"THEY SAID IT" ARCHIVES
Home of the Wildland
||Here's the 2003 Fire
Prediction Outlook for R5. Interesting reading. The percentage of
drought-killed and beetle-killed trees is as high as 80% in the southern
California forests around Lake Arrowhead on the San Bernardino NF.
I know I have read this report. I even heard a scientific presentation on
the catastrophe. But I can't remember if I read this on the web. Did we
link to this report somewhere last month? I am currently brain dead...
perhaps as high as 80%. Beetles?
||these are some photos about a Sikorsky S64E who puts out the fire.
11-3-2003 vicenza italia
Thanks Matteo. Nice to have some from Italy. We put them on the Helicopter
10 photo page. Ab.
||Hey Ab this is a really cool photo of the Heaps Peak helicopter when I
worked with them on the Hensel.
Thanks Flameboy, we put them on the Heli
10 photo page. Ab.
||Got around to scanning a few more photos
Allouette, either the Peppermint or Kernville Helitack crew from the
Sequoia NF, flying crews out of Little Manter Meadow during the Manter
Fire, Sequoia NF 2000.
Blackhawks working at the Manter Fire, Sequoia NF 2000
Skycrane making a drop on the Salmon Fire, Sequoia NF, 2000
Nice ones Fedfire, put 'em on the Helicopter
||Photos from Countryman are of the NDF patch on Logos
8 and of an NDF Engine in Malibu, 2001 on Engines
6. There's a photo of the Cerro Grande Fire near Los Alamos on Fire
16 and a photo of the crew going home from the West Basin Fire in 2000
sent in by Paddlefire.
We'll be updating the dropdown menu and getting up updated jobs
information as soon as our ISP is back in order, they promise within 24
hours. Dont'cha hate it when that server stuff happens. Grrrrrrr, I do.
||A forestry technician,
The shuttle astronauts were highly paid, highly visible, extensively
trained, professional specialists. NASA will likely be able to leverage
their deaths into a budget increase. And the space program is a matter of
We are low paid, hardly visible, minimally trained, "grunts".
The FS, BIA, BLM, is so afraid that the public will ask "did the last
increase go toward making firefighters safer?" that they downplay our
deaths as much as possible. The huge expanses of wildland we protect are
largely considered "wasteland" by the majority of
voters...unless it abuts their property/home.
And of course the eyes of the nation were on the shuttle when its systems
spectacularly failed killing its occupants. When our "systems"
fail we are in the middle of nowhere and no one is looking.
And in both cases people say " they were in a very risky profession..
and they knew it". Except in our cases few of realize just how risky
I have been doing some thinking about Thursday's helicopter crash, and
have suddenly found myself very very peeved. The day the shuttle crashed,
news of it was on straight for something like 6-8 hours. Continuous
coverage. What a tragedy - a loss of heroes, and so on. Then, and since,
it has been a continuously running national story... did we figure it out
yet? Will the space program continue? Was the problem due to low bid
work? Why can't we spend more money on NASA's (already very expensive)
aircraft so that these people aren't killed?
I remember the first days after the tragedy, wondering where the national
coverage has been every time wildland firefighters are killed in the line
of duty. Often in low budget equipment. Many are sick, but we don't spend
much money at all to research the health effects of smoke exposure over
long term. Lots and lots of wildland firefighters damage their bodies
forever, either through years of hard work or an injury that occurs in an
instant. Yet where is the national outcry? The national media coverage?
We are flying aircraft that the military wouldn't dare use, that NASA
scoff at, yet where is the outcry for our people? What we seem to hear
from the public and the media is that we spend too much money on putting
out fires the PUBLIC wants put out, that we know damn well need to burn in
many cases or they'll be even bigger next time. It's our fault. And then,
when our aircraft fall out of the sky, WE have to deal with the effects,
and with the backlash, and with the finger-pointing. And we mourn the
deaths, the injuries, and the changed lives. Quietly. Without fanfare.
Without national media attention.
In an extreme case of tragedy and irony, two people died in a helicopter
accident in Texas Thursday in the effort to try to figure out why seven
people died in a space shuttle crash. Will the helicopter accident be
declared a national disaster? Will the media cover their accident for more
than 30 seconds, and follow up on it every day at first and then every
for three months? Will we spend millions to find out what happened to
them, and how to fix the problem? Why do we take risks like using aircraft
on an incident like this in the first place? This wasn't even a wildfire!
Or an emergency! And, their deaths will not be considered fire-related,
because we, the nation's unofficial fire service - the wildland community
were working on an "all-risk" incident.
I really don't know what else to say. My thoughts are with you all.
Ab, today sign me-
"A forestry technician"
Results of the trial of the meth producers who started the fire on which
AT pilots Lars Stratte and Larry Groff died: www.pressdemocrat.com
Closure of the Ukiah Airbase defended by CDF Director even though the CA
legislature has reversed the closure at least for this fiscal year: www.sacbee.com
||COMT: Thanks for the input.
We've recently purchased several "Racal" radios, Is this the
all the agencies are going? If everyone does go digital, will everyone
have to have the same radios like the King radios.
Are the NIFC communications set up to use/clone multiple types of digital
radios @ fire camps.
My experience so far has not been good or bad, they seem to work fine
minus the fact that the loud end of the volume is extremely low. The
upside is that the radios are 100% waterproof so it will survive next time
i decide to swim with it on unlike the KING's
The battery life as you mentioned is used up @ a pretty good pace also.
The rechargeable seem to do okay but i doubt IL be able to charge on a
fire. The clamshells take 10 AA batteries.
My main concern/question is: Are all the agencies going to be on track
with the same type of radios by 2005, is there going to be a
"National Standard" for radios?
||A few comments:
Thanks for all the photos and posts with attachments that have come in.
We've been away and have a lot to catch up with, hopefully by the end of
The server problem is getting resolved, but slowly and with many apologies
from the tech folks. They say 48 hours and then the jobs, links and chat
pages will be back up. Nothing like lightning striking just as we leave
Great bunch of young people at the Academy. Terrific bunch of trainers.
||Here are my thoughts on digital radio. There is great
potential for the ability to pass data along with
voice. Another pro that is mentioned is that radio
transmissions would be more secure from scanner
monitoring by the general public.
The downsides are cost, digital radios roughly run
about 3 times what analog units costs. The operating
time for batteries is very short due to the radio
needing a higher current. The quality of audio is not
good, sounds like a machine talking. Digital either
receives or it does not work at all. It is hard to
tell when you are getting out of range until it just
stops working, with analog you would be able hear the
radio break squelch and audio get weaker with static
increasing. Two digital radios transmitting at the
same time would cancel each other out, analog radios
would at least squeal and the dispatcher would let
them know they were walked on. Reports have stated
radio coverage being reduced anwhere from 20 to 30
percent have been reported when compared to wideband
I have read some negative reports in Safenet
recommending not to use these radios on fire.
The FCC was going to require all radio users to go to
narrowband analog by 2005, but the public safety
sector threw a big fit and the FCC backed off. I read
that the main reason for going to narrowband was the
FCC could free up frequencies so they could auction
them off. Congress saw this as a way to raise funds
that were not already allocated. Toss in a few
lobbyists for major radio manufacturers to help them
along. I think one of the main reasons the FS has
stuck to narrowbanding is to force some forests to
replace radio systems that have been nursed along and
are out of date.
This is just one opinion about digital radio, let us
hear your experience with it.
||Check out the articles in FS Today (Folks, this is the Forest Service
Here are the headlines for this issue:
Message from the Chief: Workplace Security
Homeland Security Concerns While Visiting Washington, DC
Forest Service Provides Disaster Assistance to Iraq
Forest Service to Compete Job Corps Centers
Helicopter Crash Injures Forest Service Employee
Wayne NF Honors Deployed Soldiers
Honoring Your Fellow Worker
Response to Questions on Dell Discount Program
President Signs Order for Pay Raise
||There is a new bill in the House (HR1230) calling for access to the
Cleveland National Forest for 500,000 volt power lines. We are working to
educate the public and are looking for documentation on fires caused by
Anything you can provide would be a great help! Obviously, this is a great
concern to all who play, live and work in and near the forest.
See www.fofandp.org for details.
Santa Rosa Plateau resident
||For those that have not heard. We lost a helicopter in Texas 3/27 while
searching for space shuttle parts. As it has been said to many times
before "Two more angles have earned their golden wings" Five on
board, lost two, three in the hospital. Thoughts and prayers with their
families and friends. God Bless them All.
A dispatcher who is there.
You are correct. Alex does work in Alaska and is on the Mat-Su crew. The
message you wrote has been delivered to his desk but I believe he is
gone for the day and not quite sure of his plan for tomorrow. The crew
phone number is 907-761-6342 or 907-761-6300 for the main office.
Glad I could help you. Dave
Always keep in mind that helicopter/rappelling is just another way to get
to work, think of it as a flying crew truck that goes a 100 mph and
doesn't have to stop for traffic lights! Once the ship leaves, you're just
a groundpounder. You need a lot of focus to be a rappeller but never let
that be a "sum of all you are". You are a firefighter first and
you MUST focus on the all the aspects of firefighter safety. LCES. You
will most likely have some good overhead and fellow firefighters to work
with. Find a mentor, someone who will show you the ropes ( pun intended ).
When you are training to rappel, PAY ATTENTION! those techniques and
emergency procedures will get you to the ground, take it from someone who
has had a few knots. My advice to helicopter firefighters: Landing is
better, rappelling is the last resort.
The sky genie is your decent device- its the item that you attach to the
rope and it controls you as you rappel down the rope. It gets hot- from
the friction. Again, keep your feet together, slow down when you get to
the close to the ground, make sure your feet hit the ground before your
butt does. Some pull ups might help you out, too.
||Ran across these articles on out sourcing, at www.govexec.com
if they can be trusted it looks as though even the OMB, the agency behind
the outsourcing is not pleased with how some agencies are whipping out
competition bids without full consideration of those jobs functions or
taking the time to do it right. The second article sounds very relevant to
the Forest Service situation of collateral fire duties.
OMB weighs changes to job competition process
Defense could use new 'best value' competition method under proposal
Onelick, you may have something, I'd love to see some of the other Federal
Fire agencies get involved in the IMT program each with their own special
talents, it might improve our employee gene pool if it got our departments
more activity and attention from congress, there are many firefighters on
the government payroll that are being under utilized. I'd also really like
to see something like NIFC and NWCG created to organize responses to the
non wildland related incidents. Not to take away from the current teams
but as you mentioned they were originally created for wildland, and the
training and organization reflects this, it is unrealistic to expect the
same people to respond to incidents 365 days a year, when the size of
their employee pool was intended to deal with wildland fires for the 6 or
7 months of fire season. The fact they have been able to continue doing
the great job they do speaks for itself. Would also be nice to see FEMA
play nice and realize what their job is and isn't or at least take the
time to learn how to do the job they are trying to take.
||For those interested, here is Mark
Rey's March 7 Fire testimony.
Old Fire Guy
||I've been lurking in the shadows reading about the discussion on IMTs,
and I have a thought or two on the subject. People in the Fire Service
start out as either wildland, or structural. Then when they learn enough
that they get bored, they venture to the other just to see what it's like
on the other side. Sometimes they like it and stay, sometimes they don't
and go back. Some of us love both and do both. But I've come to realize in
my 20 years or so of fire service that you can't do both really well if
you have a family, other job, etc. There is just too much of a commitment
from both the wildland side and structural side to do both really well.
The same goes for IMTs. Instead of IMTs trying to be "All Risk",
have FEMA, Homeland Security, FDNY, DCFD, whoever, create several IMTs
that specialize in terrorism, several that specialize in structural,
several that specialize in natural disasters, several in police matters,
etc. That way, you are not trying to make the round peg fit into the
square hole, the diamond hole, the triangle hole, and any other hole out
there. Make a peg to fit each hole! I'm sure some of the ICs of these IMTs
aren't too happy to be doing some of the "All Risk" stuff
either. They want to stay where their heart is: in wildland fire. Sure
there will be some lag time until the other new teams can get brought up
to speed. I think we had up to 4 IMTs committed to the Columbia recovery,
can you imagine what would have happened if that occurred in July? Who
would have gotten shorted? Fire or the recovery? The need is there, let's
get some other people educated in the right way to manage an incident.
||I just wanted to thank R3 for the advice. Im not sure what a sky genie
is, but thanks to him i will not drop it. I so look forward to becoming a
rappeller. I have spent the last 3 years on a IA crew on the Mt. Hood N.F.
Once again thank you for your input.
||Wenatchee Rappel Crew? Uh Oh -- You're in trouble.....
Just kidding -- Congratulations on your new job. I've rappelled, but it
wasn't in R6. I always felt that R6, in general (a few notable exceptions)
had a better rappel program than many other places (that should get a few
-Find a Tower, start running up and down it.
-Don't drop the Sky Genie off of the aforementioned tower.
-Practice some heavier packouts (110+ pound range).
-Don't put your harness on the ground.
-Always keep your feet together as you slide down the rope.
- Practice pushups -- maybe even with a pack on.....
You'll do fine. Good Luck
||Hello, I am trying to locate a fellow named Al or Alex
Strong with the Mastu, Nastu, Mashtu, or Nashtu?
Wildland Firefighting Crew. He left me a message on
my answering machine but the message cut off before he
could leave his number. Have you ever heard of him,
of that crew or anything close to it? Possibility of
it being in Alaska or Florida. Thanks!!!
There is a need for a coordinated effort by FS employees to deal with this
issue. Right now we need a point person and a strategy - one that filters
down to each forest and its employees. Otherwise, I don't think that this
will work effectively.
Suggestion: National level union rep to head since they are cognizant of
issues, and people volunteer for strategy development? Any other
suggestions? I'd be more then willing to put in time on this.....
||The wildlandfire.com server seems to be down. We're looking into it.
Links and jobs pages are affected. Ab.
||WP's comments about FEMA acting like they invented ICS reminds me so
much of California's "Governors Office of Emergency Services" or
OES. Talk about a prima donna organization! They plagiarized ICS and
called it SEMS and made it a state law. I just got off 2 weeks of the
Exotic Newcastle Disease operation with a single OES rep and they attend
all the meetings acting as if they are in charge and everyone else is
responsible to them. They produced a document that said they are the lead
organization in all emergency operations. Too bad they don't have anybody
on any of the management teams or that is qualified as a Type 1 or 2 IC.
They have never, NEVER taken the IC or any general staff position in any
emergency I have ever been involved with. Not the Riots, not the floods,
none of the earthquakes, surely not any fires, and not even a disease in
poultry. Even though they are the LEAD disaster organization in
California. Give me a break. At least they let us wear our uniforms this
time unlike at the Northridge earthquake. We were too many in number then
and it didn't look like they were in charge like they say they are.
||A little more info on homeland security/IMT use, etc. We are currently
the process of using portions of some of our type I IMTs, and simulation
leaders from the S520/S620 course to help train-the-trainer in ICS -- all
the modules, and actual simulations. I just returned from a two week
assignment with portions of the SW IMTs to perform this task with the FDNY
(New York City Fire Department) -- The first session included 40 of their
top chiefs. The second session begins this week for another 40. They will
carry on this train-the-trainer for their department. Most of the
scenarios we helped coordinate were created by the department and dealt
with terrorist events. The training was very well received. They plan on
forming approximately five of their own IMTs for use within their city and
along the eastern seaboard. It could continue with some trainee/shadow
assignments with our national IMTs on wildfire assignments this season. In
addition, while we were there, information was flowing that the Department
of Justice is also looking at some ICS train-the-trainer events for their
"Terrorist Task Forces." Interesting times.
How can a pvt contractor bring the aussi firefighters over here when there
is so many folks looking for work. do they meet our training standards...
this is odd. are american firefighters not good enuf for this contractor..
i do think the feds need to look into this.. hmm
Well I just found out today that I am going to be part of the wenatchee
rappel crew. I was wondering if there was anyone out there that has been a
part of a rappel crew that could give me some heads up on what to expect.
I cant explain my enthusiasm for my new job. Any help would be great.
Thank you for your time.
I don’t know exactly what the impact of “competitive sourcing” will
be on the agency’s capabilities in fire suppression, but maybe some of
you can help me out with that. I do know it’s going to have a huge
impact on a lot of people that have worked for the FS for a long time. I’m
talking bye, you’re gone.
The FS will be “studying” over 1,500 maintenance jobs within the next
month or two. This is not a “study” that ends up in a file drawer and
life goes on. Nope, a contracting officer ends up with two numbers on two
lines of an A-76 form, and if your group’s number is bigger than the
contractor’s number, you’re gone. Period.
We’re being thrown into a very high stakes game here and we don’t even
know the rules. I went to an intense 3-day training session (it made me
physically ill, no joke), and the consultant told us it was just an
OVERVIEW, that if we took all the training we’d need it was 6 WEEKS of
training. This game pits us against professional corporate contractors who
know the procurement rules inside and out. We are “competitive sourcing”
amateurs playing against pros. And the deck is stacked. For example,
contractors can protest decisions to the courts. Employees cannot. Take it
from me: The more you learn about this process, the more you feel like the
Christians taking on the lions. If you do fleet, road, ground, facility,
or trail maintenance, then your job is on the block. For those employees
with fire collateral duties, the A-76 contracting decision will not take
these duties into account at all. The competition will be run strictly
based on the maintenance duties, and if the maintenance contractor wins
the competition, then the fire duties will just be directly converted to
contract without any kind of competition. In some cases, fire duties may
be included in the studies, and the A-76 decision will be made strictly
based on cost. Such issues as quality, experience, the agency’s
intellectual capital, etc. do not enter into the decision at all.
This whole thing is politics of the worse sort. Since I came away from the
training, I’ve gotten into trying to do politics for the first time in
my life. Back on 3/13 Semi-Frozen Ex FF said if he found out the
President's administration is behind this bullshit he just might do
something drastic, like vote the other way. Well, here’s what I’ve
found out in the last two months:
The arbitrary quotas that are putting our jobs on the line come straight
from the Whitehouse’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This is a
Presidential Initiative; Congress had nothing to do with it. Angela Styles
is the lawyer appointed by Bush to OMB and is point person for the
initiative. Before her appointment, she worked for a Washington, DC law
firm representing contractors in contracting disputes against the
government. Congress tried to stop this thing in January as part of the
2003 Appropriations Bill. The Bush Administration threatened to veto the
whole Appropriations Bill if numerical “competitive sourcing” targets
were prohibited. The amendment prohibiting them was defeated 50-48 along
almost a perfect party line vote (Specter-PA and Snowe-MN were the only
Republicans to vote for the prohibition).
Congress ultimately did include weaker compromise language to try and slow
down “competitive sourcing.” Supposedly, OMB won approval for this
language by assuring Congress that they wouldn’t hold hard and fast to
their quotas. But here’s what the FS had to say, in a very recent
official communication about the studies: “The agency is required to “study”
3,035 FTEs as our target. This is 15% of our commercial FTEs. These
studied positions may or may not be outsourced to private enterprise.”
I’m not a politician myself, so I’m going to call it like I see it:
Somebody’s lying here.
To meet these quotas, the FS says maintenance studies should be started
before May 1, and completed by Sept. 30. If studies are done badly,
contractors win. DOD is the only agency with much experience with A-76,
and it takes them almost 2 years on average to complete a study. Experts
from all over complained that a proposed 1 year deadline for completing a
study was not long enough. But the FS, with no experience at all, is going
to complete their studies in 5 months? What are these guys smoking?
The way I see it, the best chance we’ve got is to raise one hell of a
lot of noise and wake up the public and Congress.
||Discussion with DD, NorCal Tom, and others from previous discussions:
I fail to understand some of these comments. For starters, many of the
IMTs are becoming all risk (if they are not already, some are working
quickly toward this, some are dragging their feet, and some still have no
ability to do this). It is a learning process and thought process that
sometimes takes a lot of time. But to say the National MAC would not
release what is needed for any kind of incident makes little since. (maybe
I am misunderstand). If a terrorist incident is what needs to be taken
care and the MAC decides that is the priority then the IMTs would be sent
regardless of what else might be happening elsewhere. There are lots of
teams to do stuff and what better way to learn how to do something even
My second point is related to who goes to an event such as a bio or
chemical terrorist incident. IMTs would be sent right away. The IMTs go
because they are needed to establish infrastructure for the incident,
whoever is up and with proper discussion they are ordered and sent. The
IMTs that went to 9-11 in New York were near full teams that did a lot of
stuff. Yes it was distribution and logistical support, but think about it,
it was on scale of unparallel size. When was the last time you ran
something that had tens of thousands of supplies being sent to an incident
by the semi-truck load and being replaced 10 fold the next day!! Yes, the
first, second and third responders would have special training (haven't
you had it yet, it is good training and teaches very good information).
Since when are IMTs located in the middle of something, that is poor
management of the infrastructure of incident.
IMTs are headed in the direction of all risk, like it or not. Those teams
must learn to have a mix of personnel and skills that can allow the team
to adjust and move between incidents. With today's changes of the world we
must have an ability to adapt and mitigate the incident.
||SB315, Double D, NorCalTommy,
A short while ago I had a discussion with a friend that works for FEMA.
This person is very familiar with type 1 and 2 teams. She was a little
peeved that "higher ups" in FEMA were talking like they just
developed NIIMS. Of course they are whole heartedly embracing the concept
and want to lead the way.....after being swallowed up by Homeland Security
their position in the grand scheme of things has been somewhat diminished.
Many of the political appointee's in FEMA (and there are many) see NIIMS
as a way to regain "lost ground."
It does not matter that the FS, BLM, the States and other wildland
agencies have been operating ICS organizations for the past 15 + years,
FEMA has "seen the light" and is eager and willing to lead the
way to "Truth - Justice and the FEMA way."
Oh! I am sorry for that last bit, I just got carried away by the emotion
of it all.
||DD, NorCal Tom, and others from previous discussions
The White House just released a Presidential Directive dealing with some
of this. Not much new that we haven't heard in the past, but word is
(second or third hand admittedly) from back east is that they're probably
going to adopt NIIMS directly and that the Department of Homeland Security
is planning to establish its own IMTs. No word on with whom they will be
built. So it may be they don't want to pull the IMTs off of fire. Anyone
with more direct knowledge of that discussion reading? Here's a link to
the directive. Look at item 15, it will look pretty familiar.
Re IMT's on terrorist events: I know this is a little late, but we're all
preoccupied, it seems...
First of all, we always have the right to remind people that
our primary mission is wildland firefighting and as far as the national
group goes, I do not think that they would release all teams to terrorism
events. We could and would justify a certain number that would be kept
Second - IMT's that assist with terrorism events, like bio or chemical,
would be like the teams that helped at 9-11. Mostly not full teams and
they would help with distribution and logistical management. In the cases
of going into an incident where proper level 4 ppe would be needed, It
likely, -- at this time - would not be the IMT's that don the suits. I
asked higher ups about this and they said the scenario would be more like
the responders would be highly technical - like swat teams, trained with
the right gear for the right situation. The IMT's would be located close
to the incident but not at the "unsafe" ground zero site. It
for now doesn't it? Why would we send IMT's to the more critical sites? -
however their skills with ICS, and making things happen to support an
incident's needs are what they are good at.
||Just letting you know that we are very appreciative of the power point
training courses offered on your site.
We here on the Goshute Reservation have started a few things out of
necessity like our VFD a couple of years ago and now a proposed joint
venture with the UT Fire Co. for contracting engine services. The
reservation sits in two states UT and NV at about equal portions of at
least 70,000 acres a piece. It can be a bureaucratic headache at times
between BIA and 3 districts of BLM. Our governing body initially has given
us little support but we have shown success with what little we have. We
have successfully acquired last years RFA grant and submitted another. We
have 1 heavy engine and 1 type 6.
A great many of us experienced folk 35 yrs old + have fought fire and we
would like the younger people to obtain the experience. A lot of us
experienced guys are preparing for leadership roles. The Ut fire Co. would
train all personnel according to national standards, provide us with at
least 5 Type 6 engines and a Type 4. The active firefighters now are
dispatched through NV, Elko District. We have had challenges in the past
with being passed over for assignments. We hope that the new contracting
venture will help us with that. Any recommendations regarding the
Goshute/Ibapah VFD, crew member for the proposed Goshute Nation Fire
In regards to the R-5 Aviation Program (Aviation TEAM) that is posted on
the jobs page. For those of you interested in the program, it is well
worth it. I am a member of the current TEAM Program and it has been the
best training I have had in the 11 years I have been in fire.
I was able to get written off as a fully qualified Helicopter Manager and
I am currently working on Helibase Manager II. If it wasn't for the
program, I feel there would have been no way that myself and one of my
good friends from my Forest would have been written off or have gotten the
quality training that we got.
The best thing about the TEAM is all the great people in the program that
I have met and will keep in contact with for the rest of my career. I know
if I have any type of question or need any help at all, I can call any one
of them at any time.
I would highly recommend the TEAM Program to any one who wants to advance
their career and get the best aviation training you will ever get. To Wes
and Dennis I want to say thank you for the great opportunity you have
||I work for a municipal department with a fuels management crew. I want
know if any one knows where we can pick up any used crew carriers. I know
lot of hot shot crews are getting new buggies, so there must be some old
ones sitting around. Of course our budget is small. We would even
entertain the boxes themselves. We would even entertain 1 ton crew cab
trucks. If any one has direct links email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
||YES, I AM YELLING (CAP LETTERS) WHO IS THE FINANCIAL WIZARD WHO THOUGHT
UP THE NEW NATIONAL AD PAY PLAN?
Lots of shaking up is going on on this subject, we are going to loose a
lot of experience with ADs who will not work for the thoughtless rates
that will be imposed soon. R-5 has a higher cost of living than a lot of
the other parts of the nation as reflected in locality pay, I can
understanding averaging rated, but averaging down makes no sense.
Positions that are UTF'ed almost from the get-go like COTR (CORT?) EDSD,
EDSP, HEMG etc. may go un filled because ADs who are more than qualified
will not work for the reduced rates. If any one is interested in more
information on what the heck is going on should look at: www.adfirefighter.org
(i hope that the correct address) and maybe drop RAY Q. a line with your
We are shaping up to have a BIG fire season as the drought index shows and
we are going to need all the help we can get.
If you don't know what the red card mnemonics stand for, see the
mnemonics page, link at the top of theysaid. Ab.
||Alan, and so do a few of your friends in the New Zealand part of
"Down Under" (view this site with an eye to fire operations and
Whilst we have a Government that has chosen to "sit on the
fence", I feel confident that many of your rural fire Kiwi friends in
NZ support the USA and the coalition's War on Iraq. We would at least
agree and certainly hope for an early and successful outcome for all (US,
Brit, Aussie, the innocent Iraqis, et al).
Ab note: We all support our troops and appreciate the international
thoughts. That said, let us remind readers that we think that
"TheySaid" isn't the forum to debate the war and all its
implications outside of wildfire. Again, in these difficult and uncertain
times, just a reminder of our focus here on wildlandfire.com.
A good source of a ton of photos is the NIFC sponsored site: www.wheremedia.com/nifc/index.phpl
. Surfing through the fire websites that the IMTs are putting out now
usually yields a few good ones. Many of the Fed and State govt. wildfire
web sites will have interface (firewise) information and sometimes have
decent photos. Firewise had some good photos online but they were pretty
low res so did not work well for ppt. Sometimes newspapers (web based)
have good photo albums online, but with those you need to be sure to ask
permission (typically they only put low res photos on the web) As a rule
of thumb if a photo is on a government website and it does not state
otherwise they are public domain and are ok to use. While I have never
asked permission to use photos from commercial sources (news media), I
have never been turned down when asked to use images from other sites for
training purposes. You should always ask first. Lastly, for non-action or
good vs bad photo examples, keep your camera with you and use it! I have
even had our detection aircraft take an overhead shot now and then to get
a different perspective on a wider scale situation.
Can you point me to a good site for interface fire photos?
Hey Hickman or Pulaski, where you do get interface photos for your
||We updated the jobs
page, Series 462
and 455. Rock Hill
Fire needs engine captains. I posted their logo on the Logo
8 page and a pic of one of their engines on the Engines
6 photo page. Ab.
||Have any of you gone to digital radios yet, if so what kind of radios
and what are the pro's and cons of them? My fire center recently went to
digital/analog system that is not compatible with standard style radios
most of us have now? Is it mandatory that everyone go digital and if so,
is there a standard type/brand of radio we go to.
||Been down in the Everglades NP for the week w/o Email.
See the attached history on fire shelters.
Fire Shelter Developmental
Thanks, I sent an e-mail to the kid doing research. Ab.
||I know from time to time our friends from Down Under
view this site with an eye to fire operations and issues.
I would just like to say "Thank You" to our friends in
Australia for their support in the War on Iraq.
re 3/14 post: still hoping for some feedback on Mark Rey that can be
shared with the rest of wildlandfire......are you out there?
i heard of a hiring "freeze", but it was in rec. and involved a
"possible, probable" fee demo problem>
||Early FF Uniforms,
Now, I was raised watching the Wonderful World of Walt Disney on Sunday
Nights. I seem to recall several of those 1-hour episodes that covered
wildland fire fighting in the forests. I am sure that I remember at least
one episode that dealt with wildland fire fighting exclusively and several
of those small and cute creatures episodes as they grew up that had a
forest fire threaten them. If you are interested in uniforms, helmets and
the use of Nomex why not contact Disney. Their research and film archives
might provide some information.
On that subject, my family and I wish that all of the UK, USA and Oz
troops come home safely. Strange that the very weapons that Iraq has
claimed not to have had, were fired into Kuwait (any comments from those
members of the UN Security Council who opposed the disarmament and hence
this war???) were used. There are those of you who might not realise it
but Oz has sent their best (frigates, F/A18 Hornets and ground forces) and
all have participated in the first Gulf War. The Navy has helped ever
since and won a number of best of force awards form the local commander.
Being a bit biased toward Aust but with all due respect for all Special
Forces (as they will be in the most exposed and dangerous situations (Aust
SAS have few equals in the world)) I wish these special people a special
“all of the best and a safe return home”.
May this war end quickly and with the min. loss of life (except for the
Iraqi leadership. May their souls rot in hell for what they have done in
the torture chambers, deprivations upon their own citizens and the use of
chemicals on their own population).
I conduct 2 or 3 130/190 classes each year, and have for the past seven
years. I have never done a class that did not include a practice burn.
Some of those practice burns were little more than slash piles or grass
fields, but in the past 2 years we've expanded to accepting prescribed
burn assignments. This year, our RX burn will be 40 acres of mixed oak
savannah and fir understory. As a backup we've got a five acre RX burn in
I'm not aware of any guidelines for conducting practice burns or
incorporating prescribed burns in the training. I believe it is
invaluable, and I would not conduct a class without incorporating some
live fire training.
One local FMO has a policy of not signing off PTB's for FFT2 until they
have some fire experience. If they cannot conduct a prescribed burn, the
trainee gets their PTB back until they can be assigned to one.
One benefit to prescribed burns (as opposed to practice burns or
simulations) is that it also serves as an opportunity to assign trainee
FFT1s and crew bosses for some pre-season experience.
I took S-130/S-190 with the Indiana DNR. On the last
day the instructors had us cut a line around a small
wooded area (on private property) that was in need of
burning. we took turns lighting, then mopping up.
The entire area burned was only about 1/4 acre, but it
was good practice, seeing as I had never seen more
than a campfire before.
If there's a fed hiring freeze, we didn't hear
about it in Northern Calif., as we just hired perms
both in round 11 and round 12. Maybe it was just the
cut-off date for one of the rounds you heard about.
But with the war just starting, who knows what happens
next?? Best wishes to our troops on the line in IRAQ.
Yes I have experienced the practice burns during the S-130 - S-190. I
worked on the Rogue River National Forest, Ashland Ranger District in
1988-89. The Agency Fire School was held at Southern Oregon University
(then Southern Oregon State College) for three days with the practical
experience held on the Prospect RD, Huckleberry Mtn. The fourth day we
arrived at "Fire Camp" and were assigned into crews and squads
and then each crew "worked" a small fire by digging a
containment perimeter line, mopped it up, learned how to dry-mop, what a
bone-yard is and when and how to use one, how to properly cold-trail, all
the good stuff. We did not get to do any lighting of these small units
(small portions of old sale units) though. Fire School wrapped up with
practicals on the finer points of crew transportation, generator
appreciation, how to enjoy dirt 40 different ways, and a very fine dining
experience out of a brown plastic hermetically sealed bag. The fifth day
it was back to the University for the written exam.
Actually we did alot of burn work on our districts in old sale units
before we got to the school which I feel was good as it acclimated the
newbies to smoke, how to actually hold a line, how to be a government mule
and like it, and it got ya over all the scuffs on your nice new Whites.
||The war has started. May God Bless our troops, their families, the
innocent in Iraq, and the United States.
||The President is about to announce the beginning of the
"disarmament of Iraq". We will see what that means. Prayers for
the best outcome with the least loss of our troops and of innocent
||Wonder if anyone on up there in the Agency has thought of this one:
We go to RED alert for terrorism.
We don't have the $ but may be calling teams to be in place.
There are many IM Team members who are also on the Competitive Sourcing
Teams, either PWS or later, MEO. These could get called for terrorism
response. Competitive Sourcing HAS to take precedence for the teams'
continued existence, terrorism alert or no. Screwed system. We can't do
our jobs and save our jobs simultaneously.
How can we be available to fight terrorism when we are putting all else
aside for A-76?
And forget about the environment.
A friend with FEMA once told me that this nation would be absolutely
speechless and quaking in their boots if they knew to what degree all of
this stuff is made up without thinking things through and without asking
the "what if questions" of those who might know.
NorCal Tom (That better Ab?)
||Don't know if this is the first related wildland fire death for 2003.
One in California may have been if it was related to Wildland fire
Ab Note: Hickman also sent in the Dept of Homeland Security, Operation
Liberty Shield Announcement. If anyone wants it, we'll send word on.
This is a message from the Federal Emergency Management Agency/U.S. Fire
The U.S. Fire Administration has received notice of the following
Name: Mike Stanley
Years of Service: 9
Date of Incident: 03/15/2003
Time of Incident: 1600hrs
Date of Death: 03/15/2003
Fire Department Name: Salisbury Fire Department
Fire Department Address: 128 W Second, Salisbury, MO 65281
Fire Department Phone: 660-388-6197
Fire Department Chief: Leonard Cruse
Cause of Death: Firefighter Stanley died after becoming ill at the scene
of a grass fire.
Funeral Arrangements: Summerville Funeral Home in Salisbury, MO, 506 North
Blevins Drive. The viewing will be held from 4-8 p.m. on March 18. The
funeral will be held at 10 a.m. on March 19.
Memorial Fund Contact and Address: Cleve Iman Memorial VFW Post 4926, C/o
Jaleta Stanley, Route 4, Box 10 BB, Salisbury, MO 65281
||Last week I heard a rumor about a hiring freeze on FS
permanent fire jobs. Is this true? If so, when will
hiring begin again?
||Nomex history for IMWTK:
In the late 60's the CDF had some nomex. When I joined them in 1970 I used
my issued nomex as a Riverside VF till they received the right size for
me. In 1970 or early 71 the state tested several types of nomex in tan
that looked like the tan work uniform shirt. The other color was a
reddish/orange which I wore till it fell apart. It was a different type of
nomex, very soft. The third was a fr cotton, olive green. I still have
this one. The inmate crews tested several colors and decided on blue. That
did not last long as the local agencies had blue work uniforms and some
were nomex uniforms. Orange was decided on as it was highly visible except
for a few color impaired people.
||"confused tester" -
the fs regulations state that ankle high shoes/boots
are required, but i too have seen sneakers. here is
the official guide:
under the heading "guide", click on "test
administrator's guide", the issue in question is
addressed on page 12.
||Hey Ab! Please keep up the great job on the web site!!
Do you know of any particular restrictions on footwear for the pack test?
Have been taking it for several years, and all personnel in our region
have always worn sneakers. This year, we're being told of a requirement
that footwear for the pack test must extend above the ankle, and local
agency is refusing to honor test times for personnel who wore the old,
lower sneakers that have been worn for years.??
just sign me "confused tester", please!
(there are always repercussions for questioning!!)
Couldn't help myself. A few comments on the questions.
Drip Torches- They pre-date me. I started in 1968 and they were in use.
Made by Western Fire Equipment Co. from the S.F. bay area (Millbrae?).
Their origin was probably from the ranch and farm community. In CA the
firing tool of choice before the torch was the Barron (California)
It has a reduced McLeod head on an 18" long steel shaft so that you
wrap a load of grass in the head and use it as a torch. The angle of the
hoe blade is set for slicing, sort of, under the grass matt. I have a pair
of Australian drip torches that have less volume than our standard torch
the wand is about 24" long. Named the "Fire Bug" JW
"Principals of Forest Fire Management" was by Ray CLAR and Len
Glad there was no pun intended. It is a good historical review of
in the 50's and 60's. JW
Orange Nomex- CDF may have used nomex shirts in 1970. My memory cells
aren't what they used to be! We didn't wear nomex in '68 or '69(?). I
worked fires with the El Cariso HS in '68 and don't recall whether or not
they had orange fire shirts. I worked on the Bighorn HS in '71 and we had
yellow FR treated cotton fire shirts. The crew may have had orange shirts
in '70. They had a very short life span.
Fire Shelters- I had one in '71 with the FS, wasn't mandatory to carry.
They became mandatory in CDF after the fatalities on the Spanish RAnch
in San Luis Obispo Unit. I think '73 was the start of CDF's full time use,
not madatory before that.
Helicopter drops- I don't know the exact date. There was (is) an old 16mm
training film about helicopters and firefighting. It showed a Bell 47G
being used to drop water from a hard tank, laying hose from a tray and
heli-jumping. I recall that it was the late 50's or early 60's when it was
made. The firefighters wore jeans, cotton shirts and metal hardhats. JW
Type 1 crews- ICS 420-1 (2001), page 11-3, lists the crew requirements.
Highest training level, no use restrictions, fully mobilized, highest
experience level, permanently assigned supervision. The number on the crew
varies by agency as does the interpretation of how the requirements are
The crew labels are CDC, CYA, CYA, hotshot, regular, inmate, paid, and
flycrew. By the way, with CCC pulling out of La Cima and Butte Fire
CDF is requesting to put paid crews into the Butte fire center. The area
around the camp is too urbanized for inmates. La Cima will once again be a
Conservation Camp staffed by inmate firefighters.
Thanks, JW. Ab.
||Here is the California Region fire season potential assessment:
||Does anyone know what the rules are for conducting burns with S130/S190
students for training purposes? I've heard of classes where they have had
the students on small controlled burns for the final day of class. Are
there any NWCG or agency guidelines on this? It sounds like it could be a
good thing for students if done right. Has anyone out there done this
before? If you have any info I can use, please ask Ab to pass it along.
||In regards to contractor training:
Just my 2 sense here. Being ex state and current contract employee. I
would have to agree with MJ in the area of the higher qual requirements to
becoming an engine boss. However, I do know that there are some
contractors that closely screen there upcoming engine/crewbosses. They
make them go through rigorous training (not to the extent of agency, but
good training) and make them get enough experience.
Then there are the contractors out there that do give them out by the
dozen. I do remember one company that I BRIEFLY worked for that since I
was an ex stater that was a " Back up driver/operator " of a
type 5 initial attack engine, he wanted to Give me my engine boss. I had
all of the training for it, but I still didn't have the driving or pumping
time that I felt I needed. Being me, I turned the position down.
Similar situation happened last year. I was asked to sign off 5 engine
boss task books for people I knew. I refused and went head to head saying
that I didn't believe that certain people were ready for it. True, I may
have cut my throat with the company, but I felt I had done my job. Just
because someone can supposedly run a crew, doesn't mean they can run an
engine. We all know that.
Personally I think they should raise the bar for crew bosses and engine
bosses. I think the standards are too low. I am glad that the FS has come
out with more classes, but I feel the task books need a good look over not
only in what is needed, but in the time frame that it was completed.
Contract companies cant legitimately tell the fire community that after 5
fires and two seasons of experience that someone is ready to manage a 20
person crew. This isn't the case for all and by no means am I going
against anyone. This is just what I have seen in some case.
Now in regard to firefighters not being aggressive enough and overhead
being upset. I have seen this as well. I remember a time when we were
working on a pretty steep slope and getting the classic rolling material
below us. Doing my job I call up the STL and tell him what is going on and
that I fear that spots are going to start below us. He says no that we'll
be fine and go back to work, not even being in sight of my location. A few
minutes go by and we did start getting spots. Keep in mind the escape
route was "DOWNHILL", so, I called him up and told him we were
evacuating. Boy, he was pissed, told us to go back to camp, the WHOLE
Unfortunately, another contract crew decided they would impress the STL
and DS and volunteered to march right up where we were and get the job
done. As I was driving my crew back to camp, I could hear on the radio
emergency requests for bucket drops and that their crew was trapped.
Luckily they got the air support and got out.
Don't know why this happens, but as far as the training, safety, contract
or not. It all boils down to OUR SAFETY. We are all responsible for not
only ourselves, but everyone else. Its is our NUMBER 1 PRIORITY.
Sorry for the long email ab
Long or short is OK. As many words as it takes. Ab.
||We formed the AD Firefighter Association on March 10, and so far we have
over 50 members and 2 AD EFF on-call crews. Membership consists of both
retired and current employees, as well as individuals in neither category
who perform fireline and support functions as an AD (EFF) firefighter.
The basic issue is inequality between GS or Wage Grade pay -- who have
always had hazard pay but now have true time-and-one-half --- and AD pay
with no hazard and no overtime rate. This inequitable pay for the same job
being performed extends from the AD 1 level to the AD 5.
Progress is being made on the issue of AD firefighter rates. Judging by
the reaction of sources within the agencies, we have definitely gotten
their attention. And this reaction has been pretty positive: to
paraphrase, "we know we had a problem and we're going to address
it." We welcome that approach, and are committed to maintaining a
proactive, win-win approach with the agencies.
A letter will be going out on Thursday to the Directors of the fire
agencies requesting an immediate revision to these proposed rates (rumor
has it that they may no longer be proposed: USDI may have already signed
the proposal). Whether or not the letter from the AD Firefighter
Association results in a revision to the AD pay rates for the 2003 season
remains to be seen.
But the agencies are well aware that the AD workforce has become an
integral part of their ability to respond to both wildfire and all-risk
We encourage you to view the letter and associated supporting data (see
the Documents page) at our web site at www.adfirefighter.org
(Link on our Classifieds page as well. Ab.)
Regardless of your status, we of course encourage you to sign up as a
member!!! We're all in this fire game together, and we need your support.
Annual dues are on a sliding scale ($35 for AD-5s, $15 for AD 1-4s, $25
for current employees at the GS 11+ level, and $15 for GS 1-10s; $175 for
an AD line crew (savings of $125 over the individual AD 1-4 $15 rate). As
far as use of dues go, initial start up costs include Web Page and
Hosting, office supplies, copying, mailings, advertising, etc.
Longer term expenses might include: lobbying (travel to Director/SFMO and
fire business management meetings); obtaining group liability insurance
(critical in the post-30 Mile environment); obtaining group life insurance
for non-retiree AD employees (or piggybacking on AAP's Aerial Firefighter
PSOB initiative); Group Health Insurance for Non-Retiree AD Employees;
training and education. The possibilities are endless.
IMPORTANT: None of our dues income will be sent to pay any of us for our
time (though potentially, with 1000-2000 AD's out there x $35 or $15 we
could hire a part-time person to run this whole show!! I am NOT a
candidate for this!!)
We AD's have always been a dedicated, professional work force. We intend
to supplement that by becoming a strong, professional political force.
If you wish, contact me for additional information or just to talk about
Hugh Carson, Founding Member ADFA
The pack test is the current requirement for contract engines/crews. The
BLM is doing the baseline physical, FS units that are co-located are also
implementing the baseline physical in some areas, and there are a few
pilot forests around, Winema/Fremont being one of them. I don't know what
the other DOI agencies are doing, NPS, USFW.
In response to your 3-15 posting. I have been on fires where upper
management was dissatisfied with several crews' apparent lack of
aggressive behavior. At that time and place 5 hotshot superintendents were
in unison in their disagreement with a member of the overhead structure's
assessment of tactics and strategy on that incident. The hotshot
superintendents believed that safety was the main issue. They were being
asked to compromise, bend or even break some of the 10 and 18. The issue
was addressed to my knowledge through proper channels and as far as I
know, not much was done to prevent it from happening again. If refusing to
do something unsafe is seen as a perceived lack of aggressiveness then
sign me up. This seems to be an ongoing problem from my point of view.
More and more often those on the ground are being asked or even proposing
themselves to do things that are just plain unsafe. Perhaps it is because
that they have done it before and gotten away with it, or just ignorance,
I can't say. I don't mean to be overly critical, but that is my
experience. It also appears to me that the dilution of the overhead
management teams is ongoing. To be sure there are some good teams out
there, otherwise no one would know that there are any bad teams. The
situation doesn't have anything to do with whether a team is type 1, 2, or
3 either. This is just my opinion.
||Wednesday is hump day! Don't forget to wear your uniform, hang your old
skinny uniform, or perch a Smokey Bear on your desk tomorrow if you want
to make a statement about outsourcing. (See HERE if
you haven't heard the plan.) You folks who wear your uniforms all the time
like Hugh does... Well, I didn't tell you the rest of the plan. You have
to come NEKKED!
I have no problem with contractors. Some of the companies are very
professional and have state of the art equipment, I agree. But, what I DO
have a problem with is unqualified overhead on the fireline, contract OR
agency. A lot of fatalities and equipment damage in the last 10 years has
been due to unqualified people making bad calls, and putting other people
in harms way. Look at 30-mile as an example, thats why the feds are
reviewing quals so closely now.
There are good organizations for contractors such as the National
Wildfire Suppression Association, that insure everybody in the
organization is NWCG qualified. While reviewing applications recently for
round 11 permanent Fed hiring, I saw over 10 applications from people that
claimed to be ENGB qualified, but have never had more than 1 or 2 classes,
and 2 of them had never even heard of task books. These are the people I'm
talking about, the ones that whine that they never get the opportunity to
get formal trainin! g, but are making $ 350.00 an hour for their Type 3
engine, and won't spend any money trying to find training classes for
There are NWCG fire classes being offered at Departments, Colleges,
and through private companies all over the US, so there's no excuse not to
get trained properly, as it might help you make a decision that saves
I was responding to the post from someone that said while inspecting
contractors, he found a guy who only went to Advanced FF class. S-131 then
signed off his own task book for Engine Boss with no fire experience.
Would you want to work on the line with this guy? I wouldn't. But as for
anybody that knows what their doing, and has been trained properly, Ill
work with them anytime, agency OR contractor, as i agree, we all walk the
same piece of fireline. And, I realize that some places the agency folks
aren't that hot either, as once on a fire in New Mexico, I watched an
engine captain teaching his crew that "Inflammable" was the!
opposite of "Flammable" and that it was OK to smoke around
bottles labeled that way!!
||The fire jobs page,
Series 462 and 455
Tahoe Terrie, I just posted some photos (Misc2
page) of the Lake Arrowhead and Yucaipa Ridge beetle kill that came in
from SoCal Capt about a month ago. Ab.
Washington and California fire prediction
||I would just like to add my two cents to the shelters. I deployed my 2
years ago on the Reservation up here in washington.. Virgina Lake Fire..
The shelter saved 2 lives on thatone.. and ruffy 8 on the 30 mile...
NC Brush6 is right in a way. I too and a ex fed employee and I walk the
same fire lines as most fed employees. We do have training just like you
and some of us contractors are probably right up there on the totem pole..
I have a funny feeling you don't like contractors very much but GET OVER
IT.. I am out there just like every one else doin the same job pounding
dirt running water .. No for training I have 10 years of gov fire fighting
.. That gets old after awhile and I wanted to adventure out and see the
world on the other side of the fence..
You say we can't afford to get training cause we are contractors well
$25.00 a class ain't to bad to me..
Just remember when you see a contractor treat them with a little respect
cause who know he might save your life our you might save his .. We can't
have a war on the fire line over TRAINING accept them cause they are there
and they will respect you in the same era..
Badges don't mean nothing..
||Tahoe Terrie, here's a bit of info on fire predictions from the web:
From NIFC: Seasonal
Wildfire Outlook March through August, 2003
From Colorado: State
fire danger already high
||Any update on dealing with the beetle kill around Lake Arrowhead? Are
the trees being logged? Does Rx burn fit in? We going to fight fire there
this season? Predictions? If not there, where? If not CA, where?
I'm sorry but in the years I have spent pounding the ground, no contractor
has made me want to run or put me to shame. You may want to rethink what
you said. Why? Because I have seen alot of the contract crew and yes some
of them are not bad, however the majority of them suck. I'm not saying all
are bad and yes you do have to have pride in where you work, but get real,
we have deeper pockets and we can train on what we want. Bottom line is
money we can afford to throw money away to train the folks. My question to
you is in that lean years how much are you willing to eat the cost for
training your folks to train them?
i wanted to know when the fire shelter was first put in use by the
wildland fire service and how many lives have been saved by them to this
date. and when did it become mandatory for all wildland firefighters to
Well, little pardner who is doing some research, I think I heard it
saved every life when it was "deployed correctly". Seriously,
you'd like to know how many times it's been deployed and no one died.
Hmmmm, Dick, any stats on that one? # deployments with lives lost and
lives saved... That may not be the kind of info anyone has really
recorded. Most times fire shelters are deployed because they're absolutely
necessary. Every once in a while they're deployed as a precaution and in
retrospect might not have been necessary to actually save a life.
We have a work in progress that has some info on history of fire shelters.
Look here and scroll down the page. IMWTK
||Hey how is it going,
Here is a small site that I have made for a few friends. I was a fire
fighter in Alberta and Ontario, Canada. http://highway61.flemingc.on.ca/~rgood/fire.php
Here are a few pictures.
Ryan S. A. Good
Thanks I put them on the Helicopter
10 photo page. I also posted a bunch of logos on Logos
8 page. If you see your logo there, let me know it's yours so I can
give credit. My computer had a melt down on some of the emails that went
with the new photos. Ab.
||To An R5-er,
Thanks for coming to Texas your efforts were and are greatly appreciated
not only by NASA, but by the entire state of Texas. Just by thankful that
you were able to travel back to your home and loved ones. On February 1st
seven brave souls were only 17 minutes away from returning safely to their
loved ones when tragedy struck. Remember that and maybe Demob won't seem
so bad this summer. Again thanks for coming and helping out and glad you
made it home safely.
us contractors do go to the same training as you do .. some such as me are
ex fed and state .we have walked the same fire line as you do and will
keep walking the same line. thats nice that you as a fed can have the cash
to put all that gear on your rig . look at some of the pvt engine they
will put you to shame. and yes some will make you wanna run. but that goes
for the fed engines also.. look we are all firefighter to the core....go
up and talk to a pvt engb and find out what he is all about .. might be
like looking in a mirror. lets be safe and get it done safe
Attached is a photo from the Buffalo Lake Fire in 2000 on the Colville
Indian Reservation. If you like it you can post it on the photos page on
the your web site. Thank you.
Nice. I put it on Handcrews 8.
Yes, I twisted the quote from Guy. However, my posts are not malicious.
One could easily say that they are provocative. My words are intended to
provoke thought. At times they may also provoke strong emotions, such as
anger in this case. But, ultimately I hope to provoke action.
I stand by the comparison I made to competitive sourcing. I don't see it
being much different from earlier major policy changes in clean water or
air; in limitations on logging, grazing or mining; in roadless initiatives
or endangered species protection.
The difference between then and now is at that time, the rangers and their
staff were criticized, threatened and attacked for implementing policy
change that mostly affected the private sector. Whether the forest
employees personally agreed with the changes or not, it was their duty to
carry out the duly-enacted laws, administrative policy and court decrees.
The problem this time is that it isn't the loggers, miners and ranchers
will lose their jobs.
I have read several posts by agency folks criticizing the
"brass" for not
providing the leadership to fight competitive sourcing. I would say that
senior FS supervisors are bound by the same duty as a district ranger in
Nevada to implement the new laws and policies. The revised Circular no.
A-76 came about after Congress passed the Federal Activities Inventory
Reform (FAIR) Act of 1998. Those at national and regional HQ don't have to
like this any more than you do, but they still have to implement it.
As for whether you or anyone else can trust me to watch their back....I'm
not sure exactly how your operation works, but in my view there is not a
position on a fire that lacks responsibility.
My quals and day job make it unlikely that I will be on a type 1 or 2
incident anytime soon. But in initial attack and transition (where
volunteers like me already have more than a "toehold") I can be
to tie-in with whomever else in on-scene. I can be counted upon to express
without mixed-signals my assessment of the situation. At such times when
overhead team is not in place and when the 10 & 18 are hardest to live
to, I can be trusted to do my best to provide the leadership to keep my
and those along side of us from harm.
I never signed on to be a hero. I'm a firefighter.
||Read an interesting article on the Opinion page of the Sunday Medford
Mail Tribune. Tried to figure out a way to access it for "They
Said" but it did not show up on their website. The author is Rocky
Barker, Writers on the Range, a service of High Country News in Paonia,
Colorado. (If anyone knows how to get this kind of material in a form Ab
could use, it makes for an interesting concept in Fire/Fuels. Much more
there than I could retype here.)
The bottom line in Mr. Barkers article was to form a "National Fire
Corps", and turn over the air tanker business to the military flying
planes specifically designed planes. Not sure of the merits of his
article: but, brings some interesting thoughts to mind.
||To those following and lobbying for the Ukiah Air Attack base staying
Here's an update from Julie Rogers, Coordinator of the Coalition to Save
Ukiah Air Attack: www.airtanker.com/wwwboard/messages/3730.phpl
Here's the website telling how you can help: www.saveairattack.com
Im not to good with words, so I hope you bear with me. This is about being
You see my dad was a F.F. when I was small, some 40 years ago, and I can
still remember him coming home from a fire, standing a little taller, and
talking about the fine men and women he'd worked with. And how they had
saved another little piece of Mother Earth. Dad died before seeing 2 of
his grandson's become firefighters, 1- 12 years the other, 3. I think he'd
have been proud of them. Thats why I became a contractor, and those 2
boy's, they work for me. And Ied like to think they have had the best
training possible, and the equipment up to date. Because when all is said
and done, if God forbid one of them should fall, it won't be anyone but me
looking into the eye's of their mother, my sister. And one day my dad. The
responsibility, belongs to all of us, to ensure every mothers, sons and
daughters come home safely. No short cut is ever worth a life.
Words to live by. Abercrombie.
In your 3/03 message you said you'd "listened to senior fire managers
state that.... upper management is dissatisfied with a perceived lack of
aggressiveness displayed on some fires last year.." Can you - or
anyone - elaborate on this a little more? What have you heard? I've had a
feeling this was the case on a lot of fires recently, and I'm curious how
upper management views this. (Not taking sides, just looking for
Thank you for your post. It was a good thing that you brought that to our
attention. Guy's life was threatened both at work and at his home for
standing up to what he believed in……and he still is not afraid to
stand up and say what he believes in. Your point is well taken. Thank you
for the research you did to further his cause, and ours too.
||Does anyone happen to know about "Aerotech" and if they are
still working on rebuilding that fabulous A-10 Warthog into an Airtanker?
The Areotach website was last updated what looks like 2001. Did they end
up scrapping the plan ?
Why do I feel that your posts are always a little malicious? I hope I
never have to work with you in person. I would not trust you to watch my
back. I would not have you in any position of responsibility in my
Guy Pence is one of the great guys with integrity in the FS organization.
He does his job with complete integrity and sometimes with risk to his
life. In case you haven't realized it, something like 90 percent or more
of people live in cities. People elect representatives that make the laws.
The wishes of the majority more likely govern this country than the wishes
of a small violent minority whose activities you seem to have fun trotting
out on this board. Those who work for the FS follow those laws. Some have
a harder time doing that than others, based on where they live. Heaven
help us if people like you and your friends get a toehold in the
firefighting world. Is there a word that is the opposite of hero?
Sorry Ab, is this VFD guy really a firefighter or just some high IQ
weirdo? He has said before he liked having fun by stirring the pot. This
is a bit more malicious than the argument he started over tender vs
tanker. Maybe you should check out his bona fides. The internet harbors
strange people who are not what they seem.
PS, I'll be happy to wear my uniform on Wednesday. It's the least I can
do. Ab please add. I also sent Guy's letter along with my own to my
congressmen and women.
I checked. He is a volunteer firefighter. Abercrombie.
||Trainer, Wow you took my question wrong.. I know here in R6 that there
are some people like that.. I do know you are right but them kinda people
make the rest of us look bad.. I would like you talk to you on a one on
one basis.. I think what I have to say you will like to hear..
But my question is still there. DO contractors have to take a Baseline
MJ, I also understand what you are saying. I used to work for the
Government . I know where you are coming from. Don't get me wrong.. I know
alot of Engs whose Engine bosses are brand New fresh off the farm. I am
not for that.. I am the kinda person who thinks Fire Fighters who work on
engs need to pay the time to become an Engine Boss..
And I am understanding you are from R5.. I fought fire in R5 last year and
was never bad mouthed about my red card. I have documentation to back up
everything on my red card..
Curious R6 Fire Monkey
||Curious R-6 Fire monkey,
Contractors better trained and equipped then agency folks?? Really ? On my
Model 62C 4x4, I carry over $50,000 of equipment, such as SCBA's, full
turnouts, Trauma kits, Oxygen bottles, Chain saws, Portable pumps,
Lightweight Hotline and reeltek hose, Infrared fire finders, 4 King
radios, etc, and thats not considering the $182,000 cost for the engine
itself. We supervise 5-person crews everyday, not just once in a while on
As for training, a USFS Engine Captain in R-5 has to be trained to the
5109.17 standards, not just the 310-1 (look them up), for example, to
become certified as an Engine boss, First, you must be FFT 1 Squad Boss,
which now requires S-100 ICS; S-130 Firefighter Training; S-190 Fire
Behavior; S-131 Advanced FF; 1st 40 Supervision or S-281; S-212 Power
saws; S-216 Driving for the Fire Service; and S-211 Portable pumps, and
then do trainee assignments for the task book. Once you have that out of
the way, and are ready, you have to take S-215 Urban In! terface; I-200
ICS; S-230 Single Resource Boss; S-231 Engine Boss or Engine Academy;
S-234 Ignition Ops; S-260 Fire Business Mgmt; S-270 Basic Air Ops; S-290
Fire Behavior; Defensive Driving; Civil Rights Training; Sexual Harassment
Training; SCBA Training; 1st responder Medical; 1st Responder Hazmat
Operational; etc., etc., and then receive a task book and do 2-4 closely
supervised trainee assignments (which must be good Hotline assignments),
and then the task book must be reviewed and certified by a FQRC committee
before you get ENGB on your redcard.
You tell me that contractors go through this much training to get ENGB ??
I don't think so. The only contractors that have these kinds of quals are
retired agency folks. I'm not trying to put anybody down here, just
illustrating a point. It would be great if everybody on the fireline had
the opportunity to be trained and equipped to these levels, but don't try
to say they already are.
I think I saw "one of many" at that mandatory meeting this last
week. I was thinking they were dozing, but apparently just deep in
thought. My mind wandered too, but I was thinking of Roddy McDowell and
how in the Clockwork Orange movie the thugs in the government gave him the
option to change his ways. His body was tightly strapped, eyes held wide
open with these hook things, no blinking allowed, video with playing with
desensitizing subjects in the foreground, audio narrative of the same
played in the background. He couldn't escape. His government did brainwash
him and remove the offending patterns from his behavior, but he was left a
shell. He maintained the awareness to dislike his changed self, but
resistance was futile. He was set free at the end. Or was he?
Another of many
||Since I'm getting fired up here, and thinking of all
the stupid things I have seen on fires; I've got an
We should all go back to the day of falling with an
axe, instead of a chainsaw.
Just think, if we all had axes, how would strategy and
tactics be different? Would we cut a line 40' from a
stream if we had to uses axes instead of Stihls?
Would we really spin the rotors on that helicopter if
it took 4X as long to make the LZ?
I as well as my assistants WEAR THE UNIFORM EVERY DAY, as we do have pride
in the forest service. when someone ask what we do, we dont say
firefighter, engine captain, or engineer, first thing is I work for the
another sign of things swinging the other way, we are losing a handcrew on
the forest and not staffing a engine. so much for the build up.
||I updated the fire
jobs page as well as Series
462 and 455.
North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District is hiring.
Posters, it seems that some few posts are not getting through, perhaps due
to our junkmail filter. Could you please try to put "theysaid"
in the subject line if you're one of the folks whose posts don't seem to
make it to the board. We try to not miss any.
Please note that we have a new association listed on the Classifieds
Page, ADFA, the AD Firefighter's Association.
||another JW, thought I'd add some fat to the fire. Just completed the
pack test this AM, 31min.23.89 sec., We didn't have the vests this time so
used a scba bottle packed with sand to bring it to 45lbs.
Don't think my time is too bad for 66, be 67 in late may.
So all of you youngsters, you've got no reason to complain, just get ready
and do it.
Old man of the Dept.
||Guy Pence, thank you.
My crew developed a mission statement that I would like to share with
everyone. It is how we operate, It is who we are, It is MY mission
"To provide the customer a highly skilled, motivated, cost-effective
and efficient wildland fire management resource. We will utilize the most
current resources and qualified individuals available to achieve this
goal. We are proud to uphold the traditions and mission of the United
States Forest Service"
I stand along side of you Guy, and all of the others out there, happy to
be here, proud to serve.
||Presumably in support of wildland firefighters, the zig zag ihc sent
in a photo
every firefighter out
It came in on nomex colored background. Very nice. I put it on
handcrews 8. Abercrombie.
||Hi there AB,
I am very interested in becoming a Sawyer, for the BLM.
I am getting my "redcard" when the state offers the class in
I'm 23 and live in Maine. I'm going to college for a fire science degree.
I have my E.M.T.-B license and operate my own tree removal service.. I
have a strong desire to become a chainsaw operator/FF. Do you have any
info that my help me in pursuing this.. I am planning on moving back to CO
or any where else that my be hiring. Thanks for your time man,
I have two things I want to share.
A story of remembrance/thanks and a plan for how we can celebrate
what you do.
Part 1: A STORY OF REMEMBRANCE/ THANKS.
Last Saturday two of us drove out to the Stanza Fire site near Happy Camp
CA to pay our respects to John Self, Steve Oustad and Heather DePaolo and
also to remember others of our fire community who have gone on. Rain was
predicted, but the day had that sunny glorious feel of spring marching
forward -- blue sky, fresh and scoured, new and lush sights and smells,
with warm sun on our backs, just a kiss and promise of that hot-baking sun
of summer. The wide Klamath was surging clean, golden eagle overhead.
Transitioning into streamside -- wary elk with gangly babies and white
butts along Elk Creek amidst the alders. Ancient lichened fruit trees,
bees and hummers weaving among canes of blossoming
quince. Wow... Stellar day! Even hints that Paul might be hovering nearby.
Once off hwy 96 we headed towards the Marble Mt trailheads and the fire
site. I found myself making a silent offering of thanks for our national
forests, these wild and sacred spots, and to those who work hard and
We traveled on. Climbing away from the river, Elk Creek Road became very
narrow and winding, rock cliffs standing straight above, tumbling overfull
elk creek five-hundreds-of-feet below, as those who have fought fire there
know. Narrow enough to make me appreciate again the danger you forest
servants put yourselves in every time you drive large engines and crew
carriers out from fire camp into the smoke to face the flames. Asphalt
finally disappearing to be replaced by the gravel roadbase of the
We spent the day mostly in silence, driving into the fire zone along the
burnout, lunching at the Sulphur Springs campgound, parking and walking
a-ways up the spur road. Thoughts of the three who died here foremost in
my mind. Life and death, what a mystery.
Also thoughts and thanks for the hotshots who brought them out, hauling
them on backboards up the 700 or 800 vertical feet in the heat. No Stokes
litter, no easy handholds. "A real hell-hole" doesn't begin to
describe the way the mountain side was then. But while equally as steep,
it's all green and promising now with its soft new grass. And thanks, too,
for the hotshots and others who contained the fire, pushing carefully but
purposefully with some 16 hour shifts (while adhering to work/rest) to
keep it from being another Big Bar Complex.
Why the hotshots, you say? It may not be well known, but the terrain was
so steep and the "hole" so far down and the heat so great that
the SAR group could barely get the survivors out. Bleeding themselves and
exhausted beyond thought, SAR and their bosses talked of bringing in
convict crews to recover the dead. Thank god for you hotshots. You
immediately stepped forward, 10 people of you from each of the 4 crews!
Thank you! We recover our own! We stick by each other!
Here's Part 2: A PLAN TO CELEBRATE our Agency(s) and STAND IN
SOLIDARITY WITH those who are being studied for outsourcing. It could soon
The other day a Forest Service friend came to talk with a high school
about what he does working with the Forest Service, both in fire and
otherwise. (This man would be considered one of the so called "low
hanging fruit" according to David Childs. This man is a role model to
me!) He had on his uniform and spoke as he usually does. His love of his
job always shines through. He was the star, clearly admired by the youth,
who want to do his job when they grow up. His uniform made a statement and
identified him as the public servant he is. You all look good in your
uniform - FS or BLM, or NPS or FWS -- You all look good in nomex, too. You
all look good any old way. But a uniform confers something special...
So here's a plan. What about setting aside one day a week
and everyone wear your uniforms or nomex. Wednesday seems good
- hump day - heh, heh. Think of the statement of solidarity that would
OK so some of you don't have a uniform or don't have one that fits. Borrow
one. Bring an old uniform you wore when you were skinny and knobby kneed;
hang it in your office! Bring your dad's, your granddad's, your uncle's
antique uniform if you still have it in a trunk. Display that. Borrow a
uniform from a friend to wear. Folks, offer a spare or outgrown uniform to
someone else. If you can't do the uniform thing 'cause you just don't have
one and can't get one, bring a Smokey Bear and set it prominently on your
desk. You retired guys, get out your uniforms. Loan them or display them.
Supporters find a button or a pin or a shield or a ribbon to wear in
solidarity with our folks. Make Wednesdays special. Let others know
we are in this together.
For those who get asked "why the uniform?", you can reply or
not. If you reply, you can say that you're wearing it with others in the
Agency to celebrate what you do (whatever your agency -- FS or BLM, NPS,
FWS). If you want to be a little more ballsy, you can add that you're
wearing it in solidarity with those who are being studied for outsourcing.
Wearing your statement gives everyone a chance to have a voice even if
you're not a letter writer. Almost everyone gets dressed on a Wednesday.
Just suit up in green or yellow. You can vote with your body in a way that
is powerful and in a way that can't be impugned. What are they gonna say,
"Go take off that damned uniform and quit with your political
statement."??? Heh, I think not!
Dont"cha think it might be interesting to see how far up the food
chain the uniform wearing will spread. We need to make a commitment to do
this every Wednesday and give the movement a chance to build. Grassroots?
I say Hell YES! It will be quite a statement of omission if the upper
brass are the only ones not wearing their uniforms (or hanging a skinnier
uniform around their offices <smerk>). However, my guess is they'll
love the opportunity to stand together with all of us.
Work on it this weekend. Get that uniform, nomex, Smokey bear, etc ready.
Doesn't take much. Join us. I have my Wednesday OUTFIT and I plan to wear
it to my local FS function. (Ab, maybe you can remind us on Tuesdays so we
can remember on Wednesdays...)
Final thought: for those of you who haven't seen my office (...and maybe
only 3 of you have...), it is a tribute to you fed firefighters, you
Forest Service folks, past, present, and future. I THANK YOU for what you
do... and for what you endure!
IN TRUST OF VISION,
Hear Hear. I have added flags to some recent posts:
Guy's letter is here: www.wildlandfire.com/2003c_mar.php#c_sourcing
Mellie's proposal is here: www.wildlandfire.com/2003c_mar.php#uniform
You can cut and paste the urls and send them to friends.
For what its worth I have 30 years with the FS, 1st season 1969 El
Cariso HS. Now retired, was an FBAN now an RXPL for contractors. Also a
member of the VFW, So what is obvious to some is not to all.
Just got back from TX the other day. Collecting parts from the Space
Shuttle was interesting and alot of fun. We were part of the Corsicana
Camp in the South Eastern part of TX. We where there for 14 days and were
able to recover alot of parts.
NASA put together a couple of programs for people who wanted to hear what
they had to say. Our crew went to a presentation with two Astronauts from
previous Shuttle missions who were answering question that people had,
then we went to a presentation about future plans of going to Mars. The
NASA people that we talked too were very nice and were imprested to see
all the different crews coming and helping out.
We had a NASA guy with our crew for about 4 days and what a joy it was.
This guy would answer any question that we had about the space program and
the Simpsons (he is a Simpsons fanatic). It was refreshing to see such a
smart man so down to earth. This man has alot of influence on the space
program going to Mars and we got alot of impressive information on the
process and hard work that goes along with this important program.
All and all, it was allot of fun being a part of this historical process.
For those of you going to TX in the near future, be prepared to run into a
Demob nightmare. The Team has a web site with alot of different pictures
of all the crews that are there www.pnw-team2.com
NASA John, it was an honor and a pleasure working with you.
I think that you have spent the last 20yrs plus retirement time going
"above and beyond" for the land is awesome, but how many folks
have the same level of care anymore?
You do have to admit that we seem to be inflicted with many that think the
word "work" means showing up to sit and bitch about the agency.
In the perfect world, everyone would care, and no one would know what the
heck "competitive sourcing initiative" meant, or contract crews.
John - R5'er
||Please check out the new revised AD Firefighter Association's web page
Subject to comments we've received from folks (thanks, AB!!), we've
corrected the impression many of you may have gotten that this Association
is just for retired GS 11s and above "dinosaurs" who are trying
to protect or increase their AD-5 wages.
That was part but never all our intent ... in the rush to get a movement
going, the emphasis was admittedly on the AD-5 rates.
The web page, the Draft Letter to the Directors and in the Excel analysis
spreadsheet did reflect that, since the AD-5 rates were the only thing we
had to work with.
However, there's at least one of us dinosaurs who hasn't forgotten where
he came from (AD-1 in Alaska, 1970 and AD-3/4, Colorado, 1971-78). And I
think that I can speak for the rest of our membership (now standing at 37
in only 4 days) that they feel the same way.
The Web Page has been revised to reflect that ADFA is all-inclusive of the
entire AD EFF community: AD 1 through 5. And the entire community will be
represented (our Board will have AD 1-4 individual as well as AD EFF line
Dues are $35 for those who go out as AD-5, $15 for AD 1-4s, and $175 for
an AD EFF Crew (savings of $125 over the individual $15 rate). We've got a
Federal IRS Tax ID #, a bank account here in Boise, and we are applying
for non-profit status (dues will be tax-exempt in 2003).
The Draft Letter to Fire Directors and Excel spreadsheet analysis will be
revised tonight and Saturday to include and reflect concern on all AD
Rates (1-4 got a nominal increase). So please take a look at those
documents tomorrow afternoon (3/15).
Take care all, and keep the faith, we can make a difference.
Founding Member, AD Firefighters Organization
your quote about Mark Rey included the term "deliver the goods"
-and that is the basic issue at stake here. What is the purpose for our
National Forest system? To deliver timber, ore, and grazing forage to
private interests, while ignoring responsible stewardship and
"non-commodity" values such as fire? Many of those non commodity
values are those that we take for granted, but would sorely miss once
gone, e.g. clean air, water, natural fire regimes, healthy wildlife
populations, etc. Does Mark Rey understand this? The (admittedly
non-comprehensive) reading I have done does not incline me to that view.
Since you appear to have exposure that many of us don't, why not share the
knowledge you have about Mark Rey, and his positions on fire outsourcing,
the effects of charter forests on the fire organization, and his overall
position about resource stewardship? The field force is definitely seeing
an information vacuum on important issues affecting both our jobs and the
resources we protect-which is not the way it should be.
||United States Department of Agriculture, Forest
Aviation Safety Alert
SUBJECT: AVIATION RESOURCES SHORTFALL
AREA OF CONCERN: Fire and Aviation Operations
DISCUSSION: Following the disastrous airtanker accidents that occurred
during the 2002 season, a Blue Ribbon Panel was convened to assess the
health and safety of the Federal wildland fire aviation programs. The
Departments of Interior and Agriculture are taking the initiative to
mitigate the sources of high risks in aircraft and operations. However,
these measures will have some short-term effects on aircraft availability
and place new limitations on certain operations that are worthy of notice.
Thus the subject of this alert is to make you aware of the potential
impacts on ground firefighting efforts.
AIRTANKERS: 11 large airtankers have been permanently grounded and will
not be replaced during the 2003 season. The remaining 33 tankers are
undergoing extensive inspection and repair to prevent the structural
problems that have occurred in the aging fleet. There is not as yet a good
indication when the fleet will be returned to service in its entirety. The
expectation is that tankers will be late in returning to service as they
complete the process one at a time. This means firefighters may have
difficulty acquiring retardant support until well into the summer season.
LEADPLANES: Approximately half of the Federal leadplane fleet may be
affected by a decision to retire USFS Barons due to aging airframes and
lifetime limits. Replacement aircraft are being sought and once again are
expected to be somewhat later in arriving than the normal start-up period.
Early season tactical air coordination may therefore by necessity be
provided through other resources such as ASM and ATGS platforms.
EMPHASIS ON INITIAL ATTACK: Within the Federal Agencies, in order to make
the most of limited resources, emphasis is being placed on initial attack
in order to minimize acreage lost. Limited availability of leadplanes and
airtankers dictates that they will be reserved for initial attack and
likely will not be assigned to large fire scenarios. The National MAC
Group will provide updates on the status and availability of limited
aerial resources as the season progresses.
RECOMMEND: FMO's, Incident Commanders and Ops Section Chiefs should advise
firefighters that aerial delivery of retardant may not be as available to
them as in the past and to adjust ground tactics accordingly. Operational
risk management procedures should take into account added safety measures
to account for the possibility of reduced aerial support.
/s/ Ron Hanks
National Aviation Safety and Training Manager
||Curious R-6 Fire Monkey,
Come again there, contractors have better equipment and higher
qualifications??? Exactly what planet were you fighting fire on last
As one of the inspection units for the R-6 contract, I can remember last
year one of my co inspectors looking at a contractors ENGB task book that
he had signed off for himself, after taking S-131 at the Community
College, no fire experience. You are right, he had a brand new engine.
There are also many quality contractors that do train properly, (ie gain
experience not just attend a class), and are well qualified.
Its always nice to be on the Division with the folks, (agency or contract)
that have the experience and the training to back up what is on the card.
Myself believing in equal opportunity here - there are a number of agency
folks that also rack up the quals on the card awful fast, basic
fireschool to CRWB in 3 years???
||Just an observation here......
Being former Forest Service, and now in the
contracting game, I'd like to remind everyone of a few
The FS has been outsourcing things for years.
Building construction, logging, road
maintenance/construction amongst other things.
Now I'm sure some of you are laughing. You may be
saying "Building Construction, the forest service
doesn't build buildings. What a moron."
Yes, I know that, but the reason the FS doesn't build
buildings is because someone else can do it cheaper
and more effectively, with less hassle.
Let's also not forget about the contractors that
provide necessary fire equipment that the gov't
doesn't own.....Dozers, Skidgions, WT's, helicpoters,
I'm getting a little tired of everyone assuming all
contractors have crews or Type 6 engines exclusively.
Political spring winds seem to have a bit of stir this year! Some of the
past few writeups have my tail feathers in a ruffle! My hat is off to Mark
Rey and leadership staffs at the national level. I've been to some of the
hearings where these folks get drilled. Mark's ability to understand the
program, issues, and being able to deliver the goods goes without
saying.... FS is lucky to have people like Mark Rey.
Famous quote -
Knowledge is not information, it's transformation - Osho
I totally agree with your comment about contractors only being as good as
the contract and its administration. (Most of the problems organizations
have with contractors stems from poor contract administration practices.)
And will go so far as to agree that they can love and enjoy the forests as
much as anyone else. "Federal employees have nothing on private
citizens for the out-of-doors." If that was meant to be a blanket
statement for ALL fed employees then you are WRONG!
You are obviously not, nor ever have been, a fed employee or you would
have fully understood Guy Pence's letter. My last assignment prior to
retirement placed me on a district for 20 years. I knew every road and
feature on that district. Don't recall any private citizen putting in even
a tiny percentage of the uncompensated time I spent tending and caring for
that out-of-doors piece of land. That was done out of a love for that
chunk of land, not from any obligation I felt to the FS or the public.
While feds may not have anything on private citizens for the out-of-doors
in general, myself and many other feds considered our districts to be an
extension of our backyards. I still continue to do volunteer work and very
seldom see any civilians alongside me. Sure as hell don't see any
contractors out there doing volunteer work on their own time. Say what you
will, but; you will never convince me or any other FS employee that any
contractor cares for that specific piece of land like we do!!
||To anyone who can answer,
I have a question and its simple or hard however you take it... IS the DOI
the only ones doin the Baseline Physical.. If so Contractors need it too..
Most contractors are getting singled out.. When most contract engines and
crews have better equipment and slightly higher qualified personnel..
Sign Curious R6 fire monkey
I found a response to Guy Pence's letter. It's a quote from 8 years ago in
High Country News -- a quote from Guy Pence.
"A lot of this is because people don’t wish to change. And change
Of course, this is a quote taken way out the original context of the
Nevada bombings. But, it still has a ring of truth about the reaction on
Theysaid to competitive sourcing.
To me, Guy's current arguments are like the firefighters who fight
tooth-and-nail to keep their volunteer department from going paid, just
because being a volunteer is a "way of life" to them. The
decision of paid or volunteer should be based on the level of fire service
the community demands and can afford, not on the personal identity that a
pager and red light provide the volunteer.
Does anyone else see the irony in expecting a grassroots effort to
"save" the Forest Service that Guy describes? Here's another
quote, this time from a Nevada assemblyman:
"They [the FS] need to look at the policies they are forcing down our
throats. As long as they keep doing that, we are going to get our back up
and we are going to fight them to the bitter end."-- www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/nevada/1999/nov/17/509368021.phpl
I'm sure that implementation of competitive sourcing will be a bitter pill
to swallow for federal employees. But, I doubt you'll get much sympathy
from private sector folks in the West who are still reeling from policies
of the 80's and 90's that "sourced" so many of the logging and
mining jobs to Canada and South America.
Wow, you took that first quote so far out of context I think it's from
||Well sad, Mr. Pence, well sad. I might suggest that your time and effort
be better spent in urging your cronies to take some courses in contract
signed: the realist
||We were part of this group that recovered and cataloged over 700 pieces
of Shuttle debris in Cherokee County, Texas. This team was mostly VFD's
and TFS Employees as well as Tx DPS and area law enforcement. We got
pretty adept at recovering GPS coordinates documenting location, date,
time and recovery team. We then had to check it in and assign it another
number. Even though we all knew the magnitude of the events that we were
part of, we all worked with a great group of folks and established several
new friendships that make us better folks. Though I'm out of the search
and recovery loop now, my heart is with everyone that is still there.
Stay safe everyone,
Put the photo on the Handcrews 7
||Guy, Norcal Tom, et al,
Contractors are only as good as the contract and its administration,
which congress will probably leave in FS hands. Contractors can and do
love and enjoy the forests as much as anyone else. Fed employees have
nothing on private citizens for the out-of-doors.
Just a little clarification for ya bout the mates. there are 41 camps
according to the cdc website and yes there are up to four crews per camp.
As for being cheap it is far from that. Each camp has a budget of $2.35
million per camp, that makes for a total of $96.35 million, break that
to the crew cost and thats $1,609.00 per day every day and this budget
doesnt include fire or other emergencies (also from the cdc site). To me
this is not cheap. That cost is for every day even days not working. I
also heard that we're losing some lookouts due to budget woes, how bout
closing a couple camps that are on the coast or in close proximity to each
another in lower dispatch areas? And besides the whole inmate thing has a
negative impact to the tax base. Remember those guys dont pay rent, own a
house, dont shop at the stores (cept the capn') and cdf wont touch em when
they get out. They are just slave labor but not cheap . They do have a
purpose and yes some are excellent crews but to replace semi-law abiding
tax payin folks for them is silly.
||Airops, I looked over your AD EFF web site and while on the surface it
appears that some positions could be paid more I have questions about all
the whining about how you guys used to be GS-12's therefore you should get
GS-12 wages for the AD work you do.
If I am not mistaken you were a GS-12 because your regular job what ever
was FMO, or some other staff type job was rated out as a GS-12. It wasn't
because you were on an overhead team as an AOBD or ATGS. You were getting
paid you regular GS rating regardless of what your red card had on it. The
GS-12 FOBS were getting paid well so does that mean that AD FOBS should
$37.00 an hour too?? What about the GS-9 Type 2 IC who has the GS-12 FOBS
and AOBD working for them, or the GS-5 Type 2 crew boss who has a GS-11
ologist FFT2 on their crew that is making big $ over what the crewboss is
making. The FAIR only comes once a year in my county.
If you can get the AD rates to change, good on you for that. I just can't
follow the logic that your former GS rating has any bearing on what you
think you should be getting as an AD. What needs to happen is grading of
these positions based on complexity and a pay scale that reflects the
of the job being performed. You probably know some retired GS-13 Personnel
Specialists that could help you figure the classifications. I suspect that
ATGS and AOBD might rate out at a GS-9 under that scenario, just a guess
my part though.
Something else to think about, I bet some of these ex GS-12's are the same
ones who opposed the grade increases for the Engine Captains and IHC Supts
that worked for them before they retired. Now that the shoe is on the
other foot they want a raise. Hmmmm.
||One of Many. hahahahaha, Ain't that the truth!
treehggr, othrs, keep in mind that the regional and national leadership
work more directly for the President whose policy is competitive
outsourcing/ privatization. Might be hard for them to speak up especially
since they know how busy the Pres is with potential war and especially
following the costs of the Biscuit last summer. Grassroots is the way
outsourcing opposition will have to go...
DM, interesting fire history page. Hadn't seen that before.
CDF wife, never fear. The state of cali needs their cons for their own
firefighting. The public wouldn't allow us to go that far. Your numbers
are spot on, but don't believe all the BS you hear. These are anxious
times. Take a deep breath. All will be well, more or less, sooner or
later. This is just what we call life.
||To One Of The Many, AMEN and AMEN.
||Hear Hear, Mr. Semi-Frozen ex-FF.
I truly believe if FS employees ALL signed Mr. Pence's letter and
forwarded it on to local papers, representatives, and special
congressional committees, we would have a chance to reverse this trend. I
also believe we would get support from the public.
Sure, things may change back to the status quo given the outcome of the
On the other hand....it may not, and the damage will be done.
I am also very disappointed in our "leadership", or lack
thereof. Why isn't information on Charter Forests-which will drastically
affect the way NFs are managed- being circulated? Why aren't Regional and
National leaders standing up for their employees, the work we do, and the
resources we protect? Why isn't the public being informed of these
There, I will get off my soap box....but this really is a situation that
shouts watch out!
I had a personal communication from Guy Pence stating that his
suggestion about how his
Competitive Sourcing letter is to be used leaves enough room for
contributors to theysaid to accomplish their desires. Treehggr, FireIdaho,
Semi-Frozen Ex FF, John, others, maybe you should start a movement to
share Guy's letter and disseminate information to congressional reps and
the public via letter-to-the-editor, etc if you haven't already. Ab.
Here is a quick chronology of the history of fire behavior. I consider
H.T. Gisborne, the father of fire danger/behavior research, (and one of my
hero's). He gave his life to his work at Mann Gulch, as mentioned in
McLean's book. Go to:
The flying "survey session" arrived in town today in their
ongoing effort to instill awareness in those still challenged by or hiding
from reality. I'm referring to the simple reality of treating others as
you would have yourselves be treated, to supervise honestly and fairly
instead of being a predator. The meeting held nothing new to those who
have been around for over 6 months or so, which was the date of the last
mandatory meeting on civil rights and sexual harassment.
As I surveyed the large room packed with my fellow Forest hostages, I
pondered the failure, as evidenced by recent documentation, of our Region
to force comprehension on the unwilling. As I scanned the crowd I observed
a few attendees' body language whispering distain, boredom, or defiance. I
then realized these few, these obstinate ones, will always be among us,
they will continue to waste our time and divert our budgets to incredibly
When wondering what extreme measures might be implemented to cure these
malingering Neanderthals, I mused the policy of the Gestapo in occupied
France during World War II. As the French Underground created confusion
and losses behind the German lines, a common counter by the occupying
force was to respond to the town or village nearest the incident, round up
a bunch of local villagers and shoot them. Since the resistance fighters
were seldom from the areas wherein they performed their nefarious deeds,
or if they were, they would seldom make themselves available to the
roundup, the German retaliation was ineffective and seldom reached the
You're beginning to see my analogy aren't you? Then let me ask you a
question. "What is the primary difference to a solution to the
problems the Gestapo faced and those of our Regional Managers today?"
Sound a little far fetched? Not to me, the remedies are certainly
The answer is. . .(little drum roll, sharp clicking of heels) the Gestapo
was unaware of who was committing the crimes.
My point is, as I mention it again, there will always be those who choose
not to conform. Just as the Germans failed to stop the French resistance
fighters, we aren't going to be able to control our resistant
firefighters. More attempted education will still fail to preempt
additional adverse actions. I say line the offenders up against the wall
and do to them as the laws and regulations specify.
But leave me out of it. I checked all the boxes in the survey today to
show I attended all the civil rights and sexual harassment meetings. If
the survey had gone back as far as 15 years, I would have truthfully
checked those boxes too. After supervising over 20 years, I have yet to
have a complaint, grievance, or harassment charge filed against me.
I get the picture, I understand. I am compliant!
Leave me alone before I run screaming out the door and do a doggie-hump on
the leg of the closest minority (repeatedly, of course, after they say no)
just so I can feel like I belong in the same room with these people!
One of Many
Mark Rey is the Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment in
the Agriculture Department. Rey, is a political appointee in charge of
overseeing the Forest Service and our national forests.
His full testimony from Feb 02 can be found at www.fs.fed.us/congress/2002_Testimony/02122002.shtml
Some Key statements: "....the Forest Service"......"has
established targets for increased contracting in key on-the-ground program
areas", ....."increasing competitive bidding on timber sales;
and “charter forests,” which will take innovative approaches to
natural resources management"......"will examine opportunities
for restructuring the Forest Service by reducing personnel at the national
and regional level and redirecting them to the forest
level"........."Competitive outsourcing of commercial activities
will continue to increase."
The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources are key players in the
consideration and enactment of legislation affecting National Forests and
their programs. Their link is www.senate.gov/~energy/about/about.phpl
Re: availability, I would imagine they can be contacted as long as
Congress is in session. However, Mark Rey's testimony dates from last
year, when he was testifying about certain proposals (such as competitive
sourcing, charter forests) to the Committee.
||Well said, Mr. Pence, well said. And very courageous of you, I might
add. I wish I could shake your hand and pat you on the back.
I have been following this 'competitive outsourcing' thing off and on
through my FS friends. When I first heard of it, I sort of blew it off as
an idea that was so asinine that even the 'slow' politicians could see it
for the bad idea that it is. I figured it would kick around for a while
and then everyone up there in the OM&B or where ever this is coming
from would finally come to their senses and it would go away.
Now here it still is...becoming a bigger issue and getting
worse....tearing at all of your guts, disrupting your happiness and your
peace of mind. I can't believe it.
A person's work gives meaning to their lives...and to all of you it means
much more. For most of you it IS your life. People who go to work for the
FS, BLM, PS, F & WS....let's face it....you can't be in it for the
money, that is for sure. I know that is true. I've made three times the
money outside the Forest Service than I did in it...but you know what?
Despite all its problems and how aggravating the bureaucracy was, I STILL
didn't want to leave. Sometimes even now I get a lump in my throat when I
run across those still-pressed pea-green uniforms in the closet. THAT is
the kind of pull the life and the camaraderie of the FS has on you. I'm
with you, Guy Pence.....nobody can tell me that a contractor....who is
bitter about getting screwed on his pay, retirement, and benefits in the
first place...is going to give the job that kind of love and commitment.
They are not going to give the public that either.
I have a summer place now near the Cache-Wasatch NF, and on that District,
near Montpelier, Idaho, they have one of the best underground caves in the
West. The FS had been giving tours there since I was a little kid. A few
years ago I went up there, and there it is being run by some contract
workers who didn't really seem to have any love in their heart or
compassion for what they were doing....with fake little green vests with
fake little patches. It angers me that someone in the upper echelons of
government allowed this to happen in the first place. Someone, trying to
pinch a few dollars, in my opinion soiled the proud tradition of this this
site and this National Forest. And they ruined my enjoyment of it.
I swear to God....if I find out that the President's administration is
behind this bullshit, I'm gonna vote Democrat for the first time in my
life....maybe back that young Democratic Senator that made all his money
suing bad doctors. I can't believe I'm saying this....but I am really
starting to mean it.
For what it is worth, if I could go back to my years in the government,
and do one thing different, it would be to speak out and stand up for
myself....to call a spade a spade, and to hell with trying to be a passive
rug mat. I should have spoke out vocally and vehemenently against the
Consent Decree and the ludicrous hiring quotas they came up with, and the
way they turned a blind eye to the hiring and blatant promotion of the
untrained and unqualified, not caring at all about the injustice of their
policies....all for the sake of the numbers. I would have told them what a
dumb idea that was to want to change all of the Nat. Forest boundaries and
merge the FS with the BLM. I should have told the Forest Supervisor that
when I had a chance. But you know the mind set of the average government
worker is to keep their mouths shut and not rock the boat and to try to be
a 'team player'. And then of course there is the 'Fear Factor'. In my
case, I couldn't seem to 'buy' a promotion or a break as it was.
But what I am saying, is all of you have to stand together on this one and
speak out as a group. If you don't you'll end up with bitter feelings
about things, and trust me, that is not the way to go for long term peace
of mind. Draw a line in the sand with your Federations. The professional
series people need to band together too and support their Technician
brothers and sisters, and NOT BREAK RANKS. I would fight this competitive
outsourcing thing at every opportunity, if I were all of you...and by all
means, take the fight to the media. The public has some common sense if
you give them credit for it. They are going to spend a fortune of the
taxpayers money studying and carrying on with this thing, only for it to
finally be declared a 'dumbass' idea and have it scrapped. Maybe it can be
stopped sooner rather than later.
And I'll write my representatives. I guess that is all I can do. Hang in
there, people. I am just sorry you have to go through all of this
aggravation again. It never seems to end.
Semi-Frozen Ex FF
||Here is a review for you to post on your book page. I am a fire fighter
with the Forest Service in Colorado. I rate this book one chainsaw.
Young Men and Fire was one of the most miserable reads I have ever
experienced. It is compiled from the scribbled notes of the author who
died before even putting them into manuscript form. No editing has been
done, the notes were simply connected in the best order that made sense.
The result is a 300 page book that only has 100 pages of story. The
redundancies and rambling philosophies would have obviously been taken out
had he lived to complete his work. There is valuable material in the book
and it provides excellent detail of the Mann Gulch tragedy. Save yourself
some misery and don't read this like a novel, read only parts and skip
through what is repetitive or rambling. This should be available at your
library. I wouldn't recommend buying it.
CS, soooo were ya expecting a novel? Should have read our fire book
review page before the book. Expectations of something else can kill a
I read Young Men and Fire just before reading Fire on the Mountain and
found it worthwhile, but I've always enjoyed history as well as adventure.
I wasn't expecting a novel, rather a historical mystery of sorts, one that
involved FIRE. The reviews already posted on our book
reviews page point out that this book is by Norman Maclean, a
non-firefighter. For context, he was born around the turn of the century
just around the time the Model A Ford was invented. He grew up in Missoula
MT. Undoubtedly when he attended school as a kid he studied by kerosene
lamp. Rural electrification act passed mid 1930s. Hard to imagine... Check
the Brownie smokejumper
pics: That was Idaho, but look at the fire cache, the truck, the
trimotor -- a different era.
I appreciate that Norman's book traces not only what was known of the Mann
Gulch story (1949) but also his efforts at understanding why the fire at
Mann Gulch behaved as it did. In Norman's day the firelab at Missoula was
just beginning, I think. Hmmm, the Northern Forest Fire Lab... Did that
become the MTDC? Anyone fill us in on the early history of fire research
in that part of Montana? Rothermel,
Countryman, Albini, Byram,
did some of the seminal work? How early? Maybe not so early? Where?
See, this stuff fascinates me.
||Some CDF guys were talking about a SF Chronicle article that said 50-70%
of California's state wildland firefighters are inmates. Is this true?
They said there are 38 Camps with 4 or more crews per camp,
that's an estimate of 2,400+ inmates on the road at a minimum. There are
also camp crews. Is this 50-70% of all state wildland ff?
How much do inmates cost per day? How much would all 2,400+ cost? I heard
$384.00/day per crew. That would be about $14,600 for all inmates @ inmate
They also said it's logical that inmate hotshot crews might eventually
replace hotshot crews even on federal fires. Can this happen?
The FS has outsourcing and CDF has the CA budget. Will the feds be pushed
into contracting with the State of California to replace hotshot crews
with CDF inmate crews? They're a lot cheaper.
CDF wife, still a fs wife at heart
||I updated the fire
jobs page as well as Series
462 and 455.
Payette NF is looking for a DFMO.
We set up a new Fire News Page. Seems we get one up
and running and the parameters change. I've been trying this one today and
I think it works pretty well with the most recent relevant fire articles
on top. It provides a more complete search than the last one.
||Following last season there were some questions in R6 as to OSHA's role
in fire operations.
Here's an informative briefing paper that
provides an idea of what to expect from OSHA when they visit our
incidents, either for investigation or inspection. It's brief. It answers
a number of questions regarding the roles and responsibility of OSHA in
fire operations, including their purpose, jurisdiction, activities,
It was authored by Carl Halgren, Oregon Area Director, OSHA with the help
of Dick Terrill and Joy Flack also from OSHA. Hope it clarifies some
information for all working in fire.
||BRIEFING for CREW BOSSES for the SPACE SHUTTLE COLUMBIA RESPONSE
We are anxious to have personnel respond to our search needs for the
Columbia Disaster in Texas, however we want to make sure that everyone is
aware of the strenuous work conditions they may encounter. In order to
encourage participation of non-fire personnel, we have required no
physical fitness standard for search crews. However, we want to make sure
the participants are accustomed to walking long hours through forested
Please make sure all personnel considering assignment are provided the
following information prior to mobilization:
· It is not unusual to walk eight or more miles per day through very
difficult terrain. Most search areas are in cutover with heavy thickets
· Because of the rainy weather, the ground is saturated, making walking
difficult and uncomfortable. Boots and clothing often remain wet during
the entire shift. If possible, try to bring an extra pair of boots with
rubber bottoms. Rain gear is "usually" available at the fire
camp supply unit.
· The shifts are generally 12 hours, including walking for at least eight
hours each day.
· Although rainy, cold, wet conditions are prevalent at this time, we
could soon encounter hot, humid weather.
· Ticks, snakes and, other bugs will likely be encountered.
· Search crews are sleeping in fire camps. Facilities vary from
warehouses to open air arenas or pavilions.
Personnel that cannot perform their assigned search duties will be demobed
If you have further questions, please contact the Texas Interagency
Coordination Center at 936-875-4798.
||treehggr, who is Mark Rey? What does that committee do? Are they having
another who appreciated Guy's letter.
Would you object to having the letter forwarded to the Committee on Energy
and Natural Resources? Mark Rey recently testified before them regarding
issues such as charter forests and outsourcing. They could benefit from
hearing another voice.......
I am perfectly willing to add my name to that letter.
I lost your email addy. Are you still coming east next week? I'll try to
on the chat this week in the evening.
We're finishing up our third week managing the Palestine Branch of the
Columbia Recovery Mission. If you are a Strike Team Leader/trainee or
Task Force Leaders/trainee- please visit the Southern
area web site..
The actual document is HERE.
WE NEED YOU! It's tough job, but helping our country and NASA
make it worthwhile - and a once in a life time (we hope) experience for
Plans Chief - Dick McCombs Team
These folks are working against the clock when it comes to vegetation
growth. More lush greenery will soon cover the search area. Time is of the
||Might I suggest referring this post or the information contained within
it to your local papers. Public outrage would do the trick. Look at the
tanker situation. That has been going on for years, but once brought to
the publics attention, a sweeping change ensued. This is our life being
threatened, not 'just our job's'. An e-mail to a paper or an e-mail to a
local gov't official would be least we could all do to preserve what we
have. Let's not standby on this issue as the others have stood by on
issues that affect us. If something is going to be done, it needs to be
done before studying fire management has a chance to gain momentum. If
you're not in management, imagine how it will be when you reach Captain.
"Where do I go from here?"
The current word out of legislators' offices is that hardcopy letters
carry more weight than emails these days. Please contact them by letter,
as well as e-mail and phone their home state offices. There's a practical
link under Federal on the links
page that gets you all the info you need on your congress people.
To put this post into a word document for printing, simply open word,
create a new page (file then new), highlight the post, copy and paste it
in the new file. You can save and print from there. See the post
immediately below to know how Guy expects this post will be used, if you
choose to do so. Ab.
||Ab and Readers,
You may use my letter in any positive way you
see fit to benefit the retention of the National Forest System, to keep
professional land managers at all levels in the Forest Service, and to
bring out the problems associated with competitive sourcing. My only
condition is that you change no text and that you clearly cite me as the
author. When I sign my name to something it is there to stay. Thanks
||Thank you Guy for expressing the passion I feel about my job with the
Forest Service. What an eloquent piece of writing.
||On Competitive Sourcing
Since it appears that Fire Management is scheduled to be one of the
next areas studied for competitive sourcing I have been getting a lot of
questions from fire fighters about my thoughts on the topic. I have been
reading and studying as much as I can, and I recently attended a day and a
half training session on the topic. After reflecting on what I have
learned to date, I would like to share the following thoughts.
Over the past 30 years of service I have been asked many times by new
acquaintances, "what do you do for a living". My standard answer
has been, "I work with the Forest Service". Then because I have
held a variety of positions with the Forest Service I qualify my answer by
adding, "I am a timber forester", or "I am responsible for
recreation", or "or I handle the special use permits, and mining
operating plans', or " I am a District Ranger", or " I am
responsible for wildland fire suppression and prescribed fire". But
always first and foremost is the answer "I work with the Forest
Service". When I hear some of my fellow employees answer the same
question their replies are consistent with mine, or they might say "I
work for the Forest Service, and what I do is road maintenance,
engineering work, range analysis work" or they might qualify their
opening statement with "I am a wildlife biologist, or a fisheries
biologist, or a computer programmer, or a wildland fire fighter." But
always first and foremost they state that they work "with" or
"for" the Forest Service. When I listen to retired employees
speak of their years of service they usually start out by saying
"when I joined the Forest Service". For them this decision was a
life long commitment, similar to marriage. All of these replies are
consistent with a way of life. These replies do not reflect that any of us
feel we simply "have a job".
"Working with the Forest Service" is how we define ourselves.
It is our being, it is our purpose, it is our life. No one can describe
what we do with the Forest Service as simply being our job. "Working
with the Forest Service" is the very fabric we dress ourselves in
each morning before we leave our homes. It is what sustains us throughout
the day, week, months, and years. It is how we introduce ourselves, it is
how we visualize ourselves, it is how we relate to all the other people we
meet in our lives. Equally important is that this is how others introduce
us, it is how they identify us, it is how they relate to us and the
critical conservation work we do. This is an indication of how strongly
they feel about their National Forests.
Now I am being told that the very definition of myself is simply a job,
which can be contracted out to someone else for the lowest bid price. I
hear that the care and concern I and my fellow employees have for the
soil, water, air, vegetation, wildlife, fish and recreational
opportunities on the National Forest System are simply items which can be
managed by the cheapest bidder. I am being asked to accept that all of the
values found on our National Forests are just like an inexhaustible supply
of hamburgers at a fast food joint which can be doled out by anyone who
simply wants a job for the moment. The vision I have is someone working a
job until something better comes along. Nothing similar to a life long
marriage, maybe more similar to a flirt, or a fling, or a short term
relationship lasting only until interest wanes, or something more
interesting comes along. It is as though we no longer need career
professionals being responsible for the natural resources on our National
Well, I don't buy it!! I can't be convinced. No one can tell me that
the commitment I witness from my fellow employees to the values on our
National Forests are like so many cans of beans on a grocery shelf.
Something to be bought or sold by the latest political whim. I am being
told to be patient, to wait until studies are done to see what shakes out
at the end. To this I must say NO! Time is overdue for me, and those who
feel the same way I do to stand up and say "no one takes my heart
without my permission, and I refuse to give that permission". These
are my National Forests too, and I don't want them managed by the cheapest
bidder. I don't believe the American public wants their drinking water
supply protected by someone who feels they simply have a job. I don't
believe the public wants their forests and wildland/urban interfaces
protected from wildland fire by someone who believes fighting fire might
be an interesting job until something else more interesting comes along. I
don't believe the public wants the last of the top soil on their forest
and rangelands protected up to the point of only being able to make a
profit off of a contract. Beyond that point, just let it blow away or run
off down a creek. I don't believe the sportsmen and wildlife enthusiasts
want our ecosystems fragmented into even smaller unmanageable chunks by
dividing them up for management by individual contractors. Healthy
wildlife populations can't stand to have their summer and winter ranges
separated into further smaller areas solely for contract management
purposes. Does the American recreating public really want to pay separate
contract prices for their outdoor experiences as they move through what
used to be their National Forests? Forest Service employees have provided
economic stability and community leadership to small western communities
for decades. These communities will face even tougher times than they
currently do when the career Forest Service employees who live in those
communities and serve on school boards, volunteer fire departments, search
and rescue teams and as unpaid sports coaches are replaced by contractors
who travel out there from their urban homes to only work on a for-profit
I wonder if what truly might be at risk by competitive sourcing is the
basic concept of the National Forest System? We are the only nation in the
world with enough foresight and intelligence to set aside 200 million
acres into the National Forest System managed by career employees who
dedicate their careers to the single minded task of conserving these
natural resources not only for those of us alive today, but for those
unborn generations yet to come. Management carried out by professionals
for our kids, and grand kids, and great-grand kids and not just for the
sake of a one-time profit margin for contractors.
I am not sure where the leadership will come from to steer the agency
through competitive sourcing. I don't hear much, except "this is the
job and we have to do it by a certain time or it will be done to us".
At the training session I attended it seemed that the only advice given
was to get your paper work in order and make sure your employees know what
their service computation date is so they will know how soon they will be
replaced. I guess this is a variation of our long standing "can
do" attitude. I am wondering who is going to speak up and say that
competitive sourcing is something that can be done, but what about the
nation's drinking water supply? What about the top soil, the wildlife
habitat, the unbridled recreation opportunities on National Forests and
the economic stability of rural western America? When did all of this go
up for bid to the lowest bidder? We consult the American public over every
work project carried out on the National Forests, why not ask them how
they feel about the very existence of their National Forests as we have
Perhaps implementing competitive sourcing is not a job worth doing
until the American public has a chance to express their concerns over what
is rightfully theirs. It is their National Forests that might be
dismantled and bid out to the cheapest bidder. When do they get their say?
When do the employees get their say? After it is too late to put the
puzzle pieces back together? This country and our agency were founded on
the principles of being able to make your concerns known. Remember, as
Smokey Bear says, "Only you can ……..So speak up".
Guy W. Pence
Fire/Aviation Staff Officer
Boise National Forest
Hear Hear. I put this one on the Docs Worth Reading page. Ab.
Your point is well taken. Our long-term approach is going to be basing AD
rates on the job duties, responsibilities, and complexity in the same
as GS grades for fire positions are established. But for this year - and
recognizing that most EFFers are retired employees working at the AD-5
(including DIVS) we are going to try to effect some change based upon what
most folks were making as a GS when they retired. Not the best but
How do you equate a fireline job to a GS level?
I'm a GS-7. My FEO is a GS-6. My boss is a GS-9, his
boss is a GS-11, and we all regularly take DIVS
||The Proposed 2003 EFF AD Pay Scale Rates are out. They are not close to
what they should be.
Accordingly, some of us have organized the AD Firefighters Association
(ADFA) to attempt some redress on this situation. For better or for worse,
the fire agencies are highly dependent on retired AD firefighters to staff
fires, overhead teams, and dispatch centers.
The site is located at www.adfirefighter.org
We have done an analysis on the OSC, DIVS, AOBD, and ATGS positions for
comparability. Comparable GS grade level employees, with true
time-and-one-half and hazard, will be making $1000-$3000 in a pay period
more than the AD firefighter for the same job.
If you are an AD EFF firefighter, please go to this website and review the
documents, then complete an Interest Survey.
||Ab -- RE: the supplemental food thread.
It's not just freebies and waste. There is a scientific basis.
Here's some links to books on nutrition and human performance. The
military has been doing a lot of research in this field and the findings
fit right in with our jobs. In a nutshell -- the standard fire camp menus
are inadequate and may be a safety item. Not eating right not only
degrades physical performance but also mental performance, leadership, and
situational awareness. It's not only calories that count. Your body has
different nutrient needs in extreme environments/stress situations.
High altitude/cold weather physiology and nutrition:
Needs in Cold and High-Altitude Environments: Applications for
Military Personnel in Field Operations (1996)
Hot weather physiology and nutrition:
Needs in Hot Environments: Applications for Military Personnel in
Field Operations (1993)
Problems with not eating enough or eating right:
Eating Enough: Overcoming Underconsumption of Military Operational
K<snip> posted a slam against theysaid on the airtanker message
board. What is the problem? Why the hell are we writing to our
congressional reps on their behalf???
Oh, I see Abercrombie replied. Good answer, Ab!
OK, let's not overreact. Those who are supporting PSOB should continue
to do so. Remember that the AAP Board has auto posting. The views of the
poster are only that person's view, not the view of the whole group.
Thanks Original Ab for your rebuttal. Ab.
Just landed home yesterday from Palestine TX branch of shuttle recovery.
The experience was something else. I think when we left I did not really
grasp the immensity of the situation. The whole assignment really changed
for me when I picked up and held in my hand, a piece of the ill fated
shuttle for the first time. It really brought it home at that point.
The debris field is some 25 miles wide by 300 miles long. We ended up
pairing up with a Boise Handcrew to create a strike team. Ever tried
gridding with forty people at once ?
If ya thought 8-10 people was rough, try it with forty strangers. I must
say however, that teamwork played such an integral role between our two
crews. Rock on Boise you guys were GREAT !! Hats off to Dick McCombs
Team.....one word.... SOLID !!
I found this site and thought it to be neat and worth passing on. Not sure
if its ever been posted on WLF before though. The site is all about the
early days of the Forest Service and has some neat stuff on Rangers, from
songs to the 1908 and 1925 Ranger Exams. It is hosted by Duke University
so it should be legit.
Click on the PEOPLE part to look at the early days of the Ranger. US
Forest Service History
Below is a response I got from National Flare Company.
Here's the important part. The company replied that they made a recall
only on Lot #M2-2000-0715 manufactured in 2000 and that all users
of record were notified of the recall. Ab.
||Ab, the attached was given out at the memorial for Paul Gleason today.
Touching, and so like Paul. Thanks for sharing. Ab.
If you wouldn't mind helping us out in Texas we are in need of
helicopter managers for assistance with the search for the Columbia
shuttle mission. If there are folks available, they need to let their
state coordination center know.
Please consider making yourself available if possible. This is a very
unique mission and an extremely rewarding one.
||Walt Darran has put up on the Airtanker
Pilots Board his notes from a meeting with Tony Kern and
representatives of AAP, AFIA, USFS, and BLM discussing the future of
airtankers in 2003 and beyond .
I must have been tired, what I meant to say was "R-5 teams when in
R-6" were the ones that I encountered the most ordering problems
with. The forest sup gave specific direction to control costs due to the
large ODF protection on a very large fire I was on, did not seen to
matter. The outrageous orders still kept coming in, until someone - some
where, had a face to face with the IC.
I tend to see the abuses in ordering more from type one teams, type two
teams tend to be more fiscally conservative. Just my observations, not
based in fact.
WP (aka-Washington Post)
And I was sure you must have been trolling for a response. HAW HAW. Ab.
||Thanks to DF for the outstanding piece of the 1919 Western Firefighting
Rules. I sent it out to all my Fire Stations today so everyone has a
change to read and learn from it. Reading it makes you humble real quick
sense the 1919 guys were having the same issues as today.
"Unless it is a r-5 team then they will never stop
ordering the "above and beyond.""
GREAT! I hadn't seen an r-5 is the
best-place-in-the-world comment for awhile.
If I was on a buying team from another region, I would
really chew your ass; but because I am not, this is
all I'll say.
||For information on new and old Federal news try this
webpage. It's free, no sign up and it's easy to
For Financially poor here is the link to the 4.1%
increase. This page also has links related to the
Tomorrow I'll be enroute to the dispatchers workshop
in San Diego. Hope to see some of you other
||AB, here is my bookmark for the Federal Page of the Washington Post. It
still works with out signing in. From here you can click on Stephen Barr's
One comment on the supplemental food discussion. IC on the McNalley fire
said that crews were high-grading extra lunches for the candy - At $12 a
piece! He okayed the purchase of extra snacks. The Finance Chief also told
the overhead that any meals purchased at local restaurants were on their
own dime since there was full food service at fire camp in town.
Napa Jack, I still get a sign in with that link. Their isp must be
reading my fingerprints and they don't match up. Thanks for trying, but I
think those who want to read the Washington Post (WP!!?? did you foil
this?) will have to just sign up. Ab.
I am sure you have seen all the abuses you listed in the supplemental
ordering. My question is where was the coordinator at expanded or the
buying team leader when these orders came in? It is their job to call BS
on orders that are unreasonable! One call to the Forest Admin Officer or
IBA will put a stop to unreasonable orders. Or if the IMT insists, then
ask for written justification. Unless it is a r-5 team then they will
never stop ordering the "above and beyond."
||I updated the fire
jobs page as well as Series
462 and 455.
||Okay, so I'm old and maybe I'm not an expert on the metric system...
but for those who are well versed:
Q: In metric terms, would 2,000 mockingbirds be "Two
Q: And would there be only 10 cards in a deca-cards?
Old Fire Guy
HAW, HAW, HAW. Ab.
||Hadn't checked the Stephen Barr column in the Washington Post lately,
but still hadn't heard about this! The following is quoted from the Feb
"In case you missed the news, President Bush signed legislation that
provides federal employees with a 4.1 percent pay raise, retroactive to
the first pay period of the year."
There is more in the article, such as how agencies will pay for the
increase without extra funding, but why haven't I heard about this? Any
more info out there? Here's the url:
Please sign me as:
Financially poor, physically, mentally and spiritually wealthy.
Readers, a heads-up. Looks like the Washington Post now requires a
short login such as gender, age, and zipcode. But it accepts darn near
are. Not a big deal, but for those who don't like them, they might as well
skip the link. Ab.
||The Midwest Wildlfire Training Academy catalog is online now at the
Missouri Fire and Rescue Training website http://www.mufrti.org/
Also, I am considering taking D110. I would appreciate any insight on EDRC
assignments during the season. Are they available for ADs from the
midwest, are the assignments 2 weeks, etc? I get a month of leave each
year and would like to give it a try.
||Re the article that says Keep resources at home:
The "keep them at home" just will not work. To "What
if" it to death is poor emergency planning. You must use a graded
approach much of the time in planning what and where the resources will
be. Do we keep the resources at home waiting for the big one that never
comes while everywhere else is screaming for help or do we see events
coming together that lead us to place resources in position to jump on the
problem before it grows to large?
Certainly with the lack of aircraft this year there will be no "Keep
them at home" policy. Planning will and must be done so as the
resource will be strategically placed to provide the best use of an
This past year there was or appeared to be efforts in planning the
placement of IMTs before things got out of hand. Cheaper to have a IMT
setting in a hotel waiting for assignment in the area of largest concern
than setting at home waiting for the phone call to go to the hotel. Same
thoughts must apply across the board to be effective in any response of
The short range look, mid-range look, and long term look ALL must be
reviewed for the best benefit possible to the larger issues at hand not
just the short range look. We must think outside the box and past our
||Here are parts of the minutes from the January NWCG
are relevant to current discussions. Topics include:
narrow banding and P25 radios by 2005 (3),
interagency weather systems operations (5),
contracting requirements and standards (18),
bilingual leadership on type 2 crews (19),
work rest &14 day tour (21),
supplemental foods (22),
driving limits (23),
30-mile Fire Action Prevention Plan review (24),
transition thresholds (25), and
large airtankers (34).
Funny how things change but, NOT! A lot of folks have probably seen this
but I just pulled it out and taught it again at our District fire
along with the Original 10 Standard Fire Orders this week. Lots of the
same issues in 1919 as now. Work Rest and Food is covered in summary,
# III. Organization, # 5 and 6. Does not specifically address the jerky
issue but I bet they ate plenty of it.
Ab Note: A link to this 1919 document is included on the Documents
Worth Reading page and Site Map
page. So many things do seem to stay the same.
||while i share Angered and concerned's reservation
about the possible threats to firefighter safety if
supplemental foods are abolished and/or rationed, i
think the estimate of 15,000 calories per day is too
studies have been done in both canada and australia
estimating caloric consumption to be around 6,000
calories per day.
the most recent study, by researchers at u. of
montana-bozeman, was published in the journal Applied
Ergonomics in September, 2002. It measured the energy
expenditures of hotshots, and found it to be about
4700 calories per day. (this includes mop-up shifts,
but even so, caloric expenditures rarely cracked the
8,000 calorie mark)
those technically minded can read the full study in:
Applied Ergonomics, Vol. 33, Issue 5; Sept. 2002; p.
Regardless of the actual number of calories burned,
when firefighters are hungry, the work less
efficiently, tire faster, and make more mistakes, i.e.
they are less safe. Even a rudimentary reading of an
MRE box tells you that ("Food is a force multiplier!)
||I have a different perspective on the supplemental food issue which may
shed some light on the current proposals we are seeing to cut out the
purchasing of supplemental foods for firefighters. These are only a
couple of examples, but I believe that this type of thing has happened in
every region at some time. The following are actual events that have
Example 1 – The IMT decides it has to have a case of frappacinos (in
bottles) in fire camp. Unfortunately, glass bottles were not allowed in
fire camp and the frappacinos were returned to the coordination center for
consumption by expanded dispatch and the buying team members.
Example 2 – The IMT decides it has to have a certain brand of candy bar
that is not available locally, so a buying team member has to drive
approx. 150 miles round trip to the next town to purchase this item. (No
other type of candy bar will suffice.)
Example 3 – The IMT wants individual packages of sunflower seeds. The
only thing available locally is individual packages of peanuts. This is
not acceptable to the IMT. Once again, the buying team has to send
someone to procure this item in another town.
Example 4 – The IMT has a standard “order” which they place everyday
supplemental foods. This order does not change from the start of the
incident to the end even though the number of overhead and crews
diminishes towards the end of the incident. Therefore, the local fire
cache is left with dozens of cases of unused supplemental food which
cannot be used, cannot be returned to the grocery store, and ultimately
goes to waste.
Based on these examples, is it any wonder that the government sees
supplemental foods as a “waste”? Maybe the IMTs need to be held more
accountable rather than not supplying our firefighters with the things
they need to stay fit, get the job done, and make their jobs a little bit
- IA Dispatcher
||Followup on the Exploding Fusee/Flare Report of 3/4:
Like LLFF we Abs were able to find no info on the web about the fusees and
we've seen no safety alert other than the circulating
e-mail posted on 3/4. Just in case, Ab did a little more research to
see if the fusee alert was a hoax. It is not.
I talked this morning with the folks at the San Bernardino Co Fire
Department, National Airport location. They told me that they put out a
safety alert to their department last Nov or Dec and told others of the
problem at that time. They said a firefighter at the Fontana station was
lighting a flare and it blew up, injuring his eyes. There were several
other reports of minor non-injury ignition incidents. The police
department had larger problems. Eight flares caught fire or exploded in
patrol car trunks burning up the cars. Presumably the trunk was hot,
flares were stored there, the cap came off and the flare ignited.
So, people, please check your flares/fusees if you haven't already and
take appropriate action. There is no evidence we can find that the company
has issued a recall or an alert.
||RE: The supplemental Food Issue
After reading the proposed guidelines about the food I am a little
concerned. With Breakfast at 5:30AM, Dinner at 8:00PM that leaves over 14
hours in between hot meals. A sack lunch of mystery meatwich, and two
juices doesn't really have enough food for most active people. I have
figured a couple of times that an active firefighter can go through
upwards of 15,000 calories a day. That is a lot of intake, but after 120
days on fire assignments, your metabolism is through the roof.
With all the new safety guidelines and work/rest requirements why are we
skimping on food? A hungry person is distracted, not fueled. When the time
comes to bust out some line you need maximum energy. Snack food is not a
luxury but rather a necessity. I agree that some waste occurs, and some
food may go home with firefighters, but the issue should be SUPPORTING our
people. It is easy for overhead to see food as a huge cost, but those guys
are usually the ones that get all the good food anyway during the middle
of the day when every one is out working. It is pretty sad that to save
some money we might cut the snack foods, what about ordering every heavy
helicopter we can, and then having them sit at helibase all day, or using
a Sky-crane to heli-mop a smoldering patch of duff? There is always a way
to save a few dollars, but lets keep the people that make things happen in
good condition and with full bellies. If people are abusing the free for
all food, let the crew bosses deal with it. Don't tell me that I get
enough food and am not really hungry. What's next; a commissary bill for
moleskin, QBs and tool wedges?
Angered and concerned
Just thought I'd let you in on a little secret of the metric system. It's
of those dumb things that don't seem to make a lot of sense, but regular
"calories" are not the same thing as food "Calories"
that you see on food
Specifically, a calorie is the amount of energy, or heat, it takes to
the temperature of 1 gram of water 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees
One calorie is equal to 4.184 joules, a common unit of energy used in the
Most of us think of calories in relation to food, as in "This can of
200 calories." It turns out that the calories on a food package are
kilocalories (1,000 calories = 1 kilocalorie). The word is sometimes
capitalized to show the difference, but usually not. A food calorie
4,184 joules. A can of soda containing 200 food calories contains 200,000
regular calories, or 200 kilocalories. A gallon of gasoline contains
The same applies to exercise -- when a fitness chart says you burn about
calories for every mile you jog, it means 100 kilocalories.
I have no idea why some nutrientist decided to play this cruel joke on us.
It's just one of those things. :)
||about supplemental food guidelines:
eric - don't worry about getting fat, worry about not
getting enough! what scientists call a kilocalorie,
the rest of the country knows as a calorie (it seems
people got freaked out when they saw the large numbers
of calories they actually ingested, so the advertising
people started calling kilocalories 'calories') so
1000 kilocalories is what we would call 1000 calories.
which brings up a second point: even with a
supplemental food allowance of 1000 kilocalories a
day, this might not meet the nutritional needs of a
wildland firefighter. the study that was released
last year noted that those on the line can use upwards
of 6,000 calories a day - and in some cases more
depending on body type and metabolism. and i'm sure
there would be some debate to the fact that camp food,
or MRE's for that matter, could adequately meet this
need. (you have to eat everything in the mre to get
2,000 calories per meal)
i've seen abuse of the system, with camps handing out
power bars by the box, but it would be physically
dangerous to those who are out in the field to come up
with policies to restrict the amount of food
available, especially as a season goes on and
nutritional deficiencies begin to appear (rare is the
firefighter who gains weight during the season).
hopefully the new guidelines that are adopted
recognize that the adage 'an army travels on its
belly' applies to the firefighter as well.
There may be a typo on the FWFSA update page that SoCalCapt sent the link
for. The third paragraph has a sentence "If we donut
participate...." It must be a typo, or I guess, it could be an effort
to get law enforcement officers to join, or maybe a reference to getting
IMT's to adopt an improved supplemental food policy.
On another legislative front, the National Volunteer Fire Council is
pressing for extended PSOB coverage. www.nvfc.org/legup/20030301.phpl
"On February 26, legislation was reintroduced in both the House and
Senate that would expand the Public Safety Officers Benefits (PSOB)
Program to ensure that the families of more fallen heroes are provided
"More specifically, The Hometown Heroes Survivors Benefits Act (H.R.
919 / S. 459) would extend the current PSOB Program to public safety
officers who die as a result of a heart attack or stroke while on duty.
Heart attacks and strokes represent a significant risk among public safety
officers, accounting for nearly half of firefighter deaths each year. The
legislation passed in the House last Congress, but the Senate did not have
time to consider it prior to adjournment."
It would be great to get this and coverage for pilots in the same year.
Firepup 91 This is Region 6's site for agreements. You can look up every
company with an R6 agreement whether it be engines, tenders, busses,
handcrews, and support.
hope it helps
||Does anyone know if there is a web page that links to B.I.A. fire jobs?
(Other than individual announcements such as usajobs) ??
I know there are links to the Forest Service, BLM, Park Service, and Fish
and Wildlife jobs but haven't been able to find a "generic link"
to jobs available within the BIA.
Any help would be appreciated.
||Thanks Mellie and vfd cap'n for pointing me to that challenger and ff
safety paper. It was interesting. Excellent comments.
Did anyone else hear that the Columbia crash investigators are looking
into the safety culture of NASA.? Theyre also are concerned that there are
only 3000 government employees but 7000 contractors at NASA, did that
figure into the crash? So we have no idea what competitive sourcing will
do except make much of the rest of govt look like NASA. What about
||Option three of the draft snack food plan "1000 Kilocalories"
is that a million calories per firefighter per day? sounds excessive to
me, perhaps a quarter to half a million calories is better. (dont want to
get fat) ... lol
||Dear Ab et al,
I was wondering how much fire contract crews are paid. I understand that
there might not be a one-size-fits all pay rate depending on circumstances
and the language of various contracts. Also, are there good comparisons
out there of the per day cost (with and without overtime) of agency crews
(20-person) versus contract crews? My personal inclination is that the
reliability of contract crews is spotty, but I also realize the same can
be said of agency crews, engines, etc. I would just like to know if it is
a cost effective alternative.
Looks like we'll have to bring our own jerky.
Draft policy regarding supplemental foods.
Haven't heard anything since... (No news about chickens is good news?)
There's nothing on jerky in that article. Anyone know what the upshot was
on the costs of food on the Biscuit? What do we get/not get if we ever get
to fight fire again?
(Hopefully no chicken jerky.)
(Oh, I hear they need chickens in Iraq to warn of chem/bio warfare. Maybe
we could ship some there!)
I miss visiting here daily...
Tahoe Terrie the chicken choker. (buck, buck, buck, aaakkkk).
Wow I thought I had problems making a budget. Looks like Mr. Bosworth has
a mountain to climb. I know that there is waste, and some fat trimming
could be done but not at the levels proposed. I dont have the answer,
other than do what i always do at home. Spend the dough - then get yelled
at by me wife and make her figure out the budget.
||Big J here, and I need a little help from you before I write my educated
opinion on this issue which seems to be bringing the context of my
first post to life.
In the article about the F.S. studying keeping resources at home there was
a brief mention of (and I am Quoting the article, not the author of the
study....)...... recommendations from the study includes relaxing federal
safety rules to permit greater flexibility in the use of
helicopters....... I currently have numerous e-mails out to try and find
who was saying this, and what context he was speaking of. This hits on a
personal level. I am going to be on the busiest helo in the nation this
year. Great if get more overtime; Not so great if me or the crew doesn't
live to see that OT$.
Well I was wondering if you knew who wrote the study, or who in the forest
service is conducting it. I have letters into FAM in the WO, and to the
paper that published the article, but who knows when they'll write back.
If you could help me I would appreciate it.
Probably was the study done on the costs of fighting the Biscuit Fire.
Well Bosworth is trying to tell it like it is...
Service Could Face Huge Deficit
gets 12 years from the state of CO to run concurrently with the 6 yr
More on beetle-killed trees on Lake Arrowhead
Declare State of Emergency
To prevent another Biscuit...
for fire season: Study urges keeping firefighters close to home
relax federal safety rules to permit greater flexibility in the use of
overhaul management of contractors and purchasing so there's no waste and
no more jerky? (heh, just checking...)
and are we going back to the 21 day tour?
Ab, Nice set of articles on the various news pages.
Makes part of my job simple...FS
I've been a devoted lurker here for a couple of years. I'm only stepping
out of the shadows now because I get very nervous about taking action
based upon information contained in an e-mail that is 'making the rounds'.
I passed the warning about defective fusees on to friends, and I will take
a look at any we have in stock, but in the meantime I've also been hunting
for any available information that would confirm the warning is
legitimate. I'm on the East coast and news about the incidents mentioned
didn't make it out here. And I haven't been able to find any mention of
them, or any mention of defective flares, anywhere on the web. Is the
problem common knowledge on the west coast? It might have just had a tough
time making it through the snow drifts to reach some of us here.
Thanks for any info you can pass along. And a BIG thanks for all the work
you put into making this such a great site!
Thanks for the heads up, LLFF. We'll be clearer next time and add
"on the FS intranet". (I just changed the note at the top of
yesterday's post.) We don't post anything like this saying it's
"making the rounds" unless it comes from reliable sources in the
FS, BLM, NPS, etc and/or we have contacted the originator to double check.
Readers might be surprised at how much research is done before posting
some emails. We work at being responsible with certain kinds of warnings
The fusee alert originated from a USFS Forest Safety Officer /
HAZMAT Specialist, RLEO/FS Chief Accident Investigator on one of the SoCal
forests, was sent on up the food chain within Fed FAM and then out to
crewbosses and other fed crew members who might carry flares -- so they
could check. We posted it because non-fed fire folks should know of the
problem as well. I know of no recall. Ab.
||Here's a story about the shuttle clean up.
fumes sicken shuttle searchers
To me it brings up the question of should fire crews being doing all of
these other tasks when they aren't trained for them such as exposure to
hazardous material. Be safe out there.
||With all the talk last week about van rollover, I just wanted to let
people know that Grayback got rid of all their 15-passenger vans after
the wreck last summer. They were all gone within weeks. I was impressed
at that knowing how hard it is for independent contractors to make a
living fighting fire. Must have been a huge expense.
||Found this web site with more van information than I can digest. Has
link to 105 page document by Ford on 15 passenger vans, see both sides of
the issue. www.stnonline.com
Also- See recommendation below for training of van drivers.
NHTSA Repeats Rollover Warning To Users of 15-Passenger Vans
The nation's top motor vehicle safety executive, Jeffrey Runge, M.D., head
of the U.S. DoT's National Hwy Traffic Safety Adm (NHTSA), today reissued
a cautionary warning to users of 15-passenger vans because of an increased
rollover risk under certain conditions. A similar warning was issued in
The safety agency also unveiled a consumer flyer for users of 15-passenger
NHTSA research has shown that 15-passenger vans have a rollover risk that
increases dramatically as the number of occupants increases from fewer
than five to more than ten. In fact, 15-passenger vans (with 10 or more
occupants) had a rollover rate in single vehicle crashes that is nearly
three times the rate of those that were lightly loaded.
"Because of these risks, it is vital that users of 15-passenger vans
be aware of some safety precautions that will significantly reduce the
risk," said Dr. Runge.
* Among the recommendations are the following:
* It is important that 15-passenger vans be operated by trained,
* Insist that all occupants wear seat belts at all times. Eighty percent
of those who died in 15-passenger van rollovers nationwide in the year
2000 were not buckled up. Wearing seat belts dramatically increases the
chances of survival during a rollover crash. In fatal, single-vehicle
rollovers involving 15-passenger vans over the past decade, 92 percent of
belted occupants survived.
NHTSA is reissuing this advisory specifically to alert summertime users of
15-passenger vans. The agency also has prepared a flyer on 15-passenger
van safety that is available on the web at www.nhtsa.dot.gov/Hot/15PassVans.
The agency also is considering the potential benefits of an additional
warning label about rollover and seat belt use that would be visible to
the driver and passengers of 15-passenger vans, respectively.
While federal law prohibits the sale of 15-passenger vans for the
school-related transport of high school age and younger students, no such
prohibition exists for vehicles to transport college students or other
A copy of the NHTSA analysis of the rollover characteristics of
15-passenger vans can be found at: here
under "Research Notes" (then look for 2001; it's second up
from the bottom). The new consumer advisory also is available at: www.nhtsa.dot.gov/nhtsa/announce.
||The firejobs page
is updated as well as Series
462 and 455.
The point i was trying to make was more about air ops than it was about
ground crews. I'm not trying to advocate for people to go off and violate,
ignore, or forget the 10 & 18. My point, which as i read over what my
last post i see now as a little unclear, is simply that the margin of
safety for the aviation community is a lot narrower than it is for people
on the ground. So trying to take statements about aviation safety and
relay them verbatim to fire management as a whole is taking them out of
context a little- that's all I was trying to get at.
And what I was saying about risk evasion vs mitigation- in fire, we can
only minimize risks. We cannot eliminate them completely, and presuming
that you can do so will only end in frustration. And yes, as backburnfs
said, you can always say no. But remember, if you're going to turn down an
assignment for safety reasons, then it's on you to suggest an alternate
solution that provides for adequate safety of those involved. So really,
you rarely "Just say NO," because almost always you do end up
doing the job, just differently than maybe it was envisioned originally
(exceptions being haz mat scenarios and such). Again, aviation is a whole
different ball of wax. If an assignment requires an aircraft to operate at
altitudes higher than what is operationally safe for that airplane, then
the plane should stay on the ground. But i will eat my words when i see
the day that pilots turn down assignments because they deem the particular
assignment "unnecessary." Or how about our beloved hotshots-
what would you say if the crew you ordered shows up and looks at your fire
on its fifth day of mop-up and says, "You know boss, we're gonna pass
on this one. The assignment is unnecessary. See ya at camp." I mean,
it makes sense if you're not worried about keeping your job, but sounds
like the fast track to the unemployment line if you ask me.
||Check yer fusee inventories, this e-mail is making the rounds on the
Through the San Bernardino County ICEMA (Inland Counties Emergency
Agency) network, I have been notified of a road flare (fusee) defect &
recall that may be of interest....
The National Flare Company has produced flares/fusees that are apparently
unstable. The flares are marked as CSFM and UL approved. The flares/fusees
may self ignite resulting in complete loss of the vehicle that they are
stored in. Resulting fires have already destroyed 8 state patrol vehicles
The San Bernardino County Fire Department has experienced several cases of
the flares/fusees exploding upon ignition, where in one case it has
resulted in an injury to the eye and a lost time injury to the user.
The recommended action: Immediately remove any flares/fusees manufactured
by the "National Flare Company" and place in an area that if
no damage will occur.
||Well I never thought such a positive response would come out of my
comments, but to my amazement it seems that there are others out there
willing to expand on the very point I was trying to convey. So often this
forum gets labeled a "bitch session" by those who are not open
to others opinions. I think that once again we have proven them wrong by
involving ourselves in constructive debate.
Enough of that though. Ab I realize you weren't jumping my case, rather
you were furthering my point in some regard. Your mentality is the one
that needs to abound in our profession. Unfortunately we have numerous
module leaders who have been promoted before they were ready to assume
command. I think that with the boom of retiring captains we promoted
people without the sound foundation needed to see that the pressure from
congress means little out there on the ground. From these module leaders
will come the next generation, and we have to ask ourselves if they are
being taught by the most qualified people? We can be better than our
predecessors, but to do that we must want to. Let's face it, ambition
seems to be an increasingly rare quality in the younger generations. Those
who are ambitious and embrace change are promoted so fast that a gap is
being created on the ground. One that we may see come to a deadly fruition
in the future.
So that comment made by the panel was just that; A comment....... But
comments bring about thought whether they are directly related to the
context they are drawn from or not. That comment to me (and Nomad, BBTBDC,
and FEDFIRE) was thought provoking, it inspired a conversation that a lot
of good comments came out of. DM also brings a good thought to the table:
Don't believe everything you read whole heartedly. I appreciate
everybody's comments, good or bad, and I think we all have something to
offer. Thank God we don't have anything else to offer about tankers and
A big thanks to AL too. It is good to see someone thinking about the
personal side of this debate.
Concerning the trickle down safety effects of upper management on wildland
fire culture, here's some good info paraphrased from Diane Vaughn's
article Targets for Firefighting Safety: Lessons from the Challenger
Tragedy. You can read the whole article here
(pdf file). Seems to me that the Firefighter Safety Awareness Study made
some of these same points regarding the responsibility of upper mgmt. (You
can find study parts 1, 2, 3 on the links page at the bottom under safety.
Wonder what the TriData research group would have had to say about
Some points from the section entitled
TARGETS FOR SAFETY:
Target Elite Decisions
Hmmmm . . . . . <thought interrupted by silence> . . . . .
- Decisions of top administrators can contribute to safety and/or
tragedy by trickling down to affect decisions of those on the ground
who are doing the risky work in the following ways:
- Negotiations with Congress have major impact. Budget
cuts by Congress and the President can curtail resources. Bills can
simultaneously increase bureaucratic requirements eg, required
paperwork takes time away from training and other risk mitigating
- Policy must bring goals and the resources necessary to meet
them into alignment. If resources are not adequate to meet
firefighting goals, then either the resources need to be increased or
policy must be reassessed.
- Administrative decisions significantly affect the culture of
decision making or people doing the hands-on work. Top
administrators can present a "can-do" attitude, promising
Congress more than can be delivered, in NASA's case with less
resources. In NASA's case, they stressed safety, but other actions and
decisions convinced workers that schedule was a priority.
- Altering the structure of an organization can also alter the
culture. Then (as now) "downsizing" was what was
happening. The author points out that changes in structure shouldn't
be undertaken without research evaluating the effect on safety. Hmmm,
seems someone should have thought about the effects of outsourcing on
FS IRM and fleet people and others who are our critical computer,
mechanics etc on fire teams.
Good advice from Vaughn here: "In an agency like NASA or the
Forest Service, where people's lives are on the line, top
administrators' response to this political mandate (downsizing)
should seriously weigh proposed changes, bring in consultants, and
take seriously the views of experienced personnel at all levels. Avoid
(and actively resist) those changes that have direct or indirect
implications for safety."
I am having a hard time with your statement about risk EVASION vs.
MITIGATION. We should evade risk as much as possible, any other philosophy
puts people in harms way, Hazard Pay or not. I don't have to mitigate
anything that I am not exposing myself or my crew to.
One way of evading risk in the air operations is following the air
operations, missions check list and watchouts (pages 43 and 44)
Response Pocket Guide". "Just say no" to unnecessary
Too may times we are asking for air support when there are other options
the mission is going to be totally ineffective (trying to stop a head fire
in timber with retardant). Ask yourself, is the mission essential, is
there another way to do it besides using aircraft? Turn the aircraft off
when you are done with them and turn them around when you don't really
Your comment about Hotshots and others being able to "beat feet"
worst case scenario is too bogus to spend much time addressing. When was
the last time you looked over the South Canyon report, or studied any
fatality fires involving crews?
Evade risk when you can, otherwise mitigate it using all the risk
management tools at your disposal including, the Turn Down Protocol. Stop
accepting unnecessary missions and assignments. If someone asks you to
do something stupid (unsafe), disengage until you can figure out a better
(safe) way to accomplish the job.
||I've been reading this forum for a while now -- it's always informative
and enlightening. Here are the details on Paul Gleason's California
The service will be held at the El Cariso County Regional Park in
California. This is off the I-210 freeway northwest of Pasadena,
California. The date is Saturday, March 15. For those that may
to fly in, nearest commercial airports include Los Angeles, Ontario, and
Orange County. Please note the attached links for map and hotel info
The service will start at 1200 hours and last until 1400 hours.
Paul, he would not expect you to get all dressed up for the service. He
be pleased to see Hotshots in their T Shirts. Paul lived for the outdoors
and accordingly, this service is outdoors. Spring weather in Southern
California can include rain. Seating will not be provided. Please come
There is a fund for contributions to Colorado State University being
so please plan on that rather than sending or bringing flowers.
Should you feel the need to write a story about a memory of Paul, Karen
Gleason is collecting them and will possibly put together some sort of
compilation. For now, we will collect these cards and letters at the
memorial and she will provide us with an address to send info to in the
near future if you cannot attend.
The California Hotshot Steering Committee is the point of contact for the
planning of the this memorial service. Jeff Koenig is the IC (909)
(See attached links for travel maps to the park, airports, and lodging)
Thanks for the post,
Our pleasure. Thanks for the info. If the yahoo map link doesn't work
for you, here is a link to MapQuest on the links
page. Put in your own starting point. The final destination is the
park: 13100 Hubbard St, Sylmar, CA 91342-3304.
With comments on the Blue Ribbon Panel Report, let me add this.
Those wanting to help out the AirTanker community with achieving PSOB
benefits should be reading the posts on the AAP
message board. There's info on what you can do to write letters and
how to follow the progress of the Bill and there's Jim Barnes thank you
note to the CDFers and others who have helped so much. There's also a history
page and FAQs about
the effort, as well as info on Cubin (WY) kicking
things off and introducing the Bill in the House of Reps.
||RE: J's comments and the Blue Ribbon,
You know, one thing that I think either a lot of people have either
misinterpreted or the authors of the Blue Ribbon Report have got wrong is
the implication of choice- can we really say, "No, we're not going to
fight this fire. We don't have enough resources available this summer. See
ya guys." The answer has to do with J's "more with less"
commentary. Really, the reality is not so black and white on the ground
While the Blue Ribbon report referred to the Forest Service's culture as a
whole, the fact is that what they're really talking about is the fire
aviation community, a relatively small but important sect of the whole
fire management organization. And their point is well taken- cutting
corners when it comes to flying airplanes gets people killed. If your
airplane fails, you die. But if your chainsaw fails or your pulaski
breaks, you bitch and moan and go to supply the next day and maybe you
don't punch in that last section of line as quickly as you wanted to. But
doing more with less on a groundpounder level is sort of okay. It's a
matter of efficiency rather than safety, at least in the immediate life or
death sense. But in the air, you are beholden to your equipment in a way
that ground crews are not and will never be. Worse comes to worst, a
hotshot can always beat feet. Pilots do not have that option.
My point here is just to be wary of the context in which you view excerpts
of the Blue Ribbon Report. Things that are okay on the ground are often
not okay in the air, and things that are not okay in the air may be
acceptable on the ground. Case in point- work/rest guidelines. Pilots need
their sleep- period. If they violate work-rest guidelines, they don't fly,
simple as that. But if an engine company or a hand crew is a few hours
short on sleep, well that's acceptable as long as it doesn't happen all
the time or to some extreme degree. And before anybody jumps on my case,
yes i know what happened with the Entiat crew at 30-mile. My point is just
a general one- the rules on the ground are more malleable than the rules
in the air. The stakes get higher as you gain altitude.
And in regards to the Forest Service's "can do" attitude, here's
my two cents- Federal Land Management agencies don't just have "can
do" attitudes for nothing. The public mandates that we "must
do" something about wildfires. Managers adjust the aggressiveness of
their strategies depending on the resources they have on hand, but no
matter what, the job has still got to be done. Safety first, yeah, but we
don't get hazard pay for nothin.'
In an ideal world there'd be no falling rocks, rotten snags, or downhill
line construction. That world may exist, but don't expect to get
dispatched there anytime soon. Risk MITIGATION, not risk evasion, is the
game we play.
Doin' the best I can with what I got.
||This is the announcement for Paul's Colorado service.
The service will be held at the Lookout Mountain Community Church
west of Denver CO. Please note the attached maps. Date is Saturday
Doors will open about 1000 with the program starting at 1030. It
We are working on setting up a fund for contributions to Colorado State
University, so please plan that rather than sending or bringing flowers.
Please do not bring fire trucks or other apparatus to the church. Their
parking lot will not support all the weight and there will not be a
Knowing Paul, I would not think he would expect you to get all dressed up
for the service. He would be pleased to see hot shots in their T Shirts.
Also, for your information, there will be another national memorial
held on March 15 (I think. Please wait till you hear more details before
you make travel plans) at the El Cariso State Park outside of Los Angeles
near the site of the Loop Fire. I believe they are planning the service to
be similar to the one here, including start time of sometime in the
morning. Contact for this service is Jim Cook in Boise. (See post above
more info and the local contact person.)
Should you feel the need to write a story about a memory of Paul, Karen
Gleason is collecting them and possibly will put together some sort of
compilation. For now, we will collect these cards and letters at the
and I assume she will let us know an address to send to in the near
Ab Note: The MapQuest attachment didn't come through. There is a link
to MapQuest on the links
page. Put in your own starting point. The final destination is 534
Commons Dr, Golden, CO 80401-5705 US. It's about a 15 minute drive from
I think you and DM did a disservice to Big J by jumping on his case. I
understand the point that you and DM were trying to make. I'm not so sure
you understood Big J's point.
I believe Big J was trying to say that culture affects wildland
safety in ways that are sometimes insidious and difficult to detect. Big
J's quote wasn't just made up by a "dumb ol' reporter" (no
reporters sometimes get it right), but came from the Blue Ribbon Report on
Federal Aerial Firefighting. Now, I don't agree with everything in the
Ribbon Report, but I think it is worthwhile to read the report and
the implications for aerial and ground-based wildland firefighting
Here are a few other quotes from the Blue Ribbon Report:
"The presentation of land management agencies' requirements and
including the aviation program, to obtain appropriate funding is clouded
agency cultures. This results in appropriations that are based on what the
agencies have been able to justify for predicted activities. Large
supplementary appropriations, typically triggered when fires grow to a
certain size, suggest that the base funding profile is insufficient to
control fires, while too much funding is devoted to the control of escaped
"The apparent, but possibly illusory, reality that funding is never
sufficient has bred a culture that accommodates risk in aerial
"A culture that emphasizes cost-efficiency has also created an
but hazardous, "can-do" ethos that pervades firefighting
Unwittingly, the Forest Service has exploited the passion and willingness
of its firefighters to do more with less. But this approach fails to
confront an incompatibility with safe aviation, considering cost when
is not a clear understanding of the effects that result from apparent
savings. A cost emphasis also sends strong signals to operators and
supervisors to encourage and reward a "can-do" attitude, despite
of resources or having to compromise safety. As one regional aviation
officer commented, "We are captured by our own success; we always
find a way.""
"Firefighters have become almost completely reactive by accepting
as a standard way-of-life. This leads pilots and other firefighters to
more shortcuts and risks every season."
"Shifting from a "can-do" culture based on chronic
shortages to practices
based on viewing fire emergencies as a "business," where
performance replaces crisis management, would seem to enhance overall air
operations safety. Management attention can alter "can-do"
foster a more effective, safer culture."
"Pilots have sarcastically referred to this cost-focus philosophy as
"budget protection" rather than "fire protection." In
contrast, a Canadian
philosophy states, "We can't spend too much the first day [of a
seems to justify spending money on early containment of a fire, and doing
so in an operationally effective way that minimizes the number of escaped
fires. In the long run, the Canadians believe that they spend far less for
a quick-response capability designed to contain small fires than they do
fight fires after they grow large."
Ab and DM, I doubt that either of you would disagree that the best way to
keep exposure low and people safe is to attack a new start with
well-trained, well-equipped, and physically fit firefighters before the
fire has a chance to grow. And I think we can all agree that reduced
budgets will impact our ability to do that.
On two occasions in the past three months, I have listened to senior fire
managers state that this year's fire budget will be drastically cut, that
upper management is dissatisfied with the perceived lack of aggressiveness
displayed on some fires last year (Biscuit was one of them), and that an
emphasis on initial attack is one of management's goals this year. I know
that their intent was to use resources more appropriately and inspire
middle managers to keep fires small. But that message could also be
interpreted as "do more with less."
Like I said, I don't agree with all of the Blue Ribbon Report. But it
should make us reflect upon the fact that a very distinguished panel of
safety experts feels that we have some enormous blind spots when it comes
to firefighter safety. I think that is what Big J was trying to say. Let's
not stifle debate on such an important matter.
Good quotes.... Stifle debate? I don't think that's possible with all
the adrenalin reporting for duty that occurs here on a regular
I didn't jump on Big J's case and I understand what he or she is saying.
We say it here often and always appreciate anyone reiterating that reduced
resources often leads to a "culture" that does not put safety
first. Trickle down effects on firefighting culture... potentially deadly.
Where I am coming from are the Blue Ribbon Panel Report and the Safety
Alert regarding reduced aerial resources, posted on 2/22. On the ground,
we must continue to fight fire as safely as possible, adjusting our
tactics to account for fewer airtankers even if homes and forest burn.
Less aerial support - having only 3/4 of the airtankers or less - is a BIG
change. However, this is not the Forest Service saying we have to do more
with less, this is the President (and the Congress?) saying there will
be less funding, probably including less funding to replace aging
aircraft. (Competitive outsourcing, privatizing government, may be as dumb
as a box of hammers, but that's another topic.) Right now the tankers are
grounded and being inspected for the safety of their crews. This next
season as the adrenalin flows we must guard against fallacious thinking
that we must do more. I am saying that the "bosses" Big J talks
about must continue to put safe tactics first 'cause those in Washington
probably are not budgeting for safety.
There's a meeting going on now, topics are air resources and the
direction/plan for the aerial offensive. Perhaps by the end of the week
someone from that meeting will write in and tell us more about what will
be available, where and when. Ab.
||Before people get all uptight about Big J's article, think about what it
is saying. It was not saying the Forest Service tells people to do the job
unsafely, but because of cost cuts and resource shortages that is the
result, we all want to perform and often we don't have the tools we need
to do it right. All fire agencies have this problem, we know what we need
but even when we don't get it, we get the job done anyway. Last year CDF
ran side by side comparisons between 3 person engines and 4 person
engines, a 4 person engine company was able to complete a hose lay in
almost 1/2 the time. CDF is still running many 3 person engines. NFPA did
a similar comparison while writing 1710. Standard fireground evolutions
were conducted, at the conclusion of the task the crews were assessed, 3
person companies were exhausted and incapable of continued safe operation,
4 person companies were nearing exhaustion, 5 person companies were ready
for more work. The majority of fire departments run 3 people on an engine,
some only run 2. Some of the larger or more progressive agencies run 4,
only a handful of the busiest run 5. That is a safety issue, but the job
gets done anyway and most of the time no one gets killed.
The Federal wildland agencies have been funded and 60-70% for years,
finally 100% came down and that already looks like it is going to be gone.
Look how many resources were out there however briefly, and look how we
have learned our business, almost all of us have learned to fight fire
understaffed and under funded to the point most of us don't even realize
it. Next time you fight a fire and 4 type 2 crews are working where 6
IHC's would normally be, you are making do; that is not the safest way to
go, having enough IHC crews would be the safest, using Type 2 crews is a
calculated risk. Sure you will (or at least should) adjust your tactics to
the crews ability but that is not the samething as having your most
experienced crews out on the line making those decisions.
The fire service is notorious for getting the job done despite the
obstacles we face, that is one of the aspects people admire about
firefighters. We also continue to get new job requirements on top of the
old, sometimes we get these assignments without the proper training but it
still needs to be done because no one else is going to do it. The fact
people were complaining that they didn't know what to do with all the
extra Mel crews (joking or not) and that people don't like to turn down
assignments that are not perfectly suited to their resources is exactly
what that article is referring to. To most of us working short handed, or
with obsolete equipment, or working 20 hours to get the line tied in is
just how the job is done. It is to the point that walking away because we
don't have the ideal situation is unthinkable to most of us. That is
different from turning down an assignment do to more tangeable hazards
such as working in a saddle, or an area with poor escape routes because
those kinds of things are not the accepted standard which makes it easier
to look at your 10/18, and say I'm not doing that.
You don't have to agree with me but I don't find that much to disagree
with BigJ's interpretation of it. I didn't take it as an insult or an
accusation of the Forest Service or the fire service as a whole more just
a statement of our unconscious acceptance of the situation. It is kind of
funny if you think about it without the human cost, we fight fires with
aircraft that are too old to be useful for anything else except putting
them in a museum. In fact some of the loudest critics are those who want
the PBY4's made into museum pieces before they are all gone.
Just something to think about before the defense mechanisms kick in
||Ab, as I read Big J's post I was formulating a quick and heated
but you handled it with your normal eloquence.
50 push-up rookie mistake for believing what is written in a news report
about our business. Assume the front leaning rest position Big J....
Just read your post with the reference to Palestine. Have you had a chance
to eat at Coffee Landing??? One of my favorite stops when I get in that
neck of the woods.
||I was just reading an article on the web about the C-130 crash in
Walker, Ca. last season, and I came upon a quote that should be in the
back of our minds as crew members, but especially as module leaders......
"Unwittingly, the Forest Service has exploited the passion and
willingness of its firefighters to do more with less."
It's true this coming season, and for seasons to come. Budget cuts,
outsourcing, lack of large tankers, and other factors (most seemingly
related to the almighty dollar) have left us with less than adequate means
of doing our job while maximizing safety and efficiency. So now with that
being said we are expected to make up for what we are lacking with less
people and fewer resources, but we do, and we will continue to, because we
love our job. I think that quote means a lot. Take from it what you will,
but the great thing about this job is that we can learn so much from
others......... I just hope all of our bosses are not to the point where
they think their time to learn and change is over.
Here's the article from the firenews page, airtanker current events
Big J, the Forest Service, BLM, NPS, CDF etc does not require us to do
more with less if that is unsafe. For professionals, firefighting tactics
must match resource reality. Forest and homes may burn that wouldn't have
with more or different resources, but my first responsibility is to safety
of firefighters on the ground and my tactics, given resources at hand,
should reflect that. Ab.
I am an experienced Seasonal Fire Grunt frustrated with the way government
executes its fire suppression. I know very little about the private side
but am very interested in pursuing a career if I could find more info.
Could you please send or point my fire eyes in the right direction.
||Hi to all,
Working the space shuttle disaster here in Texas, weather has been a
problem but we are flying when we can. Some of the missing pieces are
being found and hopefully some of the questions are being answered.
Lots of type 3 helicopters being used here and lots of hobbs time adding
up. Also, lots of security being being imposed so there is little I can
add except the exposure is great and the limitations are stacking up
faster than hot cakes on a Texas griddle. In a couple of weeks the
trees will hide the evidence from the aerial observers and our mission
will be over, but the folks here in Texas will not be forgotten, many
thanks to Jim Austin here in Palestine for his support and hospitality.
Truly one of the lifetime assignments that will never be forgotten.
God bless the ones that flew and the ones that are still flying.
||Are there any current Power Points for recruitment of potential
Firefighters explaining and showing what can be expected on the job? If
anyone has put one together and would like to share, it would be
trying to help a friend out, thanks,
||The firejobs page
is updated as well as Series
462 and 455.
Arroyo Grande Flight Crew has a GS-06 18/8 Helishot Squadboss position
open. Deadline 3/18. Ab..