Aussies this
year. Is this a prelude to allowing future contracting of these positions
to US citizens? I suppose that would not require any additional
legislation other than a liability exemption similar to the one just
passed and would limit the financial burden to a year to year one rather
than one that must be budgeted for long term. That might work but just
seems like just a bigger "band aid" rather than a real solution
and makes me very uncomfortable. I believe that those with the lives of
firefighters in their hands should not be exempt from
liability/responsibility yet am certain that no private individual would
be willing to fill those positions without that caveat.
The new challenges presented in national wildfire suppression/control
remain largely unadressed. What we have now is a slow changing
policy/program designed for the situation which existed 50 years ago.
Similar to the vintage aircraft that have been modified for dropping fire
retardant rather than bombs it has a new mission which its' original
designers never even considered a possibility. And like those old aircraft
which are currently proving to be inadequate to the task at hand, a
cobbled together, patched up national fire suppression "plan" is
a strong potential killer of firefighters.
I have had some initial contact with CBS news and would like to be able to
pass on to them accurate information regarding the long term plans of the
USFS, BLM, and/or BIA on this subject. I would appreciate anyone that can
set my facts strait or provide some clue as to what solutions have been
considered. In the past I have too often watched the "media"
dish out inaccurate information to wish to participate in that
process...but since I am now involved I have to settle for just providing
the best info to them I possibly can. Can anyone help me do that?
Fireronin, it is clear you do not work within the fed fire system and
that you have an issue with the age restrictions placed on federal
firefighters. If you did work within the Forest Service, BLM, or National
Park Service, you would know that we are not working with a "cobbled
together, patched up national fire suppression plan", but rather a
carefully crafted and thought out plan that is the result of vast
experience and countless dedicated hours on the part of fire
professionals. Professionals at all levels have been considering and
working on the staffing issues you raise for several years now and have a
number of mitigating programs in place, at least in R5.
One of our problems is that when firefighters hit 50, more than a few are
tempted by the AD positions they see out there. In these positions, they
can make 1/3 again as much money and not have to deal with the paperwork
inherent in their regular Fed job. And I can assure you, many ADs are
being hired as trainers of new people, as engine captains, as ICtype3 and
some are even used as fill in as FMOs on districts.
As far as the media goes, if CBS news is really interested, they
should contact the people that can answer their questions directly.
||FireBill (RE: Guidelines for Disengagement),
You can find more information on the FS intranet for the Okanogan and
Wenatchee National Forests FSWEB. Sorry, no outside link, but if someone
wants to contact me through Ab's, I can see what I can do to send someone
a cd of it.
Off the Oka/Wen FSWEB click on "Fire Vision" on the left frame.
Reading Cache Queen's comments as well as DW's, I have a few of my own.
Removing just the "small brush, slash and understory" will help
to keep fires from crowning when the ignition source is nearby but not
from a rapidly moving fire front. 90 plus years of fire suppression has
contributed to millions of acres of forested lands that are choked with
vegetation, heavy down material and dead and dying stands. This is the
reality of today. Debates may be conducted that seek to blame this or that
for the situation we find ourselves in. However, we must deal with reality
and not blame.
Removing only "small brush, slash and understory" does not go
far enough to treat the problem. Thinning needs to include removal of
larger understory trees than just those less than 10-12 inches dbh. Turn
of the century photos portray open forests with little to no fuel ladders.
Most small trees and brush were killed through frequent light intensity
fires. 90 years of fire suppression has permitted numerous trees to grow
into the mid to upper canopy levels. Today, we are faced with many
forested areas that are dying from competition between trees, insect
attacks and shading out. As these trees die, they create snags, a
dangerous hazard to firefighters, and eventually increased down fuels.
Research has shown that the past 100 years has been wetter than normal. It
is being suggested that we are returning to a more normal, possibly below
normal, rainfall pattern. Our forests are too densely stocked to support
this over abundance of trees. Thinning is the most realistic method of
reducing stocking while reducing fuel ladders and fuel loadings. This is
not to suggest that thinning should remove the larger trees. Thinning
should concentrate on removing the smaller trees sizes; but, were needed,
some larger trees should also be removed until the desired stocking is
Commercial thinning combined with precommercial thinning and down fuels
cleanup would help to return forests to the more open conditions pictured
in the late 1800s to early 1900s. It would reduce our reliance on imported
timber, provide jobs, and reduce the cost of treatments. Lower treatment
costs would permit more acres to be treated each year with the limited
funds available. If any real headway is to be made in correcting this
problem, commercial thinning (logging) needs to be an integral part of the
As a long term R5 employee, I have prescribed, within numerous
constraints, thousands of acres of this treatment method. Fuel ladders and
down fuels were removed while the bigger trees were retained. It has been
tested by fire and works. I sincerely hope that we are provided the
opportunity to practice forestry that has been proven to work.
If you use the incident website on the McNally fire you can check the
updated maps such as fire progression and road closures (currently posted
daily). So go to the following link and click on Maps:
Also the major fires on the map are as follows:
North of the fire are 1977- Bonita Fire and 1975- Flat Fire
(I believe those are the names-the years are correct)
East of the fire is 2000- Manter Fire
The most recent South large fire is the 1990 Stormy Fire
Can't answer any of the fuels questions...
Keeping you up to date from downunder.
Sad to hear the news about the rollover & deaths.
All the best to everyone.
From: NSW Rural Fire Service
Sent: Tuesday, 30 July 2002 5:00 PM
Subject: Ministerial Press Release: NSW Firefighting Force Heading for USA
NSW Firefighters will lead a crack firefighting force heading to the
United States next week to help fight the country's worst fires in half a
US President George W Bush will tonight officially sign a bill from
Congress granting immunity from prosecution for Australian firefighters to
join the firefighting effort in America. A formal request to Australian
authorities will follow.
"In response, NSW will send the strongest contingent of 50
firefighters out of the expected Australian and New Zealand force of
110," Mr Debus said.
"The fire situation in the US is the worst that authorities have
faced for more than 50 years. Hundreds of homes have already been lost in
the flames and thousands more are threatened.
"These fires have been raging for several months and the official US
bushfire season is only just beginning.
"The call-up of our firefighters is testament to their high levels of
skill, training and expertise as seen during our own most recent bushfire
crisis over Christmas and New Year.
"We should all be proud that our firefighters have earned such
international recognition and respect."
The NSW Rural Fire Service will send 20 firefighters, National Parks and
Wildlife Service another 15 and NSW State Forests also will send 15.
Minister for Forestry, Kim Yeadon said that a State Forests senior
firefighter, who last week flew to the United States to assess the
situation, has confirmed the need for Australian firefighters to assist in
"A NSW State Forests officer will act as an international liaison for
the Australian contingent," Mr. Yeadon said.
"The Forestry Officer has reported that the situation is extremely
serious and we should lend a hand as soon as possible.
"NSW firefighters will be on their tour of duty for up to two months
and are expected to leave as early as next week, following rigorous
medical assessment and extensive briefings.
NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner, Phil Koperberg said the force would
report to the National Inter-agency Fire Centre, the body coordinating
much of the US firefighting effort.
"They will be deployed primarily as fire-ground supervisors and
aviation specialists," Commissioner Koperberg said.
||Here is one of the pages of the McNally Fire website www.r5.fs.fed.us/sequoia
near the Giant Sequoias. Look at the fire history. I wonder when those old
fires burned if the fuels were small, or if there was lots of brush and
small trees like today. Someone said the danger is that the crowns of the
trees will burn. Is that a danger because the groves are down in the
valleys with fire on the ridges or because of ladder fuels? I will have to
go look after the fires are over.
Another good page Thinning
project shows how little damage was done by the fire in areas that
were thinned. I wish we had the freedom to do this without so many
roadblocks to the process. It makes sense.
I wish there were more websites for California fires. If anyone knows of
other photos of how fire acted in thinned areas, please let me know. I saw
the link that k or kelly provided.
The R5 web is not quite up to par this fire season, but you could check
the Wild Fires 2002 list which is up to
So sorry to hear of more firefighters deaths. Prayers for the familys and
the injured. Hope they will be well soon. Please be safe out there.
||I saw in another engine a few days ago a pocket card I think was
entitled "Guidelines for Disengagement" but the guy didn't have
a spare. Anyone know what I'm talking about, or where I can get one?
Look Up, Look Down, Look Around,
||I felt this poem appropriate and hope you publish it on your site in
memory of those who
have lost their lives doing what they loved to do, fighting wildland
fires. Let us send them
our prayers down that road, for they are going to a better place to live.
Nancy, we can't publish it because of copyright laws, but the
thoughts are nice. Ab.
||Info on those lost and those surviving, condolences, info on the
on future public memorial services.
More details on the rollover
News release of condolences regarding the loss of firefighters on the
Lassen National Park
website. The file is in pdf, but is small. Memorial information
will be coming out of this website we have been told.
Good job, Abs. We appreciate your efforts at keeping the wildland fire
appraised of what is happening.
Found this story this morning in Denver Post about the Air Tanker pilot
that was just behind T-123 at the Big Elk fire.
||cache mtn fire (OR)
r-6 here. we got our buts kicked yesterday. evacs of 5,000 people and
loss of two homes. more winds expected today
hope we can hold our own
||July 28th Another sad day in the fire service
Condolences to the family and friends of those who perished on the Stanza
fire engine rollover yesterday.
Best wishes for a quick recovery to those who were injured.
||CDF Mike, you answered the question with your post.
NO firefighter clothing is meant to prevent injuries from "direct
contact" with flame. Your injury is an example. Protective clothing
is only meant to protect you from radiant heat and metabolic heat, and in
cases of structural clothing, exposure to conductive heat through the fire
atmosphere and through thermal barriers. Even ARFF proximity suits are
just that....PROXIMITY SUITS.... protection from the radiant heat and not
the actual flames.
Yes, you will counter....... but if I had a second layer?.... I
wouldn't have gotten the burn.
Maybe if you were a little closer with that second layer... it may have
gotten your airway singed and not just your arm. Thanks for us, you
I love your posts even though I don't always agree with you (actually,
I agree with you alot of the time). It is nice to come here and just
discuss the issues that affect all of us firefighters. Its great when we
finally find the middle ground.
||Currently two fires burning on the Siskiyou NF and adjoining private
lands. Florence fire jumped the Illinois River to the south. Plume
dominated fire currently 50,000 acres, burning S-SW. Sour-Biscuit wind
driven, 17,000 acres, burning N-NW. Agencies think two fires will burn
thru the Kalmiopsis Wilderness and join near somewhere in the middle of
the wilderness. Currently constructing a 30+ mile dozer line along main
ridge west of Cave Junction as last ditch attempt to stop this mega fire.
If this line fails, fire will be on Illinois Valley floor within 2-7 days.
Evacuation plans ready to implement for entire Illinois Valley area.
20,000+ people. Town of Selma and surrounding area in immediate danger
within next 24 hours. One historic lookout lost and fate of boy scout
ranch on Illinois River and historic guard station unknown at this time.
Please be safe out there my friends!!
Mellie, I await your arrival with bated (or baited) breath.
Thanks for the correction. I must've gotten my wires crossed between the
dawning of the Age of Aquarius and the rising of the Phoenix. It happens
all of us at one time or another. Its some good reading.
||"I personally helped compile a list of litigators in Idaho holding
thinning and reductions projects up and found that less than 3% were
subject to injunctions." The lack of information in that statistic
speaks legion. It fails to say what percentage were appealed, or
litigated. It also fails to include any mention of what percentage of
timber harvest projects have been appealed, litigated, or subject to
injunction. How many million of Federal (taxpayer) dollars per year are
tied up in NEPA appeals or litigation?
Here is something else to consider. Why did Sen. Daschle need to have
legislation to eliminate these projects from NEPA when he had already cut
a deal with the Sierra Club? Because other environmental groups would have
tied up these project in appeals and litigation. If the compromise had
been as good as everyone said it was it should be able to stand up to the
NEPA process without undue delay. This just verifies that the process has
It is also enlightening to note that the Black Hills portion of the
legislation was passed by slipping it into a unrelated bill, that Sen.
Daschle did not want debate on the subject.
Here is the Sierra Club trying to back-pedal after getting caught with
their pant down. www.sierraclub.org/logging/fires_july26.asp
Sen. Daschle's website is strangely silent on the subject. http://daschle.senate.gov/
||Con crews: Pro or con? (Sorry bad humor)
To BC Davis, I tip my helmet to you it probably is some big job you have.
I can tell you why the con crews are used at least in my part of the
The state inmates are brought in to fill jobs in base camp, cooking,
cleaning, garbage and other chores. In my opinion I've had much better
from inmate cooks than about 1/2 or better of all the private kitchen
wagons. They seem to have more concern and pride with their meals, only
heads of the private crews seem to have this care.
the others are just there to get a paycheck.
As for inmates on the line.. lets think about this having them (con crews)
the line makes more sense economically and provides us not incarcerated
free for IA.
Also it's said in my state law and probably as well as the fed rules and
regs that the cost has to be kept down.
Not to mention you said "They should do their time, in jail, until
debt to society is paid."
The main point is repaying the debt to society here, they are doing it in
couple ways: cheap labor, team work, self respect, pride in knowing that
they are doing a needed job paying back to society, these men and women
typically close to being released and This can and probably helps the crew
members obtain a good work ethic.
It's just my thoughts.
||I've always considered this site to be for all wildland firefighters,
regardless of agency, so the recent heartfelt "I wish CDF had
something as fine as this" is a bit of a non-sequitur. As to the CDF
policy of requiring nomex pants over uniform pants and sleeve liners, yes,
it adds a bit to the heat load. But since we train in the same gear, our
heat acclimation is presumably that much more thorough. I initially
resisted the extra burden of the sleeve liners, but shortly after it was
instituted I happened to be on a fire in Ventura County wearing an illegal
nomex shirt without sleeve liner. In light-to-medium fuels we had just cut
a line that we were firing from. For the briefest moment a flame licked at
my arm just below where my short-sleeve t-shirt sleeve ended. I ended up
with a nasty burn about the size of a silver dollar. This is from probably
only a one-second direct flame contact. Subsequent numerous cases of flame
impingement have caused me no burn injury at all. I am an absolute
believer in the two-layer concept. In fact the case mentioned above is the
ONLY burn I have received in over thirty years of wildland firefighting.
With the exception of some moderate hand-burns due to my all-too-frequent
failure to wear my gloves......................
CDF Mike from Arroyo Grande
||For those that don't think NEPA has been abused in environmental law
suits, the attached is good reading.
I have a hard time believing that politicians will able to effectively
orchestrate any kind of productive or
"reasonable" thinning of the national forests. It seems the
money will end up in someones pockets, most likely the
near bankrupt (sarcasm included) logging companies. Its very easy for
everyone to point the finger at the
enviros and accuse them of stonewalling the process when in reality people
who live on the fringe of these
"wildlands" often dont take steps to create defensible space
around their homes and then blame the system after
their inevitable destruction. Im going to have to disagree with Cache
Queen on this one. I think the less political
the issue the more the "right thing" will get done.
||May our thoughts and prayers be with our brothers and sisters who have
lost this year.
Rich, it was pretty low to take a jab at one of the newer folks at
Said". Those of us that have been around awhile know how important it
hear other peoples views and make up our own minds. He had a valid
and deserves some answers from all sides. You gave your answer and I agree
the Kelly York story is a horrible thing. Don't cloud his or her mind by
making them think they are a newbie and don't know anything. Give them a
chance, who knows, they may be the next Chief of your department someday
talking down to you for you arrogance.
Here's my view as being a FS Wildland Firefighter for two decades. If I
involved in a burnover, I'd be the first one to say double layering is the
way to go. If I was involved in a heat stress emergency, I'd be saying
single layers are the way to go. There have been some pretty good studies
done pointing towards my side... are there any that have been done on your
My thoughts are: I have a whole lot better chance of being involved in a
heat stress emergency than I do of being in an entrapment. I learned good
skills from the "Old Dinosaurs" that taught me the 10, 18, and
agree with SoCalCapt.
Here's a link that helps to exlain my views... It's an investigation about
several heat related injuries that affected a certain CA fire organization
on a seemingly small fire. This isn't a rare occasion, I see folks in
and orange pants being taken off the hill all the time:
Please note the expert references it has made to USFS studies on heat
injuries as well as reference to Project Aquarius from the Aussies.
..."the United States Forest Service (USFS). The USFS does not make
recommendations about the amount of time which should be spent at work and
rest for specific temperature-humidity combinations, nor do they give an
absolute temperature (environmental or individual body core) above which
work should be stopped. The USFS does state that at a temperature of 98
degrees F and 30% relative humidity, the conditions existing at the time
the incident, that "only heat acclimated individuals can work safely
"The firefighters at this incident were wearing two layers of
undershirt and dungarees under NOMEX shirt and pants. For a workload of
kcal/hour, two layers of clothing, and a WBGT of 80.1 degrees F, ACGIH,
NIOSH, and OSHA all recommend that workers spend 30 minutes resting for
every 30 minutes working." They actually sent 2 hours working and a
minute break. Now calculate that same period with single layers... whats
Here's my goal.... Have MTDC and CDF jointly produce a study. After the
study and recommendations... all agencies implement them. No politics, no
agency bashing, no personal agendas... what do you think?
||The information officer on the Stanza Fire just called with the
following information for the theysaid community:
The engine that rolled over was from the Lassen National Forest, based
out of Chester.
Those who perished were
Steven Oustad, 51 of Westwood CA
Heather DePaolo, 29 of Redding
John Self, 19 of Susanville
The two who were injured and are at Mercy Medical in Redding are
Alex Glover, 19 of Susanville
Ryan Smith, 20 of Susanville
The unofficial prognosis for the survivors looks good. We will post
memorial service info when it becomes available. It is unknown right now
exactly what happened. The Fire News articles
have some information from the PIOs.
||I have heard about the accident through gossip, are there any news
links as to what exactly happened??
||Here is a CNN story on the recent tragedy on the Klamath fire: Klamath
fire I knew the acting captain on that engine. He was a damn good fireman,
Had a great sense of humor, and he was the kind of friend you could depend
on. Steve was a stand up guy. He will be missed by all that knew him.
-Former Almanor guy-
Former, I wasn't able to make your link work. Stories are beginning to
show up on the FireNews page. Readers, see my
post above. Ab.
WOW!! that's about all I can say after the Tanker 123 crash and now the
news this morning regarding one our own Engines going down in a rollover
on the Klamath... It's never easy when you hear about people you know or
had the pleasure of knowing... I have a few good trinkets from the crew of
Tanker 123 and even have a few pics of the pilot with his Tanker.. I will
send the pic once I get it scanned..
To those who died on the Engine this morning, My heart and Prayers go
out to those on the other crews and to their families and children, etc...
MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL and May God help those 2 others survive. Please keep
us posted on when the services for those folks will be held...
To all of you out there involved in the firefighting whether red,
green, white, etc it doesn't matter whether you fight from the ground, the
air, up in the lookouts, or behind the consoles, you all have hearts and
souls of Gold and you all are truly UNSUNG HEROES.. You never get the
credit that all you deserve... I do hope that the tragedies that have
occurred recently begin to dwindle down soon.. Is it me or has there been
a lot of fatalities this fire season?
My condolences to the families, friends, coworkers, etc... of those who
died this morning and to those who have died giving it their all and
fighting the fight...
May you all Stay Safe and GOD BLESS,
||ANY CREDIBLE INFORMATION OUT THERE ON THE USFS LASSEN ENGINE OVER THE
SIDE ON ONE OF THE KNF FIRES EARLY THIS MORNING? WE'VE BEEN TOLD THAT
CASUALTIES AMOUNTED TO 3 FF FATALITIES AND 2 SERIOUS INJURIES.
BAD NEWS. PRAYING FOR THE FAMILIES.
My problem with inmate crews has nothing to do with cost, or with how
well an inmate crew does/doesen't perform. Furthermore, I treat all humans
I meet with respect until they prove otherwise. As for your treatment when
in fire camp, how to you expect free people who you are taking assignments
and jobs from to treat you? (You in general referring to the entire crew.)
My problem is this: I am a free citizen, I've invested the time and
money to get trained and prepared myself for a job that I am waiting to be
called on to perform. The fact that incarcerated individuals are out there
right now performing that job angers me greatly. As meko9 said "aced
out of work by criminals". I don't believe it could be said in a
better way. Try this in most other professions and see what would happen!
LOL! Why should it be any different with wildland fire? I truly can't
understand why this is allowed to go on. Free citizens that contribute to
society (again see mako9's posting) should, without a question, be given
preference over incarcerated individuals. It's a moral question, and hits
home especially hard when you are not working. They should do their time,
in jail, until their debt to society is paid.
||I find it funny that as soon as someone challenges
anybody in the logging industry, people come out of
the woodwork (no pun intended) to defend it. I think
that is a natural by-product of getting laid off en
masse and having to retrain for other jobs close to
the industry such as wildland fire. Its no wonder
that everyone will jump into the "cut-it" camp simply
because this is what will employ hundreds if not
thousands of workers laid off for what they were
originally doing for the forest products companies. I
for one know that environmentalists/conservationists
didn't abuse NEPA (a common misnomer and an excuse of
everyone challenging conservationist thinkers) because
I personally helped compile a list of litigators in
Idaho holding thinning and reductions projects up and
found that less than 3% were subject to injunctions.
Its always easy to place the blame on one group but
the reality is that there might be a better way to
resolve our fuels problem than cut board feet of
||Re: Rich, when he said today, "This is a quality site, I wish CDF
had something as fine as this."
Well Rich, CDF as an organization may not, but all CDF employees who
chose to participate or lurk here do!
I did watch the Kelly York Story- very moving. And in case you didn't
notice, I wasn't attacking the CDF policy- I was actually praising it
and wondering why other agencies haven't adopted similar measures.
Moreover, when I ask questions or challenge policies here on TheySaid,
I'm doing so to learn something new or to express a genuine concern i
harbor. And when people respond, I listen. In fact, opening my mouth
here on TheySaid has been highly educational- ex Mollysboy's "Project
Aquarius" post (how else would I ever hear about obscure Australian
stress research). Nonetheless, my previous postings generated a lot of
animosity, but I now know more and am better off for having posted them-
my concerns have been addressed.
And one last thing, there is a reason I joined CDF. Despite my
questioning, I think that the state of California treats their fire
fighters with a high level of respect, thanks in great part to the
presence of the union. No agency is utopia, but i am happy and proud
to wear the CDF badge.
||Most Federal land management agencies have a legislative mandate for
multiple use. While wilderness is an important component, so is timber
harvest. A lodgepole clearcut reduces the fire hazard and allows for
natural regeneration. Same with a commercial shelterwood cut in ponderosa.
These harvests can be conducted in such a manner to treat the slash so
that it will not be a fire hazards. Some fuel profiles will require
biomass reduction through force account or service contracts. The point is
that there needs to be a mix of tools in the land managers toolbox and
that needs to be as broad as possible to meet the management objectives.
Forest management has been hamstrung from abuse of NEPA by
preservationists and Daschle's bill is a backdoor acknowledgement of that.
An unintended consequence of this is a backlash from the motorized
recreational use organizations. One organization in my state has a bumper
sticker which states "Wilderness, land of NO uses!"
Multiple use may be a hard pill to swallow for some, but that is what
enabling legislation intended.
Right on Cache Queen!
||Re: REASONABLE LOGGING
I’d like to throw my 2 cents worth into the question you asked Cache
Queen about what "Reasonable Logging" is. A couple of opening
statements about my perspective for the sake of clarity and so you don’t
over-do free speech with the "maybe" word to take a shot at my
integrity. I’ve been in the wood products business for awhile ( I’m
one of those guys that used to fight fire for USFS and wore jeans and a
khaki shirt that SoCalCapt talked about) That said, I’m not speaking for
forest products companies, just my own experience and observations as a
life long resident of rural America, a wildland firefighter, and a logger
of one sort or another over the years
I’m not sure what your historical research has been on these topics
but both thinning and logging on the same operation was common at one
time. At the same time it reduced much of the brush as fuel load as a
normal part of the logging operation. This defrayed the cost of thinning,
brushing and fuel load reduction to the USFS as they were generating
revenue rather than spending tax payer money for the same end result. If
you want to do your home work go back to the RARE 1 and RARE 2 reports
(1970s I think), and the SNEP (Sierra Nevada Ecological Report), mid
1990s. When you study these works and what they advocate, and think about
what was implemented, then consider the HEALTH OF OUR FORESTS today as
compared to when we scraped tried and proven techniques of forest
management for unknown ideas and lesser known agendas.
The Honorable Mouse
||Very shocked and saddened by the news this morning. Praying that there
be no more tragedies. We just sent an engine up that way and was telling
the captain about the narrow roads etc. on the Klamath although this could
happen anywhere. Please would someone post when/if a memorial will be
Another Fed Fire Guy
When that info comes in, we will post it. Ab.
||I am saddened by the news this morning of the unfortunate accident in
the Klamath. Be it red or green these incidents affects all of us.
To CDF? Convert: The purpose of the liners in the nomex shirts is for 2
layers of protection from radiant heat. It has been proven over and over
again that 2 layers of clothing is better than one. Try asking your Eng.
or Captain about things you know nothing about before making false
accusations here. Don't believe it? Ask to watch The Kelly York Story.
To Ab. This is a quality site, I wish CDF had something as fine as this.
Rich, thanks for your post. I can attest to the fact that CDF Convert
is truly that. As for his questions, he's trying to gain wisdom, not
attack the agency. We are all looking for the safest alternatives and
dialog helps when different agencies have different policies and
regulations. We can learn from each other and from questions such as those
asked by CDF Convert and others. Ab.
||Prays are needed for all families and friends involved in this latest
tragedy. My heart aches......
Please be safe!
||The Aussies did a major study in the mid-90's on the physiology of
firefighting, called "Project Aquarius". They published all the
individual studies in a special edition of the "International Journal
of Wildland Fire" in 1997. But they also put together a
"user-friendly" publication for common folk titled "Safe
and Productive Bushfire Fighting with Hand Tools" in July 1996. Phil
Cheney at CSIRO may have an electronic version available.
In that writeup, they find that 2/3 of the heat that firefighters are
subjected to is metabolically generated, and only 1/3 comes from the fire.
Their advice is that fire PPE should "let heat out, not keep heat
out"! Most Aussies fight fire with a single layer jump suit, no
gloves and sleeves rolled up.
The USFS-designed shirts and trousers are designed to allow air flow,
which is critical for cooling; the Nomex material will give a fire fighter
20-30 seconds of protection from burns, enough time to get away from the
heat source, or deploy a shelter. Another important body cooling factor is
the head: ever hear the old saying that "if your feet are cold, put
on a hat"?? Some studies show that 20-30% of heat loss occurs through
the head. Cover it up, either with a knit hat, or with a face/neck shroud,
and you reduce the amount of heat loss that can occur. Great in Winter,
bad in fire season!
Structural firefighters go for complete body coverage, because of the
needs of their job, but only have to work for a max of 20 minutes before
their air supply runs out. Wildfire/Bushfire folks have to look at a much
longer work period, with the cumulative heat stress effects mounting up
over several days.
There are a growing number of reports of heat stress injuries and also
a fatality among firefighters going with double-layers and full-time use
of the face/neck shroud.
Looks like an area that needs some more study......?
||This is for all of us who belong to the IAFF:
We need to help our federal brothers who fight fire that are still listed
Forestry Techs. The Biennial convention is coming up in Las Vegas Aug
11-16. Resolution 53 will be brought up on the floor for the IAFF to seek
legislation to reclassify firefighters that are currently classified as
forestry techs. This way they will be entitled to the same benefits that
other federal firefighters receive.
Also Resolution 54 asks the IAFF to seek legislation to change
firefighter's pay to portal to portal. I know some (maybe alot) of you may
not agree with some of the IAFF's viewpoints, but these two resolutions
affect ALL of us.
PLEASE ask your delegates to give a positive vote for these two important
Hear! Hear! Ab.
||Steep country indeed. So sorry to hear of the losses; what a year.
So sorry to hear. We have been getting thick smoke from that fire for
The roads are precarious and perhaps present a greater challenge than the
flames in this neck of the woods.
I know everyone is being as safe as they can be.
My heart aches for us. Prayers for the two in the hospital and loving arms
for family and close friends.
||No details available, just heard of a USFS Fire Engine Rollover on the
STANZA fire in CA. Possibly three fatalities. Condolences to fire service
personnel, friends, and family. Have faith that there were survivors.
Learned that miracles are possible since miners' rescue in PA.
I just spoke with the Information Officer on that fire who confirms
that there was a single vehicle rollover at about 0200 and that 3
firefighters have died. Two more are injured and have been transported to
the hospital. Condolences. I have great sadness at this news. The roads in
northern California around Happy Camp are small with many treacherous
curves. The terrain is very steep. Smoke is thick.
To all who are fighting fire, BE SAFE!
||I'm with Cache Queen on this one. And I'm backing Daschle et al. What
they're proposing is not an end to all federal laws, nor a rape and
pillage disaster -- what they're proposing is a political move that
(finally!!) will bring the issues and dilemmas and problems to the
forefront, where discussion and negotiation may finally bring some sort
Those who can't handle the mind-bending concept of "reasonable
or "thinning" and who recoil at the very IDEA of selling a
logs, well, gee. <shakes head> We assume when pilots fly that they
what they're doing. We assume when surgeons operate that they know what
they're doing. Why can't people assume for just a bit that maybe
foresters who happen to be employed by a federal agency know what
they're doing, too? The legions of biologists and hydrologists and
archaeologists and foresters out there might just possibly know what
they're doing, too, and perhaps it's possible that ecologically sound
forest management plans might include fuels experts along with the
plants-and-critters folks --- is it too much to ask that the forest
experts we employ could be granted just a little trust in who they are
and what they do?
For a few good examples of what thinning and burning looks like relative
to unlogged and unmanaged, check this:
I have to stop now because I can smell soapbox.
||to firewhirl and to meko 9
is your only experience with inmate fire fighters just with cdf? i run
a con crew with ndf and we do one hell of a job on fires. yes, the cost is
less then a free crew but the tax payers are getting more for their money
then you think.
i have been on free, type 2 crews for years. i would put the crews i
have run the last 2 seasons against any free crew i have been on. why do i
say this? my crew is disciplined, my crew is loyal, my crew is in
excellent shape and trained to do the job. yes my crew is full of bad
boys. but when you can take hard asses from prison and turn them into a
effective fire tool then you really have something. their motivation is
the attitude that they receive from folks like you. they want to prove to
everyone that even though they screwed up in life, they can make a
difference on a fire. i was at the martis fire outside of reno nv last
year. it was my first major fire with ndf. i was totally disgusted on how
we were looked upon. it was like we were the red headed step children. but
ya know what? on the fire line, we did our job. we were effective, safe
and had no injuries. we did just as much work ( if not more ) then other
crews. we make a difference. we are around when the kids go back to
school. we are around for floods, truck wrecks, or any other incident that
dont sell con crews short. when you run into one, at least try to give
the crewboss some respect because he/she has a tough job. not dealing with
his or her crew but dealing with the attitudes of others.
ps, ab i need glasses and am too stupid right now to get them so excuse
No, not a spokesperson for the forest industry, just a lowly government
servant with a realistic viewpoint, as I sit looking out my living room
window at a P.pine forest regime that is no longer quite as resistant to
fire as it should be, as a result of insect infestation -- which has not
been mitigated by removal of the matchsticks -- large or small. I do admit
the term I used "REASONABLE LOGGING" certainly is and was open
for interpretation --- a WIDE one. In my perfect little world I'd like to
see, yes, thinning, coupled with what I guess a better term would be a
"selective cut"-- that is dictated by the forest habitat type
that is being managed.
Although, as a last word (at least for this post!) it appears that
management of resources has been replaced by management of appearances by
||I have waited a long time to see some great pics of waterdropping Hueys
other helicopters on the web, they are just few and far between and the
pictures are usually dark and not so good.. Your photos on the other hand
were wonderful and show the true work horse that these helicopters
are. The Cobra was kewl to see and I was wondering if that was one of Ron
Garlick's Cobra's? Keep up the great work the site is wonderful and keep
the helicopter photos coming.
I don't think it was, but I am sure I will be corrected if I'm wrong.
the Aussies did a study called Project Phoenix. It addressed the exact
issue of single versus double layer protection. CDF now uses double layer
bottom, top, and shroud. Fed folks use single layer. The question that has
been asked many a time and I'm not sure of the answer. The Aussies had
It was found that the majority of injuries that had any relation to
clothing were predominantly HEAT STRESS related. Their finding was that
firefighter clothing was meant to provide protection from outside from
radiant heat and maximum protection from within from internal heat.
Clothing for wildland firefighters is meant to provide protection from
internal heat sources... Wildland firefighters are best protected by the
10, 18 and LCES, not from the clothing they wear. Old school wildland
firefighters used to wear levi's and a denim or khaki shirt.
A part of the study compared burn injuries to heat stress injuries. I'll
try to dig up the info and send it in to AB if someone doesn't beat me to
it and fire assignments allow..
Just my thoughts...
||From Firescribe, more on the deployment: www.oregonlive.com
All in the family on Hispanic contractors in Oregon: http://news.statesmanjournal.com
||Wasn't sure for a while, but I've got it now. I agreed and then
disagreed and then got confused about firewhirl's posts. But this last
one did it, when firewhirl mentioned taking 200 lbs of saran wrap on the
back of the neck from 10 feet up.
I nearly took a finger off like that one day on a fire in montana, and
it was just from 3 feet up. Those industrial commercial size rolls are
huge and heavy (and they have a razor edge blade on them, unlike what
you buy in the store.) I duct-taped the finger up and served about 800
ff's before I unwrapped the finger and dealt with it later. Saran wrap
is brutal, man, don't knock it till ya tried it.
Anyhow, back to firewhirl. Hook yourself a job with the caterers, kid,
or buy the equipment and do your own contracting for food. You already
have the background and the competition's less. Call OK in Washington
for starters, they always need help.
Why? One, you make a whole lot more money than firefighers. Two, cooks
can outbitch and outwhine firefighters any old day. Three, as long as
you wash your hands, you won't be endangering near as many lives in camp
as what you sound like you're capable of on the line. And four, you
might live longer.. ...
Get a grip! I'll visit next time already.
||A note from National Geographic. Readers, if you haven't seen this,
here it is. Make sure the sound is turned on. Ab.
Every year over 100,000 wildfires break out across the U.S., and this
summer has seen the most destructive wildfires in Colorado and Arizona
history, consuming acres by the hundreds of thousands.
But have you ever considered who the men and women that battle these
fires are, what keeps them motivated against such formidable foes and why
they respond to the Fire Call?
Log onto NationalGeographic.com’s Fire Call as Idaho wildland
firefighter Norbert Schuster explains how beating back wildfires has
impacted his life. Listen as he reveals why he continues to fight these
life-threatening behemoths up to 14 hours a day, several months out of
every year. Poignantly, the squad boss recounts one of the most harrowing
days of his career.
For the entire full story, please visit: www.nationalgeographic.com/firecall.
On Behalf of NationalGeographic.com
||Can someone tell me about the PPE discrepancies between CDF and other
agencies? If you haven't heard, CDF issues nomex shirts with cotton
lined sleeves, cotton lined nomex shrouds, and gauntlet style gloves.
This seems to make good sense. I know some people say all the extra gear
is too hot, but at the very least, the lined sleeves on the shirts seem
like an easy, safe innovation that will provide extra thermal protection
without making a life much hotter.
Your remarks to firewhirl about inmates being cheap left out some very
important points. First of all 17 bucks per hour for a crew is reasonable
yes but don't forget each one of those guys cost the taxpayers 30-60k a
year to have incarcerated. that is $510,000 per year (probably on the low
side) for the 17,then add 50k for the capt, and 80k for the officers and
you get $640,000 per year per crew. that means that one crew is costing
us $1753.42 per day everyday (not including transport supplies etc.)
whether or not they are on fire. I as a taxpayer would much rather see a
law abiding citizen who is an asset to the tax base and not a hindrance
doing these duties on fire and on the prevention end. Those crews do have
a use that I can see and roadside brushing and trash pick-up, weed eating
along highways is a good job for them. I really don't appreciate the red
army always saying "inmates are cheap" when they have a negative
on the tax base. they don't pay for housing, gas, utilities, food, and
anything else law-abiding citizens contribute to. They compete with
legitimate contractors for jobs (though it is illegal) look at all the
money firesafe councils are getting and how CDF is sneaking the inmates
in there to do the work, not bidding the work out and keeping alot of the
money in house (which is also illegal and don't say it doesn't happen cuz
know it does for a FACT) And to top it off a very small percentage even
stay in the business. I could go on and on but this is too tiresome and I
just wanted firewhirl and anyone else who's been aced out of work by
criminals to know there is someone on their side who knows what the
heffers don't want people to know.
||Hey Cache Queen....
what exactly is REASONABLE LOGGING? I mean, illustrate for me the
difference between logging and thinning would you because, it sounds to me
like you feel that taking out trees such as say, P-Pine and Lodgepole are
warranted when these trees either resist most all but crowning fires or
them to germinate. Everyone knows that it is the small brush, slash and
understory that carries the fires and this would require THINNING..not
logging, k? Or maybe you are a spokesperson for the forest products
companies would would like to take all the large stuff and leave the
||Hey Firebabe! Welcome Home
Is "life off fire" getting to you yet? While everyone else
really lost it, it's only business as usual...
You started the fire in the fireplace - with a fusee.
You went to bed - and brought your clothes into bed with you and stuffed
down near your feet so they'll be warm in the morning.
You had to get back up and fire up the generator - just so you could get
You got up to go to the bathroom - grapping the toilet paper out of your
What's with all that toilet paper out in the back yard?
The toast started burning while you were brushing your teeth with the
Gatorade - you had to backfire the kitchen to save the whole rest of the
house (good thing you had the drip torch handy).
After you mowed the lawn - you edged everything "to fireline
You started to water the lawn - but you've run out of hose for the
That's nothing - you've ordered up more hose (and they're slinging it in
You were supposed to just "prune" the shrubbery - not remove the
Why's the ladder leaning up against the roof?
Who keeps shutting off the gas to the house?
You've retrained the dog - instead of fetching her stick and bringing it
you, she has to take it into the green since the stick is "unburned
Escape route flagging all the way down to the mailbox?
You've decorated the end of the neighbor's driveway with red flagging -
because it's just not defensible...
The Building Inspector stopped by wondering what you were going to be
building after the dozer gets done - you've explained that it's a
zone" (any idiot would know that the lawn's only suitable for a
The kids are asking for stuff again... - you explain that those needs for
additional resources should have been identified during their last
operational period and thus be requested in a more timely manner.
ps - good thing you're only back for a couple days at a time!
Stay Safe! "Kicks"
A couple of other ideas to enhance the nostalgic nature of this
post. For breakfast, make up a bunch of scrambled eggs, dye the eggs green
and gray (not sure how to get that gray effect), put 'em in the fridge
several hours, then remove and let stand in the sun in an area with plenty
'o flies prior to eating. Don't forget to make your lunch the day
before and freeze it overnight. Remove early the next morning, put it in a
plastic sack and tie it to your belt behind you, so's you have the
opportunity to sit on it frequently before enjoying at lunch time. Ab.
Thank you for the info. on the economic side, I never realized it was so
inexpensive to field inmate crews. Economics drives politics I believe.
On a different note: Damned difficult dirty and dangerous duty is what I
would like. For years now I've stood for hours...yeah, sometimes12 or
16... in heat from 90 to 140 degrees, constantly bending and stooping,
lifting heavy objects, surrounded by sharp tools with workers using other
sharp tools at elbow's reach instead of 10 feet. Open flame and hot
objects all around me. Even an open vat of 350 degree oil nearby.
Althought there hasn't been any danger of a snag falling on me I have
taken a 200 lb. roll of saran wrap on the back of the neck from 10' above
me. I've also had my entire right hand 1st and 2nd degree burned. Numerous
cuts, but still have all my digits. I can't wear leather gloves or nomex,
although my kitchen boots are all leather and 8" high. You know what?
I'd rather do this outside for a couple more dollars per hour with
protective clothing and well trained crew mates at a reasonable distance
I'm think'in I'd enjoy miss'in a few fires, rather than be behind
bars 'n fences between times. Though I'm pleased to have missed fire
whirl's experiences also. Ab.
<<I'm sure it's been said before by many, but why the hell are there
inmate crews on duty
when a law abiding citizen like me who hasn't even had a traffic ticket in
10 years is working
some crappy fill-in job? They screwed up, why should they enjoy our
fighting fire? Let's keep them in the can where they were sentenced to be,
or not. I know that sounds harsh, but it's their problem. Ah
Wow! Such bitterness! I never considered politics as being a factor.
Though there might be
something to that, I strongly suspect that economics is a more likely
reason. A 17-man or
woman Inmate-Firefighter Crew costs $17.00 per hour for the whole Crew,
plus wages for
the Crew Captain and Corrections Personnel. Much cheaper than a a Crew
staffed by free
people. What part of your agency's budget are you willing to cut in order
to pay for the huge
increase in funds needed to provide the equivalent firefighting power with
free staff, firewhirl?
And I am sure that "firewhirl" has absolutely no conception of
the conditions these Inmate
Firefighters work under. Though it has its moments, few would describe
their experience at
the end of the season as "enjoying the backcountry".
BTW - I haven't had a traffic ticket in nearly 10 years myself, and I
have to do very nearly
the same damned difficult dirty and dangerous duty myself. Shoulda stayed
in school. Maybe
it's not too late for you, firewhirl.
CDF Mike from Arroyo Grande
I must bow before one much wiser and astute in the ways of the
political world than this lowly retired groundpounder. I am humbled in
your presence, although be it in my computer. I feel I have brought shame
to our friendship (even though you drove by my humble community on your
vacation last year and did not grace me with an audience!) and I beg
forgiveness. Because I am suffering such humiliation, I will report to the
nearest ICP morning briefing, at which time I will, before national TV,
throw myself upon my chrome-plated retirement pulaski. I beg your
forgiveness Mellie and can only hope and pray that I have not cast an
unpenetrable cloud over our relationship!
You have brought up some points that I had not considered. Well done as
Your humble servant, footstool and fan,
I have really enjoyed your web site the past two years, and feel it is
truely an asset for the fire fighting community. I have been involved with
fire since 1961 (as a summer time seasonal). During the off season I teach
science in a small community in Western Montana. With my experience in the
classroom I have been involved in teaching classes in firefighting. If
anyone is interested I have set up powerpoints for Standards for Survival.
Presently I am working on Units in S-290 Intermediate Wildland Fire
Behavior. So far I have Units 1 and Unit 7 done......I would certainly
share these with anyone to keep our fire fighters safe..
Thanks again for your great site.
We'll probably get more requests for your kind of ppts as that kind of
training begins in the winter. Thanks for the offer. Please keep watching
theysaid to see when requests come in. We did put the ppts on another
server so there is space to store them if need be. Readers, dont'cha just
love this community? Ab.
||Donna, Dozer Support
Lima designates a Dozer Strike Team, Gulf designates a
Crew Strike Team, and Charlie designates an Engine Strike Team.
Thanks Rich, might as well add those to the Fire
Terms/Nicknames list even though we're supposed to use clear speak.
||Some interesting posts on FamilySaid.
If you have a spouse, parent or sibling who would like to join in, invite
them to. Some good experience and information being shared and we all know
that most firefighters have a hard time with relationships. Ab.
||ranger ash, sorry havent seen any 212, classes yet but if you hear any
let me know and vice versa
p.s were getting our buts kicked here in oregon
I think someone was looking last winter and didn't find anything. Our
ppt gurus are both away on fire. Ab.
||Hey 6, and andy s, david g, jessica a,
6: From 18-34 was a ski bum (and still am!) and worked nights as a line
cook, saute and grill work. Didn't get introduced to wildland fire till
andy s, david g, jessica a : start sending applications out. check the
jobs links here at wildlandfire.com. send out more applications. hope and
pray. then send out more applications. make sure you're around your phone
or pager. then send out more applications.
I understand we have lots of groundpounder rookie crew available, but
there are two points that bother me as a trained and tested rookie who
hasn't yet been called out:
1. See the posting below by IvansGirl on 7/23.
2. I'm sure it's been said before by many, but why the hell are there
inmate crews on duty when a law abiding citizen like me who hasn't even
had a traffic ticket in 10 years is working some crappy fill-in job? They
screwed up, why should they enjoy our backcountry and fighting fire? Let's
keep them in the can where they were sentenced to be, good behavior or
not. I know that sounds harsh, but it's their problem. Ah politics.
Thanks all for the recent great postings.
P.S. It's logical: if the rookies don't get out there will continue to
be a lack of experienced firefighters and leaders out there in the future.
RE: Daschle language.....things are heating up! Arizona is upset and
which state will be next? Oregon, Montana, and oh my goodness....could
California want their piece of the action too!
Politically someone had to take the first step in doing the right
thing! The swirl of emotions, comments, bashing...etc is just part of the
process that will take place over the next couple of weeks. Those (extreme
environmentalist) who are apposed to proper management of forest and
rangelands are in a frenzy to stop any additional states from joining in.
Long term of this means "Jobs in the Woods".
If you ask the people of Deadwood SD how they feel right now, they
would say that this should have been done a long time ago. They are now
faced with the second part of fire and thats the potential of flooding.
Their properties are even at greater risk now than ever before. The next
couple of weeks should be interesting on the political front.
I wanted to thank the over 19 crews and hundreds of engines and overhead
from Minnesota stomping the beast in the west this year. Most of them are
the best available and always rise to the call. Although unable to join
the fight so far, I know they're doing me proud. Anybody got any tales of
these Minnesota characters?
This is a letter from many friends who are all interested in wildland fire
fighting, here in denver, colorado. we were inspired by the determination
and courage you guys show, and all the work you did to fight fires here in
colorado. thank you. we were wondering if you could send us some
information on how to get started as firefighters, like basic training,
and stuff like that. any information you could provide would be greatly
appreciated. thank you again for all the help.
andy s, david g, jessica a
||On 7/24 a shelter deployment occurred on the Winter/Toolbox Complex
(Forest Service jurisdiction). Following is a summation of the
information that is currently available:
The deployment occurred on the north side of the fire and involved one
20-person contract crew (Ferguson #53).
All 20 shelters were deployed.
17 crew members were transported to a hospital in Bend - 6 by ambulance
and 11 by van.
Some individuals were treated for minor burns and smoke inhalation, but
none required hospitalization.
All crew members returned to incident camp on 7/25.
The deployment site has been flagged, but the shelters were collected
and returned to incident camp.
A national Serious Accident Investigation Team has been activated.
Team Leader is Susan Giannettino, BLM Deputy State Director for
Resources for Idaho: Chief Investigator is Kathy Hull, BLM State Safety
Manager for Utah, Missoula Technology and Development Center is sending
Technical Specialists, and Forest and Fire Liaisons will be assigned.
The team will be in place by the evening of 7/25.
The OSHA area office is initiating an inspection of the incident.
Compliance Officer Alex Bedard will lead the inspection.
Feel free to contact me if you have questions.
Safety and Health Mgr, R6/PNW USDA FS
The R5 pages are still hit and miss for me. Getting to be really
Their up then their down. Sometimes I can get to them using a work-around,
Two articles from the Washington Times (7-24-02 & 7-25-02) about the
Dashman's change of heart:
listening to an additional dispatch a few minutes ago an heard ic ask
for a lema type and a gulf type strike team. in the recent past i've
also heard charlie type. what does this mean ?
donna, dozer support
||Sorry firehorse, I'm weighing in with r3firetaz. I'm not furious about
Daschle fiasco, I'm ecstatic.......even if it's only one state now, it's
time someone was willing to stick their neck out enough to make the first
steps and perhaps pave the way for the rest of the West that is living in
the dying forests without the benefits of logging.
I've gone through my required education, coming away with my forestry
degree......granted, that was many years ago -- but the basics of multiple
use are still there, and on a personal note, as I am one that lives in the
"stupid" zone (i.e., interface) -- and am also AWARE of the
welcome the REASONABLE logging and thinning that needs to go hand in hand
with other fuel treatments. I guess I just don't understand what it is
that makes you so furious.....maybe I've missed the point. I do see that
the legislation at this time is just for one state -- but we can hope it
will start the ball rolling.
||Hi Firehorse, m'dear!
Hey, I think Daschle did something, started something with his rider
needed to get started.
I take it you're viewing his action as a way he could support his
while sneaking out of having to deal with the issue. Maybe... Instead, I
he couldn't see any action coming from the Congress going the usual
and decided to put a "foot in the door" to crack the impasse.
The fact that he's
the majority leader of the Senate makes his foot even larger. As far as
goes, I can use the fact that he's a Democrat when I talk with
(extreme and otherwise) who need to be educated. If a Republican had done
this, it wouldn't carry the potential for changing the minds of Democratic
environmentalists, in my estimation.
I guess I still wish change in this country could occur more reasonably
gracefully with all people playing by the rules. The "pork"
stuff pisses me off...
as well as fire money designated by congress for FIRE going to other FS
areas and exorbitant cost pools. Oh well. Politics.
Hug to you, my friend!
Several with more details on the deployment:
||Deployment on the Toolbox fire. Do not have many details yet, 17 to ST.
Charles Hospital in Bend Oregon.
I just checked with the info officer on the team. Three people did not
go to the hospital. The 17 that did were treated and released and are back
in camp. Ab.
You have probably heard that a 20 person crew had to deploy on the Tool
Box fire. Some to the hospital smoke inhalation and a few burns.
Thanks for the info Kat. I'll also check further. Hope all are well.
That was a CDF Strike Team from the MMU on the cover of Firehouse
||Hello Fellow Comrades & families
I am a New Zealand base Wildland Fire Fighter. Currently doing a study
course on fire. investigation. I would welcome corresponding with other
fire fighters in the field on any fire related subjects. I also would like
to hear from HotShot teams. One of my hobbies is collecting Patches from
different fire departments.
Our brigade is situated in central north island, Rangitikei Rural Fire
Service - our crew (15) members Our district is quite large and we work
with our sister station Kiotatia and urban brigade's Marton & Bulls.
We train weekly throughout the summer from October to April and then
fortnightly in the Winter April/October. During the winter months we have
theory exams and NZQA qualifications adding to our Red card
We have two engines, one turns into a Command Unit at and the other a
four wheel drive Hilux.
Currently, it is winter in NZ, but as August nears, so does our Spring
arrive. This year, our winter has not really been cold, more wet than
anything. The heavy laden moisture content will be a great start to our
fire season no doubt.
If anyone would like to correspond with me, it would be much
I just stopped laughing my ass off for about an hour. I never was a
wildlands FF, but your ryhme hit home because I used to be an Infantry
squadleader. Thanks for the laugh, you brought back some good memories.
Think about this everyone! Here we have a Senate Majority Leader and a
Democrat on charge to run a road block for appeals and litigation,
basically giving way to to federal land managers in his state to conduct
business in a reasonable and responsible fashion.
The last administration with Democrat VP Gore at the helm almost
brought conservation to its knee's. Lets look at this, conservation = wise
use of resource (a republican stand point) and preservation = no use of
resources (historically a democratic veiw point). The last administration
created many new monuments with the end goal of preservation in mind.
Forest and rangeland health depends on conservation practices to
prevent large dangerous wildfires. This language is going to the president
for signature. This clears the way for South Dakota. The balance of the
remaining states can then worked out in the near future! Someone should
send Daschle a thankyou for setting the stage and tackling this issue.
I strongly encourage each of you reading this website to bring up and
read the article mentioned in a 7/24 post from CI concerning Senator Tom
Daschle. I hope it will piss off each of you as much as it did me. To
think that this man, who is the majority leader of the Senate, would try
to slide thru a rider hidden in a defense bill that exempts his home state
from any and all environmental challenges to logging on federal lands is a
travesty. In my opinion it is a slap in the face to every person in the
remaining 49 states, every wildland firefighter that has to face down the
"Dragon", and every homeowner that has lost or had a home
I hope it makes you angry enough that you will take the time to fire
off a message to Daschle and your own politicians in the House and Senate.
If this had been a republican (No, I am not a Republican) you can bet
Daschle and his cronies would have been all over this one like stink on a
Read the posting and get angry enough to fire off those e-mails folks
and send the article to your local newspapers and television stations.
||This is for the guys/gals who work in Southern California, mainly Los
Firehouse Magazine July 2002 Cover
You all made the front page...Congratulations!
so they are activating the military! ah, that takes me back to
2000...when i was sentenced to be an mcad (military crew advisor) 30 days
later, and after wasting a perfectly good fire season, a few of us mcads
came up with some stuff to make us laugh about our situation. ala. jeff
foxworthy, we called it ...you just might be an mcad.
...YOU JUST MIGHT BE AN MCAD.
1. If your crew digs only 5 chains of practice line, and 0 chains of fire
line, you just might be an mcad.
2. If you breathe more 2nd hand cig smoke than fire smoke, you just...
3. If you never hear the word "superior" after the word
"mother" you just...
4. If your crew refers to their tool, pack and the hill as bitch, you
5. If your crew refers to push-ups, scissor kicks and front leaning rest
as "gettin' smoked" you just...
6. If your SFC maxes out the 300 lb scale at helibase, you just...
7. If your same SFC uses his inhaler 12 times while ascending
"casualty hill", you just...
8. If at every sit-down break a "spades" game breaks out, you
9. If you are referred to as "sir" the first two weeks of your
assignment, you just...
10. If one of your crew members get severely beaten on his birthday, you
11. If the only smokes on your division are Marlborough, you just...
12. If your shift, minus briefing and travel is only 3 hrs, you just...
13. If your crew cold trails with their lips and nose, you just...
14. If your crew asks for a smoke break "in order to inflate their
lungs" be for climbing a big hill, you just...
15. If you deploy 0 ft of hose, but pull and butterfly 10,000 ft, you
16. If your crew championship wrestles deep into the night at spike camp,
17. If the same ff that had to get jungle penetrator sling medivaced is in
the chow line before you, you just...
18. If you plumb a mile of hose in the same division you pull hose from
the week before, you just...
19. If your IAP instructs you to patrol and mop up 18 days in a row, you
20. If your crew can perfectly impersonate, Eddie Murphy, Michael Jackson,
and all rappers, you just...
21. If one of your crew members loses his bad feet profile because he was
hip-hoppin' to karokee during R&R, you just...
22. If one of your crew members suffers dt's from a lack of "church's
fried chicken" you just...
23. If the highlight of the day is learning how to play dominos, you
24. If the only bars your crew sees are "water", you just...
all in fun, but i did make lots of money. everyone should try it once!
||Ab added some photos, new photo pages, and photo descriptions last
The Meat sent us a number of photos from his collection. We scanned them
and put them on Fire 12, Helicopters
7, Helicopters 8, Crews
5 and Engines 5 photo pages.
We hope to get more info on where and when these pics were taken when he
returns from fire.
On AirTankers 5 we added some new
pics of Tanker 123 on the ground and in the air - and one of T-14's new
paint job. Thanks contributors for the memorial T-123 shots and the
others. The loss of our airborne firefighting brothers is still difficult.
The Forest Service is having a memorial service for the crew of T-123
at the Jeffco Airport tanker base at 9 AM on July 24.
Also just added some excellent pictures of the Buck Rock Lookout on the
Sequoia National Forest, pics of the interior, the views and the
"perch", compliments of Bob-K. Thanks. Put 'em on the Misc
2 photo page. Those gals and guys keep us safe.
Wildland Firefighter Job Series 0462
and Series 0455
Pages are updated. No new jobs on the Jobs
In mid May 2002 the Bullock fire started a blaze that made it to over
30,000 acres. I operate a small
water company in the area threatened by this fire. I was hired by the
Forest Service to supply water
from my system. Our small village was evacuated for a two week period. Our
Fire Department and
support crews were able to stay and help battle the fire. The Type One
team was able to stop the
advancement of the fire at the Mt. Lemmon Highway and saved the village
along with several
summer home areas. We are spared the loss of personal property through
I was not sure if your organization was interested but I attached a photo
and a poem titled "Bullock
Lessons." Please feel free to use these if you want. Thank You, for
the great web site.
Here's Michael's poem. I
added his Bullock Fire photo to the Fire
12 photo page. Thanks. Ab.
||Found the following in the Boulder paper this morning. "New slurry
bomber flight path sought"
||Brutus, a couple of points:
1."As for the government paying for the accumulated years of a
seasonal's retirement deductions, pay it your self, I did!" Last time
I checked if you are CSRS you don't have to pay for it, if you are FERS
you can only pay back time for seasonal employment prior to 1989. That
eliminates the folks we are talking about current seasonal who are trying
to meet the MEA.
2.Bush proposed allowing investment of up to 18% of Social Security in the
market, not all of it. I would rather be able to make that decision for
firewhirl, what were you doing from ages 18-34?
||If anyone knows of ANY qualified aviation personnel
who are available for a fire assignment, have them
call their local dispatch office or (208)387-5968.
There seems to be a good crop of helicopter crew
members already and more crewmember trainees than
A couple of days ago NICC had open orders for 4 AOBD,
13 ASGS, 21 ATGS, 86 HCWN, and 166 HECM's.
Also the National MOB guide says that with the
approval of the resource and their home unit they can
have days off and stay another week, or at PL 5 they
can do 2 weeks have days off and then do another 2
weeks. There is a documentation process that must be
followed to do anything over 14 days. I suggest that
folks get and read a copy of the National MOB Guide
and their GACC MOB guide.
||finally, a medal for those moppers
and Uh Oh,
sequoias threatened by fire -- Blaze in southern Sierra out of control
More articles on the FireNews page. The ones
that Firescribe contributes usually do not show up on that page. If you
haven't visited that page, it takes about 20 seconds for Moreover to
search the net on our keywords each time the page loads. Ab.
||"Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle quietly slipped into a spending
language exempting his home state of South Dakota from environmental
regulations and lawsuits, in order to allow logging in an effort to
The move discovered yesterday by fellow lawmakers..."
The whole article can be read here:
seeks environmental exemption for his state
God protect me from those who feel they need to protect me from myself.
That would be my "stupid" idea you are talking about. We are
not talking about "wannabes" with no experience or ability to
think for themselves . These are mature adults with a minimum required
number of seasons experience and a needed skill. By age 37 no one should
need "big brother" protecting you from yourself.
I agree that we don't need a "geriatric" workforce. We also
don't need a workforce composed of "young" folks just working to
get enough experience to find a better job elsewhere. We need a workforce
composed of "young vigorous" firefighters who are paid well
enough to stick with the job till they get old and "old
experienced" firefighters who know that more fires are extinguished
by folks using their heads than folks using their backs. Right now we are
having trouble attracting (and hanging on to) enough of the first group to
even replace the folks in the second that are retiring. And the
firefighting force needs to grow substantially in the next decade.
Similarly there is the safety issue of having enough experienced folks
on the line to say "time to run for the black" so we have fewer
inexperienced firefighters saying "OH S**T...TIME TO POP MY
Considering that wildfire is projected to continue to be a growing
problem for the foreseeable future we need a counter force that is growing
proportionately. That is not the case currently. In fact many of the
available "young and vigorous" cannot be put on the line due to
the current shortage of overhead (read as: "old and
experienced"). This bottleneck not only cripples the country's
ability to suppress wildfires SAFELY, it affects the yearly income of
"young and vigorous" firefighters. This is not a case of
"if the old guys work the young will not"...it is more like
"if there are not enough old guys available, the young sit on the
sidelines and watch" collecting dust rather than paychecks.
Australian firefighters to help battle US wildfires
23 July, 2002
A senior firefighter from State Forests of NSW will today fly to the
USA to determine how Australian firefighters can help to battle forest
wildfires sweeping across 12 western American states, the NSW Minister for
Forestry, Kim Yeadon, today said.
"For the second time in three years western USA is in the grip of
major wildfire emergency and American fire authorities are asking
Australia and New Zealand for help," Mr Yeadon said.
"Already, almost 1.5 million hectares of land across a dozen
states has been ravaged by wildfire and local firefighters are currently
battling more than 50 major fires.
"At this stage in the US fire season the total area of forest
burnt is well up on the same time in the 2000 fire emergency which was
regarded then as the worst in the USA for fifty years.
"Across much of the western USA the combination of drought
conditions, expected hot, dry weather and high forest fuel loads make most
forested areas vulnerable to rapid fire growth and extreme fire behaviour.
"In response to a request for assistance through Australia's
National Forest Fire Management Group, State Forests fire manager, Mr Paul
de Mar, is now on his way to the US National Interagency Fire Centre in
"He will be working with US fire authorities to determine how
Australia can most effectively contribute to the fire fighting effort and
relieve exhausted local firefighters.
"We expect this will again involve sending a contingent of
specialist Australian and New Zealand fire fighters including aircraft
managers, incident controllers and field commanders with extensive
experience in managing large, complex forest fires."
Mr Yeadon said that during the last major US wildfire emergency in 2000
Paul de Mar was one of nine expert firefighters sent to the USA from State
Forests and the NSW Rural Fire Service. He was also team leader of the 96
member Australian fire fighting contingent.
"This time he will be the Australian liaison officer on the US
National Multi-agency Command Group and will oversee the induction and
deployment of the Australian firefighters when they arrive in the
USA," Mr Yeadon said.
Daily Telegraph and SMH have news release also.
I'm new to your site - my IC just turned me on to it last week. Very
impressive, and thanks for doing it. I got the August National Geographic
with an article about Russian smokejumpers today. I was not aware that
they were the first to use smokejumpers. Here's a couple of quotes from
the article that people might be interested in:
"Last year Avialesookhrana celebrated the 70th anniversary of its
first flight. (It would have been the 75th anniversary, but when the first
plane took off from Leningrad in 1926 to look for fires, the pilot made a
beeline for Estonia and defected.)"
"After quickly turning a sapling into a shovel handle, one
firefighter attacks with sand while another beats the flame with birch
branches. If smoke jumpers kill a fire quickly, it adds a bonus to their
monthly hundred dollar pay."
"Jumping is the thrill that gets them hooked. 'Two minutes fly
like eagle, three days dig like mole,' Valeriy says of the smokejumper's
"Where there's a fire, there's a smoke. Asked whether he would
rather run out of food or tobacco, one smokejumper says, 'You can catch
fish in the river, but cigarettes?'"
There's more at nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0208.
just to put up some links. The site for the A-10 conversions are
source of new airtankers that seems to be overlooked is the Russians, who
have their fair share
(albeit unreported) of wildfires. Some interesting aircraft at
As a non-pilot, but an avid warbird enthusiast, one point that bothers me
about the aircraft
used is the type of work many of the aircraft were originally designed as
airtrucks - carry
loads on the straight and level or maritime surveillance - not do the type
pounding they end up doing as airtankers. I'm not sure what level of
structural beefing up the
aircraft get in the conversion but the original design specs wouldn't've
they're now being used for.
Here's hoping that as more money is directed towards wildland firefighting
that there will be
funds made available to improve the tanker fleet & those still flying
do so safely.
If anyone wants to discuss the Russian alternatives, please go to the
AAP board. We've had enough of that topic on this site. Ab.
||Work Rest Ratio
See my posting from 7-21. It's a two to one work rest ratio not just 16
hours of work to 8 rest. Also I believe there are still provisions to have
2 days off in 21 days. Supervisors should manage this. If there crew
returns from a 14 day assignment there supervisor may give them two or
three days off on R and R if he feels they need it. Most places are dam*
strict on this after last years events in Washington because FMOs and Fire
staffs will be held accountable.
been a while since i have posted on here. i believe that we fire
fighters are the most well trained fire fighters in the world. we are well
funded ( on a whole ) good equipment, and believe it or not, paid better
then most countries. and in spite of all of this we still kill fire
fighters. i believe that i am well trained. i try to do my damnest to stay
as safe as i can. but i also realize that i have one of the most dangerous
jobs in the world. no matter how much we train, no matter how good the
equipment is, no matter how good the personnel are around us, things
we push ourselves for the greater good. its our nature. we enjoy the job
we do. yes, there are some cases where things can be avoided and we try
hard to avoid them. but things still happen to us. all we can do is our
best. nothing more, nothing less. we can point the fingers at contract
companies, complain that we work too long of hours. bad tactics and
everything else we point the finger at. but when a tree falls on a brother
or sister fire fighter, who do we blame?
instead of looking for blame for all the deaths that have happened in the
fire world, lets look a little bit closer at how we fight fire. we follow
lces, 10 and 18 and everything else. we need to continue to do that but
lets stop pointing the finger and look a little closer at ourselves.
i lost 3 friends to fire this month and no one pointed the finger. it
was refreshing to know that they died doing the same thing everyone else
||I am a R2 Prevention Specialist and I am looking for any prevention
resources that I may have overlooked or that I may not know about.
With all of the brainpower and creativeness of the "They
Said" group, I'm sure I'll get some great resources.
Some precip here in the Hayman territory, but the weather is calling
for more hotter and drier weather this week.
Keep your heads up, your eyes open, and your radio scanning.
Prevention Buff - alo
||Update on CA fire:
Threatens Southern California Sequoias
I am curious about the BLM's policies regarding ample R&R for our
exhausted and over-worked "Forestry Technicians." (Also amazed
that by calling them seasonal "Forestry Technicians" the gov.
can avoid providing many much needed benefits.) I keep reading about all
of these fire fighters that are anxious to get out and fight fire, that
are waiting for a call, and it seems that some that I know out on the line
are not getting their required day(s) off.
I was under the impression that while in the lower 48, the policy is 14
days on to one day off, 16 hrs of work to 8 hours rest. I am also told
that travel time is not considered time off, as the rest in the back of a
van or waiting for a plane is not restful at all. Is this correct? And if
so, than why has this been thrown out the window for some Type I crews
this horrendous season. I am aware of one crew in particular that may have
been worked over 40 days without a proper day of rest.
In a time when we are made painfully aware of safety concerns, and the
loss of some of our beloved and courageous fire fighters, is the safety
concern of fatigue being ignored?
Three weeks of exhaustion, let alone nearly 5 or 6 weeks, I'm sure has
adverse affects on judgment, not to mention risk of injury when bodies far
surpass their physical limits.
This frightens me. I worry that those higher up are risking the lives
of our loved ones.
Please, what are the policies regarding rest, and are they truly enforced?
||Does anyone know if there is a website I can download s-212 powersaw
training materials from such as Power Point presentations. I'm helping put
course and would like to find some new material for it. Thanks
Point taken. I well know what those positions are, as I've had plenty
of time to study and restudy the Fireline Handbook while waiting to be
called- and I did score 100% on my tests. Please don't hold my newbie
status against me, even you were on your first fire one time. Seems like
everyone who posts here has a million-odd years of experience or is family
of someone who does. The object of my postings to "They Said" is
only to represent the view of a newbie which you must know contains a
certain amount of frustration. I only want to occassionally remind the
experienced and overhead people that we are out here, and that everyone
was where we are now at one time, and hopefully provide a few laughs too.
Plainly there is a shortage of experienced overhead, for a myriad of
reasons. But don't forget that the newbies will one day (we hope) become
the experienced overhead that we are sorely missing.
Bear' Voice Gene Moss Dies at 75
||Mobilize the army!
Mobilize the structural firefighters!
How about mobilizing people who are already trained and sitting on their
What a joke!
Hey whirly newbee, didja notice WHO is being requested? Ever hear of
something called the ICS chain-of-command (in I-100 me'be?). They don't
need FF1 right now. Have lots of those. They need firefighters with
specific supervisory skills (to keep FF1 like you and the crews safe and
fighting fire efficiently). They need Strike Team Leaders, Division Group
Supervisors and Aviation trained personnel. Do you even know what these
positions are? How about ICS? End of quiz... Ab.
Anyone interested in making a donation can do so by sending it directly to
Milt's wife and daughter at:
Shannon Brumley - Stollak
P.O. Box 2412
Cathedral City, CA 92235
Or contacting Melanie at the tankerbase. Melanie (or the person who
answers the phone 303-439-0332) has all the bank information. I do know
that the account is set up at Union Bank of California branch #334, in the
name of Shannon Brumley, Milt's wife. All donations will go to the costs
of the memorial and the care of his wife and daughter.
||I am Milt Stollak's sister in-law. His memorial service will be on
Sunday, July 28 in his hometown of Cathedral City CA at the Palm Springs
Mortuary Chapel. Anyone wanting to make a donation can do so by contacting
Melanie at the tankerbase in CO, or contact me for the account information
that has been set up for his wife and daughter. Also, Jeeny at Hawkins and
Powers can help in directing the donations.
Thank you for all of your kind thoughts and prayers. We continue to
pray for the men still on the job.
Thanks for the info SL and condolences on your loss. He was a good man.
Could we get more details on the ways to donate? Ab.
||Contractors are minuscule compared to the US Government and consider the
threat of lawsuit much more seriously. A single wrongful death lawsuit can
put even a large company out of business and bankrupt the owners. The sad
fact is that if the contractors provided death benefits for the families
of employees it would put those families in a better position to sue. From
a business point of view it is not a good strategic move to provide death
benefits. The Govt. does not have to worry about this as they cannot be
"put out of business" and have deep pockets to drag out any suit
till the plaintiffs run out of money to pay their legal teams. Still, they
benefit from not requiring private contractors to provide the same
benefits Govt. employees get...so they don't.
Aerial firefighting ,whether using fixed wing or rotary, is a very
expensive and dangerous endeavor. The cost of insuring pilots who fly
these missions is also very expensive...but no more so than everything
else involved. The decision to not insure their pilots is a simple
strategic business move to encourage any potential plaintiff (and their
attorneys) to settle out of court. None of this is new info to pilots.
They (unlike new groundpounder recruits) know the inherent danger of what
they are doing. They "choose" to accept the fact that if they
are killed doing their job their families may be screwed. I know this
sounds harsh...harsher than I want it to. I grieve for those firefighters
killed whether they fight on the ground or from the air. But pilots can
mot simply take a few safty courses and be put "on the line".
Before you can get the opporunity to pilot an airtanker you have years of
experience and ample opportunity to know what you are getting into.
I am a pilot, but not a commercial pilot. You could not pay me enough
to fly a plane I did not trust completely. This is an attitude shared by
nearly every other pilot. We check out our craft prior to each first
flight of the day as thoroughly as we can but we still have to trust our
employers to provide aircraft that are not inherently defective. Very good
records must be kept on the inspections and maintenance of all
aircraft...more so for any commercial aircraft such as airtankers. The FAA
and NTSB will go over these records with a fine tooth comb during the
mandatory investigation of aircraft crashes. If these records show that
the employer cut corners they are going to have a very difficult time
staying in business. They can expect some heavy consequences from the FAA.
They can expect wrongful death lawsuits. They can expect to find it more
difficult to get pilots to climb into their aircraft. There is much more
unanimity among pilots than groundpounders...it is a smaller group. Bad
contractors can't find good pilots. I wish it were the same for those who
fight fire on the dirt.
I agree that we need an airframe designed specifically for the mission.
Canada has done that...why can't we? I don't see why the Feds can't have
their own fleet as well. Several states have done that. There exist
several solutions to the problem...but I think as long as the govt. can
find contractors who can find pilots willing to risk their lives flying
antique aircraft cobbled together with antique parts doing a mission they
were never designed to do nothing will change. In the end pilots are in
control of the situation. And the more of their colleagues that perish the
more in control they are. Eventually the military may have to take over
fixed wing air support for wildfire suppression. Of course the cost will
at least triple then.
Maybe this another good reason our country should have a single
wildfire suppression agency.
||I am a structures specialist on TX-TF1 Urban Search and Rescue Team
(http://usar.tamu.edu/). We worked the
WTC site the week after the attacks.
One thing that I was hoping to get a picture of was spray painted on the
east side of WFC, across from where the north tower pile was. It said "the
strength of the pack is in the wolf". It was quite inspiring at
as we did much of our staging in that area. It took a photo of it but the
picture did not survive the week. If you have come across a photo of this,
please let me know. It was written in orange marking paint.
Austin Fire Dept.
Texas Task Force 1, FEMA USAR
Ralph, The wildland fire teams that were at the WTC are all off
fighting fires right now. Perhaps someone of them took a pic of that. If
there are any others reading who have such a picture, would you please let
Ralph know? Sounds like a good one to post on our WTC
photo page, too, if someone were to send in such a picture. Here's to
the wolves! Ab.
||Several notes on the functioning of the R5 Fire web:
www.fire.r5.fs.fed.us = nope.
www.r5.fs.fed.us = and nope.
I get error messages on all the links at some time or other. I only check
once every few days now. Used to be R5 had the best sit report information
that could be had on the web. It has been gone-to-hell for months now. Are
there a bunch of incompetents running the shop there?
Isn't there someone who can figure out what kind of change was made that
screwed things up? Sometimes it works in the morning and that evening it
doesn't or vice versa or not at all. More frustrating than getting a 404
message is this sometime-on-and-sometimes-off situation. What a cluster.
Tired of checking the R5 web, screw it!
USFA ADMINSTRATOR MAKES A CALL FOR NWCG RED CARD PERSONNEL
The United States Fire Administration (USFA) in response to a request from
the National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group (NMAC), announced today a
call for assistance in mobilizing wildland certified (NWCG Red Card)
structural firefighters from fire departments across the United States,
with specific skills as Strike Team Leaders, Division Group Supervisors
and Aviation trained personnel.
“Due to almost record wildland fire activity, we are calling upon the
fire service for all firefighters with certification in wildland
firefighting and these skills, who are available for a 14 day
mobilization,” said USFA Administrator R. David Paulison. “Those
firefighters who are certified should contact, with their department’s
approval, the nearest Geographic Area Coordination Center.”
If your state has an existing notification and response procedure (e.g.
California), fire service personnel should comply with those protocols.
Fire personnel in states without notification protocols should contact the
Geographic Area Coordination Center nearest you. (List Attached)
As of this morning, 3,578,774 acres have burned. Over 1405 structures
have been lost, and evacuations are still a reality for many people.
Resources for wildland fires are depleted, and there is still officially 2
months remaining in the 2002 wildland fire season.
The Geographic Area Coordination Center (GADC) are listed for you. The
USFA has been asked to assist the NMAC. For specific answers to your
questions resulting from this request, you should contact the GADC nearest
Click GACCs INFO for snail-mail
addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addys. Ab.
||More about the chopper crash in this link from Firescribe. There was a
critical injury. The other person is in fair condition:
More FROM Firescribe and Red Army Wife:
||Don't want to jinx anything here, but the R5 north and south ops sites
seem to be working - at least on my computer. Anyone still having trouble?
My problems were so hit-and-miss, I'm just wondering if things really got
Your post of 7/21 (Time to be blunt) hits the nail on the head. It is
what I was alluding to...we do not need a geriatric workforce!
I would sure like to see where all of these so called
past age 37 are that are supposedly going to save the FS from itself ?!!!!
"The most fun and challenging experiences I have had are with the
USFS." Right on Bro, I will back you up on that one. Wildland
Firefighting is about as good as it gets. Only problem I had with it was
the lack of support from the govt. and the managers that were too afraid
to surround themselves with the quality firefighters.
"I don't think any firefighter is in the JOB for the money or the
benefits.... " Yes and no. I did it because I loved the job. If I was
single and didn't have a family to support you bet I would still be on the
line. The problems that I ran into was I would spent 6 to 8 months a year
away from my family "doing my job" and they would be left to tow
the line. I knew it was time to leave when my Daughter called the guard
station, that I was the station manager of, my house. By the time she 36
months old, I was gone for at least 20 0f them. In the end family comes
first. Money and benefits are what it takes to make these days. If the pay
equaled the amount of effort and sacrifice that Wildland Firefighters make
every season then I think more people would stay in for the long haul.
I miss the time out with the overhead team that I was on. I miss the
satisfaction of working with the crews and being a part of a team. But
getting to know my Daughter overshadows anything I did on fires. She could
care less that I spent most of my time in a helicopter or making plans for
some division on a fire that is making national news. She only knows that
her Dad now has the time to color and play barbie's with her 4 days a
week, every week. For me that made leaving my dream job easy.
||well, i've certainly picked an interesting time to get into wildland
since i'm a complete maniac skier, i should have done this years ago.
(34 now.....37 years? i better work my *ss off for the next three
seasons for that permanent position!)
maybe some of you old fire dogs would enjoy some naive observations
from someone who is putting maximum effort into getting into the life.
i've certainly been enjoying every posting to "They Said" for
the last 4 months, so let me say thanks to all and especially to Ab (all
the Abs that is!)
-many "newbies" are probably in the same situation i am.
wondering, during one of the biggest seasons in history, why they aren't
in the field yet. done the training (I-100, S-130, S-190, twice!) and pack
tested. sending out 1 application every day, it's been at least 20 apps
now, and at least 80 emails. one reply so far: a postcard from the BLM in
CA saying my application is being considered, that makes me :) at least i
know someone's looking at it! i am on call for Grayback Forestry crew out
of Missoula, MT, and am thankful that they have resumed operations after
the horrible tragedy they suffered involving the van rollover en route to
the Hayman Fire. i want to work for them and give my 110%, i was very
impressed with their instructor, Rod Goss, he had a lot of good advice and
had a knack for emphasizing safety issues so that you would remember them.
-which brings me to a "sore point" that maybe others have
experienced: admitting that i started late, taking a private class from
Blackbull Wildfire Services in April of this year from Richard Mangan
(also an excellent instuctor who imparted some great advice and gave an
excellent view on working for the USFS), i have had serious difficulty
obtaining employment. i "freaked out" after Grayback Forestry
announced they weren't sending out any crews, and called them to request
my certification so that i could apply as a "qualified wildland
firefighter" for available positions around the country. a
receptionist told me she would mail me a document certifying that i had
completed training and taken the pack test (arduous level)....this never
happened. as the experienced people know, training and preparing yourself
for a job like this is a serious undertaking, if you're at all serious
about it, especially if you haven't done it in the past. in fact, just
getting someone to give you the pack test (if you are not yet employed) is
a major task anymore. after training without pay and preparing for and
taking the pack test, i couldn't belive that i couldn't get a simple
certification that i had done so. that's a rough one.
-i'm really into WWII history, when i first came to Missoula 6 years
ago, i couldn't believe that the retardant bombers that fly out of here
are actually B-26 Marauders! enough on that subject considering recent
-well, how wild can things get? the U.S. is drier than it has been in a
while, and words are flying concerning how everything has been managed
over the last century.
-one interesting point that no one seems to bring up except on the
down-low, because maybe they're afraid of it: if you want a federal
firefighting job you'll have to surrender your bodily fluids to a lab
whose accuracy on your drug test is extremely questionable. and everyone
is wondering where the experienced people have gone, LOL! seriously now:
even in my limited experience with people who fight wildland fires, this
is cutting off your nose to spite your face.
-unfortunately the world situation isn't conducive to peace and it's
gonna take some serious money to reassure the American people that a
nuclear, chemical or biological weapon isn't going to be detonated in
their backyard....so even though it's a big, big year, wildfire is taking
the backseat. many postings have discussed funds for fighting wildfires
and especially benefits for wildland firefighters, but let's face it
folks: the public only wants to spend money when the flames are scorching
their homes and they're screaming "how could this happen here!?"
we've all seen it, i've personally seen it, and even recently read it
right on this page, so accept it. it's typical, but what's to be done?
people want to live in the mountains, and many of them are too lazy to
make their homes safer for wildland firefighers to defend.
-direct effect of the above situation: all you hear is "we don't
have the resources", "we're short on resources", "it's
the biggest fire in the state's history" on the news. meanwhile
people are carrying their pagers who are trained, equipped and ready with
their packs sitting by the door..... for a couple of months. go figure.
bitching? maybe. ready to fight fire? certainly. looking to stimulate
some minds? without a doubt.
||Some one in a recent message to the board said something like, "if
person is over the MEA of 35, let them sign an agreement to accept a
reduced rate of retirement according to some undetermined ratio of how far
they are beyond the MEA.
I haven't heard anything as stupid since President Bush said when he
was running it should be up to each American social security recipient
to determine where their future retirement savings are invested and that
they should have the option of individually investing in the stock
market. With the thought I may be insulting a few, I state that the
average American depending on Social Security for their retirement does
NOT need the option of wagering their pensions on the stock market!
My point is that some people are unable to tell what is good for
them now vs. the future, they must be protected from themselves. The
current policies provide for this protection. Offering a reduced
annuity will only put a load on future taxpayers as the current wannbes
who now think they can survive on a reduced pension determine they
cannot and try to sue the courts in the future to recover enhanced
I'm sure there are some who warrant special consideration, but I'll
support the policy as it has been written and recently amended for those
up to 37 years of age.
As for the government paying for the accumulated years of a
seasonal's retirement deductions, pay it your self, I did! When you
stand on the bridge and try to decide if you want to jump in , be aware
of the depth and current of the waters you see.
Here is a very interesting letter to the editor of the local daily
newspaper in Staunton, Va, which serves the area of the Augusta IHC's
(USFS) home district. The paper is the The News Leader and can be found at
www.newsleader.com This letter to the editor was printed in the Sunday,
July 21, 2002 edition. I wanted to send you a link to the online version,
but it has already been taken offline. This is the body of the letter,
used with permission:
Firefighter's Time Could Be Better Used
As a taxpayer, I would like for someone to explain to me why the Augusta
Hotshots are put on unemployment status for two straight months in the
summer when forest fires are at their worst? The government had to spend
money to get firefighters from other states sent here to our area to
work our local fires at a great deal of cost, considering airfare, food,
lodging, etc. This makes no sense, considering that Virginia's own
firefighting team is laid off.
I realize the employees must surely need a rest, but two months seems
a bit excessive. If they need more time off, why not take it in the
winter, when there are no fires anywhere in the country? I have heard
many reports of how the firefighters in the western region were so
overworked from the enormous fires and had to turn to the military for
relief. One would think that the Forest Service could manage their
highly trained and valued firefighter's time more effectively by using
them when they are needed the most and where they are needed the most. I
hope after what we have seen in the past few months that the Forest
Service will rethink how they use their resources - and most importantly
our tax dollars. This is akin to ordinary citizens flying across country
to buy groceries.
If we ran our homes the way our federal government spends money, we
would all be bankrupt. A little common sense could really go a long way.
Used with the permission of the Staunton News Leader, Copyright 2002.
The Augusta Hotshots formed in June of 2001 and work a split 18 and 8
schedule. The 18 pay periods are roughly split into a 8 pay period spring
season and a 10 period fall season. This is done to allow the Augusta
Shots to service the 2 Eastern fire seasons usually running from early
February to early May and from early/mid-October to late November. During
June & July the crew is laid off, including the permanent 18 & 8
employees (all but 2 or 3 positions on the 20 person crew). The crew is
laid off again in December and January. Most of the overhead remain on for
the majority of each layoff period.
During the layoff period this summer, the immediate area in and around
the Augusta IHC home district experienced many fires including several
large fires in Shenandoah National Park. Crews from across the nation were
brought in to this area of Virginia, as the Hayman fire burned in
||Re the AT thread:
Why doesn't somebody find out the cost of a new C-130 and add 25% to
cost for the modifications necessary to make it into an air tanker and
multiply that times 50 to get the cost of a new airtanker fleet? That
probably make it fairly clear why we fly old airplanes. Second, did you
ever notice that the military loses airplanes on a rather regular basis in
spite of "superior" maintenance? In fact, it might be
interesting to ask how
many C5's and C130 aircraft the military has lost in the last 10 years. I
think we have lost 2 in Afghanistan. How many helicopters? Intelligent
questions might provide superior insights to shots fired in the heat of
||A recon chopper in So Oregon had a "Hard Landing" today at
noon on a fire out of Trail. The pilot and copilot were airlifted to
Medford, OR hospitals with orthopedic injuries. One is said to be critical
now. Prayers go out to these men and their families. Be safe.
We are being pounded by lightning and everyone needs to be careful in
the coming days.
Red Army Wife
||I have been meaning to write in with this link to NWSA
and to the names of those who died in the Grayback Forestry rollover. We
are all sorry for this tragedy. Lives lost... Please be safe.
Got some spattering of rain in norcal this afternoon, but more like
thunder cells moving through. We do not need more lightning! Things are
Re Firescribe's link: I hope this year we meet and surpass some
"critical mass" in awareness of the need for fuel reduction
associated with the National Fire Plan. Nothing like lots of interface
burning to get homeowners thinking that a little brush disposal followed
by Rx burn would be a better alternative than homes burning up in fire
season. Good link, Firescribe!
PS to BLM Bob: You're right on most of those fires not being
"indirect attack". I was thinking "direct" and then
everything else. Guess I was equating unburned green between the
firefighter and the fire with "working indirect". I can see that
was a gross generalization on my part: although going indirect involves
having unburned fuels between you and the fire, so do many other
scenarios. (Thanks to the other new guy who wrote in to clarify that
tactics do not vary by agency... I hoped that was not the case.)
PS to JW. Do you know where I can find the info on the Rattlesnake
Fire? Point me in the right direction and I'd appreciate it. (Bet Ab would
cut it and paste and pass it on.) BTW, good comments on the aerial
firefighting program. Having good info is what this site is all about.
Pulaski is also looking for info on the Rattlesnake. Ab.
||Ok I need a little help. I am a wildland fire fighter. Here is what I
am looking for a job. I am about 45 minutes from the Deer Point fire here
Chelan Washington. I am Engine boss Qualified. I am out to make money
and would like to stay in Washington state. SO if you all need help let me
know.. my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Email me with an address
and Phone number so we can talk.. Thanks ab. I also looked at the 462
and 455 job link.
Remember that those interested and needing a job can go to the Classifieds
Page and list themselves with the Fire Jobs Connection under
employment. Then employers can go and see who is available. In coming
days, carded firefighters will be needed. Ab.
As someone who works alot with contractors here is what I have to say,
wake up things have changed and there wont ever be the good ol boy days
of yesteryear when we actually had to get things acomplished again.
Everyone in procurement knows that it takes the FS almost twice as long to
do anything nowadays in this warm fuzzy circus as it used to and it is not
do to number of employees it is lack of motivation and motivators. Most of
these people have since retired or bailed out, now we're slapping crews
together with trained but not very experienced personell and promoting
people that shouldn't even be in fire. I feel the frustration from some of
the older guys but I have always been told to find a way to win. I have
been told more than once that contractors are here to stay and that it
would be better to help rid ourselves of bad contractors by holding them
accountable to their contract, aviation or whatever. All the good
contractors I know take good care of their permanents and pay the FF's
more than we do. I know there is not near the problem in R-5 as there is
in R-6 with contractual accountability, (I know that'll p-off some but
it's true, been there done that, left confused.)
It would be alot better for us to get behind the good contractors, not
be afraid to rid ourselves of firechasers or slackers and work this new
deal to the benefit of all. You sound by your isolationist attitude about
fire you would be better suited with CDF. Dont forget, Each one of those
inmates cost 50-60k a year, doesnt sound too cheap to me. I know by the
way I sound I should work for a contractor and believe me, if the knees
could, maybe I would. But I know this will work, fill our holes with good,
able contractors, hold there feet to the fire and get sh*t done again.
||Here are two Safety Alerts
out in conjunction with the rollover of the Greyback Van.
To answer JL's question, there are no nationwide standards for STPS in the
National System, (PMS 310-1). Ideally, the candidate should be DIVS
qualified on the wildland side and wear the Capt or Bat Chief brass on the
structure side of the house. At a minimum, he or she should be TFLD
qualified on the wildland side and serve as an officer of the department.
serve on a regional training working team that gets hammered on this
question all the time. I understand the NWCG is working on this very
question on national level and may set 310-1 standards for STPS in the
future. Hope this helps.
||Re the article Firescribe linked to and the woman quoted:
Interesting concept. "tell me where I can build"..
That lady should get a clue... I can't ever remember a public lands
manager dictating over private lands - where and how to build!
No one remembers "what can happen" when things are cozy, but
"when hell rains" then no one forgets. Public fire education and
awareness is not a new concept, it has been in place for how long? Since
Smokey the Bear maybe!
What I do remember are the times that I've spoken to home owners that have
returned to find their homes lost or saved. For example the Chedeski
threatened many homes in Arizona, the heavy iron along with many went into
direct attack against the fire... Even to the extent that the battle was
being raged in peoples front yards because of simple fact that forests are
met with front porch steps. New dimensions to herd-n cats (dozer bossing)
are added when you construct line between the outhouse and porch! People
that had their homes saved were very thankful.
Bottom line is that landscaping can be replaced, family hand-me-downs can
not! At some point in time, hopefully in the not to distant future, the
concept of fire proofing urbanized areas will be practiced by all land and
home owners. Education and awareness will then be a success! Until then,
we will come to the local area of that lady and others at any time of
need. (Hopefully she will get a clue.)
OK now I can get off of my soapbox.
Here's a good one:
Fires rekindle forest management debate
As a U.S. Forest Service official briefed homeowners about a wildfire
threatening hundreds of homes, a woman yelled from the bleachers:
"Don't tell me not to build a home in the mountains! I don't want
to hear that."
||pgc and Fedfire:
Isn't anyone else left? Are all of my old friends gone? I thought you were
all just busy fighting fires......
Is everyone leaving the USFS and USDI for pay and benefits? I've worked
the feds since the early 80's (USDI BLM, USDA - FS, and believe it or
even US DoD - USAF) and have to make this clear.... The most fun and
challenging experiences I have had are with the USFS. I don't think any
firefighter is in the JOB for the money or the benefits.... They WILL
equal the private or cooperators even though we may hope.
They are in the JOB for the CAREER.
I'd hope that folks that really enjoy being wildland firefighters are
speaking out on why they can't stay. Maybe with their help, those of us
behind will have better careers.
For those of us Federal (Wildland) Folks that are left hauling the long
line... there is a group working towards making things better... The
Wildland Fire Service Association. Ab has been keeping a link up for us
Federal Wildland Firefighters - FWFSA - IAFF Local F262) for quite a long
time (thanks Ab for your years of continued support!!!) ... If you are a
Federal Wildland Firefighter, now's the time... Join in... contact your
local Chapter Rep... or just say HI.
FWFSA is working towards portal to portal pay, hazard pay inclusion
retirement, and proper classification of wildland firefighters as
FIREFIGHTERS under the federal system. You'd be amazed at the benefits you
are missing as a "wildland" firefighter.
p.s. - check out the latest updates on fwfsa.org
Hear, hear. Ab.
I am trying to find someone to tell me what I need to do to become a
STPS. I work for the State of Montana's DNRC as a Engine Boss, as a ITC4,
I think that I have most of what I need to Qualify. I have 28 years as a
structural fire fighter, with 30 + college credits that will cover a lot
of the requirements. If you could steer me in the right direction I would
be very thankful. I like your web site.
I am replying to your statement "We have to talk." regarding
contractors vs. govt. firefighters. Ab chided me with my original post
regarding the two H&P airtanker crashes that my statement was trying
to fix blame on H&P for the crash. The discussion transgressed from
there because other factors came into play.
Let me state it very clear: A Firefighter is a Firefighter, be it the
US Forest Service or Acme Private Wildfire Control. You die in the line of
duty, then your family should be adequately compensated by the employer.
Structural Firefighters in government service receive around $100,000 or
more in death benefits through various programs government and private
foundation wise. Wildland firefighters get lesser awards because they are
"Forestry/Range Technicians" and get very little in compensation
if they die in the line of duty in comparison.
I believe that the Government should not have to foot the bill for a
private contractor's death, but they could pass legislation to mandate the
contractor to provide a reasonable death benefit insurance package similar
to what a government firefighter would get. The only problem is the
contractor will have an impossible time finding an insurance career who
would provide such a policy, and if he did find one I'm sure the premiums
would be outrageously high.
I hate the fact that CDF and other government firefighting agencies
have contractors piloting their aircraft and not government employees. I
can go and talk to these pilots and say "Hey, dude. Don't work for
CDF as a pilot because you don't get any benefits and no permanent
employment." His reply will be "I have to support myself and my
family, and piloting jobs are hard to come by that pay well". They
could find a way to make it happen if they wanted to, but if the
government were given half the chance, they would contract everything out
if it "looked" like they could save money. If the states and
locals would accept military service time toward state employee retirement
maybe we would have a dedicated pilot program.
Between you and me and the rest of the world, I never have liked the
idea of contracting out anything that is Fire Related other than
non-hazardous support function such as caterers, shower units, etc. .
Contracting out is the way the government gets out of having more
permanent employees with benefits. The reality is the contractor's workers
get paid a modest salary with little or no benefits, but the contractor
reaps the rewards. You have the rich getting richer, and the poor getting
poorer. The government spends almost as much or more money on a privatized
contract as if they did the jobs with government workers. For the
cost/benefit of the worker it would be better to have government
I know people who work for several contractors now because they
couldn't get a permanent appointment with an agency, they got sick of the
Agency B.S., they retired but were still able to stay in the game, etc. .
These people work hard for what they get and many of them work as hard as
a government firefighter. They do this because they love it, but given
half a chance they would go to work for the government.
How many people do you know around the country right now who have been
out of work for many months would be happy to get a just-above minimum
wage job? I'm not putting down contractors because many of them provide a
great service, some better than the government could provide short of
providing these same services with prison workers who don't have to be
paid. Did you know there was once an idea floating around in the early
1990's that CDF would replace all the paid seasonal firefighters on the
engines and helicopters with inmate firefighters because it would be
"cheaper"? Thankfully, someone came to their senses.
I once worked on the Plumas NF as a firefighter and saw an old fire
staffing plan dating back to the 1970s for one of the PNF's 6 ranger
districts. It showed each district with four or five stations, five
engines, a 10-man handcrew, a helicopter, a dedicated dozer, a water
tender, and the Forest's Shot Crew. Today, the entire Plumas NF Fire
Resources has just a little more than that for the whole forest. The
government has never replaced the levels of staffing or equipment we had
back in the 1970's or even the 1980's. It is because of our government's
"costcuting" that contractors have to be called.
My comment on "it lessens all of us when the comparisons (private
vs. government) and the Monday Morning quarterbacking comments start from
the Peanut Gallery" was referring to those airtanker crashes and the
rumors and stories being flown by the media of substandard maintenance
with nothing substantiated, and the comments by the firefighting industry
based on what they saw by picture and video tape. It was also in referral
to the comparisons being made by the media of contract pilots not being
government firefighting personnel.
As to the Air Tanker issue: Yes, we need to use NEW Airframes Designed
What is the cost to re-outfit the nation's wildland airtanker fleet
with newer aircraft?: Less money than the government on a B-1B and B-2
Bomber (That's about 1.3 Billion Dollars) or half of what what the
military spends in one day.
Will we see brand new airtankers?: Not as long as the government
continues to surplus out it older aircraft out of the boneyards of
Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ for airtanker use (and believe me, if you
have been there you would know that won't happen for a good 30 years with
all the spare aircraft and parts they have down there. The contractor will
keep pumping the surplus aircraft until there are none left to be had, and
then they will tell the government "Sorry, were getting out of the
firefighting business because its not cost efficient."
This whole thing started with one question that I want somebody to
answer for my own knowledge:
When an airtanker contractor has two or more incidents in the same fire
season, with similar causes (such as the wings breaking away), will NIFC
or the Fire & Aviation Management Office suspend that company's
operations and have all their firefighting aircraft grounded and inspected
before resuming operation? This is for any Fixed Wing or Rotary
Firefighting Aircraft contractor, not to single out H&P. So for
instance, if <snip> AirCrane or <snip> Helicopters has two
incidents in a row with the tail rotor falling off would they suspend that
contractor until all their aircraft are inspected?
How about someone answering this question so we can put it to rest.
To An-R5er, contact AB and he can give you my email address.
Thanks for the clarification, MOC. Ab.
I am Fernando Bermejo, the Badajoz (Spain) Fire Chief and the Manager of
the International Contest of Videos on Fire, Videofuego. First of all I
can apologize for my poor English, and I ask you excuse my mistakes. John
suggested I write to you when I e-mail him in similar terms that you can
As I said, I am the Manager of Videofuego, the only international contest
of videos on fire and firefighters activities. This contest was founded by
me in 1987 as one of the activities of the commemoration of the first
Badajoz Fire Service Centenary as a Professional Brigade. Since then to
1998 Videofuego was year after year compiling international
video-productions as one event sponsored by the Badajoz City Council and
other institutions, mainly the regional government of Extremadura, one of
the autonomous community of Spain, in that is the province and the city of
Badajoz. The Badajoz Fire Brigade depends of the Badajoz City Council.
Each year from 40 to 70 productions from many different countries have
competed to win one of the Golden Firefighter Awards. Videofuego has also
a International Photo Contest and, from last year a Contest of Multimedia
From 1998, for not clear reasons, the Badajoz City Council turn his back
to Videofuego, in spite of its many years as an event with no cost to the
city. As the City Council and the Regional Council are governed by opposed
political parties, was a problem to me (inside of the Badajoz institution)
appeal to the Regional Council asking their help. I have to avoid
political problems. In these circumstances, I decided organize Videofuego
as a non-official event. So, with the help of my son, I founded
Videotraining, a firm specialized in training videos on emergencies in
Spanish, with the objective (not the only one) of generate funds to
I was, and I am yet, in a crossroads. In the first stage of Videofuego it
was one of the activities of my Service and therefore I use a part of the
time I worked as Fire Chief in the organization of the contest. Now I have
to use mainly my free time to it, to avoid any problem with the City
Council. I hope this situation change in the future but I need to
consolidate Videofuego as a non official event, as a private initiative,
to avoid similar problems in the future. Videofuego is something so
important that has to be able to walk alone year by year.
Regardless of many expenses I organize the contest in 1999, not in the
2000 (for first time from 1987), and in 2001. In this new stage we also
eliminate the public show of the videos presented to the contest, to
reduce costs, but I want to take back next year. Also to reduce costs, we
eliminated the traditional mail and use only diffusion through e-mail and
Internet. In this point is when I need the help of you of others who know
well the way to reach many people who can be interested in Videofuego.
This is the help I can ask you. Could you help me in the diffusion of
Videofuego? Could you suggest me how to improve the worldwide spreading of
the contest through Internet? I need the help of someone who has a deep
knowledge of Internet, the world of firefighting and being an English
You can find information on Videofuego in http://www.videofuego.com
but you can ask me all you wish about it.
I hope you can help me, at least with your advices.
Fernando, I'm posting your e-mail so firefighters reading this site
will know of your project. Perhaps there will be someone who will have
suggestions for you. Organizing world-wide events is a daunting prospect,
but more and more possible with help from the internet. Putting out the
word is a good beginning. Any suggestions, Readers? We'll put you in touch
with Fernando. Ab.
I think that we are in agreement. I was fortunate in that I got my
career appointment in 1989 and the vast majority of my seasonal time can
be counted for 6C retirement. I don't understand how seasonal time spent
"in harms way" should not be counted in a career. And I don't
think that people should be forced to "buy back" seasonal time,
when the Government got that time at a heck of a deal compared to FERS
cost to government. It would probably take an act of Congress, but that
might be a cause worth taking up. (How many members of Congress would want
to be on the record of voting against the "Wildland Firefighter
You brought some great points to light in your post. I just want to add
my 2 cents too your thoughts and lay down some of my own.
The park service will try to form their own structure program because
they don't fall under the DOD's umbrella. They could follow the course
work (which follows the IFSTA manual) but they wouldn't be able to certify
under the DOD. I can't speak for the Park Service but I would think that
they could go through their local state fire academy to get their certs.
(that is if the govt. will pay for the training)
In regards to the DOD's fire program: "I don't really see the
Military as an answer either. Military Fire Departments are primarily
staffed with civilian employees because the military personnel are not
around long enough to gain the skills needed to do the job well (they get
activated, transferred elsewhere or move on to civilian careers)."
Although we are civilians now, 90% of our staff (at our station, and yes
we are DOD) are ex military or federal firefighters that have transferred
from other agencies. (BLM, FS, NPS)
Why would people want to transfer? How about a pay raise? My base
salary is now $48,106.24 and that's before any overtime. I would've kept
my GS-6 spot (26,000 a year) with my former employer if there was any
incentive to stay. I put in 10 years with them and had a blast. But a
glass eye in a goats a$$ can see that Wildland Firefighters don't get the
support they need and deserve.
We have 48 years of combined Wildland experience between the five ex
Wildland Firefighters now working for the DOD fire dept. here. Not bad
considering that some strike teams of Wildland engines barely pass that
mark. I know that comment will ruffle some feathers but the truth hurts
When I started in Wildland we had a core group of 18 people. We all had
the best training and were good at what we did. Today, 14 years later only
2 have stayed with the agency. 3 have gone on to structure crews and the
rest have joined the real world working 40 hours a week.
That's my limited experience with the Wildland world. But I know that
my story isn't unique. Think about all the good firefighters that the
govt. has chased off over the years because they don't really care how
they treat their people. Kind of sad but until Wild- land Firefighters get
the backing they need, the program will continue to degrade.
I hope you all have a safe summer.
||MOC4546, re the AT discussion.
I also ask: Why is up to the government to pay benefits if that's not
the business agreement? Why isn't up to the company who they flew for to
pay for their benefits? Why is it always up to the government to pay?
You say "it lessens all of us when the comparisons (private vs.
government) and the Monday Morning quarterbacking comments start from the
Peanut Gallery." I don't think it lessens anything when you talk
about contract and federal employees. We need to talk. But instead of
people being on the news and in this forum who always bash the government
and blame it for everything, why don't you go after the company who
employs these people as you first suggested? Why doesn't everyone write a
letter to that employer and ask them why two of their aircraft have gone
down this year?
I too FEEL BAD for the victims and their families about the recent
accidents that have occurred. I also think Fire and Aviation should take a
long look at the fleet of airtankers we currently have and ask themselves
if it wise if we keep contracting for aircraft from W.W.II. But with the
way contracting is set up now as mandated by Congress, it is not the
government's fault or the government's responsibility to pay.
My prayers are with the families and all the fallen firefighters,
pilots and contractors who have lost their lives this fire season. I know
it has been said alot this year but, lets all keep our heads up and look
out for one another this season.
Be safe everyone,
Some good points R5er. I felt those articles and videos that Kelly
linked to (7/18) blamed the government, the USFS (some of us) unfairly for
the planes that went down. It's easy for the media to point the finger at
the govt, which absolves the pointer and their audience of taking
individual action (like writing to congress) to make an informed change.
Someone would do us a service if they would lay out all the issues and
It's hard to know what must be changed. Fighting fire from the air is an
unforgiving endeavor with no room for problems or mistakes. Airtanker
contracting is a complex system: politics, business, culture, etc are
involved. Most of us don't understand how it works. We just know the
planes are old and we hate to see crew dying at the rate of 3.4 per year
(5 this year).
Just for balance to your comment regarding the company, here is a comment
from one person who feels H&P
does good work in their shops.
||This one is getting posted a little late. Date says it was sent night
before last. Got hung up somewhere... (The AirTanker standdown has ended.)
You know Airtankers are supposed to have wings: thats what makes them
different from Tenders. Its bad enough when a Tanker goes down due to
pilot error or a mechanical failure like losing an engine but two
catastophic wing failures this close together? I've always heard pretty
good things about H&P compared to some of the contractors and these
stories are painting a pretty bad picture, makes me wonder about the ones
with lesser reputations. So now the P2's are grounded with wing problems,
the C130's are grounded after T130 went down last month and now the
PB4Y2's are grounded, whats that leave S2s, P3s and the DC series? I love
the sound of the recips going overhead but even I'm wondering about the
age of these aircraft (yes, I know C130s are turboprops but they're still
40+ years old).
My thoughts are with the families, I'm getting tired of saying that as
I assume are all of you, lets hope this is the last.
As to some of the other comments, I agree with the money issues, the
government hasn't shown much interest in getting to the heart of the
wildland problem, MEL was a start but reasonable salaries and a more
permanent workforce seems to be beyond the understanding of those with the
money (anyone in Congress read They Said), if they won't spend it for
their own employees it looks pretty bleak for contractors. I guess safety
is #1 as long as it doesn't cost too much.
As far as Tankers go, the current system has worked pretty well all
these years but a purposefully designed Air Tanker really should be a
priority; 50 year old hand me down aircraft designed for use in very
different missions is not the way to go if safety is truly #1. With the
exception of fighter aircraft I'm pretty sure no other aircraft get
stressed like a tanker and I don't foresee the Navy kicking a few F18's
loose any time soon. If you've never been inside a Tanker it is amazing
how much wasted space there is inside, an aircraft designed from the start
as an Air tanker could probably be 1/2 the size of current tankers with a
resulting increase in maneuverability. Ejection seats for the pilots might
even be an option (Cargo planes don't have them because in their mission
it is unlikely they would ever be needed), they would probably be rarely
used (no time) but if it could save a few... As far as funding, I'm pretty
sure the entire development could be funded for the price of one B2
stealth bomber, were not talking high technology, just modern aircraft
made for the job at hand. I don't see the contracts as much of a problem
as the aircraft, I'm sure a workable private/public system could
eventually be hammered out that would make most happy, perhaps something
like CDF has with Government owned aircraft and contract pilots / ground
Helitankers are not the answer either, its not like they don't crash
too. A skycrane went down a few years back when the main rotor failed
killing the crew and just in the past couple of years I remember at least
two 212's crashing with fatalities. Most of the large helicopters out
there are also getting on in years. Besides, Tankers and Helicopter serve
different functions and have their own strengths and weaknesses. Taking
away one of the tools away would just make it harder for those on the
I don't really see the Military as an answer either. Military Fire
Departments are primarily staffed with civilian employees because the
military personnel are not around long enough to gain the skills needed to
do the job well (they get activated, transferred elsewhere or move on to
civilian careers). I think pilots would prove to be the same. Wure the
military pilots could get the job done but not as well as somebody who is
planning on flying fires for a career, so you're back to government or
contract pilots although using the military for maintenance support might
be a good idea.
FB1, I don't know why trained crash personnel are not used in
helibases, tanker bases are generally set up at an airport so presumably
they have real crash crews. It's kind of ironic really the Fed wildland
agencies won't really support the idea of letting their firefighters get
into structures but have no problem parking a crew in wildland gear with
Type 3 Engine at a helibase for ARFF instead of an Amertech or P-19 with a
trained crew in silvers, go figure.
On a slightly different note: did you know the Park Service is making up
their own structural certificate system instead of jumping on board with
the established DoD system? Must make sense to somebody.
Well I've rambled on enough for tonight, would have been nice to be a
little more positive, an entrapment is not exactly a positive note to end
on but at least there were no injuries.
Many of us have been there. Flames and smoke everywhere and you are
told to bed down in the sage brush next to a cow pond in the middle of no
where in Eastern Oregon. This issue has just been brought up on my
helitack crew. The best way to deal with the 2 to 1 is to manage your time
well. It takes a lot more thought for those of us on IA resources then the
crews working on a project fire. In your example you could have gone 24
hours since it was an IA then go home, or a city park or school gym and
get a good 12 hours rest. Another way to do it is to have gone off the
clock at 2400 instead of 0400. You would have only had to take 6 hours off
to meet your 2 to 1 and could have slept when it was cool and dark and be
back up when the burning picked up at sunrise. You don't have to be in
your sleeping bag the whole time you're off the clock. Go for a walk, make
coffee, read a book, just don't be on the line working and make sure your
time reflects the 2 to 1.
The aerial firefighting program is an interesting animal. The agencies
aim for the lowest possible price for an airtanker contract by awards that
keep as many bidders as possible in business so that there is “fair”
competition. The avowed goal by management is an “all turbine, 3000
gallon” industry. Yet in this most recent contract cycle the number of
1,800-2,000 gallon DC-4s on contract nearly doubled (from 5 to 9). This by
no means throws dirt on the DC-4, it is still a very good platform,
especially with a constant flow tank. One company apparently was asking
too much for their services, at least as determined by the agency
contracting offices. So they received no awards. When they sued, they got
four add-on contracts. Maybe they were trying to capture some R&D
costs before they had a product, such as a turbine conversion on a P2V.
There hasn’t been much visible venture capital interest in an industry
that flies each aircraft 200-600 hours each year.
If you look at the contracts you’ll see that they average about
$250,000 per aircraft in availability over the season. That must pretty
much cover the basic overhead to put the aircraft and crew in service. To
my knowledge, the contracts restrict the amount of profit to a “reasonable
level” of about 15%. Contractors actually get told to adjust their bids
to get their profits inside the decreed margin. Are CWN aircraft, crews,
dozers, and helicopters constrained in the same way? I can’t answer
that. But 10 days of Type 1 helicopter @4 hours minimum per day ($7,000
per hour) is more than the total availability cost of most 110-180 day
fixed-wing airtanker contracts. Additionally, the Type 1 copters have
private industry work for machines when they aren’t firefighting, or
they go to Australia!
Airtankers are best used in initial attack and extended attack.
Airtanker Captains are carded as IA qualified. That means they are
reasonably able to understand what the ground wants (do we?), determine
fire behavior, and take action. So, in order to save money, aircraft are
held until a ground person, or a “responsible IC” (not necessarily at
the incident) decides airtankers are needed and a Lead plane or air
tactical aircraft arrive first for further assessment. Is this the best
In the Real Fast GBMF (Great Big Mighty Flying-machine?) airtanker
concept, the airbases are pretty far apart. Once you have a fire escape IA
the flow rates needed are, in my limited experience, in the 15,000-30,000
gallons per hour range (with copter support Rotorheads!). That is 6 to 12
drops per hour. That flow rate is hard to get with one-hour turn around
times and few tankers assigned. To fly the CDF/USFS R-5 flag, the bases
and aircraft mix between the agencies does a good job a high percentage of
the time. If an agency is willing to give up acreage to fire, for whatever
reason, using retardant sparingly (according to some cost/benefit computer
model using unsubstantiated subjective value sets) can be ineffective and
wasteful. One scenario from an Air Ops Branch Director class years ago was
a 10,000 acre timber fire with one airtanker assigned having a one hour
turn around. The student who answered "release it, it's a wasted
resource" took some flak for his answer. Are we still thinking the
Aerial firefighters put themselves in precarious positions to help
ground-pounders. If you think smoke is bad on the ground, at 140+ mph it
is a solid wall. When you are in a situation where you think you need air
support to advance or just hang on the pilots will respond to your call.
You think about your crew safety, what position are you putting your
aerial team member in?
Yes, it is time for a real review of the aerial firefighting program.
All of us need to have our aerial brothers and sisters in the best
possible aircraft and of a sufficient number to provide a realistic
service. We also need to look at how we use all of our resources and to
Maybe I got suckered in the "firedog" scam, even Einstein
(who many call a genius) was wrong once in a while too. But my point still
stands there are some folks out there with ideas that may work, some of
them may be well meaning crack pots and sometimes these half baked ideas
work. I am not a pilot, most likely never will be, if you say it wouldn't
work, it more than likely it will not work.
Now to the real reason for this post. I was watching the Discovery
channel late last night and they had a program on planes of W.W.II. One of
the pilots of the B-24 had a very interesting statement. He said on the
"B-24's the gas line ran through the bomb bay, and if the fittings
weren't just so then you tended to have an explosion in the bomb bay if
there was a spark down there." Now, again, I am no pilot but just
seeing this after this weeks air tanker tragedy makes we wonder. As Mr.
Spock says if one uses logic and the evidence Captain....
Everyone stay safe, check out your equipment and use your heads and go
home in one piece. God speed to all those who can't this fire season.
Just one more thing, Ab, all the Ab's out there, thanks for all the
work you good folks do on the web site, keep up the good work.
I agree with you on many of your points.
However there is one thing: "are now hit with the 37 MEA and are
without career potential. I feel bad for them, but they knew the rules (or
at least could have figured them out) when they went into the
According to the personnel people that I talked to, If someone were
trying to get an appointment now, the only temp/seasonal time that could
be counted towards retirement is that which occurred prior to 1988. And
that's only if the person filed it back in 88. I don't remember anybody
from personnel making a point of that back in 88.
It's just another opm rule with no rhyme or reason. "There's no
reason for it, It's just our policy"
||Concerning the retirement age, time to be blunt.
I don't know of any firefighters who started their career at under age
25 who have not been able to get an appointment prior to age 37. I know of
some who had an early mid-life crisis and changed careers in their 30s and
are now hit with the 37 MEA and are without career potential. I feel bad
for them, but they knew the rules (or at least could have figured them
out) when they went into the profession.
If people were to be let in at a reduced (>20 years) then you would
have 60 minutes, Dateline, etc. screaming bloody murder when it became
time for these folks to retire. (Retired Federal Firefighter on Food
If you used the system that GGFire advocates, you would end up with
geriatric firefighters waiting to finish their 20 years. I don't think
that would increase safety.
My suggestion would be to have a law passed which would allow for
seasonal time to be counted toward retirement, free of charge, with the
government sucking up the cost. Seasonals are the closest thing that Uncle
has to slave labor, and that increased cost would just be the price of
doing business. If you add up all of your seasonal time and still can not
meet the 37 MEA, Sierra Foxtrot Yankee.
||Just thought I would share this picture taken 07-18-02 at 6:34 PM on the
Deer Point Fire near Lake Chelan, WA. It was taken by a Canadian Bird Dog
(that's a lead plane from Canada that takes the Tankers in for their
drops). Eh? : ) I've been in dispatch talking to the Canadians too long --
eh? Don't get me wrong here --> WE LOVE THEM! It's a joy to work with
such professional people.
The fire started from an abandoned campfire in an unimproved camp site
near Deer Point Campground (located about 1/2 way up the lake on the North
side of the lake). This morning it was at about 10,000 acres. As of 1730
07-20-02 it's reported at 16,900 acres. We've been using our friendly
neighbors from the North (Canada) for 4 straight days. We have to jump
through a lot of hoops to get approval to use them and with our resources
so low in the states. Our neighbors are the BEST to work with! THANK YOU
Thanks. Put it on Fire 11
Photo page. Ab.
I understand the deal with 2 to 1 work/rest guidelines but we were
dispatched (BLM Heavy Engine module) to a fire when we were already 10
hours into our day. We worked another 6 hours then we were told to go to
sleep for 8 but this was 4 at night and it was nearly 100 degrees by 9
a.m.! No one could sleep through the heat of the day so we kind of kicked
some black and looked around our area while other engines (fresh ones)
rolled past us mopping up our line. Is this the real answer to the
pressing issue? Please someone tell me.
||I was with two families when they were presented checks from the
Firefighter Foundation. These people step in and fill a need ($) when
things are tough. The money comes with no strings attached. Vicki and her
folks do good work.
||Job Series 0462
and Series 0455
Pages are updated. No new jobs on the Jobs
Page. (Ab sez, click through on the Pack Test Weight Vest banner on that
page and check it out.)
FamilySaid folks are making a list of
hometown newspapers that have stories and photos of wildland firefighters
and the fires they're fighting. If anyone has such papers, could you let
us know what newspaper, what date, what crew and if there's a photo or
not? The moms, who are gathering records of their kid's crews, would
appreciate it. If you have those papers and could hang onto them for a
little bit while we figure out how, maybe there's a way to pass them on to
our proud moms. CO Mom has some from the Denver Post. Take a look. They
may have some of crews in your area that they are willing to share.
I put up some AT photos from Minden Fire Base NV that came in from
They are of Tanker 14, a DC6 and Tanker 126, a PB4Y. I added them to AirTanker
5 Photo page that has the memorial pic of Tanker 123. Thanks for the
photos, Bob. I also put his photo of the plume of the Topaz Lake Fire that
he took from Minden on Fire 11.
||I can protect my crews from falling retardant....
falling airplane parts is another question.
"WE NEED NEW AIRCRAFT WITH ZERO AIRFRAMES! WE NEED
AIRTANKERS DESIGNED TO BE AIRTANKERS! WE NEED TO
DO THIS NOW!"
Couldn't have said it any better.
Put the museum quality tankers where they belong-
in a museum.
||CAFSman asked about donations. Here's some information on the Wildland
Firefighter Foundation. Ab.
A wildland firefighter killed on the job often leaves behind family
members who are not only overcome with grief and loss, but also bewildered
by the prospects of surviving financially in a confusing world of
financial disarray. No dollar amount of assistance can make up for the
loss of a family member, but benefits that honor the service provided by
firefighters can help.
That's what we're here for.
The Wildland Firefighter Foundation provides cash payment support to
surviving family members. New to our website is a collection of additional
resources available to survivors. These include lump sum death payments,
workers' comp, funeral benefits, pensions and retirement programs,
scholarships, and other non-profit and/or private support. Federal
survivor benefits (for firefighters employed by a federal agency) and
benefits under the Department of Justice's Public Safety Officers'
Benefits (PSOB) program head the list; recent changes in federal law have
exempted many line-of-duty pension and retirement benefits from federal
CHECK OUT OUR SURVIVORS' RESOURCES PAGE AT:
We have a system online where you can make donations directly to the
For more information, contact the Foundation staff:
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
1310 Vista Avenue #22
Boise, Idaho 83705
Vicki Minor, Director
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
Ab asked a few more questions about administrative costs and earmarking
the donation for airtanker crew families (or other specific families of
firefighters) and found out the following:
Only FIVE PERCENT of all donations income last year was used for
administrative expense, and that administrative expense even includes
cost of shipping to send memorial statues to families of firefighters.
How can this be so low? Because nearly all the work is done by
volunteers. And pretty much everyone connected with the foundation is or
was a firefighter.
And yes, you can specify where the donation goes.
In reply to my question "will an airtanker company that has two
aircraft incidents in a row, given similar aircraft failures (the wings
breaking away), have all of their aircraft grounded and inspected?"
was not an attempt to focus blame or responsibility. You're exactly right,
the investigators need to find out what happened and the amateurs (like
me) should not make conclusions based on what we see and hear in the
What I am asking is an operational and regulational question. Has
anyone ever heard of an airtanker company losing two or more aircraft
right in a row like this in one fire season?
Last year CDF lost two S-2 tankers in Sonoma County on a fire that was
started by a meth lab cooker due to the aircraft colliding with each
other. Again, not focusing blame anywhere, but when something like this
happens to the same company does the Federal Fire & Aviation
Management Office (of NIFC) stop operations for that company until all
their aircraft have been inspected or the individual incidents have been
I' m not trying to single out Hawkins & Powers or their employees.
This company has been in the aerial firefighting business for many many
years and you don't last that long if you have an unsafe operation. These
incidents could have happened to AeroUnion, Neptune, or anyone else.
I feel bad about the loss of the five crewmembers from both aircraft
company and for their families who have lost husbands and fathers. I am
angered at how the government has used the excuse "they are
contractors, not permanent government employees so they do not receive the
same benefits that regular government firefighters (permanent or seasonal)
receive when they have died in the line of duty." Its scary because
the government has it in mind that contracting everything out is the
solution to everyones problems.
I pray that our politicians can get their priorities straight and stop
trying to go after Martha Stuart with congressional hearings into her
stock trading and come up with some legislation to address this problem.
We have lost 11 firefighters this fire season, and frankly that is 11
people too many. We all know that we have one of the most dangerous jobs
in the world and it lessens all of us when the comparisons (private vs.
government) and the Monday Morning quarterbacking comments start from the
We need a better benefit package made available to all wildland
firefighters regardless of status or agency. The airtanker crews have the
most hazardous tasks of all because one small mistake can cause disaster
Actually, I think we have lost 14 and that's too many. Ab.
||Good Alternative JLP
I spent the day doing air attack on going wildfires in Colorado and
deep, distracted thought about what to do about our current situation
regarding airtankers that fall apart in the air. And, oh yeah, I did air
attack all day. It was not my best day after what happened yesterday.
I agree with Todd's proposal in TheySaid to a point regarding helitankers
we still must have a fleet of airtankers available. Reasons:
First, helitankers are one tool in our box. I used them today in a
which, fortunately, was the proper situation. We succeeded. I squelched a
request for airtankers for two reasons: They were not the proper tool for
the situation and you all (who have not been spiked out for two days) know
the other reason.
Second, airtankers are a critical tool in our box and have evolved over
last 4 decades into the most efficient means of suppression in the short
of wildland fires in the mid-to-high range of the haul chart. Arguments
be made about turnaround time but airtankers deliver retardant and lots of
it. Helitankers can do that too but how many times have we been able to
up portable retardant plants in short order?
Third, I have many times used helitankers (H2O) where I wish I had
and we got our butt kicked.
OK off the helitankers. Old airplanes: I was an airtanker base manager 15
years ago when we already considered 4Y's a flying museum piece. I won't
down the list but they are almost all flying museum pieces by now.
JLP is on the right track towards an alternative for our current
WE NEED NEW AIRCRAFT WITH ZERO AIRFRAMES! WE NEED
AIRTANKERS DESIGNED TO BE AIRTANKERS! WE NEED TO
DO THIS NOW!
The answer is simple: consign the U.S Government (through the congress,
executive order?) to build a spec airtanker and to build a bunch of them
quick. Tanker pilots please speak, we know the C130 and P3 are not the
perfect airtanker. Money should at this point should be no issue to the
richest country in the world. We are in an ongoing war with wildfire and 1
B1B bomber costs more than it would cost to replace our entire existing
fleet. The details of how to subsequently operate them should be no
as the military has already been contracting for years with the private
sector for the operation of government aircraft.
We had a rather philosophical day in the air today. I disagreed with one
comment made today (on rotor victor) by Helitanker Bill, "ours is not
reason why, ours is to fly". All of us better be reasoning why on
'cuz too many of our friends are no longer with us for lack of our
Rick and Milt were real characters and truly devoted firefighters. May God
rest their souls and watch over their families. Lets make a positive out
this in their names and in the names of so many fire aviators who are no
longer with us because their airplanes failed them.
I usually enjoy your posts. You really lost me tonight, though, on the
firehogs note. If you spent a bit of time on the AAP WebSite you'd
recognize this joker for what he is. I admit he sounded good to me at
first too. But this is NOT a viable alternative. Do your own research or
ask around or check the pilots board.
from a pilot
||Can anyone answer this question:
There have been two AirTanker crashes so far this season, and
both incidents were a result of the wings failing in what looked
like a non-stressful maneuver to the aircraft.
Because the same failure happened to two aircraft will NIFC and
the Forest Service suspend all aircraft flown for air tankers
by that company (or any other company that suffers a similar
incident)? Has a double-incident like this happened to an
airtanker contractor before?
Will the federal wildland agencies start looking more closely
at the ages of the aircraft being flown (the C-130A that crashed
was the first series of that aircraft made in the 1950's, and
the PB4Y was made in 1945) and start restricting them due to
Finally, if its shown in the investigations that maintenance
shortcuts occurred to maximize profits for the subject company,
what can happen to the company and the officers of that company?
Anyone have any hard fact they can share?
MOC, don't jump to conclusions about the causes of the crashes. In the
first one, it did look like the wing fell off first, but the investigation
will tell. In the second, we don't know. There could have been another
mechanical or structural problem preceding the crash, like an explosion to
name just one. We need the investigation by experts. As far as indicting
the company, let's not do that either. When planes are old and the number
of companies flying them are few, this could just be very bad luck that
the two occurred to the same company. I'm sure all those folks feel VERY
bad. They lost good friends. And we lost some good firefighters. Ab.
||To; The CDF Convert,
Every summer I work with crews, engines, aircraft and overhead from just
every agency there is in the western US (I.E.; CDF, USFS, BLM, NPS, Local
Government, Private Contractors, etc...) During the rest of the year I
fighting for a living. Most of the material I present in class comes from
deployments. The one thing I know as absolute fact is this. Every agency
outstanding people and every agency has some "duds". Don't paint
CDF or any
agency with a brush loaded from your limited experience. If we were all a
open minded related to the techniques, equipment, tactics and leadership
from other agencies, we would all be a little better off.
Sounds like you may have a weak Captain and possibly crew. That's life,
happens! If you watch and listen, you can learn as much from a weak crew
supervisor as you can from the best. Take the experiences you observed
(and the rest of your career) that you like and don't like, place them in
pan" filing box. When you promote use the good things and avoid the
This is basically what every good Captain has done throughout there
great secrets here. Look, listen, learn; sort out all the good stuff and
||These 24 and 72 hour Reports
of the July 14 burnover on the Marble Fire (southern Colorado) came
in from several people. I put them into html for easy viewing.
There is a gentleman who is pushing a program called Fire Hogs
that would take "surplus A-10 tank buster/ground support
aircraft" and turn them into air tankers. I have been reading his
reports for two to three years and they sound well thought out and viable.
The cost of refitting the aircraft wouldn't be cheap but there is
"newer" replacement aircraft out there. The aircraft was made to
fly low and slow and it has only one pilot, I don't know if this a plus or
a minus. But there are some people out there with some solutions, I don't
know if they are the right ones!
My father was in the Air Force in the maintenance end of the game, I
learned a lot from him. The main thing is that maintenance and the air
crews are the two biggest factors in safe operations. Add to that the age
of the aircraft and that spells alot of preventative maintenance on these
old aircraft that were not designed to do what they have been doing for
years. My admiration grows for these aircrews with every fire I am on,
they do a good job with some antique aircraft. As an example the PBY that
went down in Colorado is on the order of 50 to 60 years old. Who knows
what kind of treatment the old girl had over that time span.
I am not saying that the contactors are amiss in maintenance, but lets
face it sometimes old things break just because of the wear and tear that
they have been put through over the years. When one of these things break
down, they can't park it as the side of the road and hit the shoe leather.
I do agree that we need a next generation air tanker fleet and I also
wonder where they will come from.
Many thanks to all the Air Crew that fly and fight fires, I know you
guys have saved me lots of work and maybe every my backside.
Keep it safe and lets hope the politicos get a dose of common sense,
||A link to a sequence of photos of the T-123 crash (from Hickman).
The slideshow is at the top (at least for right now). Scary and sad.
Thoughts and prayers for family members and friends. This hits all of us
||My 2cents on the AT Alternatives thread:
Id like to see us go to helitankers instead of air tankers. If there are
not enough now, how about some interim agreement with the military until
they can be beefed up?
Helitankers could be contract, they would be used in the off season for
other projects, meaning they would not just be sitting around waiting
until fire season, but would be getting regular maintenance. The ones I've
seen overhead on fires this summer have been very effective. They drop
water rather than retardant, so they're "suppressing" rather
than "retarding" the fire. The environmentalists can't grouse
about water drops..
Does anyone know payload, comparative costs, loading and turnaround
times, etc? How fast do they fly when attacking IA in a distant location?
Do they need more or less aerial supervision (ATGS?) or other overhead in
short supply than the AT's do? What other issues between AT's and
Say for instance we could have helitankers instead of AT's (pretend
private funding is not a problem, if it is).. what else might stand in the
way? Laws of some sort that say we have to use contracted AT's because
they're cheaper (are they)? The retardant lobby? Resistance to changing a
"glamorous" part of the fire culture? The states would be doing
one thing and the feds would be doing another? Do we need to educate the
Public who want to see the AT's coming in with their load of pink stuff?
Maybe the Public just needs to see those video links about throw away
After the C130 went down, I saw the crash video. I was glad the rest of
the 130's were grounded. On my next IA, when the AT came over, I had a
flash wondering if it was going to come apart overhead. That video was
more graphic than I realized.
Its the AT families that deserve the HERO label. I don't know how they do
More Oregon Fires
Crews Gain on the Squire Fire
Lots more stories on the FireNews Page.
Oregon is burning. Give it about 20 seconds to load the current articles.
||Here is information about the lost hiker that contributed to the
||Viable Alternative to the current AT arrangement!
I have an alternative. Aero Union Corporation has a prototype of an
Advanced MAFFS system for C-130's. The aircraft doesn't need to be
modified and the system is essentially cargo. The oldest Hercs that the
National Guard and Air Force operate are H models. Newer aircraft is the
answer. There is no other way around it. Give the firefighting to the
government or let the contractors maintain and operate government owned
aircraft with the strict maintenance procedures laid out by the US
The Third International Wildland Fire Conference is happening in
Sydney Australia, 3 – 6 October 2003
at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre. The "brochure"
that came is too long and complex for theysaid, but you can access the
information at the link below:
You can also e-mail the contact person, Jennifer Lindberg at
JLINDBERG@tourhosts.com.au for info on how you can help spread the word
regarding the conference and/or sign up for it.
She says this:
The Conference was last held in Canada in 1997 and attracted over 700
delegates. The Conference will bring together the world’s leading fire
management professionals and practitioners, policy makers, scientists,
researchers, academics, technical specialists, educational groups,
safety representatives, and equipment manufacturers and suppliers. We
are looking forward to the 2003 event exceeding all expectations.
||FYI in oregon ODF is working a 1500+ acre fire near Jacksonville OR. For
some reason it did not make the SIT report. The fire made a major run
yesterday from 1500-2100 hrs. There's approx. 50+ fire in southwest OR.
with only two tankers. Oh yeah they are calling for lighting Fri-Sun. with
record heat next week 100+.
Rogue River FIREHAWG
I was doing some research yesterday while thinking about fighting
fire safely under the extreme fire conditions we're having this
Especially in light of the new and fast-moving eastern Sierra/GBasin
fires, and the OR and WA fires. Extreme behavior is not limited to
I came across this little dramatic and descriptive piece written
a dangerous fire situation on July 5 in Wyoming. (Ab can you
it from pdf so people can easily access it?)
We can't stress too often the HEADS UP! The 10 and 18
work. The chain of command works. Sometimes a very fast
is needed to pull people off the line.
Thanks for telling this story, Washington Incident Management Team.
Made the hair stand up on the back of my neck.
Hooray for the Meteorologists and the Dispatchers and all who do
their jobs impeccably.
I put it in html and it's easily readable: Daley
Fire Complex disengagement. I put it on the Documents Worth
Reading page and site map. Ab.
||Old Fire Guy,
I understand how the "maximum retirement age" was reached
mathematically. I understand it is law and not policy. My point is that it
is causing problems already and the decade of retiring "old
firefighters" is just beginning. It may have been a good policy to
ask Congress to make into law at one time. As it stands it is now a
hindrance to fighting fire safely and effectively. And it will only get
worse. I was chastising the agency heads for not going before congress to
propose the law be changed...while it will still do some good. And then
only if they are not attempting to do so already. The "specious"
argument of the WO makes me believe they are not.
I see no reason that ,for example, a 40 year old experienced
firefighter could not receive a permanent position with the explicit
understanding that they would only receive a portion of their retirement
benefits upon reaching age 55. While it would not be as simple as
"for every year of age over 35 (when you receive the position) you
lose 5% of your retirement benefits" it is still pretty simple math.
In this case the 40 year old could expect to receive (about) 25% less upon
retirement than a 35 year old. Many experienced firefighters would jump at
such an opportunity and alleviate much of the current (and upcoming) major
shortage. The one size fits most "solution" is not working and I
believe will be a killer.
The argument that "if we allowed experienced firefighters that
were over the "maximum entry age" to have permanent positions we
would lose the "special early retirement"" has no merit
since a simple alternative exists. It sounds more like a threat to me.
Often when agency heads will not propose needed legislation such as this
the unions must. This is very embarrassing for the folks at the top of the
effected agency(s)...who are invariably called before committee to be
asked why they have not proposed the legislation themselves. I suspect I
know why the BLM, USFS, etc. are not...and the "threat" of
losing the special retirement is a good way to shut the unions up.
It may be a good threat...but it is not a good argument.
||The Jobs Page, Job
Series 0462 and Series 0455
Pages are updated.
There are 5 new photos on the 30mi
Fire photo page thanks to mnm561 who went to the Washington memorial
site dedication on the one year anniversary of the tragedy.
Helga is the guru for the FS. Don't know about DOI agencies.....I would
assume the same laws. One reference might be WO memo File Code 6130 dated
October 5, 2001, signed by Steve Nelson. One bullet reads: "The
entry age applies to each entry into a maximum-entry-age position unless
the individual is transferring directly from another maximum-entry-age
position." Best answer will probably come from your personnel
||Re. Captain Emmett's response to CDF Convert....Can I work for Captain
Emmett? The guy is squared-away! Advice for CDF convert, get close-up to
someone like Captain Emmett, watch, listen and learn.
||Can someone steer me to the right info? I am a FFT1-T, FALB. I work in
maintenance (permanent) for a DOI agency and fight fire as a collateral
duty. I have been thinking lately about a career move to, say, a squad
boss on a fuels crew. Problem is I am 37 y/o. I have had permanent status
for over four years, though. Am I able to make the move? My FMO and PA
aren't sure either way. Help, please...
||Hi Ab and greetings from Nova Scotia again.
I have spent most of the morning catching up on your web site. I find it
really interesting. We, unlike you, are having a wet summer (so far) lots
and of lots of lightning but always with rain. The most excitement we have
had in the past month was an illegal dump site on fire. All for now be
I am an avid photographer. I have been published and have completed a
training course through Canon. I understand that I can get Technical
Assistant (Photo) on my red-card through my home unit. I am going out now
My question is this: will I get called out???? I was told that unless I
had an inf. officer name request me that it wasn't likely.
So that begs the question how do I get my name to these people???
I am open to any advice the gang on here has.
(But the boss called a while ago and I am probably going back out maybe as
soon as tomorrow, so don't be shocked if I don't get back in here to check
the mail for a couple weeks.)
If you guys see me out there don't laugh, my house sits at an elevation of
-2ft. so the first few days out I tend to wheeze and gasp hehehe
Flash in Florida
Ya gonna have "Flash" spelled out on yer nomex, or are we
gonna have to ask each wheezer if he's Flash? Ab.
Your comments are both interesting and at the same time a little
unnerving.... I am very curious who exactly told you that Fire Captains or
Engineers do not go up the hose lays with you guys. I am assuming you were
in a 67 hour basic firefighter academy. For a fire captain to have told
you that, he or she is giving you a personal opinion most likely. There
are times when a captain may not be able to follow the firefighters (when
assigned as the initial attack IC) immediately. This practice of not
following firefighters up the hill is not condoned in many circles inside
CDF-it may well be a physical fitness issue.
Not giving daily weather reports is criminal. In most units, the weather
is read twice daily over the "local" net. It is also available
through the internal email system and is posted in the morning and
afternoon. You have a right to it. Ask if it not being read.
The fire hose issue is interesting. Many units do use the old heavy cotton
jacket federal standard hose, while some have completely converted to the
synthetic lighterwieght types. I feel your pain there.
I apologize to you if you were indoctrinated by some captain or engineer
that was forced to put on one of these late 67 hour academies. You must be
in the groups that were hired placing the fourth firefighter on the
southern engines (88 engines I think).
Remember, your captain is only as good as his crew, make him better.
On the union....They have done a lot for the seasonal. Did you know that
CDF seasonals are the only seasonal group in California state service that
draw a retirement package and have the health benefits at the level you
Pay your dues and support them. Don't be a fair share free loader.
"Another CDF BC"
As a 23-year veteran with CDF, I must respond to your post.
1. Fire weather forecasts are given twice a day, morning and evening (at
least in my unit.)
2. Captains and Engineers go up the hill with the company, unless they are
involved in the pumping operation or are the IC.
3. Rampant use of RLCJ hose. What do you want? We use it because it works.
4. Ask questions of your supervisor (if you have constructive questions)
not the “well where I come from” type junk. Some questions are better
asked later. If you see something the Company Officer has missed, point it
5. Your statement,” And I already heard the look up, look down, look all
around- everyone is looking out for everyone else bit. I don't buy it.
When you're working your ass off your situational awareness is pretty
You BETTER be watching what is going on around you at all times, this is a
team job, and you are still responsible for yourself and your engine
company members. Pay attention to what is around you; we cannot hold your
You sound as if you are a rookie with an attitude, your biggest job this
year is to learn to be a good firefighter and understand that CDF has been
in this business a very long time and we know what we are doing. If you
think for one minute this year with all of the rookie FAEs and Captains as
well as Firefighter 1 folks such as yourself are making things easier,
think again. Fire behavior is insane this year, in my little piece of the
fire world I’m seeing fire do things it should be doing in late August
or September. Have faith in you Captain or Engineer. There will always be
a more experienced hand around on a fire. Read everything you can on fire
behavior, watch fires as they are shown on TV especially in Southern
Calif, every fire seems to be a big deal to the news and you can see some
great footage this is a great learning tool. Ask questions of your
supervisors; take it upon yourself to become educated in fire behavior.
Understand also that any training has to follow a certain set of
guidelines, standards must be met. You will find that the field is vastly
different from what you experienced in the classroom.
As a CDF Fire Captain, I feel it my job to teach my Firefighters
everything I know about this job. Any Firefighter should be able to pump
the engine, make a hose lay, do CPR, program a handi-talki, take weather
observations and understand fire behavior as well as clean a toilet and
cook a healthy meal. Relax, enjoy the ride CDF is a great outfit, we are
experiencing major changes this year and will for the next 3 or 4 years.
Make yourself the best Damn firefighter you can. People notice the extra
effort; it pays off in the end. Ask about EVERYTHING, the only dumb
question is the one not asked. If you aren’t training every day you aren’t
on a fire, shame on you! Ask for training, make it fun, be a motivator in
Post often here on they said, I would like to see how your summer goes.
Sorry for the soap box, Ab.
||I had the pleasure of attending a recent firefighter retirement session
on by Helga. She is knowledgeable, articulate and shows great
and sympathy to the on-the-ground firefighter. Maybe the best WO type I've
Dana, there seems to be some confusion yet. The retirement benefits are
determined by "law" not by "policy". Neither the FS or
BLM or any other
agency can change the "law" only Congress can. Part of the
history of the
current law is that Congress had to be convinced that firefighting has
physical demand standards that are best met by a young, vigorous
Hence the maximum retirement age. Subtract the special 20 year retirement
requirement and you get the "maximum entry age".
This does not infer that there are no individuals capable of top level
performance beyond age 55. And yes, it does by default constrain career
opportunities for those seasoned firefighters who are beyond the MEA and
yet have not secured a "permanent" appointment. Like other laws,
not flawless, but is designed to apply to the majority of situations. It
is unfair though to chastise the leadership of any agency for adhering to
the current laws.
Arguing for elimination of the age restrictions would probably result in
loss of the special retirement. That might mean firefighters would have to
work the standard 30-35 years and have a lesser benefit package upon
retirement (FF is much better than the rest of us have). Hope this helps.
Old Fire Guy
||Found this article this morning, interesting reading. It is at
it is entitled "Defiant firefighters snub feds" in
the July 14th edition.
||Fire en water,
RIGHT ON! It's about time that the people in the wildland fire community
realize what our p.d.'s hold us back from.
It's sad but true that a huge amount of fire fighters, who love and live
for this gig aren't truely classified as that. Also, it's a fact that it
would be very hard for "land management" and "natural
resources'" agencies to justify hiring actual fire fighters, not
forest and range techs to thin dog hair stands, fix fence and rehab fire
areas. That would mean that alot of folks who are die hard green, yellow,
or white at heart would all have to make an effort for one REAL FIRE
agency. And it's unfortunate that we still see that agency specific pride
hamper our efforts to fight fire.
Just thought that you should know that you're not the only one thinking
F an A Bro ( or Sis)
||Re: CDF Convert
As an 18 year CDF vet with FS experience I must beg to differ. Most of
what you are talking about is either patently false or Station specific,
except the hose issue (which I also beg to differ your inference that
synthetic hose is by definition better).
I am a CDF Captain and I ALWAYS go up the hill with my firefighters. The
pump can take care of itself until the second or third engine arrives.
My firefighters receive a weather briefing including Burning Index each
Yes there are a lot of new supervisors with many new firefighters, and
this is different from the federal wildland agencies how?
Thanks Capt. I expect your response to be just the first to refute
Convert's post. Without having attended the CDF Academy, I must only
assume as with other academies or formalized training, there will be
discrepancies large and small between classroom theory and field practice.
Please note my advice to Convert to wait until arriving at his new unit
before getting too excited. Ab.
||THANKS, HOT LIPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Please, please, puh-leeeeeeeeeeeze,everyone, re-read that post from Hot
Lips below. And take it to heart.
I grew up like pretty much all the rest of you grew up. Mostly outside.
Camped a lot. Did field work. Fished and hunted. Never paid much
attention to that sissy "wash your hands after going to the
I got my first attitude readjustment in 1989 when I was on a fire and
heard about the 40 people demobed out with triple-A level camp crud
because some guy did not wash his hands and 40 people behind him ate
contaminated food. I changed my attitude and my habits, but wasn't
really "committed" about it. In 1992 I actually saw this
Picture 70 people in the emergency room because a cook failed to wash
his hands and laid them all low.
You see those signs in the john at a bar or restaurant that says WORKERS
WASH YOUR HANDS, well, look, it's not just the employees at restaurants.
Wash your damned hands, THIS MEANS YOU. Sixty seconds can keep dozens of
folks from the heaving puking crapping nightmares that are caused by one
person not washing hands. If you saw in a lab what causes this, you'd
never fail to wash them ever again.
Thanks for posting the "For Your Information RE: Q&A - FF
Retirement Coverage". I feel compelled to respond.
I think that the 'young and vigorous' force policy is shortsighted and
will be a major killer of the 'young and vigorous' in the upcoming decade.
In order to fight fire safely and effectively I believe we need a force of
firefighters that is not only 'young and vigorous' but 'mature and well
trained' as well. Since no classroom can fully prepare any firefighter for
safely and effectively fighting wildfire the real training ground for the
'young and vigorous' is the fireground and the real trainers are the
"Old Guys". (no disrespect meant to the "Old
Gals"...they're included) When the ratio of "Old Guys" to
'young and vigorous' gets too low we will neither be able to fight fire
effectively nor safely. That day is rapidly approaching.
Soon most of the "Old Guys" will be retiring and the 'young and
vigorous' replacing them will be left without trainers. There is no
substitute for years of fireline experience and the current policy will
leave the 'young and vigorous' with inadequate numbers of "Old
Guys" to safely and effectively fight fire. The fire agencies never
expected the danger of wildfire to grow as it has or for the new economy
to create the long term firefighter shortage it has. More importantly they
failed to formulate and implement new policy when it became apparent the
old policy might prove disastrous. If new hires had been constantly
recruited and retained the 'young and vigorous' policy would work.
Unfortunately replacements for the "Old Guys" retiring are not
in the pipeline and pay for their possible replacements fell so short of
competitive that most of them moved on to other employers or professions.
This is reflected currently in our nations need to import overhead due to
an even more severe shortage of "experienced managers" than of
This is a direct result of the current "maximum entry age"
policy and the artificial shortage of experienced firefighters it creates.
Any policy which fails to provide for changing conditions is BAD POLICY
and the current 'young and vigorous' policy fails to provide for the
ability of our future wildfire suppression force to safely and effectively
suppress wildfire. We are already beginning to see how the policy of total
wildfire suppression was a BAD POLICY yet how loath the agencies are to
implement major changes to such an obviously flawed policy. Similarly
though a simple adjustment to the current age limit could avoid continuing
on an expensive and needlessly deadly path of following obviously flawed
logic which created a BAD POLICY to its' unacceptable outcome I expect
that is what the agencies will do. After all who can be blamed for simply
following policy that some predecessor originally implemented? I don't
think anyone expects the foresight or fortitude needed to change BAD
POLICY from those now in charge...I know I don't.
The argument that :
"if we were willing to hire
employees into a rigorous firefighting position and not apply the maximum
entry age -- then we are in effect saying that it is not important to the
Forest Service that we maintain a 'young and vigorous' firefighting
workforce. AND if we do not need a young and vigorous firefighting
workforce, OPM stated that we would no longer need to have a special early
retirement for firefighters."
is similarly flawed and myopic since firefighters hired at below the
maximum entry age do not stay that age....they continue to get older...and
presumably less vigorous. Experienced firefighters hired at 5 years over
the "maximum entry age" are no less 'young and vigorous' than
those hired at the "maximum entry age" five years after they are
hired. And there is no need to deprive anyone of a "special early
retirement" it would just need to be prorated to adjust for the fewer
years of service they would be allowed. The above argument presented by
the "OPM's head of Retirement Policy (and one of her lawyers)"
is specious in "legalspeak". In plain English that means
"seeming to be good...without really being so."
I believe that if Congress simply implemented a prorated special early
retirement for those experienced wildfire fighters that currently wish to
offer their services after they were over the "maximum entry
age" everyone would be more happy. Those that would be happier would
include not only Forest Service employees but also those whose homes and
properties were saved from wildfire by a much more effective fire
suppression force and those who did not have to attend funerals due to
needless firefighter deaths. The fact that the Bureaucrat running the
federal agencies charged with wildfire suppression (and their lawyers)
choose to promulgate a shortsighted and potentially disastrous policy
despite obvious flaws rather than stick their necks out to essentially
"do their job" surprises no one. It should however, sadden
The responsibility for not doing so lays squarely on the shoulders of the
heads of our federal fire suppression agencies since our legislators have
already proven time and time again that they are willing to quickly enact
changes in law in order to respond to the threat of inadequate wildfire
suppression resources. To those agency heads I say....Firefighters are
doing their best....the legislature is doing its' best...can you claim the
If not...shame on you.
Well, I just made the switch from the Forest Service in So Cal to CDF
(also in So Cal). You know, the union, the benefits, the retirement- all
for seasonals. This is my second year in fire, and i have decent idea of
they way things are supposed to work. But today, in our academy, i was
hit with a few whoppers that have really unnerved me.
1) CDF Engine Captains/Engineers do not go up the hill with their fire
fighters. They stay at the engine.
2) Fire Fighters don't receive daily weather reports.
The rampant use of rubber-lined cotton jacket hose has also caught my
eye, but is not so much of a safety concern.
In my ranger unit, they have hired over 100 new fire fighters this
season. They are bringing up new engines staffed with green overhead and
fire fighters. And this is supposed to be safe?
"Don't second guess your supervisor, they know what they're
They might, but they won't be with us! How are rookie fire fighters
supposed to understand the first thing about fire behavior, know what
danger signs to look for, and fight a fire all at the same time. I at
least know enough to know that i don't know anything, and i also know
when i need more qualified people around me. This season, i need more
qualified people around me.
And the no weather forecast thing, well, that just seems inexcusable.
South Canyon, anyone? It's a fire order for gawd's sake's. How can you
fight fire safely without immediate supervision (that acts as a lookout)
and an understand of what significant weather events may happen on a
given day? And i already heard the '"look up, look down, look all
around- everyone is looking out for everyone else" bit. I don't buy
when you're working your ass off your situational awareness is pretty
crappy. And no, i don't think a division sup. qualifies as a suitable
lookout for an entire division.
Needless to say, i am a little worried about what is to come. I get the
feeling that CDF is fighting fire like the Forest Service did 10-15
years ago. My understanding of the Bluecut incident has not changed this
view. Any comments?
CDF's been playing this game for a while. Have a little patience,
wait till you get to your station to see how it really is. Ab.
||AB Why are the Feds and State's with all the fires going on not using
services, Having untrained personnel doing this job is like having a non
carded person on the fire line. The safety of the helibase's should be as
high as the fire line. The fireline handbook states the use of ARFF at
helibase not wildland engines. Can anyone answer this.
||In '87 I was a seasonal for CDF. In late September or early October we
had to do a fire prevention show and tell, this is also at the height of
fire season that year. Well, we had the maximum number of engines out of
county and everyone was frozen on duty. We went to a Grand Opening of a
national burger chain and proceeded to unload all the compartments and
"display" all the equipment that the engine carries. We stood
around and answered questions and took turns in the "Smokey"
suit. The entire engine crew got comp. meals. As is my luck I was the last
in the rotation to go get my burger and drink. As I walked out of the
burger joint with my bag I saw the guys throwing the equipment back in the
compartments, you guessed it we got a fire dispatch. Well, I pitched in
and we got geared up and off we went. We had to bust through town and
headed out west. We had a fire a few days before and had added class A
foam to the tank on that call, no separate tank back then. As the Capt.
drove like a demon possessed, we found out there was a lot of foam still
in the tank, we looked like the Lawrence Welk Road show. The bubbles were
flying, as we zoomed thorough a small town. The Captain was really hall'n
ass, and we came up on a county Sheriff and the Capt. damn near ran him
off road. The Sheriff pulled over in a huge cloud of dust, and we whizzed
by with all the bubbles streaming out of the tank. As we were getting
close to the fire we saw another CDF engine heading back, we were still
going code 3. Well, the Capt. gets on the radio (car to car freq.) and
asked if we had been canceled. The reply was, "your [Capt. Name
Omitted] I thought your assignment was to cover the headquarters
station." OOPS and looks of total confusion and blame. The Capt. shut
down the lights and siren and we quickly got off the main road. The Capt.
got everyone together and gave us an action plan. We were going to quietly
drive back to H.Q., sneak in and then act like we had been there awhile.
The Capt. went to dispatch and pleaded radio problems that somehow we fire
monkeys managed to get fixed and we didn't need a radio tech. to look at.
The funny thing is we were only about three miles from where we stared and
it took us over an hour to get into the station to cover, oh yea I finally
got to eat my cold soggy burger after we got to the station and we got
fuel and tried to purge the tank of A foam. We then got detailed to fix
dinner for the H.Q. staff. Days later we were laughing our heads off after
the Capt. got sent out as a dozer strike team leader.
That is my fondest fire story.
Stay safe and watch out for the dragons out there.
||In regards to Helga's post: Too bad the retirement system is the only
place we feds are recogninzed as firefighters. The rest of the time we are
just Forestry Techs, Range Techs or Park Rangers. Ain't it time to
recognize wildland firefighting as a PROFESSION, not just an agency
sideline subject? Just saying "oh we appreciate you" isn't
I'm talking about here either. I'm talking about a whole host of pay
equity and classification issues that none of the agencies will ever agree
on or do anything about. A fedral firefighting agency would go a long ways
to solving this stuff. Wouldn't be perfect, no doubt, since federal =
bureaucracy no matter where you are. But can you imagine the wind from the
sigh of relief from all those line officers and WO management that are in
panic mode over 30 Mile, etc. once they realize they wouldn't have to be
responsible for an area that scares them to death? And it certainly would
give us a breather from the CYA pounds of paperwork that they are trying
invent and implement as an answer to saving us all from ourselves on the
Guess I'm tired of being at the bottom of the heap of new policy,
guidelines, rules, process, process, process....that seems to be just the
thing to keep anyone at the top from being responsible and gives them an
infinate choice of blame material to point at the worker bees when
something goes wrong.
Call me old fashioned, but I thought the rules we had worked pretty good
when people followed them.
||If you have any resources, please let your dispatch office know. We in
the Northwest have just been hit and continue to be hit with dry
lightning.....you know, the Northwest "the last to get hit and ALWAYS
needing resources".... Just started today 07/13/02, and we'll have
have some time to go to get control of anything for awhile.
Thanks to all who are supporting us now and in the future... Pretty
One year later (July 10): Peace be with all involved in Thirtymile. We are
still living your pain (and always will). Tom (I love you!), Jessica,
Devin, and Karen, you are in our minds and we will NEVER forget -- Plus,
our other 12 affected, we are thinking of you and each and every one of
you are professionals. Those allowed to "Stand Up" -- YOU DID
IT! Be stong -- We will survive!
Ab: YOU (all of you) are Awesome (capitol "A" in Awesome)!!!
Thanks for the forum.
||Greetings AB, all...
I just got back from playing medic on the East Fork Fire (it sure was
weird being on --> side of the fire, instead of <--). A few words
that I would like to mention. I was absolutely appalled at the number of
firefighters we would see that would get out their buggies/busses, head
right for the porta-craps, then march straight to the chow line (DFZee's
you are too good to us) and not stop by the handwashing station that they
had to pass in order to get in line, without taking 30 seconds to wash
their hands. The end result? Well, we had many of them coming in a day or
two into their detail with the common symptoms of nausea/vomiting/diarrhea
a.k.a."camp crud". This was harsh, quick & violent (ask the
man who had a "blow out" while on the line) I know it is
miserable, and yes we did stock up on pepto bismol, imodium ad and
anything else to try and make things a little more comfortable for you,
but c'mon...throw us a bone here. I am a firefighter and understand how
"cool" it looks to be dirty, but at a camp where there are many
"sinks", showers & even a laundry facility, there is no
reason to need to walk around like that. We are all there at the same camp
with you, believe me, we KNOW how hard you guys work...I've got the totals
on the amount of $$$ we spent trying to keep
you all in moleskin, boot inserts (Thank You Dr. Scholls), foot powder and
2nd skin. I also realize how plum "pooped" you are as well. But
I don't think that there is anything worse than being stricken by camp
crud, while at camp. Wash yer hands boys & girls. 'nuff said.
~*~Thanks to all of you still on East Fork, Col. Potter, Radar, Frank,
Chuck, Grady & "Hollywood" and the rest who had parts in our
MASH unit...what an honor it was to work with you all.
10 & 18,
Great Basin Firefighter a.k.a.
We had this guy who couldn't take "no" for an answer about
burning off his
brush pile. We'd already been there a couple of times to put out his
piles and he was beginning to think that it was pretty funny.
As we got ready to respond to his house the last time, one of the old
timers asked a magic question. "Say, do we still have any of that old
foam out back? I bet we used every bit of it when we hosed down his whole
yard that day.
For anyone who hasn't had the pleasure, the protein foam was a
fish by-product. Needless to say that, after the sun dried the water out
the solution and the smell took over, the guy didn't want to play
the nice fireman" anymore.
Hey "Flash" Great story! That's where some of your best
Cohesion" comes from. Stay safe!
After digesting the "Green Sheet" on the Bluecut, a few thoughts
1. What happened?
2. What happened?
"Another CDF BC"
Good question Ab sez, chuckling over his coffee. Lotsa detail
||to the firefighter that worked on the Cannell Dist. I was a fire fighter
with fulton hotshots in that late 70s and 80s, worked on Greenhorn,
Cannell, and Hot Springs Dist. My wife was a lookout there from 72
to 82. You can get me at email@example.com
I am an old fire dog from the 70's looking for crewmates or anybody that
roaring 70's. My crew, The Burton, was from the Sequoia National in
California. Was on the
Cannell Meadow R.D. We were a pack of wild arsed crazy bastages. We
usually ran with the
Fulton crew and the Horseshoe crew. Also, do have any memory of a fella
named Fred Rounds? Good
man, he was the FMO on the Panhandle N.F. out of Cour De Lene, Idaho. He
was skookums. By the
way, i write as i am on duty. I now have 19 biggies in with a city fire
department. I would
like to get on your e-mail however, this is the method that our system
allows. I have options at
home, but i would like to have it here as well.. any suggestions?
We have theysaid and you can e-mail Ab. We have no automatic mailing
service. If anyone has info on your crew, we'll put them in touch with
||This has come in from several people as a "For Your Information
RE: Q&A - FF Retirement Coverage". Looks like it's been
circulating on the FS intranet. Ab.
QUESTION: I have never understood why if a person chooses NOT to have fire
retirement they can't occupy a covered fire position. They can still have
the regular FERS retirement benefits. Is there some law or interpretation
that states a person must have fire retirement coverage to occupy a fire
ANSWER: Yes, I met yesterday with OPM's head of Retirement Policy (and one
of her lawyers) and she said firefighter coverage for all rigorous
firefighters is required by law.
This suggestion is always made in an effort to get around the maximum
age. And they are right, if congress changed the law so that a person
could choose to occupy a covered fire position and not be covered, then --
we would not need a maximum entry age for those folks. (They would not
need to get their 20 years in before the mandatory retirement age.)
However, employees need to be aware that if we were willing to hire
employees into a rigorous firefighting position and not apply the maximum
entry age -- then we are in effect saying that it is not important to the
Forest Service that we maintain a 'young and vigorous' firefighting
workforce. AND if we do not need a young and vigorous firefighting
workforce, OPM stated that we would no longer need to have a special early
retirement for firefighters.
I really believe that if firefighter retirement was eliminated for the
Forest Service that we would have many many more unhappy employees than we
do now with enforcing the maximum entry age.
Forest Service Benefits Officer
As a rookie I was told to always check out the equipment on the engine
we were running (3/4 ton 4x4) "first thing"... including the
pump, reel, etc. to make sure everything was working. I believe the exact
words were "don't leave the station without checking everything
works". To drive the importance of this directive home I was not told
about a small prescribed fire that was planned one morning when I was
asked to run to town for supplies immediately on arrival. I took the
runner truck (an old pickup) to town and on my way back to the station was
surprised to see a 3 acre grassfire about 2 miles from the station. I
called it in on the radio and received the response that everyone was
already on their way to a plantation fire and I should just handle it
So I "raced" to the station, got in the engine and flew back to
the fire. I pulled up and prepared for what would probably take 15-20
minutes of easy "wetlineing" pulling a bit of hose up to the cab
window and goin back to start the pump. It usually fired up right
away...but not today. I checked the fuel first and of course the tank was
dry. So I opened up the side panel where we always carried spare fuel and
found none. As I checked more and more places I got the sinking feeling
that I would have to drive all the way back to the station for gas...and
the "easy fire" was now about twice as large as when I had first
seen it...approaching the pines I had pulled into protect first. I knew
that by the time I returned there would be trees on fire and I would have
some "splaining" to do unless i was willing to lie.
I agonized about the call for about 30 seconds, wondering if I might be
able to get back with gas before the trees caught fire if I really sped.
The risk just seemed out of proportion to any possible benefit so I called
the other units on the radio and "fessed up" asking for
suggestions and saying I might need some help due to my failure to check
for gas BEFORE leaving the station. I thought it was odd that there should
be so much laughter in the background since they were all supposedly busy
fighting a fire....That was when I saw the other units pulling out of the
trees about a half a mile away. They pulled up out of breath from laughing
and wiping tears form their eyes saying that my voice had seemed a few
octaves higher than normal when I called for help.
Initially I thought I had been the victim of a practical joke....but it
was much more than that. It was a good lesson...several good lessons
actually. And a test. The boss said they put most rookies through this
test to see if they were too proud to fess up and ask for help. Those that
were willing to risk a serious fire to protect their ego were not asked
back the next year.
The "Smokey Says" story reminded me of a fellow who happened
to be a minor public official and therefore felt he was somewhat exempt
from the law. He insisted in burning his trash in a barrel in his back
yard despite the fact that doing so is illegal in our state and he had
started several small fires over the previous few years. We had warned
him, and cited him, and threatened him and foamed his barrel till it
looked like a huge ice cream cone...all to no avail. We finally caught him
burning one day when one of the contracted airtankers had to make a few
proficiency drops. Since these drops were usually just water on
plantations, the boss called in a airdrop on this guys burning barrel. I
had binocs on the guy when he turned around to see what the heck was
making that loud noise...as the bomber came in at tree level. Even from
the side I could see his jaw bounce off his chest....right before the
doors opened and his barrel went a** over teakettle.
Good ones. Ab.
||Throw Away Planes:
Part Two is linked up from
Costs of fighting fire -- in case some theysaiders haven't see this one
Forest Service official warns that massive wildfires could happen again:
"48 percent of projects designed to cut down trees in fire-prone
areas to reduce
risks were delayed by appeals..."
Many online articles on the FireNews page.
I want to add a few comments about the shelter deployment in
Utah. I was in a Deployment last year on the Virginia Lake Complex in
Washington State. I too had to experience what they did. The winds on my
deployment were right around 65 mph. I noticed Golf Ball size embers
I can say it was like a Ocean wave. SO picture a wave: First the
sprinkles, then the front part of the wave and then the tail end of the
SO I hope the Jumpers in Utah are ok and are goin to go back out and fight
fire. I was also wonder if the agency they work for brought in a CISD team
(Critical Incident Stress Debriefing). Thanks for the post and I passed it
along to a few of my friends.
||Enclosed is the 72 hr report from the entrapment at the Price Canyon
in Utah, please insure it gets wide distribution within your fire
organization. Additionally, please note the findings as they pertain to
adjusting strategy and tactics in extreme fire conditions.
To read the Price Canyon Entrapment 72hr Report, click HERE.
Any comments? Ab.
||Ab, here's the preliminary report on events and circumstances
surrounding deployment on the Bluecut Fire in SoCali last month.
Be Safe people,
To read this preliminary report, click HERE.
There are important lessons to be learned from all such reports - so we
can be safer in the future. Any comments? Ab.
Maybe you can go through AB to get directly to me on needing a small cache
software program. Don't want to do any "free" advertising on the
I'll tell you stuff one on one that may be of help...............
||Story from decades ago.
Nightshift somewhere in California. Squad boss on my shot crew stepped
into the brush to relieve himself of some coffee. Suddenly, out of the
dark comes the scream of a panther or woman. He comes racing down the line
running from the yellow-jacket nest he had stood on.......fly still down.
At 6'2" and 220 lbs. he sobbed like a child, pausing only to admire
swelling of the stung appendage.
Same squad boss some fires later..... awoke to see a dead coiled
(I had found) positioned inches from his head. Guinness book of records
might have listed his "sleepingbag-roll and inchworm"
performance had that
category existed.......followed by my dexterity in staying out of reach
over the next week.
You are Bad, Bad, Bad. I assume it's been tit for tat. Ab.
||Here's a couple of fun stories. There are millions of them.
My first trip out west... this goes back to 1994, I'm the EMT, and I go
around to all the guys while we're waiting to mob and ask if they have any
allergies or meds I should know about. I get to one guy, and he's telling
me that he's on prozac. Now, I didn't just fall of the turnip shelf, but I
don't wanna tick this guy off, so I play it straight. I ask him why... he
says, "cuz i'm schizo". Well, for the rest of the trip that's
just who he was... "schizo"
Ab, here's a good one that I'm not too sure I want to tell this group!
This only happened in 2000 at the Canyon Ferry Complex near Helena, MT.
We were working the fire and pulled out our sack lunches. Anyone ever
worked a fireline groaned when they read that line, i'm sure!
Anyway, I pull out my lunch, and I got the booby prize. The dreaded
burritto!! Well, perhaps some like this pre-packaged intestinal smart
bomb, but it's low on my list. Throw in the sliced jalapenos that were in
a baggie, and it's a belly buster!
Well, the package was all wet... my whole sack lunch was wet.. and the
items in my daypack were wet. I figured it was sweat, we were working
pretty hard, and it was hot. So, I ate the cookies, and begged food off of
That night, i'm laying in the cotton sleeping bag (we've all been
there), and my back is all itchy... it's driving me nuts! So, being the
medic I think I am, I figure it's just from all the sweating (that night I
skipped the shower, and waited two hours for the phones instead). I flip
over, and finally get to sleep.
I wake up the next morning, and my back is itching like mad.. I can't
figure it out, I go out and work the line. By noon, my back is raw.. the
pack is rubbing in just the wrong spots.
Finally, we get back into camp, I tuck in my pride and go to base
medical. They ask me if I was walking around with my shirt off as it looks
like I got a sunburn! I'm baffled, their baffled.. my buddy is so baffled,
that he takes a picture. The burn is in the shape of my daypack... and
then I start to think about that sack lunch.
THE JALEPENOS! Yep... the juice from those peppers leaked out over my
lunch, into my pack and eventually through my yellows. I got a burn
fighting fires from jalepenos. Luckily, my buddy has it all on film.
What category would that picture go in, Ab???
Another story, same fire, we were riding in our school bus to the drop
point when we lost the hub cover on the bus. Luckily we had a mechanic on
our crew, he takes the bladder out of a bladder bag, and uses a leatherman
to unscrew the hub cover, and replace the broken piece with the vinyl
piece from the bladder bag. Pretty smart, we were tempted to break the
other three wheels so we could ditch a couple more bladder bags!
Another time we were sent to Texas with our engines as a strike team. They
flat-bedded the engines down and flew us a day later. We land in the Waco
Airport and we're sitting around waiting for our ride to the motel. Not
having been out of state with the engines before, i'm thinking they put
you up in some dive!
We're joking that this ritzy hotel on a small billboard in the airport
is where we'll stay. Pool, jacuzzi, and continental breakfast all sound
too good to be true. Joking around, I point to a room on the terrace above
the pool, and say, "that's my room!".
Wouldn't you know it... that's is where we stayed!?!?! Who know being
an engine slug would be so comfy! It should be mandatory that there be a
jacuzzi at each fire camp....ahhhhh....to dream!
One of my favorite stories is when a camp I was at in Utah got burned
over, and we only had two days til demob. Rather than have us set up in
the new camp, and then demob the next day, they put us up in Pendleton at
the National Guard Armory for R&R for two days.
Free shuttle van 24/7 into Pendleton. We went in to town (wearing our
nomex, who knew we'd need anything else! Our contract doesn't give us any
R/R days), went in to this honky tonk, and immediately knew we were in
Here we are, a group of easterners, and we walk into a country western
bar on Karioke night!!!! Well, we walked in and every head turned.
So, we settle in at the bar, and do what good firefighters do in bars.
After a few...uhhh... let's just say root beers, we get the nerve to do a
song as a group. Lets see....what song should we pick????
Well, we were all a bit homesick, so in this honky tonk, we chose,
"New York, New York". Leg kicks and all.
We made quite a stir, and after we were done, the applause was
deafening. We didn't have to pay for another..ahem...root beer, the rest
of the night!
The fun started when one of us, to remain nameless, uh... falls
asleep... in the mens room at the armory when we got back from the honky
tonk. The cleaning women starts screaming at 4 a.m. that there is a dead
guy in the mens room and wakes up the two hundred firefighters sleeping in
the armory bays. Ahh...that was funny. Or the other firefighter (same
night) with the uh....stomach bug...yea, that's it... who loses it into
his sleeping bag repeatedly...
Hope to be out west soon! Rumor is we'll be available around the 22nd
Good stories, Doc Moleskin. Glad yer still with us. Ab.
Just got home from the 30-mile site. It was an experience, I'm glad that I
It's nice to see that they did something for my former coworker, friend
||These were sent to me from Bill Jannisch
Tanker drop was taken on the South part of the Hayman
Spectacular. I put it on the AirTanker
5 photo page. Wow. Ab.
||BLM = Bureau of Lame Mules
CDF= Cold Drinks and Food, California Doughnut Farmers
Here's a couple of stories for ya, on a fire on the CNF we were pulling
night shift and were parked in a big clearing on a ridge. We proceeded to
convince the rookie on the crew that the rest of us were secretly working
for the CIA, and the reason we were no where near the fire is because this
spot was a secret UFO landing site. The rookie bought it and still
believed us after we all started laughing.
On another CNF fire are area to work in was next to a turkey farm and the
heat from the fire cooked a whole lot of them, so there were these
dumpsters filled with dead turkeys. The smell and flies were terrible.
When lunch came around we had to eat in the engine to escape the flies.
Some one had left a window open so the engine was filled with flies. I'll
never forget looking across the back seat of the engine and seeing the guy
on the other side, sandwich in one hand and smashing flies all over the
window with the other hand. I guess you had to be there.
Thanks for clearing up the question in regards to the shelter deployment
Here are a couple statements some of the guys on our crew used to
insinuate "taking a dump":
"I've got to deploy a load of Jumpers"
"I feel a slurry load coming on"
2nd Generation IHC Supt
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA AREA LARGE FIRES:
AB, Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. This fire is burning in grass and
tules five miles south of Willows, CA. Personnel are patrolling and
INCIDENT |ST|UNIT| SIZE | % | EST |TOTAL|CRW|ENG|HELI|STRC| $$$
NAME | | | |CTN| CTN |PERS | | | |LOSS|C-T-D
AB |CA| SWR| 750| 90| UNK| 62| 2| 9| 0| 0| NR
So who named THAT one, huh?
Hummmmmmm, very interesting. Ab.
||I need help with my cache! Our park has a 30-man cache as well a 4
engines. Soon I'll be helping 2 smaller parks to oversee their caches.
anyone know of good software I can use to track all this stuff? A simple
spreadsheet and binder isn't cutting it anymore.
||To the sweeper:
Just to set the record straight.....there is an on-going investigation for
the shelter deployment by the jumpers in UT -- the preliminary 72 hr.
report is done, and has been recommended for widespread distribution. A
final report will be forthcoming within the week. I'm guessing there may
be a sense of "preferential treatment" from the troops regarding
investigations -- in this case -- all above board. Look for the
dissemination of info soon!
Also -- another term -- boy does all this bring back memories. After last
week's huge t-storm activity in NW, ID, UT, etc., I awoke from my stupor
---- and there I was surrounded by thousands of "water dogs."
an initial attack nightmare, but after having chased many of the dogs in
time, was able to accurately identify.
Water dog -- steam rising from the timber after a wet t-storm that has
many a smokechaser on a wild goose chase, as it can easily be confused for
a "real" smoke......
||Another one from Firescribe:
We have a photo of women inmates working a hillside in Ventura Co
near Ojai on the Fire 5 photo page (Ventura Rx). Their burnout may have
reduced fire expansion on the recent Wolf Fire. Ab.
||A story about being new to fire.
There were 3 or 4 of us rookies on a strike team of engine crews. One of
the funnier things that happened to one of the other rookies occurred a
couple of days after some burnout operations and mopup when things had
gotten slow on the fire. The engine boss told the rookie to get out the
green flagging and flag all of the trees that were still alive so that
they wouldn't be taken out when the forest was cleaned up. That provided
at least a couple hours of entertainment, especially when he had to go
back and retrieve all of the flagging when he finally figured out what was
Ah, flagging stories...
||Re: lack of FS funding
I heard yesterday that temp and seasonal employees already hired can
stay on. But purchases for tools and gear for them are frozen, and they
can't get any overtime. Can someone verify this??
Another memorial anniversary - Thirtymile: www.king5.com/localnews/stories/NW_071002WABforestfire.67ce6738.phpl
House Invites Aussie Hotshots to Help Douse U.S. Wildfires. (Seems like a
mis-use of the term hotshot? Maybe Aussie Fire Managers would have been a
Forest Service Freezes Funds
Freezing of funds does not bode well for the near future. Lots of regular
Forest Service work, including environmental work, will grind to a halt.
Should put up some signs in the campgrounds that need repair that there's
a money shortage and the Public should call their congress people. Ab.
The IR crew I was on was dispatched to a fire on an adjacent district.
The fire was about 3 acres, back in there a ways and two guys from the
district had been there a good chunk of the day and needed help. We were
being flown in, but it was hot and high altitude and they could only carry
two of us at a time. Dave and I were the first load and had instructions
to tie in with the district guys - who, by the way, had a bum radio and
hadn't been heard from for a while - and begin scouting the fire and have
a plan ready when the rest of the guys got there.
The fire was on the east side of a ridge just below timberline and the
wind was out of the west popping over the ridge and starting to push the
fire down hill toward some logging slash. We were in the goat rocks above
the fire getting our bearings, when out of nowhere a tanker roars over. We
then hear dispatch tell the tanker that no one was on the fire and do an
IA run on it. We dial up our high tech "packset radio" and get
nobody. No matter, we are up wind away from the head of the fire, no
problem. Gotta get a pic, so I dug in my pack for my camera, Dave was
digging for his. Around comes the tanker - cool! - wow! looks like he is
going to drop across the head we are gonna get a great pic! Wups gotta
turn on the light meter! Hurry he's coming in. Wow kinda looks like he
heading straight at us? Can't be, no reason to drop across the top of the
fire, no fuel, can't go up hill. Yup he is coming at us, first pass is a
dry run right, damn gotta get it focused on infinity, Dave yells S@@# door
open! So down we go, heads toward the plane no time to do it right cause I
was gonna get the pic! Pink stuff, this is gonna be great! Snap-down.
Splotch! the world goes pink! Thump! Durn Dave must of jumped on my back!
That kinda hurts. And its cold and slimey! That sucked. Dave eloquent as
ever s$#$, F#$%. Slowly we get up. Arms, legs, fingers - yup all accounted
for. Dave "did you get the picture?" Yup You? You bet ! Bout
this time we hear some laughing. Here are the two district guys who came
up the hill pointing at the ground. Here's this nice pink pattern were two
human silhouettes. We had to laugh cause it was kinda funny looking, then
I took a step slipped in the pink snot, down I went and that hurt too.
Well we did the job, put the fire out, saved forest one more time. Oh
and the picture? I never did get the light meter turned on and it was over
exposed. Could see just enough to see it would have been a geat pic, a
classic! Damn if Daves didn't come out tho, and it was a
Like the fish that got away? Ab.
||Ab, trying to prompt us to provide more grist for his mill, suggested a
number of subjects for our amusing anecdotes:
OK, I'll bite. 'while back, our CDF Crew Strike Team Captains were unable
to procure single rooms at the Motel (Motel Unit Leader had an attitude),
and two of my colleagues had to bunk together. One was a heavy snorer, and
the other a light sleeper. Damn near came to fisticuffs. And just a few
days ago, had to stay at at a Best Western in Lompoc where the coffee
maker didn't work, and the damned shower kept changing from hot to warm
and back again. It was enough to make a grown man cry.
My first year as a Crew Captain (I think - it was about 1990 or 1991)
we were assigned to a fire on the ANF, and, IIRC, it was Big Bear where we
got our Motel rooms. The fire was considerably further down the mountain,
and the morning we got off our 24-hour (more like 36) hour shift we all
piled into our Dodge van and wheeled our way up the mountain on this
tortuous highway with sheer cliffs and bottomless canyons, often on each
side, and one hairpin curve after another. Our driver's nickname was
"Parnelli". Anyway, we arrived safely and had a few hours sleep,
and were all in the van again at 0500 in order to get to the 0600
briefing. "Parnelli" started the engine and headed for the
parking lot exit, and before we had traveled 50 feet the right front wheel
literally fell off the vehicle. A castellated nut on the steering arm had
disappeared, and the wheel just fell flat onto the driveway
Shifting gears to another category: Oncet (an amusing colloquialism,
don't you think?), several of us were sitting around IB at a large fire up
North, and one of us happened to glance up. He had time to say
"Look!" and we all looked up to see an orange dot in the sky
getting larger and larger. About two seconds later a full banjo impacted
the ground about thirty feet away and exploded. Turned out it had fallen
from a Sky Crane at maybe 2000' AGL...... I think it was the same incident
(or maybe not) where a female pilot of a Type III 'copter had her tennis
shoes fall out the side door, prompting a grounding and full FAA
Again, when I was quite new as a Crew Captain, so it was back in the
early 90's, my CDF Inmate/Firefighter Handcrew, for three years or so, was
the Helitack component of a USFS Helicopter. A USFS foreman flew in the
right seat, and my Crew (seven of them, as my short Crew was divided in
half to provide 7-day a week coverage), and I, sat in the back two rows.
This was an ad-hoc arrangement due to USFS budget cutbacks. Anyway, flying
into a fire near Fort Hunter Ligget, we were looking for a landing spot to
dump me and my Crew, and we all happened to glance up at just the moment
the sun glinted off the large high-tension power lines we had just flown
under. Yes, the pilot was as startled as were we. So much more to tell,
but, in the immortal words of Donald Duck, That's all for now.
CDF Mike from Arroyo Grande
||OK a few highlights from the trek:
Our driver rear-ended the other bus, failed brakes she said, bad driving
hwy patrolman said. (Tested ok after the incident.)
But the cool part was K-mart. When the manager heard we were stranded in
her parking lot for the day she arranged a tv/vcr in the restaurant and
invited us to sit inside and watch movies and enjoy drinks until the
replacement bus arrived. Very nice. I was on the clock and watching Dumb
and Dumber. It doesnt get any better!!!
After that, every vehicle we had seemed to break or fail, so we cringed
they said helicopter ride to the top of the ridge.... All went well
Some prankster put a rubber snake in the crew boss's bed roll.
The boss responded by zip-tying the same prankster into his tent.
The prankster placed a wooden "schlong" (see "part of the
in the boss's baggage which was found during the hand search at the
These were the highlights as I remember them,
||Ab, please Post this:
This is an addition to the PocketCard web page that includes a very basic
explanation of the PocketCards -- what they are intended to do, and what
they are not intended to do.There is also a link here with a definition of
Burning Index (BI), Energy Release Component (ERC), a Burning Index/Fire
Behavior Cross Reference, and Explanations of Fire Danger Adjective
There's also a special page set up at
to provide PocketCard briefings, developed by the Fire Danger Working
||Slow fire year in SW Montana in 1964 or 65. The smoke jumpers in
Missoula were not getting
firefighting hours. The Line Creek fire near Yellowstone started and crews
were sent in. The
weather was too extreme (windy) for the jumpers to jump so, evidently to
get them some hours
and more experience, they were bussed in.
Conversation at camp on their arrival:
"The jumpers just got here."
"Yeah. Bussed 'em in."
"Yeah. They hopped off the bus and did a ground roll."
For a while jumpers were "hoppers", at least behind their
Another term perhaps not used any more:
"Humping it" or "Hump it" i. e. walking, especially
with a pack and/or equipment.
Example: We will be trucked to the end of the road then "hump
it" to the fireline.
The highest priority is: everybody comes back.
Good story, anyone got others to amuse us? This Ab wouldn't mind
hearing some more funny ones like the two about dousing the illegal
campfire. Remember that thread we had once upon a time about the blue
rooms in fire camp - that was fun.
Ideas: What about bears, rattlers, scorpions, other pests, shortages
of food or equipment in fire camp or while spiked out? Getting dunked
while crossing a river? Watching your gear float downstream. Strange beds?
Strange bedfellows? Snore'rs. The time you didn't sleep. The Safety. Fine
people you have met while fighting fire? The true story of the woman
resident who was offering free backrubs as a motivator and thank you on
that norcal complex? The family who offered their cabin floor? The
weirdest food you've ever eaten. The food you wished you hadn't eaten. The
time you didn't eat. Saving that important barn, expensive interface
house, historical outhouse, woodpile or sacred tree. Blisters and poison
oak. Remedies. Chants the hotshots sang out before the days of PC police.
Experiences in the smoke. The variety of firefighters and support staff in
firecamp? The biggest ego. Unspoken firecamp rules. Spoken ones.
Your first fire experience, seduced by fire, hooked on fire. (You can
create a new moniker any time you like. <HAW HAW>) Fire tools that
break. Standing in line for the one firecamp phone? For a shower? The
firecamp from hell. Your best firecamp experience. Camp crud, do we all
get it? The redflag warning weather that never came? the weather that did?
the weather we didn't hear about and what happened next? Your coldest
night? hottest day? Jumping into the black, retreating in front of the
flames. Crews that practice that and dropping their equipment. Your
closest call? The biggest cluster. Getting spammed by the AT. Best prank
on a newbie, on your crewmate, on the DIVS or camp overhead? People you
got attached to just hearing them over the scanner.
A story you've never told anyone. Smelly sox, shirts? The most colorful
crew carrier driver? The weirdest. Crew rituals.
Or on a more serious note: a favorite mentor and what they taught you,
rescuing the mule that fell off the wilderness trail, saving someone who
got hurt or could have gotten hurt, a story of someone who went the extra
mile, who made all the difference?
We all have these stories. If anyone wants to tell them, we could make a
list of those, too.
I never got the scoop on how the two Fla. crew busses collided. ??? Saw
them banging out some dents in the parking lot in Richfield.
Re Jumper deployment:
From the "I Was There" diary: 3 jumpers deployed shelters to
shield them from "ash and embers" while working on the fire in
question. However, this did not warrant an "official
investigation" on deployment. Hmm...... Be careful out there !!!
" The Sweeper"
Measures to protect foreign firefighters from lawsuits
||Here are a few terms and sayings that have been poked around the fire
for a few years.
Saddle up - Break's over, "Let's get going."
Water Lily - Engine personnel.
Pounder - Handcrew member.
Start Digging - Wake up. Another saying that works, "Drop your @#$%
grab your socks, lets move."
Knuckle Dragger - A genuine firefighter who has the knowledge and has
developed the abilities to beat on the Dragon. In short, a damn good
Landing Queens - Burn Boss/Prescribed Fire Manager and groupies.
Fuels Geek (said with humor) - Fuels Officer or Specialist.
Nif Nerd - Fire Planner.
Well I just returned from my first western detail. Very kewl.
We took three florida teams and two tennessee teams and for the most part
kept them together on the Sanford fire in Utah and the RattleSnake Complex
in Utah and Colorado.
At 11,000 feet the air was thin and dusty, but after a few days we adapted
We did have a couple people drop out because of illness, but no major
injuries, so it was a pretty good trip.
I owe a debt of thanks to this site for the tips I have gleaned and also
Gene, Gabe, Rich and all the other experienced guys on the crew who gave
advice on the trip.
I look forward to the next trip out.
Thanks for the Voice;
Flash in Florida
hey everyone a year since I lost my cousin .. And a year and a month and I
had to go thru my shelter deployment.. Take time out of your day to say
thanks your not choosing to go.. It will be rough on all the familys cause
we are goin to the memorial for them.. May GOd watch your back on the
.. thanks Fight fire 75
In the context of ICS, there actually is no such thing as a helishot, the
proper ICS terminology is "fly crew" or "flight crew"
(reference the Field
Operations Guide). The primary mission of the flight crew is initial
Large fire support is secondary. The first crews were formed in the 1970's
with the increased use of Type II helicopters. There are numerous flight
crews around now in Region 5, thanks to MEL and the National Fire Plan.
largest flight crew in the US is based at Arroyo Grande on the Los Padres
NF, it currently has 27 firefighter/rappellers flying in a Sikorsky S-61N
helicopter and is certified as a Type 1 hand crew. There are crews with up
to 14-21 people, but they are assigned to smaller Type II helicopters. The
size of the crew allows for 7 day coverage with a maximum of personnel.
flight crews operate with Bell 212 and Bell 212HP ( High Performance ),
Hill on the Eldorado uses a Bell 214 and there is a crew on the Shasta
Trinity that uses a Sikorsky S-58T. This is just some introductory info,
more later. Should "helishot" be added to the ICS vocabulary?
lets hear some
||The Jobs Page, Job
Series 0462 and Series 0455
Pages are updated.
We have a new photo on our Home page. It's a
nice one of the Ponil Fire raging in the Cimmaron NM area. We added the
photo to the Wallpaper photo page
also. New wallpaper anyone? Our thanks to Mike Holzer.
This pic is of the 33 Fire in Fresno County. It had a sustained wind of
approx. 35 mph on it. The fire was on the west side of the valley and
150 acres. This "road" was no place for a Type 1 engine! We
shortly after the photo was taken. By the way, this was the head of the
we were lead in by an oil field company employee as the fire occurred on
Chevron property. Cause was down power lines due to high wind.
Thanks Capt E. I put it on the Fire
11 photo page. Ab.
||Hi, I have attached a Logo for our Fire Management Program. California
State Parks Fire Management. Thanks for allowing us to ad our Logo to your
collection. So Cal Fire Mgmt Coordinator, Frank Padilla, Jr.
Thanks, nice one. I put it on Logo 5.
||This is interesting reading from the fire news page. The Chicago Ridge
Fire. That area of Colorado is steep and rugged, the place where the 10th
Mt Division trained some years ago. Fire in and around unexploded
munitions... No air tankers allowed because they might get blown out of
the sky... Glad they're not letting firefighters in there...
||More fire terms:
One I remember working up in Humboldt County in '87 during a swarm of
lighting strikes. When a U.S.F.S crew bus pulled up and disgorged a motley
looking assortment of bearded, bandanaed, filthy firefighters, my CDF
engineer looked up and said well the U.S. Forest Circus is in town. Well,
that one has stuck with me over the decades. There is also the assortment
of names we called the HFEO, heavy fire equipment operators, aka. dozer
drivers, tread heads, rock rollers, and then my favorite all the ones with
four letters in the name. Has anyone else had the pleasure of being a new
firefighter and getting the directive to get the files and "sharpen
DOZER blade because it's to dull to cut." I, in my infinite wisdom
"how dumb do you think I am", to which was the reply get the
#$%^ file and get out to the dozer. Well I out smarted them, I was the
that day and basically asked what kind of poison do you want for dinner,
needless to say I didn't have to work to long on the dozer blade.
I am fascinated by the language you all use. Today, I found a sentence re
Type I crew that would "coyote" and work most of the day . . . .
to mind: laying low, lurking, slinking, attacking and retreating, tails
tongues dripping with saliva, a dead run to chase the chickens (flames).
does it mean something else instead?
Take a look at the FIRE Terms/Nicknames.
||First off, I'd like to say that you site has provided insight into the
world which we seldom see trapped in the cabs of our engines, or in the
confines of fire camp. It is a great resource for learning what is really
going on out in the "world".
I was wondering if you had any information on Helishots? To my
knowledge there is only one crew out there in R5. Where are they? When was
the first Helishot crew formed? What kind of ship do they fly? Are the
standards different from a regular shot crew? What is the practicality of
a Helishot crew? Start up cost? My foreman sent me out on this research,
and I figured you were probably the best source. He would like some info,
because he wants to start a Helishot crew up here in Idaho. Thanks for
your time, and your website.
P.S. Idaho is prime and ready to burn, the single trees are really
itching to get up and go. We had to use a tanker to slow one down today
because it poked it's little head up into the tree's and started to run
Browse our Arroyo Grande Flight
Crew page and take a look at its description
page. That will give you a starting place. Readers? Ab.
||Has anyone heard of the investigation into the Price Canyon fire in Utah
regarding some Jumper's pulling shelters? All I have heard is rumor, but I
do know this incident did in fact happen. I don't want to start "hear
say", I just thought there should have at least been a preliminary
report out by now. It has been over a week, maybe even 10 days, since the
2nd Generation IHC Supt.
CDF and USFS firefighters as well as Incident Command Teams use both
methods. Agency has nothing to do with it. The fire conditions dictate the
methods to be utilized not the agency. Both agencies are very good at it,
however my experience is Hot Shot crews are best suited for firing
operations on indirect sections of line. The crew composition is more
conducive to this operation.
Unless I'm terribly mistaken, at Storm King the crews were going direct -
got hooked. The crew at 30 Mile was going direct - they retreated in front
of the fire and got cut off. At Mann Gulch, the jumpers hadn't even
working on the fire, they were trying to get to the flank or toe but got
hooked - so they weren't going indirect. I'm not sure about the Loop Fire,
but I think the crews were going direct and they got hooked as they
But that doesn't answer your question. And I don't know if more people
been killed going direct vs. indirect. In my experience, going direct is
generally safe as long as you're bringing black with you - if you get out
front of a rager or get hooked when the line is really hot then you can be
hosed. And indirect is safe as long as you have a decent retreat to a good
safety zone. I think the real question shouldn't be whether direct or
indirect is safer, but rather WHERE THE HELL IS MY SAFETY ZONE?
If you have a good safety zone, then direct vs. indirect is kind of moot.
||We received notice from Pat Andrews, Research Scientist at the Fire
Sciences Lab in Missoula, MT that the new Wildand Fire Assessment System
(WFAS) page has been updated and replaces the old one.
Check it out at www.fs.fed.us/land/wfas/.
The RAWS Team
||Good Post FireBill,
It reminded me of a very similar incident that I had (many, many) years
ago that I must relate. I beg your indulgence Ab:
Got a call on my day off to investigate a report of an abandoned campfire
in a dispersed CG that had a fire closure in place. It must have pulled me
away from something important such as grilling steaks or watching a game,
as I remember being a little torqued as I drove the engine out.
Arriving, I find an occupied camping area with a blazing fire (they had
piled on a large amount of firewood) going and no one around. It was on a
small lake so I assumed the campers were out fishing. There were several
“no campfire” signs posted at the site.
I turned on the pump and set the foam unit at shave cream setting and
dispensed an 18” – 24” layer on the fire, the large stack of
firewood and the rest of the general area. It looked like a winter
landscape. As I waited for the occupants to return, I gave everything
another layer, just for good measure.
The Jeep Cherokee parked nearby had a very dirty back window, so I left
the morons the following message fingered in the dirt:
“Smokey says, no f__king campfires!” with an angry Smokey head
underneath the note.
After getting back I thought that might not have been so smart, but
fortunately, I never heard anything about it.
||Good Morning All,
I have a few questions...
I saw that FireWolf added going direct vs going indirect (some
more serious terms) to the Fire terms and nicknames list. I got a taste of
the reality of these two approaches on the Big Bar Complex and in FF1 we
learned the benefits and dangers of both methods. The CDF capt who
organized and led the FF1 class said that CDF often fights fire using the
direct method while the FS uses the indirect method. Is this true in
general? I know many large fires must employ the indirect method because
of size and extent of the fire and the topography, but I've seen the FS go
direct on IA, sometimes with air support. When CDF manages large fires do
they employ more direct methods than fed teams managing large fires? Seems
going direct you'd have to be very sure of winds/weather, but maybe these
issues are very present in awareness and are more consciously mitigated
because of the proximity of the flames.
Another question: Have more firefighters died while fighting fire
indirectly than on direct attack? 30-mi, Storm King, Loop, Decker, Mann
Gulch and Rattlesnake (?) to name a few that were indirect. (Did anyone
ever get the details on the Rattlesnake? Was that indirect? I seem to
recall the religious group was not directly on the fire.) Well, just some
questioons I had over the last week --prompted by the smell of smoke in
We had lots of smoke in the New River valley just before the 4th. ATs over
head and the whump whump whump of a heavy helicopter. Deja vu. Found out
later that Hoopa was burning, but maybe there was some other closer start
on the 2nd. I'm curious whether there was a start on New River.
Whatever... It's hot and dry in NorCal.
FireBill, amazing story. Why am I not surprised?
As far as the CDF-FS rivalry, all I can say is I love you all!
||A July 3 update on Grayback policy from lagrandeobserver.com:
stops using vans after fatal crash
Memorial Services, reports from a week ago:
Crowd Remembers Shirley
Had a Job He Would Not Have Traded
More stories and photos here: www.lagrandeobserver.com/news/section.cfm?cid=1
||Proof that we will always have jobs... (I actually witnessed this
Act I, Scene 1, set in a VERY dry National Forest campground somewhere in
FPO: Sir, were you aware that there are absolutely no fires allowed in
this National Forest at this time?
Camper: Yeah, I saw the sign, I didn't think it was important.
FPO: Were you aware that all fire violations come with a MANDATORY
appearance before a Fed. magistrate?
Dumbass (oops, I meant "Camper"): I read something like that on
your bulletin board... can you just hurry up and give me my ticket so I
can get back to my campfire?
Segue to engine crew extinguishing said fire with a nice mix of 1% foam,
and then breaking apart adjacent collected firewood and soaking it with
same solution. Zoom in on impish grins on faces of Engine Foreman and crew
as they stir the fire pit and take great care to "pre-treat" all
of the adjacent firewood.
(probably not) The End
Watch out for yourselves and each other,
||RE: CDF Mike's Post:
Spot on with the CDF MKU kitchen and crew! Perfect reason why you don't
order one of those for a small feed. That was one of the biggest problems
with feeding at federal shows, they shut them down when the national
caterer comes on scene after one or two meals. Everything is added up and
divided by the number of meals served to get the "average meal
Once you get them in place, leave those MKU's there. Good food and the
average will come out close to the nationals if you work it right.
"Another CDF BC"
||Ab opined; << Unless I'm mistaken, the CDFers among us know this
is not personal, dontcha, guys and gals? >>
Re: "Dennis's" post - (thanks for the kind words, Dennis). Maybe
I missed something, but the only RECENT slurs against we CDFers have been
in good humor and no offense taken. I WILL say that from my own personal
perspective, USFS personnel often seem to have an attitude about us, which
is easily dispelled by pre-empting it with a few friendly greetings and
performing up to Type-1 expectations. On any particular assignment, their
initial reticence soon turns to camaraderie.
Hey! Do you know what the fire-rectangle is? Fuel, Oxygen, Heat, USFS.
CDF Mike from Arroyo Grande
||Here is another term,
CDF- Can't Dig Fireline
CDF Mike, don't get your panties in bunch over this one, it's all in fun.
Stopped by your station today to see if you were in, but they said you
come back until Tuesday. What time do you usually leave the station in the
morning? We can either stop by or call before you leave.
||Hi fellow fire fighters!
Just got back from the Missionary Ridge fire in southwest Colorado.
It's was extremely dry down there. The fire made sum extreme runs in the
afternoon. So, keep your heads up and don't get to relaxed out there
because, it could come up on you when you're not looking. We don't need
anymore deaths this year. so be safe.
||BLM = Bureau of Livestock & Mining
||FINE story here by Judd Slivka:
Well worth the read.
Rick Lupe was leaning on the hood of his ash-stained silver pickup, his
black baseball cap pulled low over his forehead and his dark eyes
blazing out of brown sunglasses.
Lupe, a division supervisor on the "Rodeo-Chediski" fire, was
running a part of the fireline that was crucial not only to this city's
survival but also to other towns.
His dark eyes were blazing that day not because of the smoke in the air,
but because there was fire on the wrong side of Snake Ridge. If the fire
spilled down there, it could...
||We've gotten some more photos up.
Some from the Hayman Fire from J. Foster, Highlands 26 are on Fire
11 and Handcrews 5. There's one
more from Scott Bello of a spotter plane on Air
Tanker 5. Sean sent in one of two Krassalians rappelling from
waaaaaaaay up there on Helicopters 7
and Afsaneh sent in a photo of a huge all terrain vehicle spewing foam
that I put on Equipment 4. Don't
forget to read the descriptions. Happy browsing.
Let me know what you need. I have a little bit of everything. I could scan
send it email.. What part of R6 are you from?
Ab would be willing to pass it on.
Service honors Oregon firefighter
Forest Fires Burn in Northern Quebec
||re: spot weather forecast forms
See link from yesterday for the fire weather units in R5. They still work.
||Despite my protestations, my Crew and I were assigned to assist with our
Cuesta Camp CDF Mobile Kitchen Unit at the "Powerhouse" Fire
near Springville (near Porterville) in California. Ordered up in the
mid-morning of 5 July, the entourage arrived at I.B. (almost 200 miles of
HOT interior valley driving) at 1700. This 60-acre (admittedly gnarly)
fire was under control, and the ordering authority wanted meals for
300-350 at 1800. We had the hot meals (steak with plenty of fixins) ready
just over 2 hours after arrival. The total commitment included at least (I
may be forgetting some items): The large MKU and tractor, a large
private-tractor-hauled Support Unit trailer, my Fire Crew in our
Crew-Buggy (17 men plus me), the Food Support Unit Leader (a Battalion
Chief in his vehicle), our CDF stake-side with additional necessary
equipment, a 10-passenger CDF Van with 10 additional Inmate
"Grade-Ineligible" (AKA "Gray Dirigibles" -
non-fire-qualified Inmate Cooks and other specialized-function people),
three highly-compensated (and very competent) portal-to-portal Cal. Dept.
of Corrections officers in another van, the "Free" (not
incarcerated) CDC cook, a 60-foot private contractor reefer unit, HUGE
electrical generator trailor unit, potable water truck, high-pressure,
hot-water cleaning trailer, several assorted additional private units, two
other CDF Captains (one driving the MKU tractor, and also required to
supervise half of my Crew and half of the Gray Dirigibles for the PM
operational period), and one newbie Captain for training and also to drive
the Class-B Drivers License required stakeside). And, oh, yes, the Food
Unit Leader insisted (reasonably, in light of driving rules,
passenger-endorsements, our litigious society and etc.) that the three
Captains take Motel rooms during the night of 5 July. I got to the Motel
at 2000 and left at 0330, and the other two Captains were there from 2400
to 0900).We served dinner that night, and breakfast the next morning, then
were demobed and subsequently drove back, returning to Camp by 1800 6
July. My WAG (wild-ass-guess) is that each meal cost $75-$100 per person.
Sack lunches for July 6 were provided by a local vendor.
At one time in the distant past we were a "lean-and-mean"
On another topic:
"The Jurassic Captain" scribbled: <<I've always used
M.I.S.T. to describe USFS suppression efforts "Maximum Income
Suppression Tactics" The Jurassic Captain>>
The limitations of e-correspondence notwithstanding (I don't know if
Jurassic had his tongue in his cheek or what), this type of statement
tends to steam my clams. I am CDF, not USFS, and on occasion I hear my CDF
colleagues make this same sort of statement regarding Brand-X (USFS - : )
). I am not a naive person, but I have absolutely no doubt at all that
very nearly 100% of the firefighting personnel in all wildland
firefighting agencies do their absolute best to extinguish fires in the
most expeditious and competent manner possible. For most of us there is
more than enough fire to keep us occupied and employed, and for nearly all
of us there is the necessity to know that we are professionals doing the
best job we can. I think you would have to search long and hard to find an
instance of an employee of any wildland fire agency deliberately
attempting to prolong a fire for personal income (unless you were
utilizing the national News media, which can focus in with extreme
resolution on individual cases). In particular, I think that the USFS has
a long and proud tradition of excellence in the face of public
indifference and fiscal penury. I admire the USFS as a firefighting outfit
which is much better than the taxpayers should expect for their meager
expenditure in wages. Now, bureaucratic inefficiency is an area where
improvements could certainly be made.............
CDF Mike from Arroyo Grande
Have you been following our posts as we've been creating our humorous
list of FIRE Terms/Nicknames?
Jurassic Captain was just adding another acronym meaning for M.I.S.T.
Hey Readers, don't go gettin' PC and bent twisted on us now. This
"terms" thread is all in fun.
||Here's a good NYT article on the benefits of fuel treatment in the
forest, with reference to the Hayman Fire. Everyone, you have to have a
no-cost signup account to read it, but very worthwhile.
Idea of Fighting Fire With Fire Wins Converts
Here's another from my search from the Arizona Tribune about who
blocked the AZ forest pretreatment where the Rodeo Fire burned:
Green Group Lawsuit Blocked Forest Thinning
I hope we can get past finger pointing and get on with the work of
mitigating heavy fuel loadings in our forests, especially near interface
communities for a start.
||On May 28th, Assembly Bill 1748 -- the bill to extend death benefits to
the families of tanker pilots -- passed the CA Assembly unanimously (79 to
0). It is now in the Senate Appropriations Committee where it will be
August 2002. If you're a California resident, please let your state
senators know you support it. Here's the link to contact information for
your senators. ( www.senate.ca.gov/
||Well I have not had time to get on and see whats been going on lately.
Been out pretty steady since May 1st. Just got back from the Missionary
Ridge fire last week.
I was wondering if anyone out there knew if there was a web site where I
could obtain copies of the spot weather forecast forms? My personal Belt
weather kit is out and I need to replace them.
Thanks, hope all are well and be safe!
we lost 3 of our structural brothers from the county i came from in nj.
they died trying to save 3 kids in a house fire. i knew all of them
personally. we are in a dangerous profession. doesnt matter if we are
fighting wildland fire or structural fire. we are all in this together.
every death in the fire fighting community should hurt us all. every death
should bring us together tighter. look after your own. you may not know
the fire fighter next to you but still look out for them. its the only way
we can get home to our love ones.
||I hope this kind of "Remembrance and Safety Stand-down" -- a
tribute to and remembrance of those who died at Storm King -- is happening
on wildland fires around the United States today.
May we never forget.
May we recommit ourselves to safety on the fireline.
Please take time to link to this and join in a moment of silence.
For those of you having trouble getting into the www.r5.fs.fed.us
websites, try entering from our links
page, federal (then click National Interagency Incident Management
Teams, and CIIMT 1) or... try it from the Fires,
2002 page (go down to Utah, Rattle Complex, then "Honor and
Awareness" in the lower left).
Evidently some people are able to enter through a long-standing link but
when they try to enter using the url alone, it will not work. On a
dinosaur computer at a neighbor's house, I just tried getting to the site
sent in by NorCal Tom, above, and it worked. I could also access the site
from Fires, 2002, but I couldn't do it by just putting the url in the
location window. Must be some new security codes in place on that R5
website. Strange. Ab.
||An observation on the radio situation I have seen from the last few
Radios from the Boise fire cache (NIRSC) are in short supply and are
being rationed. The number and size of fires has stretched resources thin.
Do not expect to be able to check a radio out if you show up at a fire
without your own.
The condition of radios I have seen have ranged from new GPHs to
falling apart LPHs. Forest Service regulations state that radios are to be
disposed of when they are 10 years old, LPHs are at least 15 years old.
They are good radios when in good condition, but wear and tear reduce
If I was to be sent out on the line with an old LPH radio that I might
need as my only lifeline to help, I would think the person handing me the
radio did not really care about my personal safety.
Most of the radios that I have repaired at incidents are looking like
they have not had annual maintenance performed on them (another FS reg).
Freq error too far off, deviation not set right, blown speakers, rubber
switch boots worn, PTT boots ripped, the list goes on. Remember your life
could depend on that radio.
My personal rant on the subject. In the Forest Service, radio takes a
backseat to computer data and telephones. Office managers are more
concerned about getting daily office work done than providing safe
communications in the field. I figure a failure of the computer network is
only a minor inconvenience compared to a failure of the radio system that
is the only communications out in the woods. A technician's time should be
spent maintaining and improving the radio system.
In Region 6 (OR and WA) there is going to be a re-organization of the
Information Resources. Basically what they are trying to do is reduce the
workforce, the workload will not be reduced any but will increase.
Customer service on the forests will decrease as the people in the field
will have less contact with local techs (if they even have a local tech).
What is going to happen is that the techs that are good at their jobs are
going to see a lot of their time eaten up by data work and travel time to
forests that have not developed quality electronics technicians.
Not too mention forests that will not let their techs go off forest to
fire as they are too nervous that their data network might fail. How many
of you have went to communications to have your radio repaired only to be
told the COMT won't or is not able to repair a radio. COMTs that are not
electronics technicians is a whole different rant that I could go off on
for a long time.
The IRM re-organization is a bad idea. If you are R6 FS let your
management know right now, time is short replies are due July 12. Quality
of service is going to go down the tubes as techs are stretched thin and
their time is wasted on data. Contracting out radio service is just going
to cost more and the pride of ownership and quality of work is just not
there, contractors are only out to make a buck.
If you can't tell, I would rather be off on a fire supporting the
groundpounders as much as I can than be at the office making sure they can
surf the web.
PS If you are having radio interference around the new type 62? FS
engine on a TAC freq of 168.050, the interference might be coming from the
electronic engine system monitor for the water pump.
I found two engines from South CA that had the same problem. Replacing
the monitor solved the problem. If you are having problems try unplugging
the engine monitor at the back of it while listening to the tac channel
The engine foreman on one of them said that his local techs and auto
shop people were pointing the finger at each other and he had gotten
nowhere with them.
||Ab sez... There continues to be a major problem with the R5 Fire
Website. It's being worked on. At least one critical part of it is still
The Fire Weather Units are still online here.
||Speaking of fire names. . .
CDF is currently initial attacking the Potbelly Fire. I'm glad I'm
not the incident commander ;-)
||To Ab, and to those in the FF community that find wildlandfire.com to be
unique and valuable:
I’d like this site to be around for a long time, and want to send money
to support it, now. I expect that others feel the same, but even if we
wanted to, there’s no mailing address on the site that I’ve found to
send a check.
In fact, 2 years ago in “Ab speaks”, it was clear that Ab has an
aversion to accepting contributions or donations. I want to change that,
because even if it’s all volunteer labor, the enthusiasm and “calling”
can wither when there’s a shortage of cash for the essentials.
If there are others out there that feel the same, respond with an e-mail
offering to send money if Ab will just give us an address to send it to. I’m
thinking maybe a couple of hours of overtime pay, more if you can handle
it, less if you can’t. And, if Wildlandfire’s privacy is an issue, Ab
can use some East Coast bank to receive the money and transfer it back out
West to <snip!>.
So, there you have it, Ab. If you can accept sponsorships and commissions
from your alliance businesses (July 4 in
Family Said), surely you can accept heartfelt thanks ($$$) from your
individual supporters. How ‘bout it?
FFer's Dad wrote in yesterday with a question, which we answered on familysaid.
Having just had a much-needed day off, this Ab really enjoyed answering
the question... Trying to characterize what I do made me realize how much
I love this work.
Now, to answer this question... Thanks for the offer. In the past,
others of our community have offered to help out - for which we have been
grateful. However, then, as now, we have declined, although we know you
all make such offers with an open heart. Partly the reason we are so
averse to accepting donations is that we feel a need to maintain absolute
independence in a world where influence can be a subtle thing and money
can be a powerful influence. (On the other hand, maybe we just have a big
Ab ego ...)
We still have plans to sell mugs and hats when fire season is over and we
have more time. You could support us then by purchasing some. In the
meantime, if you know of any worthy fire-related businesses,
organizations, associations, consulting individuals who might like to
advertise with us, let us know and we'll contact them. And if you purchase
products from vendors on our classifieds page or from those having a
banner, please let them know that you heard about their products via
Again, the Abs say thanks for your offer. It's such offers that make it so
rewarding to be a part of this community.
||Ab, here are a few terms I managed to houk-up out of memory:
-Brain Dead (Damaged) Crew- BD Crew
-Lip Sh_t – Carmex or Blistex
-Boot Scruff – Fireline construct by dragging your boots
-Egg Ball – Breakfast from an ice cream scoop
-Whizzer or Zipper – Unseen rock that flys by your head at night
-Vict’s in the Stix – DOC Crew
-Punt – What you do to warm ham sandwich, (after balling it up)
-** Jerky – Very old road kill (** insert small animal name)
||There's a moral to this story:
These friars were behind on their belfry payments, so they opened a
small florist shop to raise funds. Since everyone liked to buy flowers
from the men of God, a rival florist across town thought the competition
He asked the good fathers to close down, but they would not. He went
back and begged the friars to close. They ignored him. So, the rival
florist hired Hugh MacTaggart, the roughest and most vicious thug in town
to "persuade" them to close.
Hugh beat up the friars and trashed their store, saying he'd be back if
they didn't close up shop. Terrified, they did so, thereby proving that:
Hugh and only Hugh can prevent florist friars.
HAW, HAW. Ab.
Would those of you having trouble with the R5 fire site please check
again. We think the problems have been resolved. If you do still have any
problems, could you please cut-paste-send us the url of the page you're on
and the link(s) you're having trouble with (plus error message) as well as
what browser and version you use. We'd be happy to pass the info on.
FYI, the person currently in charge of the site has been off on fire as
some of the rest of us have been.
The Jobs Page, Job
Series 0462 and Series 0455
Pages are updated.
||Just wanted to remind everyone that Saturday, July 6th is the 8th
anniversary of the 14 firefighter fatalities on Storm King Mountain in
Colorado. With all the new folks in the fire organization, we need to take
time and let them know (and to remind us old guys) how quickly fire
conditions can deteriorate, especially if all the safety rules are
compromised. The best tribute to the Storm King 14 is for all of us
performing safely on every fire!.
||I've always used M.I.S.T. to describe USFS suppression efforts
"Maximum Income Suppression Tactics"
The Jurassic Captain
||Don't mean to stir the pot. But, just a quick question. Why does there
seem to be so much adverse E-mail in regards to CDF? I'm just a rural fire
instructor in Oklahoma. But, have had the opportunity to work on large
fires in over head positions from division group supervisor to plans and
have had the privilege of working with different state forestry fire
people USFS, BLM, BIA and CDF.
It seems that each agency has different ways of attacking a fire. Some
are slow to start but end up building large fire camps. While others throw
everything at a fire from the beginning and go home. Some agencies get
paid the same when they are in the station or on a fire. While others get
special fire pay.
I do not see any criticism of other state forestry agencies. Sometimes
we criticize what we don't understand or are jealous of.
I have kept quiet for some time. But, am getting tired of all the
criticism of CDF.
I am now semi-retired and enjoy wildland fire web site. Keep up the
Dennis, when this thread started, we began the FIRE Terms/Nicknames
page with Ab's admonishment from several years ago. I suggest you read it
now at the top of the FIRE Terms/Nicknames
page. Like those on different crews that sometimes are in competition, CDF
and the federal fire agencies of R5 have been in competition for years.
This is part of our culture. (The upside of competition is the group
cohesion that may be necessary for survival of a firefighting crew.) That
said, it's also true that a very many of us work for one agency and then
the other. Those of us in this wildlandfire.com community recognize the
strengths of the different groups of us. We do not wish each other ill.
Hell, many of us meet up every summer on fires and work together quite
well. We have many shared goals even while having different missions. The
rivalry among us, however, is legend.
If you take to time to read back, all the initial "fire jargon"
that came in on this thread was slanted against the fed fire
organizations. The Pissfur Willies, Parkies and and Parent Company
firefighters didn't take offense when those terms were sent in. Unless I'm
mistaken, the CDFers among us know this is not personal, dontcha, guys and
Oh, the reason CDF has historically gotten picked on and not other state
agencies is that there is no other state agency that measures up to CDF.
It is by far the largest firefighting force outside the federal
Independent Investigations of Firefighter Deaths:
Oregon Firefighter Didn’t Have Spotter
Fire Crew Gets Boot for Beer
Pyrojournalism- what they do to journalists that get outta line
||Here are a few for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM):
Bureau of Land Mismanagement
Bureau of Loose Money
Bureau of Lotsa Money
Bureau of Lonely Men
Bastards, Liars, and Morons
Special OUCH on the last one... We know that's not true! Well, and
neither are the rest, except maybe the lonely men one til they found this
website! <HAR> Ab.
||Hi there -- some of these you may have to edit........but, what the
heck, this is an open forum. Here are a few off the top of my head.... I
know I'll remember others as they come to me here at the geriatric
Big Ernie -- the "being" in the sky that was responsible for
sending lightning and money.
Jumper H<snip, but rhymes> -- Girlfriend/wife of smokejumper (not
trying to be offensive -- as I was one also)
Jump List -- goes hand in hand with above -- real list is where you are
on the call out to fires -- other list was "on the cuff"
Legs -- people that were firefighters, but not jumpers -- as they still
had workable legs.
Mud Flap on a Stick -- Fireswatter tool -- widely used in the southern
CDF -- the three grades you didn't want to get in school.
4-11 -- I know we're supposed to be "clear speak" now, but I
remember how those numbers coming across the radio would make everyone
stand up and listen -- as it meant FIRE REPORT!!
Friction Tree -- Would like to know if I'm the only fool that ever fell
for this one -- let me know if anyone else bought it. Years ago when I got
my first district fire job, we were told that trees that had another tree
leaning against it could start a fire when the wind blew against it --
basically rubbing two sticks together. If we could locate these
"dangerous" trees, pinpoint by township, range and section, and
fill out the appropriate form (YES, the district actually had a friction
tree form -- even had a number for it) -- we could turn them in and be
rewarded with $25 for each "find" at the end of the season. I
was a busy, busy patrolman, documenting all those "bound to start
fires" trees -- turned in my huge pile of forms -- and surely did get
my "reward" at the end of season party!!
Also known as "Squeak Tree". We had some fun with that one a
year or so ago... Ab.
I can't say I'm an expert on breaking in boots, but
I've been asking people how they've broken in their
boots for the last coupla years ... Though it's not
recommended by the manufacturer, the most popular way
to do it seems to be hot water.
Here's the most popular method I've found... Fill a
tub with scalding hot water and leave your boots in
there until it cools to lukewarm. When the water is
cool, put on those boots with the socks you'll wear
with them and wear them until they're completely dry.
I did this on my Nick's, and have had no problems.
However, since the family business is making shoes,
I checked in with the Senior Shoe Guy, and he said the
problem with this method is that using the water will
strip the leather of some of its natural oils. To
mitigate that, once the boots are dry, oil 'em up.
Obenauf's is what the manufacturers of the boots
recommend. Keep oiling them daily for the next week or
so. When you oil, friction-rub the leather to get the
oil in there.
Also, a trick I learned from a New Mexico district
ranger to rid yourself of the "White's Bite." Get the
long, 96" laces that seem way too long for the 8"
boot. Use the "2-1-3" lacing system that Nick's has a
good diagram of on their web page. Basically, you're
going from the last eyelet to the speed-lace hook 2
up, then back down to 1, then up to the third.
Continue that pattern all the way up the boot. I did
it for the first time a couple fires ago. Made all the
difference in the world.
So much for boot care.
Just got back from the Rodeo-Chediski fire, and I
believe that this fire will be one to learn all sorts
of lessons from. From how to and how not to deal with
the media to how to fight a romping fire in the
interface, books will be written out of this one. Be
on the lookout for the forest and tribal evaluation of
what burned and what didn't, what worked and what
Of particular interest will be the burn pattern
where the fire moved into areas that had been
Rx-burned. Everytime a flame front went into a
prescribed burn area, the fire dove to the ground.
Three times the fire made hard runs in one area that
had been thinned by burning, and three times the fire
Anyway, that's about it from here. Be safe out
there. As the FBA on the Rodeo fire liked to say,
"It's not just June out there, it's a June with a
Quill the Shoemaker.
New Obenauf's Boot Preservative link on the Classifieds
Well, it's now been 2 weeks that the fire links on the Region 5 home page
have been unavailable using Internet Explorer.
I saw that someone else posted that the pages were available from within
Forest Service using a Forest Service machine, just not from 'outside' and
that the webmaster may not know there is a problem. But, if they'd just
Ah well, I have a friend that has told me there are way's to get in and
any site. Probably most of them are illegal....LOL.....leave it to our
government to make the most simplest of things difficult.
Happy 4th of July everyone and my thoughts and prayers go out to ALL our
brother and sister firefighters everywhere, and PLEASE BE SAFE
Yep, yer right about the R5 web site! The www theoretically means
that the web site is available to the "world", so it shouldn't
be a matter of not being able to view the content either internally or
externally. The old www.fire.r5.fs.fed.us
doesn't work at all in either Netscape (version 4.8 or 6.2) or Internet
Explorer (5.0,darn near newest edition). This works a little: www.r5.fs.fed.us/fire/index.phpl,
but you aren't going to get any place important after the main page. Check
the NICC GACC map info page here: www.nifc.gov/fireinfo/geomap.phpl.
Looks like all the links on the map work except the Western Great Basin
and R5 both North and South. Ab.
||"skookum" means someone who is up to speed, knows what's up,
Or that's how it's often used. That definition, however, is a bit more
"specific" than the accepted general-use version. The word comes
the Chinook trade jargon of western Canada, and it means "really
"Co$t, causes and implications" of this year's wildfires:
More information on Alan Wyatt's death:
||gunnysack = gunnybag
synonyms: things went gunnybag. things went to shit. things went south
on us. Or as Krs puts it, "Where are we going and why am I in this
||What's a BIG fire called: romper stomper or major rager
lid: hard hat
pavement queen: structural engine
vollies: Volunteer firefighters
rathole: (verb) to squirrel away food or beverage, e.g. stash the last
piece of pie to eat later.
bug juice: any kind of fruity drink, e.g. lemonade
snore inhibitor: ziploc sandwich bag containing at least 2 tablespoons of
boot him: another snore inhibitor
punkin pine: a bigass ponderosa
pole patch: an area of downed and crisscrossed blowdown trees, generally
but not always lodgepole
mid-day lullaby: sound of a reefer truck and/or generator, which puts
firefighters to sleep if they can find shade.
caffeine transfer device: coffee cup
white's bite: the pinch on the top of your foot caused by boots that
aren't yet broken in
CDF: the best firefightin' outfit in the world, just ask 'em.
||Well, you got my thinking about the word "Skookum". Folks that
grew up in the Northwest probably have heard the term more than others.
Here is what I found: Skookum: "mighty" or
"excellent". One of the few surviving words from Chinook, a
trade language or pidgin spoken on the coast of British Columbia and the
American Northwest till about the 1920's.
Skookum was originally a Salish word for a demon or monster, hence
While researching this I found a few other words of the Chinook still in
"chuck" -- water, as in "skookumchuck"
"muckamuck" -- a person of great importance, a big shot.
"tyee" -- chief
I always wondered where the term "muck-e-muck" came from, when
folks referred to the "white" hats coming down the line. Or, the
folks in the "head shed".
This just re-affirms the fact I have too much time on my hands. Well, hope
this clears up the term "skookum".
2nd Generation IHC Supt.
Here is some hard earned advice on breaking in your new White's. First of
all, congratulations on purchasing the best pair of boots you'll ever own.
Now oil those boots up, strap them on your feet and find the steepest,
most rugged country you can and hike yourself lame. Better to do this
before you are on a fire assignment. Take good care of them by keeping
them oiled. Dry boots seem to amplify the pain of "White's
bites". Whatever you do, don't make the mistake of wearing them
around the station for a few weeks and thinking they are broken in. The
old saying about White's is that you dont break in a pair of Whites, you
break in your feet; but trust me, once they have a season on them they
will feel like the mold your foot was made from. Have fun and BE SAFE.
Check our Classifieds Page
for boot manufacturer's links and ya can do a search of the archived "TheySaid"
pages for "break-in", the question has been asked and answered
by readers many times over the years. We don't necessarily agree with any
of the home-style recipes, including the one above. Ab.
||I presume everyone has heard about the new fire start (approx 1600 hrs
today) on the Tahoe NF; South Lake Tahoe, NV, just up slope from the
casinos. It appears to be making a run uphill and the Kingsbury Grade
Hiway is closed.
And Szpanick's (sp?) California Type 2 Team was called in at around
1800 last night. Local media this am at 0600 says between 500-700 acres.
Nice place to fight a fire. . . a little steep, but you'll want your
camera for the view from the top! Ab.
||Here is a thought. Did anybody ever think about other resources here in
the states? The Dept. of Defense has a lot of people with some great
quals. that sit every summer and watch the Country burn. In our station
alone we have 2 ICT3's that are ex-BLM and 3 others that have years of
wildland experience. If you combined the time of wildland experience you
are looking at over 60 years of training and experience. But here we sit.
||Special Prayers to Mr. Wyatt and his family. May God grant him blessed
repose and make his memory eternal!
||My thoughts and prayers go out to Mr Wyatt's family.
I just got my Whites boots in the mail, any tips for breaking them in nice
Please everyone, Stay Safe!!!
||I just heard that US Fish & Wildlife Serv. wildlife habitats or
sanctuaries are being renamed to Fish & Feather Parks.
||Hey there.. Nah I don't need any cheese.. made a few calls and with in a
or two I will be fighting Fire... As for the Training problem I follow
with my problem tracked it down and problem is solved.. TK as far as I
email me with something and I will leave my number to call.. Thanks Ab
||Condolences to the Wyatt Family,
My heart goes out to all of you, and to the other families also grieving
their lost ones.
||Alan was a good man in a dangerous job. We'll miss him. CM
Name: Alan Wayne Wyatt
Rank: Contract Wildland Firefighter
Date of Incident: 07/02/2002
Time of Incident: 1745
Date of Death: 07/02/2002
Fire Department: United States Forest Service
Fire Department Address: Incident Review Team, Columbine East Ranger
District, PO 439,
Bayfield, CO 81122
Fire Department Phone: 970-884-8323
Fire Department Chief: District Ranger
Cause of Death: Firefighter Wyatt died from injuries received when a green
tree fell and struck
him while he was in the process of cutting "hazard trees".
||I heard the firefighter who died was a resident of Ontario, OR.
Ab, please add this which I got to via the Fires,
2002 link you have at the top of theysaid: http://wildfires.nwcg.gov/colorado/missionary/newsreleases/newsrelease_missionary_070302am.phpl
Keep an eye on the articles that come up on the Fire
News Page. Ab.
dies at blaze in Colorado
BAYFIELD, Colorado (CNN) -- A firefighter
died Tuesday evening at the Missionary Ridge wildfire in the San
Juan National Forest, fire officials said.
A helicopter ambulance was flown at 5:45 p.m. (7:45 p.m. EDT) to the
eastside of the 73,000-acre fire, about
15-20 miles northeast of Bayfield in southwestern Colorado.
"When medical assistance arrived, the patient was down and critical. The
patient had no pulse," said a statement
from the fire incident management team.
No other information was immediately available and an investigation is being
conducted, fire officials said.
Information on the individual's identity is being withheld until the family
is notified, according to the statement.
Will someone send in more info as it becomes available. Everyone, BE SAFE.
And those of you driving this holiday, BE SAFE. Ab.
||Hey, Fightfire, that crow in your craw, you get used to
it after awhile. Would you like some Cheese with your Whine?
I saw fightfire75's posting and I'm an available firefighter. I took
the basic classes from Dick Mangan in Missoula, MT then retook the basics
from Rod Goss (from Grayback Forestry, at the local job center in
Missoula). I was on call for Grayback crew when they announced they
weren't sending anyone out. So now I'm fit, pack tested, carded and packed
to go with no job to go to. Extended travel is not a problem. <snip>
Thanks Ab, and thanks for the resource, I've been using it a lot lately
trying to get my butt out there. :)
If anyone wants to get in touch with TK, we'll pass it on. Ab.
||Since leaving the IHC Supt. job and venturing into fuels, I have coined
a couple monikers:
Bench Warmers or Home Team: Fuels folks who are not allowed to go on
fire due to Nepa/Forest Targets. And, typically cover for the
"suppression" folks while they are on assignment.
What happened to the "old Forest Service", when all red
carded folks dropped everything (especially in preparedness level 5) and
went to support fire suppression efforts? I know there is a lot of
difference between then and now, but the basics are basic. Okay, enough
(pissin' and moanin') whining for today.
Here's a good one for ya, "What is the difference between Hotshot
line and Smoke Jumper line?"
Jumper line is black on both sides....(har,har) I always use that for
my intro to the newbies who came to our crew in hopes of gaining
employment as a "lawn dart".
Not to bash on jumpers, I have several friends in the jumper world and
they know my intentions are well meant. We weren't there to train new
jumpers for the jump program but if they could pull their weight with us,
they would do well making the transition from "Dirt Pig" to
Here is another I haven't seen yet,
Skookum: Term used to make sure everyone understands, or, someone who is
skilled at something...
"The Ab's are "skookum" at keeping us at home
2nd Generation IHC Supt.
Seems to me we're all entertaining each other. You sure about the
adjective skookum? The only way I've heard it used in the past is to imply
someone unskilled. Maybe times are changing? Ab.
||Here is a saying for the " Fire Terms/Nicknames "..
Black mountain=Green Wallet
From my understanding, It stems from the Thirty Mile Fire, my Forest is
going through a sweep of everybody's training records and qualifications.
Training and qualifications will either get you out the door or you will
be staying on the porch.
Be safe everyone,
||Pulaski wrote: <<....Re Bowling for Hotshots: ever notice how the
decibel level of any verbal warning is in direct proportion to the mass of
the falling object?.....>>
Yeah - our training Captain drills into the recruits that they must
always shout "ROCK!!" when they see or are responsible for a
rock succumbing to the force of gravity. Then _I_ get them. Every time we
ascend a minor escarpment, the constant refrain of "ROCK!!!"
reminds me of the parable of the "Boy Who Cried Wolf". I
periodically and loudly advise my Crew that unless the descending item has
a force (F) sufficient to cause injury (M=Mass times A=Acceleration, i.e.
F=MA) that I don't wanta hear about it. OOoops - I think I mean momentum
(M), which is Mass X Velocity. If is was smart I'd be rich. Anyway,
Pulaski is right on, since ultimately all that matters is how loud they
CDF Mike from Arroyo Grande
||Not sure where this one fits but I recall one fire where a pup crewman
constantly complaining about not being given a chance to prove himself.
The captain asked him if he was ready to be an engineer on an all-terrain
fire engine. He eagerly jumped up and said YES!.
The captain handed him a full backpack pump.
||Here's some more...
Puke Green - Forest Service Engine Color
Slime Green - BLM Engine Color
Geek Net - National Park Service FMO Radio Net to an adjoining National
Mop Shots - Type 2 AD Crews.
"This Sucker's Rippin'!!!" - When the Forest Service needs more
Coffee, Donuts, & Fun - California Dept. of Forestry ( CDF ).
Pissfer Willies - CDF
The HEFFERS - CDF Fire Crews
THE SHOW - CDF Overhead
BattleStar Galactica - CDF Wildland Engine built on a Type 1 Structure
Engine Chassis, looks good but gets stuck when it leaves the payment.
Slimed - FF Hit by a tanker drop but leaves it on his helmet for the rest
of the season.
Hooters - Forest Service Firefighters paid OT to go look for Spotted Owls.
IOU's - What the State of California pays state firefighters and
contractors when they don't pass the State Budget on time.
Fish Cops - Fish & Wildlife
FUBAR - F****ed Up Beyond All Recogntion (Forest Service / CDF Combo
supervisors in short supply
||hey there everyone.. I found out the info I need to find out.. WEll I
out why my company hasn't got the contract from R6.. Its all about the
training goin on.. Says our Crewboss and enop don't have proper training
only a few of us can go.. SO if you all looking for numbers email me. Ab
my email.. Arizona has a new start..
||More nicknames / acronyms
hose weenies = engine crew
dirt darts = smoke jumpers
R5 whine = the term other regions use towards region 5's (Forest Service)
pencil hose = 5/8" hose
bladder bag = collapsible backpack pump
piss pump = backpack pump
piss pump on wheels = Type 6 engine
Forest Circus = CDF term for the US Forest Service
US DA Forest Service = USDA Forest Service (ebonics joke relating to the
markings on the back of engines)
Tree cops = Forest Service Law Enforcement
bucket = helmet
Mop shots = term used for Hotshots who are complaining about being held
for a mop up shift
propeller head = helitack
||Hi from downunder
I am trying to locate a manual or written instructions for setting up,
operating and recommissioning a MK1 or MK5 Wajax Pump.
I would be most grateful if you could advise where one can obtain such
information over the Net.
Have a safe day....
General Manager - Rural Fire Officer
Fire & Rescue New Zealand
Anyone know about this? Ab.
||A few more for the list...I don't think they duplicate anything on the
Coot and Carp = Fish and Wildlife
Pine Swine = USFS Law Dogs
Honey Bucket = Blue Huts in Camp
Papa Uniform/Tango Uniform = Paws Up / Tits Up (Out of Service Mechanical)
The Jobs Page,
Job Series 0462 and
Series 0455 Pages
Some neat new fire photos of the Susanville Inversion, Ollalie Complex and
Cannon Fire are up on Fire 11 Photo
Goin' Gunnysack - describing a fire that just grew big enough to assume
the characteristics of a nuclear bomb. Or a easy term for BC's to
understand that the little fire that they sent the 1-ton to just got out
Di'ncha have a moniker? Ab.
||Regarding the Australians and New Zealanders - worked with them in
Montana in 2000. The ones I
saw were division sup and above qualified and that's pretty much how they
got used. They were
very fit and very competent, and brought a much needed fresh look at the
operations. I think
that it is highly likely that our contract engines and crews, and summer
employees, would get
more (and safer) work rather than less if we bring in the folks from Down
Under to fill in Ops
positions where our IMT's are running short. Just look at some of the
shift plans - we give
one Div umteen miles of line, more than a dozen crews, dozers, engines,
tenders, and misc air
support, can't supply enough competent strike team leaders, and then
expect him/her to
"maintain control"? If that Div doesn't have a couple of first
string Hotshot Sups to depend
on, he/she is way over extended before even leaving camp.
||Re Bowling for Hotshots: ever notice how the decibel level of any verbal
warning is in direct proportion to the mass of the falling object?
||H&P tanker pilot's photo page from Duncan Holland:
Here's a new goody of a fire name.
PARACHUTE ADAM, Socorro District, New Mexico State Forestry Office.
The person who named this one is obviously a flyfisherman.
||The USFS receives dollars for supplies but no dollars to hire people
for the Recreation Department. Therefore, when a politician complained
the public picnic grounds at Mt. Wilson weren't clean enough to suit 'em,
the local fire crews are being held back from being sent to fight fires
are being used to clean picnic grounds.
For a while we have been compiling several lists: one of unique and funny
fire terms and "names" we call each other... and the other a
list of "just one more time" posts. Recently we started making a
list of unusual fire names based on your posts; that should be up-to-date
soon. In any case, since the Fire Terms you are sending in now are
starting to overlap with the existing list, check out the most current FIRE
Terms/Nicknames List, before you send in more. Nice job. HAW, HAW
Synonymous with "Red Army Wife's" <<$$Money Clouds- also
known as thunder heads >> is our meteorological term "cumulus
Ab, thanks for your interesting and reasoned response to my post (wherein
I rained on the whole fuel-reduction advocate's parade). I agree with you
on some points, and on others I admit (as I did in my original post) that
my viewpoint is a bit provincial, since it is based exclusively on my
experience in California, and mostly the south half of CA at
that.............). On other points I think you misunderstood me (my
comments regarding the environmental problems we face being due to
overpopulation were of a far more general nature and had nothing
significant to do with fire. Though I agree that CDF's outlook is weighted
toward the urban interface problem), and on other points I straight-out
disagree with you (you suggest that I should multiply my Crew's and Ranger
Unit's efforts by the number of other Crews/people/Units, etc. working on
the problem, and then multiply THAT by a rather arbitrary 15-year period
during which those efforts would take place.). To some extent, I have
"done the math", and I don't see that the entire cumulative
effort of all of us can make a dent in the incredibly high fuel load over
many hundreds of millions of acres nationwide, unless we conduct vastly
more burns than we do, and are willing to accept the ten or 100-fold
increase in escapes and high-profile (New Mexico.....!!??) disasters which
will be the mathematically inevitable result. And don't forget that during
those 15 years, the fuels we haven't reached (probably 90% of the total)
will be continuing to grow, age, and die (the most significant reduction
in their mass being due to uncontrolled, un-planned wildfires.).
Your response to my post deserves a bit more thorough response than I
can provide right now. Been rather busy, mostly with projects and
day's-off cancellations. Had only 4.5 days off in June (though I got home
most evenings). Can't figure out why the current California hot-spell has
produced so few fires, except that perhaps people are being extra-cautious
due to the well-publicized fire situation. I note that Hanford Fire Wx is
suggesting a likelihood of dry lightning in the Sierras next couple of
days.................... cumulus overtimus.....
CDF Mike from Arroyo Grande
P.S. I'm going to be the first on my block to own a $450 flashlight!! No,
I'm not rich, but it's deductible, rather light and compact, produces 500
lumens, and will often save me a great deal of strain (I'm over
50............) by just shining the light over to the other side of the
canyon to see if it is burned over there or not, versus walking over
there............. And when the Shots (notice I capitalized
it............) are wondering where those CDF Crews are that are supposed
to be cutting toward them, I'll just give them a quick flash. When they
recover their night vision, we'll just about be there.........
||More wildfire jargon:
Helidonna = helitack personnel;
Engine slug = someone working on an engine;
Camp slug = a person who works at an incident camp or Incident Command
Grape-eater = a person working at an Incident Command post, (where the
grapes are ubiquitous);
The Big Green Machine = US Forest Service fire management;
Parkies = National Park Service personnel;
Fish, or Fish and Feathers = US Fish and Wildlife Service;
A Big Yellow McLeod = a dozer working on a fire;
Pavement Queen = a Type 1 or 2 engine that cannot or will not be driven
off a paved road;
Baby Hose = 1/2" collapsible fire hose;
Meals Refused by Ethiopians = Meals Ready to Eat (MREs)
Bump Up (or Back, or Out) = Move up, Back, or Out of the area)
||With all due respect to those who suffered and those who are suffering
from the events involving the rollover of a Grayback Forestry van, and
decisions by Grayback Forestry management in relation to these events.
I take issue with the fact that Grayback Forestry has ceased to send
out new crews this year. I hope the Grayback management seriously
considered what they were doing when they adopted this approach.
When there is a fatality on a fire, do we stop fighting that fire?
More than a few good people are now wondering just what the hell they
will do as they scramble for the phone and start calling around the
country. People who were depending on jobs that have just disappeared, who
invested their time and, in my case, missed a serious family obligation so
I would be available to work. In the future, I hope Grayback Forestry
considers the true number of people that policy decisions like this
My best wishes to all those involved in this tragedy,
-Momentarily Displaced But Looking For Smoke
Saw your name on the board, but my brain was somewhere else at the
time...(Old Timers kick'n
in). Sorry I missed ya, but I'll be looking next time.
||MSNBC Article, link from Firescribe:
Fighting fire with thinner forests
Also Seattle Times:
Less aggressive tactics stress safety...
||Terms/Acronyms: Tongue in cheek - we need them all.
Potato Guard - Firecamp security
Pigs in Blankets - Firecamp security....off duty
"Crowning in the Leaf Litter" - oak/hickory type fire with 2
PWAC - Person without a clue
"Camp tether" - What keeps overhead from getting onto the line.
DAPS - Dog and Pony Show
PUFF - A magic dragon
Hoods in the Woods - Inmate crew
Fire Rectangle - fuel, heat, oxygen, overhead.....remove one of four and
fire goes out.
||Aussies are coming?
I'm not sure where people are getting the idea that we're coming over. To
my knowledge there has been no formal request for there to be people sent
over there (not that I'm completely "in the know"). I do know
have been some phone calls made to check availability, "just in
Mollysboy stated, last time we sent only IMT staff, & I'd have a guess
is all we would send anyhow. 99% of wildland firefighting here is done by
volunteers, and while many (including me) would love the opportunity, the
practicality of it would preclude many from going. We don't have a
Card" system like yours, so getting that in place would be a big
problem in the first place. Add to that the altitude of the current fire
operations - the highest point in Oz is under 8000ft & most of us are
coastal dwellers. Furthermore, you already have the resources of the US
military, yes they are committed but there is also the National Guard. The
big advantage is that it's winter here & from what I'm reading there
many areas that are under extreme fire danger that removing local crews to
other fires will reduce the needed available resources. I don't think
you'll need the Aussies & Kiwi's en masse, but once again, if you want
we're more than happy to help!!
(who's going to go jogging tonight "just in case"!!)
On June 29, Mike posted that he'd an article that the Aussies are
coming. Didn't provide a link, but said it was CNN. Ab.
||My favorite fire name has to be the Average Bad Day fire (MT, 2000).
Around here, dispatch names most fires
based on geographical references before we even get to the fire. Gee,
don't they trust us???
Nice moniker. I'd trust you. <HAR> Ab.
My favorites :
Camp FiFi- a gal in fire camp who wears full make up, has her hair and
nails done up perfect and wears a bright clean nomex shirt (normally tied
at the waist Daisy Mae style!) ex- She is such a Camp FiFi!
Tanker Kitten- cute girl that works on an engine or tender. She may not be
a "nice" girl. She might have been caught doing one too many
$$Money Clouds- also known as thunder heads .
Fire Triangle- This triangle is composed of 1. Travel time pay 2. Overtime
pay 3. Hazard pay.
Shake and Bake- your fire shelter (baked tater!)
Ground Pounders- your average poor FF stuck on a hand crew.
keep them coming!
A Red Army Wife
Bowling for Hotshots: Any time (either by natural causes or an inadvertent
human cause) a large rock, log etc tumbles down hill scattering people
A small fire occurred on a persons private property. By the time we
arrived I believe most of it was out and I was at the far end mopping up
when the property owners neighbor, who lived abt .25 down the road, and
obviously had a few too many malt beverages in him, comes up to me and
starts giving me the third degree. IE: do you know what your are doing?
...why are you wasting time squirting water, its obviously out ya
*@&#! and on an on yadda yadda. He then walked down to where the IC
was talking to the property owner (and responsible party for the fire) and
gave him the same treatment. Finally he walked back to his place and
plopped back down in his lawn chair to drain another cold one. A bit later
when I was all loaded up waiting for the word to head home, the neighbors
dog came running down the road toward me chasing a ball and the neighbor
was chasing the dog hollering at him to come back. ...Now I was standing
there and that ball was going to roll right by me...I could have easily
stopped it, and I did consider it...but....naahhh. I just snickered to
myself as I watched the neighbor stumble down the street chasing his dog.
..oh yea, the name of the fire (unofficial of course)....The Asshole