November, 2002

Home of the Wildland FireFighter

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11/30 Good evening All,

I just wanted to let everyone know that the AirTanker Pilots are getting organized to pursue acquiring federal Public Safety Officers Benefits (PSOB). They have had success in obtaining such benefits in California in Sept when AB1748 was signed into law. Some of us sent e-mails and letters to our CA legislators in support of that effort. There may be ways we can lobby our fed reps on their behalf for this legislation as well.

To learn about the history of this effort and what's involved, please check AERIAL FIRE FIGHTERS, Battle for Federal Benefits. Some nice AT photos there also.


11/30 Hello,

Could you send me info on 2002 wildand fire fatalities and background info.

Want to use info in lecturing during Safety Refresher trainings for the Great Plains Region.

Thank you,
11/30 Sean,

The level of EMS on wildland fires depends on the complexity of the fire. In most wildland fire agencies, the engines and crews have at a minimum two “First Responder” or “EMT” trained personnel on board. This allows for immediate care. As fires become more complex and a fire camp is in place, a medical unit is established with either BLS to ALS providers depending the fires complexity. From this point you can have BLS/ALS units staged at various points of the fire. Also, line EMT’s and Line Paramedics can be sent out to cover divisions or work with crews who do not have any medically trained personnel. This occurs when crew are too far away (remote areas) from medical facilities.

11/30 Hi,
I'm making a HO scale model of the CNW RailRoad in Northern Wisconsin. I would like to make a small burn't out forest on my layout. Do you know where I can find pictures of the forest area about 2 weeks after the fire. All the pictures I see are during the fire. If you have any Websites or know of any people who have pictures they would like to share, please let me know.
Thank You.
Don, Milwaukee,WI
11/30 Ab,

I read your post about MELmadness. I would like to let you and everyone know that there
will be a new way the ASAP program will be taking aps for the up coming fires season.

They are having a meeting in Dec. about the new process and the results from that
meeting will be posted to all of the people in personnel. I have heard we will be notified by
the 13th of Dec.


Thanks for keeping us posted. Ab.

11/30 Anybody know when ASAP Rnd. 10 Jobs are supposed to fly? ASAP tells you when they
have to be in, but not when the job will go up on the site.

11/29 Firescribe, here's a brief rundown from a CDF friend in the "know":

Bean and Union Fires (BTU, near Oroville, CDF managed)
100% contained at 250 acres on 11/28; transition back to BTU anticipated tomorrow
still has 350+ personnel, many CDC crews doing suppression rehab

Wengler Fire (SHU, Shasta Co near Montgomery Creek, CDF managed)
100% contained at 50 acres; 34 personnel; turning back to Roseberg Lumber Co today

Buckhorn Fire (SHU, Shasta Co near Oak Run CDF managed)
20 acres; turned over to Roseberg Lumber Co 11/28

Old Fire (HUU at Freshwater Lagoon, Humboldt Co, CDF managed)
contained at 10 acres

Pine Fire (MEU, near Hopland/Cloverdale, CDF managed)
100% contained at 1200 acres; 200+ personnel doing mopup and patrol; demob expected today

River Fire (RRU, Riverside Co, Norco, CDF managed)
20% contained at 10 acres, but oh what a smoky 10 organic compost pile, 30' deep, smoldering & burning; crews working on the inside are wearing SCBA, FF given breaks often in cleaner air environment.

Then there are the Plum Fire on the El D that will be turned back to the forest tonight, the Rock Creek 2 Fire that's expecting a major demob tomorrow and the Sourgrass Cplx of fires that are expecting a cold front tonight that may have winds and create a containment problem... Read about those on the Sit Report.

What a late flurry of fires in CA.

11/29 From Firescribe:

The Friday National Fire Sit Report is up this morning. Check the Links page, second item under News and Reports. You'll have to go with the pdf version.

I'm wondering about all the other smaller fires that kept people away from turkey with their families...

On another note, some news from our Fire News page:
Woman accused of setting forest fire expected to change plea to guilty
Terry Barton accused of starting the Hayman Fire that burned 137,760 acres and was the largest in Colorado history is expected to make a plea bargain.

11/29 I just updated the Jobs, wildland firefighter Series 462 and 455 pages.

Check out the options among the Contractors. You can even make extra money working on weekends if you live in some parts of SoCal. On the Fed side, the NPS is looking for some Fire Use Specialists. As soon as anyone gets a copy of the hiring schedule (MELmadness Schedule), please send it in and we'll post it so you all can know when to have your apps in and when they will go to forests, etc.

For those of you doing some holiday shopping online or simply capitalizing on the bargains, please consider looking at Amazon. If you enter through our Amazon portal on the Book or Book Reviews Pages and purchase anything (books, music, electronics, toys and games, home and garden, gift certificates, office products, etc.) wildlandfire.com will get a commission. (Note: If you bookmark Amazon and enter that way, we get no commission.)

Again, I'd like to remind you that those who advertise with us via banners and classified ads help pay the bills at wildlandfire.com and support this online community in very tangible ways. The Abs hope you'll browse their sites when looking for that special and necessary wildland firefighter gift. A big hug to one supporter we really appreciate from this Ab!

Hope you all had a Thanksgiving Day as nice as ours and that you continue to bring yourselves home to your loved ones at the end of the day.

Those of you on the Plum Fire: Didja all inhale that smoked turkey? <HAW>


11/28 We're having smoked turkey for dinner on the Plum Fire (ENF). Catering
ordered up 20 - we didn't smoke em ourselves. At least 1500 acres have burned,
have 325+ firefighters on the fire now, had almost 500 yesterday. 80%
containment. Glad the winds abated.


Be Safe and happy eating. Ab.

11/28 Good Morning All and Happy Thanksgiving! Don't eat too much.

Some new photos up on Fire 14 and Handcrews 6 photo pages. Thanks contributors.
JB sent in photos of the Cannon Fire. Sunrise was from the IC camp.
B. M. sent in an old '75 photo of a brushfire in Riverside County.
Wol sent in photos of the Olinda Hotshots - Dandenong Ranges National Park, Victoria Australia.
Please read the descriptions for more information.


11/27 The FF-II (J. Nettles) who was exposed to hot gases is doing well and is expected to recover completely. He was injured on the River Fire (near Corona) this morning. He was initially transported to Corona Regional Medical Center for evaluation and then transferred to Arrowhead Regional Burn Unit. He was diagnosed with minor burns to the back of his throat. He had no airway or respiratory tract damage. He is expected to remain in the hospital for another 2-3 days.

Happy Turkey Day... Things could slow down now...
11/27 We got one east of Freshwater Lagoon, north of Arcata, just about right on the ocean, fer gosh sakes!!!! It's called the Old Fire. Heard there was torching and spotting but it was small (10 acres) according to the noon news. Redwood National Park is within spitting distance. CDF sent some crews.

Can't believe how hot it was today. Temp must have been a record on Humboldt Bay, 84 degrees in the shade on our deck.

Heard there was also an escape from a slash burn (Roseberg's operation) over near Montgomery Creek in Shasta Co. That one's called the Wengler Fire - maybe 50 acres. The foehn winds are having their way. These were predicted. Why burn?

There probably will be more info on the evening news.
Be Safe,
11/27 The Bean Fire near Oroville (BTU) is 350+ acres, wind driven.
It's a long and skinny thing. If the wind shifts to S/SE, there will be
a long fire front. Could threaten quite a few homes in the community
of Berry Creek. There's another fire as well. Keepin' our fingers
crossed. Thank gawd for the heavies.


11/27 Ab,

We (my En. Co.) were at an EMS seminar and all got to
talking when the question was brought up who actually
does EMS for wildland firefighting crews? If it is an
actual entity for wildland crews, how does it work?

11/27 We're dry here in norcal, Cloverdale/Hopland area. Had a toad strangler of a rain a few weeks ago and after a few days of sun and wind, we're back in the dried out dangerzone.

Last night an escaped Rx burn was discovered NE of Cloverdale. There are 2 fires less than a mile apart that are making some pretty impressive runs and spotting pretty good. Rough terrain -I heard they've gobbled up 450 acres. 200+ structures are being protected by local resources and CDF. Got some dozers. Temps in the 70's and RH in the low 20's. What a scene for the day before Thanksgiving.

LAVE, did they bring you out of retirement?

11/27 CDF-WG

The smoke inhalation injuries occurred on the River Fire, the one
with the piles of burning brush, organic matter, etc. (see post below).
A friend said there were 3 FF injured from smoke inhalation and
taken to the hospital. Two were released and one remained. An
investigation is underway.


11/27 Ab,
An update on the CA fires from a friend:

North Zone:
The Plum Fire on the Eldorado NF is being held at 1000 acres by about 450 firefighters. Carlson's team is in charge, but there are lots of CDF crews participating. Since winds moderated, ROS moderated. Projected demob is Thanksgiving, with the wind's cooperation, so keep those turkey dinners warm.

A new fire (11/26), the Bean Fire is located 20 mi E of Oroville, Butte Unit CDF in heavy brush and timber. It was 300 acres and 25% contained. 250+ mostly CDF personnel are staffing that fire. Yesterday's fire behavior included short uphill runs and torching and spotting 300-400 feet in front of the fire. Strong nighttime NE winds were expected overnight, so we'll see what's up today. They also expect demob on Thanksgiving.

South Zone:
The River Fire, 10 acres, Riverside Ranger Unit CDF (River Rd at Archibald, Norco). Fuels are 10 Acres of organic recycling, compost, tree trimmings, and wood chips from small trees to garden sized chips. Rows are 75 feet wide, 200 feet long and piled 30 feet deep. The fire is deep seated and has 4-5 foot flame lengths. Potential high winds could cause spotting. Smoke is a problem. Appx 90 firefighters are on that fire.

The Old Hamner Fire, 5 acres, Riverside Ranger Unit CDF (Old Hamner at Santa Ana River, Norco). Yesterday the fire was actively running thru bamboo, with long range spotting and moved into a neighborhood along Pali Drive. Santa Ana winds made containment difficult but aggressive IA by 133 personnel kept damage to a minimum (2 roofs).

Rock Creek 2 Fire, Sierra National Forest (10 Miles East of North Fork), Madera Co was 130 acres last night, 60% contained, 2-4' flame lengths sometimes flaring to 4-6' in slash. 110 personnel made significant progress in line construction after winds died down.

Sourgrass Complex (Sourgrass, Mill Creek and Winton Fires), Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit CDF (10 mi E of Arnold on Hwy 4) was 550 acres 40% contained last night. There was spotting from slash piles. High winds, low fuel moisture and heavy slash. Wind conditions made containment attempts by the 650+ FF difficult. Blowing embers and danger of falling trees has required unstaffing the Sourgrass Fire during nights for FF safety. Yesterday winds moderated to a degree, allowing progress to be made. Projected demob is Thanksgiving.

Be Safe All.
Happy Thanksgiving, whether on the fireline, in camp or at home. Count your blessings.

11/27 Rumor of a FF on RRU inhaling superheated air. When anyone
gets details, please let us know. People, please be careful. Experienced
guys, watch out for the youngsters.

11/27 As we "civilians" prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, just want to let
all of you know that we truly are thankful for the fine work performed
by all Wildland Firefighters this year. May God bless you and your
families! Stay well!

11/27 Just an off season question for those guys who have been around the block.

For those of you who have completed any elite military training, (Ranger school, Navy SEAL BUDS, Special forces Q-course, or Air Force para-rescue/ combat control school) and have completed at least one good hard long R-5 Hot shot or Alaska jumper season (you should know what a real fire season is all about, over 1000 hours overtime). What are the similarities and differences besides the obvious mission statements. Which is more taxing on the body? the mind? How about in the long term? Over a career? There probably are not many people who have had the opportunity to take part in all of the above, both of them being a young mans business. I would love to get some feedback from those who have made this sacrifice.




You’re correct; when possible we all need to speak to the facts. The trouble is we also get emotional when we see our avocation misrepresented. I read the Bureau of State Audits reports on employee misconduct and couldn’t find reference to portal-to-portal overtime in either the OES employee’s bogus non-emergency overtime claims, approved by his supervisor, or the CDF manager’s misuse of state aircraft to obtain his commercial multi-engine rating and King Air certification. If you can help me find the section let me know.

SoCalCapt, NorCalTom, FWFSA member, and others-

I believe Fedfire is right on the mark. First consider the source, 60 Minutes and Dan Rather. Muck raking at its best for years. Isn’t this the same program that we have people wanting to call when they feel they’ve been wronged? Sensational press is a two edged sword, it cuts both ways.

I don’t feel the IAFF acted irresponsibly by posting the article. The website personnel, who probably not firefighters, saw the contents of the nationally broadcast subject matter as being of interest to their members. Admittedly, the IAFF represents paid firefighters and champions their case. In contrast, I saw no reference to the 60 Minutes program listed on the National Volunteer Fire Council web site. (www.nvfc.org)

You complain about not having good, fair representation. You get what you pay for. If the numbers listed on this page are correct, the number of FWFSA members, nationally, is 0.7% of the total dues-paying members of the IAFF in California. CDF Firefighters, as an independent association, chose to join the IAFF in order to stay out of turf wars and to use the impact of becoming one of the five largest Locals in the nation. It works. If you don’t join then those nasty red-truckers, hydrant hoppers, and medics will have to carry you. Your glass can be half empty on the sidelines and it will always be half empty. Join up, speak your piece, and maybe your glass will start looking like it may get more than half full in the future.

Other than the misidentification of the federal employees, both considered part of the “ready reserves” to back up the line firefighters, I don’t see anyone jumping up to say that the rest of the information was bad. It may not be totally accurate but the concept is true. No one complained that the IAFF didn’t take out the mention of paid fire investigator, arsonist, murderer John Orr. He’s one of us good guys, right?

Mike Preasmeyer and Casey Judd-

You’re doing a good job, keep at it, eventually the potential members will realize that there is strength in numbers, life can be better, and you can still be an individual.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and to the Abs and Abbys. For those on the fire line or in a war zone, my thoughts are with you.


11/26 Here is a photo from the Dillon prescribed fire in Badlands National Park. It's actually 3 photos
"stitched" together.


Nice one. I put it on Fire 14. Ab.

11/25 Well, fire season's not over in Northern Cali.

We have the 1000 acre Plum Fire on the Eldorado NF, burning with moderate to high rates of spread in heavy timber and we have the 250+ acre Granite Fire burning near Graniteville burning in timber and pushed by high winds.

That barbeque turkey recipe may come in handy.
Be safe ALL,
11/25 I will keep this short,

Casey Judd,
It is an honor having you by our side helping us with our issues that we have. You are the reason I am a large supporter of the CPF and IAFF. It would be nice to have you drop us a line every once in awhile keeping us up to date with the issues.

Mike Preasmeyer,
Thank you also for the comments and trying to keep everything in perspective for us all. Good job to you and everyone in the organization.

11/25 AH-

I don't have too much to give you but one thing to keep in mind: controlled burns are sometimes used to kill noxious weeds or other species of plant life that whoever manages the land does not want there. control burns aren't used necessarily to prevent future wildfires.

also, not all areas can be used for logging and if they did have an area that they logged as opposed to burned, it can still catch fire. (that would also make one hell of a pop-up operation with all of the burned out stumps from the logged trees.)

one fire comes to mind, the biscuit fire, where the crew i was on was preparing a road to do a burn and there, unfortunately, down the road a ways, the fire was on both sides of the road. but, there was a clear cut that had been logged earlier - way before the fire started- and so a few crews were punching line up the clear cut. they hauled ass because they didnt have to wait on the saws, and they successfully tied the line in with out further spread.

i dont' know how much i have helped you but i hope i at least gave you something you can use. good luck with your project.

-I love the off season

11/25 I think the last couple of posts pretty well sum up my thoughts on the 60 minutes article better than I could have said it.

Something I'd like to add though for those of you in the Federal Wildland side of things who think the FWFSA, IAFF and CPF are not doing anything for you (member or non-member). In the most recent IAFF convention (in Los Vegas this past year) there were a number of issues adopted by the IAFF to lobby congress specifically for Federal Firefighters including leave and pay issues, improved retirement (3% @ 50), presumptive illness laws and the portal to portal issue among others. Additionally the IAFF and CPF are largely responsible for saving the jobs of many Federal Firefighters whose jobs were threatened by contracting (and I know you wildland types are watching your backs on that issue too). I've met many of the leaders of the FWFSA and they are dedicated to improving the working conditions of Federal Wildland Firefighters, many of them are nearing the ends of their careers and likely will not gain much from the benefits they seek.

The FWFSA is only about 200 people, not much really when you consider the IAFF's membership is somewhere in the 10's of thousands, and yet they still find room for the FWFSA's issues. One thing that really exasperated me when I was with the USFS was the anti-union attitude and contempt for the FWFSA many of the firefighters I worked around displayed, I ran across many who felt the $15-20 a month was only for a sticker and not worth the money, and yet many played the lotto regularly (and with higher cost) and unfortunately I've seen some of the same attitudes displayed here. It is my understanding that there are still those working for the agencies who fight against issues like portal to portal and increasing the numbers of PFT and WAE employees. I know of instances in which employees were converted from WAE to PFT and threatened legal action for being offered full time employment because it would mess up their unemployment "vacations" in the winter, and there are many who fight tooth and nail against having "traditional structural" responsibilities added to their jobs (I will never understand how an agency can properly provide fire protection in an urban interface environment without providing the equipment and training for 1/2 of the equation).

I now work on the Federal Structural side but many of our issues and concerns are shared, one of the difficulties we are facing is getting our people to accept that we can no longer sit around and do things as they have always been done, we need to be proactive, get out in the community (not locked behind our gates) so that when politicians come around looking for something to cut they get a big red flag from the locals (the tax payers, aka voters), we need to be indispensable to the locals so that they see us as an integral part of their safety not services they can take over for some quick cash. Wildland firefighters are not really any different, if you think about it ,you only exist to protect vegetation, (at least on paper), trees won't get involved in letter writing campaigns when the pendulum swings again and suppression resources are cut back, the local communities will, when the Green (or yellow or white) "wildland" engine down the street that saved Aunt Edna last year gets shut down due to budget cuts. If it sat in the station while the ambulance came up from the city because "we don't do that" they won't even notice when its gone.

Well I've gone off on enough of a tangent / rant. Sorry Ab but over the past several months I have seen too many bash the IAFF, FWFSA, CPF and NFPA posts, all organizations working to enhance the lives of firefighters and as Popeye says, "I've had all I can stand, I can't stands no more".


11/25 I was pleased to receive a call tonight from FWFSA, IAFF Local F-262 president Mike Preasmeyer concerning the recent 60 Minutes show on firefighter related arson fires.

Before submitting this e-mail, I read the article on the IAFF web-site as well as the e-mails posted to this site on the issue. As one who has diligently led the legislative effort on behalf of the nation's federal wildland firefighters for several years, I'd like to offer my honest assessment of the situation.

As many know, the issue of professional (paid) firefighters versus volunteer firefighters heated up this past year on the East Coast. The issue in fact got all the way to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives and more recently the issue's "collateral damage" was an IAFF local union president squarely in the middle of the issue back east, being fired by the White House from his position on an 11-member panel developed to select recipients of the Congressional medal of Valor.

I've known both former IAFF president Al Whitehead, and current president Harold Schaitberger for nearly 9 years. While I can honestly and candidly say that the federal firefighters in California I represent are often at odds with the legislative efforts/strategies utilized by the IAFF for the achievement of federal firefighter issues, I do not believe for one minute that the IAFF would post the article as a shot, or criticism towards seasonal wildland firefighters.

It was just a couple of years ago that Harold Schaitberger gave me what I like to call "carte blanche" on working our federal wildland firefighter issues. We were successful during the 106th Congress in getting a bill introduced, heard, passed, and signed into law with respect to the OT pay cap as it relates to wildland firefighting.

This past 107th session, we had hoped to have a 2nd bill introduced to address the portal to portal issue and the inclusion of hazardous duty pay in retirement calculations. A number of factors prevented the bill from being introduced before the recent November 5th election's and congress' adjournment.

However, I have passed along to FWFSA president Preasmeyer a letter from Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA) re-emphasizing his commitment to these issues in the 108th congress. Further, a recent conversation I had with the congressman indicated that if congress goes the route of passing an "omnibus budget" bill when it convenes in January, rather than separately finishing the appropriations bills that have yet to be passed, it may in fact afford us the opportunity to add the portal to portal/Hazardous duty pay language to the omnibus appropriations bill.

What does this have to do with the 60 minutes piece? Not much. What it does have to do with is the fact that many people across this country, from politicians to yes, many municipal "city" firefighters have no clue what fighting a massive wildland fire entails. They have no concept of a fire creating its own weather. They've never experienced flames blowing across a 6 lane highway like a blow torch at 100mph.

Fortunately, for every "not-so-newsworthy" show like the 60 minutes piece, there are shows on Discovery and others that show what true heroes all of you are. No one in your ranks will ever, EVER, forget Storm King Mountain. It is my job that every politician knows about it, sees it, tastes it and lives it until we achieve the legislative goals due to each and every one of you.

It doesn't matter if you are a chief officer, smokejumper, first year seasonal firefighter etc., you do something that not too many people would be willing to do. Let CBS and 60 Minutes make their advertising dollars. Few, if any, will remember the show anyway.

What each and everyone of you need to know is that there is power in numbers. There is a greater voice in numbers. We have made tremendous strides in educating congress on who you are and what you do. The FWFSA, IAFF Local F-262 is the place to be and everyone needs to do their part to educate new potential members so that your voice and your issues will be heard even more loudly and more clearly.

I firmly believe the IAFF posted the article based upon it's recent (and historic) issue surrounding volunteer firefighters and was in no way posted to single out wildland firefighters. We all know that firefighters, both professional and volunteer, will continue to give this proud professional an occasional black-eye through arson.

Let's not get sidetracked from our goals and objectives by poorly researched and hyped up news shows. Let's find ways to increase the Association's membership and understand that it unfortunately costs money to get issues engrained in the thick brains of folks on Capitol Hill, and yes, the Forest Service and Dept. of Interior hierarchy.

Every kind of organization has a bad apple or two. Contrary to 60 minutes, it doesn't matter whether someone has had a background check or not. There is always the risk of someone, in any profession, doing something stupid...The rest of you stand proud for what you do and make a difference. I'll help with the politics, you folks just cut the lines and do the hard work. I am confident you will be rewarded.

With Great respect & Sincerity,

Casey Judd
5th District V.P.
California Professional Firefighters

11/25 Norcal Tom,

This is why I love this site so much. It is good to see everyone debating the issues and looking for a solution.

With that, I think the IAFF needs to be educated on the difference between seasonal and permanent Firefighter and everyone needs to educate themselves on the issues of the IAFF and who they represent.

I am not seeing where the IAFF is backing 60 minutes. All they have done was run a report that had to do with arsonist. There are City, County, State, and Federal Firefighters who start fires that are members of the IAFF nation wide and I have never seen them raising an issue or asking questions about why the IAFF is running these news reports on the web or in their newsletter.

The IAFF is just a voice that the FWFSA uses to lobby along with CPF, they are not a bargaining unit for use. God forbid that something was to happen to you on the job that would have to do with a union issue, they will not be there to back you up. They have no authority to do so, that is why the Forest Service has their own AFL-CIO bargaining unit that represents you.

Yes it is all politics, I think they will always show support for the FWFSA, they have no reason not too. They need us just as much as we need them to help fight and lobby our issues and for us to help pass their concerns. We will never find a bigger or more established voice when it comes for firefighter issues them the IAFF.

I look forward to reading your response and debating this issue again. If I have made some mistakes on the mission of the FWFSA I would appreciate some clarification from the higher brass.

A member of the FWFSA

11/25 How to Bar-B-Q a turkey, I use a kettle barbecue (Webber) and the "indirect method of heat."

It takes about 11 minutes per pound to cook a turkey, but depending on air temp. and wind, it might take a little longer, ALWAYS use a thermometer to insure that internal temp is 160 degrees in the thickest part of the turkey.

You have to start with a thawed turkey, do not stuff. If you wish to add flavoring to the bird, rub the bird inside and out with the flavoring of choice the night before, wrap in a clean plastic bag (small white garbage bag-the unscented kind) and let set in the refer over night until ready to cook. I just use season salt, but you could use Cajun, or whatever.

Use about 2 pounds of charcoal to start per side of the kettle, when the coals are hot place the bird in the kettle and close the lid. Place a foil pan on the charcoal rack between the coals to catch the drippings. Open the dampers to allow the most heat to develop and check about every 30 minutes to ensure the coals are still burning hot, as the coals burn down, add more briquettes as needed to maintain Max temp. When you near the time when the bird should be done, start checking the internal temp and when it reaches 160 remove the bird from the barbecue.

I like to smoke my birds and do this by adding small pieces of Alder to the coals as soon as the bird is on the grill. I use green branches about the size of my finger to make the smoke. You can use fruit wood or any other good "smoking" wood that you might have available. If I see the smoke "dying" down I will add more wood to maintain a large volume of smoke until the bird is done.

Hope this helps and enjoy.

Gobble Guy

11/25 NorCal Tom/FWFSA Member

Sorry to see folks get worked up on an article about "Volunteer Fire Depts". Its sad and true folks in the Fire Service have been investigated for starting fires. The archives of "THEY SAID" no doubt have postings in the past. Politics of bashing volunteer fire departments replacing paid professional firefighters? I dont even want to go there. IAFF bashing Wildland Firefighters......... Thats one I would take. I agree with the FWFSA member. "The message was taken in the wrong context" by the reader. If IAFF really ment to slander the Wildland firefighter, I Know the President of IAFF would personally give me a notice. The 16th District Vice-President would call me or send a letter of the Presidents concerns. IAFF is a Professional organization. There are 30.000 members in California. I dont agree with every IAFF issue. I do agree to support the membership at large. IF the FWFSA membership at large reads the IAFF posting as slander to Wildland Firefighters. I will respond to IAFF.

Mike Preasmeyer, President - FWFSA
IAFF - Local F-262

11/25 <<has been reading postings for months without comment......... everyone has OPINIONS, it's similar to having body parts. Therefore, if you don't have FACTS, it's supposition and conjecture which equals MYTH. do everyone a favor, do not post without specifics. Unions? in USFS or BLM? good luck! for the STATE OF CA folk, you stand a better chance of making inroads....and read your bargaining unit's agreement - if you have questions about portal-to-portal take a look at the Bureau of State Audit's latest findings, it's at bsa.ca.gov.

one final comment, the management of wildland timber has been a mess for many years; it will remain so until the courts sort it out. control burns are making the press everytime it gets out of control, so the bosses best get a clue because the bottom line is fiduciary responsibility.


11/24 Here's link to get to the NAPA (National Academy of Public Administration) report on Containing Wildfire Cost, 462 pages.

http://www.napawash.org/ <snip.pdf>


CI, the pdf file was huge and my computer's message said it would take 24 minutes to download. I linked to the main site instead so people could have info on options in downloading. Ab.

11/24 "A member of the FWFSA"

I think we need to know from IAFF exactly where they stand in posting the 60 Minutes post in question. The 60 Minutes piece was flawed. A union that represents wildland firefighters including seasonals should know this. If they don't there's a problem. If they do there's a problem, since some of the erroneous information is slanted against the seasonal wildland firefighters they supposedly represent. Posting misinformation by those who should know better smacks of politics to me with seasonal wildland firefighters being relegated to the category of BAD guys. Stereotypes come from such simple beginnings. Professional status is difficult to achieve if the stereotype is that seasonal wildland firefighters are arsonists.

"A member of the FWFSA" I would argue that the devil is in the details. The details in this instance are important and reflect the professionalism (or not) of 60 Minutes, IAFF, and wildland firefighters whether seasonal or permanent.

NorCal Tom

11/24 I am a student working on a group project where we are trying to collect information on Wildfires in general as well as the Mc Nally fire. I saw your site and was wondering if you could suggest any links or suggestions on where I can find useful information. One portion of our research has to do with the debate between controlled burns vs. logging as a way to prevent future fires. I am interested to know the views of someone who fights these types of fires. So, any information you could give me on that would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much..


11/24 In-regards to the post from the IAFF,

I don't see anything wrong with what they have posted. It is a fact that firefighters, people who want to be firefighters, and firefighters families start fires. It doesn't matter if they are volunteer or permanent, they still start fires that sometimes kill others.

In my opinion it is not slamming the Forest Service, there was only one mention of Forest Service employees starting fires and yes they got some of it wrong, one was an AD and the other was a permanent employee.

SoCalCapt. with your comments, you are no better then CBS and the IAFF if you are looking at bashing Forest Service employees. It doesn't matter if she was in fire or not, she was an employee of the Forest Service, at that time in a fire position.

You guys are taking this way to personnel, people in the fire business start fires and they always will.

A member of the FWFSA
11/24 Thanks for the info Jake.

CDF Wife

11/24 Re: IAFF Post regarding "seasonal firefghters"

I concur whole heartedly. This is a clear show of dis-respect to us and our


11/24 Hi Ab,

Now that the fire season has slowed down and prescribed fire is finally in full swing, I've been trying to contact some of the overhead teams that we worked with this past summer to offer kudos and some ideas to help resolve problems that occurred. It is interesting to note that even after spending several hours tracking down team rosters on the internet that most teams don't display any email contacts, phone numbers or addresses. I understand that these team folks don't need to be inundated with unwanted solicitations during fire season but the fire community needs to have a way to communicate with the teams after the incidents. To not post a way to contact team members on their roster pages is the start of a fundamental communication break down and strikes me as somewhat cowardly. Only three teams that I worked with this past summer asked for feed-back and team evaluation from those pounding ground (Van Bruggan, Mike Lowry, and Humphreys' teams did solicit performance critic from the masses, at their incidents). Are the others afraid?

Rock @Wood's Fire and Emergency Services

You could always look up the contact info of the IC or the DIC (after finding their name on the roster) on the Find a USFS Employee/DOI Employee utility under Federal on our Links page. The link to the team pages are right there with the lookup info. I personally don't think such info should be too readily available on the www. Ab.

11/24 SoCal Capt and Concerned,

I'd like a phone number and some names of IAFF people to call.
What a bunch of BOZOs playing politics. Or maybe they're just
plain stupid. If so, why are they representing us?

Wouldn't hurt to give 60 Minutes a bit of grief either.

NorCal Tom

11/24 Not so new CDF wife.

Most of your questions can be answered if you go to www.fire.ca.gov. This is CDF's website. Go to the Fire/Rescue section and look under "Cooperative Efforts" then look under "Local Government" it will have a detailed breakdown of who contracts with us. Here is a snap shot.

Since the 1940's man local government agencies have been contracting with CDF for fire protection. Of the 58 counties in California 35 contract CDF to be their "County Fire Dept." We staff 405 local government fire stations and operate 689 engine companies, 17 Ladder companies (Riverside I believe just got 4 new tillered trucks) 105 Rescues/Squads, etc,etc. These numbers do not include State stations or State engines/equipment.

Of the contracts there are 24 cities, 27 districts, and 35 special service areas that contract with CDF for fire protection. This includes EMS service both ALS and BLS, fire protection (wildland/structural), Rescue (Swiftwater, Surf, Rope, and USAR), fire prevention, law enforcement, code enforcement, etc.

These contracts can vary from what we call Schedule A. Which is a full time contract to an Amador Plan. The Amador plan basically keeps the fire station open that we would normally close during non-fireseason. So if fire season is 9 months long they would only pay for the other 3 months of fire protection. This is a really generalized explanation of CDF contracts. There are many types and complex to explain in detail.

Hope this helps

11/23 >From the IAFF post and CBS news....

"The massive Colorado and Arizona forest fires over the summer were both
started by seasonal fire fighters;"

For the IAFF and CBS.. you are wrong on both accounts...

1) One firefighter was an emergency hire AD firefighter, and

2) The other was a recreation technician (forest protection)... sometimes
confused for a wildland firefighter since they are both in the same federal

11/23 Ab, the 60 Minutes show was a slap in the face to wildland firefighters!!!

It was a particular slap in the face to seasonal wildland firefighters
across the country when the IAFF posts this crap... Please make the link
available http://daily.iaff.org/112102cbs.php

If I am a wildland firefighter and pay my dues to FWFSA or CDF
Firefighters.. I'd hope someone in the FWFSA or CDF F and IAFF steps up and
has this post removed.... I'd hope everyone in CPF joins to have this
removed!! CDF Firefighters.. what do you think?

There are arsonists among all groups of firefighters as well as all groups
of Americans.. to point the finger at volunteers and seasonals is
APPALLING!!!!!!.. To me, it's a direct slap at the FWFSA and CDF
Firefighters. CBS and IAFF... DO WE FORGET some of the most revealing
cases that were IAFF members and permanent firefighters? Let's not go there...
And remove the posts from the IAFF website before the chat starts...
Seasonal Wildland Firefighters are members of the IAFF!!! Maybe they
should check their stats!!!...

We can't build a strong wildland firefighter Association when our own paid
advocate (IAFF) is "slamming" us to build press.

Concerned.. FWFSA, CPF, and IAFF Member (and damn pissed off)
11/23 A link came in for Garcia's Type II IMT. Seems it's the first SW Type II team with a website. If anyone knows of other Type II teams that are building websites this winter, send in the links and we'll post 'em on the Type II team links page that can be accessed on our main links page under Federal.

This letter from Ann Veneman re the Homeland Security Act has come in from several folks and might be of interest.
11/23 One year someone sent in info on how to barbeque a turkey. Anyone know what that was?

Still lurking,

11/23 Does anyone know how many local fire departments around CA do as Hopland does and hire CDF firefighters to work in the winter months? I found this article interesting and just wonder if they do this in SoCali or if it's only done in the north. How widespread is the practice? Seems it would benefit all involved. Any downside? Do other states have similar programs?


not so new CDF wife

11/22 More photos up on Fire 14, AirTankers 6, and Logo 8 photo pages. Read the descriptions for details. Thanks everyone.


11/22 Todd and Ken,

Glad you guys cleared some of that up for me! It would be nice if the website explained this a little better, though. I readily concur that a united voice is essential for furthering wildland issues- and you'll get my app. after thanks giving!

One issue that has been kicked around for years and brought out by the recent fireman vs. potty scrubber discussion. Primary fire definitely needs to be given the respect and pay that's due. Perhaps it relates to the whole portal to portal thing....

11/22 Ab,

For folks who may want to pursue a career as a "Digital Field Observer" check out:


We still have limited space available in the upcoming GPS for ICS courses. Application deadline is December 10. Details are available at:


Thanks again for helping to get the word out. This field is the future and it's happening now!

Tom Patterson
11/22 The Jobs, wildland firefighter Series 462 and 455 pages are updated. Ab.

Alaska anyone?

The Fire Specialists will be extending their Case-Exam vacancy
announcement, (for those seeking a competitive appointment) for an extra

If you want to see Alaska (and the rest of the West), do different things,
get the most training, and have the best opportunities for your future ?
the Fire Specialists have the job for you. (more on the jobs page)


10. I'm a wildland firefighter and I CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

9. I get really cool stickers, a magazine, and the ability to buy some
really awesome merchandise.

8. Money and Credit http://www.unionplus.org/benefits/money/

7. Insurance Deals http://www.unionplus.org/benefits/insurance/

6. Health Savings http://www.unionplus.org/benefits/health/

5. Education Services for ME and my family

4. Auto Advantages http://www.unionplus.org/benefits/auto/

3. House and Home http://www.unionplus.org/benefits/home/

2. Travel and Recreation http://www.unionplus.org/benefits/travel/

1. Did I mention it... a really bitchin credit card??? http://www.unionplus.org/benefits/money/card.cfm

Todd, a Letterman Fan
11/21 MAW here, the Wolf fire, above the city of Ojai, is on the Los Padres N. F.
not the Angeles. Thanks

Hi MAW, I knew that, good correction... Ab.
11/21 blackliner,

Why would someone want to be a FWFSA member?

That's an easy question to answer.... Without members committed to the
betterment of Federal Wildland Firefighters, the issues of portal to portal
pay, hazardous duty differential inclusion for retirement, and proper
classification of wildland firefighters AS FEDERAL FIREFIGHTERS WOULD NOT BE
ADDRESSED. Various other issues relating to firefighters as a community are
also being addressed by the IAFF, such as the Federal Presumptive Disability
Bill and the future bill addressing 3%@50 retirement for FEDERAL

If you talk to your local congressman or senators as a single person without
any affiliation, your voice is usually pretty weak. If you talk to the same
local congressman and senators as an FWFSA member and member of the IAFF...
your voice is amplified 250,000 times... pretty hard not to listen to that

That's why everyone who is a Federal Wildland Firefighter should join the

.....Plus there are a few other perks:

IAFF Member Benefits www.iaff.org/build/content/benefits/index.phpl

Union PLUS Member Benefits Program

Holiday Gifts and Discounts

With the savings from all of these programs, HOW COULD SOMEONE NOT AFFORD to
be a FWFSA member ... an IAFF member.... an AFL-CIO member?


Ken Kempter
Southern California Chapter Director
Federal Wildland Fire Service Association, IAFF Local F-0262
11/21 From Firescribe:
Wildfire Study Touts Thinning

Fire season is not over:
In SoCal:
Fire Scorches Hills
Origin of Yorba Linda Wildfire Incendiary in Nature

In AZ:
Wildfire Danger Coronado NF, AZ
Way to tell it Gail!
About campfires, she says, "if you're not brave enough to stick your hand in it, you shouldn't leave it."

Yea, ver'ly, let 'em cook by LASER LIGHT. <HAW><HAW> Ab.

11/21 Hey Jackson, great idea to ban fireworks in Mt. Rushmore, but how 'bout
offering some alternatives such as laser shows or something. The tecnology
geeks are out there that could come up with some great (safe and sane)
patriotic shows that would not put us firefighters at risk. To oppose
something without offering an alternative worth considering makes a person
look pretty close minded.

11/21 Fire Terms: Crummy, Love Bug, Germ Box, Green Machine, Short Bus, Stink Box, The Cage:
A ten-man crewhaul.

Also, I can't find any terrafirma on the PTP and reclassifying, also won't
be able to make Sacremento. Can someone give me a current status situation
on these issues.

Welp, time to go shovel more snow!

11/21 Do you approve of a federal agency shooting FIREWORKS
over a forest?

Mount Rushmore National Memorial is attempting to
obtain long-term approval to shoot fireworks over a
ponderosa pine forest. They are paying a consultant
to write an environmental assessment (EA) that would
basically approve shooting fireworks within the park
every year on July 4.

Mount Rushmore is more than just a sculpture of four
presidents. The sculpture sits in the middle of a
ponderosa pine forest. The terrain is very steep and
rocky. One-half mile to the east and the north are
urban-interface areas near Keystone, South Dakota.
The Black Hills National Forest is on the other two
sides, dominated by closed-canopy pine forests
affected by 100 years of fire suppression.

The park tried shooting fireworks over the sculpture
and the forest on July 4 in 2000 and 2001. The hot
embers from the fireworks fell up to 1,500 feet from
the launch site, sometimes in fuels such as duff,
VEGETATION FIRES. Wildland firefighters had to hike
over extremely steep and rocky terrain to reach the
fires AT NIGHT in order to put them out. During this
two-year period, there were two injuries to
firefighters caused by the steep rocky terrain. One
of them was a serious knee injury that resulted in the
firefighter being off work or on light duty for
several months.

The firefighters that have been asked to put out these
fires at night in the steep, rocky terrain have
expressed their opinion about the lack of sanity of
this whole concept. But, our input has fallen on deaf


The professional EA consultant is asking for public
input right now. They want to know if you think it is
a good idea for a federal agency to shoot fireworks

If you have an opinion, send an E-mail to:
Express your own
thoughts, or copy and paste the following text:

Experience has proven that fireworks cause fires at
Mount Rushmore. It is environmentally unsound to
annually ignite fires in this manner. It is also
unsafe to expose firefighters to the suppression of
fires at night in extremely steep and rocky terrain.
The threats to nearby towns and private property are
high. I do not approve of the use of fireworks at
Mount Rushmore.

11/20 The Jobs, wildland firefighter Series 462 and 455 pages are updated. Ab.
11/20 Aussie CFU,

Politics and politicians are the same all over the world and in my experience your list of effective communication ranking is spot on.

I have organized a few lobbying efforts on the state level and would add the following: When you write to your representatives it doesn't hurt to specifically lay out the need for the proposed change and ask them "WHERE THEY STAND" on the issue. This will require a response of some sort from them and so give you confirmation your message was received. It will also require that some thought be given the issue you have presented if no ready "stock" response will fit. And if you get a "thank you for contacting Senator Soandso" reply letter that does not answer your "where do you stand" question send another letter and include a copy of the bogus response.

When the legislation proposed finally get to the hearing stage...Write those same legislators and ask if they plan on supporting the legislation and provide at least three good reasons they should. Send copys of all responses to the folks in charge of lobbying for the proposed legislation...it is valuable information to them.

While I would not directly benefit from legislation like portal to portal I believe the firefighting community a whole would. I also believe that the USA needs a strong emergency response capability and WE are an integral part of that capability. I therefore support any such proposed legislation...and would be more than willing to contact MY REPRESENTATIVES in Washington to help generate their support. It is difficult for a single representative to garner all the support needed to propose and pass into law any legislation on their own. I know their job is made easier the more "allies" they have on board at the proposal stage as well as when it is time to vote...and the more likely such legislation passes quickly into law.

I admire and respect the FWFSA folks that have worked to get wildfire issues before the Nations' legislators. I suspect they can use all the help they can get and hope they will not hesitate to let the readers (and posters) to They Said know exactly what we can do to help them in their efforts.


11/20 Some info for Jim:
You can get some decent wildland fire software for the palm pilot at
http://www.pocketmobility.com/fire/fire.phpl . I have tried it all out and
it seems to work pretty well. The program called fireaway is basically
BEHAVE and works well.

11/20 A guy from Colorado has developed some programs that will run behave on the
palm pilots plus a couple of other fire useful programs. The E-mail
address is scienceonthego.com. Great job on the site Ab!

A Division.
11/20 Hi
this is Polo I am sending you this on scotts Account. your web site look great
keep up the good work.

Welcome Polo, thanks for the compliment on the website and thank you for the logo contributions. I puth them on the Logo 8 page. Does Scott know you've sent them in? <haw> I corrected some of your spelling as I sometimes do for the firefighters. Hope that's OK. Come again. Ab.
11/20 Paul,

On behalf of the entire fire community I want to let you know how much we appreciate, love and support you. We must get together and tell stories.

Tahoe Terrie

11/20 Jake,

The course you were trying to think of is S-520 Advanced Incident Command. Under NWCG guidelines, of which CDF is a member, it is a required course to be considered a Type 1 Nationally. You are correct in that each state can proclaim themselves as Type 1, however it is only recognized in that state. Recently at the National Assn. of State Foresters meeting the NASF approved the Complex Incident Management Course, sponsored by NASF and USFS, as meeting the requirement for state teams to be considered Type 1. This will allow states to recognize each other and the Feds to acknowledge them as State Type 1 teams.

It might interest you to also know that CDF does still send people to the S-520 course in Marana. In fact there are one or two that will be attending the 2003 course.

11/20 In reference to Jim's post re palm pilot.
Might try:
then check what they have to offer for fire fighting and wildland fire fighting.


Others have sent in info or contacts that I have forwarded to Jim. Ab.
11/20 Hey FOlks!

With all of the discussion concerning contacts with legislators, fwfsa and associated issues, no one has really addressed what a federal wildland firefighter gains by joining your organization. Other than a voice (which, don't get me wrong, is very important), what can line firefighters expect?

I visited the website and saw very little to convince me that it was worth my dime to join. After all, I can call my senator and representative (and do) with the aid of a "membership".

Anyway, did a little rx-burning last week, and now I'm looking forward to some time knocking down birds over the back of my brit!

11/19 SoCalCapt,

The LP got called up from the Cleveland today for some Engines to come down for coverage. I don't know if we sent any or not, sounds like things are still burning down south. We heard that CNF and BDF or getting at least two fires a day and the tankers are doing alot of flying.

Hope you tripled the order for turkey dinners to feed everyone who is coming down. Be safe down there.

11/19 I spoke at some length to one of the assistants of one of the state politicians and the end result is that I was told that the order of importance that is attached to a communication is ranked as follows:

1.Personally visiting your local member (not one of the flunky’s)
2.Hand written letter.
3.Typed letter
5.Phone call
6.Form letter
7.Petition (as a signee not as the instigator).

The way the ranking works is to do with the amount of time and effort it takes to get your point across.

If you take the time to make an appointment, get dressed up go in and see him/her there you are very serious and have attached a lot if importance to the issue.

It takes much longer to hand write a letter that is neat and tidy, than to type up a letter, dash off an E-Mail or make a quick phone call.

Now while the country might be different, I think the reasoning would apply to the USA.

Aussie CFU
11/19 CDF Wife,

I would like to go more in depth about the qualifications issue. I
myself worked for the USFS (R5) about 11 years ago. And since then I
have worked for BLM, and 3 different contractors. I have been an engine FFT1
(second in charge), and after having 2 kids and shattering my knee, I
operated a lookout tower, I was in finance on Big Bar in '99, and have been
in finance for contractors ever since. I believe I understand the "system"
and requirements very well. I do believe that no matter what agency or
contractor you talk about there will always be controversy.

But having said that, this year I was witness to some gross negligence on behalf
of a "CDF" representative. I believe that this person was GROSSLY underqualified
for the position that he was "given." I hope that in the future that people of
ALL agencies, contractors and the instructors that teach them -- you people that
sign your name certifying that a person knows and is capable of performing all
qualifications listed on the "redcard" or other certification sheet -- I hope you
REALLY KNOW the person you're certifying is trained and qualified for the
position. It does us all a disservice to put unqualified people in positions of

R6 fire fighter's wife
11/19 Do you know where I can get any Wildlands Fire Software for the Palm V? I'm
sure there is software available. Do you know of any freeware that pertains
to this subject. We are in a remote area and some calculations could be
done with this software and the small Palm V before calling in a fire.

11/19 Fire N' Politics


Some folks were wondering how effective e-mails and
phone calls were to our Legislators. Having spent a
session as a secretary for some Reps at a state
capitol, I thought I might share my limited
experience, which is basically: it all depends on
which Legislator you're dealing with, but the local
guys and gals will be most responsive. (Note to
Mellie: in our office, both phone messages and e-mails
were printed out, and so arrived in similar format and
within a similar timeframe on the Representative's

The local politicians didn't always act on major
issues of concern, but most of them at least kept
track of any issue that constituents brought to their
attention more than once. An amazing number of them
made time to personally read their messages, briefly
do some research, and then write out a thoughtful

My buddy, who once worked for a Senator in D.C.,
confirmed that the picture out there is much
different. Getting a message to your national
representative, by e-mail OR phone, is almost
impossible. The vast majority of these messages are
heard only by the 'phone jockeys' and 'e-mail jockeys'
whose job it is to shoot off the appropriate form
letter responses. These are people who have about as
much political clout as the guy who empties the
Capitol Hill wastebaskets. In my friend's opinion,
your national Legislator will seldom hear about your
issue unless he/she gets feedback from your local
Legislators that a lot of folks back home have the
same concerns. (Unless you get lucky, and your issue
is one in which the Legislator happens to have a
personal interest. Hope we have a couple of those on
our side.)

Again, this is just from personal experience. Perhaps
others out in Theysaid Land have had better luck with
the 'Lege' in D.C.

**To those of you out there working for PTP and other
ff issues, whether you're successful or not - THANKS


11/19 Ab:

concerning those who want to get in touch with their senator or

my college roommate is now the press secretary for a congresswoman. he
passed along the info that it is best to use two modes of communication:
email and send a formal letter. he said that phone calls are "painfully
slow", as most offices are flooded with phone calls, and these have to be
taken (usually by a volunteer), recorded, typed, and finally then they reach
the congressperson. so, send a letter and an email -

11/19 Anybody have any pictures from the Purdy Fire on the Gallatin NF in Montana
in 2001? I need a few for a project. Thanks.

11/19 Here is a link to the latest word on the BRP due date:

BRP report release now 9 December

11/19 hahahahahahahahahaha on the much-ado-about-nothing yesterday, unless we can just chalk it up to a training session. <wipe that silly grin off your face> Visions of a timed fire shelter deployment practice come to mind. <all serious>

FWFSA Groundpounder thanks for the try! You're a person after my own heart! Get people organized and make a difference. Talk, Talk, Talking about things you wish would change only goes so far, after all.

As for my personal lunchtime exercise down Congress Lane, I have lately wanted an excuse to compare ways of contacting congress, so I had a great lunch hour trying it. Does anyone know if emails are less effective than phone calls? Maybe I will research that when I have time. We want the most streamlined, effective, least costly ways of making our voices heard.

FWFSA, this false start brings home the necessity of your website having CORRECT INFORMATION. If we want people to do what they can on a dime, we need to give them the GOODS. Webmaster and others with the current legislative information, I suggest you look through your website and see if there is any incorrect or out-of-date information there. Then Keep It Up to Date! Correct information is like timely confirmations of membership; both are earmarks of a professionally run operation.

FWFSA folks: Kudos to you for your good volunteer work on everyone's behalf. It's hard when people only pick on the stuff that's wrong. A thankless job sometimes to be the DOers. But you've got to make improvements if we're all to work together on this!

I called Pombo's office yesterday just in case PTP was not coat-tailing on the bill the House passed. They said they had someone looking into that for firefighters and would get back to me on it, but it might take a few days to a week. Well, now I know why they didn't know. (Who were the firefighters who wanted to know?)

Thanks All, false attempt or not, it was FUN!

11/19 This article was in Boulder Daily Camera this past Sunday. Thought you might want to see it.

Big Elk fire memorial rejected

Have a good Thanksgiving.

11/19 Ab,

Where can I find copy of the "Fire on the Mountain" movie? I didn't see
it when it came out and I don't have cable anymore. Any suggestions?


As I recall, you can buy one from the History Channel. Check their internet site. You can also get a tape and book set. Maybe someone taped it and would share. Ab.
11/18 Well, Mike, it's good we now know Portal to Portal is not a rider on the Homeland Security Bill. The info on the FWFSA website on the FAQ page should be changed now if you haven't already done it. Nothing like acting on incorrect info...

I did call Pombo's CA office yesterday morning to try to confirm that it had been on the Bill that passed the House. The person who answered said she'd have the Washington office research that and get the info to me within a few days - Too late for a vote today.

We could all take a lesson from the organization of the environmentalists. Often a very few people can impact federal policy if they are organized and contact their congressmen. Let's just call this "dry run" on calling or emailing - PRACTICE or TRAINING for getting some important legislation passed -.

Thanks Mellie for the research. I am still not so comfortable with computer communication to congressionals, I guess. Mellie, I will try the computer drill for practice sake. Offhand, I wonder what the people on the phones do. Does the info called in really get to the Senator? Anyone sat behind one of those phone jockeys to see what happens?

FWFSA Groundpounder

11/18 Live from SoCal!!






Record drought... Dead trees and brush all over... Hey, it rained... fire season is over down there... Right? Ab.
11/18 More on Illegitimis non carborundum - as if anybody cared.

"Carborundum" is a trademark for a very hard substance composed of silicon
carbide, used in grinding. (The name "Carborundum" is a blend of "carbon"
and "corundum". "Corundum" denotes aluminium oxide, and comes to English
from Tamil kuruntam; it is related to Sanskrit kuruvinda = "ruby".) "The "
-ndum" ending suggests the Latin gerundive, which is used to express
desirability of the activity denoted by the verb, as in Nil desperandum
= "nothing to be despaired of"; addendum = "(thing) fit to be added";
corrigendum = "(thing) fit to be corrected"; and the name Amanda, from
amanda = "fit to be loved").

Illegitimis is the dative plural of illegitimus = "illegitimate"; the
gerundive in Latin correctly takes the dative to denote the agent.
Illegitimus could conceivably mean "bastard" in Latin, but was not the
usual word for it: Follett World-Wide Latin Dictionary (Follett, 1967)
gives nothus homo for bastard of known father, and spurius for bastard of
unknown father.

The phrase "Illegitimis non carborundum." Loosely translated means "Don't
let the bastards grind you down." The phrase originated with British army
intelligence early in World War II. It was popularized when U.S. General
Joseph W. "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell (1883-1946) adopted it as his motto.
Various variant forms and spellings appear to be in general circulation
with fire personnel.

Stilwell, an American General, spent most of World War II as
Chiang-Kai-Shek's Chief of Staff in China. He was a man often at odds with
Generals Wavell, Slim, and Wingate, men with whom he was to co-operate in
Burma. He also had arguments with Brigadier General Chennault, commander of
the 14th USAAF in China. These arguments earned him the nickname 'Vinegar'


<HAW><HAW> Ab.
11/18 FWFSA Groundpounder:

The Portal to Portal and Hazard pay toward retirement legislation are not attached to the "Homeland Security Bill". Our legislation will have to wait for the 108th session of Congress in Jan/Feb. FWFSA does have a letter from Congressman Richard Pombo which states, "the legislation will continue to be a top priority....". I trust Congressman Pombo to know the Political playing field. He will introduce the legislation in the Spring. I spoke to a bunch of the HotShots in Sept while visiting several Angeles Fires. I started the "Homeland Security" issue after Congressman Pombo advised FWFSA it would be a good shot. If you like to research legislation, take a look at Homeland Security. The Bill has over 50 "withdraws". The Senate is still looking at not passing it with the add ons. My vote is wait til Our legislative advisors suggest "Lets Roll". When the Legislation hits the Floor, FWFSA will post it on our Web site and "THEY SAID". Please try to make the December 14th General membership meeting at the Red Lion Inn, Sacramento, 0800 in the California Meeting room. Thanks for your support of FWFSA.

Mike Preasmeyer - President, Federal Wildland Fire Service Association
IAFF local - F262
11/18 I was just wonder if anybody could answer a question. The Rumor I heard was
that the GOverment is goin to start checking to see if our wildland fire
boots have the white tag the nomex have..

Fight Fire 75
11/18 Word is that the release date for the Blue Ribbon Panel Report on Aerial Firefighting was pushed back to Dec 9. It will be available on the internet.

Paper Jockey

11/18 Email your senators! OK, don't do that, false alarm, view this as training!

I just spent my lunch hour and tried all 3 ways to reach my CA senators. Some ways are easier than others. Emailing and cutting and pasting the message is by far the easiest and doesn't cost anything.

If you call Washington (for CA senators) you will get a message about the phone lines being overloaded and you can call the senator's state office number that they give you. Very shortly after that in both my cases, a Washington phone staffer picked up the phone. I said I was from CA. One asked for zip code, the other did not. I told them how I'd like my senator to vote.

The two staffers I talked to in Washington seemed to know what I was talking about when I said I was for the Homeland Security Bill being passed ASAP, which meant that I was against the new Bill to Strip the special interest items that was to be voted on tomorrow.

The staffers in the local offices wanted my name and zip code but were more confused by my request. I had to clarify with them that I was for the Homeland Security Bill but against the bill that would delay the Homeland Security Bill, ie, the one that would strip provisions (riders, pork, special interest items). (One young woman didn't realize another bill to strip special interests had been introduced.)

Here's an easier and more complete site to get e-mail addys (and local and DC phone numbers). Click on your state. The first two in the list are your senators. Email addys and local phone numbers are there. Click on the e-mail for immediate gratification.


You're off and running. It's simple.
Be sure and include your name and address, your e-mail addy etc -everything with a *.
For the general topic of the message, I chose "Terrorism" option for one and "Homeland Security" for the other, depends on what they have. If they have a Subject option say "Immediately Pass the Homeland Security Bill"
For the message box, cut and paste the text provided between the ~~~~~~~'s in FWFSA Groundpounder's message below. It's easy.

Thanks FWFSA dude or dudette for the info and stimulus! That's what we need. Collective action!


  Word just in from the US Senate:

The Senate Democrats have said the GOP added 7 "special interest" pork barrel goodies to the Homeland Security Bill that has already passed the House of Representatives. The two provisions I heard about were liability protections 1) for pharmaceutical companies and 2) for other companies that make quality anti-terrorism technologies. No mention of the portal to portal rider for wildland firefighters.

Tomorrow the Senate will vote on an amendment to strip all (7) special interest provisions to the Homeland Security Bill, as Dana said they might. If they do that and then pass a new Senate version of the Homeland Security Bill, the House of Representatives will have to come back into session to OK the changes and resolve differences between their bill and the Senate bill. Since the House has already gone home for the holidays, the Homeland Security Act is likely not to be passed this year.

The vote to strip is due tomorrow. Please call your 2 Senators and leave a voice message with an aide.

If you are for the passage of the Homeland Security Act, tell them:

Do not delay passing the version of the Homeland Security Bill that has already been passed by the House of Representatives.

Vote NO on the bill to to strip the special interests from the HSB as passing that stripping bill will delay ratification.

Please pass IMMEDIATELY a Senate Homeland Security Bill that mirrors the House bill so it can be signed by the President into law.

You can find your senators with phone numbers and e-mail addresses here. (If you send e-mail include your full name and address so they know that they represent you.)

Please, Everyone, you don't need to be FWFSA to sway your Senator. Get your extended family and friends to call in or e-mail also. This is an easy way to affect a Congressional outcome.

FWFSA Groundpounder

11/18 JW, Courtney and all,

that is correct about c510 on the swazey fire, we were called off the iron
fire on SHF where c506 was. we also were first ones there. Helicopters 8 is
the reference picture.

11/18 Ab-

as an R-4 crew working in R-5 this summer, we worked with a number of RHC's
- type one crews, but not IHC's. i've been told about how they are
primarily regional crews, but somehow i don't think i got the whole story.
could someone in the know inform me about these crews: , how/why were they
created, how many are there, what are their required quals, how are they
treated in dispatching, how are they used by overhead vs. IHC's, and what
sort of reputation does the RHC program have as a whole?

11/18 CDF NOT an essential State Service?!

What is this so called Governor using for brains, the primary mission for
CDF is to protect state water shed. I guess water is not an essential thing
to the state of California. Let's see CHP put out fires and save forests.
I guess the next nonessential will be air. Me thinks the Gov. is acting
like a King.
Retired L.A.V.E.

11/18 RxFire,
Regarding Type Four and Five engines and the trend to put more water on smaller engines in the Mountain West and Great Basin. Ditto on the Type Six maneuverability with twice the water of a Type Five built on the Ford Super Duty chassis.

But, and this is a big but, to fully load the engine with three firefighters, their gear, fuel, foam, equipment and water and still stay under the rated capacity is not an easy proposition. Loading 500 gallons of water on the 4x4 SuperDuty F-450 15,000 pound chassis takes some good engineering. Building a fully equipped Type Five on the Super Duty chassis requires a pre-manufacturing weight check list worthy of a helibase loadmaster. It's worth the trouble when good water sources may be 50 or even 100 miles apart, though.

Same goes for the F-550 Super Duty 17,500 GVW configured as a Type Four with 750 gallons. You're right up to the edge of the capacity. Did you bolt and throw too much on? You'll find out soon enough when you bounce around in the bush for a few months. If you have a Big Squat 100 miles from the closest paved road about half way through the season, you probably had too much. Or if it tips this side of Semi truck on the scales.

Now, to throw another twist in all of this. Either one of the above engines could be typed as a Type Three, depending on how much hose is on board and the pump size. A Type Three has at least 500 gallons, a healthy pump and a generous hose complement. My experience shows these are well suited for urban interface (thus, their popularity in R-5).

Given the above, it's no surprise then, that more and more Type 3-4-5 engine modules are popping up in areas with water supply challenges. Gee, are Type Sixes now passé in the West?

Snake River Sparky.
11/18 Dear All,

Here is a book review. As it is published in Australia it might be a bit hard to find but after listening to much more experienced fire fighters and reading what you people are all saying it is certainly a book that should be read by any home owner or occupier in the wildland/urban interface zone or for those that live on farms or ranches.

To quote from the books introduction, “Fighting towering flames and fire fronts is not what this book is about. It is about protecting the home and family” , “ The majority of firefighters might be men, but the majority who are at home when a bushfire threatens are women.” and “ 90% of all houses saved were defended by one or more persons over the age of ten, who knew what to do."

I would also suggest that it be read by any town manager, politician or any other person who sets policy on what should or shouldn’t be done by a home owner in preparation for, during and after a wildland fire around a home.

As an unblooded novice in firefighting it is hard to find good and reliable information about Australian fires and what a homeowner or occupier of a house in the interface zone can do to prevent loss of property or life. It also covers the complete picture for those that live in a rural area. It offers good solid and detailed practical advice on how to prepare the inside and the outside of a home, what you should wear, what equipment you should have.

In clear and easy to understand terminology it explains about the what the radiant heat of a fire can be like, as well as the effects of radiant heat, dehydration which leads to heat exhaustion and stroke to people who are not trained in firefighting.

I have asked members of the NSW Fire Brigades and Rural Fire Service and all say that this is one of the best books ever written covering this subject. From what I have been told it is recommended reading for all of the NSWRFS personnel.

This book is recommended by Neil Cheney of the CSIRO, Bushfire Behaviour and Management Group and leader of Project Vesta who is recognised as one of Australia most knowledgeable scientists on Bushfires.

“The complete bushfire safety book” by Joan (Katherine) Webster
1st Ed 1986 pub by Thomas Nelson Australia
2nd Ed 1989 pub by Penguin Books Australia
3rd Ed 2000 Random House Australia
ISBN 1 74051 034 8.

Aussie CFU
11/17 Does anyone know where the Blue Ribbon Panel Report on Aerial Firefighting
will be available when it comes out tomorrow? Will it be posted on the internet?


11/17 IHC Supt. I pondered your response to Bell and think that you are right using today's logic, but: What about the FS contracting for an IHC that has a guaranteed 40 hours per week for availability like they do with aircraft. While contract hourly rates tend to be higher than GS, there are a couple of factors that might make them closer:
  1. Taps: How much money does the average USFS IHC contribute to the region/forest/district? Lots more than is justified by the services received. Contract crew funding would not be as vulnerable to the pigs at the trough.
  2. Double Dipping: Congress is currently funding fire at 100% MEL, which should cover all fixed costs. The practice of charging base 8s to P-codes when they have been covered by a congressional appropriation is questionable. What is the actual cost of an IHC when you have your fixed costs covered two different ways.
I would hate to see a contract IHC (based just on tradition) but I would have a hard time arguing against one with what is going on today.


11/17 Regarding Fire on the Mountain, the John Maclean and History Channel Docu-drama:
(Sorry for the delay, I had to re-read the book and John, I apologize in advance for speaking of you as though you aren't here.)

First, Pyrodactyl, I don't think John is chasing his father's ghost. Rather I think he tapped into the father-son fire metaphor to humanize the Storm King tragedy - to bring it to the gut level of "family" while linking it at another level to similar events at Mann Gulch. In the docu-drama he transformed the story from a purely "factual" one to a more multidimensional thinking/ feeling/ expressing human one. This time around, he's managed to tell the story as though from within the fire family, something that was missing from Fire on the Mountain, in my opinion.

Think about it. Understanding this tragedy through and through is so much more than "the firefighters and smokejumpers were here and the fire did this and they moved here". It is all so much more than "the ATs were held on the ground here because of politics there" or "this was the red flag weather story but the firefighters never got it". It is even more than about firefighters who should have but didn't follow the "10 and 18". Sure, this story is about the logistics of who did or didn't do what and when and why; it is about the "lessons learned" and what goes wrong in the "fog of war"; but those are just the initial steps to seeing the more complete, complex tragedy.

I think that in the process of walking us through his story of investigative discovery as John did, he revealed his own process of coming to more deeply understand the tragedy, as would a member of the wildland fire family. He also let the viewers understand it more as firefighters do. In my opinion, the depth of his understanding today far exceeds that demonstrated in his book (but hey, we all learn day by day, don't we?).

As in his book, John begins the docu-drama by telling us what happened first in his researching chronology and what that led to next and so on. But his story as told now goes beyond that book telling. This one reminds me of Faulkner's style and created in me the same kind of tension and circular revelation. I'd have to describe it as edgy. I kept waiting for the POINTS to be definitively made, the BLAME to be laid, the FINGER to be pointed as he did in the book. I kept waiting for the "sides" to be established so I could choose one. As it turns out, John didn't polarize, he just enlightened us to his own fluid and developing perspective, in the end, more of a wildland firefighter's perspective I think - a perspective that continued to evolve into a TRUER story of Storm King than his book revealed.

Tim commented, "you get the feeling that he began to understand that wildland fire suppression is more an art than a science". In Art, it's true you must have the techniques, the basics, the training. Beyond that, Art is involved with feeling. By letting his own story of discovery unfold - complete with feeling and links to family - John did a wonderful, healing thing: he let us (at least me) suspend judgment to some degree. He spoke with firefighters and let us see ourselves "feeling" the tragedy within our family. If the response of my at-home family was any indicator, I'd say he came as close as I have seen to sharing the heart of the wildland firefighter community with non-fire viewers. Not an easy thing to do.

Within the first 15 minutes of the History Channel piece, John mentioned groundpounder violation of the 10 and 18. Toward the end, he further described that crew leaders and firefighters were partially responsible for the tragedy. As in no other profession, wildland firefighters have to believe that each of us is responsible for our own safety and, thus, also for our own tragedy. If we don't live that belief, we let down our "guard" in a critical moment and safety is compromised as it was on Storm King in '94.

My suggestion: If you haven't already done it, read the book, view the video... See what you think.


11/16 Not so new CDF wife. Don't believe most of what you hear in CDF is the first piece of advice I can give. We have critical rates of spread on rumors, most of which are unfounded.

Foresters do hold positions on CDF Incident Commands Teams (ICT's) These positions are based upon your fireline qualifications. The four party agreement states that the USFS will recognize CDF's certs, qualifications and standards. Since we do not use the redcard system. A great many CDF personnel are proponents for the USFS taskbook and use them as a great documentation tool for certification.

Having said that do we put unqualified people on ICTs? Yes! Does the USFS? Yes. As with most large fire service organizations no matter how well you try to keep your standards there are just too many ways to circumvent the system. USFS teams are greatly respected in CDF. They have a better depth of personnel in key positions than CDF teams.

I qualify this statement by having worked on both USFS and CDF teams. Interestingly enough CDF teams are considered Type II by the USFS. However CDF considers them to be Type I. This due to a class in Marana that we do not attend. (the title skips my mind at this time) Out of State travel for CDF is like pulling teeth.

On a side note I think it will be interesting in the upcoming months for CDF due the Billions and Billions (Carl Sagan) of dollars that we are in debt. What the Governor is going to cut is the question and how much of a hit CDF is going to take. We have heard (again a rumor with just a rapid rate of spread) that we are not considered an essential State service like CHP so we are on the chopping block like everyone else. Should be interesting..

Hope this answered your question and welcome to you and your family to CDF. We have some bumps but overall its a great organization to be a part of.


11/16 Is it true that foresters with no fire experience working for CDF can be on CDF's Incident Management Teams in a fire supervisory capacity? I hope not. Maybe I overheard that wrong. Anyone know? What are the standards?

I know CDF and R5 FS teams no longer have meetings together in the spring. Can anyone tell me why? Is it disagreements over the quals? What are the politics of these interagency relationships with respect to the management teams? This would be impossible in the FS because of the rules and regs of Redcarding, right?

Not so new CDF wife
(For someone who asked a while ago which part is "new": My husband, formerly USFS, got a full time position with CDF that started last summer; I was "New CDF" wife then and I'm "not so new" now. Emphasis on the CDF. CDF is still an unknown quantity for me.)

11/16 Oh Wise, All Knowing, All Seeing Abs,

A photo from our 2002 "We Were There" Gallery.

At times, this fire season seemed like Groundhog Day. It just kept going on and on and on. Needless to say, there weren't too many grumbles when we demobed the day after this picture was taken. Come to think of it, it's like ski season. In November, you can't wait to hit the slopes. In April, you may dutifully trudge up to the lift for a little late season action, but the passion is about spent.

Sign me,
Arctic Amos

I put it on the Engine 5 photo page as "Season's Over". Let's hope it is in the Northern West. Thanks. Ab.

11/16 Tom from AG,

As you well know the quandary regarding what to call a crew that IA's fires with their primary mode of transportation being a helicopter has been around since at least the late 70's in the Forest Service.

In 1978 I worked on the San Marcos (528) "Flight Crew." The Flight Crew consisted of a ten person crew whose primary duties were of a handcrew. The entire module also consisted of a five person "helitack" crew whose primary duties were to set up the water point and helibase. All personnel were cross trained though and used in both capacities as the incident warranted.

1981, 1982 and 1987 found me on the Arroyo Grande Module (527). Pretty much the same setup as above with 528 except the handcrew part of the module was called "Helishots" though sometimes we were referred to as "Fly or Flight Crew." The "Helitack" side of the module was 5 per day effective.

My suggestions:
  1. Designate the name "Helishot" to any crew attached to a helicopter whose primary mission is that of a handcrew and meets the criteria in the "Helishot Ops Guide" (ToBeDetermined)
  2. Develop a separate Ops Guide for "helishot" crews that would include staffing levels, training and quals (need to add aviation training and quals for the extremely important cross train part of the module!)
  3. Educate our Incident Managers on the staffing level differences currently out there on different Helicopter Modules.
  4. Fight the fire in any capacity required (given qualifications) no matter whether you call yourselves Fly Crew, Flight Crew, Helishot, Helitack, Hotshot, Engine Module, RHC, IHC, Type 1, Type 2 IA, etc, etc, etc
Tally Ho
11/15 The Jobs, wildland firefighter Series 462 and 455 pages were updated yesterday.

With holiday shopping approaching, let me plug our banners/sponsors, the Classifieds page and our Amazon link on the Books page. If you need anything, please consider shopping there first.

11/15 Curious,
Good points and no disrespect taken. You ask "should the crews who only fly with 6-8 be called Helishots or Flightcrew?"

My question exactly, the only difference between us and any other flight crews should be limited to personnel numbers, not capabilities. The final "name", though not really that important, would help in the current identity crisis.

"What is the difference between Helishot, Flightcrew, or Flycrew?" none that I know of, as far as I know, "helishot" is just a nickname. Flycrew is the only true ICS name out there. Flight crew is just easier to say.

My suggestions:

  1. Review all flycrews based on the standards set by the Hotshot Operations Guide.
  2. Decide what the crews will be called, Helishot, Flycrew, Flightcrew or ??
  3. Incident RESL, Plans, Ops, AirOps and IC's, know we are there and use us for line assignments..
  4. Hold Air Ops, Helibase Mgrs and Helicopter Superintendents accountable for not utilizing highly trained and motivated firefighters for line assignments

Thanks for your time,
Tom from AG

11/15 Courtney's copter photo is C510 out of Chester, I believe. If one of the
Chester folks looks at the picture they'll be able to confirm it. I recall
I had C202, C205, along with C510 (C506 was on assignment). Four airtankers
(94,84,20,18) and a Lead finished the mix. The fire was held to about 20
acres in an interface area of two acre parcels with Gray pine, manzanita,
and grass fuel. Turn arounds from Redding AAB were about 10 minutes. It's
always fun when a plan comes together!

11/15 Tom from AG,

You make some good points, after all who wants up to 32 people sitting at Helibase when there is a fire to fight. In my opinion AG is a different animal when it comes to typing Flightcrews.

My question is (with no disrespect) should the crews who only fly with 6-8 be called Helishots or Flightcrew? There is alot to the issue. Should AG be singled out because of the size of the crew and the Type I status that was gained last year? What is the difference between Helishot, Flightcrew, or Flycrew? Should they all be the same instead of calling one Helishot or the other Flightcrew due to the size and qualifications of the crew? Do you not agree that these questions should be raised?

I hope everybody who flies into an incident comes there to work and contribute if they have 32, 21, 7, or 4 person crews. Alot to think about and discuss on the issue. Who knows, after the issue is resolved MEL will probably run out in a couple of more years and everybody will go back to business as usual, having a 7 person Flightcrew with a 212.

11/15 Re: Type 4 & 5 engines and FUM's


Type 4 engines are to the greater Western states what the Type 3's are to California. In my limited knowledge they a predominantly BLM configuration, with some state forestry and contractors using them as well. S&S Fire is the current low bid manufacturer for DOI.

Type 5's seem to be on the way out. (anyone with better knowledge is welcome to correct me on this) With advent of the Ford F-450/550 Super Duty chassis, some contractors are making Type 4s that have the maneuverability of a Type 6. So given the same basic vehicle size, but 500 (?) gallon increase from a type 6, what would you want on your fire?

On the FUM's, the all but one (Buffalo River) are permanent crews...

• One GS-7 PFT Module Leader
• One GS-6 PFT Assistant Module Leader
• Two GS-5 PSE Module Members funded for 18 pay periods per fiscal year
• Three GS-5 PSE Module Members funded for 13 pay periods per fiscal year

Hope this helps.
11/15 On Wednesday, November 13, '02 Brianne Craig was involved in a fatal car crash just outside of Baker City Oregon. She had been a firefighter for 2 years and was looking forward to her 3rd. She enjoyed the outdoors and was a spectacular person too be around. She is survived by her parents and a brother and sister. We all will miss you Brianne.

Friends Forever

Our thoughts and prayers are with you, her other friends and family. Please Be Safe All whether in your car or on the fireline. Ab.
11/14 Ab

Long time lurker, first time writer. Who has alot of questions to ask and a few comments to add.

I'm from the Northeast (US), I'm a crew boss on a state Type 2 & 2IA crew. The crew make up is a mixture state workers from forestry and parks (who have in state wildfire duties and most of the leadership positions within the crew.) and crew members from other disciplines within the environmental division of the state government. We also rely on volunteer and paid city structural firefighters to supplement our crew. All of these positions are volunteer and no one is required to maintain crew status. We usually have about one hundred crew members too choice from, with usually only 50 available. The crew Always gets good evaluations and we have never had a major injury, and never sent anyone home or had a discipline problem. The mixture makes for a good crew!

We (operations team) are in the process of developing a evaluation form for individual crew members. We have been able to "get by" to this point, but we need better standards and control for the safety of all. My question for all is there a standard individual evaluation form out there (most of what I've seen is for single resources), would a simplified version be better especially in the litigious friendly east. Also the state people have to worry about non-fire supervisors at their home unit who would find a way to have access to these evaluations. Finally a small sampling of other state crews, shows that most just use a verbal evaluation through out and at the end of the assignment. Any help would be appreciated.

I sent along one of my pictures from the Chediski fire this summer, a column and bomber on division S, 6\28\02

Thanks Ab for the excellent site

Welcome and you're welcome. The Community makes it special. Thanks for the photo. It's on the Fire 14 photo page. Ab.

11/14 Hi RD,

I'm trying to figure out, how do I submit a proposal? I've tried the link
http://www.fs.fed.us/fire/news_info/latest_news.phpl and tried the links for
the pdf and doc files.. I've tried these links from work and home.. they
don't seem to work?

Is there a problem?
11/14 In addition to the photos and messages above and below, we got a bunch of photos of the Wolf Fire from LB. Many of these are posted on the Fire 13 photo page, but I also posted some on AirTankers 6, Engines 5, Handcrew 6 photo pages. Check em out. Thanks LB.

On the Handcrew 6: There's a photo of FFs holding the road on the Wolf Fire and several interesting photos of firefighters from Bolivia. A Bolivian Search and Rescue crew sent in those photos. You can find a link to their site by going to the photo description page. The second photo they named Gus and Bad Boy (in Spanish). Sounds like they have humor. There was no other description. Several weeks ago they send in some logos. I posted the fire logo (Bomberos Bolivia) on the Logo 5 page.

When you're on Fire 13, check out the Elkbath - Then and Now photo. I didn't draw attention to it when I posted it. It is interesting to see what comes back.

On the Engine 5 photo page, I need some help with identifying the BLM Crew. It's the one entitled "Who is this?" The photo was entitled booth_hotshots. It came in more than a year ago, I think -- when I was on the road. When I got home, the info that came with it was gone. On thinkin' about it, I just gott'a say that I don't see a hotshot crew, just a bunch of engine slugs. Notice the variety of hat designs. It ain't no hotshot crew. It's a bunch of engine slugs from different crews standing together. If they were hotshots, there wouldn't be ANY engines in the background.


11/14 From the AG Flight Crew Guys:

Pines Burnout: Firing operations during the Pines fire, you can see the crew in the SW 1/4 of the picture to get an idea of the flame heights.

Birch: Intense burning in Pinyon/Juniper fuels, Taken on the Birch Fire, Inyo NF.

Thanks, some remarkable flame lengths there. I put them on the AG Flight Crew page. Ab.

11/14 Ab,

I was noticing that your picture gallery does not have too many pictures of helicopters actually dumping on fires. I thought that maybe you would like to post this one because I think it is a pretty good picture. (I also attached it on this message.)

This picture was taken at a CDF fire in Redding, CA, (the Swasey Fire). Pretty fast, exciting little fire!!! I'm not all to sure which copter this is; could possibly be CDF out of Vina, CA.


Thanks Courtney, bucket drops are welcome. It's up on the Helicopter 8 photo page. Ab.

11/14 Ab, Some photos for the page:

Cannon: Cannon Fire, Walker, California, June 17-21, 2002 The darker smoke middle-right is the column from the crash of T130 - this was taken just 3 minutes after the crash.

Rogue River HS (Cannon2): Cannon Fire, Walker, CA Jun 17-21, 2002, Rogue River crew buggy with a view


Thanks Bill. I put them up on the Fire 14 and the Equipment 4 photo pages.

(These aren't Bills photos, but is that piece of equipment called Firetank [from the Biscuit Fire] one of Northtree's monsters? If not, then whose?) Ab.

11/14 If you haven't seen it, take a look at the new Wolf Fire pic on the wildlandfire.com home page. Thanks to the LP guys who sent it in. Ab.
11/14 Ab,

Here's a good fire aviation survivor story from 1962 (saw the link posted on the AT website) for those needing a good historical read:



11/14 Concerned,

Since the temps are getting laid off soon- are there any AD crews there
in south zone that are going to be around (or that need people)?

11/14 Hi there and Happy Fall.

I've been assisting the folks at San Dimas and MTDC in the last couple
weeks with ways to publicize their need for ideas for new equipment and
projects to start working on. In addition, FEWT has a survey out that ffs
may want to respond to. And the Leadership website is up and running.

If folks would check out www.fs.fed.us/fire/news_info/latest_news.phpl
and look over the first three stories, I'm guessing there's some good ideas
out there among theysaid readers. We'd like your input.

Thanks Ab.
11/14 Does anyone know if the "riders" are still attached to the HomeLand Bill? I heard it passed the House but only mentioned a couple of the "riders". I can't seem to find anything about it this morning.

Concerned in AZ
11/14 TO: FIRE PUP91
reference the Latin wording: "Don't let the bastards get you down"

This saying was on the a FS shield with a Big Horn painting, on the Dalton Hot Shot crew rig ( 1-1/2 ton stake side) in 1959 the crew was stationed at Tanbark flats on the Baldy District, Angeles N.F. This was my first year with the FS, we also had in Latin the saying of "When in doubt, Backfire" at the bottom of the crew logo, Robert I Chaffey was the sup this was during the days when Woody Hite was the Sup for Chailo and Kenny Tortuis was the sup for Del Rosa.

So it was good to see that this saying is still rolling around.

Need to go check my pictures cause I think I have a crew picture next to the crew truck with the logo and wording..

Some Dalton HS 180 Clubber come up with that motto for their rig? Scan that photo and we'll post it. Ab.
11/14 SoCal winds on the way!!!

After a good drenching last week, Southern California has been under the influence of a high pressure system for the last 4 days. That high pressure system has brought warm weather and offshore (Santa Ana) winds.

The 6-10 forecast calls for no rain and a moderate Santa Ana wind is expected to develop for Fri. and Sat. and possibly again next week.

All of the immediate benefits of rain were negated by the drying and heating caused by the Santa Ana winds. LA County had a 2nd Alarm wildland fire today in Malibu....Some long term benefits such as a grass crop should become a positive factor in a few weeks if we don't get any freezes or continued warm, dry, and windy weather.

Southern California is trying to come out of it's worst recorded drought. It probably will, after several successive storms. The problem is that with the current fuel mortality (brush and timber), wildfire's are a 365 day a year problem now (except when it's raining). There are examples of this available from ALL of the SoCal forests... Many fires should have self extinguished under the current fire behavior models..
.. but this year, they burned actively in high RH's and under fog conditions.. ie - Williams Fire (ANF) and Harrison Fire (BDF).

Temp firefighters and fixed wing aircraft are going away on Saturday....

But the results of the drought and the Santa Ana's ARE still coming...

BEAN COUNTERS... how soon we forget.. Viejas..Gavilan..Bear.. Panorama.... All late season fires. Two of these fires are recent and were understaffed by Fed and State resources... The Bear (1970) and Panorama (1980) were late November fires.. Viejas in January, 2001 and Gavilan in February, 2002.

On the fed side I understand the 1039 issue for temps, but there is an avenue for relief of 1039 requirements... but with aircraft? It's just $$$ and a bet on the "come line"... sometimes you win.. sometimes you lose.. Sure glad I don't live in a house in the wildland areas.


11/13 HELLitorch asks: Where do helishots and other rogue entities
fit in? Who knows?

This is a valid question which, in the best interest of fire management,
deserves an answer. As far as most incidents are concerned, they want the
aircraft and the people that come with it are just baggage. When we are
ordered for a fire, we come on an "A" (Aircraft) number. No splitting of the
order either, you get both crew/ship or none at all, package deal.

When we arrive, I make it a habit to go right to the Ops or Resource unit
and specify what they are getting (A Type 1 Crew). When we are in our own
area (South Ops-CA), we know plenty of people and it usually isn't that big
of a deal. If we went to another Region, I know we would not generally be
used because they just DONT know about the program.

The problem I see is that most R5 "helishot" or "flycrews" don't sell
themselves, they seem to be content to sit at helibase. We are in a position
where we are forced to sell ourselves because we really don't exist in the
big picture (hence the "rogue entities" that was mentioned which is
fitting). We respect the chain of command and ICS, but there are flaws.

Re-writing the crew typing procedures has been done but did not include the
flycrews. Maybe this should be done again to include us. After all, we WANT
to work.

Tom from AG
11/13 MTDC wants our input, give it to them. I hear a lot of whining about equipment and other subjects out there on the line. Here's an opportunity to be heard.

Fire Equipment Needs Survey


11/13 From Firescribe, The Plight of New South Wales AUSTRALIA Communities in the face of drought and fire:

Camden Wollondilly Advertiser
Nepean water is in short supply
Last Saturday's bushfire knocked out electricity supplies to the Nepean water filtration plant.
Dubo Daily Liberal Drought in New South Wales
Releasing the latest NSW Agriculture figures in State Parliament yesterday, Premier Bob Carr declared the drought was the worst since the great drought of 1895-1903. According to the figures for November, the area declared in drought rose from 92 per cent to 96 percent last month. Another 3 per cent of the State has been declared as "marginal", or on the verge of being drought declared unless there is immediate rain.
Great Lakes Advocate: No break in sight
THE massive and unstinting efforts of the district's Rural Fire Service firefighters in recent weeks have been outstanding - but unfortunately it doesn't look like the prevailing weather is going to provide any rest for them in the near future.
"Our troops have done a remarkable job, over the last eight to 10 weeks without a break, Great Lakes Deputy Fire Controller Mark Blaydon said yesterday.
Guyra Argus Fires Threaten Local Farms

Maitland Mercury
Fires still a threat: Firefighters remain on alert.

Northern Daily Leader
Farmers want fire plan review
GROWING anger in parts of the State, particularly around Tenterfield, over the alleged failure of the National Parks and Wildlife Service's role in bushfire prevention and fire fighting has prompted a call for better communication between government agencies and farmers. (Sounds like the USA)
Penrath Star Bushfire danger here for a while

Southern Highland News Fire volunteers are worth weight in gold

Southern Highland News Inquiries into blaze "ongoing"
Investigations into the Mittagong bushfire are ongoing as police continue to build up a picture into the circumstances surrounding the weekend firestorm that engulfed the Southern Highlands.
Daily Telegraph Residents warned as fires advance
11/13 Ab, my understanding of the 180 club is when somebody with a promising
career (engineering, law, accounting, etc.) takes a 180 degree turn in the
path of success and decides on a career in fire.


Thank you 6! Award that man the pulaski! Matt, this is the thing you must be aware of in sending all those academics to fight fire, that they'll be seduced or become addicted. Smokejumpers have the largest number of converts. HAW, beware. Ab.
11/13 Tahoe Terrie
Thanks for finding the mythical crew-typing memo. Leave it to Oregon BLM to
come through posting an NWCG memo based on a discussion from the IOSWT. The
IOSWT probably hasn't gotten around to posting the May 2002 meeting minutes
at: www.nwcg.gov/teams/ioswt/incoper.php . After all - it has been
six months.

Regarding the growing multitude of differences between the crew types, it
seems kinda' pointless. Type 2 can do IA and Type 2 with IA Capability can
do IA, (but can be broken into squads).

Type 3 can't do IA, but they can do fireline construction, improvement and
mop-up. It's been a while, but as I recall the common denominators for
tragedy fires, wasn't there something like, "On relatively small fires or
deceptively quiet areas of large fires"?

It must not be that important, because it sounds like this is exactly the
part of the fire these crews are going.

My point is, I've had Hotshot Crews that did not appear to have a clue,
and I've had Type 2 crews that should have been in the Hotshot's jobs. (Not
just on the fire.) All crews have different experience and capabilities. A
Leaders job is to assess crew experience and capabilities and use them

Is anybody going to order a Type 3 crews- No. They're going to order Type 1
Crews. If not available, they'll order Type 2 IA, and then Type 2.

The Type 3 crews - who do not have enough experience to be Type 2 - will
not get experience because they will not get ordered. We won't have more
crews - we'll have less. This will probably aid the Dispatch world to
additional melting down. Oh wait - ROSS will fix everything.

11/13 The latin term for don't let the bastards get you down (I think) is Illegitimi Non Carborundum. I was on a smokechaser crew in Idaho City and this motto was on our crew T-shirts at least up to 1995. I am not sure the spelling is correct.

Lawyers also use the term, I believe. They may need the encouragement more often.

11/13 I think Purdue forestry college had the motto originally (on their forestry
club patch). It went something like "Non-Carburundum, Non-Bastatorum"
translated into "don't let the bastards weigh you down."

Another favorite is a "coat of arms" depicting a donkey with a feather
suspended over it. I'll let readers decipher the inference. The wording
around the shield reads (not real latin)...."Persona non-humor tum
conjugalis" translates to....?

Old Fire Guy
11/13 Motto: Idaho Smoke Jumpers

What was the latin saying on the teeshirts (some black shirts, some red) "
Don't let the bastards get you down" circa 1977 ?

Thanks MKF

11/13 I haven't checked in lately so I kinda scanned recent posts and I think I
might be in your 180 club. On a certain fire last year (the name of which I
wont disclose sober) the Florida crew I was on had just moved up to the
coyote camp. We were supposed to have some time to set up, but the fire
made a run (straight towards us.) We were joined by a division sup who
began to brief us about how they would like to use us. They expected the
break-out to come through near us and hoped to use two dirt roads to stop
it. Our assignment was to patrol between the roads putting out spots. So
we obligingly followed the div-sup as he says "This way guys..." and marched
down a fork in the road we were on. We rounded a rock escarpment to see
torching and spotting that was CLOSE. Hairy close. The radio crackled "XXX
to XXX You guys are on the wrong road!!!!!!" The rest of the information
was lost on the div-sup as he seemed about to have an incontinence problem.
We 180'd and applied the HAUL chart. (Flames 1-3ft haul men, 3-9 haul
equipment, 9+ haul ass.)

Anyway things are still quiet down south,
you can tell what stage of fire danger we are at,
we spent the day today re-roofing one of our buildings..........

Be safe!!!
Flash in Florida

Flash, that's one kind of 180 Club. We could call it the 180 Haul Club. I put the "Haul Chart" on the FIRE Terms/Nicks page. Anyone else have stories from the season or terms to add? Ab.

11/13 -NCCrew and SoCalCapt
I'd be the first to say I don't fully understand all the ramifications of
the Crew Typing issue. Type 3 crews in particular.

The National Mob Guide at:
http://www.nifc.gov/news/mobguide/Crew_Standards_Revision.pdf lists the
criteria for Type 1, Type 2 IA, and Type 2 crews standards. Hotshot Crews
have their own standards.

For the most part, there is a higher standard for Hotshot Crews. The
difference that caught my eye is that Dispatch availability for Type 1
Crews is one hour. Hotshot Crews will be able to mobilize within 2 hours of
receipt of orders during their availability. (We're better - but slower.)

There has been some buzz about Type 3 as well. I believe this is only in
the proposal stage at this point. I've looked for some elucidation in the
memos, in the websites, and talking with people. Most say they thought they
have seen something too, but could not deliver anything in writing.

The general consensus is that Type 3 crews would be other fire crews that
do not meet all the standards of a Type 2 crew. Some Regions think this is
a good idea - others do not. Where do helishots and other rogue entities
fit in? Who knows?

Each standardized crew type has requirements for Fireline Capability, Crew
Size, Qualifications, Communications, Training, Experience, etc. Obviously,
there are good crews that do not meet the existing NWCG Type 2 standard and
conversely, there are some not so good crews, Type 2 and Type 1 for that
matter that do. Many of the crews that do not meet the standard, have the
experience and ability to do Type 2 work, but for whatever reason, do not
meet other criteria.

We don't have enough crews now to do what we need to do. Do we limit our
ability to use existing crews because the Squadies don't have S-131 but
have been Squad Bosses for ten years? Do we grandfather some crews?

It is difficult to write policy to mandate common sense. As yet, this has
not occurred. For some regions, additional training is a huge budget issue.
For others, they will simply not be able to muster the fire militia that
makes up the lions share of our crew forces. History has shown that the
more we define things ? the more we paint ourselves into a corner.

The good news is - crew typing does not affect Camp Crews.

11/12 GGFire thanks for the reminder.
I asked Ab to delete my paragraph to dana and send it to him as an e-mail
instead. I should have done that in the first place in spite of the fact that my
button was pushed.

Tahoe Terrie

Forwarding or cutting and pasting to someone is always an option if we haven't dumped their e-mail yet. Ab.

11/12 Wow, are we over-reacting to Dana's post or what? What happened to the
free flow of information, opinion and discussion that supposedly happens on
"They Said?"

11/12 From Queensland AU:

Yes, it's not yet December...we've only started our bushfire season. At the
moment there is a total fire ban for most of Queensland, we're
hanging out for rain, but the small amount we've received is soon soaked up
by the soil and we're back to square one.

Most of the fires in south east Queensland are deliberately lit by the usual
dimwits; some areas haven't had a fire through them in decades!
So we'll be busy.

Thanks for the kind thoughts.

11/12 From New South Wales AU:

For all of those wondering what is happening down under, here is the latest media release for NSW from lead agency. Basically the expectation is this fire season has the potential to be one of the worst. In a recent training session with one of the country based NSW Fire Brigades captains, he said that it is the first time in their memory that they are actually extremely worried or even scared at what could happen. On total fire ban days they have pre-assemble strike teams waiting to be dispatched at the first report of fires (hit them hard and fast is the current thinking).

Here is the URL for those wanting to get this information direct or to browse the NSWRFS site


Also here is a new feature that has just been released in the past couple of days which is a current map as per the NSWRFS information. I think that this is still a work in progress, as when you zoom in on the map the detail gets out of focus. You will need Adobe or some other software that can read PDF files.

www.bushfire.nsw.gov.au/Combined%20Fires%2010112002.pdf (548K)

Aussie CFU

That was a quick response. You all Be SAFE. Ab.

11/12 Tahoe Terrie,

The comparison chart I have does not have the Type 3 crew standards on it.
Thanks for the updated link.

- IA Dispatcher
11/12 Read an article about Australia, seems as if they are having a tough fire
season already and it isn't even December yet. From what I read, lots of
fire and little rain in the wet season. The author seemed to think it will
be a fire season that happens only once in a lifetime. Wish them good luck
and be safe guys & gals. P.S. I bet if someone went over there and
volunteered they just might take you.

Retired L.A.V.E.

Here's the whitesheet on fires in NSW. www.bushfire.nsw.gov.au Heard from one of the Aussies that some Americans might be invited if nothing more than to witness the fire behavior. Hey OB or Aussie CFU or NAB, whoever's reading, if you have time, send us an update. Ab.

11/12 Thanks everyone for the information on Govt standards for wildland fire gear. I am a wiser consumer than I ever thought I'd be after all that discussion!

Ab and IA Dispatcher, I think this is the link you are looking for re minimum crew stds for mobilization.

It did have stds for Type 1 and 2 crews in the past, now it includes also Type 2 with IA capability and Type 3. It's in pdf but not too large to download. The info is a side by side tabulated comparison and includes fireline capability, crew size, leadership quals, experience, full-time OC or not, communications, sawyers, training, etc etc. (Matt you might find this helpful. Oh, the 180 club, lots of us belong to that, depending on when we got turned by firefighting.)


Thanks FWFSA firefighters who also happen to be managers and thanks to the many other "managers" who make a difference for all of us day to day.

Tahoe Terrie

11/12 Biker Joe,

Hey, thanks A LOT for all that WFU stuff- very helpful. (And thank you, Tom from AG. The only reason I know about the AG ship is that I had a very excellent squadie who just came off the AG.)

Just one follow up question- how often do FUMs go out on fires? I know it depends on the season, but I'm asking for a comparison- are they comparable to say, a busy Type 2 crew, in the number of OT hours they will pull in a season? I'm trying to figure out how busy different modules are compared to each other. Practically speaking, money and income is very important for students trying to pay their way through school, so I want to give people a ballpark idea of how busy their season is going to be relative to other fire fighters and modules.

Oh, and about the regulars- I know, I've been one of myself.

I hope that you guys here on TheySaid haven't interpreted my glib tone as condescending or insulting or anything like that, as it's definitely not intended to be. I have an immense respect for everyone on TheySaid, as I realize just how many seriously knowledgeable people hang out and post here, albeit anonymously. I myself have been lurking and posting under various auspices on TheySaid for about a year now and I really do appreciate the forum of TheySaid and the wealth of talent & knowledge that gathers here on a daily basis.

With all due respect,
-Matt Mireles

Ab, Call me dense, but I don't get it- the 180 club?

Respect accepted. As for the 180 Club, anyone out there want to reply?
HINT: The smokejumpers have the most members. HAW HAW.

11/12 Ab & -NC Crew,

I have a hard copy of a document titled "NWCG Minimum Crew Standards for
National Mobilization". It is a good reference tool when working with
Type 1, Type 2, and Type 2 IA crews. I attempted to access the NWCG
website to see if I could find this document there, but the site was
unavailable. Anyone looking for crew typing standards may wish to keep
trying to access this site.

- IA Dispatcher
11/12 Rogue River,

I applaud the FWFSA goals and its efforts. If you saw may last post (or any others) as a slam I wish you would re-read it. A previous post had stated that the PTP pay legislation was in a rider on the Homeland Security Act bill. Riders are a standard method of passing into law legislation which (in the eyes of legislators) might not have enough support on its own. Consequently a whole bunch of riders are "tacked on to" bills that have a large amount of support and are expected to pass into law fairly unopposed. It is normally a very good strategy. Sometimes however (as with the HSA) a President will threaten to veto any such legislation unless the riders are stripped off before it reaches the Oval office. This is what I understand the situation is with the HSA and the main reason it has languished in the legislature.

I understand how difficult it is to get such legislation enacted. And my intent was not to ridicule the FWFSA or "slam" any group that is trying to get wildland firefighters a better deal. I imagine the leaders of the FWFSA are aware of the situation already and are working to "hedge their bets" by attaching the PTP pay legislation to another bill (if in fact it is now attached as a rider to the HSA). To have gotten as far as they have with this issue is amazing considering all the time and effort involved...and it is not unusual for such an effort to fail initially for some reason beyond anticipation. Although I will not benefit personally form PTP pay I think the community of wildland firefighters as a whole will. I therefore support the FWFSA's efforts and hope other sill as well.

If you read my last post carefully you will notice I asked the question: "What can we do individually to improve its chances?" I had hoped that someone from the FWFSA would respond to update They Said readers about their progress with the PTP pay legislation and how individuals like you and me could help them in their efforts on our behalf.

If you think I meant it as a put down or insult you are mistaken.


11/12 Matt,

Here's a website one of our Fire Use Module Captains gave me, we have 2 modules on forest. It has there Op's Guide and a few other informational things.

www.nps.gov/fire/fum/2002_FUM_OPERATIONS_GUIDE_final_0214.pdf (pdf file, 471K)


11/12 The Middle Way, Fire Use:


There are currently 9 NPS and 2 to 4 Forest Service Fire Use Modules dedicated to Fire Use (WFURBs and Prescribed Fire). Fish and Fur has a couple of FUMS unavailable for WFURBS, they are primarily burn and prep crews (although, they are REALLY, REALLY good at this element.)

Fire Use Modules are not "thrown together" to meet management needs. We are dedicated to fire use and that's it, period. Woe be to their budget if they pursue the babylon of suppression without resource benefit.

There are some so called FUMs out there, and much like the early IHC's, we're going to deal with this soon.

Our FUM FEMO's would make a FOBS blush at their mapping and fire behavior skills. Yet, they are just FFT1's, Imagine what will happen when they move up.

However, Matt,

Stop fighting the inevitable, Fire just IS. Embrace it, use it (suppress the crap out of it around improvements however). Educate the masses...

Welcome to the big cycle. Ride on.

Anyone of your students can call the module leaders (Supt) from the contact list, they will really help focus your student's needs.

And for note, most non R5 type 2 crews ARE
regulars (pickups from non organized fire personnel), organized crews inevitably lead us up to type 1.

Regulars used to be (and should be) the backbone of firefighting. These are the folks who get it done on the unit level.

Riding on Wahoo and Alaskan Amber,
Biker Joe

Remember the acronyms and the mnemonics lists for reference. Ab.
11/12 SoCalCapt,
Are you still planning on coming East? or are the closures on your forest
keeping you on the home front?
11/12 Kelly,

>From Ab's "Bio" /docs/abspeaks.php ......

"Abercrombie is unable to stop asking why. He feels people are capable of
and willing to do a much better job if they understand the "why" in addition
to knowing "how"."

Hence the "Why's" in my post.

Ab has good points for all firefighters... keep asking WHY?? Try to figure
out HOW?... and KEEP seeking answers!!!!

Can anyone add some valid HOW's and KEEP'S?

11/11 Re: Kelly's post in response to Blake's questions...

Kelly .. thanks for your interest in the FWFSA. We always appreciate input
from members, folks interested in becoming members, and anyone interested in
furthering the goals of Federal Wildland Firefighters.

Several asked several valid questions and I'll try to answer some of them here.

#1 - From Backburnfs, Why not change the dues structure to $2.00 per
pay period.

Answer: As NorCal Tom said, the reason the dues structure is set as it is, is to
provide affiliation with the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) and the
various national firefighter organizations. With our 200 or so current
members, our issues are represented by 250,000+ firefighters nationwide.
Without these affiliates, our goals would be represented on a member by
member basis. I think you would agree that the voice of 250,000 firefighters
is much stronger than the goals of one segment of the firefighting
community. The IAFF and California Professional Firefighters (CPF) have
helped to spearhead our legislation and provide information, support,
lobbying expertise, and help with travel expenses. We are currently looking
at several state affiliations for our NPF members who are not represented by
CPF. IAFF and CPF were instrumental to us in previous legislation that
passed and they ARE CRITICAL to the passage of our current legislation.

#2 - From Kelly, Why have key FWFSA people turned down help ... ie-
computer, marketing, membership, etc...

Answer: I don't know the specifics. Please contact me with your
recommendations. The President of FWFSA and myself discussed this after your
post. We would be happy to receive any help. Please contact us on the FWFSA
web site or via the FWFSA MSN web discussion group.

Many of the questions that are being asked by other folks can be answered by
going to www.fwfsa.org .. check Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).
Questions about the IAFF can be found at www.iaff.org.

11/11 Matt,

The difference between "helishot" and "helitack" is really a matter of terminology, not of actual duties. "Helitack" crews should be primarily concerned with the initial attack of fires, firefighters first, helicopter support secondary. In an emerging fire, the quick delivery of firefighters to the ground via helicopters is a proven concept, whether they land or rappel. On a project fire, the role can change to support of rotor wing operations, i.e.: Helispot construction and management, personnel and cargo movement, helibase management, etc.

What makes the AG crew unique is the SIZE of the crew and the helicopter. The hand crew is patterned and certified according to the IHC Type 1 Crew certification. The overhead structure, qualifications, training, experience, etc.

The air ops side is certified based on the Inter-Agency Helicopter Operations Guide (IHOG). By current configuration, we can field a 20 person Type 1 handcrew and provide 9 extra folks to do the helicopter support work. So, to answer your question, yes there are special overhead requirements, depending on the scope and mission.

Non R5 Helitack crews SHOULD be no different than R5 crews, they IA fires, support large fires, based on the size of the crew/aircraft, that is based on the needs of their own units/regions.

In the Field Operations Guide, there is no such thing as a "helishot", the closest term is "flycrew" which is under Type 1 Crews. The minimum number of personnel for an FS flycrew is set at 10. There is no true certification process for a flycrew other than the blending of the hotshot and helicopter requirements. I believe this classification needs to be rewritten to clarify existing configurations, i.e.: current large crews in R5 and other regions.

T-Shirts don't make the crew, reputations and professionalism do.

Tom from AG

11/11 The National Association of Forest Service Retirees has issued a report titled, Forest Health and Fire, An Overview and Evaluation, discussing the challenges of forest management and protection from the perspective of people who have spent their careers in forest management, research and wildfire management. The association represents approximately 300 Forest Service retirees concerned about the future of National Forests and adjoining private lands. The report challenges many of the claims being made by individuals and groups advocating no management of forests even to keep the from burning.

The report is available on the web at WWW.FSX.org , click on to the NAFSR file. The retirees contributing to the report include people with national and international reputations as experts in forestry and wildland fire protection, and, most importantly, people who spent their entire careers on the front lines of protection and management, including some who are still able to be out on the line.

J. Marker, NAFSR member

11/11 Dana.. thanks for your words of encouragement to Wildland Firefighters..
NOT!!! I think most of us are tired of your posts!!!

Probably time to re-think your post.... and spare us from your pain..

You need to stop slamming the goals of other wildland firefighter groups..
and start asking them for help!!

I've read all of your posts and your concerns seem valid... But you seem to
bite the "HAND THAT FEEDS YOU" ..... don't try to take down a group that
represents wildland firefighters... If you appear anti-wildland
firefighter... your cause goes NOWHERE.

Try to elevate your group on their success and merits

Rogue River
11/11 The FWFSA is planning a General Meeting open to all. For more info go
to www.fwfsa.org

See ya there
11/11 WP,

I don't think the new crew typings came out of 30 Mile like you state. They
came out of the IHC working groups.. ie-California Hotshots. There WAS NOT A
PROBLEM with crew typing on 30 Mile.

I've had the most recent MOB guide and never saw type 3 crews.. did I miss

11/11 Does anyone have information on what will be the delineating features of Type 2 vs Type 2 IA, and what is a Type 3? Are Type 3's rehab, camp, Job Corp Crews? Anyone have any data or reference for this?

Also does anyone have a list of all the various crews crew determents i.e.: "ST" for state and "OC" for organized crew?

11/11 I am not sure where all of this pack test talk is coming from, but I must
add my two cents. The pack test is nothing like a fire, but it is better
than the silly step test we use to take. I have actually seen people fail
the pact test, but being short has nothing to do with it! I am almost
5'3" (when I first wake up) and I have no problem with the test! I see
people go down on the line all the time, but what it boils down to is
training and hiking! Hike hike hike!

LP firefighter
11/11 just wanted to say thanks to all the veterans out there.

donna-dozer support

Ditto: Thanks VETS. Ab.
11/11 Hey Ab,
I'm working on a project for a professor of mine (Prof. Keith Gilless- editor of International Journal of Wildland Fire, 10 year hotshot on the Idaho Panhandle) at UC Berkeley and I'm hoping some of the folks here on TheySaid could help me out.

What I'm doing is designing a UC Berkeley website to teach college students how to get summer fire jobs. I've been fighting fire for 2 seasons now and have used that money to pay for school and stay out of debt. I think other people can do the same and I like the idea of sharing the wealth. Right now, I'm writing about the different kind of crews/modules out there and I'm having trouble with the following-

Type 4 engine- What is it, who has 'em, and do any of the ICs out there ever request Type 4 strike teams for anything?

Type 5 engine- They even exist? (I know type 6's are common outside of CA, but I've never heard of a type 5).

Helishot vs Non-R5 Helitack- What makes a "helishot" crew different from plain old helitack? (I already know about that the AG ship has a 20 man, type 1 crew on it, but that's a special case). Is there some sort of special overhead requirement? # of people? Looks better on a T-shirt?

Fire Use Module- How many of them are there and where can I find more about them? Is this an actual dedicated module, or are they thrown together for a dispatch like some Non-R5 Type 2 crews?


After completing this one, your next assignment (should you choose to accept it) will be "TIPS ON AVOIDING THE 180 CLUB". Ab.

11/11 Bell, Ab.

Look in the Fire Line Handbook for crew typing, quick and dirty from memory, Type 1; 80 hours of training each season, radio communications, permanently assigned supervision, primary job is fire.

Some of the definitions have changed and do not think edits have made the FLH. Now have Type II IA crews, Type II crews and Type III crews, all as a results of 30 Mile.


11/10 Ab, Thanks for the forum, it is of immeasurable value to a lot of firefighters.

I was hoping some one out there could answer a simple question. Is it legal to put down mortally wounded /
burned animals on the fireline? In several districts we work in it is SOP to put a couple slugs in them and go about
business. Others it is to let them suffer till they dehydrate and die in the sun.

In debriefing our sups for the season, everyone was wondering that same issue. I have asked folks at our
district level, and they don't really know - other than the fact that they have always done it. It seems like the
humane thing to do, but that is not always the legal route to go. Anyone have the real scoop?

Ab thanks for the forum, keep it up

eric / PW
11/10 Thank you IHC Supt. for the great info, I'll start there.

Ab: "Ouch" for the get experience before you create a crew, comment. This is actually for an article, I guess I should have said that first, sorry. I do have 20+ years experience in fire, with the F.S., as engine capt and C.B. on hand crews.. (not HS Crews), but it's been a while and I don't work for them anymore.

Like IHC Supt said though, future contract HS Crews, whether good or bad, are a possibility. Espescially, if the future holds, money for fuels reduction, as pre, during and post season project work.

Theysaid is a great place and so full of instant expertise and knowledge, thank you, if I have anymore questions, I hope that I can bring them back here.


11/10 You can get a copy of the National IHC Operations Guide at:

www.fs.fed.us/fire/people/hotshots/2001_IHC_Ops_Gde.pdf (187 K pdf file)

We did an exhaustive study with private contractors, contract reps, hotshot crew supts. and the Northwest Coordination Center, with input from NIFC, on the feasibility of fielding private IHC's a few years ago.

By the time we were done the contractors basically figured that they could run several type 2 crews with the amount of overhead it takes to run 1 IHC.

Several other problems such as how to keep the crew together when not on a fire, providing project work, etc.

This subject has been through the mill a bunch of times and economically it does not seem to work.

Eventually I think it will happen though.

IHC Supt.

11/10 Speaking of GPS! How many of you have had problems on fires with people not
being on the same page, GPS-wise? Problems with different projections (e.g.
NAD83) or with different scales (degrees, minutes, seconds vs. degrees,
decimal degree vs. degrees, minutes, decimal minutes)? There are way too many
options on GPS units for our own good! :)

11/10 Ab

I don't know the exact terminology to use here and since I have never seen
what it is I am asking for, perhaps someone out there could help me. I'd like
to obtain a Copy of the Qualification standards for a regular hand crew and
a hot shot crew.

For a private contractor, to create a 20 person hand crew, with the goal
of turning the contract crew into a hotshot crew? What guidelines differ
between the two. And how does one go about obtaining this information?

If I can't get the real McCoy documents, then a detailed synopsis of the
requirements, at least?


I quickly looked through the 310-1 with no success, is this in the FSH 1509.17? Anyone have a ref? There was also a neat side-by-side table I saw provided by someone here at one time.

Bell, some of the differences between Type 2 and Type 1 crews have to do with crew structure and supervision, working and training together for a certain amount of time, and having no more than 20% inexperienced new members. Certification within the Federal System is rigorous. Some fed crews are disbanded if they don't measure up. I don't know about the contract world. It is not an easy set of standards to achieve or maintain. Some time ago I did see one website that advertised they had a Hotshot contract crew. Made me wonder, though. There's much more to all this than meets the eye... Does anyone in contracting know about Type 1 contract handcrews? Do such crews really exist? Anyone in dispatch know when such crews are dispatched and for what purposes?

I would suggest working for a number of years in fire yourself before assuming the responsibility of trying to field such a crew.

11/09 Some new photos and logos are up:

One of the Williams Fire, IA on Fire 13. The sender E says, "Hey Ab, I have been a long time reader. Anyhow here is a photo of the Williams Fire. We flew this fire on the IA."

And here's a good one: Last one on Handcrew 6 entitled "What's This?".

We added two new logos to the Logo 5 page. One of the PNW Redmond Hotshots and one of the Cherokee Hotshots out of Tennessee.

Nice additions.

11/09 From Firescribe:

With the storm front coming ashore in the Pacific Northwest, here's good news.
Biggest, most expensive wildfire under control
11/09 Ab,

Would you be kind enough to announce our upcoming training courses?

Tom Patterson

I put it here: GPS for the Incident Command System.
11/09 re: FWFSA, someone asked why they don't lower the membership rate to about $2.00 per payperiod and thereby gain thousands rather than hundreds of members. Blake, a new FWFSA member, asks why,why,why,why aren't people joining up. Those are both good questions. Here's a better one:

Why have the FWFSA key people, despite major offers of help (computer, marketing, membership, etc) from a bunch of us over the years, continued to ignore these three things?

  • you need to give people a reason to join anything or they won't.
  • you need to market your reasons to your audience or they won't.
  • this is perceived as a Region 5 thing and until you get past that you won't get past that.

There's a lot of good "why" there, Blake, but you're long on why and short on look-at-it. Quite a few of us have offered to help and been rebuffed. Till that changes, and till the three items above change, don't expect a lot of answers to your whys.


11/09 We updated the Jobs page and wildland firefighter Series 462 and 455 pages yesterday. The state of Wisconsin is looking for experienced fire professionals and foresters.

We now have several paying classified ads on the Fire Jobs page, thus we have slightly rearranged the format. At the top of the page, you can click one of two categories: Contract Fire Jobs or Federal/State/Other Fire Jobs. We have left the links to 462 and 455 as a third category that takes you to the OPM listings that we update on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Again, let me plug our banners/sponsors, the Classifieds page and our Amazon link on the Books page. If you need anything, consider shopping there first.

If the person who sent in the nice fire photo and said to give all the credit to someone else could please sent it again, I seem to have trashed it. My junkmail filter puts some things in the trash OOPs and they're gone forever.

11/09 Ab,

I have wondered in the last few years about Australia's wildfire season. I know we brought the Aussies and 'Zealanders up to Montana in 2000 and again ran into a contingent on the Biscuit. It looks like they are having a pretty good season down there and could "maybe" use a helping hand. There are plenty of perms and PSE's available that could make up crews. This is stretching it a bit, I know. But, their wages are usually already paid by the FS it is just the logistical support. I bet Quantas would lend a helping hand for the flight down and then it just comes to per-diem. I know this sounds "easy" and I am sure there is more to that, from reading past posts. But hey just a thought.

11/09 Blake,

Some good points that you have raised. Most of the reps for the FWFSA are at the Captain and Chief level already, a couple of them are retired who still fight for the issues. I know for a fact that the FWFSA does a presentation at the Chief Officers meeting every year where they have signed a few chiefs.

Our Assistant Fire Chief for the Forest has signed up, a bunch of our Battalion Chiefs, and our retired Assistant Fire Chief have all joined the FWFSA.

They are coming around because I think this is the only voice they have to speak out against the burning issues they have since they can not belong to the union. You are right about allot of things, if more people join we will have one of the biggest voices in the IAFF that they have ever seen. But it takes just that, people to join and to get behind the organization to fight for the issues that a majority and the new generation of Firefighters want from the Forest Service.

It is time to join. In my opinion we missed out on a golden opportunity with the past election to vote Congressmen and Senators who want to support the FWFSA and the issues we have. We have a strong voice in Senator Pombo who has done allot for the FWFSA, we need allot more like him.

So I too will give a shout out to the Firefighting community, it is time to stop talking and complaining about pay, portal to portal, and job classification. Join the FWFSA so we can have a strong voice with the Senate and Congress so we can make some positive changes for EVERYONE who works for the Forest Service.


11/09 Backburnfs,

Most of the dues go to pay fixed expenses, ie, dues to IAFF and CPF who help immeasurably in supporting our issues. There's a FAQ page at the WFSA website that explains it.

Regarding representation, perhaps you would consider being a rep for your region? We need good people. Some in the past complained that we didn't get information back quickly enough to people who signed up and that they didn't have someone to talk with. We are doing much better in getting back to people, but we could have more reps from outside of R5. How to do that without hiring someone trustworthy to market us is the question. Many of us are very busy during fire season, but we do work hard on the issues during the winter. As always it's a matter of too much to do and too little time.

In trust of the vision of wildland firefighter equity,
NorCal Tom

11/09 Backburnfs,
your questions can be answered here. www.fwfsa.org/faqs.phpl
11/08 Hey Blake, if FWFSA wants to increase membership, ask "WHY" don't they
lower the membership rates to about $2.00 a payperiod get the membership
base built up out of the 20,000 Wildland Firefighters, and rake in the
dough-re-me. Several thousand members at $2.00 a head would add up a lot
faster than a couple of hundred at $10.00 a head. Also where do the
Region 6 people go for representation?
11/08 What's the word on the street about new changes coming down in the aviation world from the Blue Ribbon Pannel (BRP) Report? I heard no more heavy tankers? No more C-130s or PB4Ys?

aviation buff

Don't know about the C-130s or PB4Ys. For some info, you can check the AAP board, although you have to pick back through topics. While there are a number of good posts for those who understand them, here are a few recent thought provoking comments that relate to groundpounders:
www.airtanker.com/Collin Holstein message/10-31
www.airtanker.com/J. Watt reply/11-07
www.airtanker.com/Anonymous ATGS reply/11-08
www.airtanker.com/Boyd Turner ATGS reply/11-08

Also, here's J.Watt's (10/25) letter to the BRP.
11/08 Re Portal to Portal:

If the Portal To Portal pay is on the Homeland Security Act as a rider I think its' odds of
passing just got slimmer. The bill has been "stalled" in the senate mainly due to the fact that
the administration wants to retain existing authority to suspend collective bargaining rights
for employees, a power it deems essential for national security. If I recall correctly the
threat has been to veto any Homeland Security Act bill which comes to the Presidents
desk with too many riders. Of course now that the Senate is Republican controlled (as
of the new year) passing the Homeland Security Act bill into law will likely be a top
priority. Unfortunately the consensus is that this will be accomplished by stripping most
riders form the bill.

Since the Bush administration has proved to be anti-union fairly consistently I wonder what
the chances of the Portal ToPortal rider surviving during the "rider removal process"? Any
FWFSA leaders reading this? What can we do individually to improve its chances?

11/07 Re: FWFSA... Ask WHY?..

Ab, here's what scares us: Our post is in no way politically correct and not
meant to be that way... just the facts...

Most of the folks who benefit so far (GS-8 step 5 and above in SoCal and
GS-9 and above elsewhere) are riding the coat tails of members who haven't
seen any benefit yet... A PROBLEM EXISTS.. When do the goals of the FWFSA
hit us folks at the ground level? These GS8+ level folks are making TRUE overtime
now and won't even join the group that got them that privilege.

Chief, Captain, Engineer, or Firefighter (or FMO, Foreman, Driver, and
Firefighter)... a problem exists within our organization (the USDA and
USDI)... How can we ask folks at the GS-2 through 7 level to join when we
have such a poor performance from the GS-8 and up levels and they're the
ones who have benefited the most? ... WHY???

Those Chief types should be taking a vested interest.. (AND THEY HAVEN'T...
WHY?).. A few extra thousand dollars a year more and you can't support a
group that got you that? WHY?... Why??... is $10 or $12 a pay period too
much when you are making so much more???).

The folks below the Chiefs won't take an interest when they see many/most of those
Chiefs benefiting are free riding. The model is that they can just skate along and think things
are happening... Things aren't happening without members and political pressure!!!

THINGS HAPPEN because of the number of members. The IAFF is a very powerful
group.. They have taken on our issues and added theirs.. The FWFSA has the
ability to be the LARGEST IAFF Local NATIONWIDE.. and as such, the largest

1) 3% at 50 retirement for Federal Firefighters
2) Portal to portal pay for wildland firefighters
3) Proper classification without loss of grade (Title 5)
- and all rights afforded to classified firefighters
- Federal Presumptive Disability (if passed)
- Portal to portal pay
- Pay for ALL standby hours including MEAL PERIODS
- increased compensation to alleviate HP calculations
4) Hazard pay inclusion for retirement benefits

AREN'T THE CHIEF OFFICERS SIGNING UP? WHY???.... why? Why aren't all of the
other eligible members signing up? WHY?... why???

Officers and others that are making thousands of dollars more are just
sitting on their hands...


Cum'mon folks, as some who have recently joined, we know it takes
a while to catch on to the importance of this political stuff.
Numbers make a big difference!

Blake and others (New FWFSA Members) ...

JOIN UP TODAY! Voices together and with a forum can be heard. It's the professional way.
11/07 Nomad,
This is what I have heard about the Portal to Portal bill. The bill is a trailer on the Homeland Security Bill.

As the current news tells us, President Bush has made this Bill (Homeland) top priority for the new Congress. He has said that he wants this Bill on his desk before the end of the Lame Duck session which begins this Tuesday and I believe ends before the Christmas Holidays. The Bill was in the last session but was tabled due to upcoming election campaigns.

President Bush has already previously said that when the Homeland Security ends up’s on his desk, he will sign it.

11/07 Ab, fires season has not yet ended in Eastern Oregon. Since monday we
have had 14 new fires, largest today was 40 acres. Amazing how dry it
is up here. Hunters seem to think that since it hunting season, must be
ok to light them and leave them. Gotta tell ya, we are waiting for the
rain that the forecasters are predicting. Had 50 mph winds this
morning, so that only helped things along. Most of the east side
districts were chasing fires today. I heard that the Umatilla NF they
had 31 new starts.

I agree with carrying a shovel and a 35 lb pack. It does not matter
your shape or size, it matters how much you want it. It is a better
test of endurance, than stepping up and down on a box for 5 min. If you
want to be a firefighter, stay in shape that is the bottom line.

Dispatcher - Mother of 3 - Arduous Firefighter
11/07 Hello,
I met a guy named Tyler Robertson in Winemucca, NV this past July. He
co-owns a wildfire fighting business. They are based out of Seattle. I am
interested in getting in touch with him. Do you know the name of his
company, or how I might be able to contact him?
Thank You,
11/07 Well said, being a hotshot, I definitely do not want somebody watching
my back that has troubles passing the pack test (It is not that tough).
Face it folks, this work is not for everybody, that is why we have these

Be Safe,
11/06 Ab,

A few things-

First, throughout this season, I kept hearing people say that the whole
portal-to-portal pay thing was going to happen and that there was a
rider on some bill in congress to make it so. What's the deal- any
updates? Does anybody know what's going on with portal 2 portal pay?
Is it even on the agenda?

Second, I still am really curious about the burning to death vs
inhalation injury question I asked earlier. (Of the people who've died
from breathing super-heated gases, how many would have died anyway
from burns?)

-The Nomad
11/06 Regarding the discussion about wildland firefighter A.S. degrees and/or
education.,,, and Firefighter vs. Forestry Technician.

Allan Hancock College (CA-LPF, Vandenberg Training Center), and soon

Crafton Hills College (CA-BDF, Danny Rhynes Training Center).

Both training centers offer college credit that would apply to the 0401
series goals of the Regional Office... Both training centers offer college
credit to the goals of the Wildland Firefighters being classified as
wildland firefighters.

The Regional Office is pushing the 0401 Biological Sciences Professional
Series BUT MOST wildland firefighters would be rather classified as
FIREFIGHTERS under the 0081 series that most accurately reflects their
duties.. see www.iaff.org and www.cpf.org and www.fwfsa.org

Professional degrees are a very important part of our profession. It's time
to take away the "technician" series and add in the professional series or
081 series as a way to classify our folks. All WILDLAND FIREFIGHTERS are
professionals and not technicians. Technician's work under the direction of
a SCIENTIST to perform their task. Wildland Firefighter's perform tasks
based on years of experience and the task at hand without the consultation
of the scientist.. THE MISSING ELEMENT.. never seen a scientist or bio geek
(sorry in advance) trailing me on the fireline when I'm fighting a fire.

Another problem to add in to the equation.. with Special Salary Rates
directed at the 0462 series.... If we start going with the 0401 series...
will there be enough numbers to support 0401 having a "Special Salary Rate"
to keep folks from leaving? Probably not. The 0462 series currently has
enough numbers and support for the Special Salary Rate in place in SoCal and
is being sought througout the rest of Calif. If we loose this leverage.. its
back to LOCALITY PAY that can change from year to year.

I manage fires and prescribed fires..... should I have the same series and
duties as someone who cleans campgrounds, cleans toilets, and picks up
trash? Looks like a pretty different thing to me. Congressional folks are
also agreeing... problems exist. There are groups looking at the
problems.... www.fwfsa.org

SoCal Capt
11/06 Could someone provide a reference to the case that A.G. is talking about? I
can't seem to find much information regarding it.

11/07 Do you know where I can purchase the video shown on the
National Geographic channel that has Terry Raley and Ventura
Co Fire Dept doing Rx burn and then goes to the Cerro
Grande fire?

The name of it is Living With Fire (Science Times Series). I
wasn't able to find it for sale at the nationalgeographic.com site.
Is there a phone number or order number?


11/06 Does anyone know who the company was that was offering an approved wildland firefighter boot that was black and leather, and ran under $150.00? I heard the name may have been Black Diamond, but I cannot locate them. This boot was offered during the Fire-Rescue West show a few years ago by a major boot vendor and was to be an occasional use boot, not a full season boot like Whites, Redwing, or Hawthorne.

Any information would be appreciated.
11/06 Is it spring time already? Normally people don't start complaining
about the Pack test until the start of fire season. The question being
"is it fair that shorter people have to take the same Pack test as
taller people?" Of course it is. When you go to a fire is it fair that
the shorter person has to hike up the same hill as the taller person? Is
it fair that the shorter person has to hike to hike to the same division
as the taller person?

Maybe at fires we can break up all the hot shot crews and engine
crews and reassign them according to their height. Tall folks have to
hike up all the big hills, and all of the divisions far away from drop
points or Heli spots. Of course the tall crews only get to use McLeods,
because it wouldn't be fair if they had to use a tool with a short
handle. Medium height people get medium hikes and shovels. Shorter folks
get short hikes and Pulaskies. After briefing all of fire camp will have
a big group hug before going to work.

Here is another thought. At the start of the test, we can weigh
everyone and if you are 20 pounds over weight you only have to carry a
25 pound pack. If you are 45 pounds over weight, you wouldn't even have
to carry a pack, because you would already be carrying the extra 45

It all goes back to what old man of the dept said "Proper diet and
exercise will take care of your problems with the test. Don't loaf all
winter and you won't have a problem"

carrying a shovel and a 35 pound pack

Watch where yer goin' with that "overweight" idee, we might end up having to carry them. Ab.
11/06 As long time supporters of the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, we would like to match any funds raised by "Rowdy" up to $500. We would also like to challenge any other business owners, who provide products to the wildfire community and in turn make their living, to contribute or do matching funds also. For disclosure purposes, Jim Felix recently became a board member for the Foundation.

Thanks Rowdy and good luck!

Jim and Diane Felix
The Supply Cache, Inc
1-800-839-0821 ext. 252

The Abs think this is a very worthy cause and encourage other businesses to follow Jim and Diane's lead. Lots of money is made during fire season by businesses that have more or less involvement with our community. Donations to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation are the compassionate thing to do. They are also tax deductible.

Maybe the Foundation could set up a page that is accessible via the Foundation's free Classified Ad space - a page that lists fund raising projects and also lists those who contribute matching funds to particular fund raising projects. (We could also get that fundraising kid on the list and get some other school kids to drum up funds from their business communities to match what he makes to contribute to the Foundation.)

We believe wildland firefighters should support businesses with good products that also financially support the wildland fire community in time of need. What goes around comes around.

Thanks very much for the post, Jim and Diane. We appreciate that you are long-standing members of our fire circle with heads and hearts (and pocketbook) in the right place. Thanks also, Rowdy, for your post this morning. Those of us who have lost friends certainly know first hand the good and necessary work that the Wildland Firefighter Foundation does.

11/06 For those of you who've been watching and waiting to
see what happens in the case in Canada, in reference
to physical standards and the female firefighter
that's challenged the standards, well, she won her
case and was reinstated and fully compensated, check
for yourselves and see... TAKE HEED HERE,
Think twice about "dealing with folks who couldn't for
whatever reasons take or pass this PHYSICAL ABILITY
test, especially those of you who claim that Fire
Season clouded your priorities". To the folks that
have been reprimanded, had red card qualifications
taken away and not been allowed to go to fires, or if
you have been removed from your long time positions
that you've worked hard to get into, first, DO NOT
ADMIT THAT YOU MAY BE DISABLED since you cannot take
or pass the physical ability test, second...start
taking names of the folks that are doing the
threatening talks and sending messages of "dealing
with people" as they are accountable for their
actions. The Discriminatory practices that have been
inflicted upon you are blatantly illegal and a
violation of your Human Rights... A person cannot be
made to fit a job, but a job can be made to fit the
people. Remember, no-one goes to fight a wildland fire
alone... There's no justification for Discrimination,
especially if you are being HARRASSED, DISCRIMINATED
job and retirement security... especially if you were
satisfactorily able to do your jobs prior to the
developement and implementation of the NEW PHYSICAL
MINIMUM STANDARDS TESTS(the Pack Test/s)that are being
thrusted upon you... this may be a good test for some,
but it is discriminatory as well. Certain people at
the top didn't want the INTEGRITY of the test/s to be
challenged... well, due to the discrimination,
harrassment and undue hardships that ARE AND HAVE BEEN
placed upon certain employees because of it, maybe
the INTEGRITY issue needs to be re-evaluated, as well
Take Care,
11/06 Tree,

Being 5' 6" I will respond. Using the rules of the pack test (walk, don't run) there are several fires that would have made me a bit uncomfortable. The pack test is not real world. But as you know, when you are on a fire you don't have to use the rules of a pack test. The 1.5 mile run should be offered as an alternative for the pack test.

11/06 Here is a school in eastern Oregon, near Vale Oregon.
Treasure Valley Community College

Go to page 85 in the following pdf link for wildland fire classes offered.
I took the S-290 there and it was well done.


Thanks, Ab.

11/06 Here is some info in light of some recent discussion on they said. This letter made the rounds of the FS intranet.

Trip Report, NFPA 1981 Technical Committee meeting:

Dr. Brian Sharkey and myself attended the NFPA Technical Committee on
Respiratory Protection held October 28 and 29 in San Diego CA.

I presented the report from the Wildland Firefighter Respirator Task Group,
which met here in Missoula August 18 and 19, 2002 which recommended that
the committee not work to develop a wildland firefighter respirator. Dr.
Sharkey then gave the same presentation of the health effects of wildland
smoke that he gave to the Task Group. The discussion that followed was
limited and generally that of clarifying some of the information.

At the request of the membership, I made a motion that the Technical
Committee not continue with work to develop a wildland respirator at this
time, but that the issue remain active and be periodically revisited.
There was no further discussion and the committee voted unanimously in
favor of the motion.

Dennis Davis
USDA Forest Service
Missoula Technology and Development Center (MTDC)
11/06 You overlooked that this is the National Geographic cable/satellite Channel.

Subject: Science Times: Living with Fire on the National Geographic Channel


So I did, I just cut and pasted the message without regard to the subject line. Looks like it comes on again on Sunday, Nov 10, 1 p.m E.S.T. We'll have to check the listings to see what time in other areas. Ab.

11/06 Ab-

The fire around Los Alamos was the Cerro Grande fire, and it was in 2000,
not 1999. Unaware of what channel it's on.

11/06 RE: Eastern Washington Schools

There's at least two schools here in E. WA. that have fire related programs. Spokane Community College
(http://scc.spokane.edu) has a Fire Science program, but I believe that is mostly structural. They do offer a
two-year forestry program which may have something to offer.

The second school is Washington State University (http://www.wsu.edu). The Department of Natural Resource
Sciences (http://nrs.wsu.edu) here offers a Fire Science and Management option with their forest management
and natural resource management bachelor degrees.


Thanks, added em to the schools list... Readers, this list is really helpful to new folks trying to pursue a career. If you have time, please ask around and send in the names of schools in your area having 2 or 4 year degrees. Saves us Abs a lot of work behind the scenes if we can send wannabees to the schools list. Ab.
11/06 About the whole breathing in super-heated air thing- a question for you gurus out there. In a fatal entrapment situation, the immediate cause of death is lung searing via inhalation of super hot gas- this we know. But of those fire fighters who died this way hadn't died from their inhalation injuries, what percentage would have burned to death?

It seems to me that inhalation injuries would just kill people first, and that if they hadn't died from the massive and sudden reduction of usable lung tissue, that they would then proceed to be cooked alive. It seems a lot like a hanging to me- you typically die first from the violent breaking of your neck, but even if you avoid that, you still have to contend with your blood and oxygen supply being cut off from your brain (and die anyway).

Just some thoughts.
-The Nomad

My, Nomad, this has to be one of the more cheerful posts we've found in our inbox of a morning.
Readers, if you did not see the Storm King History Channel production, let us clue you in to how this thread began. It was suggested that Eric Hipke (North Cascade Smokejumper) who was near the ridge top when the super heated air hit, was thrown over and his yell (exhale) allowed him not to inhale the hot gasses. He survived. Ab.

11/05 FYI:

Science Times
Living with Fire

The problems behind the issue could not have been illustrated more dramatically than during the summer of ‘99 when a “prescribed” burn in New Mexico got out of control, destroying 200 homes, causing 25,000 people to flee and threatening the nuclear facility at Los Alamos. Using the events of the New Mexico disaster as a dramatic story line, this segment examines the science of wildfire behavior and prediction.
8 p.m. E.S.T. Tuesday : November 05, 2002
Also airs:
Tuesday, Nov 05, 11 p.m. E.S.T.
Sunday, Nov 10, 1 p.m E.S.T.

Anyone know what channel? Ab.
11/05 Ab,

I just received a phone call from a person who would rather not be acknowledged. Seems that the "Wildland Firefighter Foundation" is in desperate need of some funding. I know that throughout the summer the foundation has contributed thousands of dollars to injured and fallen wildland firefighters and their families. Its very difficult for the foundation to raise enough funding from the sale of pins and t-shirts at the rate of $5.00 a piece.

To help the foundation out, the firefighters in our community have organized a "movie night" at the local theatre. All proceeds from this movie night will go to the foundation. The owner of the theatre has a son who was on one of the crews this past summer and wants to show his support to the foundation from the community. I hope to raise around a $1,000. I am also challenging the other businesses in the community to either match or at least donate to the foundation. I figure if the foundation donates $5,000 to each fallen or injured firefighter, they need a couple of hundred thousand to operate. That's allot of pins and t-shirts. I think the foundation would appreciate a little donation from each of us. Check their web page for more info. on where to send donations.

I also hear that the little boy who sent his birthday money to the foundation, ran a spook alley over halloween and donated the proceeds. Thank you buddy. Individuals who care make a difference.


I sent in my donation. Ya'll please step up to the plate. We've had a lot of deaths this year. The money has gone out as fast as it has come in. It has been greatly appreciated by grieving families needing to make arrangements. You can contribute online with your credit card via the website. Simple as pie. And it's tax deductible. Ab.

11/05 CDF Mike,

Hey remember this was not my proposal. I just interpreted Mark's post in a different way (and provided my reasoning, very inexperienced as it is) to what most of the responses were. A small tank of pure oxygen would not be an answer, just as lumping around a full SCBA that the structural FF’s use. Again In an ideal world you would all have a chance to retreat to a safe area, deploy your shelter in plenty of time and wait for the fire storm to roll over/past you. Mind you, in an ideal world you would not end up in that situation.

Mark said:
1) Is it true that most forest firefighting deaths occur because of the
inhalation of superheated gases and not burning? If not, in what order
would you place the causes of fatalities in forest firefighting?

<Ignore this part as it has already been answered and is only background information leading to 2)>

2) If first question above is true, does it then follow that in a worst
case scenario, the proper use of a deployable fire shelter (face pressed
to ground to breathe in short shallow breaths) is the most common
technology used to avoid inhaling superheated air?

<So when you are left with no alternative and have to deploy your shelter “what is available to avoid breathing superheated air in the shelter” is the way that I read this question. >

If not, away from adhering to the 10 rules discussed in your
observations, what mechanisms exist for firefighting crews to avoid
breathing superheated air?

<What mechanical devices are available to stop those deaths/injuries/>?

3) What prevents current breathing apparatus devices from being
systematically deployed to crews in the field (high price, weight, high
cost of obtaining certification, etc.)?

<You have provided the answers to this in the case of weight, recharges, time of use, no use of pure oxygen, etc. and all of them I agree with>

I am asking these questions because I am a mechanically inclined
recreational diver and watching the advances in SCUBA and SCBA
technology, I'm wondering why (if this is indeed a real problem),
firefighters continue to be subjected to this danger.

<As some one who has no experience, he asked these questions. He is looking for answers and got some.>

Now read Pulaski’s post of 11/02 SNIP What if there was one that had a 10 minute supply in something the size of a 20oz soda bottle or a little bigger and weighed a pound or two that could be used when and if you need it? SNIP

I agree with what Pulaski says. There are plenty of escape devices that could be modified to match Pulaski’s post. A quick check of the MSA and Draeger web sites show some types of escape apparatus that with a little modification might meet the idea that Pulaski was getting to and what I was basing my responses on. Who knows Mark might be that person who looks at these posts and goes out and develops exactly what I can see has the potential to save a few lives??????

Hey Mark, time for you to step up to the plate and reply to this extended debate. We don’t bite, although sometimes the barks are pretty loud.

Aussie CFU
11/05 Subject: More Pack Test Inequities???

Question 1.) A 5'6" person with an 18-20" step and a 6'tall person with a 24-26" step... is it fair that the short person has to take at least 1/3 more total steps to complete the pack test in the same time? How about 2 or 3 times as many steps as a person with a bigger step? Why?

I assume that this person has seen a blowup check it's speed because of short firefighters trying to get out of it's way ? ? ?

11/05 Thanks Renee for all you and the Wildland Firefighter Foundation do, for all of us.
11/05 Ab,
Would you be so kind as to post this.

The Wildland Firefighter Foundation has put the most recent list of Fallen
Wildland Firefighters for this last season on our web page. I would also
ask you all to remember the fallen during this time of holiday. Pray for
the families who will be missing a loved one this season and if you can,
donate to help future families through this time. The fires still burn in
California and Oregon and we hope that no one else will be added to the
2002 list of fallen. Remember, Compassion Spreads Like Wildfire.


Renee Settle
Executive Assistant
11/05 Biker Joe-

Sorry, wrong answer, please play again! The white hardhats in the foreground
are members of the Midewin Hothsots overhead. The bodies to be seen just
below them were members of the management team. The fire use team was on a
peak on the other side of the canyon observing.

11/05 Big Fish WFURB photos

If my info is correct, that is the Saguaro FUM having
a tea party.
Notice the lack of excitement, just another day in
fire use land.
Biker Joe

Alright one guess, but who's the photographer? Ab.

11/05 I see no inequities in the pack ie, vest, test. I just happen to be 66 years old and recertified again this year for my redcard. I realize that wildland fire fighting is a youngmans occupation. But there are some of us out there who by vertue of their involvement with various fire fighting units, have to maintain a red card, regardless of age, if we want to keep doing what we have been doing.

I started in the fire service at age 50 certified as FF1 structural at 63, red carded at 64 and still maintain both.

No whining about blood pressure, height, or wt. Proper diet and exercise will take care of your problems with the test. Don't loaf all winter and you won't have a problem.

old man of the dept.

11/04 Hey Ab and all, been searching for the song about Mann Gulch that was on They Said last year, no luck. Any help out there??


Reference to it is in the Sept '01 archives. Check out www.keelaghan.com/keelo7.phpl for a free download MP3 (3508K) of James Keelaghan's original version of Cold Missouri Water. He's a Canadian folksinger. The group Cry Cry Cry also did the piece. If you do an internet search under "Cold Missouri Water" or "Cry Cry Cry" you can find the lyrics posted. It's a haunting piece. Ab.

11/04 Hey all,

I haven't been on here since late May. Busy year for my crew and I. Bounced around in N.M, AZ., and Colorado in May and June. Spent the rest of the year jumping from fire to fire in Or., Wa., Id., Nv., and Colorado again in Sept. Just finished burning our last unit for the year and now its time to relax. I have a few guys who are looking in to taking some wildland fire and medical related classes at a community college in or near the Eastern Wa. area. Does anyone have any suggestions or input as to any colleges in the Eastern part of Washington?


Check out the 2 and 4 year fire schools list (accessible also under "training and education" on the links page). HMMM, Looks like none yet in Eastern Washington. If anyone has additions for Eastern WA or anywhere else, please let us know. Ab.

11/04 Subject: More Pack Test Inequities???

Question 1.) A 5'6" person with an 18-20" step and a 6'tall person with a 24-26" step... is it fair that the short person has to take at least 1/3 more total steps to complete the pack test in the same time? How about 2 or 3 times as many steps as a person with a bigger step? Why?

Question 2.) If blood pressure is directly related to V02 max, then is it fair that folks with high blood pressure(disqualifier for taking the pack test)can take medication/s that directly affects their blood pressure, which affects V02 max, assisting them in taking and possibly passing the pack test? Does this really mean that they're fireline fit? Would they be considered fit without taking that/those little pill/s every day? Why? Wasn't there something about folks eh-hem, "passing" the old step test by taking medication that affected their pulse rates?

Question 3.) Whatever happened to all of the questionaires that folks filled out after their pack tests for feedback? Feedback to who? Granted, there is some positive feedback and impacts.... especially with the young un's and new hires... but what about negative impacts... THERE ARE NEGATIVE IMPACTS, where's the studies and how can that information be accessed? If they can't be accessed, why?

Just wonderin',

11/04 UPDATE: We have learned the identity of one of the photographers of the Moose Fire photos. He's Buck Wickham, Ops Section Chief on Humphrey's Southwest IIMT. Here's what he had to say:

There are 7 Moose Fire pictures I took. You asked for additional information about these photos. The photos Moose 1, 2, 3 and 4 were taken on August 31, 2001 along the Northfork of the Flathead River just North of the Glacier Institute as the fire ran over Demers Ridge. This run was estimated at 10,000 acres that day, however after an IR flight I think the acreage of that run was nearer 20,000 acres. The fire spotted across the North Fork of the Flathead and ran well into Glacier National Park. The pictures listed as Burnout, and Torching, are actually a spot fire located in the Mud Creek Drainage, and were also taken on 8/31/01. A point of interest: as the fire burned across the Mud Creek Drainage, the heat of the fire actually killed all the trout in Mud Creek, a small tributary to Big Creek. The picture Moose Camp was taken from the ICP located near Columbia Falls, MT. Again on the 31st of August.

As your research showed I am one of the Operations Section Chiefs on Larry Humphrey's ICT. Two rolls of photos were taken that day (8/31) and given to the Flathead Forest Supervisor as it was feared the Glacier Institute had burned down. We burned around the Institute as the fire approached and only lost a few outbuildings. I gave the rolls of film to the supervisor so she could see what had happened at the Glacier Institute. She placed them on the disk and they found their way to your website.

Anyway hopefully this will close the loop. I think its good to have a place to get photos of fires from a training standpoint or anything else.


Buck, welcome to our wildlandfire.com community and thanks: Mighty fine photos and interesting tidbits of history of a huge Moose "run".

Readers, there are other photos on that page that must have been taken by others on the fire. If anyone knows who they might be, let us know. We'd like to give credit and acknowledge their work.

As most of you know, we are always getting requests for use of photos. We've seen them crop up in training powerpoints, presentations at Division Chiefs mtgs, etc. Kids write in asking to use photos in websites they're constructing for their careers research or for their computer classes. Last summer we got a request for use of one of the Moose Fire photos (plus a number of others) for a presentation to members of government that "hold the purse strings for fire". It makes us feel good to have the photos available for all those non-commercial purposes. Plus, it's fun to browse them for pleasure and a sense of history from time to time. It's also great to have firefighters or their family members discover and write in regarding some fire or person significant to them.

Thanks contributors,

11/04 Hi Ab-

I'm sending you a photo taken of some of our overhead during the Big Fish
PNF (oops, I mean Wildland use fire) on the White RIver NF in Colorado. The
fire is burning in beetle kill spruce and fir. This shot was taken in the
evening and we subsequently spent all night chasing spots. The photographer
is Mark (?)- a fuels tech. off of the White River.


Ah ha, another mystery photographer. Nice shot with crowning fire all around. We put it on the Fire 13 photo page. Mark probably is a member of Cook's Type II IIMT. If anyone knows his last name please let us know or ask him to write in. I'm sure some other theysaiders worked on that FUM fire. Ab.
11/04 Hey Ab.,

Here's another logo for you. Helitack Support Crews from Alberta, Canada.

happy trails,

Thanks GreatWhiteNorth. We put it on the Logo 5 photo page. Ab.
11/04 Hey Ab, hope you like these photos there from my Dad in So. Cal.
#1 is the Woodland Fire, MVU ranger Unit
#2 is a Test drop at Ramona Airport!


Thanks, we put them on the Fire 13 and AirTankers 6 photo pages. Ab.
11/04 Oregon representatives DeFazio and Walden are looking into some of the decisions made on the Biscuit fire. This per the Associated Press article out today. A key question they are asking is why the USFS refused the offer of CDF to commit I.A. aircraft to this fire in its incipient stage? I would be interested in hearing both sides of the story. The press tends to have facts distorted most of the time. Any information?


11/04 I was finally able to watch "Fire on the Mountain" recently and thought it was interesting. There seemed to be some significant changes from the book.

I noticed more emphasis on self-reliance, and less finger pointing at the "boogie-man" back at the office. I think that Mr. McLean may be starting to grasp something of the fact that wildland fire suppression is more of an art than a science. I heard several people state that the ultimate responsibility for firefighter safety rests with the firefighter. Firefighters accepting that responsibility is a major step for increasing firefighter safety.

There were some mistakes made in the show. Does anyone that was in Colorado in 1994 believe that there were air tankers just sitting around without a mission in early July? (Let me know and I have some real estate transactions they might be interested in.) And as Pyrodactyl points out, the name of the fire is not an indication of anything except that the 1st R.P. screwed up the location.

I am trying to remember a fire where I spent a significant amount of time as a supervisor where I did not make a mistake. I can pick apart mistakes made by myself, the people on the line at South Canyon, the people who were in dispatch, the FMOs, McLean when he wrote his book, and the History Channel's production. (Did you see the part where there is snow on the ground?) If we are going to discuss mistakes that result in an accident/injury/fatality, lets make sure that our motives are to prevent a recurrence of the incident.


11/04 OK, this is in response to "Aussie CFU"'s latest on wildland breathing apparatus. I'm only continuing the discussion because he includes the statement: << Look you don’t need to carry 12 hours worth of air in a tank.>> which seems to be a response to my earlier post on the subject.

"AussieCFU" interprets the original ("Mark"'s) post to be "....looking for a way to stop deaths of wildland FF's caught in Firestorm situations and having deploying a fire shelter, and dying because they breathed superheated air" . I could well be wrong, but I suspect that deaths of wildland FFs who have deployed a fire shelter and then breathed superheated gasses (their deaths being due to the breathing of the superheated gasses) are a microscopic fraction of total wildland firefighter deaths.

"Aussie CFU" further states that, in the event a firefighter is in his/her shelter and caught in a firestorm << "There are plenty of self-contained breathing apparatus that will provide up to ten minutes of breathing time." >> Then further alludes to "Oxygen replacement systems". I submit that, in the situation described, the last thing you want to have around is Oxygen!!! (at least, any enhancement of the normal proportion of oxygen in air). The use of pure oxygen WOULD, in fact, reduce the weight and bulkiness of the proposed apparatus, and/or extend the breathing time. But the downfalls of using pure oxygen are obvious (remember the Apollo mission?). So, barring the equipment that uses pure or enhanced oxygen, I submit that there are NOT "plenty of SCBA that will provide up to ten minutes of breathing time" and be practical for wildland firefighting use. "Aussie CFU" further proposes that there would be sufficient time to deploy the apparatus. This is not at all so sure, especially when a good part of the time he supposes is available would be used to prepare your deployment area, and then deploy and enter the shelter. We in CDF, and I suspect other major wildland firefighting agencies, are about to begin using a significantly heavier and more bulky fireshelter (and, presumably, a better one), and we really have very little extra margin for either weight or volume. I again state that in my non-expert opinion (my bona-fides are that, as a municipal firefighter, Truck Company, for five of my 30 CDF years, I am reasonably well-acquainted with the principles of Breathing Apparatus), there is no current technology that is both more practical and more effective than the bandana.

CDF Mike from AG

11/03 It seems to me that if you read Mark’s original post about breathing apparatus, he is looking for a way to stop those deaths of wildland FF’s that are caught in those Firestorm situations, i.e. a person ends up deploying a fire shelter but ends up dying because they inhale superheated air that gets into the shelter.

Now to escape that type of situation, which is one where for whatever reason you get trapped, all you need is a small amount of breathable air to get you through that period of time as the fire front passes over you, while you are in your shelter and hopefully the shelter holds up to the fire intensity.

It is my understanding that can this time can last as short as 60 seconds in the case of a grass fire to 10 minutes in that case of a full on forest fire. Now remember that the key to this is the fact that you are working normally i.e. no assistance in the form of breathing apparatus, you suddenly get caught out and you have to deploy your fire shelter. In the ideal world you would have some time (1 – 3 (????) minutes) of knowledge that the proverbial is going to hit the fan. You find nearest area that is suitable to deploy your shelter and wait for the firestorm to pass over. There are plenty of self-contained breathing apparatus that will provide up to ten minutes of breathing time.

Normally escape apparatus is used to get out of area, that has an oxygen replacement system in case of fire. Normally they are used in computer rooms which in the event of a fire, are flooded with a gas, used to be halon (contained too much CFC and was banned under the 19XX Montreal protocol), but I don’t know what they now call it, the gas (also used in areas that a heavier that oxygen can build up i.e. water tanks, natural gas pipe underground installations etc.) is used in other circumstances.

Look you don’t need to carry 12 hours worth of air in a tank. All you need is that small amount to breath as the fire passes over you. There was a program called “Beyond 2000” that was air in Australia and they showed a very small breathing device that could be used underwater for about 5 minutes. It basically looked like two of those small gas cartridges that can power one of those whipped cream dispensers, cork extractors, etc. that went into a mouth piece.

Aussie CFU

11/03 From Firescribe, some interesting articles from the news page and elsewhere:

Sen. Feinstein blames Sierra Club for blocking wildfire bill

Reps call for inquiry into Biscuit Wildfire

Starts over the last week in Oregon (near Ashland and I-5) and California (near Santa Cruz)
OR: www.mailtribune.com
CA: abclocal.go.com/kgo/news

Mann Gulch Fire: A Race that Couldn't Be Won pdf file on Mann Gulch fire behavior, etc by Richard Rothermel, 1993

Be Safe.

11/03 COMT,

Your posting regarding batteries addresses a larger issue. It appears that you're writing from Region Five (Calif.) or one with similar supply policies, since we engine contractors in Region Four (Great Basin) work under completely different supply arrangements. Our company operates engines under R-4 EERAs. Additionally, we work under R-4 Exclusive Use contracts with the BLM, which have similar provisions. On project fires, we can:
1) Trade dirty, serviceable or incident-damaged Nomex for clean on a one-for-one basis. (A 20-year-old rag doesn't work.)
2) Trade spent radio batteries for fresh ones a one-for-one basis. (Sorry, Uncle Sugar won't supply batteries for your Walkman.)
3) Replace fire-damaged hose, appliances, pulaskis and shovels on a one-for-one basis. (Sorry, rotted, double-jacket cotton with brass fittings and a broken garden shovel doesn't work either.)

In the six years we have operated, this contract arrangement has been honored at both large fire camps and at the district level.

Over the years, I've discussed this issue at length with R-4 contract officers in Ogden, Utah. There was a very specific discussion after a new R-5 overhead team, managing an extended R-4 fire, arbitrarily told R-4 engine contractors that they no longer had access to the fire supply cache (this was four weeks into the event for many, including our company). They maintained this position even after being shown the supply provisions of our R-4 EERAs. Needless to say, it wasn't too many minutes before phone lines to Ogden were smoking.

R-4 contract officers say their Engine EERAs contains this provision because Supply is viewed as a "Safety Issue." We R-4 engine contractors are required to show up for a deployment completely outfitted, with sufficient supplies to operate for 24 Hours. After that, the Feds are to step in with incident-related supply.

This policy makes sense. For instance, if we deploy to a remote fire camp for weeks at a time, it's extremely difficult to finish a twelve hour shift, drive to the Last Chance Laundromat that's 70 miles away, wait for the laundry and drive back to camp in time to catch a couple of hours sleep before 0600 briefing. Additionally, it's pretty tough to haul a month's supply of batteries and five changes of Nomex on an engine, with everything else that must be carried. When Uncle Sam buys AA batteries by the million, he pays a dozen or so pennies per unit. This same battery at the Last Chance Gas and Drive-In Liquor Store (the one by the Last Chance Laundromat, and the only store in town open at 23:00) costs over a buck.

On an R-4 fire a few years back, we had more than 2,000 feet of hose and various appliances burned over. This equipment was promptly replaced on a piece for piece basis. Had it not been, our engine would have been out of service with no way to restock. The Division Sup. filled out a General Memo to supply. No muss, no fuss, back in service. It was fair and quick. I felt like part of a team, not a lowlife outcast.

Are there engine contractors who try to game the system and stock at Uncle Sugar's expense, because they were too cheap to properly supply their equipment and personnel? Or just outright thieves? Sure.

Proper oversight can weed out these Jokers. A prosecution or two and ban from contracting wouldn't hurt either.

Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water. If engine contractors are truly part of the national fire strategy, a uniform framework of regulations that benefit both parties is in order. It appears the National Engine Contract out of NIFC tries to address some of these issues. But that still leaves Regional EERAs, which our experience shows, can have different quirks; it gets really interesting when Regional boundaries blur as equipment and overhead teams are moved around the country. Our engines were deployed in four different regions this summer. Needless to say, contract questions frequently arose. This put both parties in a difficult position.

That's my C.O.S. view from a well-earned Lazy-Boy rapid-deployment recliner.

Snake River Sparky

11/03 I am putting together a Power Point program for my crew with photos of fires they have been on this season.
I would like to put a section in remembrance for those Fallen Firefighters of 2002. I am trying to gather all
the information I can as I do not want to leave out anyone who deserves this respect. I am looking for their
names, agency or contract crew, position (Airtanker, crew, engine, etc.), how, when and where. if there is a link
with their photos, that would also help. Any help would be appreciated.

11/03 Ab,
What was the title of the previous docu-reinactment of Storm King? I saw both of them, the first was about a year or 2 ago.
11/02 Fire on the Mountain comes on the History Channel again tonight 8PM west coast time.

11/02 Re: breathing apparatus discussion.

Well, here is food for thought. To the wildland firefighter is it obvious that using the typical SCBA is not even remotely feasible do to our typical situation. But lets look at it this way, how much time out of a shift could you really use some sort of breathing apparatus? What if there was one that had a 10 minute supply in something the size of a 20oz soda bottle or a little bigger and weighed a pound or two that could be used when and if you need it? I know the capacity of structural SCBAs in the last few years has gone up to a 45 -60 minute bottle in nearly half the size of the old standard steel or fiberglass bottles.

Anybody out there know if this is even possible?


11/02 Well, we've been through two seasons of federal "fire hires" through the ASAP program. From my perspective, it has been excellent. My unit set up entry level positions with the anticipation that the new hires will get some additional experience and (using their "competitive" status) move onward and upward in the organization (and we'll fill in behind them with more new hires). I anticipate some of these folks to stay as primary firefighters, others to seek forester, biologist, engineer etc. positions/careers that will replenish our aging militia workforce.

How about some feedback from some of those who are new "permanent" fire hires? How do you feel about the process; where do you see your careers going?

Old Fire Guy

11/02 Had 2 Grass Fires in Ashland Or. yesterday winds were East about 10-20+ RH
20% or less. One went 6 acres at 9:30 a.m. Second one was about 2 acres.
Both were Urban interface Fires.

Just Keeping You Informed R-6 NUGGET
11/02 Rock @ Wood's

I believe that this is usually updated by North Ops. I'd call there and
11/02 In my response to "Mark" regarding technological solutions to wildland firefighters dying from inhalation of superheated air, I realize I focused too much on the provision of CLEAN air, either via "self-contained" breathing apparatus (providing pre-packaged clean air), or via some sort of filtering/cleaning apparatus. Upon re-reading "Mark's" post and my response, I realize that even my pessimistic response was overly-optimistic. Since, as is most probably the case, the breathing of superheated air is the more common cause of death (vs burn injuries), the ability of either mechanism (self-contained or filtering of ambient air) to reduce wildland firefighter deaths is even more suspect. The self-contained system is completely unworkable for the long-duration shifts of wildland firefighters, and the "filtering" system does nothing to reduce the temperature of the inhaled air.

CDF Mike from AG
11/02 I wanted to bring up a subject that makes my job in
fire communications harder. It is contractors are
required by their contracts to provide their own

In the past this has been overlooked as it is a PITA
to have to ask each person if they are a contractor,
then to listen to them give reasons and excuses for
the fire to give them batteries. I don't like being
the Battery Nazi, but I have been told by the finance
chiefs that this is to be done. I also foresee it
becoming more common as costs are being watched.

I figure it can take almost $70 a week to keep 1 radio
working. (King analog, I don't even want to think how
much a digital radio would cost) That is having a
fresh set of batteries for each shift (9AA x 7 days)
with AA batt costing almost a $1 each in the smaller
stores. Then you have to find the time, spare vehicle
and person to do this during business hours, if there
is even a town within reasonable distance. Most small
towns also do not have a large supply of AA batt built
up and they dry up fast. It adds up fast and
contractors are also watching costs.

Some teams were making folks sign for batt but I was
told that the Government is not to be supplying
contractors at the GSA price.

There are a couple of rules in contracts that can be a
hassle or even safety hazards. Contractors supplying
their own batteries, nomex (not being able to trade at
supply), not being able to claim their time for
attending morning briefings. Don't get irate at the
personnel enforcing these rules, get irate at the
people that bargained for the highest rate at the
regional and national level.

11/02 Papa
Actually the statement is correct about respirators in that there is no easily carried one that would work for firefighters. The key issue for most firefighters is weight and ease of use. The shields that everyone is talking about are not considered respirators because they don't have a source of O2. The one you are talking about was looked at but if you were to use one you would have to have them special ordered for individuals because of NIOSH reg. Also everyone would have to receive training in SCBA or close to that. Cant remember right now.

I understand you knew my brother Tom. Glad that you remember him from his days in Cali. Also think I read your card last year.

Big Smooth
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