December, 2002

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12/31 Happy NEW YEAR you east coast wildland firefighters!

NorCal Tom

12/31 Ab, for IMWTK, regarding fire shirts and PPE.

I was on the del Rosa Hot Shots in 1964. We had to provide all our own personal gear (pants, shirts, gloves, boots). Many of us were forestry majors from Humboldt, Oregon State had already rationalized our first pair of "Whites." Part way through the summer a few crewmen were asked to test what became the orange fire shirt by the San Dimas Equipment Development Center. When our guys washed their shirts the buttons came off.

Regarding hard hats: Prior to aluminum there was full brimmed hat made from bakealite or similar material.

John S
Napa, CA
12/31 In reading the Inquiring Minds Want to Know (IMWTK) questions and answers, I have the following information to add:
  1. We were required to have our fire shelters on at all times when I was with El Cariso (So. Calif.) in 1972, so I suspect that that was the year they became required, possibly even a year or two prior to that. NOTE: The big push for testing and research for firefighting PPE (especially fire shelters and such) started after the tragedy of the Loop Fire on the Angeles N.F. where 12 firefighters from El Cariso died (several others severely injured).
  2. I'm almost positive orange or yellow Nomex shirts came in 1969 or 1970. I remember I was fighting fires in regular clothing (khaki shirts and Levi's) in Region-4 during the summer of 1968.
  3. El Cariso Hot Shots and the other R-5 crews were required to be wearing plastic hard hats during the summer of 1973. We used orange-colored metal ones the year before that. I remember thinking at the time that the bright yellow plastic ones were quite stylish compared to what we were used to.
  4. We definitely used drip-torches in 1973 to light backfires on the Cougar Creek Fire (Nez Perce N.F. in Idaho), and I think I saw them in use on the Klamath N.F. the summer before that.
Thank you for starting and maintaining this website. I have enjoyed it.

Harv Dabling
'Believe In Your Destiny - Chase It with Your Heart and Mind'

Harv, your thanks are much appreciated. We always enjoy incorporating information for additions to IMWTK and other pages. We Abs have learned and continue to learn a lot from our fire community.

I have updated the IMWTK page. I added a few more questions that people (kids, students, ff) have asked. Anyone have questions they have wondered about? Also, if you all would take a look at the page to see if you have answers to the questions -- or if you contributed one of the bits of info, we'd appreciate it. We missed giving credit to contributors early on. I know one or more of the comments came from Pulaski. We'd like to credit the others. Please let us know. Also, I recall that Jackson added a comment that never got put up. Remember what that was, Jackson? (Yah, he's probably off playing in the snow somewhere.) One of the CDF folks corrected the Char and Chatten authors of the Principles of Forest Fire Management. We never added that to IMWTK. Please send it again. We will be more diligent in adding to this IMWTK page.

Hey ALL,
Be Safe as you usher in the New Year. Aussies, your fireworks over Sydney Harbor were awesome!


12/31 Okay, I'm no dispatcher, but this MIRPS/ROSS/WILDCAD debate is getting
interesting. For those of us groundpounders out here in lurk mode,
would one of you dispatcher gurus mind explaining what each these
programs do/how they work and how they differ?

I'm sure I'm not the only one who'd like to know.
The Nomad

PS Happy New Years everybody!
12/31 My 2 cents on ROSS/MIRPS/WILDCAD,

MIRPS I have worked with in R5 in early stages and recently. Much better then before. SOPS thing of processing more orders? well maybe so BUT a large number of orders get cancelled within 10 min of ordering. I know, I worked there. ROSS is going to have problems, they know that, but it is the First nationwide agency wide program!!! First year or so will be great for availability, similar to "overstat" BUT better. Some GACCs are using it to send availability to NICC already. Very helpful and cut ordering time. ROSS will be a great system in every agency all across the nation that uses it, including R5.

WILDCAD is a great program, have used it in R5, but again it is only a tool --one that has yearly maintenance with updates. BLM is now suppose to be also using it. R3 in training this winter for use next summer. Problem with some areas -- in BLM they have no response plan!!!! (believe it or not) So WILDCAD will not be much good except as an incident reporting system.

All the programs are just "tools" to assist in getting resources to incidents as fast and safe as possible. They also rely on good dispatchers to operate the programs. Good dispatchers are getting hard to find these days, so if you have good ones on your forest or district feel yourself lucky!!!!

Aircraft Dispatcher (ex-R5, now R3)

12/31 Howdy, first Greetings from Germany/Düsseldorf to all of YOU.
Your Site looks very great, and it is very interesting for me.

I wish YOU and YOUR Familys


Stay Safe!!
best regards

Please visit my little Sites about Firefighters, and please sign my Guestbook on
12/30 Any system should be an improvement over what it is replacing. MIRPS is not. There have been, and continue to be, delays in processing orders for firefighters in the field.

There was no additional support (personnel) provided for this system.

MIRPS needs to be fully funded and operationally supported.

"Another CDF BC"
12/30 Howdy and Happy New Year!

Took a minute to read the latest and can't help but put in my 2 cents on the
MIRPS thing, and on R5/CA being progressive or not.

First, I have to agree with SOCAL DISPATCHER on the MIRPS/ROSS issue.
Yes, it is clunky and has created problems. I don't think MIRPS can be blamed
(solely) for an hour-long aircraft delay. Yes, it has gone down at crappy
times, etc. However, it does some really amazing things as well that no
other system can do at this point, including ROSS. Like SOCAL dispatcher, I
think ROSS will be good when it works, but it clearly is not ready to handle
the sheer volume of traffic that R5 has. Rumor has it that the Southern CA
GACC processes more resource orders per year than the National Interagency
Coordination Center (NICC) in Boise. Adding that kind of traffic (and
including northern CA) to a temperamental and highly un-tested system such
as ROSS is a BAD idea. AND, very unfortunately, two other items seem to
lurk... 1) the USFS has supposedly put a ton of money into MIRPS yet it
appears to be heavily directed/controlled by CDF, and 2) ROSS was clearly
inspired by MIRPS, although rumor has it that the ROSS folks do not listen
to any of California's "lessons learned" in avoiding the same disasters of
MIRPS with the ROSS program. Those who do not follow history are bound to
repeat it, so my feeling is that while the rest of the country stumbles
through ROSS thinking CA has been left behind, we'll at least be using a
program we finally got to work.

As for the other issues, I will say this. The WildCAD thing sounds like a
huge mess from all angles, and I have to agree with ECC1 on a lot of that.
I'm not sure I agree, however, that R5 is far behind the rest of the country
in general... on this one I'll agree with Rocky Mtn. It seems to me that
CA/R5 has better interagency agreements, dispatch centers, and mutual aid
systems that any other part of the country, including the world OUTSIDE of
wildland fire. Hell, the new initiatives after September 11th are
requiring/encouraging the rest of the country - all fire/EMS/LE - to do
start doing things that have been going on for years in California, at least
in the wildfire world. As Rocky Mtn said, they roll pretty smoothly in
California. As for the politics and the leadership and who spends what
money, now, I have no knowledge of how all of that shakes out. Furthermore,
it's not all sunshine and flowers... while we are better integrated than
most places, there are still ALL KINDS of interagency "issues". People who
know me can't figure out exactly how well the "interagency" thing really
works since half the time I am going on about how well it works and the
other half I am griping about some interagency drama. However, at least we
are talking and working together on an every day basis - that seems to be
half the battle.

Well, just had to drop in my opinion as I have been out of touch for a
while. Y'all be safe and have a merry new year!

12/30 hey ab and all,

been a while since i dropped my opinion in on anything on here. fire season was slow for me and then i got involved with my boys and their football season. no one told me teenagers can be so much work ! at least they are going to the gym with me to help me get into better shape. just turned 40 and it doesnt seem to be getting easier to get into shape. well got to continue to hook up all the brats electronic stuff ( i hope i dont burn the house down ) before i get more grief from them. everybody have a great new years and please be careful while celebrating. we lost way too many brother and sister fire fighters ( structural and wildland ) this past year to lose more doing something stupid while bringing in the new year.

BC Davis
12/29 ECC1, CDF BC, and anyone else who cares about this little problem....

I just need to vent a little about this continued heartburn with MIRPS. It WAS a horrible program when it first arrived (believe me, as one of the first sites to get MIRPS, I know what I'm talking about). It was buggy (read bonus features), it crashed frequently (usually at the very worst possible time), and it was incredibly difficult to navigate through (what do you expect from a product built by committee?). Over the last few years it has gotten more and more reliable, and has not had a "huge" crash since 2001. It is still incredibly difficult to navigate, but like any other program, can be learned. And it beats the heck out of hard cards, from my point of view, because I can at least read a MIRPS printout. I have spent many aggravating hours trying to decipher some dispatcher's "chicken scratch" in order to sign off on a billing issue... and that's only if the dispatcher bothered to fill out the pertinent information. It's not perfect, but how many of you want to go back to what we were doing before? (What's supposed to go in all those little boxes again?)

CDF BC, to address the problem with your airplane request, an hour is unacceptable in any realm and I strongly suspect that there were a whole bunch of other problems happening. It's always so much easier to blame the program and not the system. There is NO reason that aircraft could not have been ordered within the 5 minute time frame without it being in MIRPS, and the GACC will not withhold aircraft because it's NOT in MIRPS. We have a perfectly good intercom system and all dispatchers are supposed to know how to order aircraft on it.

ROSS isn't even close to being ready, and when it is, I want it to be perfect. I've already lived through one set of "beta-testing", I'm not ready to do it again. California will put a huge load on the system, and ROSS needs to be able to support our needs. For those of you dispatchers that haven't been to the site yet, you might want to visit http://ross.nwcg.gov and take a look at the product, it is very different from what you have become used to. ROSS isn't even out in production yet. I think three years is optimistic for roll-out to R-5. When it's ready, I think it will be wonderful, but don't call me till it's ready.

And on another note, where is the forest service support and input to the ECCO academy at Ione? At the present time it is the ONLY organized training class for wildland dispatchers, and there is almost no FS participation on the teaching Cadre or in sending adjunct instructors. I hear the same complaints over and over about how it is a "CDF" class and they teach only what's important to CDF, but that will never change if we don't get strong support from the FS dispatch community. At the present time, there is only one FS dispatcher on the cadre (that I know of). As few as three years ago, it was split almost 50/50 FS/CDF and there was a strong feeling of "interagency". If we want our folks to be given the best training possible, we need to support this class. Look at the curriculum and make suggestions, sign up to spend some time there as an adjunct or as an instructor.

I have more to say about the CAD systems, but I'll get off my soapbox for now,

12/29 I am new to the computer world, started in Jun, but have followed your site very close. I put my 2 cents in before on the pack/vest test. I'm the old man of the dept. carry a red card at 66 and am a certified firefighter. Also am a Volunteer. In our area everyone is locked together on amutal aid system and we work well with the Feds and the State. Do not know of any emergency service opeation that does not complain about dispatch. In the 17 years I have been in this type of operation. Law, EMS and Fire all think that the other is getting a better time on the dispatch, but it all comes out of the same console, at least here it does. All I can say is quit complaining and start making suggestions, good ones, not wild ones. We all have to work together whether we like it or not its the way things go. None of us can get along with out the other. So all of you that do only wildland, start running so you can do the pack/vest test with out all of us having to listen to you complain. 3 miles aday for about 6 days a week for the rest of the winter ought to do it.

Remember, Keep it Simple and Keep it Safe
The old man of the Dept.

12/29 There are some new fire photos up on the Fire 15 photo page. Read the details by clicking the name under the photo. Thanks to Brad for sending them in. Ab.
12/29 Good points you made! You must remember the Job Announcement that made history
back in the CD era. It was for a Fire Dispatcher Job on the Six Rivers. The announcement
stated in large bold letters: "ONLY UNQUALIFIED APPLICANTS MAY APPLY" job
announcement went on to say: "Must have the ability to speak english within six
months"... :)

12/28 Dear Ab,

On the hostility from ECC1 about the FS dispatching in R-5. I worked in R-5 south zone from 1988-1995. I currently work in R-2 and to hear that R-5 is so far behind the rest of the nation is makes me laugh. At least back in R-5 the agencies honor their mutual aide agreements and although there is friction, the ground pounders still shake hands out on the line. Out here there is hardly any communication, and what I have seen since I have been here is a great deal of animosity. Much of CO is covered by volunteers, (not saying anything bad about them, as I was one myself), but things rolled smoother in R-5.

Honestly I have never dispatched before, and cannot relate to the programs issues, but did start my career in the aftermath of consent decree and do concur with leadership having suffered as a result.

Rocky Mtn

12/28 Any word on where the FS is going with the case they tried to make against Bonehead and the crew?? All appearances are that they finally figured out they don't have a case.


12/28 AB and ECC1:

Be comforted in knowing that the field firefighters of CDF assess MIRPS in the following manner: IT SUCKS.

Unfortunately for most of our ECC personnel, they have been instructed by CDF management that there will be no negative comments referencing that computer system.

Last summer, there were initial attack delays of aircraft (one I heard of was nearly 1 hour) to a fire directly attributed to this system. CDF can not IA dispatch and operate MIRPS. No new positions were authorized to operate the terminals -hummmmmmm.

Incident call volume has steadily risen each year with the same bodies in the command centers -hummmmmmmm.

Computers were supposed to help reduce the workload -hummmmmmmm.

Time to return to the magnets and the boards ...

"Another CDF BC"
12/28 Hello Abercrombie & All,

I'm feeling a little anger, some embarrassment, and feel the need to ask a couple of questions and comment on a couple of items. It's a multi-issue situation and deals mainly with dispatching, so those readers who don't work in a dispatch office may lose interest. However, if you are ever dispatched to fires in Region 5, you may just want to stick around. Those of you outside R5 can also leave now, or what the heck, stay to point your fingers and laugh. I don't have any say in R5 policies or procedures, so I won't feel too bad.

Number one question on my list: Why has R5 failed to promote or implement ROSS? I know some work is being done in the background to help us get ready, but WHY the 3-year foot-dragging? Other regions are so far ahead of R5 that R5 has had precious little input into how the program has been developed. Yeah, I know there are a couple retired R5 folks on the staff of ROSS, hopefully they will remember and help save us.

My answer to my own question is: The USFS in R5 is so far behind the rest of the nation because it is bound too tightly with the California Department of Forestry. That's CDF to most of you, the second largest firefighting department in the world. CDF wants MIRPS, CDF wants Alteris. Those of you who don't know what MIRPS is are fortunate. The frequency of MIRPS breakdowns are legend, the program functions are handicapped to anyone outside an inter-agency center and even the inter-agency centers have such simple problems as printing reports. Bugs (undocumented features) have existed since its beta tests and after repeated feedback remain uncorrected. R5 management, however, continues to support the shared cost of this abortion refugee and wants us to pretend all is copasetic.

Alteris is CDF's concept and promotion of a new computer aided dispatch program. This program, similar to the way MIRPS was hatched, is being rammed down R5 dispatch center managers' throats. The old CDF computer aided dispatch program (CALCAD) has met few of the R5 forests needs over the years but, being good partners, we tried to adapt. I hear rumor there is still one forest located within an inter-agency dispatch center in the region that uses an old tub-file dispatching system rather than use the CALCAD system. A major point in all this is that CDF isn't sure, but it may cost USFS centers who aren't co-located or inter-agency $750,000 per center to have the new Alteris system installed. Just in case any of our Washington based financial leaders are viewing this, you may want to stop nodding off and pay attention here! I said it MAY cost a three quarters of a million dollars per dispatch center! CDF isn't sure because stand alone centers weren't included in the original contract. It might be more! Nobody seems to know, so why don't we go ahead and do it, let's be good partners. It doesn't seem to matter that we already have a great new (USFS friendly) dispatching system in WildCAD already in use throughout the region which only costs a couple thousand dollars per center. BLM has already obtained a national site license, they know a good thing when they see it. But, how much influence does BLM have in an R5 "inter-agency" dispatch center? About as much as the USFS as I see it. Not much.

One last item on my list is the newest update to the MIRPS system. Now I log on to the handicapped, when it works, bug-infested program and get to view a nice little login screen shot of a CDF pickup sitting on a road with a flame front about to pass. Nice. The photo itself isn't a bad shot, it's much better than the old 8 bit image of a cartoonish, pixilated, anonymous gray airtanker. But. . .with an inter-agency, co-dependant system, wouldn't it be better to have a multi-agency representative photo? Way to go not-say-anything-USFS, way to not even ask, CDF. Actually, I have no idea if CDF asked the USFS what they wanted on the photo, I just guess they didn't. This is a small issue, but it supports my main concern.

It appears to me that CDF is dictating to the USFS in R5 about how the fire suppression game will be played and with what programs and communications systems they will participate. Past negotiations and concessions by weak USFS leaders and the willingness of current leaders to accept the status quo have reduced the effectiveness or obligated R5 dispatchers and firefighters to subjugate themselves to the whims of CDF. There was a parable I once read about putting too many of your eggs in one basket. . .the other person might just take possession. I believe the leadership of R5 must refocus on what is best for not only our region, but how they will integrate their responsibilities and obligations to the rest of the nation. R5, who so long appeared at the front for positive change and defined the cutting edge of wildland fire suppression, has become dulled. It's as if the Consent Decree of the eighties and the continuing litigation has taken the willingness to fight out of our regional leadership. Then again, maybe the reason R5 lacks aggressive leadership is due to the effects of the Consent Decree.

Regardless, the future is now being honed and shaped by other Regions across the land and we are being left behind. Being on the cutting edge of philosophy, technology, or strategy means to me that you may view your own blood occasionally. The only blood and sacrifice I see lately are at the middle or bottom of the organizational chart. While I don't necessarily want to see any of my leaders suffer or bleed, I would like to know they are as willing as I am to do so. But I don't think they are. I think their priorities are elsewhere. I wonder if they're too busy eye-balling some nice cushy job after retirement (OES comes to mind) and dislike being viewed as an agitator or malcontent.

My apologies to any of my CDF or other regional USFS brothers and sisters in arms who walk the fireline who take offense at this post, this is not an attack on you or your leaders, it's about my leaders. I merely state my personal views and voice my concerns in the hope that my leaders are made aware of just a few of the ramifications of their decisions, or lack thereof, affecting the women and men who work for them.


12/28 CDF has only purchased a few of the CDF Model 25 so far. It is considered a type 2.
North County Fire in Fallbrook, Northern San Diego County just purchased 2 CDF Model
25's with some upgrades. International with Pierce build up. They seem to be happy with
them, call them up. The guy who runs their shop seems to know whats up with the
engines, his name is Dan.

Signed} Wildland BC
12/28 Ab,

Thanks for advertising our GPS for the Incident Command System training
courses. We received over 90 nominations and, sad to say, had to decline
several due to space limitations. I know that some of the applicants found
out about the course through your website. For those folks who would like
to download our training materials, the following locations may be helpful:


We currently have the course Pre-work CD posted. The workbook,
presentations, lesson plans etc. are being updated from last year and will
be available for download by mid-January.

I hope this information is useful for those individuals who got new Garmin
GPS receivers for Christmas and can't wait to go out and map a fire!

12/27 Special thanks to Mike Lynn. Excellent essay on Retardant. Post it - so
the PAO's can get it right!


Ab will add the description to the photo description page for future reference.

12/27 I e-mailed Mike Lynn asking who flew Tanker-22 on the Missionary Ridge Fire (CO) in 2002 for our photo records. (Photo by Ben Croft.) He commented on what a nice drop it was and, when I asked him to elaborate, went on to offer this, which I found interesting. Thanks Mike. Ab.

The pilot flying T-22 on the Missionary Ridge Fire was Doug Griffen. Great guy. We flew a lot together on that fire.

Nice drop. It shows how the head wall of the retardant gets sheared by the forward velocity and wind. Those small sheared layers show the end of the forward movement. The drop then starts to rain down in into the vegetation as it should. Good drop height.

The P3 (T-22) tank system is what is called a "constant flow" system. It maintains a constant flow rate and head pressure on the retardant as it leaves the tank. You want the retardant to come out at an even, constant flow so that it will be applied on the ground in a consistent coverage level. This then allows the vegetation to be coated in such a manner to help retard the fire. If the retardant comes out of the tank in an uneven manner, there could be gaps in the retardant line or weak spots at lower coverage levels requested and this too could allow the fire to burn through. There are tankers that have a variable flow system, but it acts in the same manner as the constant flow system. It is just designed different and uses a different gating system than the constant flow system. End result for both systems is that you get an even, constant and consistence coverage level of retardant on the ground.

On both systems when the gate or door firsts opens, there is a small amount of retardant that gets caught by the wind and air flow from the aircraft that is called feathering. It is the light mist of retardant that you see trailing the main body of retardant when it first comes out. It consists of about 3 gallons of retardant. It looks like more, but it is really very little. You can see the same feathering too as the last of the retardant comes out. This is because the retardant has lost it's head pressure suddenly and dribbles out. It again is a small amount of retardant.

All retardants as they come out of the aircraft get caught in the slip stream of the aircraft, outside air turbulence and the forward movement of the aircraft. This air breaks up the retardant and is called shearing. Depending on the type of retardant and how it was mixed will depend on how much the retardant is sheared. All in all though the retardant stays together and you will have a consistent drop. When the retardant hits the ground, that is called a footprint. The footprint can change due to wind speed and direction, aircraft speed, tank system, terrain, turbulence, drop height, bank angle of the aircraft and the type of retardant. All of these factors are taken into consideration with either the leadplane pilot, ATGS and the tanker crew. They then will adjust several factors with the aircraft and tank system to give the fire fighter the proper coverage level on the ground. The key being what the fire fighter wants on the ground. Those of us in the air are there for those folks on the ground.

Happy New Year,
Mike Lynn....

12/26 Puffin II,

I had 16 years of CSRS when FERS was offered up to switch. I switched and ended up with 16 yrs. CSRS and 9 yrs. FERS which let me retire at age 45...under Firefighter Retirement. I left when I reached 45.... :) My monthly retirement is a combination of CSRS/FERS/ANNUITY SUPPLEMENT ( If you retire under firefighters retirement under FERS you will receive the ANNUITY SUPPLEMENT till age 62). I had another job set up before retirement so I now pay only into Social Security which will increase my monthly retirement once I reach 62 (which will be when the Annuity Supplement will cease). My earnings WILL BE tested (even firefighters are subject to this test) annually when I reach age 55 (plus a few months) and no doubt I will lose that supplement because I will exceed the IRS threshold. Switching to FERS with 16 years of CSRS under my belt really help keep by retirement calculation ($$) up. The final decision for switching to FERS was it allowed me to retire with full benefits at age 45.

12/26 Is there a list and information regarding the burn overs that have occurred in the last 30 ++??
years, I could not find anything on the web??

Battalion Chief Don Zimm
Hanford Fire Department
12/26 Yesterday and Today in the Ozarks:

Just like I say....It's a beautiful day in the Ozarks....and it was today. Snow is starting to melt and temps were in the 40's and sun shined all day. Now next week could be something else.

Have a good'n

12/26 Hey Mellie! Happy Hootin' Holidays. And a Merry Season to all you fire folks and the loved ones who care. I'm hoping the quality of these holidays are used for resting, caring, sharing, and joyful laughter. This is not the time to be groveling or abusive because maybe there ain't no work, or funds are getting low, or you're thinking how in the hell are your knees going to take another round of (oh my god) the pack test. Don't even want to think these things when there's ballgames, old movies, dynamite DVD's and a slew of random thoughts popping into mind now that the smoke is out of collective lungs and after all - we still can contribute something positive to make our days more festive and meaningful. Hug a tree, but not a snag - especially if it's afire!

TRULY - I WISH YOU ALL JOYOUS HOLIDAYS with a little prep spiel to get you all working on being prepared for new issues. Things that are going to slap us around as soon as the first smoke is spotted and "initial attack" is redefined as blind men walking to the heat of life. In this period of non-control and if you're young and ain't thinking no more fire ask yourself if a middle eastern beach is more your pyre. 'Nuff said. Be jolly. Run a mile for me (you old guys make it two!). Then send me a message. It's a good time to camp in your favorite tree - (even if it's raining.)

Mellie - you are such a dear. Regarding Dollboy aka the Jumper-ho - Nope, the doll is not real, too clean, too plastic, and when you drop it real hard the same dumb smile sticks to its face. Funny thing though, that the producer put a big USFS emblem on the box and touche I hear a square shuffle entering the wind! Alas, - There was a guy who wanted to do it right and we told him make them real - make them female - cause any dirt firefighter will take a firebabe anyday. Besides, anyone who has ever played with a smokejumper knows that long hair, burly beards, and big snuggily arms - are what they really have to offer. When Talking Barbie says "toga party!" bring that action super-hero! Wish I had one I'd make sure it got hung up in a moon tree!

Seriously now -- Anyone out there really believe the 2002 fire season was the record setter? I thought that was 2000? 1996? 1994? Yelled&stoned '88, Silverdated '87? Question: is an acre affected by fire really an acre destroyed? Think that one over if you're looking to lay down a homestead? Me - I'm gonna go look this spring for some over-cut, burned over blackline acres that have been destroyed to call my own; I can only imagine what the cost of one destroyed acre goes for these days, but I'll take 40 if the price is right! I'll cut up my escrow money like a puzzle and pay in the mosaic fits. Anyone out there know the going rate and appraised cost of an acre destoyed? If the price were right I'd choose a blackened clear-cut; doesn't everyone need a piece of fragmentation to humble occasionally about what really is out there. Dear friends of mine on the Oregon coast tell me the predominate color of ground is red but it fades fast in a flurry of repollination. Red. It's a color I hear from Rudolf's reindeer nose. And thinking of something read - what's with the sudden oak blight? Now there's a challenge on extended attack - a south facing old growth tan-oak stand with Redwood on the north and a biting wind of east. Beautiful sunsets over the ocean. Man I just love northern California! (Can we sign those wilderness fire plans now please!)

Well, I woke up the other day and couldn't remember if we were heading into 2004 or 2003! I had to really stop and think about that one. Whew. This getting older stuff is a ...... Okay, here's my point for writing. Have you seen the long green line of folks walking out the door? The tide is swiftly ebbing taking some of our best in the backwash. What are we going to do when we need to water down the poopdeck? Breach on the Beach? Paradigms? For twenty cents Pandora's box has already opened. News at five. Shift change at four. Are those people really leaving or are they just tired pogues with their heads slung down walking backwards? The role is on and it's really getting hard to watch the march of greenling into retirement. "The long green line." Some come back (long green slime) and then at year's end have to be told to go home - realizing that they have no place to go - almost a shame but true.

(I DO believe I'm gonna buy some destroyed acres? Then I can finally plan the best years of my life. People who look at the forest and can only see green trees and birds singing are like those that don't understand that because I can walk I am not hurting? HA! I remember the only time I ever stood on an unemployment line, an old jumper bud ran into me at the state office and said "gees, what a line!" When I said yeah, "haven't stood in a long line in a long time" he said that was something dragonslayer would say. And then many moons followed. Oh for the rush of sheer enjoyment from standing in a line....with both feet evenly.

Well I got lots to say but most of ya are probably too busy to read this sap and I have got to remind myself to keep it light so the spirits in the rear of the load keep smiling. But I really want to say - for those that come back - please come back healthy, come back clean, come back smarter, but don't come back mean. Come back wiser - and come back a little less green. We need you and maybe together we can resuscitate a destroyed acre or two million. Soon enough we will engage a teetering time inside the curl of a "tactical wave" hidden between the swells fire fighting and the wide, open hollers of fire management. Standing on the back deck, crossing the bar, watching PM10 shoot-up the sunrise like a black tar fire junkies basking in the paradise after another good day of line. The Gods ain't made but angry still, curling water spouts just like fire whorls, a thousand eyes watching the "sport" unfurl. Let's not this season let it angry be, just step away and reassess. Always ask: "Why am I here?" When you don't know - it's time to be gone.

The Dragon chooses carefully. So do we. Merry Christmas, Kwansa, Hannukah, Praise Allah. Shalom. Feliz Navidad.

The spirits are getting pithy, please hear our echos, we hear your shout in the wind and it is good, fly on!


12/26 Sittin in the Snow,

My "sittin in the back seat" two cents on the Model 62- the earlier model, the Model 61, had a bench seat in the back as opposed to the 62's bucket seats. I say go for a bench seat- more versatile, you can actually lay down in the back, and the SCBA's are mounted on the inside of each rear door.

Maybe this isn't not the most important commentary, but it's what mattered to me when I was stuck on an assignment staging for 10 days straight.

12/26 Merry Christmas Ab and All,

Here are some more photos. I took these during the Hunter Fire, Mariposa County Aug-Sept 2000. No joke... it had drizzled on the way to this line assignment, cloud cover to the point the airtankers were grounded, copters were up though, RH 50%. We, the firefighters from ST, were about 2500-3000ft into a 5000ft hose lay. When we started, this column was very small, we didn't even think twice about it. Picture 4 is prior to the fire jumping the dozer line, Picture 5 is the fire after it crossed the line.


I put them on the Fire 15 photo page. Happy holidays to you, too. Ab.

12/26 Yo Ab(s)!

Please send along my Christmas (oops, I mean Winter Solstice) greetings to Patty at the sanatorium for me! It was sad to see her disintegrate that way, but it was a foregone conclusion. I knew she was going to snap anyway when she received my request to accommodate my group of atheist, gay, vegetarian recovering alcoholics.

CDF Mike from AG
12/25 Merry Christmas Everyone!

Old Fire Guy, I'm doing pretty good! You're a dear to send such a sweet card. I do hope that someday our paths will cross! <big hug> Thanks to Todd, Larry, Steph for cards too. Some of them followed me home.

Let me take a moment and thank everyone I can think of for the support you've given me! I know your thoughts and prayers contribute to my well being and healing. When I came out of surgery that midnight, I "awoke" to a vision of a circle of yellow-clad firefighters laying on hands in the midst of much light. It was comforting and welcoming. You just can't imagine how welcoming. Many of you I don't know in person, but your collective presence filled the room. Then I realized you were all in clean nomex and I wondered if I was in heaven! One of the recovery nurses who looked like a hotshot (but probably was just a buff SF gay guy) laid a hot flannel sheet over me and wrapped a folded section around my head, commenting that I looked like a nun. I told him, not so, never a nun, although sometimes I employed a <little madonna smile>. Rather I told him that the wrapped part was my firefighter's helmet, visor and shroud and that I would never "abandon the line". He thought that funny, but was kind in his laughter. He wanted to know what I did with my life and I had fun verbally sparring with him (not printable) and the others over the next 2 hours.

Thank you all so much
for the thoughts.

backburnfs and firewolf thanks for the healing circles. Thank those who participated, please. I feel blessed. <smooch>

Hickman, thanks for the Firefighter Angels pin. I love it. You're a good friend. (I hope your tornadoes and snow have not been too taxing... Jeez, living in the armpit of the USA, and coming west each summer, what a life!)

An R5er, Fire'n'Water, Hornie, SoCal Capt, Ray, Pulaski, AL, John, Tahoe Terrie, Firehorse, WP, NorCal Tom, JW, ECC1, Curious, Renee and Vicki thanks for the good wishes, the words of encouragement, e-mails, phone calls. Oh my, I'm probably forgetting someone. If so, please forgive me. I tried to e-mail some of you with fs.fed addys from the hospital, but the system sent them back. Probably thought my messages were spam since I was using a remote server. What a day and age to have access to theysaid from a hospital room! (They banned my laptop but I snuck it in! Even now, the docs have limited my typing time. What's with that?? So I lurk...)

Terrie, the wildland firefighter doll is marvelous! Thank you! Do they all look a little cock-eyed, or just mine??? I like how the web gear/pack is dirty nomex and the shirt is clean. Fusee in the pack, a whistle! Amazing detail and larger than I thought it would be. My family got me the smokejumper, too for Christmas. Ghost Load, you'll need to tell us how authentic that one is. Face doesn't seem young enough or "academic" enough to me and he looks a little heavy to be a jumper.

Fire'n'Water, Hornie the flowers were lovely, lillies and hyacinths, beautiful. They smelled so much I immediately threw up in the trashcan. I don't mind a good hurl every once in a while. Sure had the nurses jumping! They took them away for 2 days. When I was finally up later and was doing my kicks around the hall I tracked them down by smell -- in the solarium overlooking SF. I really appreciated them there and so did everyone else. Brought them home with me too. I'm down to the last two lily buds with their whiff of aroma. Thanks! <hug> Fire'n'Water thanks for the call, too.

Many thanks to the two people (unknown) who called to ask if flowers were allowed before sending them. Of course the nurses said no after my first experience! <chortle>

Finally, I want to send a load of LOVE to Original and the other Abs. I love you m'dears! Can't imagine my life without you and this whole theysaid crew, lurkers and all.

May your Christmas be as blessed as mine.

PS Nomad, I will mail the videotape in a few days when the mail settles down.

PSS For those of you who are looking for the donation to make before the New Year hits us, please consider the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. You can even donate by credit card and it's tax deductable. Foundation funds are low and a new season - with all its risk to life - will be upon us all too soon. Supporting our own is the right thing to do.

Welcome back Mellie. Rest up. Ab.

12/25 Hey All, here's a good one from the CDF side of things. hahaha MERRY CHRISTMAS. AL

December 1st
I'm happy to inform you that the company Christmas Party will take place on December 23rd at Luigi's Open Pit Barbecue. There will be lots of spiked eggnog and a small band playing traditional carols...feel free to sing along. And don't be surprised if our Chief Deputy Director shows up dressed as Santa Claus to light the Christmas tree! Exchange of gifts among employees can be done at that time; however, no gift should be over $10. Merry Christmas to you and your family.
Patty <snip>
Human Resources Director

December 2nd
In no way was yesterday's memo intended to exclude our Jewish employees. We recognize that Hanukkah is an important holiday that often coincides with Christmas (though unfortunately not this year). However, from now on we're calling it our "Holiday Party." The same policy applies to employees who are celebrating Kwanzaa at this time. (CDF Mike from AG, you and your atheist buddies should party too.) There will be no Christmas tree and no Christmas carols sung. Happy Holidays to you and your family.
Patty <snip>
Human Resources Director

December 3rd
Regarding the anonymous note I received from a member of Alcoholics Anonymous requesting a non-drinking table, I'm happy to accommodate this request but, don't forget, if I put a sign on the table that reads, "AA Only," you won't be anonymous anymore. In addition, forget about the gifts exchange -- no gifts will be allowed since the union members feel that $10 is too much money.
Patty <snip>
Human Researchers Director

December 7th
I've arranged for members of Overeaters Anonymous to sit farthest from the dessert buffet and pregnant women closest to the restrooms. Gays are allowed to sit with each other. Lesbians do not have to sit with the gay men; each will have their table. Yes, there will be a flower arrangement for the gay men's table. Happy now?
Patty <snip>
Human Racehorses Director

December 9th
People, people -- nothing sinister was intended by wanting our Chief Deputy Director to play Santa Claus! Even if the anagram of "Santa" does happen to be "Satan," there is no evil connotation to our own "little man in a red suit."
Patty <snip>
Human Rat Races

December 10th
Vegetarians-I've had it with you people!! We're going to hold this party at Luigi's Open Pit whether you like it or not, you can just sit at the table farthest from the "grill of death," as you put it, and you'll get salad bar only, including hydroponic tomatoes. But, you know, tomatoes have feelings, too. They scream when you slice them. I've heard them scream. I'm hearing them right now... Ha! I hope you all have a rotten holiday! Drive drunk and die, you hear me?
The Bitch from Hell

December 14th
I'm sure I speak for all of us in wishing Patty <snip> a speedy recovery from her stress-related illness. I'll continue to forward your cards to her at the sanitarium. In the meantime, management has decided to cancel our Holiday Party and give everyone the afternoon of the 23rd off with full pay. Happy Holidays!
Terri <snip>
Acting Human Resources Director


12/25 Happy Christmas to all
And to all a SAFE night...

Aircraft Dispatcher
12/25 Best wishes for the day and have a safe holiday with your families.

NorCal Tom

12/25 Hey Nuke

Tell JP from Guam Merry Christmas to him and his family. The hotshots at home are
thinking of him and his family during Xmas and New Years. As for the rest of you in
Guam......Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We'll see ya home this summer!!!!

12/25 Merry Christmas from Down Under

Dear All,

Well this is a much better change from what happened last year in Sydney.
Weather has been cool with scattered showers since Sat. It seem that even West
Australia and Victoria might be getting a Christmas break with an easing of the weather.

To all that have helped by replying with advice to my questions and for all of those
who have unknowingly provided me with insight and knowledge in wildland interface
firefighting issues (I lurked a lot for the first 4 months), I would like to say
a VERY BIG thank you

I hope you all have a very Happy and Joyous Christmas and a great New Years
Eve. Please take care on the roads, watch out for the drunks and wildlife and for those in
snow country watch out for the black ice (I spent some of my early years in Montreal,
Quebec, Canada).

I have just finished our Christmas Dinner (Cold smoked ham and turkey and host
roast pork with crackling YUM YUM YUM. Pudding and custard later on).

Catch you all in the New Year.

To all of the AB’s.
Great Job and thanks for the help and advice. Keep up the great work.

For the Aussies that are reading this,
Thanks for all of the effort for so early on this season and as it has progressed into
the true fire season, please watch out on the fire line.

Best Wishes to All,
Aussie CFU

12/25 My department will be spec'ing a Type 3 engine in the next year and I was wondering if
anyone could give me their comments on the following engines: The CDF Model 25, the
BLM Model 14 & 15, and the USFS Model 62. If you could let us all know what you would
change if you had the power to do so, I'd really appreciate it.

Sitt'in the snow in Southern California
12/24 Fireball:

Your response on the Blue Cut was interesting to read. Were you a member of that investigation team? I read the "Green Sheet" and found the document to be somewhat lacking in specificity. In fact, after reading it again a second time, I was unable to get a sense of what happened. The map that you speak of is interesting in that it references two battalion chiefs, yet, none of their actions are mentioned in the document-a slight omission in my opinion.

While I agree that the green sheet is to prevent accidents and list "fact," the more important issue is a standardized format of questioning and gathering of that fact. There is no such standard inside CDF presently. Each team assembled is free to put together the document in any manner they wish as long as time limits are met (24 hours to issue a preliminary summary).

Overall, I would rate the green sheets as a "C-" for content.

"Another CDF BC"
12/24 To: THE NUKE
No wonder you never answer your phone/e mail/etc.
Happy Holidays!
y'dusty dog.

KD's dad
12/24 Merry X-Mas from Guam.

There are about twenty folks from R-5 here working the MOB center for FEMA , shipping and receiving supplys for this and several other islands. Some of the island has not had power, water, or phone service since the typhoon hit.

I helped deliver water to several shelters this week and they all averaged 30 families or more living there. Other folks were able to move in with family members that still had homes or roofs. Got to back to work now but Happy Holidays to all back on the mainland. Our 30 days will be up Jan 9.


Merry Christmas. Ab.


12/23 In response to Fireball XL 5 (Bluecut Burnover map):

The big problem I have is this: The top of the map reads: "Approximate
location of resources as firing operation nears completion." This is
wrong as it relates to the location of B3512, he left that location
early on and went passed us (4465) to the crossroads intersection south
of the powerlines. It implies that 3512 was in that location during the
burnover, which he was not. I don't want anyone thinking that he was
that close to the burnover, and didn't do anything to help. Please don't
look too much into the small factual errors. A better title of the map
would have been "Approximate location of resources both immediately
before the burnover and immediately after the burnover."


12/23 Killer, Have you gone rapport?

As for the union, before there was so much in fighting, They were a big assistance Goverment ended up owing me money as I was doing more than my position description for awhile. Now I,m not represented by a union, Do to being management. The union on our forest is considered a joke, there used to be big support for it with alot of people involved, but with the petty infighting people were frustrated and left.

as I said before you can hype the fwfsa but until results happen there will not be a broad base support. Also I have no intention of getting in a so called"pissing match". But sometimes you have to say the truth.

ab, I understand about the e-mail process no problem.

12/23 An-R5er,
Pissing match?

I prefer to call what Hugh and I have just engaged in as "meaningful dialogue". Hugh has every right to his opinion and the freedom to express it in this and other forum's.

I was merely offering my opinion on the subject. As to having the last word........probably a genetic defect on my end............

12/23 The Jobs page and firefighter Series 462 and 455 pages are updated. There's a new Alaska hotshot job listing on the jobs page.

There's also a new ad on the Classifieds page.

12/23 Hugh,

Good point re: the GS-5. Hopefully the GS-5 will one day be a GS 8,9 or beyond and it will help. I spent quite a number of years until recently at the GS 5 and 6 level. Not too many years ago (1996) as a GS 6 Hotshot captain I made less than the GS-6 SQUAD BOSS's are making today.

Portal to portal? Obviously not yet. My point was that if you don't keep going after it, it surely won't happen! Anything that the FWFSA can do to improve both the present wages and retirement will benefit all grades.

The FWFSA continues to work these issues and more to improve our lot. Numbers are obviously needed. Nothing happens overnight, nor is it for free.

Govt. employees have historically been treated as second class citizens depending on the mood of the administration. Generally it entails smaller cola's than expected (as happened recently), but has also has included doing away with the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and replacing it with FERS (I am one of the lucky ones who did not switch). In the early eighties OPM arbitrarily reduced all Govt. employee health benefits from 90-100% to 70 - 75%. This was an across the board cut in benefits.....an attempt to balance the budget on the backs of the federal employees. I could go on with other instances of Govt rollback of Federal Civilian pay and benefits but I think you get the point. In order to keep these types of things from happening we need a STRONG voice in congress. The FWFSA has the potential to be that voice with it's affiliations.

"Keep doing what you have always done and you will get what you always got"

be safe,
12/23 Hugh,

Killer's point was, has your local union gone to bat for you on this subject? Did your local union just go to Washington D.C. to lobby for portal to portal? I would put money on it and say NO.

Yes they did good things for the higher grades to get them true overtime, but you need to be patient when it comes to portal to portal. If you have been around as long as you say you have then you should already know how long it takes to get stuff passed through Congress.

We will see portal to portal and when it happens, even though you are not a member, you will be thanking the FWFSA for fighting for you and everyone else for finally getting some benefits for the lower grades.

Yes the FWFSA has some improving to do on updating and keeping people informed on the issues, but I think they are doing a good job and are willing to improve.

If I can give you a bit of advice, don't get into a pissing match with killer, because he will always have the last word and you will not find a more informed person on the issues than he is.

12/23 Hey Mellie!
How the heck are you?

Old Fire Guy
12/23 Re Bluecut Burnover

So where was 3512? Investigation teams do not produce the Green Sheets based on fantasy. (The Green Sheets are the CDF tool to get the facts out about any fatal or near miss incident within 7 days of the incident). The Green Sheets are just the facts based on corroborated statements from multiple witnesses or interviewees and or physical evidence. 3512 may have been in that position immediately prior to the burnover and left during or after. Please do NOT impugn the credibility of he Investigation team without some facts of your own. Believe me they would rather be doing anything else than investigating deaths and injuries. They can only produce the FACTS as they become clear from interviews and physical evidence. They were not there and they did not cause the accident. You only undermine all of our ability to learn from these incidents by implying that the Green Sheets are not factual. If there are inaccuracies that bear on the conclusions and sequence of events, then take them up the chain of command properly. We'd all like to get the real story. Otherwise please refrain from this kind of invective.

Fireball XL 5
12/22 Here's some cartoon fire humor:

Smokey's take on the new mascot, Reddy the Squirrel.

12/22 just wanted yer f.f's to know thnks for all the help u gave us, especially u colorado guys.....I fought in some of the biggest fires in Alberta history, I sure do love them cobra birds u use, me sure like to take one for a rip around in the skies.....I sure hope that your govt will ask for our help when u are swamped, i was so surprised that that did'nt happened........i remembered fighting alongside Americans on the fire of 98 that surrounded our city of Fort Mcmurray in Alberta, sh*t that fire kept pushing us back and back......it is an honour , and i hope to see more of u guys again , hopefully!........see u on the line, breathing smoke and hotspotting....


12/22 Bob G and Firehorse,

FERS retirement is even more dismal than you describe. If you meet the
requirements for an immediate annuity (such as 55 years old with 30 years of
service, 60/20, 62/5, or in the case of the firefighter retirement system -
50 with 25 years service), and retire before you reach 62, you may be
(operative words - may be) entitled to an annuity supplement. Although it is
calculated in a similar manner, the supplement does not mimic the Social
Security you would receive if you were 62. Rather, the supplement is based
ONLY on your contributions to the SS system as a FERS employee. Assuming
that you also had some non-FERS Social Security contributions, your
supplement will be considerably less than your eventual Social Security
amount. The supplement also does not provide any type of COLA. That is, the
amount of supplement you get at pre-62 retirement will be exactly the same as
you will get at 62 - regardless of inflation. When you reach 62, the annuity
is shut off and Social Security kicks in (assuming of course, that you apply
for Social Security). Finally, the supplement is means-tested. That is, if
you take a part time job to make ends meet, and exceed an IRS threshold, the
supplement will be reduced. The only saving grace is that most of these
limitations are not placed on employees who retire with firefighter

Puffin II
12/22 In response to concerns about firefighting crews being exposed to radiation during the Cerro Grande fire, I initiated a search of public information regarding radioactive contamination in the Los Alamos National Laboratories area. As a result I ran across a 1963 LANL memo which indicated that since the possibility of undetonated explosives existed in Bayo canyon Indian Forest Fire Fighting crews should be used to search for and collect it.

It appears that in response to a DOE request the USFS did provide the requested crews as part of the "clean up" process in Bayo Canyon. Two 13 man crews supplied by the Santa Fe office of the USFS spent 3 weeks collecting debris in the area. Though the debris "was considered radioactively contaminated" the only protective gear supplied to the crews were film badges and gloves. The "tremendous amount" of contaminated debris was placed in burlap bags by the crews who walked "elbow to elbow" in the "heavily contaminated area". According to this memo the crews collected about " 90 truckloads" of debris from the Bayo Canyon test site (TA 10). Previously Indian Forest Fire Fighting crews had provided the service of searching for unexploded ordnance on military firing ranges. I wonder why the DoD did not want to use military personnel for this.

A LANL press release on the effort (falsely) indicated that no explosives were found on what was described as an "explosive impact area" and that only "one truckload" of scrap metal and harmless practice shells" were collected.

I found this info on the DOD/DOE site dealing with documents relating to "Human radiation experiments". The crews were from the Zia and Jemez Pueblos. I have a list of most of their names.

If these folks were exposed to radioactivity in 1963 and were unaware of it they should be contacted. I do not know how to do so but hope that you may. Given the tendency of LANL to withhold and cover-up information which could expose LANL to liability (which continues to the present) I suspect that they were not completely truthful with the crews that were employed in the TA 10 clean up effort.

To find the documents go to http://hrex.dis.anl.gov/ and type Bayo Canyon Cleanup in the search box. Although these are public documents use of the site is recorded and monitored.

Can anyone help me contact these firefighters? Upon request I can supply their names.


12/22 Just heard on the news that that because the government spent so much on fire suppression this past year they are going to take money back from firefighters who made overtime…did anyone hear this? This seems so unrealistic, too take money away from us that we earned with our sweat and sometimes blood! Someone please enlighten me on what is really happening….

------------ next e-mail
Well I found some more information, I love how local news never makes anything clear. The only ones who were ordered to payback money were firefighters who earned more than $ 121,600, which is supposedly the max limit on their salary. I guess it affected two dozen federal employees, fire mangers and other forest supervisors. Even though myself and other ground pounders will not be affected I still feel that those men and woman earned that money and should not have to payback money.


FFEric, this was discussed a bit last week. I see there's an article on the fire news page. Ab.
12/22 Re CDF Cutbacks:

The USFS is hiring, go to USA Jobs.com


12/22 Ab , to clarify I have 18 seasons with the Forest Service. I have E-mailed a couple of times. Killer, Have you seen Portal to Portal ? all I've seen is Wait tell next Year. I did e-mail my congressman with the form letter awhile back asking for there support. The point still remains THE PEOPLE WANT TO SEE RESULTS AT THE LOWER LEVELS TO HAVE A BIGGER BASE OF SUPPORT. To a gs-5 a gs-9 making full wages does not impact them.

On another note, the R-5 Aviation team program is a good program. I encourage people to apply.


Sometimes my spam filter puts things in a junk folder that I later delete. If you did e-mail, it may have ended up there. I think I did pull your last message out of the junk mail... as I recall... Ab.

12/22 First offer CDF cutbacks

The information I heard from a CDF Asst. Deputy Director is:
- All Lookouts
- Ukiah and Porterville Air Bases. The three airtankers to be reassigned
       and the two OV-10's to be used as spares.
- 20+ bulldozer units (I don't remember the exact number)
- 80 engines (almost 4 per Unit)
- 28 camps (56 to about 100 crews).

All of these are preliminary based on Gov. Davis' request for a projected
20% cut from all agencies. The legislature will deal with the actual
numbers in the state budget, usually due on June 30th and usually late. Stay
tuned, the count and the amount will probably change.


Resources the interface Public can't afford to loose. Ab.
12/22 www.hawkesburyrfs.com.au/


This is the web page from my adjoinging district. This is the thermal
image of the fire at 19.00 when the fire started around 15.30.
www.hawkesburyrfs.com.au/downloads/thermal.jpg. The 2nd is a
more comprehensive map of later when the 3 (the thermal was of the
"Chilvers" fire) fires we had finally came together at
www.hawkesburyrfs.com.au/downloads/redgables.jpg 2 days later.

Merry Xmas


Merry Christmas to all you Aussies. Be Safe. Ab.

12/21 Hope you all are enjoying your families. Ab.
12/21 nm_fire_gypsy,

I have accumulated quite a bit of info on radioactivity in the Los Alamos area which you may be interested in. It may not be appropriate to post here. I have maps which might help you determine if you are working in an area which could be abnormally hazardous, I also have links to declassified DoD and DOE documents regarding the area.

Since LANL actively engaged in misinformation campaigns in the past (for national security) much of the "public info" may be inaccurate or confusing. It may be up to the individual firefighter to make certain he/she is not being put in harms way. In areas that may be salted with radionucleotides even once the fire is out the danger of being "burned" may remain.

I would suggest that at the very least you may wish to research the history of TA 49/ the Helitac base.

I was going to suggest that you may wish to purchase your own film badges since they are not being supplied to you. But it is not that simple. Film badges only measure x and y rays. One of the great dangers in working in areas where there may be airborne particles of radioactive material is inhalation or ingestion. Film badges don't measure that.

Anyone that is interested in more info should feel free to contact me.
12/21 Dana/Ab:

Well I am one of those firefighters who is currently
working on various mitigation projects in and around
Los Alamos on a daily basis. We have been doing
extensive "Bug Kill" removal and Hazard tree removal
(the County was given several Million dollars post
Cerro Grande to deal with all "dead" trees and fuels
removal). While we are not the ones in Bayo Canyon
(that was contracted out)...I have become concerned.
Most of the folks who have mentioned concern were on
the Cerro Grande. Most were there for only a
relatively short period of time; in going back and
counting the days we have worked in Los Alamos on
projects, it has totaled more days than most folks
spent up here for the fire.

I have heard stories from various VERY reliable
sources of Canyons in the area where personnel are
REQUIRED to wear felt soled boots, due to the fact
that if a rock got caught in a lug sole (for example)
and created a spark with another rock, it would cause
an explosion.

The Helitack base is located on TA-49 where explosions
and testing still occur frequently and this is where
FS helitack and NPS fire personnel PT; in this area
there are metal pieces from these explosions strewn
across these trails near the Helitack base.

Los Alamos County firefighters are required to carry
badges with them that measures how much radiation they
have been exposed to on a daily basis and through the
length of their career. They are given a bit of a
briefing of what they may be exposed to while employed
there. For those of us who are required to work up
there (because it is part of our district and that is
where the work is..aka that is where the $ is); we are
putting ourselves at a similar level of exposure over
the short term and long term. Yet we continue to go up
there with out the slightest clue, in most cases, of
what we are being exposed to. We have to same right to
know as the County Firefighters.

Dana, thank you for that bit of information, I
certainly appreciate any information I can get to
support my concern.

12/21 Ab-

I installed netscape 7.01 on my computer and I lost all my emails,
email addresses and bookmarks. It has taken a few days of computer work
by me to fix the problems. I'm working on scanning more pics to put up
on the web site. One quick thing... if you look at the map of the
bluecut burn over, notice where B3512s vehicle is located. This is an
error on the part of the investigators, I personally raised hell because
he was NOT in that location during the burnover, but the final report
had been done.

Also, for the person wondering about the CDF budget cuts,
I have heard of, but not seen, the email detailing the closure of ALL
lookouts, (doesn't include lookouts paid for by industry i.e. logging
companies) and the closure of Ukiah AAB and the closure of the
CDF AAB stuff at Porterville, i'm sure there will be cuts in
engines/dozers/crews but not yet.


Here again are the bluecut burnover photo (you can see the 2 firefighters and the engine in the middle of the flames on the large version) and the green sheet investigation. B, NorCal Tom asked about any lessons learned from that incident. I'm curios too. Ab.
12/21 To everyone in Region 5,

There is talk of putting together another Region 5 Aviation Training Program next year. The applications, my guess would be available in January or February and the first class's might start in March.

There might be some requirements this time, such as Single Resource Boss and Helicopter Crewmember. Those of you who are interested keep your eye's open for the announcement. This program is well worth it, you can not beat the training and experience.

12/21 To the doubter of FWFSA (post of 12/20 to ANF),
Do you call true OT no results? Hopefully you will be in a position soon to benefit from it. About an 8 step 6 in So Cal (Captain Level). Do you think that the Forest Service gave that to its employees out of the goodness of its heart?

3% at 50 is a wonderfull goal that will benefit all........Reading some of the previous posts concerning retirement it is easy to see how important this would be...

Portal to Portal.......hmmmmmmmmm is the Forest Service or OPM going to give that to us out of generosity? NOT!!!!!!!

The folks who have and do make up the FWFSA are not paid, have real jobs, real families and lives. They have worked tirelessly for the benefit of all wildland firefighters.

The FWFSA will continue to have my support...........

Got a call from a partner at PTV last week. Seems CDF is pulling out of Porterville T-Base. Sounds like they will relocate the S-2 (T-76) to Fresno and I am not sure whether or not they plan to staff AA-410.

12/20 Happy Holidays,

With the state budget cuts here in California can any of the CDF folks tell me what this is going to do to the staffing levels on the state equipment and if there are going to be cuts of engines, dozers and any cuts to the air show. At 34B$ it's hard to imagine CDF not taking at least some cuts. Any info would be helpful.

Merry X-MASS
12/20 Got a note from an Aussie friend with the CFA (Country Fire Authority) in the area north of Melbourne: they're expecting temps at 108F, RH of 5%, and winds of 40 kph.

As we sit back in the rain/snow/cold over the Xmas holidays, keep our Aussie mates in your thoughts! And tip a cold brew to their safety, too!!

Dick Mangan
12/20 anf, This is why fwfsa has not had major suport, lack of timely information, and just a bunch of promises but no results for the lower grade folks. the only way fwfsa will get major support is if they have positive results, and not just token crumbs handed out. the way it is now people just don't beleive it warrants alot of attention or time to join. Hugh

P.S hey ab how about a post none of my others comments have made it. no I.m not a rookie 18+ seasons in the service

We have gotten no other e-mails from you. Are you a federal employee? Ab.

12/19 To anybody who went to the (fwfsa) meeting in Sac on last Sat. let us know what the talk was about any good or bad news. Been looking on their web site and nothing has been updated.

Signed ANF
12/19 Ab,

Here are some pics of various fires throughout the 2001/2002 fire seasons. My name is KC from the Prairie Band of Potawatomi Nation Type 6 Engine Crew in Kansas.

Thanks, great site.

Some nice photos, KC. I put them on the Fire 15, Heli 8, Handcrew 7, and Engines 5 photo pages. While on those pages, look for the other really fine photo contributions from BWC and from "Just Another Driver". Check also AirTankers 6 for a great T-22 drop photo from BWC. Some terrific photos for sure. Christmas is coming. [Little Santa jig] Ab.

12/19 Hi Ab,

These are a couple of pics from the McNally Fire on the Sequoia. One is of the plume coming towards our structure group that we were protecting and successfully did so. The second was of our engine drafting from the Boy Scout camp pond when look who showed up to join us... quite windy for sure.

Have a good one,
Just a Driver

Nice photos, Just a Driver. Check my note on the post above for the links to the correct pages. Ab.

12/19 Well, the power has been out for 4.5 hours. Thought it might be a whole 23.99 hr that PG&E is allowed before fines kick in. Phew, back up and running. Ab.
12/19 Bob G made a comment in his 12/18 post that needs some emphasis from a retiree.

For many of you just starting out with an appointment as a federal employee, retirement is the last thing on your mind. It was on mine until I was within 5 years of retirement. Boy were my eyes opened wide when the first check came in! It ain't that much folks. You better have all your big bills (house, car, etc...) paid off and no kids to send through college when the day comes because if you are relying solely on your retirement to live on, you are in for a very rude awakening!! This is especially true if your spouse does not work, or you have no other source of income. Depending upon where you live, in most cases you will have to find another job to supplement your retirement check.

What I am trying to tell you is plan now, when your career starts. It does not take much to secure your future 20-30 years down the road. $25/month in investments will pay huge dividends in 30 years. Will make the difference between living comfortably and having to find work to make ends meet. The feds have a pre-retirement session. Inform your supervisor you want to go. If you supervise someone, send them.

Don't make the same mistake I and many other retirees have made because we could/would not look beyond the next fire season.

12/19 Nepper,

If you are worried about heat then you don't want a pair of Kevlar pants. They are hotter then the regular nomex pants and when you first get them your skin gets irritated a little.

I have a couple of pairs of Kevlar's and I am happy that I got them, I feel they give me more protection and they don't have that thin feel that the new nomex pants have.

I got mine from a company out of Porto Rico, I got the number from an ex-jumper. The company is called JG Industries, you can contact them at 1-787-834-4477

Hope this helps out.
12/18 All the publications from the USFS T&D Centers in Missoula and San Dimas are now available on the Web to all users at
The user name: t-d
The Password: t-d

Good stuff, not only in Fire, but in all aspects of Forestry and Natural Resources Management...... and free for the taking, too!


I put it on the links page under federal so's ya can always find it even if ya forget how. Ab.
12/18 Forest Service employees under FERS or FERS/CSRS OFFSET retirement systems need to beware of whats happening with this Region 3 Overtime pay back!

As a fers or fers offset employee if you have any pay limitations put on you (now or in the future as you climb the pay ladder), such as a hourly, pay period or annual limit, IT WILL AFFECT YOUR MONTHLY RETIREMENT INCOME! For some this seems way down the road, but today can affect your retirement 20 years from now.

Being under fers or fers offset means you pay into Social Security per pay period. Depending how much you pay into S.S. depends on how much you will get monthly for that part of your retirement income. You cannot collect your S.S. until your 62 but if you retire earlier lets say 45 (as I did) the Forest Service has to pay you monthly what S.S. should be paying you. In other words the Forest service must make up that monthly income amount until you reach 62. The calculation on how much you get is BASED upon what you paid into S.S. !! Bottom line... don't let someone in D.C. put a limit on how much you are DUE of what you actually earned hourly, per pay period or annually! IT WILL affect your retirement!

Bob G
Retired Captain
Engine 11
12/18 SEAT v. Airtankers
SEAT's are airtankers
This isn’t an A v. B issue. It is single engine airtankers as part of the
aviation fleet. Many of the original airtankers were…single engine
aircraft! N3N’s (up to 300 gallons), TBM’s (600 gl), and Af’s (1,000 gl),
to name a few. As requirements changed over time the desire for two engines
for safety drove the use of S2’s, B-25’s, B-26’s, B-18’s and others for
light (Type 3), and medium (Type 2) airtankers. Type 1 airtankers evolved
from the old “heavies”, B-17’s (2,000 gl), DC-4’s (1,800 gl), C-119’s (1,800
and 2,000 gl), DC-6’s (2,400 to 3,000 gl) and DC-7’s (3,000 gl). We are
still using many of these aircraft along with the “new” large airtankers.

What has caused “recent” interest in single engine Type 3 and 4 airtankers
is the airtanker deployment and management system. The out-of-date National
Air Tanker studies (NATS 1 & 2) focused on large airtankers at widely
separated bases for the cost efficient delivery of cargo over long routes.
I don’t know what window of opportunity was established as the initial
attack containment factor.

States that don’t have reliable access to, or the ability to pay for,
federal assets have developed air programs based on what they can afford and
what will work most of the time. Agricultural aircraft of various sizes are
plentiful and fairly inexpensive. They are designed to carry and dispense a
powder or liquid cargo from the air, sounds like an airtanker to me.

Federal agencies feeling that they aren’t being serviced by the national
airtanker system went “under the radar” to rediscover the small airtanker.
Why? Access to the resource, control of the resource, and cost.

The SEAT program suffers its own problems mostly due to it origins and use.
As an ATGS in the “mainstream” I see some problems that are preventing a
smooth incorporation of SEAT airtankers into the total aviation community.

Pilot training
What is the firefighting experience required of the SEAT pilot? To be
certified (carded) as an IA airtanker pilot in the federal system takes
about five years. In the CDF system there is a one-year dual pilot training
program and part of a second year flown with a “standardization” pilot for
final certification.

Aircraft capabilities
Type 1 and 2 airtankers have to have certified tanks that meet coverage
levels (flow rates) determined by retardant scientists. What coverage
levels required of the small tanks? An important point is that the National
Airtanker Board has never enforced its own requirement that large airtankers
should have constant flow tanks. They still grandfather 1950’s style tanks
as acceptable.

In the wake of the large airtanker groundings many agricultural aircraft
were signed up as SEAT operators. What was the quality control process and
do the aircraft meet firefighting needs?

Interaction with other air resources
How are the SEAT airtankers managed and controlled? I recently spoke with
one SEAT operator, who has worked on both sides of the airtanker fence, that
says that it is like the Wild West on SEAT operations.

We have always had some type of vertical separation between aircraft types
(copters and fixed wing) which has been restructured as the Fire Traffic
Area (FTA). This air traffic control system puts aircraft in specific
locations for safety. The biggest complaints I’ve heard about, not
personally experienced, are SEAT pilots operating in the helicopter
altitudes and communication problems with other aircraft. Under the
operating standards if contact with an aircraft over a fire cannot be
accomplished all air operations are to stop. Does this meet the needs of
the ground firefighters?

Let’s stop the A v. B mentality and work to incorporate single engine
airtanker program as one of the resources in the total mix of air program
resources. Note that the theme of cost runs through most of the decisions
made. There are other ways to measure success and suitability.

For an interesting concept of managing the airtanker program go to the
following link written by William B. Scott; Rocky Mountain Editor, Aviation
and Space Weekly. He is one of the members of the Blue Ribbon Panel on
Aerial Firefighting. The Jim Hull who wrote a response is Texas State
Forester Jim Hull, also a member of the panel.

The BRP report is available at the NIFC web page.


[Image] White House Shield
The White House
Washington DC
December 2002

To the Employees of the Federal Government

I send greetings to all Federal Employees and your families as you celebrate this holiday season.

The men and women who dedicate themselves to Federal Service help strengthen our Nation. Federal Employees carry out countless essential responsibilities that include maintaining critical government services, ensuring economic growth, and supporting efforts to extend peace and freedom around the world.

Laura joins me in thanking you and wishing you health and happiness in the year ahead. May God bless you and your families, and may God continue to bless America.

/s/ George Bush

12/18 Here's a link to an AZ Central article sent in by Firescribe:

Fire managers with too much OT getting billed by feds

Thanks. Good one. Ab.

12/18 Ab, a few comments on SEAT's from an Australian perspective.

Single Engine Air Tankers, known here as 'fixed wing bombers' have been an integral part of Australian firefighting for a number of years now. We have never had successful use of multi engine bombers, but the likes of Air Tractors and Dromaders have been very successful when used in conjunction will our light and medium helicopters with buckets and bellytanks, and of course more recently the 3 Erickson AirCranes, "Elvis", "Georgia Peach" and "Incredible Hulk" who have excelled in doing the heavy stuff. Thinking back over the last 10 years or so I cannot recall any loss of life of pilots or aircrew or major accidents involving firefighting aircraft in Australia. I suspect that should the era of multi-engine airtankers come to a close in the US, in a few years time SEAT's and rotary wing aircraft will have more than competently filled the gap.

Regards - Peter T.

Thanks for your observations, Peter. However, our needs in the US differ somewhat from yours in Australia.

Readers, please read the beginning or all of John Watt's letter to the Blue Ribbon Panel regarding use of air resources on fires. There are reasons why we need all resources available and he spells them out quite well. Ab.

12/17 Ab

I am trying to find out about some management teams that you don't have listed on your Type1 and Type 2 IMT links pages. If anyone knows anything about or is a member of the any of the teams listed, below, I am trying to contact people from:

Meuchel's Area Command Team
Gage's Type 1 IMT
Edrington's Area Command Team
Praytor's Type 2 IMT
Carr's T2 IMT
Smith's T2 IMT
Furlong's T2 IMT
Ostman's T2 IMT
Ziemann's Natl Park Service All Risk Mgt Team

-The Nomad

Things do change in 2+ years. Steve Gage rotated off as IC of CIIMT 3 last year and Joe Wood took over. Joe has since retired, but we've left his name as IC, for the moment. I think Edrington's Area Command Team had a website last summer but I can't find it right now. Area Command Teams coordinate multiple teams on fires and complexes so as to insure appropriate flow of resources.

If only Mellie had made these team lists sooner and we had them archived somewhere, they'd be easier to track. HAW, good job Mellie. Readers, can you fill us in? I noticed the NPS teams are not on any lists. We should add them. Anyone have info and links on those?

12/17 Some comments on SEATs

RE says, "Altitudes have nothing to do with SEATs." That's like saying elevation has nothing to do with pumps. The amount of retardant that the SEAT can carry will be limited by the density altitude and runway length.

In answer to ECC4U question the length of the runway will depend on the type of aircraft you are using. The minimum length for the smallest SEATs would be 2800 feet. The larger SEATs like AT802 need longer runways to operate at their maximum capacity. We look for runways of 5000 feet or more. We have shut down asphalt roads to operate SEATs from on some west Texas fires.

SEATs are not a magic bullet, however they do fill a need and RE is correct in that they work best on initial attack.

r3taz you say you have used SEATs a lot, but were they all the same? There is a big difference between a Trush with 300 gallons and an Air Tractor with 800 gallons. To most folks all engines look alike, but we know they all have different capabilities and tank sizes. It's the same in SEAT operations, all aircraft are not equal. So you need to know what type of aircraft you are working with.

ECC4U would suggest you contact the BLM state aviation officer for more information on SEAT operations.

12/17 The Jobs page and firefighter Series 462 and 455 pages are updated.

If you're in need of gear or Christmas presents, please check our classified vendors. They help us pay the expenses here at wildlandfire.com.

12/17 With the new fire shelters coming, many fire packs need to be retrofitted to the new size of shelter. The dimensions of the new folded shelter are: 9" x 5 3/4" x 4 1/2" Depending which pack design you have, pack manufacturers and smokejumper bases should be able to sew up a new fire shelter pouch to get your packs ready for the new shelter.

12/17 My "two cents" on the SEAT vs Tankers.

All pieces of equipment have their time and place on fires. Small planes, large planes, Type 6 engines, Type 2 or 3 and don't we have four types of hand crews more if you count trainees, and three types of helicopters and categories under that. Again it is closest available resource and then order more if you don't catch it small.

SEATs have their place, but I agree with others it is sure great to hear and see those heavys coming in, but I would take anything close if a firefighter is in danger. I have ordered a type III helicopter to do drops on jumpers that were getting run out because the heavys were reloading, 1/2 turn around time.

Remember use the "tools" you have on hand then order things you need, that is the dispatchers job to get the fire folks what they need and want.

Aircraft Dispatcher.

12/17 NCCrew,

How are you supposed to access the system if you don't already have an
account? It gave me some message that I needed to access it "through an
agency page" to start a new account.

A little confused.
The Nomad
12/17 NC,

After talking to you on the phone today I played around with the new application process. I found that you can apply to a specific Forest. After going through the steps and you come to the location portion, all you have to do i keep scrolling down the page and you will come to all the different Forest's you can apply for. Click on the Forest you want and you are done, the only thing I didn't do was try and select more than one Forest.

Hope this helps you and everyone else who is applying for a seasonal position. For those applying for permanent positions the old process, going through ASAP, is still in effect until round 15 is over. The new application process is only for seasonal positions. Happy job hunting.

R-5 recruiter
12/16 Hey AB(s) and ALL,

Being the eager seasonal hopeful that I am, I have waited ever so anxiously for the new hiring system to replace the Form C. You can see the new system and apply yourselves at: www.avuedigitalservices.com/usfs/applicant.phpl.

Most of the fire jobs opened up today (Dec/16).
Pretty neat setup, only you can't apply to a forest, you can only apply to a region.
Anyone out there know all the IN's and OUT's of this new system? Like how do you know if you being considered and such.

12/16 I'm interested in purchasing the Kevlar/nomex tan pants I see some of hotshot crews wear. Is there a GSA contract for such a item? Can anyone tell me why the government chose the color green for pants. I'm tired of working in 100 degree temperatures in colors that attract heat.

Great web site AB,

12/16 Hello all..

I just want to let ppl know... I would rather have a Seat come in on IA.
Were I am at it takes 1 hour to get a heavy there. Might as well use the
seat to go for it til the heavy gets there.. and after the heavy gets there
lets keep the seats goin cause its a 2 hour round trip for the heavy to get
back.. Alls I know is that the 2 Seat planes saved my life when I was in
danger.. I got burned over in 2000 and they stayed there and dropped on the
first sign they saw of me... they are capable of flying into tight spots
and landing in tight spots. Altitudes have nothing to do with a seat.. They
just don't have the power to drop up hill.. I wouldn't even want a Heavy
trying to drop up hill... And Seats don't need a lead plane..

thanks for reading..
12/16 EEC4U,

My information maybe dated however SEATS can operate from unimproved roads. I have heard of some regions using modules of water tenders and support vehicles and operating near the fire off dirt roads that meet the take off and landing criteria. So your airports should be no problem to operate from. As far as altitude that could limit the payload they carry.

It will be interesting to see how the USFS is going to fill in the gaps of those tankers bases they are going to close. I can see the use of more Type I modules and SEATS to fill in those gaps. Time will tell.


12/16 Ab,

Last week I sent in a loooong post regarding radioactive contamination of Bayo Canyon. I realized it might be inappropriate in its entirety and encouraged you to freely edit or even not post if you felt it was over the line. You chose to not post. In retrospect I think that was probably best.

There was a link to a map of known "contamination sites" in the Cerro Grande area that might be useful in helping firefighters determine if they may have been exposed to radioactivity during that assignment. The map is not the best quality and so I also included two other links to help show where these contaminated sites are, relative to roads etc.

Interactive map of contaminated sites around Los Alamos lab (LANL)

Two other DOE maps of the area



I have reviewed maps of the burned area and am unable to find a map which provides a very good "overlay". Unfortunately it appears that more than a few of the contaminated/disposal areas noted on the first map are well within the perimeter of the CG fire.

Feel free to pass these on to anyone that is concerned or post them as FYI to firefighters that fought the Cerro Grande Fire or participated in remediation later.

I hope this is useful and appropriate.
12/16 Dear Abs,

Gotta jump in on the conversation with this one. The dispatcher is correct in a lot of ways about SEATs but I think a little confused when things get hot and go beyond a single tree or 1/4 acre fire. Its a welcome sight to have a wide load come in on the deck with a capacity to do a job. I have used both types of aircraft extensively in many different applications and can say that SEATs are not the cats meow when it comes to coverage. Big birds serve their purpose well and should not be taken out of the picture....however I do agree that safety issues need to be addressed which may include upgrading the fleet.

I hope we are not working up a debate on who's who when it comes retardant application!

12/15 I'm a dispatch manager in a forest that has some lighter fuels areas. Can anyone tell me what the parameters are for take-off and landing for the SEATs? Like how long the runway needs to be, elevation concerns, etc. We've a few smaller county airports within the forest. I think they'd do great. I've always thought so, but I haven't had much (any) support.
12/15 Dear Ab and All....

As for all the AT (Air Tanker) talk... As of now, all c130's pb4y's, jump planes (minus Casa's), and barons (Lead Planes) are not looking so good. .......FOR NOW! Who knows what will be down the road. It's really political for now -- thank goodness it's "off season" for most. The www.airtanker.com is a great source for anybody interested in ships. Please go there to keep up to date. They are unique and great individuals on that board. Feel free to "lurk". As for SEAT's (single engine air tankers).....they are awesome as one of the "tools" in the toolbox. We have dealt with them for several years and whenever we call on them they are awesome and well received. As for them replacing the heavy's.......come on! Hello! That's like saying that Type II crews are going to cover for Smokejumpers because they don't have a jump ship. I think that SEAT's are going to increase in the near future because we need to "keep them small" and SEAT's are used most for Initial Attack -- think about it -- what will our focus be in the future -- KEEP IT SMALL. They are an Initial Attack tool that are very effective. They are not huge like a heavy, but they are a tool and if used quickly they can help ground crews out. Bigger is not always better.... Please folks, be careful what you say in these times of great changes in aircraft.....they are in a big transition with the Blue Ribbon Panel Report and can use all the support you can give them.

Thank you....

"a dispatcher"
12/15 Reading your last post about The Single Engine Air Tanker.. I have worked with them for the last four years and I can honestly say they are very very effective. They are more moveable than a Heavy, They don't need a lead plane unless they are over 800 gallons. SO most of the seats you will see they are either 600 or 800 gallons. The 800 gallon tankers are goin to load 799 gallons so that way they can fly with out a lead plane and it cuts down on the wait for them to get there.. They are capable of spliting the load. I have a few friends who are pilots and they fly seats and they think they will be the thing of the future.

Fight Fire
12/15 Curius,
I have it from a reliable source at NIFC that there will be far fewer heavy airtankers 03'
In their place they plan an expansion of the SEAT program, not a lot of details, but thats what i am told.
12/15 curious,
Check out the Airtankers Assoc. Message Board for comments on the BRP. Go to LINKS then AVAITION then ASSN AIRTANKERS PILOTS. The AAP page is the same kind of page as this but all about and dealing with the air world, mostly airtankers.

Aircraft Dispatcher
12/15 I read Jumping Fire two years ago during the 2000 fire season. I thought the book was terrific. GN
See the rest of GNs review here: Jumping Fire
12/15 Been waiting but I have not read any postings about the Blue Ribbon report. Sounds like there might be some big changes in aviation, especially in Region 5.

I have been hearing rumors of 5 airtanker bases being closed next year because the planes that were there have been grounded by the FS indefinitely. What will they be replaced with? or will they be replaced at all?

12/15 Dear Wildland Fire,

I am a singer/songwriter in the folk music field who is putting out a CD of
my songs, called "After the Fire." I am looking for information about a
particular photo, which appears on the National Fire News page (see
attachment). It is the third one down on the page, with the forest floor
and upright trees burning. Have you seen it, and if so, do you know who the
photographer is? I would like to use this for the cover of my CD, but I
want to give credit.

I would greatly appreciate any help you could give me.

Yours truly,

Paul Kaplan

Paul, you may have more success asking the NIFC folks (phone-208-387-5457). Here's a link to the photo you referred to which is on the NIFC National Fire News page.

12/14 So with that jumper doll, is there a cord you can pull that says "NO ROAD ACCESS"?
It would only be appropriate if you were standing on a designated U. S. Interstate!

12/14 re: the jumper/firefighter doll

HA, HA....I was thinking the same thing..great prop for numerous gags! Or to get for little jonny/janie who thinks its so cool that their dad/mom is a firefighter. Now y'all dont forget to buy it after you linked to amazon from wildlandfire.com!!! (hey Ab, do I get brownie points fer that????)

oh yea, Speakin of MRE's, I just recently used one of those heater bags for the first time just to see what it was like (...SHADDUP! Best you could get back when I was humpin the line was the beenie weenie in the C-ration box!....and Im not even gonna mention hair nets!) It was pretty cool I thought...the heater bag that is.

12/13 Greetings all,

Every once in a while I stumble onto a software program that makes me sit up and take note. In this case, it was "why didn't I look for this before?". As I was sitting and talking with the Reno Nevada NOAA meteorologists last week preparing for our soon to become reality change in how we receive our fire weather forecasts, they mentioned that they provided updates through the day for any changes in their forecasts. Especially significant wind/thunderstorm events. They asked how I would like to receive the announcements. I mentioned email, but they said that there were those who already said they didn't want it because they didn't want any more out-dated email clogging their boxes during times they were absent.

They said it sounded like the dispatch centers they had already talked to preferred to have a fax sent. Well, I don't like faxes, I think they are way outdated and a waste of paper and ink. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy cutting down trees just to watch them fall. But when I get busy doing my little initial attack dispatching or MIRPS thing, I don't have time to, can't hear, nor do I have the luxury of getting up and checking the fax machine. I didn't mention the possibility of using the DMS system, wherein any dispatcher could be alerted and retrieve the updates, but I told them I had seen somewhere of a software program that can monitor websites for page updates.

You non-dispatchers stay with me here, I'm getting to the good part. So I went looking for the kind of program I had seen somewhere prior. Here's what I found after researching and trying quite a few different programs: WebMon

It's easy to configure, very small footprint (memory), and best of all, it's free! You tell it which specific web pages you want to watch for changes, which specific parts of the web pages you want to monitor, then it sits in your System Tray and lets you know by visual and/or audio alerts whenever it happens. You can have it check from every minute up to hourly time periods. It will watch different pages and allow different time settings.

Why am I telling you all this? Don't you want to know when They Said has been updated? We're using it in our shop now to let us know when the Redding Fire Weather Forecast is posted. It works like a charm. No more guessing and wasting our time.

The home website for the program has lots of info and examples on how to set it up. Here tis again:

If you still need help, ask Ab to forward a message to me and I'll try to help ya set it up.


Thanks ECC1, I downloaded it and tried it for a couple days before posting your message. It seems to work as well as you said, and as they state on their website, there are no advertisements and it doesn't appear to have any "spyware" attached! I also like the ability to click on the "alert box" and have the monitored page open up automatically. Ab.

12/13 Cerro Grande Radiation

Abs & All

As you may have noticed, I have taken some strong interest in this Cerro Grande radiation business. It's the journalist in me, really. Here's what I've found out- Bayo Canyon was the site of explosives testing from 1944-1961. The area contains Uranium, Plutonium, and Strontium-90 (a derivative of uranium) leftovers in the form of soil, vegetative matter, and shrapnel. This is some seriously bad shit. Although there was a cleanup effort in 1995-1996 to remove the Strontium-90 shrapnel from the site, all the vegetation in the area contains concentrated levels of the radioactive materials from 4 decades of sucking up the radioactive nutrients in the contaminated soil- hence the decision to prohibit logging in the area. The shrapnel was buried somewhere on site at Bayo Canyon, which may or may not explain BA's remark about green goo covered by clay tiles 8 inches under the surface.

I made some phone calls today and spoke with a fellow by the name of Rick Haaker at Los Alamos Natl. Lab (LANL) who was involved with the 1995-96 shrapnel cleanup effort. According to this guy, Bayo Canyon (which apparently is a major drainage, not a small area) was a few miles to the North & East of the Fire, and he couldn't think of any reason why fire fighters would be there.

So what I'm trying to figure out is a) if in fact fire fighters were in the contaminated area (again, this is a major drainage we are talking about) and b) what exactly they were doing there- indirect line construction? Staging? Just passing through? Firing Operations?

If anyone (FFT, DIVS, FBAN, CRWB, etc) who was there can offer some explanations, advice, or anecdotes, I'm all ears.

12/13 I think I'll get me one of those Jumper dolls. Could be fun to use as a
voodoo doll or in a updated Mr. Bill Show parody.

"OH NO!! Don't put me in that MRE Heater Bag". (Said in a squeaky high
pitched voice. ) HA,, HA.

Stay tuned for new and useful uses for the "Mr. Jumper" doll.

Merry Christmas to you Sherpa Riders and the rest of you fire dogs.


Ok, ok, I knew this was coming. Go ahead, have some fun. But if you're gunn'a buy a doll anyway, buy one that reminds the little tykes what you (or someone you know) do for a living! Ab.

12/13 Ab, I have found more information on this and it is disturbing. Another area our folks worked, Acid Canyon, had plutonium in it which was known as of April 2000, two months before the fire. Folks can check this out at http://erproject.lanl.gov/ Look under projects. also look for Bayo Canyon information at the HREX web site of the Argonne National Lab. And do those exposure reports. Ranger in CA.


A reader advised us about these two items this morning. Now your young'uns can play with you even when you're on the fireline. Sorry, but was only able to find the one gender so far. Amazon sez they should ship in 24 hours, so a Christmas gift is still possible. We added links to these at the top of our Books Page. Price: $19.98, have a look. . .Ab.


The following page link contains jha's available from a www site. Our thanks to the sender and to Ann Baker, Safety Officer, Northern Region, for sponsoring it! Ab.



12/13 Could you please direct me to a web site to obtain the various report forms that are required to be maintained on any wildfire incident? I need the form that depicts incident activity log.

Thank you.

Joe Reinhart

Here's the NWCG ICS Forms Page link, I believe you are requesting the ICS 214. Task Books (and many other Publications) are on this site also. Ab.

12/12 On_Fire:

You probably can't believe how many firefighters there are out there
currently that are in your same situation.
Here's the trick.

One: you need to convince your dept. that there is a benefit to your
department. (Do you have any interface or other departments close by that
could benefit from your experience?)

Second: Establish a rapport with the closest Forest or State DNR.

Third: Get a contract with a forest that will allow you to deploy. The
contract would allow you to go anytime if you get backfill coverage in it.
In other words, the day your on duty, the FS picks up the tab for your
replacement while your on straight time. Make sure expanded will take care
of your travel.

Forth: Ensure your local is behind you.

Hopefully your Strike or Task Force rated. These positions and Division
Sups. are in high demand currently.

As a Fire Service person who has gotten involved with out of state and local
fires, it is good to see that the FS and State DNR's are accepting us into
play. I have felt or seen no animosity toward the fire service. As long as
your up front with your personal comfort level when you go to Ops. after
arriving, the have no issues and are appreciative of the honesty.

12/12 MIKE dont wate your time with fort lewis.. not much fire lots of tree painting. most the eqt is so abused it is not funny.you cant get off post much for fires.. when you do it is only in state. keep looking best of luck


12/12 Ab,

Is there anyone that can help me with my Evaluation Criteria? I've never really done one before and some of the questions below is what Im having trouble with.

1. Knowledge of Forest Service programs in order to carry out a public information program and provide positive interactions with the public.

6. Knowledge of agency responsibility associated with the Freedom of Information Act.

Thanks, Cache Girl
12/12 shooter:

as the name suggests, i am not a resident of the west,
but come out during the summers to work the lines.
i'd love a tour sometime though.

as for the timpee fire, i did some checking, and it
occured on the north side of the lakeside mountains.
from what i can discover, this was formerly a
militarty bombing range. one website lists this area
as off limits.

there were at least 3 shot crews on the fire, but we
spent 2 days mopping up and the fire never made it
onto the flats where the barrels and signs were

12/12 N,

I was wondering what insights you have into the Bluecut Burnover. Lessons
Learned? Any words of wisdom for us? Things we should watch out for?

Was there any way to anticipate the fire behavior? Anything you would have
done differently?

Why do you think engines were in the location where they could be burned

Did you or your crew have CISD? How was CDFs response to the incident?

It was good to have the image to go with the maps and report. Thank you for
sending it in.

Seems the media got into the act early on with photos, etc. What was that
like? Forwarned is forearmed...

NorCal Tom

12/12 I thought this site looked pretty interesting. We were asked to share it with a wide audience, so I couldn't help but think of you guys to get it out to the wildland fire community.


Thanks & Adios, CJD
12/12 crisp triggers

I am looking at the possibility for Ft. Lewis. There is no position currently open yet, I am just trying to find out as much information as I can and have everything prepared for when something does open up. Thanks for the insight, I was looking at the federal firefighters pay tables and was trying to figure out which salary I was suppose to compare mine to. I think your reply helped me clarify what I was thinking. Thanks again.


Thanks for the info and web site. It was one that I had not yet ran across. Yeah it does sound strange to take a downgrade and make more annually. But looking at your pay tables I see how it all works out.

Did any of you that transferred have previous military or vet preference that helped you transfer over, or where you just able to transfer since you were already employed with a federal agency?

One thing more, I have heard a lot of talk about the possibility of the fire personnel getting contracted out? I also heard that there is some sort of moratorium in place to protect that from happening. Do you see that being a serious threat or just a lot of nervousness from all the other contacting that is happening?

Thanks again,

12/12 Helo Abs!

I would like to get some ideas on my current career situation. I am a former USFS Hotshot now working for a large east coast urban fire dept. I left the Hotshot world for a more stable working environment and year-round employment. However, I still want to be involved in the wildland fire world. Does anyone have any ideas about how to go about getting details on wildland assignments when working for an urban fire dept? Specifically, I am looking for info about how to catch an assignment during my annual vacation time, how to convince a fire dept to allow unscheduled leave time at the drop of a hat, etc. I enjoy my new job, but miss my old one too much to leave cold turkey! Any info would be appreciated!!


Abs, great work on an awesome site! Everytime I check my email, I pull up this page to see what the latest and greatest interests are! It's the best way to keep in touch with the life I left behind!
12/12 JerseyBoy,

Are you a local in the west desert? {there were none better than the PIRATE SHIP) If so then no harm done but you should have known better. If you are not a local then stop by next time you get out this way and we will give you a tour.
crisp triggers
12/12 Here's a good job for anyone wishing to travel to a busy fire location.

It's a GS-5/7... District AFMO


I've been to Redbird five times in my career... lots of fire and I love the feeling of the early Forest Service (Early meaning the 1920's.)

Last year on the "Red Bird" I realized it was no different than home... Lots of urban interface problems, old outdated equipment and ideas, lots of public concerns, to much work for any one person... all that stuff... I really respect those folks out there... my hat is off to them. They are really good folks... and aren't getting the benefits of Federal Service that Presidents Roosevelt and Kennedy so envisioned.

My question is... How come some of Region 8's ADFMO's seem to have MORE responsiblities and duties than their counterparts in Regions 1,2,3,4,5,6,8,9, and 10 and are paid at lower GS levels? The duties are the same or more... is it just because the RedBird area has a depressed economy and lower GS levels are accepted as the norm? Have they ever had a desk audit from an outside source or requested one?

12/12 Mike,

I left as a 6 2 and ended up as a 5 5. My first year I made almost 50,000 as a 5 5. It is hard to imagine that you can take a grade cut but still make more money. If you don't mind me asking where are you looking at transferring to?
crisp triggers
12/11 I'm a forest service fire apprentice, who took a job with a contractor doing fuels reduction after my 13 was up.
The home owners association at the location we were working at seems to have a problem with the company that I used to work for- as we just finished about three weeks ago. Now the board has said we (the company) were fired and does not want to pay for the work my crew did. I'm owed some money by the company, and I know that the most of the allegations are false. I may have to go to court and was concerned about how this could effect my career with the Forest Service. I was hired to supervise the fuels crew and have documented the events that occurred while on the project. Anyone go though anything like this before?

By the way I own a pair of whites and a pair of nick's and like both boots very much.

12/11 Ab,

Thanks for the update on Mellie. I it nice to hear that she is doing well and is in good spirits. I would agree that she does allot for the fire community.

Mellie get well soon.....

12/11 WalleyAK,
Dispatch moving in with a 911 center...."been there did that" Good? Well depends on whose "side" you are on. As a FS dispatch going interagency with the state, FS got the short end of the stick. We ending up helping and supporting state more then them us. We had and expanded building beside the main center which worked out pretty good. The main dispatch floor was more co-located then interagency. Best way to go in my opinion. Mainly because of training and pay wage of dispatchers. Co-located is the best way to go, in my opinion.
there are places where it has worked also it has worked where the dispatcher that were the the FS or BLM dispatch before interagency left then new dispatcher were hired, and new to the whole dispatch world, it worked for them.
So mainly it all depends on the folks and the support each agency has of their personnel. My dispatch moved 120 miles north, all dispatchers had to move to keep their jobs. Be supportive and patient with the dispatcher and it might work.

Aircraft Dispatcher.
12/11 Mike

I'm another of those who came over from the USFS.
I'll start with the grade question, generally you will be stepped out so you make the same pay, a 6/2 would probably come out as a 5/4 or 5/5. I don't know if this is automatic but that is what they do with my department.

The pay is significantly higher, my base is almost $20,000 more than it was at the USFS.
Most bases work a 72 hour work week, actual schedule varies (1 on, 1 off, 2 on 2 off and 3 on 4 off being the most common).
The pay formula is base for the first 53 hours, OT beyond that. To find your hourly base pay take the 40 hour week, divide by 53 (our hourly base is approximately 80% of what it would be working a 40 hour week).
AL is 7,11 and 15 hrs per pay period instead of 4,6 and 8. SL is 7hrs per PP.

I would strongly suggest you contact the department where you want to go and discuss some of this with the chief, each department is the same and differant if that makes any sense.

Another good resource is dodfire.com http://www.dodfire.com/index.php this is a private site started by an Air Force Fire Chief specifically for DoD Firefighters. It also has a forum similar to they said focusing on DoD firefighters issues.

Personally I've found the plus side is I am home with the family on a regular basis, I have a little more structured life (I can make plans in advance with a pretty good chance they won't change due to work), more money, all my responsibilities are funded (no running medical aids with a jury rigged medical kit and paying for my own EMT refresher) and there are not problems taking vacations during the summer.

On the negative side, not many opportunities for road trips during the summer months (Strike teams) but this varies depending on where you are, I'm either going to work or coming home from work (I'm on a 1 on 1 off schedule) and we're pretty slow (again varies by where you go.

Overall I've been satisfied with my switch but I do miss the green engines particularly during the summer months.

Finally one of the advantages of being federal is if you go and you don't like it just apply for another wildland job. Under all the agency names we still work for the same employer basically.

Goodluck with what ever you choose.

12/11 In response to the Lower Colorado folks query into JHA's on the net......
I have spent the last two weeks building JHA's on the Boise. All my searching on the www turned up nothing. The only site I could find with archived JHA's was on the FS intranet. If you have access here is the adress.....

Fire Idaho
12/11 ab:

In response to shooter's post: i mentioned that i
worked around dugway - i have never actually been on
the grounds themselves.

The fire that clearly sticks out in my mind was in
late june, 2001. i believe the fire was called the
TIMPEE fire, about 4,000 acres, but burned itself out
quickly -i think we spent only two days on it. the
fire was due east of dugway, close to the interstate.

Then we first arrived, we drove on an access road
passing barrels with question marks and warning signs
that cautioned against fighting fires in the area.
while the place that the signs were posted was not
specifically burnt (the actual fire's edge was approx.
a half mile away) it did raise some questions. as far
as i can remember, i did see mention of uxo, but not
hazardous materials in the IAP.

Is anyone familar with this fire, or this area of
utah?have any idea what this land was used for in the
past (i believe it is BLM land, possible utah DNR).

I didn't mean to imply that dugway pg is unsafe, only
that sometimes you encounter things on fires that
raise concerns as to firefighter safety.


And a bit later. . .


apologies to shooter: it seems my knowledge of utah
geography was a bit muddled. the timpee fire was
further from dugway (to the northeast) than i thought.


12/11 If you have access to the fsweb, JHA's can be found at:


Don't think you'll find them anywhere on tyhe WWW.



Job Hazard Analysis information can be found at website

Old Fire Guy

Thanks both for responding. Ab.

12/10 SoCalCapt & crisp triggers shooter

Thanks for the reply.

My major question/concern is.

I am currently a GS 6 step 2. If I except an entry level position as a GS 5, would I have to go all the way down to a GS 5 step 1, or would I go over as say a GS 5 step 5?

Thanks again,

12/10 I just got off the phone with "Mellie". The operation she participated in was very successful. She is in high spirits and should be back with us very soon! Good news for all of us who appreciate her and her outstanding dedication and contributions to our fire world! Ab.
12/10 RE: shelters,
Although 36,000 shelters sounds like a small number, when you do the math its a pretty big budget bite. This is going to be a tough nut to crack for any manager. Imagine being the mgr who has an an employee injury or worse with someone using an old shelter. Especially if they felt they could only afford a limited number and gave them to what they felt was the highest priority. Unless there is some big money pot to replace them I expect the $ will have to come out of theire budget. Glad I dont have to make the decision on who is going to get a new shelter and who is stuck with the old one if there just isnt enough money to buy one for everybody.

Regarding the vol FD's, while I understand that there may be "hoops" for some departments or locations, it shouldnt and doesent have to be that way if the responsible state or fed agency has their act together. Where I am, all a dept has to do is call me (or our fire wharehouse) and say I want X shelters or whatever and they are on their way. Of course that is with their money, if its through grants or something thats a different story.

The bigger question I would have with vol FDs, (that I work with at least) is would they use them if needed. I am on my local dept, and shelters are issued to everyone and we train with them every year (or at least everyone has the opportunity to train with them). But when I ask my self if they would use them.... Sadly I would have to say Im not too sure they would unless someone gave the word or they saw someone else going for it.

Obviously the new shelters are a far superior product (from what I understand) but that doesent mean you should pitch the old ones. They will still do what they were designed for and in a pinch are better than just hunkerin down and eatin dirt, not to mention other applications they could be used for.

umm....guess thats it

12/10 Ab,

I have a few issues with jerseyboy and the fires that he has fought around Dugway Proving Grounds. Being a firefighter at DPG and traveling extensively on the 700,000 plus acres I have yet to run across a barrel with a question mark on it. I would be interested to know who he talked to that was out here fighting fires and saw such a site????

It's always funny to hear the stories that come out of here. I don't want to discredit jb's story but the signs he refers too don't mention firefighting in them. More along the lines the of "Restricted Area. Travel off road is prohibited. By order of the Post Commander." Just for kicks read the MSDS on gasoline. As for UXO's watch your top knot when you fight fire in California.
Some of those "farmers take a lot of pride in their cash crops."
Next time you make it out to see us at Dugway be sure to say Hi.

crisp triggers

12/10 Does anyone know if there are any JHA on the net? We are redoing the ones at our station and would like to have a couple of good example to work off of.
Thanks for any help any one can give us.

Lower Colorado River Fire Folks
12/10 Ab,
Here is a reply for Mike on the 081 series.


I have first hand experience with the swap from the wildland side to the 081 series with the DOD. To date the only regret I have is I didn't make the jump sooner. The pay raise was rather nice. If you are interested at the end of the year I will give you my total. It will be close to 60,000. Not bad for a GS-5. Let me know what questions you have and I will try to answer them for you.

crisp triggers
12/10 Is the General Meeting for the FWFSA still on for Saturday in Sacramento? Does anyone know how long it will be?


Not sure about the timeframe, but see the previous announcement a couple boxes down. Ab.

12/10 As an occasional lurker but first time contributor, I run the risk of
treading into territory that has been previously trodden. Nonetheless,
my local wildland fire office has been invited to join a joint 911
dispatch venture and I was wondering what other experiences are out
there in having a fire/police/EMS dispatch center do the dispatching for
a pure wildland organization. We currently dispatch engines, helitack,
air tankers and, occasionally, smokejumpers out of our agency Initial
Attack dispatch and I guess I have concerns about extended attack
logistics, dispatcher training/experience/background and just
maintaining the logistics-operations relationship that we now have. Any
thoughts out there?

12/10 FWFSA General Meeting... last announcement!!


Be THERE!!! ... If you have supporting or dissenting opinions!!!

Ken Kempter
FWFSA - IAFF Local F-0262
Southern Chapter Director
12/10 Mellie, regarding the documentation and record keeping on potential exposures .. ie - Cerro Grande/Los Alamos and others.... It's nothing new to firefighters.

I agree on keeping accurate records on my exposures. The form that I use is the "CPF Online Exposure Reporting System". It is available to IAFF members, CPF members, FWFSA members, CDF Firefighters, and subscribing departments in California. I used to use the FS forms and submit them... But my permanent record has no PERMANENT record of them on file... where'd they go? OWCP?... no record there... This system allows me to make a record on each exposure!! Each exposure is EACH AND EVERY CALL I GO ON that involves ANY smoke....

Probably the best thing for Federal Wildland Firefighters is getting legislation passed that mirrors legislation passed in many states...

The IAFF Bill takes the burden away from the FIREFIGHTER and places the burden on the employer... 30+ states have already enacted similar legislation.

Here is the Federal Presumptive Disability : http://www.iaff.org/politics/us/content/images/fed%20presumptive%20FS.pdf

12/10 Mike,

I went from the 0462 series to the 0081 series for a short 18 month stint in 1993-94 until they closed my base down and I returned to the Forest Service.

I went from a GS-7 Engine Captain with BLM to a GS-6 Engineer with a SoCal Air Force Base. My move downward (because of limited aircraft fire and rescue experience) actually resulted in a significant increase in pay. This was in 1993-1994 before the DoD pay raises went into effect. Probably the best benefit was being paid for all of my stand by time and getting all of the benefits under Title 5.

After they closed my base down, I licked my wounds... and returned to the USFS since CD was finally over... I returned as an AFEO with hopes for a bright future. Since that time I have been very happy with the progress the Wildland Agencies (under legislative and employee pressure) have made in addressing pay and benefits issues. More work needs to be done.

12/10 Just a comment on nicks boots. I have owned a pair for three years now and have walked many miles and through many hotspots and have had no problem what so ever with the smiling. Or the dislaminating of the souls. Just wanted to get my to bits in.

THX R6ff

12/10 Onelick-

I was the one who made the remark about the White's etc... Nicks come apart very quickly. The toes "smile" after just one exposure to heat. I'm not an isolated case- several members of our crew had the same problem.

12/09 A couple months ago during the Great Boot Discussion, someone wrote in that
they loved their White's, liked their Drew's and hated their Nick's. I was
wondering why they hated their Nick's. Is it a fit and comfort thing? or a
quality and durability issue? I can't remember who wrote the comment but
whoever wrote that post could you please post the reason, because IMWTK!!!!
12/09 The solicitation and specifications for the new fire shelters were recently
released. I hear rumors that 36,000 will be produced initially for
availability in June. I also hear that they will only be available, first
come, first served through GSA. The debate I would like to hear on "They
Said" is whether this is a fair way to distribute the new shelter and are
there any other ideas on how to ge them out there. With there being at least
3 non-federal firefighters, (and I have heard statistics that go as high as
5)for every one federal fire fighter, it would seem that the powers that be
would release some to other distribution channels. Not everyone who
participates in wildfire is tied into the fed system and some that are,(such
as VFD's through state channels) do not want to wait or jump through the
hoops necessary to get their orders through GSA.

GSA truly has a monopoly on this product for now because one of the raw
materials has only a limited availability that is being completely wrapped
up by the new contract. What is the group's feeling about distribution of
the new shelter? Will it be in high demand? Will the cost keep demand low?
(I sure hope all you FMO and cache folks out there have budgeted $170 or so
a piece to replace all the shelters under your control.)


12/09 Gabriel & others in South America,

Is it possible for Americans to go to Bolivia or Chile or Peru and work as wildland fire fighters?
I know that Australia & New Zealand are No-Go on this issue, but assuming you speak Espanol <Ab
could you put a Tilde~ over that N in espanol, I don't know how to>, is it doable?

Very curious.

12/09 Has anyone here changed from working for the Forest Service under the 0462
series to working for the Department of Defense under the 0081 series? I
have a few question regarding pay retention and the good and bad side of

Ab. if someone could answer theses question could you please give them my
email address.


12/09 Mellie:

not to make you cast your net too wide, but what about
exposure to other types of chemicals? i've worked
fires around the dugway proving grouds where we've
seen rusting steel drums with question marks on them.
and signs warning people not to fight fires in the
area. i can imagine that nevada is littered with such
sites as well.

i've seen IAP's warn about UXO, and blasting material,
but none ever mentioned chemical or radiological
exposure. just a thought,

12/09 Abs,
It’s about over locally. We’ve finally had some great soaking rain!! Even without that there’s probably only 3 acres of bush left in my brigade area, and not much more in the district. As for your question regarding our truck in the Telegraph pics, yes that’s it. The crew were being impinged by fire & attempted to drive out of it, but due to the smoke they couldn’t see & ran in to the Johansen’s house (pic 12). Thanks to CFU but luckily I wasn’t in the truck & the guy that got injured wasn’t burnt but rather tore skin off his hand when the front end got stoved in by the Johansen’s wall. Regardless, 2 days later he was out fighting fires threatening his property, & has spent the rest of the time playing sector leader. We’ve adopted the motto “Burnt, not beaten”.

R6r, thanks for your offer, but Mollysboy has got it in one. I always reckon some of your blokes should come out & spend some time volunteering, just for the experience. Where else can you go to the beach in the morning (did I mention topless bathing is permitted at all beaches?) & fight fires in the afternoon???

Thanks all once again. OB

12/09 La Brigada de Bomberos Forestales acompañados del presidente de Bolivia, Lic. Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada al haber controlado el incendio en Tarija.


To the best of Ab's ability to translate: The Forest Firefighter's Brigade accompanied the President of Bolivia Lic. Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada on having controlled (or inspected) the fire in Tarija.

Muchas gracias por la fotographia, Gabriel.
I put this nice crew and president pic on the Handcrews 7 photo page.

12/09 IAPs are turned back over to the national forest, national park or home unit when the incident is concluded. You could get these records by doing a FOIA. (I still have all mine from the Big Bar Complex. They have come in handy on many occasions.)

Perhaps we should make a list of crews we know were on the fire in the dangerous areas and make it and information we discover available on wildlandfire.com. As I can attest first hand from looking at the effects of Chernobyl, radiation even in low doses often does its damage 5 to 10 years after exposure. Firefighters who worked in the Los Alamos Canyon area (and lab area) described should be documenting their presence there - but many probably do not know of the potential danger or long-term effects. (The FWFSA crew is in Reno, but I'd be curious to know the state of legislation for work-related disabilities and deaths. Later...)

Nomad, want to get together with me to explore this radiation exposure issue a little more deeply? I'm busy for about a week or ten days and then might have some time. Also, I copied the Hist Channel Fire on the Mountain production and will loan it. Send Ab your snail-mail addy if you still want to see it. I can send it to you when I'm back in action.

Thanks for your thoughts and well-wishes Old Fire Guy and others. I really love and appreciate you all! What a community!


12/08 Hey Ab
Just letting the folks know I was ordered up for the mess in Guam. There is a
bunch of outstanding orders for people right now just do some looking around.
12/08 Nomad,

Copies of IAP's on project fires should be kept by the Documentation Unit Leader on each fire. These will then go into the permanent records for said fire. Those records will be stored in boxes for perpetuity?

12/08 Re: Los Alamos radiation exposure


Were you serious about the jars of green goo thing, or was that just a joke?

Does anyone still have any copies of the IAP to the Cerro Grande fire from 2000? Where could you find something like that? Are old IAPs actually kept on file somewhere, or do they just end up scattered across the continent in old red bags and unkempt crew buggies?

12/08 Ab here are some photos of the Williams Fire.
The first photo "Williams Fire Above" shows the Williams Fire in the hills above LAcoFD Camp 19. I believe that part of the fire was the result of the burnout operation by camp personnel.

The other 5 photos are after the fire had jumped East Fork Rd and was heading to meet the Curve Fire south boundary. Our ST was advised to find a wide spot while division/branch etc. decided what to do after the fire had jumped. The sequence of photos happened in probably 15-30sec. If you look close, there is a "NO FIRES" sign at the base of the small hill. Also notice how close we were initially until the major run, and then backed up 30ft. (except the one brave soul).


Put them on the Fire 15 photo page. Ab.

12/08 Hi Ab,

I have a photo of firefighters and engine on the Bluecut Fire. This photo (through the windshield of our engine) was taken a few minutes before the burnover/shelter deployment on the Bluecut Fire, 2002. I was on E4465 at this time and we reversed course, called E4473 on tac and told them to get out of there - not more than 30 sec. after I took this pic. Of the 2 firefighters you can see in the middle of the large photo, one deployed in the middle of the road, the other returned to the engine (E4473 CDF Model 1). Unable to get to the passenger side, he went to the rear of the engine and deployed the fire blanket.


N, thanks for working with me to get it scanned and sized correctly. I put it on the Fire 15 photo page. To read the details of the official CDF investigation, click HERE. Ab.

12/08 Here are some photos of the Hippy Fire, 425 acres on the Havasu NWR 2002, just north of Yuma AZ, on the Lower Colorado River, Helicopter in 171KA, known localy as "1 Kick Ass helicopter" stationed in PHX works with BLM, F.Mueller and T. Watkins, forman and assist forman. The dozer was one of the refuge dozers. The fires photos were taken from one of the first engines on scene. Photos found in dispatch, I though I'd send them in so others could see the fire behavior and flame lengths.

Dispatcher R3

Nice ones, Dispatcher R3. The fire colors are beautiful and thanks for the private good wishes. Readers, for the fire pic, look on Fire 14 photo page. For the dozer and helo on the Hippy see the Equipment 5 and Helicpoter 8 photo pages. Ab.

12/08 Ab,

Attached is a pic of one of 15 new units that the Arkansas Forestry Commission purchased with federal funds from the Ice Storm of 2000and 2001.

This one is a Cat D4, with environmental cab. the truck is international. The truck is equipped with a 3406 cat engine, auto shift transmission, and air ride.

If you have any question, let me know

Arkansas Forestry Commission

Thanks, Lou and welcome to theysaid. I put it on the Equipment 5 photo page. Ab.

12/08 Hi there,

Here's our Western Australian bush fire brigade logo/patch.

Aussie flame

Here it is on the Logo 8 page. Be safe. Ab.

12/08 R6r is well intentioned in her/his offer to send firefighters to Australia, but it probably won't happen in the foreseeable future. They currently have most of the fires in the State of New South Wales (Sydney area), with 4500 friefighters and 94 aircraft engaged. Rain showers are predicted over the next few days.

The NSW Rural Fire Service has in excess of 35,000 volunteer firefighters, and can also draw on their neighbors in Victoria (Country Fire Authority also has 30,000+ volunteers), South Australia's Country Fire Service, and the folks in the rest of the country.

Most of the firefighting "DownUnda" is mechanically based: engines, dozers and aircraft; very few hand crews are used.

I'm sure that the folks at NIFC have been in touch with their Aussie counterparts, and that the offer is on the table to send help.

The economics of moving large numbers of firefighters to Australia is staggering, especially when the fire suppression costs are paid for out of the NSW state budget, and the Aussie $ is only 50% of the US dollar.

So, unless the drought continues and the volunteers have to go back to their regular jobs, I'd not worry about keeping my red bag packed.....!

12/08 For those interested
Here is a link to one of the major TV stations news section, which offers some video

Tomorrow’s forecast is still for dangerous weather with Tues offering a cooler day. Wed and Thurs are back into more dangerous weather.

To OB,
I was listening to the radio which said that you guys were lost and out of radio contact. I was extremely pleased to hear that you and your crew were safe. Watched you on the TV news. I hoped you hit up John Howard (Australia’s Prime Minister – leader of our nation) for some more funding and/or resources, same goes for Bob Carr (NSW’s Premier – Leader of the state of NSW).

Read your post below. Keep safe and do what the Doctors say to fix up the burn on your hand. Get yourself to Concord Hospital for the best advice in Aust on Burns. My brother spent 6 weeks in ICU there last year due to some stupidity by someone else around a campfire Oct last year (partial thickness burns to both legs, hand, fingers and face).

Sorry about your lead tanker going up.
Aussie CFU

Is that OB's burnt "fire truck"? -- Check the daily telegraph link that Firescribe put up and it's last shot in the slideshow - Ab.
12/07 What is up!! Come on!!!

Somebody should have some pull somewhere or know somebody high up to get us down to Australia. This is ridiculous. We can put together a good number of crews and give those guys a hand. They have helped us in the past and we should be giving them a helping hand.

Just a thought.
12/07 From Firescribe, some online articles on the firestorm outside Sydney:

Warnings for Sydney as blazes burn

48 homes confirmed lost
www.dailytelegraph.news.com.au (plus some photos here)

12/07 does any have a copy of S-290 on power point -
any help?

12/07 From Australia:

Grabbing 2 minutes before some desperately needed sleep. We’ve been doing 18 hour days. The fires have surrounded the village in my brigade area. Unfortunately we’ve had some particularly bad news in my brigade on a couple of fronts.

Firstly our truck got overran & written off, but thankfully only relatively minor (injury to hand, I nite in hosp). We got a loaner truck next day, salvaged most of the gear & stacked it on the loaner & every person from the crew has been back out on the fireground.

Worse was one of our members who has 27 years with the Brigade lost his house while he was committed elsewhere. Weather forecast until Tues not too pleasant, so expecting to have our arses hanging out until Tues if we’re lucky, bugger knows when otherwise. Getting a sleep in tomorrow – 7.00am start instead of 6.00.

Thanks for your concern

OB, Our thoughts are with you all, and you especially. Remember that no house or material thing is worth your lives. It's important to come home safe to your families and to us. Speak up when it's time to pull back.
Be Safe,

12/06 Check Chat if you're interested. Some will show up tonight at 8PM PST. Ab.
12/06 Ab-

I just got this email about the California Web Sites....

"Due to technical issues, the Region 5 Fire & Aviation Management Server
has been taken down and will remain unavailable until further notice.

In the interest of maintaining operational tools for the GACCs, a temporary
Web Site has been established until a more permanent solution is found.
This site will host only GACC operational information and not the entire
Region 5 Fire & Aviation Management Site. This temporary site is not yet
fully functional and may not link to all of the previously available GACC
information for several weeks. At this time, the Intelligence links and
some of South Ops' links have been restored.

North Ops' links, South Ops' archives, and other missing information will
likely be restored in 2-3 weeks or after the holidays.

Following is the link for the new site. Be sure to bookmark the new link
as a favorite as there are not currently any links to this Site on the


-anonymous R-5er

Good news. We replaced the link to R5 FAM on the Links page under Federal. Also corrected the links on the Sit Reports by Geographic Areas under News and Reports on the Links page. Good to have this info available again after 9 months of hit-and-miss. Thank you. Ab.
12/06 Firescribe,

I read the Blue Ribbon report today. It doesn't sound to good for the C-130A, PB4Y, P-3's, and the Barron's (lead planes). I am not surprised about the first two but the P-3 is what got me. Very interesting report, people should read this with an open mind.

(how about a chat around 2000?)

Chat at 8 PM sounds good. Last night was fun. I can't be there until late. Ab.
12/06 The Jobs page and firefighter Series 462 and 455 pages are updated. Ab.
12/06 The Blue Ribbon Panel on Aerial Firefighting has released its report



12/06 RE: tornado-like fire behavior on the Missionary Ridge Fire

Here's a pic from the Ponil complex in northern NM at about the same time.
It topped out at about 20K feet and ran around for about 20-30 minutes.


Big thing, isn't it? Was that on the Philmont Boy Scout Ranch near Cimmaron? I put it on Fire 14. Ab.
12/06 Here are some pictures of a 715 dropping water and crews conducting burnout on the Malheur Complex summer of '02.

The complex of Oregon fires near Prairie City started on 7/12/02 as a result of lightning. They consisted of the High Roberts, the Easy and the Flagtail Fires. Later the Monument Fire near Unity, also lightning caused, was managed with the others.

The burnout pictures on the handline next to the wilderness were taken on Division Zulu. Crews were a mix of different crews there, my engine crew from Malheur NWR is one, and a bunch of different crews from elsewhere.

Finally, one more photo of the Mescalero Hotshots in Florida.


Put em on the Handcrews 6, the Heli 8, and the Handcrews 7 photo pages. Some nice photos Josh. Thanks for sending them in. Readers, if I have missed posting anyone's photos, please let me know. Occasionally when I'm on the road e-mails get lost in the shuffle. Ab.

12/06 Does anyone have a copy of that article in the LA
Times referencing the nuclear areas at Los Alamos?

I tried to get it today, but missed it.

Furthermore, I'm slightly interested in this since
it's 100% the opposite of what I was told about
radioactivity when I was working the area.

And what about this clothing BS? Did anyone leave
Nomex there? Did anyone even know you could? I think
I still have the same old school nomex shirt.

And now that we're on the issue -- did anyone else
find cans (multiple) of green goo buried about 8" in
the soil covered with a clay tile of somesort?

12/06 Last lumber mill in Josephine County, Oregon (Biscuit Fire could be seen from the mill)
will close beginning of next year due to lack of federal timber in area. 145 people out of

12/06 Hi Ab
I am looking to detail for the winter down to R/8 if any one
has heard anything please let me know.
thank you
ken in IDAHO
12/05 there's another couple of goodie fire links here, focusing on Southwest
Rx Fire:


12/05 Chat anyone? Well, if ya weren't there, ya missed it. We're thinking of Thursday nights fer sure. People are recovering from the season. Put it in your schedule. Ab.
12/05 Supposedly OPM will be releasing the Draft for the 0081 (Firefighter) series rewrite for comment sometime in December or January on the OPM website. I don't know if this will have any impact on the reclassifying of 0455 and 0462's. The rewrite has been going on for something like 4 years, I'm hopeful this will be a step in the right direction.

12/05 Cerro Grande Radiation

I just read a story in the local newspaper that said an area a number of us worked at on the Cerro Grande in Los Alamos, NM was being fenced off to loggers due to radioactive materials being present in the trees. (The article said the radioactivity resulted from nuclear experiments carried out there in the 1940's and '50s.)

This area is next to town and not part of the current lab. It is Bayo Canyon or "old Tech Area 10". Many firefighters were in this section of the fire including myself.

The article also quoted a spokesperson for the Lab who said firefighters' clothing was kept in Los Alamos and disposed of after the fire so no radiation got out. All of my folks took our stuff home with them. I suggest looking this up on the web for yourselves if you were there and file some exposure reports.

Ranger in CA

This article appeared in the LA Times, November 29, 2002. If you go to http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/front/ and in the search box enter Bayo Canyon radioactivity, you can find the reference. Stories older than 7 days are offered in the complete archives and cost several dollars. I think you can still get this one simply by registering (no cost for that). Jim Danneskiold was the spokesperson the LA Times mentioned who referred to the irradiated areas.
Thanks for the heads up, Ranger.
Maybe someone can find this in the MSNBC online archives; I heard they reported it as well.

12/05 Does anyone need an example of fuel reduction treatments that have done
some good? Today's "The Morning Report" from the NPS
(http://data2.itc.nps.gov/morningreport/) has an article about success stories and
a link to

That page has a link to a very good story with pictures titled "Mesa Verde
Fuel Treatments Reduce Impacts of Long Mesa Fire".
Link is


It is good, but is a pdf file of 2933K and takes a bit of time to download.
I think the noteworthy thing here is stated in the morning report, the fact that they're looking for success stories that support the National Fire Plan so they can publicize them in an organized fashion. Take a look at the categories. Good work NPS. May you get many good stories. Ab.
12/04 More Aero Support for Downunder

Just announced on the radio that a Kmax (not sure of the spelling) helitanker called Wild Thing with a capacity of 2600 litres (approx 800 gallons) has landed in Sydney and been deployed.

Also at least 1 house, 2 sheds and 1 car have gone up in the last 20 minutes (as of 1620 EDST; 1720 PST). It is expected that things will get worse before they get better via a cool change expected later on tonight.

Aussie CFU

12/04 FYI:
Good images in this program.
EPISODE: Trial by Fire
SYNOPSIS: Staff photographer Mark Thiessen heads west in pursuit of 
wildfire—and the adventurous souls who fight it. Mark, who usually 
spends his time in the studios shooting artifacts and bones for the 
Magazine, uses his vacations to chase his passion, and trains his 
lens on the unsung heroes on the frontlines of the wildfire battles.
CHANNEL: National Geographic Channel
DATE/TIME: December 4: 7:30PM EST, 10:30PM EST, December 5: 1:30AM EST
That means the show starts again in a bit over 30 minutes if you get the National Geographic Channel. Ab.
12/04 Hey all,

I'm looking to see if anyone knows of any positions, private, state or
federal, that are open in southern North Carolina or northern South
Carolina. I'm moving down there for a few months until the season out west
starts up and would like to find some kind of job related to the outdoors,
preferably burning things.

Thanks for the help
12/04 Ab,
Please post this info.
Capt. Emmett

FFI Jesse Reynolds

Services will be Saturday for Jesse Reynolds, who died unexpectedly Friday
at his Santa Cruz home. He was 28.

Family members believe Mr. Reynolds might have died from complications from
oral surgery the previous Tuesday. An investigation is pending.
Mr. Reynolds was born in Portland, Ore., and grew up in Palo Alto. He lived
in Santa Cruz for 10 years.

He worked as a firefighter and emergency medical technician for the
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection in Pebble Beach.
He loved his job, family members say, and had several state certifications,
including one for hazardous-materials cleanup.

Mr. Reynolds was an excellent cook who often prepared meals for his unit. He
also did public outreach and education, visiting area elementary schools.
Mr. Reynolds earned a degree in fire technology from Cabrillo College in
2000 and earlier graduated from Palo Alto High School. He attended JLS
Middle School, Escondido Elementary and Ohlone Elementary.

He is survived by his fiancee, Dara Damato of Santa Cruz, and her sons,
Michael and Robbie; mother, Pat Carroll Cohen of Palo Alto; stepfather, Jon
Cohen of Palo Alto; brothers Eric and Aaron Cohen, both of Palo Alto; one
aunt, one uncle and one cousin.

Friends may call from 1-8 p.m. Friday and from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at
Santa Cruz Memorial Park and Funeral Home, 1927 Ocean St.
Services, including honors from the CDF Honor Guard, will be noon Saturday
at Santa Cruz Memorial, with CDF Chaplain David Jones officiating.
Burial will follow at 1 p.m.

Contributions are preferred to the Jesse Reynolds Memorial Fund, care of the
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Monterey Ranger Unit,
4180 17-Mile Drive, Pebble Beach, CA 93953.

Sorry to hear this. Ab.
12/04 Here is another link to the other major newspaper for the Sydney region.


There is a pretty good map that shows the locations of the fires that started yesterday. There is no scale on the map but Sydney CBD to Penrith is approximately 50 Klms (31 miles).

Here is part of the media update from NSW’s lead agency.

Statewide Fire Update - 5 December 2002

Thursday, 5 December 2002 - STATEWIDE FIRE UPDATE

More than 3,000 firefighters are working on 66 fires that are affecting more than 44, 386 hectares (109,680 acres) across NSW.

Firefighters from the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS), National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), State Forests (SF), NSW Fire Brigades (NSWFB) will be working on these fires today.

Weather conditions yesterday were very hot and dry with strong winds and low humidity and are expected to worsen slightly today.

Total Fire Bans have been declared for the entire State today.

For the rest of the story check here: www.bushfire.nsw.gov.au

Aussie CFU

I added a practical link under World on the Links page. OnlineConversion.com is a site where you can convert anything to anything else. I use it often when reading reports containing non-American or unusual measurements. Ab.
12/04 Sounds like there are lots of homes threatened by the wildfires near Sydney (Australia). Check the Fire News Page.

Here are some more I found via the Fire Links page under news & reports. I went
to the last link, ,Paperboy and entered Sydney, Australia and English. All the
newspapers of Sydney came up. I like the Sydney Morning Herald. They had
some good articles here and some great photos: Bushfires Ring Sydney.


12/04 Hi Ab...you can link to NM BLM page by going through the Southwest Area
Fire Operations site, www.fs.fed.us/r3/fire/, and click on Related Links.
While browsing yesterday, I came across a very nice new site, called
www.wildfirelessons.net. Was very impressed, especially with a power point
presentation on lessons learned at 30 Mile. There is also a very useful
link that gives a summary of what to expect when assigned to fires in each
region of the US.

Hope this helps, and if this goes on the board, sign me
R3 Flyer.
Happy Holidays!

Welcome R3 Flyer. Yeah, that NM BLM url is the same as the one on our links page and still gives a message that the server is down. Ab.
12/04 Ab,

I hear the R5/California Forest Service fire server is down completely
and will be down until further notice... including both North and South
Zone Web sites. This is different than the access problems people
have had with the server all season. If I hear of a new location for
the sites I will let you know. I think they are working on an alternative,
but nothing is out yet.

- 22

If there's anything important that needs to get out, let us know. Seems they should at least have a place for the Academy info. Ab.
12/04 There was a local sheriff @ the fire camp who had some excellent shots of the fire whirl. during this wind storm a boat was lifted up and thrown, several cars just burst into flames from radiant heat.

If anyone in the Durango area has any contact with the Sherriffs office out there, that might be a link to getting some very nice shots.

No surf on the east coast EVER
12/04 Hey Ab,

You have the Midewin Hotshot Logo posted on Logos 5.

Here's the artistic rendition. It shows the blue stem prairie grass and other species that the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie manages. However, the exorbitant cost involved with printing this on t-shirts and the fact we buy our own precluded its use. The simpler one on the Logos 5 page is used instead.

Anyway the long and short of it is that the artist did a great job. Thought you might like to see it.

A Midewin Hotshot

I see what you mean. It is nice, but not for t-shirts. I put it on Logos 8. Ab.

12/03 The Jobs page and firefighter Series 462 and 455 pages are updated. Some new postings under the fed/state section on jobs. I trimmed the page substantially since we're into a new hiring year.

Today we were contacted by folks who are planning a fire behavior class. They had a request. They had heard of tornado-like fire behavior on the Missionary Ridge Fire (Durango CO, Rocky Mountain Region) on June 19, 2002. The winds were so strong they pushed vehicles around. Someone had seen a video of the fire. They were wondering if we knew anything.

Mike Melton's team was on the fire until June 17th then Joe Ferguson's team transitioned in. On June 19 there was plume dominated fire behavior, 1 mile per hour ROS, flamelenghts of 150 to 200 feet, spotting up to 3/4 mi ahead of the fire. 19 communities (2481 homes) had been evacuated. More than 1000 personnel were fighting the fire.

With all the folks fighting fire some of you must have been there. What do you know? Stories? How about any videos or still photos of the extreme fire behavior they report? If a video exists, sounds like it would be good for a class.

There are some photos and info on the FIRES, 2002 page under Colorado's Missionary Ridge Fire. I especially appreciated the photos on one of those pages of groundpounders coming off the line. When fire behavior is extreme, getting firefighters out of harm's way is the right thing to do.

One last thing:
I checked the links on the Links page today and upgraded the FS links to coincide with the new FS web. Found some broken links and inaccessible servers. Couldn't get to the New Mexico BLM site under Federal. Does anyone know what happened to the MATS site, the Colorado Wildfire Academy and Great Plains Wildfire College under training and Education? Still having trouble with the R5 web. Anyone have a link that works for the Wildland Firefighter Apprenticeship program? How about a link under Safety for the Firefighter Awareness Study, Phase III?

Thanks to the folks who are willing to provide photos of Wisconsin burned forests for the RR model maker and also to the reader who sent in the new link for the FF casualties for the guy who was preparing a presentation on LODD. I replaced that one on the Links page.


12/03 Ab,
In our fire community we share our losses. We have a wonderful new
addition to our fire community we would like to share with you.
To the staff of the Wildland Firefighter Foundation -

My husband was the captain of Tanker 123 that crash in Colorado on July18,
2002. The first I heard of your foundation came to me in a letter with a
check to help me out. I was touched and thankful. I wanted to share some
good news. Our child was born November 2, 2002. I named our son after his
father. Ricky Lee Schwartz. I am sending you a couple of pictures of our
new addition (Ricky & Ricky and Mom) and a picture of Rick and myself
on July 12th. Once again thank you for your work. I will not ever forget
your foundation and the wonder work it does.

Liz Schwartz
We have had permission to share this with all of you and if you would like to
correspond with Liz email to the foundation and we will forward it on to her.

The Staff at Wildland Firefighter Foundation

Congrats, Liz. Nice looking babe. Wish Rick was around so we could congratulate him too.
Readers, here's a link to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. They have a new store. Funds a good cause. The money pot is low. Any purchase or contribution would be greatly appreciated. Ab.
12/03 Hi Ab:
re: the note from "one of the bug people" I thought i had been there when
that Yampa crew had its picture taken at Spruce Tree Lodge, Mesa Verde NP
during the Long Mesa Fire...then I remembered I had helped with the tour
for a crew from Ute Mountain that same afternoon. I did have to run a
tour by myself for an engine crew from Montrose, no mean feat for a Wyoming
archaeologist who hadn/t been down there for about 25 years (not counting
Chapin 5, that is--missed the Bircher). I tried to explain to the Montrose
folks that I didn't really remember all that much, but they pried a bunch
of information I thought I'd forgotten out of me. Really nice taking crews
in places like that....everyone has SO many questions. I worked with three
different crews on Long Mesa, all were interested in the park's resources
and they really kept their eyes open for me. Ya'll have to remember that
many of the archs are also red-carded line dogs who would just as soon
swing a pulaski as flag sites....

line-arch (FFT1, ENGB, RADO, and ARCH)
12/03 Good Afternoon:
I hope you can help me. My son in interested in wildfire fighting but we are at a loss as to where he should go to college for this profession. Could someone please give us any suggestions they may have.
Thanks so much.
Terri Blunk
12/03 For those interested in the fires in Colorado last season, here's
one resource that links to all wildfire articles in the Rocky Mountain



12/03 Abs,

Take a look at this about the new spray protection system.
New Survival System For Australia’s Fire Fighters

I wish I could send the video that was on the TV news tonight (got a mate in RFS PR - might ask him), but they basically torched one of our tankers (engines) with an outside temp of 900deg C (someone else will have to do the conversion). Report said internal temp only got up to 70deg C (still bloody hot!!). We have a Statewide Total Fire Ban (no lighting of fires of any sort in the open) declared for tomorrow, bit like a Red Flag but they're flying from every flag pole!! Got 2 days of rain Fri/Sat (some said a Thanksgiving present from your lot!! not that we have it..)- up to 4 inches but that's the first solid rain in 9 weeks. We're now officially in our summer until end of Feb. Solid rains not predicted to March at the earliest. Definitely watch this space!!!


That's 1,652 degrees Fahrenheit outside and 158 degrees F inside. That is hot.

Our news here said your fire season generally begins in January, but it began in July this year. Is that correct? That means if summer starts now, your fire season doesn't normally it doesn't start until sometime into your summer? Early and dangerous year... Be safe. Ab.

12/02 For those folks who are interested in obtaining a Degree or Certificate in
Wildland Fire Allan Hancock College requires that you take some on-line
courses to finish up the degree. Registration is now open for the Spring
Semester and people interested should sign up for those courses which you
can do via mail registration. The site is listed on the training web site
under Allan Hancock College. If you should have any questions you may call
AHC at 805-922-6411 and they should be able to help you out.


Good alert, WS. Now is the time to be thinking about courses and careers. Those interested can also find a link to Alan Hancock and other colleges on the links page under training and education. The last link in that category is a page of links to 2 and 4 year fire science degrees. The link to Alan Hancock College is there under CA. Ab.
12/02 Kris,
BLS is Basic Life Support aka EMTs and ALS is Advanced Life support aka Paramedics. You can become a line EMT by taking the required training course through CDF or any other agencies. After that you're agency needs to get you the fire assignments. Hope that helps!

12/02 Hi Ab,

I was looking through the crew photos today and saw
the Yampa Valley crew on Handcrews 6. I didn't send
the pictures in, but that crew was at the Long Mesa
Fire in Mesa Verde National Park. While they were
there, they got tourist-free looks at some of the
ruins. Yampa Valley crews are dispatched out of the
interagency dispatch center in Craig, CO. Radio
misnomers have occasionally christened the crew 'Yapa
Valley' and 'Napa Valley'.

I was working on the Yampa Valley 2 crew on the Burn
Ridge fire which was burning in blowdown (from 1997)
on the Routt NF in mid-August. We were perfectly
positioned to watch the Hinman fire as it escaped its
containment lines and also blazed into blowdown. We
saw some amazing flamelengths several days in a row.
The two fires grew together and went over the Routt
Divide; they were managed as the Mt Zirkel complex.
Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me, so I
don't have any pictures to send.

just sign me,

one of the bug people
12/02 Kris,

BLS & ALS are acronyms for Basic Life Support and Advanced Life Support, respectively. BLS or Basic Life Support generally means EMTs, which can only perform "non-invasive" procedures, ie no sticking you with needles or putting tubes down your throat, just band aids, oxygen, maybe a splint or two, and in the worst case, some good ol' CPR. Advanced Life Support means paramedics or possibly EMT-II's. ALS care providers (paramedics and above) can -besides do everything EMTs do- start IVs, give you drugs, read an electrocardiogram (heart monitor), and defibrillate (shock) you. Most crews have one or two EMT qualified members, but paramedics are pretty scarce, and without their respective toolkits, they can only do the basics.

To become a Line certified EMT, I believe that you have to go to a training or take a class that specifically teaches you how to work in the fire environment. This class is entirely separate from your EMT medical training. For more information, you should contact your local wildfire suppression agency. As far as I understand, and I don't understand that far, line EMTs are single resources that are ordered up on incidents that are plucked from the ranks and file of federal or state fire suppression. The forest service, as far as I know, does not have any primary EMT or healthcare positions. So if you want to be a line EMT, you gotta be a fire fighter first, then take the class, and hope you get called out. And if you are looking to contract yourself out, then you'll probably need a fully staffed ambulance to accompany you, as ambulances are used on contract as standby's on most large fires. And in that case, i believe they use local ambulance contractors.

Good luck
The Nomad

12/01 B.M.
Impressive photos, looks like you were lucky to have a father after looking at those photos. I probably would not have told the family either, at least not until after the season. No sense in worrying everyone.

Thanks AB for all you do.
Eric PW

You're welcome. Ab.
12/01 Firejim,

What is the BLS and ALS? I assume they are contracted agencies for EMT/paramedics? How would one go about become a line EMT with them, or any other agency for that matter? I have both my FFT1 and EMT. But would rather pursue a line EMT/paramedic position, rather than a full time groundpounder.

12/01 Ab,

Here's a photo of a Brush Fire in Riverside County, 08/75. Note the dozer tracks. I particularly like the dozer pics and other photos that show the essential part dozer operators play in fighting fire.

I'm also attaching three photos of my dad's dozer after a rock slide in 1975. My dad was an HFEO for the CDF for 34 years. On June 25, 1975 he was building a fire road at Oak Glen in the San Bernardino mountains when a rock slide came down on him and his dozer. He wasn't hurt and didn't even tell his family about the close call. Thank goodness for the ROPs and screens. Check out the size of the rock leaning against the roll bar. The dozer is a a D-6 from the CDF Riverside District Office.

People don't realize what an important and perilous job dozer operators perform on fires. They are firefighters who work night and day and yet you rarely hear about them on the 6 o'clock news. In some small way with these three pictures from 1975, I want to show how dangerous their work is and salute their contributions to wildland firefighting efforts.


I put them on the Fire 14 and the Equipment 5 photo pages. Ab.

12/01 AB,

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


I put it on the Fire 14 photo page. Ab.

12/01 Ab, a couple of photos

Both photos are from the Slinkard Fire within the Gate Complex (Coleville, CA & Topaz, NV - August, 2002). If you want to show someone what an icecap is, here are two good examples!

Bill M.

I put them on the Fire 14 photo page. Ab.

12/01 Ab,

Here's a photo of a WI DNR 450 furrowing on an active fire. Minutes after this photo was taken the SEAT arrived and knocked down the head enabling the tractor/plow unit to get a line across the head and contain the fire. Unfortunately the pilot failed to get a photo of the SEAT drop.


JG -- Lost this one in the files. OOPS. I put it on the Fire 14 photo page. Ab.

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