June, 2003

Home of the Wildland FireFighter

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06/30 Hey Gang,

Saw the post regarding the CDF hiring freeze and the RIF's paper's report. Does anyone know if this is going to affect the current schedule "A" contract counties, or more specifically, the current firefighter/paramedic, fire apparatus engineer/paramedic list. I'm on the list for several counties as fae/medic and on the rank 3 list. I know there were some paperwork problems on the CDF side and have been told that phone calls (offers of interviews) will be coming this week or next. Also, I heard rumor that San Bernardino, San Diego, Riverside units came into some FEMA $ to up-staff schedule B engines, and that one county's admin chief was on the phone with Sacramento to find out how many personnel he could hire.

Anyone out there in CDF land can confirm or deny the rumor or answer the question about sched "A" fire personnel potentially losing their positions??

AZ Trailblazer
06/30 Re airtankers and the fire problem on the San Bernardino NF:

Good article SoCalCapt. I always understood that CDF got
planes from FEPP. They are flown by CDF contract pilots,
hence the need for the PSOB legislation in CA. Ownership
probably was an assumption the author made. I don't think
CDF would misrepresent itself intentionally.

We'll keep our fingers crossed that those beetle-killed trees in
San Bernardino don't torch off this summer.

Be safe, we have some flames and smoke up here in the north
part of the state.

NorCal Tom
06/30 Been lookin' for a nail. Even an old rusty one will do. Gonna' drive it in the wall to hang my spurs on. After near 40 years of resource (read forest) protection and management, 34 years as a professional, I'm hanging up my spurs today. Tomorrow is my first day of retirement.

Haven't done much fire in the past several years but still have it in my blood. Guess I'll die with it there. A few observations, based on my experience, for the pups wanting to get in:

The measure of a man (these days ff with my apology to the women) is not his accent or looks but his performance on the line or at his job at camp. Regionalism, racism, sexism, or any other ism has no place on the fireline.

If you really want to LEARN firefighting, particularly with a view toward supervision, go to work for a State forestry agency in a State where there is still a fire problem (still a few left in the South and maybe Texas). The training is pretty good and they fight 10 fires to a Fed agencies' 1. They handle most fires on IA and will give you decision making responsibility early on. Maybe the best in the world at mechanized attack and suppression of small wildland fires. If you want to work on large fires, especially in supervision, move on to a Fed agency in a few years. The experience should help you get in though some Feds seem to have a bias toward State people. Even with out-sourcing, I expect the Feds will retain control of most upper level supervision in the large fire organization.

Wherever you start, go on every wildfire or Rx you can. Closely observe how, where, and why a fire burns as it does. Try to make sense of training you receive by seeing how fire behavior principles play out on the ground. The extra two minutes you may gain by knowing what a fire is likely about to do may someday save you or some fellow firefighters.

In my opinion, with no desire to belittle anyone, the overall pecking order in wildland fire suppression expertise is:
  • USFS - best large fire organizers and tactics appliers in the world, in my opinion. Sometimes suffer from an exaggerated idea of how good they are that creates an elitist attitude which is off-putting to others.
  • States - With CDF at the top of that list
  • BLM and other Fed agencies
  • Vollies - though the quality and training varies widely from excellent to "shouldn't be on a fire"
Well, all THAT should generate some response. Before you start throwing too many rocks, know I have worked for, or very closely with, three of the four on the above list.

Anyway, while my knees and back are still in reasonably good shape it's time for me to hang up the spurs. One of these days, if you look around in a bar, roadside park, or other place where wildland firefighters may be seen and some gray-headed, somewhat overweight, guy gives you the thumbs-up or the overhead double-time fist pump, it just may be me.

Slay the dragon and remember the highest priority: everybody comes back.


Best to ya Mossback. Don't be a stranger just 'cause yer retirin'. Ab.
06/30 The Friday Fire on the Six Rivers NF is 495 acres as of 0800 today, evacuations
have been done, so far no structures lost, but there are a lot of houses in the
area. The Team that assumed command is Wendt's Type 2 team. Still some concern
about hot areas backing into Madden Creek drainage above Sandy Bar day use area.

The rest of the Six Rivers is hot and dry, and there have been 3 fires in the
past 2 days here. Fire Season on the SRF begins!

06/30 Re San Juan Islands fire:


Yeah that one was close. Melted the vinyl cover on the propane tanks on one of the trailers.

06/30 Summary info on the Davis Fire 12 mi W of Lapine, Oregon

Size: 16,000 acres


This just came in from the Information People on that fire. Ab.
Fire has been burning actively in lodgepole flats and mixed conifer slopes, both with large component of dead. Cold Front passage yesterday caused high wind condition leading to growth in fire size.
Resources: 20 crews, 3 of them hotshot crews, (10 more crews on order), 3 helos, 2 light, 1 heavy, 626 personnel fighting the fire. Central Oregon IMT is in charge. (Type II Team).
06/30 Ab-

I have a couple of questions to post....

1. Does anyone know where to get a good quality picture of the growling, snarling Smokey swinging the pulaski like Wyoming IHC and other crews use?

2. Out of curiosity why did 2/3 of the crews demob from the Aspen Fire? Were they that short on time? or did it slow down that much? Is Prineville still there?

watch your LACES....

Here's the link to the ASPEN FIRE SUMMARY: www.fireteam-sw.com/humphrey/aspen. We've also gotten an update this morning. I am not going to post the whole thing, but here are some important parts for firefighters. Basic story is that the worst is almost over. There are 4 hotshot crews left and Prineville IHC is not one of them. Read the fire info summary below. Ab.
Information Office: 520-749-6208

FUELS: Aspen fire is burning in heavy brush, ponderosa pine and mixed conifer and a mixture of ponderosa pine, oak woodland and chaparral.

SUMMARY: www.fireteam-sw.com/humphrey/aspen.

OBJECTIVES: Crews will continue to patrol and mop up along the north and northwest flanks of the fire. Aircraft will monitor the fire movement on Sameniego Ridge. Fire managers foresee reaching 80% containment in the near future, however the remaining 20% on the south end of the fire will be monitored and suppression action taken as necessary.

CONCERNS: There are concerns for a partially buried, but mostly above ground wooden power line located along Cargodera Canyon, west of the Wilderness of Rocks. Aircraft are attempting to check the fire as it advances towards the line. The power line provides electricity to the Mt. Lemmon communities. Three structures are threatened as the burnout progresses to the west and south. Slopes are extremely steep and the terrain is not suitable for safe firefighting. There are no natural safety zones and no topographic features that could be utilized for line construction.

RESOURCES: As areas on the southeast and northeast of the fire are reaching an acceptable level of containment, resources are being released for rest or reassignment on other fires. Currently four 20-person Hot Shot Crews, four type II crews, four air tankers, seven helicopters, twenty-eight engines and two dozers are assisting with suppression efforts. There are thirty-eight tenders providing water to helicopters and engines. Approximately 468 people are assigned.
06/30 hey Nerd,

Thanks for the proper spelling for Sopapilla's. It was real late when I posted and my spelling/typing wasn't up to par. Oh yes, fry bread. One of the last great cardiac arrest causing foods one will ever enjoy eating. Being a whiteboy firefighter working on a local Indian Reservation, fry bread and pinto beans is one of our staples here at the fire station. Can't get enough of it some days!! LOL. The pow wows are great for at least a dozen or so fry bread stands. I have actually had fry bread or Navajo Tacos fed to me on fires (Port a Pit caterers out of Tucson).

It goes with our saying, lets be real careful out there. 4th of July is coming up, the kids are getting restless, and its really hot and dry. I live in Northern Az at 5500' elevation and yesterday it was 109 w/ Rh 2%, and no monsoon on the horizon for us......

AZ Trailblazer
06/30 fires in oregon now include
1.skull creek (<100)
2.bear lake
3.sulfur creek
5.juniper (<100)
6.willow (<100)
7. daisy hill

ab can you put a link to oregon fires like you did
the arizona and new mexico fires on the news page?


I added that link to Oregon fires under "current events" on the fire news page. There may be other articles on the Oregon fires that come up under the more general search categories. You might want to look beyond just one current event category. Many articles out there. My, my, the Large Fire Map looks different than it did yesterday. Ab.
06/30 Hi Ab,

The photos I am sending are of a control burn the Forest Service did about 30 min. north of Charlotte NC. The Dozer is a D-5H with a trailer fire plow. Hope you can use them.


Nice ones, dozer and flame. Put them on the Equipment 5 photo page. Ab.
06/30 This is from GovExec:
“The Forest Service is weighing plans to let private contractors compete for the jobs of more than 10,000 employees, including those in its wildfire program, to meet White House competitive sourcing goals.”
The rest of this story is at www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0603/062903p1.php.

I don’t want to hear “competition is good” from anyone unless they've read the A-76 circular and really understand the process. It’s at www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars/a076/a76_rev2003.pdf . This isn’t competition where the best (or even the cheapest) man wins. This is a mountain of paperwork and a bureaucrat somewhere looks it over and decides whether or not you still have a job. This is forced outsourcing, pure and simple.

They tell me initial attack is the most effective. So what are you going to do about this?

- GT
06/30 sorta chuckling as I read some not so recent posts

first, I heard about the so cal flash Thurs nite; looked at the NIC site, and the CA OES/CDF sit report for Fri no mention. me thinks (KNOWS) news is faster here than in gov't rpts.

second: yea, I've heard the complaints about ROSS; dealt with similar IT programmers nightmares in the past; but that was before LIVES WERE IN DANGER! don't blame the programmers, they can only work with the information/needs parameters someone else provided. In the meantime, keep a handy supply of card stock - no GACC should be foolish enuff to depend on requests being guaranteed as filled until a confirmation is received! if a server crashes no one knows what is lost or stuck in the pipeline; so instead of losing your cool, keep the folk on the line safe!

third: CDF can't shut down, voters will revolt, heads will roll.

fourth: boys and girls, regardless your age; BE SMART, BE SAFE! nothing: ego, reputation, fancy joint, etc. is worth risking your life!

BLM Bob, TY for the insight & chuckles you provide.

I think I can speak for many lurkers, when the wildland fires are out because of winter rains or snows & the dragon dens up. Imagine this: dead of winter, hot shower, sleep, and after a few brews and a full belly sitting around a big log fire in home fireplace sharing FF "war stories".

In the meantime, July is on the horizon; think smart and BE SAFE your loved ones want you back after this summers adrenaline rush


OES didn't post the info on the pipe bomb left near the fire, they e-mailed it out perhaps so as to avoid giving anyone ideas... Ab.
06/30 AZ Trailblazer:

EEesh, what a gabacho! You were eating sopapillas (ll pronounced like a y)! Puff bread or fry bread is flatter and round instead of triangular. And in my part of the world (far northern New Mexico) you want to be real careful calling it Mexican food…it’s Spanish food, and don’t you forget it. If you’re ever up in our neck of the woods, stop by the Questa Café and have a Navajo taco for lunch with a sopapilla and honey for desert. You can just feel your arteries clang (a Navajo taco is fry bread topped with beans, “taco meat”, sour cream, guacamole, cheese, salsa, tomato, and lettuce) but it’s so worth it. Besides, there’ll almost certainly be a couple of firefighters in the place…just look for the radios and introduce yourself.

Nerd on the Fireline
06/29 Greetings Ab's and all,

Finally got in a new brush rig, we are all proud of it, me especially 'cause I designed it. We paid for it with funding from Tx Forest Service. This is a good example of HB 2604 funding at work. I will post a pic just as soon as I get back in the station with my camera. We have to baby it for couple of weeks though because it supposed to be the centerpiece truck at the vendor show at Texas A&M prior to the annual municipal school.

All of the torrential rains that slowed our fire season in May and June are gone now. They have simply postponed our inevitable season that is now about to get fired up. It really looks now that we will simply have a later and more volatile season than ever.

Everyone stay safe,
06/29 BML, checking through the fire news articles under Wildland Fire. Found this one in the San Juans. This one yours?


Nice photos.
06/29 We've got a fire on Friday Ridge Road, off Hwy 299 (some 30 mi East of Eureka, CA, nearer Willow Creek); it's spotting and torching. Lots of smoke. It was 120 acres when we drove past on 299 around 5:30 PM, said they had more than 250 firefighters working. Don't know which AT is dropping mud, but there is one. I could hear it. Also saw one Type 2 or 3 helo. It was really windy this afternoon. Not good news.

Lots of WUI residences up there on Friday Ridge. Wonder if they'll call it Friday (even if it is Sunday!). Some homes being evacuated, I talked to one of the residents while we were stopped. Hope everyone has good defensible space. Lots of homes with lots of brush, everywhere. How soon people forget the Big Bar Complex...

The CHP site (quick search FIRE) says the Friday Ridge Fire was started by a car fire. Looks like there are numerous fires in CA, check the Fort Tejon notes.

Wonder if they'll call up NorCal Team 2? Be safe.

PS Tahoe Terrie, thanks for the monsoon links. Interesting stuff.
BLM Bob, neat map. Thanks.
06/29 I don't think the WFU fires in NM will be going into suppression mode any
time soon, other than the odd perimeter maintenance here and there. This
can always change, but for now it's continued WFU.

And the Southwest Area monsoons seem to be more or less on time, except
maybe to the west:

06/29 SoCal report at 1600
Fire at Fort Tejon on I-5 southbound which is closed.
1000 acres
0% contained

The 97 Fire at the Mt. Shasta Vista Subdivision, a
rural subdivision in Siskiyou Co., near Yreka
400 acres, 20 mph winds, 40+ people evacuated.

CDF engines in route.
Starting to cook in CA. Be safe.


PS, the Lake Isabella fire is contained. Brief summary
here: bakersfieldchannel.com
06/29 The following link is to an article in Government Executive
Magazine that could be of major interest to lots of folks.


06/29 davis fire update (12 mi W of Lapine in central OR):
3,000 acres, 20% contained, 172 personnel, there
were strong southerly winds and a cold front came
through--> long range spotting, crowning, major runs.

some evacuations in the davis lake fire area, campers
along wickiup reservoir and several dwellings.
getting smoky here in the bend OR area.

sulpher creek fire update (5 mi SE of Mapleton on the
central OR coast):
650 acres, 30% contained, 160 personnel

06/29 Mellie,
Here are a few sites that have info about AZ monsoon.
Test tomorrow.

AZ Trailblazer,
I don't know if those FUM fires will turn into suppression fires.
Someone out there must know.

Tahoe Terrie
06/29 Hi All,

I have a question about the fire season winds of AZ and NM and the monsoon winds and rain. Tahoe Terrie, I looked at the NOAA site and the smoke columns in R3 move to the East. So prevailing winds in the fire season must be from the West (or Northwest) bringing air from the hot dry deserts of Southern CA and Southern NV.

The monsoon wet season must start when the system changes direction and wind direction shifts. All I can think of is that the winds shift around to come in from the S bringing Gulf of Mexico or Gulf of Cortez moisture that feeds the thunderstorms. RH goes up, rains come. Why would that happen? Why in July? Jet stream changes? Atmospheric pressure system changes? I heard the monsoon change is predicted to be late this year, maybe by several weeks in -- mid-July. Anyone know what makes the AZ and NM seasons change? (I hope that S-130 in R3 covers all this stuff. In R5 we get info on Foehn winds, North winds, Santa Annas, Chinooks.)

Another random thought. With the fine fuels as tall and drying as they are in Northern CA today, do mop up crews need to be extra careful? Seems like tall grasses could burn fiercely and might throw off more spots that could entrap unaware firefighters. Not fretting over it yet, just trying to think ahead.

Thanks for any clarification on my wind and weather questions.
Watch out for your inexperienced Type II crews.
Be Safe All.

06/29 Dear Ab;

Here’s a new logo for your collection, from a brand new crew: the Enchanted Circle Fire Chasers. We’re a vollie Handcrew based out of Red River, New Mexico, and made up of nominees from structural departments in Red River, Questa, Latir, Angel Fire, Taos, Taos Ski Valley, and Rio Fernando. This is our first season in existence, but I think we’re going to be something pretty special.

Your site is much appreciated, Ab; it’s good for getting all us newbies up to speed on the fire world.


I finally got it resized and put it on the Logos 9 photo page. Ab.
06/29 I just wanted to submit a pic of our type 6x Contract engine based in R-6, has a 235 gallon tank with foam proportioner and 4 wheel drive. We painted it bright purple because we were a new business durin' the 2002 season, and wanted to do something that would make it stand out on the fireline, so people we worked for would recognize us if they liked our work on previous assignments. (so far it's worked) lol


Put it on the Engines 7 photo page.
Also got in another photo of from the Bomberos Forestales of Bolivia. Posted that on the Handcrew 9 photo page. Ab.
06/29 Hi Ab.... as you might know, California is in the middle of a budget crisis (and who isnt). Rumors have been flying around that CDF (California Dept Forestry) is in a hiring freeze. I have looked on the CDF homepage and have found nothing. my question for you is if you know anything about this and if they are going to do their mid summer (2nd phase) of hiring that usually occurs in mid july?

06/29 Yup, Initial attack is getting heavier in the Northwest. We've been running one or more every day. It's shaping up to be our worst season in 20 years in NW Washington.

Watched an air show over a fire on Vancouver Island as we were mopping a small one ourselves. A sizeable column, but I haven't found any news on it. Anyone know a good BC sit report site?


BML, Check the Links page under "world". Under Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center, we have the best links for fire intelligence we could find for different regions (provinces) in Canada. If anyone knows more, please let us know. Ab.
06/29 Report at 1030 last night was that the Davis Fire (Davis Lake, near Lapine OR) was 1500 acres at that time and actively burning in lodgepole pine. 19 engines and 6 private Type 2 crews were on it, 172 people total. Hoff's Central Oregon Type 2 IMT was slated to transition in this morning.


NIFC Map of more large fires... Ab.
06/29 several fires in oregon. now one near davis lake,
1200 acres and growing. several others as well.
time to get busy.

06/29 A noteworthy article about airtankers and the fire problem on the San Bernardino NF...


The article says CDF owns the airtankers. I always thought they were on loan from the Federal Excess Property Program (FEPP) and flown by CDF contract pilots.

As of last year, if my recollections are correct, the CDF helicopters, OV-10's, and airtankers are all excess property on loan to the state for firefighting purposes and not "owned".

Did something change?

06/29 Anyone know the status and size of the fire in Oregon,
West of Lapine? Started about 5PM yesterday.

OR 'yote
06/29 Re sweet tea:
we put about 1 cup of suger per gallon of tea to
make sooooooooo good.... NCBRUSH6
06/28 hey Gang,

Just back from a 10 day outer on the Cherry and Picture fires here in AZ and taking a day off. This morning I was called up as MEDL somewhere on Gila . A little moisture coming on to the White Mountains and Gila. LOTS of DRY LIGHTNING in Eastern AZ/Western NM. I have been told from a rep from th BIA that all the fire use fires on the Gila are going to turn into suppression fires in the next 48 hours, due to the weather, lack of local resources, and 4th of July......

Can anyone confirm or deny this??? (R3 Disp or Tahoe Terrie)

Y'all been tak'in bout language and accents an all, reminds me when I was over in Texas '98 supporting their fire season. I was STLE to a bunch of AZ engines and had an opportunity to work with a guy from TN. His big thing was drinking sweet tea and that "puff bread".

I had no clue what the heck puff bread was, nor did our waitress. He went on to say that he wanted some puff bread and that the locals called it sophia's. You know, sophia, you eat it with butter or honey or add some refired beans to it. Come to find out he wanted a SOPAPIA (Mexican desert bread). I laugh my @ss off every time I think of it!

Lets be real carefull out there. The weather is getting weird again!
AZ Trailblazer

PS Just what do they put in sweet tea to make it so 'gash dern' terrible to drink??
06/28 Adios, Cache Queen!

Sorry I missed your party last nite, but I raised
a cold one in your honor with Smokey's Balloon

Don't drop off the site, now that you're a "certified
ole fart retiree": we still need your valuable imput!


Happy retirement, Cache Queen. Do stay tuned in. Glad to see you made the tv screen on that CNN special. Ab.
06/28 We Need Your Help Please!

Prior to the Aspen Fire the Mount Lemmon Fire District had ordered a new fire engine to replace their 1960 Engine pumper. As a result of the fire, the department will not financially be able to have the money to pay for that engine when it arrives this weekend. In order to keep the engine, the district needs to raise $40,000 by Monday 6/30/2003 at close of business. The total cost of the engine is $240,000.00. The initial down payment on delivery is the $40,000.00 with $16,000.00 per year for 12 years.

We are in need of financial donations to help us meet this deadline. We ask for your generous support to help us accomplish this goal and to pass this request on to friends and businesses in a timely fashion to meet our deadline.

Donations can be sent to Mount Lemon Fire District at any Bank One Branch.
Account Number 648556090

Thank you for your continued support during this difficult time.
Mount Lemmon Fire District

Ab Note: More specific information...
*Make check payable to the Mount Lemmon Fire District.
*Mail to P.O. Box 759,
Mount Lemmon, AZ, 85619.
If you want to make a donation via Bank One, go in to your bank and ask how you can do that most expeditiously. Bank One (AZ), Account No. 648556090. Donations are tax-deductible.

Information Office: 520-749-6208 Date: June 28, 2003, 9:00 a.m.

LOCATION: The Aspen Fire is located in the Santa Catalina Mountains, 20 miles north of Tucson, AZ.

STARTED: June 17, 2003 ACRES: 34,000
CAUSE: Human caused

NOTE: There are no evacuations planned for the communities of Oracle or Catalina. The Fire Information Center at the Catalina Library is open to answer resident’s questions. The Oracle Center will no longer be in service beginning today.

FUELS: The Aspen Fire is burning in heavy brush, ponderosa pine, mixed conifer and
a mixture of ponderosa pine, oak woodland and chaparral.

SUMMARY: It was another good day for firefighters on the Aspen Fire. Winds were still moderate allowing firefighters to make good progress. Weather conditions however, remained hot and dry. Crews on the north end of the fire continued to burn off of constructed dozer lines and existing roads. For a time, their advance was delayed when they encountered unknown chemicals in the vicinity of a mine. Crews were pulled away from the site until it was determined that the chemicals posed no danger. Firefighters continued to be aided by helicopters dropping aerial ignition devices in areas where access was difficult. This was done to further strengthen control lines. The eastern flank of the fire held today. The fire continues to back slowly against the wind on the west and south edges of the fire. There was some damage sustained to the Trico Powerline that services Mt. Lemon.

OBJECTIVES: Primary objectives include strengthening and holding the fireline on the southeast and east sides of the fire, continuing to strengthen and hold the north end of the fire, continue to monitor the west side of the fire and prevent any threat to structures or the community of Catalina, and minimizing damage to the Trico Powerline. The structure group is still patrolling and mopping up remaining hot spots in the Summerhaven community.

CONCERNS: The first concern is always to provide for firefighter and public safety, then to protect homes and other structures. Other concerns include protecting the remaining communication facilities on Radio Ridge, determining the best way to control the very steep southwest corner of the fire, determining the best way to mitigate concerns about the Trico power line near the southwest edge of the fire and mitigating damage to threatened and endangered species habitat of the Mexican spotted owl and peregrine falcon.

RESOURCES: Currently, twenty-20 person Hot Shot Crews, twelve type II crews, eight helicopters, 41 engines, one dozer, two air tankers and 1,269 personnel are assigned to the fire. Demobilization of some resources will continue today. These resources will either be released to their home units or reassigned to other fires.

RESTRICTIONS: The Mount Lemmon Highway is closed at the base of the mountain at milepost 0. The Control Road from Oracle and the San Manuel Road has been closed by Pinal County near Oracle Hill Mine. Sabino Basin Trail above stop 9 is closed to entry. For safety, hikers are discouraged from using upper elevation trails until further notice.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CENTER: The Catalina Information Center is located in the Catalina Library. All questions for Incident Command at Sabino High School, please call 749-6207/8 or 760-9142.

INCIDENT COMMAND POST LOCATION: Sabino High School, 5000 N. Bowes Road, and Tucson.
06/28 From Firescribe:

Followup on the IA on the Aspen Fire article of a few days ago.

06/28 here in mid northzone CA yesterday it was 106+ in the valley, high 80s in the high country (TG no more north winds). RH is low, no on-shore winds thus no delta breeze in the valley nor the hills; no help from Mom Nature anytime in the next few days

July 4 is on the horizon and the hills are already filled to capacity with cityslickers.
HEADS UP!!!! BE SAFE!!!!! lurkers and FF alike!

06/28 Another one for the lingo book-
In the time of no heavy air tankers…..
Washing Machine Charley-- Single Engine Air Tankers

(PC Disclaimer----since EVERYONE lately has a decidedly
lowered sense of humor, this term was made up without the
intent of disparaging, cutting down, or insulting anyone. Honest)

LCES and stay safe everyone….
06/28 Foxfire,

I wholeheartedly agree with you, It is not a sever problem, it is not a wire problem it is a PROGRAMMING problem.

The more I look at ROSS I feel the program is report driven. Meaning that the programmers, took a list of desired reports (from who I don't know) and worked backwards to develop a program. Everything ROSS does is tied to a report of some sort. Look at the travel screen. If a resource is scheduled to leave for an incident the next day at 1500, the resource is still shown on the home units resource list, at 1500 it is changed to "inroute" and at the arrival time it is again changed to "at the incident" and all tied to a report somehow. What was wrong with just having a comment box on the "card" with "DOT MOB" information? Once the resource is assigned it should not be shown on the home units resource list but as assigned to the incident with an ETA. Very simple, no travel legs to build, just a statement in a documentation box. Also once a resource hits its ETA, it is shown at the incident, what is the check to insure that the resource arrived at the incident? With cards you got a call from the incident and they told you who had arrived and you just marked in the little box. If the box was not marked the dispatcher "went on a hunt" for the resource if it had not shown up in a reasonable time. Keystroke how will it work with ROSS?

And while I am on my soapbox, what was the reasoning behind the "radio buttons?" I know that is the term in vogue with programmers now. Untold dollars were spent training dispatcher how to utilize the new screens, they even went so far as putting a color coded card in the "tips" page. Why couldn't the program just have a "card" as the main screen, that way a "block" could have been selected and various dropdowns could have appeared -- the dispatcher filling in the requested information and not getting lost-as happens now!

I am not a fan of ROSS, the more I work with it, the more I feel it is a crappy bit of programming. Don't tell me it is just new technology and I will have to get used to it. When I buy software, I expect it to work as advertised! How many millions has been spent on ROSS and what we got was a BETA version at best!

Waiting imPatiently
06/27 Here's what I could find out from the 209 about the Lake Isabella CA Sawmill Fire.

As of 1810 this evening, this is the info on the Sawmill Fire at Dutch Flat, N of Lake Isabella. It's 450 acres, 25% contained. Today there was spotting due to erratic winds in and around structures.

12 hr projection is that Wofford Heights, Hungry Gulch, Dutch Flat, Isabella Highlands are potentially at risk. 350 residences are threatened.

The Isabella Highlands evacuation is still in effect. Also evacuated surrounding campgrounds due to spot fires. Closured Hwy 155 as the main electrical distribution line runs through the middle of the fire. Adverse winds, steep terrain, inaccessibility to structures are concerns.

Tomorrow's Forecasted Weather: Wind Speed: 8-12 mph; Temperature: 99-101;
Wind Direction: northwest; Relative Humidity: 6-12.

Resources on the fire: 3 SR Type 1 crews, 7 state ST Type 1 crews, 1 SR Type 2 crews, 3 Type 2 helos, 1 Type 1 helo, 10 SR engines, 7 ST engines, 1 ST dozers, Overhead, etc to make up 438 personnel. 8 ATs

Be safe all,
06/27 The LP sent an immediate need strike team of engines and our helicopter out of Arroyo Grande to Lake Isabella. I thought I heard them call it the Sawmill Fire on the Greenhorn District SNF. Correct me if I am wrong with the District and fire name.


Name is right, not on the National Forest. If interested, check out the location on Mapquest, Links page, geography. Enter "Lake Isabella and CA" Ab.
06/27 Got some starts in SoCal ...

brush fire at Lake Isabella, Kern Co.
brush fire at SR18 at Big Bear Dam, Arrowhead

SoCal FF
06/27 Has anyone read John Macleans' new book "Fire and Ashes" ?

What a great perspective from the human factor viewpoint.

Ground Pig.
06/27 Take a look at the lightning busts over eastern AZ and NM now!


06/27 Keestroke

I really don't give a hoot how they fix the server problem, that's not my concern, what is my concern is the safety and support of the firefighters on the front lines.......A dispatcher's responsibility is to support the firefighting community from the ICs and IMTs with resources to the groundpounders' equipment in a quick, reliable, efficient manner. I will concede that the card stock system has its flaws also, mainly human error, however, that human error coupled with a program that is non-user-friendly, and admittedly cumbersome, is detrimental.

You said it yourself .................."ROSS will work, but it will take a couple of years, yes years, to work out the bugs." ............. "but someday soon it will get easier and things will run smooth and those cards will be a thing of the past. Change comes hard in public safety."

My concerns, exactly.....years to work out the bugs........public safety.

06/27 I had to laugh at RWR's list and Ab's comments. It reminded of one time at
a fire when I was a DIVS and there was this crew from Arkansas. After the
morning Division briefing, I was standing by and listening to the Arkansas
crew as they got lined out for the day. I was completely baffled by their
accents as they talked among themselves - I could barely follow what they
were saying to each other and it made me wonder how I sounded to them. So I
leaned in and said to them, "Your accents are really something. Let me ask
you, how do I sound to you guys, can you follow what I'm saying?" One ol'
boy spit some snuff and said, "Aww hay-ull, we kin unnerstai-an yew a LAWT
better 'an we kin unnerstai-an' each awther!"

Yers in universal understandin'

I have sometimes wondered how people who write in here sound, what kind of accents, how raspy, deep or high their voice. Ab.
06/27 Ab, I have a contribution.

For those LURKERS with time to burn who would like to view the smoke plumes from the R3 fires, check the Links page under Weather. Go to the GOES 8 Interactive link. Read the directions the Abs provide. If you click 1) 100% and 2) Animate and then 3) click on the state of AZ on the map, you get a close up animation of AZ and most of NM. The plumes are not as dramatic in the morning as they are later. Interesting to check.

Also, lightning is predicted in the SW this afternoon. The weather sites on the Links page that show lightning (Lightning Explorer, Accuweather) are also interesting to check every so often.

Tahoe Terrie
06/27 Another take on FF terms.

Communicating with the Red Team

Working with the Red Team, the Type 1 Fire Team from the Southern United States can be a challenge. The task lies not in fire suppression, but in actually communicating with team members. Many have heard terms and expressions that are not used in the West, most believe, are not used in the English language at all. But the Red Team's got em'. So for safety and training purposes, here is a glossary of terms to help the rest of the firefighters and support personnel communicate with the Red Team.

1) Yallerdup - refers to a person wearing Nomex (yellow) fire clothes. "They're all yallerdup and ready to fight fire".
2) Stanchanicart - used by overhead at fire camp. An extension cord.
3) Directly - soon or right away
4) Purtnar - very close or similar. "I'm purtnar starvin' ".
5) Swuft - level of intelligence. "He's not too swuft is he?"
6) Frost on the grits bush - The weather is very cold.
7) Time to butcher the hogs - another phrase meaning the weather is cold.
8) Cheetyit? - this asks if you have dined recently.
9) Howzyomamanem? - (phonetically: howz/yo/mama/nem) - this asks you about the health and general well being of your family.
10) Yontsum? - this asks you if you would like to partake of what the asker has; i.e. "yontsum coffee?"
11) Youins - a reference to a group of people when the asker is not sure of the number in the group. "I think we've got enough for youins."
12) Yall - a direct address to a group of people. "See yall later."
13) Allyall - plural of yall.
14) Coves, holler, run, and draw - these are all terms referring to a piece of land, in most cases a canyon or gully.
15) Ridge - a more specific reference to any piece of land without standing water.
16) Skunkin round - a fire that is not burning hot or spreading fast.
17) Narry - long "a" - a small or slim opening. "That's to narry to get thru."
18) Narry - soft "a" - meaning without. "I ain't got narry a thing."
19) Yamway - refers to a person going off in a certain direction. "You go this way and we'll go yamway."
20) The following terms refer to a wildland fire burning actively:
" Woofin' "
" Hottern' a depo stove "
" Runnin' like a turpentine dog "
" Rompin' and stompin' "
" Diggin' taters "
" Runnin' right smartly "
" Snortin' "
" Walkin' the dog "


haw haw haw haw. I'm sure that Southern Area folks have some western terms/ pronunciations of ours that they have trouble with. Communication on a fire... Must speak the same language... Ab.
06/27 Here's a scary prospect:

California Department Of Forestry Announces Layoffs
Cuts Would Not Take Effect Until After This Fire Season

06/27 RE: jersey boy & nerd on the fire lines posts on homes in the interface

I certainly don’t have all the answers, but when the responsible wildland agency runs into this situation (if there isn’t some law to force the issue) they need to document- document- document. Many moons ago we had a similar situation where one of the burned out homeowners filed a lawsuit against the agency but the judge threw it out as the agency had shown where we had informed the landowner of the problem, informed them on what they could do to help protect their home etc and they had taken no action.

I personally have no problem saying (and I have done this) to these types, that if that’s the way they feel they shouldn’t expect suppression personnel to risk their welfare trying to protect their property when they haven’t lifted a finger to even take the simplest of precautions. And (where other homes are adjacent) "when" their home burns if there is a fire they are putting additional risk to their neighbors homes, so if they burn they should be prepared for legal action against them from their neighbors.

Although its hard for some of us to fathom, some people just don’t have the faintest idea of wildfire at all, especially when life long "city folk" purchase their dream home in the WUI. I have actually had people tell me "those pine trees wont burn, they are green!" Education is the key, if for nothing else to PYA

06/27 Firefox

While that fixed that problem, it has always been known it will a pipe issue since it is tied to the internet, not a local server. We in everyday life use the internet to do everyday business, but they are usually spaced out, even with all the people in the world. We all do not order 45 things from eBay at the same time, so we really do not see the slow down. I know the ROOS group promises it will not be a issue in public, but behind closed doors, they admit they are having problems and need to keep working on it. Look at cable modems, more people use it, it slows down. Just a fact of life. I know, DSL doesn't do that. Sure.....

ROSS will work, but it will take a couple of years, yes years, to work out the bugs. And the dispatch community will get frustrated, wanting to grab them safe and easy cards, but someday soon it will get easier and things will run smooth and those cards will be a thing of the past. Change comes hard in public safety..

Just remember everyone it is not a CAD program. It is a resource ordering tool. So we will be using 2 primary computer software programs to get those resources to the incident. CAD for initial attack and ROSS for tracking all those. Can you say Alt-Tab? But you will see how a little mouse will make life easier once you get used to it.

People still hate MIRPS, but I bet they would tell you it sure is easier and faster to UTF or cancel an order.

06/27 NorCal Tom,

Here's what I wrote in response to the author of the article on the AT pilot's board:

There are many reasons why a fire might not be picked up on IA and they usually relate to resources being available, but not always. Could also be terrain, weather, safety issues, communication, etc etc.

ATs usually can't stop a fire on IA without backup. Groundpounder support is needed. Read the post some sections down on this site about retardant coverage and necessary groundpounder followup. And where were the groundpounders when the Aspen Fire started? If none were available, seems less likely tankers would be deployed alone. Money down the drain. All this is really just speculation. I can tripple promise you that things are never as simple as first thought. To the reporter of the article: Why don't you go to the IMT and ask what the strategy was???

06/26 Were smokejumpers available? Hotshots? Groundpounders?

06/26 Here's a new article on the Aspen Fire. A reporter looking to place blame? second guessing Initial Attack failure?

As most wildland firefighters know, the 1-3% of fires that escape IA and EA are the ones that can end up costing big bucks. Why are they not picked up on IA? Why was the Aspen not picked up on IA?

Well, bring in the Monday morning quarterbacks. This reporter thinks it might be how long it took the ATs to arrive. www.azstarnet.com. On most fires it's a lack of resources... This year we have fewer ATs. Sure. Why not pick on that resource? ATs are "sexy" but also not effective unless backed up by groundpounders.

NorCal Tom
06/26 Keestrokes......

ROSS did have a system outage (read: crash) on the 23rd....just had an update, a portion said..
"The system outage (of 6/23/2003) was directly caused by an incorrect switch setting for the data base logging function known as LOG_ CHECKPOINT_ TIMEOUT. ORACLE Corporation had initially suggested a value of 900 seconds. This value was too small which caused transaction posting to slow down. The value was changed to 10,000 seconds. This is not a setting which is typically monitored. A monitoring process will now be established to mitigate any future opportunity for this to occur. The MTS_MAX_SERVERS setting on the database was raised from to 45 which allows for more simultaneous server processes".
So there...business as usual....although rumor has it that the Southwest threw in the towel and is using card stock.....

06/26 This is the apprenticeship announcement that someone asked about several weeks ago. We'll post it on the job page too, but wanted all who are interested to see it here. This is an opportunity to forge a career in wildland fire fighting. Ab.

For all those seasonals out there who are looking for a 13/13 with the FS or a WAE with the BLM....

The following job announcement is listed on USAJOBS located at http://www.usajobs.opm.gov

Position: Student Trainee - Range or Forestry Technician
Series/Grade: GS-0499-04/05 Full Performance: GS-0455/0462-05
Announcement: BLM/FA-03-60
Closes: 09/30/03
Duty Location: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming
This position is: Open to all qualified persons
Web Address: http://jsearch.usajobs.opm.gov/summary.asp?OPMControl=IO5938
06/26 JerseyBoy's law

Strikes me as just another blow against those of us who believe that people living in the “Stupid zone” (great term, Mollysboy…can we inaugurate that into the jargon page?) should fry, I mean pay for their lack of foresight. I was driving through a community not far from my home this past weekend and noticed a four-story, probably million-dollar “cabin” with a cedar shake roof completely surrounded by very dense second-growth, unthinned forest and backed up to unthinned forest service land completely choked with 2-3 foot deep dead-and-down. This “cabin” had trees built into it so that there was actually canopy under its eaves and growing up through its deck. Then I was told that the home owners had refused the municipal thinning crews’ offer to thin their land FREE OF CHARGE on the basis that it would damage their privacy. And so if their home burns, this would somehow be the Fed’s fault? I mean, shouldn’t there be a clause in there about gross negligence?

Nerd on the Fireline

Nerd, the term Stupid Zone came from Ed Quillen in some articles that vfd cap'n linked us to some months ago. If you haven't read the articles they were good. Once again, here are the links from vfd cap'n's 4/11/03 post, worth a read:
The articles by Denver Post columnist Ed Quillen from
1998 ( www.custerguide.com/quillen/eqcols/19985313.php ),
2001 ( www.custerguide.com/quillen/eqcols/20018074.php ) and
2002 ( www.fs.fed.us/rm/main/pa/newsclips/02_05/0526_stupid.phpl ).
06/26 Waiting Patiently,

This last Monday, they did their "all GACCs" test. It was not good. They shut it down after a while. The problem is mainly the pipeline according to those in the know. That's why the hour of death. IA is going to be the problem. To many people on the system trying to get their data out at the same time on a nationwide basis. Someone said MIRPS on it worst day ever (not many of those anymore) was never this bad. Other problem: everyone is going to see is so many layers. This was not supposed to happen. It was going to take the best of MIRPS and streamline the product, but leave government to it best and what do we get?

Again product is not the problem right now, it is too small an internet connection. May have to place servers at all GACC's with T3' to speed up process as a start.

06/26 Abercrombie,

Please find attached photo of - OLINDA HOTSHOTS 2003 (Victoria, Australia), for inclusion in your fire crew photos.

Wol Worrell
Wildfire Management Officer
Dandenong Ranges National Park
Victoria, Australia

Fresh faces and some nice equipment, too, I cropped the dozer on the thumbnail but left the photo complete on the larger version. I put the photo on the Handcrews 9 photo page.

Readers, if you haven't had the pleasure, try our new dropdown photo menu in its new location at the top of the page. Original Ab revamped the menu because the old one was getting too unwieldy. Thanks Orig Ab. Ab.
06/26 Hello,

I've been lurking and seeing the discussion on firefighter death benefits.

I'd suggest the family get a copy of the training course "Taking Care of Our Own: A Guide for Preparing for Line of Duty Death". This is an excellent course put on by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

A careful review might provide definitions regarding the "employee" status of ADs, and specific reference to the application of benefits to ADs.

I don't know that this will resolve the issue......but it might provide the family some information to argue their case.

Please sign me:
06/26 Anyone know anything about ROSS crashing or having a meltdown in the SW over the weekend? I have heard several stories but the people at the GACCs are holding to the party line that ROSS is great and this is no big deal. Their words say one thing but their voices tend to not tell the same story.

IMHO, ROSS was released too early with lots of bugs and way too slow. I wonder if any one could calculate how much money it is costing the government for a dispatcher to sit and watch the "dancing black bar?"

Waiting Patiently
06/26 Hey gang,

Just wanted to say thanks for all those who were able to make it out to Whiteriver AZ for Rick Lupe's funeral yesterday. Very good representation from all the fire management folks from the different entities and from Larry Humphrey's Team. Let us not forget the ones we have lost over the years and remember that safety starts with you.

the southwest is still the hot bed of activity. Things are starting to slow down a 'bit', but the next 10 day outlook on weather/fire danger is looking like more potential for large scale fire activity. Bring your "boonie" hats and sun screen you come out for a 14 day visit, it's hot and dry!

AZ Trailblazer
06/26 Wolf Mountain/ Grass Valley CA lookout:

morning abes,

nice job at the top of the page with the links, jeeze, it just keeps
getting better !!!

is wolf mountain lookout in nevada county, calif. in service this year,
or was it a victim of the lookout closures?

i've not heard them in morning line up this year at all. or did they go
to another frequency other than "local" ?

donna, dozer support
06/25 MOL

This is what we're hearing at CDF re the Riverside ECC via the IAP and with regard to the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning see HVAC) system:

Continual problems with the Perris ECC HVAC have created the need to close the CDF/Riverside County Fire primary ECC and coordinate staffing of both alternated ECCs until repairs are completed and the system is running consistently without fail.

The major problems/concerns are to maintain staffing levels and means to continue providing the high level of dispatch services to the Citizens and Contracts in Riverside County. Staffing shortages are a concern as dispatch and administrative staff have had days off cancelled and are working 12+ hour shifts and working in alternate sites in support of the HVAC repair project in the primary dispatch center.

Yesterday it was reported that the contracted HVAC repair crew has been on scene at the Perris Command Center since the start of the incident on 6/19/03 and are continuing their repair work. The staffing levels will remain in effect for the next 5 to 7 days. Fire primary ECC will coordinate staffing of both alternated Emergency Command Centers until repairs are completed and the HVAC system is running consistently without fail.

06/25 emt_micah,

Thanks for the offer to instruct. One neat thing about the summit was the attempt to open up dialogue and establish trust between the groups with different perspectives. The speeches from the governors and Gale Norton, along with the consensus recommendations, are on-line at www.westgov.org/wga/meetings/forest_health_summit.php.
Oregon Gov. Kulongoski's gave the best speech, IMHO.

It's funny that just about everybody advocates local input and collaborative for solving the wildfire problem, but OMB can dictate from Washington that 850,000 jobs will go to the private sector. As Kulongoski said:
"Again, we have to find a balance. We have to find policies that do the most good and least harm. This is more difficult than choosing one value and drawing a line in the sand against anything and everything that compromises that value."
Privatization seems to be a line in the sand. For the sake of ideology, the White House seems prepared to dismantle the land use agencies.

Oh, and just for the record, I don't recall posting to TheySaid about the packtest. I do now, however, regret that I didn't press Bosworth about the cement mixer idea when I had the chance -- on second thought, maybe it's best that I didn't.

vfd cap'n

06/25 MB

The columns you saw from your airplane could have been some others than the Helen 2 and the Aspen. Check the ones listed here
or here:


Todd in AZ

PS Aspen Fire Progression Map on Humphrey's IIMT site. Click on the small version to get the big one.
06/25 Dana,

You've hit the nail on the head. Alan Wyatt's case (currently being appealed to the U.S. Dept. of Justice with the support of Rep. Greg Walden) is considered by many to be a sentinel case - a case which could set precedent for Hazard Tree Fallers working on fires...and thereby could affect the death benefits of others currently disqualified under the agencies' contemporary definition of "firefighter." Where is the line drawn? When is a person a firefighter and when are they "support services"? We argue that when you put a yellow fire shirt on and cut burning hazard snags, that pretty much qualifies as fighting fire.

Shining a glaring light on one loophole at a time does have an effect. Too often, the status quo looms so big, sluggish and non-responsive it seems futile to fight against it. After working as a reporter for 15 years - most of that covering the Forest Service - I know change happens. Most times it's not welcome or comfortable. I've been screamed at in the hallowed halls of Forest Service SOs many times for "causing trouble." But persistence is effective. Silence is NEVER acceptable when there are honest, hard working people being treated unfairly.

Fire Momma
06/25 Book Ratings and Reviews: I’ve been meaning to do this for along time now so….

Fire on the mountain
This book did a very good job of explaining to me what happened on the South Canyon fire in 1994. The book has its critics regarding some of the author’s conclusions but it has helped me put the lessons learned in perspective and identify with the incident. Once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down. I highly recommend it to anyone in the wildland fire field. 4 Chainsaws

Fire on the rim
I really enjoyed this book and identified with many of the situations described. It follows the author on a fictional season of firefighting based on his 15 years at the Grand Canyon. I would highly recommend this book to anyone considering working for a Federal wildland agency to give them some idea of what the job is about and how its different from working for a city fire department. 4 Chainsaws.

Fireline: Summer battles of the west
Another book I recommend to people looking to work in wildland fire. Great photography and the author did his homework when researching the book. It is a very good description of wildland firefighters. I wound up using it to help answer some of my parents questions about what my job was. 4 Chainsaws.

This is sort of a memoir of a hotshot. I found this book annoying and enjoyable at the same time. I identified with many of the situations but the “Hotshot attitude” comes through very strongly. This is another book on my recommended reading list for those seeking work in wildland fire. 3 Chainsaws.

Young men and fire
This book investigates the deaths of 13 firefighters on the 1949 Mann Gulch fire which had a large impact on the way wildland fires are fought. The book is written in an unusual style and is almost the same story written 3 times from different perspectives, from the point of the author who lived in the area during the fire, from the point of view of the author as an investigator many years later and finally written from the firefighters point of view (based on the investigation and from survivors interviews). This style did not bother me and I found the book very interesting but I know many who found it unreadable. 3 Chainsaws.

More coming...

Thanks, Fedfire. You do have a glib "tongue". Thanks for inserting some punctuation too. Haw, haw!

Readers, for a fairly exhaustive list of wildland fire books, visit our Wildland Fire Books page which is linked to the Wildland Firefighters Book Review page. There is also a Child/Youth Fire Books page and a Child/Youth Book Review page. Some of these are very nice. We welcome reviews of the child/youth books if any family members have these.

Please remember that one way you can support costs of running this website is to order your books (or anything else that Amazon sells) after entering through our "Amazon Association Portal". We get a small "commission" from such sales. We Abs order most computer parts, software, books, etc from Amazon and have never had a problem with their billing or shipping procedures. They appear to be cost competitive and quick.

06/25 Old Fire Guy,

Hazard Tree Fallers are hired as a hybrid between contract (EERA) and AD (Employee). The EERA contract is for the equipment, i.e. saws, jacks, truck, 4 wheeler, etc. The faller is picked up AD - usually around the AD5 rate. The system is inherently flawed because the contracting officer's primary focus is "hiring equipment" and the faller comes along to operate it -almost peripherally. The equipment gets more scrutiny than the faller...a bazaar situation considering the skill it takes to fall hazard snags.

Providing our fallers benefits, as well as a voice and representation with the federal and state land management agencies in the fire suppression arena, was one of the primary reasons Northwest Timber Fallers was formed. With a contract in place, fallers would be hired as employees and deployed with significant more personal death benefit coverage than they are under the government's EERA system. But, the price of the faller's contract-hour reflects that. And that's where the government balked.

It is no surprise fallers have no benefits. They've grown used to that even when they're on a regular logging job. Like Wyatt's family, the realization that there is little left in the financial pot for the family, given the death of the faller, in most cases, the pain and difficulty of dealing with that reality makes it easy to shove the issue of life insurance/death benefits aside and not think about...until its too late.

Yes, Alan's family needs our prayers. Just as important, they deserve those of us who can to demand the system be altered. I've heard it more times than I can count from the major contractor players in the fire suppression industry that the Forest Service (or any other federal or state agency) takes about 25 years to incorporate meaningful change. For the falling community, that's not good enough. Professional fallers put their lives on the line just as much as a Hotshot crew member, a jumper, an engine foreman, or an IC. Playing the game of semantics doesn't cut it. Being ignored doesn't cut it. It's time to do something about it...which is what we're trying very hard to do.

Thanks for your thoughts for Wyatt's family.

Fire Momma
06/25 Old Fire Guy,

I noticed that you said:
"Seems to me that AD's are "employees", but that "contractors" are not."


That best sums up what ADs are I guess. They are not employees in that they have few of the basic benefits that real employees have. At least contract workers are employees of the contractor...who must by law be upfront with them about the benefits they have or do not have. "Employees" such as ADs "employers" may pretty much avoid any responsibility for failing to provide benefits required by the Fair Labor Standards Act by declaring them "emergency workers" whose pay and benefits have been "administratively determined"...which is what AD stands for.

This provides a cheap labor force for state and federal agencys for use in "emergency" situations...which are pretty well defined in the "loophole laws". The MN DNR got in a bit of trouble a few years back by using "ADs" for non emergency work, .ie gridding for lost persons/bodies. Although they blustered a bit when caught doing this they eventually had to provide regular OT pay and employment benefits for those involved in this non-emergency work. I wonder if the feds made the same mistake with using ADs for the shuttle debris search effort?

While it may seem like common sense that if you are being paid to fight fire you are a firefighter...the definition of "firefighter" has been legislatively determined...and common sense has nothing to do with that! I wonder if in the "outsourcing" push anyone has determined how much more it will cost to provide the basic benefits to these tens of thousands of ADs when they are employed by contractors...or if a "benefit loophole" will be provided fire contractors to avoid this extra cost?


One group that is working to benefit AD Firefighters: The AD Firefighter Association Check it out. Permanent link to them on the Classifieds page. Ab.
06/25 AZ Mt Lemmon, wes, Firescribe, and anybody else
I might have missed,

Thanks for the info on the Aspen Fire. I did want to
know about it, I read it and then got very busy. We
evacuated for a while, but all turned out well. We had
a large defensible space. Fire still burns near us and
there was gigantic damage to our community. My
family is now out of danger.

Thanks to those who keep this board going. I have
read here for years but never thought I'd need to write

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

And thanks to all of you who risk your lives to save
our homes and forests
. (Ab can you accentuate that
last part?)


You're welcome. We try not to risk our lives. Ab.
06/25 209 Report tonight (Tues) at 2030 that there's a wind driven brush fire running through downtown Albuquerque at I-40 - along the Rio Grande. 700 acres were burned at that time, it was 10% contained, 3 miles of line to build.

Residences, commercial buildings, infrastructure, state park are at risk. Crowning, running, spotting were observed.

5 engines, 2 dozers and 3 helicopters - 400 people - were working the wildfire from Forest Service and BIA to City of Albuquerque, City of Grants, Torrance Co Fire, Office of Emergency Mgmt, NM State Parks and multiple law enforcement agencies.

300 to 400 people were evacuated. Power was out for about an hour for 16,000 residents.

Within the next 12 hours, an I-40 bridge will be inspected by the NM State Highway Department for Heat damage. Tomorrow's Forecasted Weather...Wind Speed: 15-25 mph; Temperature: 93; Wind Direction: W-NW; Relative Humidity: 9.

Estimated control: 06/29/2003 at 1800.

06/25 From Firescribe:

Reminder that the Southwest area map of large fires is HERE.

Here's an unusual case of interface fire tonight, right in the heart of Albuquerque NM.
Wildfire in Downtown Albuquerque and another
Fear, uncertainty for those evacuated in wake of bosque fire

And in Colorado, SEATS
Single-engine tankers hit blazes quickly, precisely
06/25 Anyone know the situation in ABQ, NM??? Heard there
is a fire on the river basically downtown, Pulled Helicopter
off fires in AZ to go to it, and declared state of emergency
in ABQ???

R-3 Dispatcher
06/25 News from Washington, D.C.:

Idaho Congressman Craig and Simpson recently
introduced a bill holding the federal government
liable if fires from federal land damage private


I don't know the chances of this bill, but this raises
an awful lot of questions, especially in light of the
outsourcing movement.

Thoughts anyone?


Will never pass. Ab.
06/25 VFD Cap'n:

I have to admit that over the past several months you've really raised a ruckus here on TheySaid. I recall heated discussions about Tankers and Tenders, packtests and more. Sometimes it has felt as if you were shootin us Feds in the foot. But I've got to hand it to you, it sounds like you were our soul voice at the Governors Conference. Thank you for making the politicians think twice and even back-pedal when confronted with competitive outsourcing.


BTW: I too was a volunteer for several years before getting a fed job. I'll come teach at your academy.
06/25 Good Morning All,

Home again home again riggety jig... for the moment. The columns from SW fires are impressive from the air.

I have updated the the Jobs Page, wildland firefighter Series 462 and Series 455, also the FF Terms/Jargon/etc page.

Emails are coming in to FamilySaid. Let your loved ones know about that page. Family supports family there.

I added Arizona Wildfires and New Mexico Wildfires to the current event options of the Fire News page. For those of you who don't use the Links page to the max, you should check it out, especially under News and Reports for the NIFC Fire News and Maps. The SW News link (GACCS section) takes you to location and perimeter maps of some of the AZ and NM fires.

06/24 Anyone know what's going on with the CDF Riverside dispatch center?

06/24 Fire Momma,

A great many fire fighters are considered ineligible for benefits of any kind due to the loopholes the govt. employers provided for themselves. Unfortunately the folks that hire/recruit these firefighters are often unaware of the lack of benefits or simply fail to inform them that they do not have the normally provided basic benefits nearly every other employee in the USA takes for granted.

Thousands of firefighters have applied for unemployment benefits and/or workmens comp only to discover that according to the Feds they were not technically employed and so are ineligible for benefits even this basic. If a private business failed to inform job applicants/employees that they were forfeiting benefits they may have already earned by taking the job they are being offered, that business would be liable for suit or criminal charges. But since the employer is the Federal/State Gov.....you guessed it...they are exempt in the case of "emergency personnel" /firefighters due to loopholes they have given themselves. Few jobs hold as many surprises as wildfire suppression...and I suppose no one should be surprised at this one.

06/24 The Today Show had a good interview with Larry Humphrey. You can watch the
video free on MSNBC at www.msnbc.com/news/TODAY_Front.asp. On the
right side they have 8 videos to scroll thru. Right now the interview is
the 2nd one, right after Demi Moore. That's pretty good when an IC rates
up there with movie stars.


I'd say it's pretty good when Demi Moore rates right up there with wildland ICs. ;-) Ab.
06/24 Re: Firefighter life insurance.
Could someone who knows please clarify? Was Mr. Wyatt hired as an AD
firefighter, or was this a "contract" hire (EERA)?

Seems to me that AD's are "employees", but that "contractors" are not.

In these days of increasing interest in "outsourcing" that should be a
critical consideration. Employees have benefits and coverage by their
employer (agency). Contractor employees are covered by their employer (the

Prayers for Mr. Wyatt's family.

Old Fire Guy
06/24 Firecookie's Line:

Believe it should be Lives, Homes, Forests. In that order. Or at least that is what we're taught to see.

Bob G.
06/24 re: competitive out-sourcing

I went to Missoula, Montana last week to attend the Forest Health Summit sponsored by the Western Governors' Association. My reason for going was to promote a non-profit wildland firefighting school I'm starting in Colorado. In addition to offering single NWCG classes, I hope to start an engine boss apprenticeship program for volunteer firefighters, that would go beyond the 310-1 minimum ENGB standard with almost 270 hours of instruction as required for USFS and BLM engine bosses. The courses would be taught in 15 weekend sessions over 3 years, with agency mentoring in-between to aid in lesson comprehension and taskbook completion.

Anyway, my reason for going to Missoula was to sell this idea. Most of the other 400 attendees were agency folks from D.C. or regional offices, a strong showing from the logging industry and a fair representation of environmental groups. There was much agreement that our forests are in bad shape and less consensus about how to fix the problem.

Because the meeting agenda was slanted toward a particular outcome, the Bush plan was often touted as the best way - our forests will be safer and healthier with less environmental review, fewer lawsuits, and more commercial logging to thin the forests both near the interface and in the backcountry.

I frequently heard the comment that heavy logging must be allowed soon before more lumber mills shut down. People cited Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado as places where so few mills are left in operation that the infrastructure doesn't exist for much logging to resume.

I participated in the breakout session on improving wildfire suppression and prevention. The session included about an hour of comments from panelists including Jerry Williams, USFS director of fire and aviation, and Mike Wheelock, owner of Grayback Forestry.

For the remaining hour, some 40 participants were allowed to offer their recommendations to be given the Governors. Airtime was extremely limited, with those who chose to speak only getting a few minutes. While I was waiting to be called upon, I set aside my notes about the need to train volunteer firefighters to play a more meaningful role.

It had dawned on me that I had heard almost nothing the previous 2 days about competitive out-sourcing. I was less articulate than I had hoped to be. Yet, I said that I couldn't see how the ideas floating around (i.e. National Fire Plan, Implementation Strategy, the summit recommendations, etc. ) to solve the wildfire problem could be enacted while agency personnel were busy conducting studies to see if their jobs would be privatized. Like with the lumber mills, we risk losing the infrastructure of the agencies when we need it most.

When I finished, someone at the back of the room added, "Amen."

Still, the issue just about didn't make the list of 5 final recommendations, until a BLM state director said they were overlooking what I had mentioned. In the end, it was listed as: "Look critically at fire workforce management -- out-sourcing and regulatory issues."

I was still fired up a while later, when the governors were concluding a video conference with a Montana senator and asked if the audience had a question or two to ask. Nobody else did, so I raised my hand.

I first tried to pose the question to Montana's Gov. Judy Martz, but I stumbled on the wording so she had me come up to the microphone and camera. It came out something like, "Mr. Senator, I was wondering with all we're talking about here at the conference about improving forest health, how can agency employees get this work done while they're studying their jobs for competitive outsourcing?"

It must have thrown him off balance, because his first response was to ask, "Now, just who is this person?" Both Martz and Idaho's Gov. Kempthorne smiled and nodded in encouragement when I responded that I was just a volunteer firefighter. The senator back-peddled quite a bit before suggesting that I find USFS Chief Dale Bosworth at the conference and ask him the question, because he would probably be more knowledgeable about the subject. When I did ask Bosworth about it later, he only said that outsourcing is getting a lot of attention in the agencies.

I guess I still don't have the answers. At least I've found my voice to ask the questions.

vfd cap'n

p.s. Ab, please pass this posting along to Guy Pence, with my apologies for not having a better understanding earlier.
06/24 Nerd - no problem! I occasionally have that same nervous twitch that hits the "send" button too quickly, and I haven't been able to find the "recall" button yet!


I think here we all tend to "excuse" that little reflex. Sometimes makes life interesting. Ab.
06/24 While Flying between Albuquerque and Los Angeles at 28,000 feet today I saw two columns coming from the Tucson direction. (Must go look at the sit reports and SW News and Notes, etc and see what else is burning besides the Alpine and the Helen 2. Made a great grey/brown inversion at quite a high altitude. I'm pretty sure I was too far west for the fires to be in NM.

06/24 While all attention is on AZ, the Gila NF in NM has also had a couple of
large suppression fires develop very rapidly in the past few days.

The Jenny Fire in the northern Black Range will have a T2 team on it today
after taking a several mile run yesterday. Burnout operations were commenced
ahead of the fire to protect private property. The fire was upwards of 1000
acres late yesterday.

The Seco Fire in the central Black Range (near Reed's Peak) blew up yesterday
going out in all directions, particularly towards the east. Jumpers will be
put in this morning, winds permitting, to try to check the fire spread at the
crest. Other management actions will be discussed today. This fire is at
least several thousand acres in size and with Red Flag conditions today will
likely go much larger.

The Dry Lakes and Moonshine WFU fires have become very active and both have
and will require holding actions to keep them within the maximum manageable
area. Total size of these two fires in the Gila Wilderness is about 30,000

06/24 Dear Ab,

This just in... "Family Fights for Tree Fallers' Death Benefits"...written by Travis Seibert of the Denver Post (Denver West Section 2B, published today. Seems Hazard Tree Fallers are not considered firefighters, but "support resources" and Professional Timber Faller Alan Wyatt, who was killed last year FIGHTING FIRE on the Missionary Ridge fire in Colorado, doesn't qualify for firefighter death benefits. For all those who have a question about whether Hazard Tree Fallers are firefighters, check out Abs' photo gallery - Crews 8, where you will see fire clothing clad fallers cutting down extremely large BURNING TREES. These photos have been sent to Rep. Greg Walden's office to support his fight for Wyatt's death benefits for his family - who certainly believe their husband/father/son died fighting fire. Unfortunately, the Dept. of Justice just doesn't believe it yet. Suppose Alan's coroner's examination should have included checking for ash under his finger nails too?

Also, after the R6 Forest Service pulled up short from awarding the Hazard Tree Faller contracts for 2003, all contract bidders were directed back to their home forests to attain/update their Faller EERA. Hey! You can even apply for your EERA online now and you don't even have to look the contracting officer in the eye! How easy is that?! Problem is, even fallers who are actually QUALIFIED as a hazard tree faller will have difficulty getting an EERA from the Siskiyou, Rogue River or Umpqua forests. Seems the one contracting officer (the one and only....) assigned to process EERAs on this tri-forest area will be gone for three weeks...Where to?? one might ask ...when her job is far from complete? Well, we'll be checking around the Arizona fire camps in procurement to find her. As if there aren't enough agency procurement personnel to go around in that region? Give us a break!

It's time hazard tree fallers were given the respect other firefighters are awarded. Its hard, dangerous work. We all need to look out after one another.

Fire Momma
06/24 Hi,
Just curious to see whether they have filled the roster for the new all indian hot shot crew in san diego, Sycaun was the site I believe, and the announcement went out under BOR.

Please let me know
thanks, Nancy
06/24 Ab Note:

An e-mail came in that indicates that the pipe bomb incident has been broadcast far and wide. The memo sent out by the CA OES had pictures attached. It is a pdf file. If anyone is interested, please e-mail and I will forward it to you after tomorrow. Ab is on the road now and unable to post the photos or reformat the message at this time.

The jobs pages will be updated on Wednesday.

Be safe all.
06/24 Apology to Mollysboy:

On re-reading your post, Mollysboy, I get your sarcasm…but you had me seriously scared for a bit. Sorry I snapped back so hard…

Nerd on the Fireline
06/24 Not to toot our own horn... but we have some good pictures and information on the Aspen Fire.
Just thought you guys might be interested....

06/24 oh well sorry you feel that way, but if you were counting, most hotshot crews are at home, about 1/2 are there, so i guess that goes to show you are not as up to date, as far as the weather goes, at least as a contractor i try to save homes if mother nature blows too severe no force on earth can stop it but if the resources are there when they can help, let let them try instead of being so conscious of funds. instead of lives i wish no lives lost but have gone to many funerals of forest service employees who should have know better.

06/24 Regardless of weather you are a Fed Firefighter, or a private contractor, You
all have the same goal ahead of you. Save the Forest, Save Lives, Save
Homes. It's sad to see so many with the same ideas and goals arguing over
juvenile BS. So stop pointing fingers and do the job. Nuff said.
Ab keep up the great work,
just sign me
06/24 Mollysboy,

I was appalled by your last post…most of my training is in rescue, and the very first thing I was taught was that no rescue, no property damage, no other life was worth losing the life of a rescuer for. That goes double in fire, and triple in wildland fire; no stretch of forest or uninhabited home is worth a firefighter’s life. “Be Prepared to die up there if that’s what it takes”? If a supe said that to me, I’d walk off the line and take the first greyhound home, damn the consequences. We risk our lives, yes. Even in “safe” situations, a fire can blow up and take a firefighter, even a firefighter who is providing for safety first. (Don’t dishonor the memory of Rick Lupe!)

Please don’t advocate putting engines or anyone else into unnecessarily dangerous situations. I love my crewmates like brothers, and I’d hate to lose one of them ‘cuz some supe had your attitude and decided to stick us someplace where we didn’t belong just so’s he could “stick it to the Feds”.

LCES, everybody,
Nerd on the Fireline

P.S. I’m totally in favor of people who build in the “Stupid Zone”, especially people who build against the advice of their local fire protection agency, getting exactly what’s coming to them. That includes the property owner getting to sit there watching the firefighters watching their house burn ‘cuz it ain’t safe to try putting the thing out.
06/24 BendBulletin.com these crews in route to aspen fire from oregon

06/24 If you ever felt like writing a letter after work, this might be the time.

Legislation would put a lid on job competitions at Interior, Forest Service

The Anti-Outsource
06/23 Re: Contract Engines on the Arizona Fires.

So, are we losing homes because we don't have enough engines.....or, just maybe 'cause ole Ma Nature is kicking our collective butts, and no number of engines will really make a difference?

Maybe we need to get that rural Fire Chief from Trunbull, CO into the action: last year, he was quoted as telling a Strike Team of Engines that they "need to be ready to die up there if that's what it takes.....".

Maybe we can put the Contract Engines into spots that the fuels/weather/topography and experience/training say that we shouldn't be?? Super Engine Contractor: able to overcome Mother Nature where Feds fear to tread!!

Maybe NCBrush6 should ponder what a WONDERFUL day it will be when people who build structures in the "Stupid Zone" are held accountable for their actions, and the rest of us US Taxpayers aren't expected to bail their ignorant butts out of trouble with our $$, and by putting firefighters lives at risk!

Just one person's opinion, who's seen this scenario played out too many times over the past few decades!

06/23 r-6 fire/rescue,

Your comments are comical. What are you going to do when you get there that is not already being done? There are thousands of of folks there right now doing what they can, and almost every IHC Hotshot crew in the nation.

It doesn't matter how many people are there, when the wind blows like it has NO-ONE will stop or slow it down, but you probably already know that since you are one of the elite contractors from R-6.

As far as your comments about us Federal Folks getting " bit in the ass" because you're not there, who's being self-centered? I know on the Forest that I work on, we don't wish that misfortune on anyone. That is the difference between you and me.

06/23 Hey Ab.

Its been awhile since I have posted here.

I am wondering why no one has come in here and posted info on the pipe bomb that exploded near the origin of a roadside set out in California. (I believe I heard it was up on the Plumas.) Anyways, I was just wondering if I was the only one that heard about it. This is serious business. If there is in fact some whacko out there setting a secondary device intended to kill or maim firefighters in a wildland setting, we are in trouble. This is the kind of thing you might expect at a "traditional large scale terrorist event" but hard to anticipate while you're trying to catch a typical roadside set veg fire. I guess we all need to keep this sort of thing in the backs of our mind now and hope it doesnt become a habit.

XR5 Hotshot
06/22 While talking with the local hotshot sup a while back, I asked him
his thoughts on the absence of candy bars/jerky/nutrition bars/etc in
fire camps. He sez, "oh, you mean lickies and chewies"?

So there you have it.

Lickies & Chewies: supplemental/snack/quick energy food products
offered in large fire camps from the mid-80's through 2002. A source of
heated debate among top level administrators without fireline experience
in the winter of 2002/2003. Identified as a major cause of large fire
costs and targeted for elimination.

06/22 Last Tree Standing and the Raven

Concerning contract engines and crews. Like always, closest forces are ALWAYS the first to go to an incident. Then agency folks. Sorry that is just the way it is, it also the most cost effective at this point. Since the AZ fires are the only real show in the nation right now, there is no lack of resources. That is why contactors are not in high demand right now.

Where I am dispatching right now, the rotation for engines is as follows: Agency, State, Cooperators, neighboring centers, national contract engines, then contract engines. So far in all the years they have contracted equipment, this center has never had to go past the national contact when they have needed engines.

R-3 Dispatcher
06/22 Well we all ask the same thing.. in time they will call.. if they dont
it will be a sad day when homes burn due to the powers that be...
i do know that a state rep is burning mad that pvt engines are not
being used.. in time it will come out that land and homes burn due
to a agency trying to prove their worth......... ncbrush6
06/22 Ab,

Kudos to you again this year on your fantastic site- it just keeps gettin'
better. Your hard work is enjoyed by thousands- say again how many
unique visitors you have per month? Must be 95%+ lurkers.

For RO and others, a good portal for US fire maps and satellite images

FF's Dad

Nice website. Ab.
06/22 RO
Check out www.azstarnet.com for some maps (and other info)
showing the Aspen fire perimeter.


With only a 56 K modem available tonight, this takes forrrrreeeverrrrr to load. And then you have to click on maps and the slideshow page took 4 minutes to load! Once loaded, there are good perimeter maps there. Ab.
06/22 contract:

its surprising to see that with all the loses there, the government is being so
self-centered in their plans. i hope the get bit in the ass.

r-6 fire/rescue
06/22 Hi Folks,

We've been watching the daily sit. report and GACC reports ( like the rest of you) and have noticed that very few if any contract engines are working. What's up with this? Are private contract crews working or are they getting the run around also? How about the National Engine and Crew contractors- any work yet?

The private sector has spent millions of dollars to comply with contract requirements and it would be a shame if they were being shut-out by the Powers That Control.

Rumor has it that there is a going to be an Agency Only push. Is this the Government reaction to Outsourcing

Last Tree Standing and the Raven
06/22 From Firescribe:

Arizona Forest Fire Destroys More Homes

Airtankers Save Homes

More on Fire News via button at top of page. Ab.
06/22 Thank you AZ - Mt Lemmon. I live just north of Tucson. We see
the flames at night, the huge smoke cloud by day. I wish the website
for the fire would be posted so we could see perimeter maps and
news releases. We thank all the firefighters for working so hard for

06/22 Yo Ab(s)!

One of these might not be appropriate for your list, but here goes:

Test*cle - as in "Getting rather Test*cle" i.e. Testy, i.e. "Teste".

So how does this fit into an acronym for CDF -Schedule B? (It helps to know that the "B" stands for CDF's "Schedule B" which is the wildland fire part of the organization). One of my Inmate Firefighters was in that "T word" condition one night swearing and muttering, and I asked him what the problem was. He replied "Jeez Cap, you got us Crawling through this this Dam' F*%@@# brush!. In one of my rare moments of wit it occurred to me that that was the acronym for US! CDF - Schedule B. Probably too lengthy for your list. But if you're as good an editor as I think you are, it might work.....

I like this one: "Goathead", which the constant radio response "Go ahead" occasionally devolves into.

CDFMike from Arroyo Grande
06/21 RO,

As of 6PM, the Aspen Fire on Mt Lemmon was 7,534 acres. Since it's burning hot and fast in very rugged terrain, it will be very difficult if not impossible to contain. Fire conditions are extreme at times with HUGE flame lengths. We may just have to herd it around by building containment lines at a distance when we can and pulling even further far back for safety sake at times. Natural safety zones don't exist with fire and terrain like this. On the north side today the fire put up a humdinger of a good column as it burned in the chaparral, manzanita, and brushy fuels.

891 people are working on the fire including 22 hotshot crews, 6 type 2 crews, 7 helicopters, 22 engines, and about 220 overhead, led by Humphrey's team.

Over the next 12-24 hours they're predicting continued threat to some of the remaining homes in the Summerhaven, Loma Linda, and Syke area. Intense fire runs may threaten the observatory at Mt. Lemmon and there is a continued threat to Bear Wallow.

Yesterday evening, the fire made a run at Syke knob and entered the Lower Soldier area of houses. While 9 structures were probably lost in Lower Soldier, many more were saved by the preparations firefighters made over the last two days. While two towers were heavily damaged on Radio Ridge, east of the observatory, several more towers were protected because firefighters cleared brush and installed sprinklers. FEMA and local govt are supposed to come in to begin assessment of losses tomorrow when hazard trees are removed.

Is this the fire you wanted to know about?

AZ - Mt Lemmon
06/21 Do you have information on the fires in Arizona? Last year you had a list of fires. Are you doing that this year? I hope so.


Yes we will be doing our Current Fires on the Web '03 but there are not many fires with their own web pages yet. I'll put that link at the top of this forum soon. Of course, you can check in here to see what firefighters are talking about.

You can also visit the Fire News page and click on different topics. This is a great search option from google and we've configured the search to optimize finding pertinent recent info on the topics. Click on wildland fire or wildfire for the most recent articles on the web. There is a fine long list of articles with the newest being only 17 minutes old.

You can also go to the Links page and scroll down to NIFC Fire News or to the GACCs listing of fire information - Situation Report (Sit) or News if it's available. The Southwest has a good website for fire information in your area. Nice southwest area map of large fires, too. Ab.
06/21 Update on the Aspen Fire near Tucson:


06/21 Ab, < been reading occasionally, and when I did there is sooo much to absorb I felt hardpressed to comment.

GOATS FOR FUEL REDUCTION: the dudes in the Bizzerkly hills "deployed" goats expensively - after the rager took out so many big fancy houses in the mid-90s. (near where I live now, Bureau of Reclamation uses them along river banks)

LADIES LEFT: huh? what about mixed gender ground pounders or the old days' spikes, aka coyote assignments back when a 21 was normal?

Message to the CDFers: state budget will not cut FIRE response $$$ sanity isn't the factor, CA legislators' egos won't allow it! although you might get an IOU instead of a pay check while elected officials collect per diem for showing up for some boondoggle, again it's high time the urban interface home owners get a clue about geography & weather!!!

To those kids who want to become FFs, there have been many posts to help you on your way to realizing your goal - keep asking questions, and hone your skills. best wishes to you.

To all: keep the sayings coming, it's great to remember the old ones and see some new ones; some are regional or from a different era but always worth a chuckle. (there are a few I'm still waiting to see someday I might add to the mix)


Ab, this site has come a long way baby...... congrats! you done good.

06/20 From Firescribe:

Fires near Tucson AZ, Mt Lemmon, burns 250+ homes. Humphrey's team is on it.

Check the News page under wildfire for many articles on the AZ fires. Ab.
06/20 The report from late yesterday on the Aspen Fire near Tucson AZ:

The fire became extremely active towards noon as red flag conditions developed with winds in excess of 25 MPH and very low relative humidity. Winds pushed intense upslope fire runs with flame lengths in excess of 200 ft. Extreme fire behavior, torching, and spotting over 1/4 mile were observed. The fire area continues to expanded significantly.

Yesterday the wind driven fire jumped the line. Wind driven fire jumped the line. Steep terrain and fire conditions call for Type 1 Crews. Glad to see they're pulling crews off when it's just too dangerous. I hate to say it, but most of the residences are not defensible.

There are red flag warnings up again again today. Wind Speed expected to be 17-27 mph and from the WW. Temp predicted to be 78 and RH 15.

Another fire the Helen 2 burning east of Tucson in the Saguaro National Park, East.

Be safe all,
R3 F/F
06/20 Ab,

Once again Arizona is becoming the hotspot for wildfires. Aspen Fire on Mount Lemon destroyed 100 plus homes yesterday. The drought stressed fuels are really making things bad. Even the fuels in the lower desert regions along the Colorado River (Hay Fire and River Fire (Laughlin, NV) are burning hot. Lower Desert Temps are back above 100 during the day and we had 15% RH on the River Fire at 2300 hours and we were with 1 mile of the Colorado River.

Stay safe.
Desert Firefighter
06/20 Outsourcer, you reminded me of a few more:

Hotshot Hacky Sack: Ten pushups every time the hack touches the ground, gets caught, or somebody swears. One sadist on our mixed wildland/structure crew suggested playing this in bunkers.

Ladies Left: When there ain’t no blue room handy and you’ve got a mixed engine crew, ladies on the left side of the engine, gentlemen to the right.

Pongee: When you’re doing a first pass line clearing with a machete or brush hook and it leaves those thumb-thick sticks cut off at an angle, about six inches off the ground…you get those ona sidehill and they’re just sucking chest wounds waiting to happen.

Sidehilling: Following a contour around a hill, usually on a steep slope.

P.S. Everybody seems to have a favorite handtool…I’m interested in what everybody’s preference is, and what people recommend and don’t recommend in terms of tool customizations (mini-Moes, rhinos, super-pukes, good or bad?)

Nerd on the Fireline
06/19 May as well put a couple more up for your consternation, and addition to
the lingo list.

Helitack's LCES=Locate Cooler Establish Shade
Shuddering S- - - House=Helicopter
Gill-Poke= Bent over sapling that can spring on unsuspecting Ground
Bell-Worm= A hot deep stump hole
FOOL= Food Unit Leader (FDUL)
Puma, The Eagle has Landed= Code words for Overhead passing through your
work area.
Westside/Wetside=Coast Ranges of Washington, Oregon and Northern
Westsider/Wetsider= Someone who lives in above geographical areas.
Takin' a Rocket Ride= Going to the Blue Room.
Goin' into the Green=What you do when there is no Blue Room.
Hand Held=Portable Radio.
HT=Handy Talky (old term for the Portable Radio) see also Hand Held.
Brain Bucket=Hardhat.
14 Days= Current P.C. tour of duty for Wildland Firefighters.
21 Days= What we worked before the 14 Days became P.C.
'Till The Fire Is OUT=What we used to work before 21 Days became P.C.
P.C.=Politically Correct.
P.T.= Physical Training
Hot Sack= Hacky Sack played with penalty pushups for poor play or breaking
the rules.
Couth List=List of minor infractions such as cussing in public, passing
gas, forgetting any piece of equipment, breaking tools, etc. punishable by
donations to the crew fund or many pushups depending on crew
Couth Officer=Keeper of the Couth List, term limited to 1-2 weeks or
duration of assignment.
Couth Nazi=See Couth Officer and make them mean and spiteful.
Hotshot Shower=Liberal dousing of Gold Bond powder before hitting the line.
Hotshot Butt= Well known medical condition requiring application of a
Hotshot Shower.
Death March=Long walk to and from your work area. Usually several miles up
hill. Known to cause Hotshot Butt.
Fire Boogers= Black nasty things that grow inside your nose, especially
while mopping up.

I could go on but probably should get some work done.


HAW, HAW, HAW. Thanks for the additions. Ab.
06/19 The Bear Facts:

I like many people believe there are big critters in the big woods. Just like JAWS, I have to
admit some things are a little fishy, but who knows. This was the first time I had received
the pictures and the one with the remains of the bears last meal was left out of some e-mails I
sent out.

While on a fire last year, I worked with an individual from an Un-named State, who claimed to
have seen Big Foot, I just marked it up to him have'n been in the woods to long. There's a lot
of strange things in the world and hopefully they aren't hungry, bigger, or run faster than I


06/19 Ab,

Here's the information on the urban legend of the Big Bear. The story is mostly true, but a combo of two accounts. I would be careful in bear country. What kind care do the ff in Alaska take besides hanging their food, etc?


06/19 The Eastern Great Basin Coordination Center has posted the "Cannon Fire
Review" at www.blm.gov/utah/egbcc/Reports/CannonFire_Review.pdf

They are also posting an unable to fill list at

06/19 It is with great sadness that we report Rick Lupe passed away this morning
after struggling to survive massive burns on his body from a burn over. He
saved his crew but was unable to deploy his shelter quickly enough and was
severely burned.

The Wildland Firefighter Foundation is sending emergency financial
assistance to Rick's family and any donations can be forwarded to them.

We have recently moved our offices to be closer to the Wildland Firefighter
Monument. The address is below.

Wildland Firefighter Foundation
3880 S. Development Ave
Boise ID 83705


Condolences to friends and family. Ab.
06/19 JT:

Rumors abounded for a while about an IHC in New
Hampshire, but i haven't heard anything in a while.
don't know how much use they'd be here in the
northeast, fires can be much different here - putting
in line by leaf blower takes the fun out of a hotshot
dig show.

A small part of me would love to see an IHC in the
homestate of Jersey, but it would be kind of silly -
what would they do? burn off from garden state


Especially when it's been raining something like 24 or 26 out of the last 30 days. Ab.
06/19 Hi

my name is Don Williams and im a bush firefighter in Queensland
Australia, I was a permanet f\f untill i rolled a f\f truck but its in the
blood and i love my job. I would like to say that your site is fantastic
and i live on it when i have down time , I have also put a heap of other f\f
on to it.

So thanks and keep your head down

Welcome, Don. Glad ta have all you participants from Downunder. Ab.

06/19 Hola AB

I've been lurking for the past year, on and off. Been quite a while since
my last post.

I'm wondering if anyone has heard any rumors of another east coast IHC being
formed. Vermont? New Jersey? Anyone out there have the low down on any
Forest Service plans for making one more IHC somewhere in the North East?

Hoping for a 1000 + hour season...if only the rain would stop.

Take care all

06/19 I was a GS-081 firefighter for 12 years, quit and went to a non fed agency. I am now 42 years old. Can I come back into Gs-081 or 0462 job. Do I have rehire/reinstatable rights? I also was a military firefighter for 4 years

06/18 Re: Big Bear in Alaska


I received a similar post and same pix as you posted about (very approximate) a year ago. I inquired with the Fish & Game type folks of that area. They pretty much confirmed the incident but indicated the size of the bear as "ridiculous". As I recall there was no mention in the post I received of the bear having killed a couple of other people or that the bear’s last meal was human.

If you have any info. sources I might check in regards to this I’d appreciate. Studies and research of such matters are a habitual affliction I have........ Also I am roaming around in rural N. ID these days.

Many Thanks, The Honorable Mouse.
06/18 Names - I've had plenty of stinking slang names thrown at me. I would let my work speak for itself, usually the name B.S. was put in its place when the shift is done. I have found action speaks louder than words, and sometimes you can get people to eat their words if you work hard enough and do the job you were given, as best as you can. Nothing cuts through the name calling better than busting ass when the poop hits the props and looking around and there are guys and gals with all sorts of uniforms and colors on. When the situation dies down so does the B.S.
I worked with crews I have joked with, called names and at the end of the shift I have had to eat crow and go to them with hat in hand. It's not something I relished, but if you are a stand up type person then you have to give credit where credit is due. It's always best when it's someone else is coming to you.
I also have had people I worked with that can't keep their mouth shut, even with duct tape and bailing wire. These are the loud mouth jerks that usually get you in to trouble in the first place. After years of working around the same folks there are some you just stay away from, they are just trouble just waiting to happen, and when they get knee deep in the brown stuff that start dragging you in too.
I'm no saint, I make up funny little name to match the initials too! Who dosen't.
Retired L.A.V.E.
06/18 Hey Hickman,
Just a reminder how stories turn into legends .......

The Alaska bear story was close, but not quite.
"works for the forest Service in Alaska."
... Ted Winnen was in November 2001 a senior airman load crew member with the USAF 18th Fighter Squadron
"He was out deer hunting."
... Sort of. He and his hunting partner were after both blacktails and bear.
" A large world record Grizzly charged him from about 50 yards away."
... Nope. It was a brown bear, it wasn't a world record (the record had a skull nearly 2 inches larger), and it didn't charge them. It was walking toward them.
"The guy unloaded a 7mm Mag Semi-auto into the bear"
... It was a .338
"and it dropped a few feet from him."
... Ten yards.
"The thing was still alive so he reloaded and capped it in the head."
... He shot it first in the head. After that, not in the head.
" It was over one thousand six hundred pounds, and 12' 6" high at the shoulder."
... It was 1,800 lbs. and ten feet tall.

'Course, Hickman, as you know, all good hunting stories eventually turn into fables!
06/18 I recived that exact bear pic about a year ago, and at that time, it was supposed to be a bear in Russia, somewhere. I wonder if its a joke. Its a good picture though. FRMRRSIXER
06/18 Big belly laughs over the goat memos from the 1950s. Thanks Dave.


Ab please add ps: BLM Bod, er Bob, I could add some grafitti on our "ladies" walls.
06/18 NMAirBear- You on the Helitack out of Negrito?
06/18 Actually....it's the USDA Forest Service. Often the question is "Who are
you people???!!!!" Answer: "Us 'da Forest Service"

Old Fire Guy
06/18 Thank you everyone for the tips about starting a career in FS fire. I have been talking with people you suggested and it looks like I can volunteer in my local department to do all the things they let us do to learn the ropes, washing engines, sharpening tool, etc.

There is a ROP program in my part of northern CA. Training starts in January. It's about 12 miles away. I'm going to do that if I can. I will also be applying for the FS in Jan or Feb or March. They tell me that the ROP program helps with that too and gives you practice job interviews with fire chiefs.

There may be other hs kids like me or other older new people who want this kind of information you told me. Is there some way you could take the job info and the stuff about Red Cards and even working for the Native Americans and put it on a page for new people? I don't want to make more work for you. I'd be ok with making a list of those posts to help out. Let me know, school is out.

Also, IMHO (in my humble kid opinion) this website is clean but interesting. You can't do a search on any dirty word and get a hit. Most people my age have heard it all anyways. Younger kids should be protected tho. and I would hate to be in BLM fire and feel like people were calling me names or learning new names to call me and I am not thin skinned. Ab, Maybe one solution would be to tell everyone who wanted to get their jollies off now that they should take a look at the whole list, have their laugh and then most of the mean names could get put on a less visible list somewhere. You don't want to be boring either with too many rules. IMHO

Thanks again. I hope i can write in again if I have questions. This really helps.

Sounds like a good plan to have a page for you job hunters trying to understand the system. I'll email you. You could start pulling out those posts. Ab.
06/18 From Firescribe:

Fire Helicopter forced to land
06/18 We've updated the Jobs Page, wildland firefighter Series 462 and Series 455. Ab.
06/18 Greetings Ab--
Details of the helicopter incident on the Humboldt-Del Norte unit last night:

I hear that it hit a power line on a fire near Ettersburg in the King Range. The cutters did their job, however the line snapped up and hit a rotor. They set it down and had everything checked out and were able to fly out of there later. Close call! Be safe out there!

06/17 Heard a CDF helicopter hit a wire on a small fire on the Humboldt-Del Norte Unit about dinner time. Anyone have details?

06/17 Good post, BLM Bob! I can respond with something other than "potty mouth":
All our fires on the Gila NF got some pretty good rain this afternoon. We are
talking demobe of most of everything. But it is still mid-June............

Shooter: It would be hard for me to believe that I have hung with the wrong
crowd for the past 34 years (and none of it was with the BLM). Thin skinned?
Gimme a break! Nobody can last that long in this biz being thin-skinned.
There is just too much political "potty mouth" and other unpleasantness.

Mutual respect is the cornerstone of our business whether back at the barn or
out on assignments as I am now. Mutual respect means amongst other things
not trying to be funny or witty at somebody else's expense. Having been an FMO
for many years I had to deal a number of times with the misery that insensitive
remarks or monikers caused. The misery was equally mine as the supervisor.
My best advice to any employee is just don't go there.

06/17 Ca$h Queen,

Pick an intelligent BLMer? That could take a while - can you even name two?
You can see the dilemma the Abs faced. I think the real reason they asked me
is that they happened to have my email address handy - it's written on the
wall under a list called "Hot Older Guys!" in the ladies' rest room there at
wildlandfire.com. <snurk!>

It's nice when my trolling lands a real "fish" like you LB. I hope life
upriver's treating you and the ol' ball and chain real well.


Haw, haw, if you only knew. Ab.
06/17 IdahoBLM guy:

Just so you understand there’s no hard feelings, here’s one I heard the other day about my own class of fire fighter (volunteer):

Vollie Ball: When the vollies tie up the radio frequencies, demand totally excessive resources, refuse to leave their engines/crewbosses/ lunchbuckets, and generally get themselves and everybody else who’s trying to actually put the fire out in knots (it wasn’t us, it was the unit next door). As in: They’re playing vollie ball, they’re such a vollie ball, oh gawd, it’s them, we’re in for a vollie ball.

And by the way, I am very proud to be a volunteer.

Nerd on the Fireline
06/17 I noticed there's not really anything posted for USFS names yet, how bout Unlocatable Since Fire Started or Under Staffed For Season or for those that work for the Forest Service Under Stress For Sure.

Overhead Threat = What you get when a State or Federal agency arrive on scene and take command of a fire.

06/17 http://fsweb.wo.fs.fed.us/hrm/benefits/6C/coverage.phpl

Abs, I am not sure if you have this link under the links page or not.
Might be of some interest to folks, lots of information about
firefighter retirement.


The Abs will check it out. Since it's FS intranet, those who read from home won't have access.
06/17 PYG,

It isn't merely enough to say that people 'tend' to generalize. We NEED to do so in order to function in this world. I will assume we all understand the need to do it, but that said there should also be a cautionary note about over-generalizing.

You say that smokejumpers are 'primadonna[s]' and 'frat' members. Judging by your posts, I think it's safe to say you are using both terms in the pejorative sense. Much like a self-fulfilling prophecy, slapping negative labels on people has a strong impact on the type of relationship you develop with them. Were your feelings about jumpers developed after you arrived at your current workstation? Or were you there before the jumpers got hired on?

06/17 Here’s a picture of the Enchanted Circle Fire Chasers Annual Training…the last sweep through an area we’d mopped up turned up a smoke, so we all got to do twenty push-ups at the top of the hill, cold trail all the way down, and do twenty more at the bottom. Teaches you to be careful!

Nerd on the Fireline

More Pushups... I put the photo on the Handcrew 9 photo page. Ab.
06/17 Talk about obscene insults......how could you Abs???? Ask BLM Bob to be
the spokesperson representing all us poor BLM folks -- at least you could
have called on someone with some intelligence.

Cache Queen

p.s. -- Hi Bob.

Ca-shay Queen, we know you must be kidding... BLM Bob is GOOD. We figured we should call on someone who is known to be a bit of a loose cannon, and the perpetrator of some "trolling" and other humor in the past, in addition to being a solid (if long in the tooth?) BLM rep. Ab.
06/17 Ab,

Here's a potential threat to firefighters in Alaska that we may not think too much about here in the lower 48, except maybe in parts of MT and ID:
paw of one BIG BEAR

The message that came with the photos:
The following pictures are of a guy who works for the forest Service in Alaska. He was out deer hunting. A large world record Grizzly charged him from about 50 yards away. The guy unloaded a 7mm Mag Semi-auto into the bear and it dropped a few feet from him. The thing was still alive so he reloaded and capped it in the head. It was over one thousand six hundred pounds, and 12' 6" high at the shoulder. It's a world record. The bear had killed a couple of other people. Of course, the game department did not let him keep it.

Think about it. This thing on its hind legs could walk up to the average single story house and could look on the roof at eye level.

Also his last meal was human.


I put them on the Miscellaneous 2 photo page. Ab.

06/17 Goats for Fuelbreak Maintenance is not a new idea. Copied here is the text from a memo on the subject dated 1957. The parent text can be found at www.fsx.org/history.phpl.


To: FOREST SUPERVISOR, Angeles, March 25, 1957
G-STUDIES - Capra hircus (Goats)

Reference is made to your recent memorandum concerning the use of goats for maintenance of firebreaks on the Angeles in 1917.

After considerable research and investigation, we find that goats were used on the Angeles on an experimental basis for the maintenance of firebreaks during this period. Although the preliminary hypothetic theory appeared sound in that the goats would pay their keep with milk, meat and manure, certain biotic factors and relationships as well as administrative difficulties precluded the successful application of the theory in practice.

As you know, the goat originated from the pasong, an animal related to cattle and characterized by a long beard and rather poignant odor, especially among the males. These attributes appeared to be contributable to others through association and offered some difficulties to Forest Officers who were administrating the project. Unfortunately, these contributable qualities caused some confusion on the part of the general public and resulted in a degree of social ostracism to the Forest Officers which had not been anticipated.

In addition, the animals were possessed with a degree of perversity which can only be equaled by a frustrated Russian delegate to the U. N. Herding was most difficult, with the animals constantly scattering through the brush adjacent to the firebreaks. One herder reported that it would be simpler to herd a swarm of bees across the desert than to keep the goats on the firebreaks. Applicants possessing this ability were immediately solicited from among the local apiarists, but unfortunately the Forest Officers conducting this phase of the study made their initial approach to an apiarist who was in the process of "robbing" his apiary of honey. Reports indicate that before questioning could be initiated, the Forest Officers became concerned with other matters and rapidly lost interest in pursuing this phase of the problem, which on their recommendation was terminated and not reopened.

The harvesting of the by-products to pay the maintenance of the animals caused considerable difficulty. Although the goats could be driven out and the meat utilized, approved methods for the harvesting of the milk and manure proved economically unsound on the basis of cost-benefit ratio as well as inherent biotic weaknesses.

As the firebreaks were located in country of steep and rugged topography, and inaccessible, except by foot travel, means of harvesting the milk and manure proved an insurmountable obstacle.
At first, the goats were milked and the milk transported to the nearest road by pack train. Unfortunately, the milk, on arrival at the road, had attained definitely undesirable characteristics. Further study indicated that due to the churn-like action of pack stock, plus the high temperatures sustained by the containers in transit, it encouraged the process of bacterial action under anaerobic conditions, which caused the milk to become curdy and with an odor which was definitely objectionable and reminiscent of primitive sanitary facilities.

Preliminary studies were then initiated to handle the milk by pipelines, but due to the pipes heating up during the heat of the day, it was manifestly impossible to get the teats of the goats into the pipes because of the sensitivity of this particular organ to outside stimuli.

Harvesting of the manure proved most discouraging. Reports indicated that the manure was deposited in prodigious quantities. However, the method of deposition did not lend itself to statistical analysis. Deposition on the most part was in small piles. However, each band contained a high percentage of uninhibited animals, who evidently remained in motion as deposition was made, resulting in a deviation from the norm, thus negating all efforts on the part of the statistician to arrive at a normal curve or to present, schematically, the problem for study.

In addition, due to the rapid desiccation of the small, round pellets and their lack of cohesion when dry, when combined with the effect of the hill-creep, they were easily dislodged and under the pull of gravity were in constant movement toward the valley floor. Due to their shape and the steepness of the topography, some of the pellets attained considerable velocity in their movements. There are numerous reports of eye injuries to administrative officers from this cause, as well as sprained limbs due to the insecurity of footing and agility demanded to avoid this "fall out".

The project was abandoned during the first Santa Ana wind, when the pellets along the high ridges became airborne and were deposited in the adjacent cities in the form of "Black Rain", causing considerable agitation among the local citizenry as well as stimulating research which resulted in the development of such present day products as Air Wick and other aerosols.

By and large, and in the long run, and not withstanding the fact that this study was abandoned, we feel that with modern technical developments, such as the vacuum cleaner, etc., that this project has definite possibilities and merits reconsideration. Recommend that funds be requested for a preliminary study to ascertain whether or not we are sufficiently technically advanced to utilize this resource to the best interests of the body politic.

A. Lewis

Good one, Dave. Maybe Ab should put a link to it on the documents worth reading page.
06/17 Humor is the best medicine in the job, and if some one is whining about it
it's even more fun so here you go with some more acronyms

CDF= Cool Down Foundation- Can't Do Fire- and my favorite -Coffee Donuts Food

Signed LACES

I just put the jargon list back at the top of the right hand corner of the page. These are already there, LACES, but I hear what you're saying about humor. Contributors, please read over what's already there before sending in more examples. Ab.
06/17 With the back and forth on the name calling and jargon, funny terms and names we call each other list (above), the Abs asked for an opinion from BLM Bob, seen'ings how the Abs are not BLM. Here is his reply:

What? You want *me* to make the call? Oh, the responsibility! This is
the sort of thing that could make me dive for the good stuff at the back of
the liquor shelf, but first let's see if I can't come up with a reasonable
response. And you can publish this if you like.

It didn't bother me...at first. Over the years I've probably heard - or
invented - many more twists on the acronym "BLM" than could ever be printed
in "They Said," But like sometimes happens with a lot of things that are
sort of funny once or twice, a few people couldn't let it go and went
overboard. What had been mildly amusing took on a rather mean-spirited
tone, and looked childish to me. (On a side note, I was also a little
surprised at the people that claimed you couldn't do anything with the USFS
acronym - these people lack basic skills in obscene insults. I mean, you
got S's and F's...) I have to note that BLM people didn't seem to feel a
need to get down in the muck and reply in kind. ;^)

Ultimately, how these things go depend on what readers want from this site.
Do they want an active forum where there's enjoyable discussion between
firefighters and censorship is rarely needed? Where a subtle, sly dig is
appreciated and maybe slyly returned? Or do the readers want infantile
insults and heavy-handed intervention on the part of the maderators? I
think we can all see where that would lead to a boring and meaningless
forum. So I'd like people to keep in mind that what they put into a forum
determines what they will get out of it.

As to whether to take the posts down or leave 'em up, that's up to the Abs
and whether they want freedom of expression (even when it's dumb) or a
"family-friendly" site. I don't much care, because what matters is what
the readers do from here on out. But thanks for considering me to be worth

So, has anyone read John N. Maclean's new book - Fire and Ashes? It's
available on Amazon (click through from this site via the books page), and I'd
rather hear about what people think of that than read increasingly stoopid
potty-mouthed insults.

Now I'm going to look for my bottle of Patron Añejo ta-kill-ya.

Be safe,
06/17 The Monday, June 16 NPS "The Morning Report" announces "New Tool to Get the
Word Out about NPS Fires".
New Tool to get the word out
It's toward the bottom, scroll down. Check it out.

Also, Tahoe Terrie, you will find more information about sheep controlling
brush than goats for a confined area. Goats are good for large free range
type areas but sheep are easier to keep in the grazing area and control
their movements (herd). Sheep really work well for brush control in my

06/17 ventura county fire recruits in training, push up time!! cant you feel the pain. sunday! sunday! sunday!


In full gear no less. I put the photo on the Handcrew 9 photo page. Ab.
06/17 Re the original "insult" to BLM:

Sorry if I hit a nerve with you on that one NMAirBear. But seeing as how I spent 10 years with the BLM I think I am allowed the opportunity to make fun of myself. If you can't laugh at yourself then maybe your skin is a little to thin to be hanging with the wildland crowd.

crisp triggers
06/17 CDF recently approached several county groups in this area trying to get
funds to open up a lookout. They said they needed $60,000 to open the
lookout for the season. With that kind of cost, it's no wonder they're
having to close them down. Our FS lookouts are costing around
$18,000-$20,000 per season.

06/16 JW-

Thanks for the info on the retardant issues and lookouts. I know that the comparison of costs for funding the LO's to jettisoned retardant is rather apples and oranges, but it does illustrate a point about how the pot of money is managed.

I know that all 600,000 gals could not necessarily be saved with these facilities online, but it would be interesting to see if we could capture what the savings would be if you could ever extrapolate the numbers. I really think there is something left to be said for good reports and a "let's hold the tanker." Those are direct savings.

Even with the low percentage of first reports as compared to the other forms of reports, I am left wondering, which one of the big ones that escapes our efforts was because of the delayed report-now that they are gone.

I agree with your assessment of the vollie groups running them, not a good plan indeed. These are high maintenance ops (and we're not talking the tower are we!).

I guess in a perfect world, all the engines, crews, dozers, and lookouts would be back that are now gone, but that will surely never happen again, unfortunately.

Have a safe season, and get out of that 337! What's up with that anyway?

"Another CDF BC"
06/16 We need to get the USFS to change it's initials to
something else so we can have more fun misnaming
them. Let see we could start a recall the FS initials
drive,,, in CA of course since they're doing so well
with the recall for their gov.

A Non
06/16 CA Lookouts again:

Alternative funding for the lookouts is hit and miss. In a previous lookout
cutback I closed a tower that served a limited area. Most of the view area
had urbanized and 90% of the reports were secondary to telephone reports. A
community civic group offered to staff the lookout on weekends and any other
days members were available. The training sessions, mother henning,
equipment check-in/out, etc. made the program a high maintenance operation.
The volunteers dwindled so the program was ended after three years. We've
had some contacts with the USFS about staffing two of our four towers but
nothing definite. One option is to put firefighters on the towers on high
index days, on overtime of course, where the E-fund pays the tab. The
entire issue has been low on the radar scope.

CDF jettisoned about 600,000 gallons of retardant last year, more than many
air attack bases deliver in a season. These were partial loads to bring our
aircraft down to their maximum landing weight (less than max take off
weight). The latest federal contract modifications give the contractor the
option to jettison an entire load prior to landing. It is unknown what the
affect will be on costs since it is not mandatory but it will be
significant. The paradox is the potential adverse affect on the
re-emphasized IA strategies. If a contractor decides that they are only
landing empty, will aircraft be dispatched in a timely manner or will orders
be held until the retardant is "really" needed? On the one hand, the up
front costs of 1,800 to 2,400 gallons of retardant for each IA dispatch is
enormous and on the other, the resource loss and costs spent on "lost" fires
is also enormous. I doubt anyone has tried to run those numbers.

06/16 IdahoBLMguy,

I think that it is a lot easier to come up with funny meanings for BLM than for USFS. Try it someting. You end up with things like:

Unopened Soap For Sale
Use Sawmills For Salvation
Ugly Shirts For Sale

The initials just don't roll. Even FWS is tough. Frogs Worshiping Satan is okay but not very satisfying.

Besides pinecones have a lot more time on their hands to think of this stuff than hardworking blems do.

06/16 Ab-

I want to thank you for this page. It offers all of us a chance to give our 2 cents. My previous post is just my opinion. I am not going to criticize those who do not agree with me because they also have their opinion. As far as not having a sense of humor. If you had a chance to work with me, you would definitely have a good time. I make sure that my crew has fun while they are working safely. I get much more from a crew that enjoys what they are doing. All of us who work for federal agencies work in the public eye, and the point I want to make is that we all can improve our attitudes toward each other. Be safe all..

06/16 All together now: WHAAAAAA!

"Degrading to us all and a low point for They Said It"?? You gotta be kidding me. Another one for the next "Touchy-Feely" group session? You guys are prime candidates for a management position where you are strongly encouraged to discourage humor, whether it be put down or otherwise. Maybe Jackson and IdahoBLMGuy could get assigned to the same engine module and have a "Group Whine" whenever someone comes up with a new acronym for BLM.

You guys really need to get a life outside the fire service cuz I have a feeling you are making work a non-fun place for those under you. Better yet, maybe there is some new technology where you can get a "Thicker Skin Transplant".

As late as it is, I can't believe I am answering this when I have to get up in 6 hours and go to work.

06/15 Sorry Ab, I had to send in a note…

IdahoBLMguy…have a little humor!!! EVERYONE of the agencies we work for have been the butt of some good natured humor….it comes with the territory!!! When I hear you guys (BLM) slam us, I don’t take it seriously! I just tell them that they can pick up their applications at the regional office anytime that they want J We can ALWAYS use new insight from someone who has worked with a Butt Load of Money! ßSee! More Humor…..just thought I’d point it out sorry, it’s a little late and I have imbibed in just a little too much father’s day happiness….

LCES and Stay Safe Everyone!

06/15 IdahoBLMGuy,

You gotta lighen up abit dude!

Would venture to guess most of the comments are coming from your fellow BLM employees!

Engine Module Leader? Glad I don't work on an engine where humor seems to be discouraged. You been to too many of those "Touchy-Feely" classes son.

06/15 I have to agree with IdahoBLMGuy. I have never worked for the BLM, but I
was distressed to see the several different derogatory versions of what a
few people think "BLM" stands for. Some of it may have been in jest, but
others were vicious. While I'm sure that the Abs want this to be an open,
frank, and censor-free forum, I think we all have better things to do than
to post and/or read about a firefighter-to-firefighter name-calling contest.
Those posts were degrading to us all and were a low point for "They Said
It". I hope I never see posts like that again.

06/15 Whoever is posting the CA south ops News and Notes:

Thank you very much
for the information on the fire
near Lake Arrowhead Rd today. It was good to have the
best info available to know whether to really be concerned
and whether we might need to evacuate.


Well, we don't do that but we certainly will pass along the thanks. I heard the fire was 80 to 100 acres. They caught it before it ran up th' canyon. Ab.
06/15 Ab-

I am an Engine Module Leader with the BLM, and I am a bit fed up of
people who write in and give negative comments about what the BLM stands
for. I am a proud employee and I have high standards for my crew and my
coworkers. I wonder if those people who spend time mocking my agency
even attempt to spend their time thinking of ways they can become
better leaders, or how we (all fire agencies) can deal with the many
issues that are in front of us at this time. Thanks

06/15 Ab,

I've read posts the last few days concerning The Nature Conservancy and
fire, so I thought I would pass on a link to their Fire Learning Network
site: http://tnc-ecomanagement.org/Fire/. They have also been involved with
development of the Fire Regime-Condition Class guidebook, which can be found
at http://fire.org/firemon/default.php. Here is another link just for their
fire initiative: http://nature.org/initiatives/fire/. Some of the young
folks that are trying to get a job in fire might also look to TNC for
experience. I know the Arkansas Chapter has several fire management jobs
open. TNC uses the WCT as their fitness test, and also utilize NWCG courses
and PTB's.

No, I'm not a member, but have worked with TNC a great deal over the last 2
years. They've been a great partner.

/S/ Arkie FMO
06/15 To the young man who is working on his eagle scout. It is very possible to get into the apprenticeship program. My husband started just last year on a college hand crew. It was the best thing he ever fell into! You said you are in california... if you have the ability to check out the wildland fire program at Antelope Valley College, the man to speak with is Karl Smith. My husband took some excellent classes taught by fantastic people, and was on their crew last summer. We then applied to the apprenticeship program. With his fire classes, and his eight years of active duty military, he was offered a full time apprenticeship position at a Northern California Forest.

Once your application is accepted into the forest service system. Make a copy of that letter, and send it along with a copy of your resume, and a letter introducing yourself to EVERY ranger district you chose. This is important, it makes you more than just a name on a list. And I agree with what another poster said...Use your Eagle Scout as your advantage.

Good Luck, Dreams do come true!
06/15 Ross this may be something you might want to look at in the future. Check it out! Go to http://fire.ak.blm.gov/
Click on "Hiring"
Scroll down to "Position Descriptions" and select "North Star Crew"

Good luck!
06/15 Here are some new crew photos from the Bomberos Forestales of Bolivia. Some time back they sent in photos of their forest firefighters and SAR folks and their country's president. I put those on the Crew 7 page. I put the new photos on the Crew 9 page.

foto uno Miembros del Grupo Sar Bolivia divison Bomberos frende al cuartel forestal de Pairumani (photo one: Members of the Group SAR Bolivia division Firemen friends at the forest headquarters of Pairumani)

grupo de la Brigada de bomberos Forestales en el bosque de Pairumani (group of the Forest Brigade of firemen (hmmm, but mostly women) in the forest of Pairumani)

Gracias Bomberos. Readers, if you'd like to see a few more photos and description of what they do, Firefighting and SAR, check out their website: Bomberos Forestales. Ab.
06/15 Hey

What a great site! I just love checking out appliances and patches etc.
Here are some patches and Bushfire Tanker photos from 2 brigades I was in the Australian Capital Territory.

The Hall Volunteer Bushfire and Emergency Service Brigade Patch (after amalgamation with ACT Emergency Service, 1997).
Hall Village is situated approx 20 north of Canberra and service the Rural Communities and urban interface in the N/W of the Australian Capital Territory. The stylised flame and 'fire triangle' is taken from the logo of the Australian Capital Territory Bushfire Service and represents the Bushfire arm of the Brigade. The orange and white checker board is taken from the 'trade mark' Australian State Emergency Service design and represents the Emergency Service arm. This logo was introduced when the ACT Bushfire Service was amalgamated with the ACT Emergency Service (Civil Defence).

The Volunteer Bushfire and Emergency Service Brigade Patch.
Molonglo Volunteer Bushfire and Emergency Service Brigade was formed in 1997. It services the North-Western Rural-Urban Interface of Canberra, the capital of Australia. The stylised flame in the centre of the patch is taken from the logo of the Australian Capital Territory Bushfire Service. The orange and white checker board is taken from the 'trade mark' Australian State Emergency Service design.

The Hall brigade currently crews 2 X 3500 lt (metric) and 2 X 600 lt (metric) 4WD Tankers. These units are indicative of Australian Bushfire Units. The Hall Brigade was the first to change the colour of it's appliances from red to yellow in the early 1980's. Now appliances are usually left in 'showroom white' to save money!!!

The Molonglo Bushfire Tanker 1997-1998 was the first tanker the Molonglo Bushfire and Emergency Service Brigade operated. A 2500 lt (metric) 4WD tanker, it was a 'hand me down', belonging to 4 other brigades prior. It was retired after 15 months of service with us! Molonglo Volunteer Bushfire and Emergency Service Brigade was formed in 1997. It services the North-Western Rural-Urban Interface of Canberra, the capital of Australia. Heree's another pair of photos of the new Molongo 10 bushfire tanker.


Thanks. I put the photos on the Logos 9, Engines 6 and Engines 7 photo pages. Ab.
06/15 ab,

i write this to let people know the sad news of the death of shannon halverson of prineville fire in oregon who died in a tragic accident during a firefighter conference in
albany, ore

here is a link to this www.bend.com/news/ar_view^3Far_id^3D10021.php bend.com - News Article "Prineville volunteer firefighter dies from fall at Valley conference"

06/15 Lobotomy-

Well generally when a non-profit or private org. like The Nature Conservancy (TNC) or any person who is interested in donating/transferring/selling land to the state or feds for permanent protection they may not have to have public meetings or input to accept it.
TNC buys a lot of land and then sells it at a loss or donates it to the government especially if its a key inholding or the gov doesn't have the money to buy it quickly which TNC is able to do since they are not government.

TNC has a lot of wildfires on their property and lands they manage. Generally local suppression agencies respond and TNC people finish with mop up or rehab work. They also conduct extensive monitoring programs to study the effects of Rx fire and wildfire on their sites. Hopefully that helps with question 1.

I'm not sure about your 2nd question? Environmental groups use many strategies for why and how they protect/conserve land. It just depends on the situation.

For your 3rd question, again it depends on the project, who is involved, and what organization is doing it. They are all different and have different missions and ways of protecting natural areas. You should definitely check out some websites, make some call, etc.. Most TNC folks would be willing to answer some questions.

hope this helps some,
06/14 Hi Everyone, me again.
I got to see Summer of Fire this time. It was well done. Thanks for the heads up.

On another note. I wonder how many people had a chance to hear, see or read the NIFC presentation "Wildland Fire Update 2003" an eye toward the future, described as an interactive telecast on the challenges and opportunities of this year's fire season. I've only read it. It lays out what the agencies feel is important. I think it gets taken down off the FS web on Monday. If you haven't read or listened to it, it's worth it. Here's one little part out of the middle:
"...large fire cost reduction plan specifically addresses the increased expectations of agency line officers. There are also more expectations of incident commanders in monitoring suppression costs. The action plan sets trigger points for agency line officer approval when costs exceed a certain amount going all the way up to the chief and director level. Line officers and the incident commanders are expected to work more closely in developing cost-saving objectives in the delegation of authority. A least cost alternative is designed to display the values at risk. Additional oversight and assistance is provided through the assignment of an incident business advisor to all type I incidents and type II incidents with high cost potential. The incident business advisors are going to report directly to agency line officers."
Watch those jerky costs Backburnfs. Tahoe Terrie
06/14 Ab,

Remind people that CNN is re-running
Summer of Fire
8 PM and 11 PM Eastern
5 PM and 8 PM West Coast

NorCal Tom

That's in about an hour. Ab.
06/14 Hey Ross,

Check out this site. www.fs.fed.us/r1/fire/nrcc/
Go to the bottom and click on R1 Great Northern Fire Crew.
There is lots of info and its a great place to start your fire career.

06/14 Ross- Great to hear from a Boy Scout!

A few options for you.
First, stay in school! The better the education you have, the better opportunities will be there for you. As you grow in your career and want to become a Chief Officer you're going to be needing that Bachelor's degree or better.

Second, talk to the local Division or Battalion Chief on your local Forest District. You didn't say where you lived in California, but if you're in So. Cal. say so in your next post and i'll point you in the right direction.

I was an Eagle Scout too, and that's how I started seasonally for the Forest Service 30 years ago. The personal touch still goes a long way and a little chat will help you get your bearings. I did end up going to work for a contract county fire department after the first 5 and a half years but have stayed active in wildfire ever since. So don't discount other organizations like Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Marin, or Kern County for a great career with wildfire. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF) is an exceptional organization too, despite the State's current budget troubles. You'll find the State and Counties pay career people significantly more. Sadly, Federal jobs don't pay their career people near what their good firefighters deserve. But some of the best experience opportunities and excitement for a young man could be as a seasonal with federal crew, especially a Hot Shot crew or other active and highly trained unit.

Look for some seasonal work as you leave high school for a start, but be sure your back in college during the off season!

Good luck!!
06/14 Here's an interesting set of fire articles:

Burn this Issue from the Missoula Independent.
"The Indy primer on wildland fire, inflammatory politics, sooty smokejumpers, burning love, fire on film, institutional pyromania, smokin’ rock and burnt ’shrooms, with a remembrance of lookouts past."

Nice piece on Jack Cohen.


06/14 Re Lookouts:

Taking JW's figures of $35K to staff each lookout, brings us to $775,000K for a budget "savings." JW...How much retardant on average is jettisoned statewide, or at one tanker base?

Now that the agencies are downloading each airtanker and also requiring all tankers to jettison prior to landing, the "savings" seem to wash out.

I bet the total amount jettisoned statewide is staggering in comparison. Flight time is another story-and cost!

I would also guess that on average, it does not take that long to spend $775,000 on a fire that goes extended or major. Most of that cost will be hired equipment and aircraft costs.

Sadly, the loss of our lookouts eliminates several key operational benefits to our agency:

1. Good daily weather status reports including fuel moistures for the troops to hear over the radio.
2. Active intel on smokes (hold the tanker?save the money).
3. Sentinels of the department that keep track of visitors and other users out there in the wildlands.
4. Knowledge of the country to assist crews into areas of remote country.
5. Active intel on lightning activity from knowledgeable personnel (not some firefighter pressed into service at the last minute who is unfamiliar with the country.
6. The lookout personnel that staff and protect the department's investment in the structure, many of which double as repeater sites.

Once again, CDF has allowed these facilities to disappear, mainly because there is no advocate to save them. Their loss will prove to be sorely missed, I am guessing. If they are not refunded and protected, the vandals will get them soon and that will be it for good.

To those who favor and support the cell phone claims, that is pure bunk. In many of these areas, you couldn't get a cell site if you tried to report a fire.

Maybe if the department was a little more proactive, they could lease a leg of the tower for a dish to AT&T or Verizon Wireless, for say....$35,000 a year!

The real sad thing is that this country is at war and we have enemies amongst us. Very short sighted if you ask this CDF'er.

"Another CDF BC"

Well, no enemies here! Another Ab.
06/13 Ross,
Does your high school, or other local high school offer an ROP (Regional Occupational Program) with a fire focus-or do you have any community colleges in your area with some fire classes? Sounds like you are on the right track, training in this area would give you an addtl boost.

To find those opportunities for CA take a look on the links page under education: ROP and 2&4 yr schools
06/13 Pigpen, I'm just trying to figure out how things are working on the environmentalist side and not writing any articles.

Recently, the Nature Conservancy transferred some land between the Forest Service and them. They then donated the land to become a state park. I knew of the Forest Service side of the transfer through scoping but didn't hear a thing from the Nature Conservancy side.

I know the area has had some recent fire history and wanted to know how it was documented. I wanted to know how the state was going to manage and protect the land.

I live less than 5 miles away and am someone who is interested in the management of the land that I used to roam around on as a kid, but was not given an opportunity to reply.

06/13 There are some firefighter jobs in R5. Scroll down until you find "multiple fire positions". They're GS 5, 6, and 8. Check them out. We posted the R5 outreach link at the top of the Fed Jobs section of the Jobs page.

We've updated the Jobs Page, wildland firefighter Series 462 and Series 455. More articles on fire coming up on the News Page. Ab.
06/13 The Forest Service in Region 5 has a website for pre-announcement of job
vacancies. Potential applicants can check this site for future vacancies
and can contact the manager with the vacancy for specific information on
the job. If interested in the position, they will be personally notified
when the actual job vacancy announcement is issued. The site is

06/13 Fed Fire,

We went to the open list because we did not have enough engineers available for promotion to captain.

If you have a permanent job with USFS, don't apply. If you don't have a permanent job with the USFS, apply and take your chances.

5 or 6 years down the road, we will have another big round of retirees coming up, so those who take the risk may do ok.

This really has nothing to do with the budget and everything to do with poor planning on managements part.

Captain Emmett
06/13 Ross,
Go for it!!!!

We need people like you and I wish I could hire you right now but I am now a retired FMO.

33 years ago I got my first seasonal firefighter job (with the NPS) because I was a "packer" at a Boy Scout camp in a national park. I was aggressive with park management about my interest to work for them and it paid off with a real live job.

Maintain yourself in top physical shape, take all the training you can (even online), work for a VFD (never mind the yee-haw), brag about being an Eagle on your application! It will pay off! We need you and folks like you!

06/13 Shooter: That is not cool and exactly the attitude that gets us in trouble in the otherwise friendly interagency community. Stow it!!

06/13 For the CDFr's out there:

Whats the deal with all these temp Captains job offers, to make the list you had to have paid time as a company officer, which implies you have a permanent job with a fire department. Are they actually getting people to fill these jobs who will walk away from their full time job to maybe get picked up later? I'm sure it has to do with the states budget but it seems an unlikely way to get quality candidates, or maybe I'm just not that big of a gambler.

As for the FFWI, when I was a volunteer the department would make up a list of firefighters who were going to be available (in town and alcohol free) for the big party holidays (Memorial Day, 4th of July etc) so that they knew there would be enough people to respond to an incident over the holiday. But they also had stories from "the old days", I guess some places haven't caught on yet. I never ran into the problem with the USFS but with the 8 hour staffing and after hour call backs I'm surprised it hasn't been an issue.

06/13 Ross,

There is an apprenticeship program. There is also a student employment program called STEP. You can find out more about that at the USDA Forest Service website or you can call and ask. I think the number is 1-877-813-3476 (M-F, 8:00-4:30 Mountain Standard Time). Also, just try calling up a crewboss in you area (if there is one.) Best to contact them in the fall. They are usually pretty willing to answer questions. Good luck.


OD or anyone, do you know where on the FS web the STEP program is described?

The website for the R5 Apprenticeship Program will be up in the fall. Classes are offered in the winter.

R5 Recruiter, could you send (or have someone send) us more info on the STEP? Thanks, Ab.
06/13 Lobotomy-

You should check out www.nature.org, The Nature Conservancy has a great prescribed fire management program and owns/manages a large amount of fire dependent natural areas. Many other land trusts and non-profits own land and conduct prescribed fire and respond to wildfires on their property.

I guess I'm curious where your questions are coming from. Are you writing a story or doing some investigative reporting?

06/13 Ab,

Guess this one never made the list.
BLM= Bastards, Liars & Misfits

crisp triggers
06/13 Ross:

I keep plugging volunteer fire departments, but that might be a very good place to start. There’s two guys in my department not much older than you; they aren’t full firefighters or even formal trainees, but they hang around the station, play victim for EMS training, help out with keeping the trucks and equipment in order, and generally make (useful) pests out of themselves. The thing is, as soon as they get old enough, they’ll have a huge head start on ‘real’ training, because they’ve seen how things are done so many times. Besides, if you can get a chief to sign off on so many hours of volunteer work, you might be able to talk your school into giving you some kind of credit, not to mention looking very good on college apps.

Vollie for MO: If nobody else answers this sooner, RTO means “Reverse the Order” or turn around and go back the other way.

Nerd on the Fireline
06/13 The term RTO has been used in hotshot crews that I have worked on for
several years. It means "reverse tool order" when the crew hears myself
say rto on the radio they then all say it in military fashion and do an
about face or turn around and start walking the opposite direction while
getting a head count. All it means is turn around and head back, give me
a count and I will give you instructions after the count. It is what I
call the eject button for a hand crew.

06/13 Friends, I am Brazilian. I am fireman and I live in a small city of the south of Brazil. I have dedicated (myself) to the study of forest fires, a very serious problem in my country, still without solution. I would like your aid supplying the information to me if it exists (about) some American institution that distributes course on line or in the distance in this area.

perdo me for the bad English.

Walter Parizotto
2o Ten Cmt 4/2/2 BBM
Av Brasil 2685 - Bairro Castelo Branco - Xanxerê - SC

Readers, does anyone know of courses or materials that could help him? Ab.
06/13 Dear Sir or Mam,

I'll be in my last year of high school next year and am a good student. I am finishing my eagle scout badge in Boy Scouts. I love the outdoors and working and hiking hard. I have worked on a few projects cutting brush to make places less likely to burn after a big fire in our area of california a few years ago. I am very interested in working in a forest service fire career. My grandad was forest service. Someone told me a little about an apprenticeship program for firefighters but he didn't know much. I know lots of people a little older than me are asking you about how to get jobs, but I hope someone can tell me about this program. He said you can sometimes go right after high school if you have my kind of background.

Thank you, and I hope I am being pleasantly aggressive.
06/13 Ab, what does RTO mean that just another ff talked about?

Vollie from MO
06/13 RE: CDF Lookouts

I'm curious and hoping some CDF'er will post here with the answer.
Locally, a few of the more important state lookouts are staffed. The FS
funded a few, RAC funds were used for some more, even the county coughed up
a few bucks to help keep a tower open. So, how much of this was repeated
statewide? How many state lookouts are staffed or funded from alternative

06/13 re.. jw 35.000 save closing a lookout.. hmm how much do you spend flying a round day by day.. you said you were up for 4 hours.. lookouts are open 24/7. so the govt pays for a pilot and a spotter and the plane and the fuel... so now the lookout pays for his food. most the time a way to get up to the lookout. cleans and repairs their lookout and yes alot of time out of their own pocket... and yes also the tons of folks that go to lookouts and work there for free... how much will we save if we ground all the planes and spotters.........ncbrush6
06/13 Drinking and Firefighting:

Having been on a volunteer fire department for 20 years, I have seen the full range of acceptance about drinking and firefighting. In the early days it was fairly common for neighbors to bring the crew a cooler full of beer, especially when things were winding down and the fire was getting under control. Thank heavens we never had any pictures in the paper of a firefighter with a hose in one hand and a beer in the other, but I have mental versions of those pictures.

As we matured as a Department (and as people) we realized the stupidity of this practice and went cold turkey. I recall an incident recently at a canyon party where there were four of us standing around drinking beer and our pagers went off. We all took one look at our pagers and then each other and kept on with our conversation/partying. The call would have to be handled by folks who had stayed away from the beer that day (luckily it turned out to be a false alarm - a wood fired hot tub starting up). Years ago we would have responded anyway.

I can't recall the Department having any firefighter quit strictly over the beer drinking issue, but we have definitely matured into a more skilled, responsible and safer department - a Department that I am proud to be a part of.

Take care & Adios,
06/13 Another CDF BC and Mellie-

The lookouts were easy to '86' for the reasons cited. There was no analysis
to find out which ones are truely needed, but I flew a four hour recon on
the Lassen-Modoc yesterday. They used to have seven lookouts. Saw no fires
or it would have been seven hours. The cut may have been an attempt to pass
the costs onto the user, the one's who feel the need will come forward with
the cash. Well, the timber companies are saying their profit margins are
down so they didn't take the bait. The result is no lookout coverage. We
saved about $35,000 for each closed lookout tower.

It has been said that the BOF isn't, or doesn't want to be, involved in fire
protection issues. Their energy seems to be spent on fighting internally
and externally over timber industry controls. The make-up of the Board
doesn't focus on the fire protection mission. Hopefully they will become
more interested and start asking questions if the budget continues to go
into the dumper.

06/13 JerseyBoy and Mt Linker

Appreciate the info on the goats and clearing brush. The part about penning them small to make them "eat their vegetables" and not just the greens they like - good idea. I had 2 goats when I was a kid and I couldn't get them to eat anything they didn't want to. I think I anticipated them starving long before they really were. Those goats could look at me with their "im starving eyes" framed by big floppy ears and i'd get out the treats right away.

Tahoe Terrie
06/13 For those who are wondering how the new computer program for dispatch, ROSS, is going.

Lets see 3 hours for a handcrew order, 2 1/2 hour for a air attack platform order and a very fast 1 hour and 10 min for one overhead order. Lack of training? no not really a VERY slow program? YES. The program works BUT not at the speed which is need for dispatch. Some parts of the program still have problems. The program is not going to go away, through it will take a while not only to get used to, but to work like it is planned. It is sure a LONG way from just picking up the phone and CALLING the order through to the next office the way it was done only 7-8 years ago. Boy have times changed...

Please have patience with dispatchers this season.

R3 dispatcher
06/13 Other meanings of BLM:
Bureau of Lots of Meetings
Broads Leading Morons

Meaning of USFS:
Use Sleeve For Snot


haw haw haw, on the" use sleeve for snot" one! Ab.
06/13 Hi "Another CDF BC",

I did have the same thought about CDF unilaterally closing the lookouts when DoF had the jurisdiction. Guess the lookouts are spread around and don't have so much of a "following" and presence as the ATs create. Died without a whimper, didn't they?

I hear there's a lot more politics toward the top with the budget and CDF. I'm waiting to hear more...

06/12 Does anyone have any info on how privately held forest land owned by environmental preservation groups is managed for fire protection?

I have three questions...

1) Have there been any fires on wildlands administered by the environmental preservation groups and what were their effects?

2) What management strategies are environmental groups using to validate their conservation of the land?

3) Do the environmental groups utilize an analysis process such as NEPA or CEQA to evaluate their projects and allow for public involvement, comment, and appeal?


Wildland Fire Community:

The picture that I have attached is a very special picture. When my crew went down to Nacogdoches Texas to work on the shuttle recovery mission we were blessed with some very personal visitors. Due to the crews' outstanding work ethic and attitude in a very harsh environment we were given the opportunity to meet these people. From left to right these are the names. Astronaut Carlos Noriega; astronaut Terry Virts; the wife of Columbia astronaut Michael Anderson; the husband of Columbia astronaut Kalpana Chawala; astronaut James Kelly; husband of Columbia astronaut Laurel Clark; GFP superintendent Brett Miller.

I also included a picture of the crew at the Johnson space center in Houston. In fact we got a personalized tour of the place by astronaut Terry Virts himself.

Also, I feel the firefighters who frequent this site have a place in their hearts for the NASA family after the recovery effort, so if you could post this message on the “they said” forum so the wildland firefighter community can look at the picture and hear the message that the family members wanted to get out, the message follows:


Here is a note for anyone who was involved with the shuttle recovery mission. I have posted a picture of some special guests who came out to our grid to meet us and thank us for the work that was being done. These VIPs that came out to see us were not overhead nor were they press, in fact this little “mission” was kept so secret, the incident management team did not even know of the events that were about to transpire. I was told to bump my crew out to the vehicle immediately by the division sup. I asked if there was an emergency and he said “no but RTO to the rigs AND DON’T TELL ANYONE WHAT YOU'RE DOING” so I got a count of the men and complied and got to the rigs. Just as we were about to take 5 and water up, 6 NASA vehicles came down the road and circled and stopped and these VIPs got out and proceeded to be introduced by a NASA official. These VIPs were three family members of the deceased Columbia astronauts and three other astronauts. Everyone introduced themselves and they proceeded to sit down in the dirt with the crew in the pouring rain and eat sack lunches, yes that’s right... sack lunches. We sat and talked about recent events and where everyone was from while all of us ate our mystery meat and juice. It was truly a memorable experience, but what was most touching is when one of the family members stood up and spoke candidly to the crew.

He said,
“I have never had an experience like this in my life and it is all I can do to keep my emotions on the inside…… the wildland fire crews and the people that are out here in these conditions will always have a place in all of our hearts for the rest of my life……. I just want all of you to know that you are more of a part of the NASA family than you think…… just coming out here to see what is going on and what is happening has helped me to realize that there is a brand of people out there that are true public servants that have a heart of gold and carry out there daily duties as if it was a normal thing. We are forever grateful to you who will keep the future NASA families safe and prevent an occurrence like this from happening again.”
After he finished speaking, there was a short awkward silence around the 30 or so people that were sitting there in the dirt, but then one of my crew members started to pray with one of the family members and everyone followed suit. After the prayer was finished, I could tell there was less stress and more relief in the eyes of those folks that came out there that day and they felt like they were truly consoled and supported.

Shortly after that I asked astronaut Noriega why the astronauts were so involved with these family members, exactly why they never left their side. This is the reason. Whenever an astronaut leaves for a mission that astronaut will turn to an astronaut from a previous mission and ask “if anything happens to me, I want you to be the one to take care of my family.” So these astronauts literally took these families in and placed them in their own houses in Houston with their own families to help them through the grieving process.

Wildland Fire Community: I just thought that you folks should know the impact that all of you created during your stay on the recovery mission, but this short story has two meanings. One is the impact on the NASA families, the second is how personable this mission has become to the fire family and how we can learn from it.

I have seen a problem as I walk up and down the fire lines talking with other crews and individuals. And it seems to increase with the influx of new firefighters on the line. Yes the Columbia mission was a tragic experience and a lot of firefighters were touched by it. I feel only if our tragedies and fire fatalities could make this kind of impact on our own environment. It seems how quickly we forget the loved ones or the friends that we have lost over the years doing this profession. The only reason I think about it so much is because I spent a grueling two weeks in Colorado going to memorial services and funerals and critical incident stress debriefings in 1994. I would wish that on no one. I feel that as we go out there this year we try to make the newbie’s get an understanding of the impact of the consequences of the job and help the older dogs and the veterans of this trade remember. I don’t want anyone to take offense to my message, I know that there are plenty of people out there who have been touched by a fire line fatality. I would like to see more people sharing those thoughts and experiences. That way it won’t be like a “reality check,” god forbid if it happens again. Life is short, fires are shorter, and education is the key to prevention.

Due to the nature of the incident I feel I should not release the names of these family members. But they held a deep spot in their heart for all of the fire personnel working on the recovery mission and made us feel as much of a part of theirs and the NASA family's, which made the trip truly a memorable experience. If any of you fellow co workers have any comments or insight to share I would love to read it drop me a line some time at trainer@oregontrail.net.

Have a safe season and remember the fallen
Just another firefighter

Ab posted the photos and the description on the Miscellaneous 2 photo and description pages. Please, let's also remember the helicopter crew that went down assisting with the recovery. If someone will send in their names, Ab will add them in a post.
06/12 In response to the question from CAP about the Red Card Database, I know that the agency information is not available on the web, but the National Wildfire Suppression Association does have a large web based database with information about the training quals of thousands of private sector and agency people who have been trained by NWSA Certified Instructors. You can visit this site as a guest at www.nwsatraining.com. In order to view someones records you must know the card ID number or look them up by name.


I couldn't find a way to look them up by name. Ab.
06/12 Hi there Ab....after going thru the terms already listed I found my brain going around and around with these goodies I've run into over the years.

BOHICA - "Bend Over, Here It Comes Again" The first reaction when a notice/email/order arrives from "higher up". Courtesy of our Initial Attack (IA) crews.

Bambi - Fish and Wildlife personnel

Rocky Mountain Barking Spider - used to describe the sound that emanates from a person's posterior region after too much fire food.

06/12 Re Nicknames, Jargon and Terms...

Chasing Fog Fires - in Northern California we get fog off and on all summer. Sometimes we would get called out at O dark thirty to the report of smoke in the area which turns out to be fog.

LAVE, retired
06/12 Hi Ab,

I wasn't sure if you all had this information on the upcoming 2nd International Wildland Fire Ecology and Fire Management Congress being held in Orlando, Florida in November 2003. The deadline for submission of abstracts has been extended until July 1, 2003. (The first Congress was held in San Diego a couple years ago)

Please check out the website:

Thanks for your help
06/12 More nicknames for the BLM:

Bureau of Land Manglement
Boys Learning to be Men
Busted, Lame, and Mean
Big Loads of Manure

And some regional terms (R3):

Chinger-ed: In a very bad situation
Going Chingadera: Same as going gunnysack
Chinger: A chip out of your tool
90210: The only anglo on the crew
Chicharron: The slowest guy on a handcrew (Chicharrones are fried pork fat, a northern New Mexican delicacy)

Nerd on the Fireline

I put 'em on the list along with Peter the Aussie's contributions. Thanks.
Terms, Nicks, Names we call each other, Jargon
06/12 Guard,

Just heard the news about your retirement. The Forest is losing a valuable resource and a wealth of fire and district knowledge.

Like Killer has stated in an earlier post, I too wish you the best of luck and enjoy your retirement. It was an honor and a pleasure knowing and working with you.


Hopefully Guard will continue to share his knowledge here. Ab.
06/12 Ab,

Re Nicknames and Jargon... From Downunder, a couple of Aussie ones which could be "transferred" to the US.

The state of New South Wales's "National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS)" became known by firefighters as the "National SPARKS and WILDFIRE Service", perhaps the NPS in the US could be renamed the National Sparks Service?

The state of Victoria's former Dept of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) was normally referred to "Flea's, Bee's and Tree's", however as this was the 4th different name in about 10 years due to dept re-organisation, the DCNR came to stand for "Dept of Constant Name Rearrangement". The name has been changed twice since. A full list of names since the early 1980's for this one organisation is:
1/ Forestry Commission of Victoria (FCV),
2/ Dept of Conservation, Forests and Lands (DCFL),
3/ Dept of Conservation and Environment (DCE),
4/ Dept of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR),
5/ Dept of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) and now
6/ Dept of Sustainability and Environment (DSE).

And people wonder where government money goes......

HAR, sounds like bureaucratic problems range worldwide. Ab.
06/12 CAP

The National Database of red card quals is not available on the www. Not
sure if it ever will be.

06/12 Hi Mellie-

Using your synopsis of the PRC, I wonder why the 22 lookouts haven't been restored to the budget which were also eliminated? I'm kind of surprised that not many took up the fight for the lookouts-and because of that, they are gone for good now.I would also bet that all of the other resources cut over the last 30 years did not follow this process either (engines, crews, dozers, ect...)

One thing is for sure though, you don't put up the computer geeks (IT) for cuts, 'cause you know it'll happen. You put up the airbases for cuts, and they'll come a running to save the day for you!

More people in the wildlands, more calls, and they just keep cutting more and more. Hummmmmm.

Anyone have any thoughts?

"Another CDF BC"
06/12 Jackson,

The report of the apparent alcohol-related vehicle homicide of a young volunteer firefighter in Newcastle, Wyoming is troubling. Even more so that it's another firefighter who is suspected of causing it. It's really no surprise, though.

In my travels I have seen first hand a deep-rooted booze culture in some areas of the fire service--both municipal and wildland. A few years back, I saw a firetruck pull up to a fire in what will be an unnamed Nevada town. The driver got out, wobbled a few steps and passed out, falling flat on his face like a sawn tree. I later learned that their firehouse had a wet bar and was one of the more popular watering holes in town.

I know of several fire departments that still have well-used spigots in the back room. One department had their chief fired when he tried to pull out the keg and mixers. "Us or him," the firefighters demanded.

Old traditions die hard, I guess. But maybe I went to a different fire school, where we learned to take our responsibility to the public seriously and respect our position in the community. The badge is always put away and pager turned off before the brewsi starts flowing.

Snake River Sparky
06/11 Ab,
Do u happen to know the web address to the national database for qualifications and red cards???? I am a contract FFT-2, and wanted to check out the site........ i know that after refresher and pack test... veryone's info and qual's get posted on the national data base......... any info would be great....thanks
06/11 Debbie
re: FERS/temporary time

In 1999 there was a bill in congress call the FERS Buyback Act of 1999. I think it was sponsored by Kanjorski (sp?) of Pennsylvania. It died in committee and has not ever resurfaced. That is all I know of this issue. It is a shame that everyone's temporary time will not count for their retirement. This issue affects many people. I have about 48 months worth of temporary time that were wasted. Write a letter to your congressman. Anybody know anything about this?

06/11 Tahoe Terrie

San Bernardino and maybe the Cleveland? ran critters on Fuel Breaks in the 70's, goats loved the Poison Oak.
They could have been out sourced.

Mt Linker
06/11 Tahoe Terrie:

i was part of a group that used goats to clear weeds
and brush in denver city parks a few years back. we
had about 60 goats per herd - and they were extremely
effective; depending on what you want cleared you
could leave them there longer or shorter time periods.

we used portable fencing (non-electric), and had a
goat-herder (me) to keep the goats out of trouble
(climbing trees, getting heads stuck in fences, other
animals, etc).

the area of fencing has to be kept pretty small in
relation to the size of the herd. while the goats
will eat most anything if they have to, if they have
too much space they'll find a section they like and
eat it to dirt while leaving lots vegetation
elsewhere. and from what i remember goats will eat
certain types of weeds and brush more than others, so
different fuel types might be a problem.

i didn't work on the contracts with the city of
denver, so i can't say how much it cost per acre, but
as an environmentally safe and labor free exercise,
it's a pretty good deal.

06/11 Here's a good use of goats (www.chicoer.com) to clear understory with a crew clearing the small trees/large brush. I always wondered how many it took per acre for how long... $500 an acre, 3 acres in 4 days.
"If goats are used, they'll be controlled using a combination of herding dogs and electric fences. A handler said that method is effective when herds are working an area roughly 200 feet wide by about 600 feet long."
Wonder how many goats in that herd??? Can anybody from up that way ask them and report back?

Wish they chomped on our lg-diameter beetle killed trees... Could be a bad season...
Tahoe Terrie
06/11 R Ty O,

About working with the Hoopa:
Pay is probably similar. Don't know funding sources, but some (or meebe all?) comes from the federal govt.

You would see and work a lot of fire. Last year I think they had in excess of 260 fires up there. A lot of fires are arson and the tribe is trying to put the kaibash on those but they have to be fought small or larger. Last year's Supply Creek Fire, well it kinda like freeked people out and they almost banned that arsonist from the tribe, tough stuff today given how common and kinda accepted burning was in the past. No more. They're on the warpath. Seem to be in a "whup those firestarters asses" mode right now.

The reason you're unlikely to be offered a firefighter job (unless you're Hoopa) is that the tribe preferentially hires Hoopas. I think they currently have 2 engines= 6 firefighters and would like an additional engine but are unlikely to get it this season, but that would still only involve 9 firefighters. I am fairly sure they have many indians wanting those 6 or 9 jobs.

If you were to get a job on the res, you asked what might be different and what would be the chance of working for the FS after that.

Different: When fighting fire on the res, the tribe doesn't have to follow the work:rest guidelines like the rest of us. They also are not subject to changes brought about by 30 mi. This means they're more into "rolling their own" rules which may or may not be less safe. Don't need to cowtow to the enviros to take down a hazard tree. When dispatched to a fire managed by the federales, however, they follow the same rulz we do. Whatever the case with rulz, you need to learn to watch out for your own safety, LCES, maintain situational awareness, stay rested enuf, it's all your lookout even if you have a mentor. Your life is in YOUR hands! Watch out for the unexpected though. Speaking of which, another hazard a number of crews faced last year or was it the year before, was that there was an open septic sump at the fire site, no one knew, people stepped or fell in the wrong place, were exposed and had to have injections, inoculations, tests for strange diseases, etc for some time after. Like, not good. Rather yuck, actually. I will not do that again! Put sh*t on my list of reservation watchouts.

Crossing over to the FS later: Training is GOOD, get it. Could definitely cross over later. I know one person that did a season with Hoopa and got hired FS this year. you'd have to go through the hiring process again for next season like everyone else, but good fire training and experience always help land the next job. And you might get into one sooner this season that comes open someplace if you have the training.

Ok, enuf of the enticements. Hope they help.
sign me Lower Trinity> as in one of the 6 Rivers, definitely not of the Father Son and Holy Ghost variety
06/11 T. Jefferson, Re: New wildland firefighter physical requirements

Add my email address to your collection. fwilliamatw@citlink.net

I have been advised that NPS will implement new standards this year. Have also been advised to rewrite PD, try to get new PD accepted at current grade. Management pukes won't even stick out for higher grade even through they admit the PD and current job is way way above what the pay grade is. Oh Well!

They also have a "better you than me" attitude.

Hang tough

06/11 Cache Queen:

there IS a system in place for cross billing with the
USPS, but few places have bothered to set it up.

as i said before, i suspect the reason that people use
fed ex or ups is that it is convenient: whether it
involves billing, pick-up, or delivery time.

but the post office offers all these services too
(except for extremely large or heavy packages): you
just have to set up an account - and there are a
variety of ways to pay (automatic, credit, debit,

again, it might be more a question of the USPS letting
people know what there services are, because fed ex
and ups do a great job as it it. just trying to find
the info on the USPS website can be a headache -(and
maybe the cause of your senility!)


the democrats are equally complicit when it comes to
homeland security and federal hijinx. their push to
federalize so quickly did little than add badges to
TSA screeners - training, background checks etc. still
haven't been completed for many workers, even though
they became union members from day 1. and even now
they criticize homeland security as being wasteful and

like much that goes on here in d.c., good ideas get
quickly polluted by partisan politics.

06/10 was at the firehouse tonight in my BLM wildfire hat, some of the guys noticed it and asked whats that stand for? burning land management? thought you may like to ad it to your list!

be safe

Put it on the list. Readers, any others?
Terms, Nicks, Names we call each other, Jargon
06/10 anybody know why its getting smoky in central oregon?

That covers a lot of territory. Can you be a bit more specific? There's the Ten Cow Fire 32 mi SE of Reserve NM and one called the Silver Zone in Silver Zone Pass NV. No large ones I have heard of in Oregon. ;-) Readers?
Here's an Oregon prediction...
06/10 Happy 5 month wedding anniversary, Firegirl! Many happy returns of the day...
Do you still have Ol'Abs scanner?

Firegirl's Page
06/10 We've updated the Jobs Page, wildland firefighter Series 462 and Series 455. Brought all the links on the Links Page up to date. Check out the Classifieds Page also. Ab.
06/10 The latest word on Rick Lupe from the folks at the White River Apache Tribe.
Dick Mangan
Subject: Rick Lupe Update

Rick has had a couple of setbacks. He is currently on dialysis and a
ventilator to help with his breathing. The doctors told his wife that he
has returned to a stable but critical condition after undergoing several
days of being unstable. The doctors have not given a prognosis of when he
will be taken out of the drug-induced coma. Tomorrow, 6/11, will mark
the fourth week since the accident.

I'll keep everyone posted on his progress and please continue to pray for
his recovery.


Thanks Dick and Chadeen. Ab.
06/10 jerseyboy-

Thanks for the update re: airport security. Nice to hear that it was the republicans, not the dems, that decided that airport security should be in the hands of a workforce that often did not have proper background checks (many had criminal backgrounds), were paid lousy wages, and in many instances (at least in CA) were not even legal citizens.

06/10 Redcard:
I was on the Columbia Shuttle Recovery Dispatch through the <snip> Agency, ND. Although it wasnt considered a fire, its still a dispatch. And in order to be eligible for dispatch you have to have your Red Card.

One of our Crew Reps "<snip 1>" dispatched a friend of his "<snip 2>", because he was hurting for money. Alot of qualified "Red Card" fire fighters were bumped from going on dispatch because <snip 2> is a good friend to <snip 1>. That just doesnt seem right or fair. My question is.....Arent there any rules, regulations and consequences for <snip 1> allowing that. Not only was <snip 2> not a qualified fire fighter with no experience, <snip 1> also placed <snip 2> in control of the squads at times.

Im a firefighter out of <snip> Agency ND. I'd like to ask what qualifications do you need to be a Crew Boss. Also, is another Crew Boss qualified to sign off on your Crew Boss Paper??? It is my understanding that you need a Crew Rep to sign you off. It is also said that one of <snip> Crew Boss <snip 1> wasnt signed off by a Crew Rep, but another Crew Boss. After being turned down by a Crew Rep in Fort <snip> he had a friend sign off his crew boss paper.

06/10 Boy -- lately it just seems that I have to butt heads with Jersey Boy --
hope we run across each other in the future so we can have some good discussions and some mentoring from this old broad (me). One of his latest posts regarding the use of USPS by gov't. agencies read:
"as for the use of the USPS by government agencies: could it be that in the case of the sent materials we have government employees not taking the time (or effort) to find the lowest cost carrier? i've seen lots of colleagues decide to "fedex it" when it doesn't have to be there overnight. they just assume that since they aren't paying it out of pocket, might as well go with whatever they can remember first (a testament to advertising perhaps?) just a thought there."
Well, let me tell you, being one of those non-effort, forgetful types, please forgive me if I don't get this reply completely correct -- May just take too much work on my part to try to get past my senility and post an competent answer.

The reason that shipping functions of the government do not use the USPS, is that there is no system in place for cross billing. They (USPS) do not bill us or send us an invoice, so that the customer requesting items may be billed.

I don't know about you, but I don't personally want to send out equipment, materials, etc. at my own expense -- I try to be generous (as well as lazy) -- but I'm NOT that generous.

Cache Queen
06/10 Ab and ALL,

You can read about a lot of process of "saving the ATs" on the saveairattack website.
Here's some behind the scenes stuff... The decision to cut the Ukiah air base was made by Dave Driscoll, CDF Region Chief for Fire Protection - Northern Region. When the Ukiah community protested and raised their political VOICE, he showed up in Ukiah to defend the closure of the base. Oh my, he didn't know what he was getting into.

The long and short of it is that the meetings, the letter writing, the lobbying etc all went on to the max with the right mix of passionate community members participating. In the process, someone got hold of the Public Resources Code for the State of California to look at how the process was supposed to work legally. Sections 4130 and 4131 are pertinent. (FYI, board=Board of Forestry; department=CDF; plan=State Fire Plan.) If you read these short sections carefully, you find that after the State Fire Plan is created, if there is not enough funding, the CALIFORNIA BOARD OF FORESTRY (BoF) is the entity empowered to make any cuts or reductions, not CDF. UHOH!

In a May meeting, the Board of Forestry members discussed those sections that gave them the responsibility for any reduction or closing. CDF management, who had made the decision unilaterally, probably didn't know the rules; BoF may not have known the rules; tanker bases are not closed every day, after all. OOPSIE! <chuckle> <shakes head>

Anyway, the Ukiah folks who worked so hard on retaining their airbase protection feel a bit more secure these days. They figure that since all players now know the "rules", and the BoF must make, or must be included in discussions of any decisions for closure, the base is less likely to face a closing that is not thoroughly discussed. They plan to make their VOICE heard again if need be.

I found this scuttlebutt interesting and satisfying. I just love it when the little, kinda rural guys win, especially after the CDFers and the DynCorp AT employees have been told by their bosses to "button their lips".

06/10 On May 22, 16-year old volunteer firefighter Anndee Huber was killed while responding to a vegetation fire near Newcastle, WY. The firefighter driving the fire truck was drunk, with a blood alcohol level of 0.16, double the legal limit. The firefighter-driver was jailed on $20,000 bail on a charge of aggravated vehicular homicide. He could get up to 20 years in prison.

This happened at 10 PM. I wonder how often firefighters respond to fires after normal working hours after having downed a few beers? I can think of a few examples, back in the day. I wonder how many of us are willing to speak up if we think our fellow firefighter is not fit to fight fire, or not fit to drive?

Firehouse.com has received 100,000 hits on their articles about this incident.

06/09 Ab, we're trying to get word out to all who helped and let people know the outcome -

The Coalition to Save the Ukiah (CDF) Air Attack Base is very pleased to report that both the Ukiah and Porterville bases have been completely re-funded for Fiscal Year 2003-2004. This follows months of hard work by our Coalition, local and state elected representatives, the Board of Forestry, and many others whose names and identities we don't know - probably some of them are you guys. The news was made public on May 14, the day the Governor's revised proposed budget was released, in a letter from the State Department of Finance.

A celebration of our success will take place at the Ukiah Air Attack Base next Monday, June 16, with an open house and refreshments beginning at noon, and a special thank-you ceremony at 7:00 p.m. You are invited! Our hearty thanks to everyone who participated in this historic effort.

Julie Rogers
Volunteer Coordinator,
Coalition to Save the Ukiah Air Attack Base
(707) 463-2903

Hats off to all of you in the Ukiah community for retaining your CDF air support firefighting resources. I can only imagine how much effort it took to create your www.saveairattack.com website, hold all the community and strategy meetings, organize the letter writing campaign, meet with CDF mgmt and local state representatives, lobby Sacramento, etc.

What your community did was indeed a remarkable historic effort and it paid off. When it seemed you were succeeding with funding for FY 02-03 and people were burning out, you continued until you secured funding for FY 03-04. I'd be curious to know how CDF management was really made to "see the light". Anyone know the behind the scenes details? Are the bases likely to continue to stay open in coming years?

Thanks for the invite. Maybe some who live nearby will make it. If anything new develops and you find you need some letter writers once again, let us know. Ab.
06/09 Some more photos.

Put up a photo of a BIG piece of Equipment, an 8x8 testing it's roof nozzle from ERE on the Equipment 5 photo page.

Also posted Ring O Fire in the Everglades from MG, a bunch of photos of the West Pines Everglades Fire from David, and Some hay bales burning in Wisconsin from JG on Fire 17 photo page.

Have some new logos on Logos 9 from the Victorville VFD.

And from the crew and sawyer folks, a number of photos on Handcrews 8. The GPF IA crew surrounded by flames, the Vista Grande Crew at Mt Rushmore, and from Fire Mamma, Sawyer Ken and Sawyer Steve illustrate how to fell a burning catseye tree.

Thanks to all. For more information, read the descriptions. Ab.
06/09 This seems like a no-brainer.

Albuquerque Journal
Udall Fears Bush Plan Targets Minorities' Jobs

The anti-outsource
06/09 I also thought the CNN program was well put together.

Allen Simmons makes pretty good wildland fire videos,
he has the latest on last year’s fires On the Angeles.

Also Texas Cyn Hotshots left on Sat for R-3 Arizona,
sounds like they are starting to pick up on their
Fires out there. June gloom on the Angeles for now.

Everyone have a save year.
06/09 Ab.

Hi there just had a quick question. Could anyone point me to a website or a person who has a saw shoulder pad for sale. Mine has seen better days, and am having a hard time finding a replacement. One more thing Im also from Barlow R.D., and wanted to say Hi to Nathan B with the engine photos. Great shots!! What fire did you take those on? Ab, Ive lost his email and thank you for your time.


Check the Supply Cache. They're one of our good sponsors.
06/09 Thought I would stir up the duff on the red card issue. I am 67 and have a current red card. I am curious as to how many other Pers. there are out there who also are in their 60's or 70's or better who have current red cards.

The Old Man Of the Dept.
06/09 How do we fight to get credit under FERS for the period worked after 1989
until receiving a WAE position? Why does my husband just give up this time?
It doesn't seem fair.

06/09 Here is a photo of Engine 7532 from the Humboldt-Toiyabe N.F. from Las
Vegas Nv. The engine is supporting a burn out operation on the Lost Cabin
fire in 2002.


Let's hear it for engines! Nice one with flames. I put it on Engines 6 Photo page. Ab.
06/09 Here are some pictuers of a couple of engines (Bubbles & Muddy) from my home district, the Barlow ranger district on the Mt. Hood Natl. forest. The one stuck is a five hundred gallon, type III, model 75 engine. The truck is a prototype, which has four-wheel drive, but as the picture shows, doesnt do very good in deep mud. unable to see how soggy the ground really was, because of refilling via a tender many times, the truck sank quickly as we head down the road.


Thanks, I put them on Engines 6 Photo page. For info on the other contributions, please read the photo descriptions. Thanks to all contributors. Ab.
06/09 Ab, here are some more pics for your site. By the way- the site's great! :)

Here are a few from some prescription burns that we did over the past two
weeks. The images with "WestPines" or "WP" in the name were from our
biggest Rx burn to date- 7,400 acres! The other picture is from a second
prescription burn that encompassed 3300 acres and was taken just after
dark. Target areas were forests of Dade-County Slash Pine (Pinus elliottii
v. densa) and some of the surrounding fresh water prairie (Sawgrass
dominant), with a goal of reducing understory hardwood vegetation that
encroaches upon the pineland plant community. The photos were taken with a
Nikon Coolpix 4500 and panoramas were made in ArcSoft PanoramaMaker 3.0, or
Adobe Photoshop. It would be really cool if you could make an Everglades
section on your site! :) Keep up the great work.


Thanks, I put them on Engines 6 Photo page and one is up on the main wildlandfire.com page. Ab.
06/09 I just wanted to say that your website is great and it shows alot
about the profession of wildland firefighting. The combination of
photos, patches/logos, and many other links is well done.

-Vista Grande Hotshots

It is a profession, that's for sure, and a proud one. As said by Abs before me, this wildland fire community is remarkable and this is OUR fire community's website. It wouldn't exist without everyone sharing information. Working on it is never dull... well sometimes it is, but it's always a joy to get up in the morning and see what's under the tree. Will it be the Christmas present of whitie tidie underwear from Aunt Jane or the rappelling gear from Grandma? ;-) Most all presents are welcome. As on the fireline, you never know exactly what's in store... except there are those photos we need to cold trail. Thanks for the appreciation, GA.
HEY, YOU ALL, you should know that we appreciate YOU too.
Have a safe season. Ab.
06/09 Aberdeen, Treehggr:

The airport security workers were federalized as a
political compromise between republicans and
democrats. the bush team didn't want them to be
federal workers - because as a matter of policy they
believed the contractors could do it better. (they
were also hesitant to add large numbers of previously
minimum wage jobs to the government payroll, and
hence, to the union).

oddly, few remember that the homeland security
department was a democratic idea in the first place
(proposed by leiberman) that was originally resisted
by the bush administration. like all good politics,
the dems now take the time to bash the organization
they created after bush's team put its support behind
it. but that is washington for you.

as for the use of the USPS by government agencies:
could it be that in the case of the sent materials we
have government employees not taking the time (or
effort) to find the lowest cost carrier? i've seen
lots of colleagues decide to "fedex it" when it
doesn't have to be there overnight. they just assume
that since they aren't paying it out of pocket, might
as well go with whatever they can remember first (a
testament to advertising perhaps?) just a thought

06/08 I really enjoyed Summer of Fire, good job CNN.

LP Hotshots left on Saturday for their second tour
to R-3, they went to the Thomas Fire. What would
be really nice is if we would be able to see the sun
sometime this summer, June gloom (fog) in SB seems
thick this year.

06/08 AZ FF,

The Thomas Fire is now 1,971 acres and 5% contained. Kvale's team is onboard with about 500 personnel, including 11 FS Type I crews and 5 BIA Type II crews; 6 BLM, FS, and state engines; 3 Type 3 and 2 Type 2 helicopters; and a dozer that's being used on the northeast flank to cut line that will be burned out. Extreme fire behavior yesterday with unburned islands and high potential for re-burn. Lots of hotshots crews being coyote-d out.

Heads up, maintain situational awareness,
06/08 Ab,

The only camps in Susanville CA are CDF inmate conservation camps. Susanville Forestry Training Center located in Susanville trains inmates for the entire Northern half of Calif. Once the inmate has completed 2 weeks of training they are sent to CDF Conservation Camps that are in need of inmate Firefighters that have either paroled or have been sent back into the corrections system. Hope this helps Lu H with his question.


No wonder I'm not familiar with the camp. Ab.
06/08 Summer of Fire:
Very well done show. Congratulations to the CNN writers
and producers for an informative, interesting and educational

It is realistic that the Sawtooths had a mopup job on the
Biscuit Fire. It's not all glory. A lot of hotshot work is just
good hard grunt work. Mopshots...

06/08 There's a fire in R3, Name: the Thomas, S of Alpine AZ in the rugged Blue Primitive Area that is managed as wilderness. Lots of dry fuel, thick forest. MIST tactics are being used.. Yesterday evening it was 1500 acres with 0% containment. Any update today?


Got this off the Links page - NIFC Fire News, Large Fire Map - for those interested.

To search for news on any fire name, go to our news page, click on "forest fire" and when the results page for that google search comes up, replace forest with the fire name of choice and hit return. You can see what the media knows of the Thomas Fire.

Must go watch Summer of Fire. Ab.
06/08 It's Sunday night. This is AIRING...

CNN Presents is premiering the television documentary they produced last summer with the Sawtooth Hot Shots and the Southwest Incident Management Teams that tackled the Biscuit Fire in Oregon.

It's called Summer of Fire.

Airdates: Sunday, June 8 at 8 pm ET, 5 pm PT.... 11 pm ET, 8 pm PT
And later that night at 11:00 pm PT, 2 am ET (June 9).
The show will repeat the following Saturday, June 14th.

06/08 Treehggr:

A good question about "federalizing" the airport screeners (TSA - Thousands Standing Around??). Some say it was a Bush/Ashcroft/Ridge attempt to boost the Homeland security budget, and show "emphasis"?? Who knows? They are already laying off about 6000 TSA folks Nation-wide!

My comment about UPS/FedEx versus the USPS use by the USFS and BLM was intended to raise an issue of "perception", not reality. I use all 3 for business and personal reasons, based on costs, timing, etc. But.....when a federal agency uses a non-government shipper to send training materials with a 2 week turn-around, or non time-essential copies WITHIN THE SAME TOWN, then the question must be asked about the efficiency of Government (especially by outsiders who are looking for an excuse to downsize and put more $$ in the private sector.)

By the way, the FedEx ground guy works a "mandatory" 14 hours, 5 days a week! Lots of OT, but a piss poor family life! But......OT is cheaper than hiring additional workers.....!

As ole Ben Franklin said, "if we don't hang together, surely we will hang alone!"

06/08 Hi, I am curious to know if the base camp at Susanville (sends firefighters out all around the country or do they basically stay on the western side of the US? Is this the closest base camp to Spokane, Washington?

Also, what is daily base camp life like? Who prepares the meals? Is there an established camp there with sleeping accommodations & provisions? When there is no fire for them to fight, are they free to leave camp? How many firefighters work out of the camp?

Also, how long is training to learn how to parachute into fire areas? Are there any prerequisites to becoming a "smoke jumper?" how dangerous is it?

I have a 17 year old grandson who is talking about the good money to be earned, just working from late spring to fall. He feels it would give him a good nest egg for college in 2005. I am concerned about the conditions at the camp and the training beginners get.

If I get a favorable response from you I would like to look into this further - can you direct me to a site/sites where I could learn more about the basics and how a parent/grandparent could track (on the internet) what fires are current & if a family member is put on a certain fire.

thanks so much for anything you can help me with,

Lu H

Lu, I don't personally know about the camp at Susanville, but here are a couple of quick answers to some of your questions:

To be a smokejumper, you must be an experienced wildland firefighter and then go through extensive jumper training. It is not for beginners. To find out about smokejumpers, try this site... www.fs.fed.us/fire/people/smokejumpers/. Smokejumpers are a "shared national resource". They travel to remote, inaccessible areas all over the US to fight wildfire.

I imagine your grandson is talking about temporary, seasonal firefighting work with a federal agency since they're the largest hirers (ex, Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service). If so, he'd be hired to work on a handcrew or engine crew at a local Forest or BLM "duty station". He's likely to be dispatched from there with his crew to fight fires out of the area or out of the state. Wildland firefighting assignments can take crews to some of the most beautiful country in the U.S. and they get paid for it. With overtime, the money can add up especially from a young person's perspective. Some crew members finance their college education fighting fire. However, the beautiful country where fires burn is often rugged and remote... and potentially dangerous when it's afire. Hours can be long and strenuous. Then sometimes you just "wait a lot".

The FFI training in which I've participated is excellent. It stresses safety, how to stay safe. However, if your grandson is not the outdoorsy type or is not in excellent physical shape, he may be a poor candidate for this kind of job. For a successful experience as in all jobs, the relationship between the person and job must be a "good fit". If the fit is right, he could have the most rewarding experience of his life. Suggest that he go to the location he's interested in and talk to the firefighters there. He could treat it as an "informational" job interview.

Here's info on FS firefighter employment www.fs.fed.us/fire/people/employment/ and the hiring site for the Forest Service www.fs.fed.us/fire/links/links_employment.phpl and for the BLM www.fire.blm.gov/recruit.php. Training is done by the agency. You can look a post I did on 6/5 in response to Kirby to get some few details on the training required for the intro level qualifications -- Firefighter I. In addition to relying on themselves, novice firefighters must also rely on their more experienced squad bosses and crew supervisors or on their engine captains. There is lots of on-the-job training, both formal and informal. To get a feel for the wider fire community, browse the FS Fire and Aviation site. Fire is "interagency", but that's a good place to start.

Sometimes it is not possible to know where your family member is fighting fire unless they call and tell you... and sometimes that's hard to do from remote sites. Their "duty station" forest will probably know where they were dispatched first, but their crew might be sent on after that first location. Some of the family members who write in to our familysaid web page during the season know more about tracking their family members than firefighters do. Undoubtedly you can get some more answers to questions from them as the season gets underway. Pop over to the familysaid page in a few weeks and ask those good folks. Browse back through their suggestions from seasons past. As far as the resources we maintain on wildlandfire.com, if you are able to find out a fire's name, you can take a look at our running list of large fires on the web, 2003 linked at the top of this page. You can read the National Fire Situation Report, the NIFC Large Fire website, the southwest or southern CA news and notes pages, all linked from our Links Page, button in our header. You can follow some fires via our News Page also linked in our header. Clearly not much for this season is up on the web yet but there are signs that things are heating up.

06/08 Good morning - Crews are using coyote tactics on the Thomas Fire in New Mexico. Will someone please define the term for me? Thank you.

("Crews will be using coyote tactics due to difficulty in accessing the fire area.")


Take a look here at our funny, slang wildland firefighter terms list. Some are only in fun but Coyote is correct. Ab.
06/08 Just wondering if anyone has heard about a new physical fitness test being used in Region 6? It seems all employees must go thru a physical prior to taking the pack test. I know someone that says they are not being allowed to take the pack test because they have poor depth perception....have we really gotten this ridiculous?

06/08 Ab,

this is a great service and forum you provide, i check they said right after the sit report each morning. you are correct in telling those who are looking for fire jobs to be persistent.... this is the most important step to take, however flexibility and patience must rank a close second. be willing to move , be content with being on an engine before you're jumping fires or on a shot crew, take your time to learn the ropes..... even a trail crew job or volunteer work can be a major step in acquiring the position you desire. it sounds corny but it will finally happen with hard work and a good attitude.

06/07 Guard,

Well my friend, I heard today that the ranks of the still employed
lost another highly dedicated, experienced and trusted firefighter
to the ranks of retirement.....

Good luck to you.. you will be missed...hope to see you at one
of the fishing holes one of these days! Keep them cows happy!

06/06 Aberdeen-most government mail does go by USPS. However,
special deliveries/overnights often go by whatever carrier is most
convenient at the time.

I have a question in return: If competitive private industry is the
ultimate standard in performance, why were airport security
workers federalized?

06/06 I will be getting the basic firefighting training through a local tribe (Hoopa tribe). My understanding is that getting trained means there is a better chance for a career in the Federal Forest Service.

I was wondering if anyone had any information on working for tribes. To me it sounds fine just like any other firefighting group and I would love to take the opportunity if I am given the job I applied for. Does the government fund them as well or does their funding come from the tribe's sources? What is the pay difference if there is one? Just general information would be great if anyone wants to take the time. I will probably be finding some of these things out if not all of them on my own. I am just trying to get a heads up before I walk into an interview or show up for the training.

Suggestions for any other questions I should ask?

R. Ty O.

If it's more appropriate, Ab will pass a message.
06/06 Ab,

Wow, posting to "They Said" was probably the best thing I've done in the last two years regarding our Hazard Tree Faller National Standards quest. Responses (folks checking into our website - and responding via the questionnaire) have been extremely helpful. Yea...there have been a lot of war stories, but the wisdom and experience you've chosen to share is a breath of fresh air.

Its tempting to expend a lot of energy complaining about problematic issues without 1) dealing with the foundational issue cornerstones and 2) ratcheting up out of the anger mode to work on constructive solutions. Yes, we need to develop a thorough understanding the specific problems concerning Hazard Tree Fallers on the fireline - to quote a respondent..."jokers (who) show up on fire with claims of being a qualified faller and being down right stupid in their falling practices." There's no end to the ways to substantiate this complaint. We have a bulging file of "Bad Stump" photos to prove it...The best to date is the infamous five face Doug Fir with no apparent holding wood left.

The crucial "cornerstone issue" is the lack of National Standards. If there are no standards, how can fallers be considered qualified or not? There is no fathomable way to accurately and fairly evaluate their ability to do the job before they are hired on the fireline, and certainly no way to make a work performance hold water if their work is sub-par - or rely on the accuracy of the work performance rating if the faller has done a top quality job - without a universally accepted set of standards.

I realize this forum is intended for Federal agency fire folks, not necessarily for contractors wanting to rage about private sectors issues.

That said, I would be interested in hearing from those of you who have specific ideas and/or experiences with the five following areas of falling specific to fire:

1) Qualifications (agency and/or private sector); What are the absolute bare minimums you think should be required for fallers to work on the fireline? Time at the stump? Equipment? Etc.

2) Faller Training Programs (any agency/private sector mentor programs, etc., U.S. or other)
*To hopefully curb the "Dent" response, please note his book sits on a bookshelf above my head. I've read it. He's not answering his phone these days. (D. If you're out there, PLEASE call me... or send Ab a note to forward on.)
* I also have a dog-eared S-212 manual. And honestly, its really not much help.

3) Certification - This one's more nebulous. Those who have observations and comments regarding the A,B,C agency program are welcome to provide them. This program is weighted heavily on tree size and does not take into account cutting challenging timber (fire compromised hazard trees). This is the reason the falling industry is attempting to establish a specific "Hazard Tree Faller" classification with the assistance of the agencies, with a corresponding NWCG-sanctioned (310-1) training path. What criteria would this take into account? How would that criteria be assessed? How could it be evaluated in the field by agency personnel?

4) Faller/sawyer specific first aid/CPR. This area should be of particular interest to the EMT/Safety crowd out there. (I know some Smokejumper acquaintances who have particularly well honed skills). I have a three-inch thick federal OSHA investigation report covering Alan Wyatt's death in Colorado last year. (Wyatt was a top-notch guy and a damn fine Professional Faller. One of the fallers Wyatt mentored had to buck the tree off of him. That man is on our management team.) Not a pretty document. Much of the material is research background dealing with past faller/sawyer accidents & fatalities. Pretty grisly. What I'm looking for here are 1) Real Accident Scenarios; 2) Medical Response (from accident discovery to patient transport); 3) Accident catalyst (Why did it happen?); 4) Specific ways medical response could have been performed better.
* Note - This is NOT an attempt to replicate an OSHA report...We're looking for ways to save lives in the field with well thought out First Aid actions required in faller/sawyer specific situations.

5) Regional Timber Typing -
A technical area but necessary for fallers to understand the various regional timber characteristics in areas they're unfamiliar with. This has been an area which has gotten a significant number of people killed. If you have specific knowledge of timber typing and how it can be applied to, and disseminated in this area, please step forward.

Finally, we are putting together a project proposal, plumbing the fire arena and the professional timber falling community for potential team members, and looking for funding to get this initiative moving. Those of you (regardless of agency, but most preferably in your agency's fire shop) who are interested in being a part of the project team, please contact me. We are looking for representatives from each region. Fire overhead, retired or working, crews, Smokejumpers, Shots, ... whoever has the passion and fortitude to take on a two-year project in a team environment and get it done. Work segments will be focused and efficiently processed.

One last question....Where in the hell is Joe Stutler? (Sounds like good material for a folk song...) I owe him a beer.

R.C. Carroll...I told you the time was coming. Let's get to work. Grab yer Tabasco man, and let's go.

Thanks again to all of you who took to the time to forward us your concerns and opinions. Now lets work together to make some constructive changes.

Fire Momma

Joe is retired and working out of his home. Email Ab for the contact info.
Fire Momma, this forum is not just for federal fire folk. If you think that, you've not been reading here very long. Contractors, state firefighters, vollies, city wildland firefighters, retirees, easterners, southerners, westerners all write in, some with questions, some with safety or interagency concerns, some to contribute answers, some to stir the pot. Believe me all in our fire community are here. And even more lurk. (We have more than 140,000 unique visitors per month. The numbers are growing!) Ab.
06/06 Ab,

Today's (June 6) NPS "The Morning Report" has a section titled "Firefighter
Travel Safety Advisory" that contains some useful information.

I attended the Midwest Wildfire Academy in Missouri last week. It was a
very good school. I learned a great deal. Hats off to my instructors.

06/06 The link is up for the CNN program:


06/05 Two Lightning Questions:

Question 1) Does anyone know if there are any agencies using an alternative lightning detection computer system than the current one we use?

We use the BLM system www.nifc.blm.gov/cgi/nsdu/Lightning.cgi/Page/ViewSelect but it appears it is the same technology from the 1980's with updated sensors.

I understand the GAI and Vaisala have merged and seem to have the market cornered on lightning detection under the NLDN (national lightning detection network).

I checked out www.lightningstorm.com and found there are some really accurate new programs available with detailed maps.... even GIS scaleable maps and street maps. They even have sensors that individual users can install to add to the accuracy and feed them info for the system. Are any Federal, State, or local users using any of these new products and can give some help to their accuracy?

Question 2) How accurate is the NLDN? Today, I saw three different dry lightning cells dropping strikes and when I returned to the office to get the locations... not a single strike was registered.

06/05 This is a JOKE told by Jay Leno on the Tonight show Wednesday night. This week is the official start of Fire Season. The big concern this year? That California is so far in debt that Governor Grey Davis may burn it down for the insurance money.

Just thought a little humor is good for the soul.

Retired L.A.V.E.

Given the CDF budget problems, I think it is funny! Ab.
06/05 Hi,

I've called the local Interagency Dispatch, the BLM, and all the other organizations that scream for firefighters but when I ask them how to become one, they have all been completely inept to answer my question.

"So, I need a redcard, but where and how do I get one?"

They have absolutely no idea, but are happy to give me lots of numbers of state employment agencies that will give me other numbers and do anything but answer my simple question.

I've hunted online, but the net isn't more helpful.

Do you have any recommendations for me?


Klancy, see my reply below. Ab.
06/05 Klancy,

The redcard is a small printout of an individual's current wildland fire qualifications; it's part of the wildland fire qualification system used by federal - and most state - wildland fire management agencies. All firefighters assigned to a fire which is managed by a federal agency (US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, US Fish & Wildlife & Bureau of Indian Affairs) are required to have a redcard. Many states require this as well. You could say it’s like a drivers license in that it indicates that the the card's owner has fulfilled all the course work and training required to hold a particular wildland firefighting position and that their qualifications are current.

If you can slog thru it, the 310-1 (NWCG Wildland and Prescribed Fire Qualifications System Guide, in pdf), especially pp 1-11, lists the steps required to earn a redcard and advance thru the system to higher qualifications... and greater responsibilities. See our Links page under training and education for a link to the 310-1.

To get a job at the entry firefighter level, you have to take several classes:
S-130, Firefighter Survival Training;
S-190, Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior; and
I-100, Introduction to the Incident Command System.
Topics cover everything from memorizing the 10 fire commands, 18 watchout situations, and LCES to "book learning" on fire behavior and how the "chain of command" works. Completing these basic courses usually takes a week.
Finally, you have to pass the wildland fire fitness test -- the Work Capacity Test, formerly known as the Pack Test. For links to some of these topics, see the Links page under safety and the Site Map for Brauneis' "Original Intent" 10 Standard Fire Orders.
Standards for Survival
- a class that re-emphasizes the importance of safety on the fireline and includes a practice fire shelter deployment - must be taken every year as a refresher.

(Other beginning training/skills that I feel are invaluable for young firefighters if you can find the training opportunities include: Public Safety First Aid, CPR, rope and rescue techniques, orienteering or topographical map use and familiarization. Readers, any other suggestions?)

How can you get the beginning training? Here are a number of options:
  • Easiest way is to get hired by one of the federal agencies as a wildland firefighter, or by one of the states. Once hired, you will be trained. See the Jobs page for links to the federal agencies' jobs pages. Use the Links page under state agencies to find information about jobs in your state. Apply beginning in January for the best chance of getting hired for the fire season. If you're not hired by early summer, try to get the training some other way and/or hang in there until people drop out, either because they can't make it or because they have to go back to school. People who work the first season are given preference for rehire the next year, even if hired in August.
  • Take the required basic classes at a 2 or 4 year school or in an occupational program.
  • Get hired by one of the many contract firefighting companies who will train you. (It is reported that some contractors retain control of individual firefighter's redcards so their employees can't "jump ship". You might check the company's policy before you begin working for them.)
    Most good reputable contractors belong to one of the associations like NWSA, which you can find linked on our Classifieds page. Often an association provides quality training for its member companies' employees.
  • Pay and take the basic training with a qualified solo trainer. Some of them advertise on our Classifieds page under consulting.

It is a bit complicated. Read this site. Ask questions. Be persistent. You must cultivate "the art of being pleasantly aggressive" if you really want to get that first job.

Good luck.

06/05 Ron,
As of 6 PM yesterday, the Lonesome Beaver Fire was 1,200 acres burning in the regular kind of veg for that area - pinyon, juniper, ponderosa timber, and grasses. Report said it was started by lightning near 10 PM on 5/30. Yesterday it made major runs to the north and south, at one point, jumped a road and into heavier fuels, and threatened a public campground. Resources were being marshaled - protection of the campground was high on the list. Don't know what's up today. Temps are in the mid70s, rel humidity in the teens.
06/05 Anyone have info on the Lonesome Beaver Fire near Hanksville UT?

06/05 From Firescribe:
Ab, thanks again for the Fire News page. I found this one of interest under Airtankers:

"Firefighting plan calls for all-out assault"

Yer welcome. Ab.
06/05 Reply to Crapshooter

The Cave Junction Smokejumpers had our reunion in 2000. From the total of
almost 400 jumpers who ever based out of Caves - close to 150 turned out
from throughout the world. Some from the 40's, some Nam special forces
(dirty ops) and all up until the base closed in 1981. The love and
respect was still alive, the wives were crying along with the men. The
laughter, joy and love - NEVER leaves. It's still, in my opinion, the best
job - because quite simply, you must prove to yourself first who you are,
and then validate it by what you do. There are many fine GS-11/12 FMO's
thruout the Agencies, that are quiet, yet DAMN good about caring for
everyone and engaging in mutual respect and fairness. So this "Ego and
Professionalism Issue" is also a Forest and District issue too. Let's not
forget that. (also includes the IHC cadre too, of course!)

Monument Paver
06/05 Regarding EGO and smokejumpers, hotshots, etc:

What most people don't understand about most smj's and IHC's leadership and
cadre, is that most are very quiet intelligent, introvertive individuals,
not seeking glory - however, they just want to do their jobs right and move
on to the next adventure in life: aka Stuart Roosa who went to the Moon.
The "bravado" - "standoffishness" is often confused with their camaraderie
and desire to not want to be singled out. Unfortunately - it is often
other people who call attention to them and I do know they do not like to
be in a "fishbowl." Why else would they take the remote fires???

Many jumpers, on their base, yes have a particular pride in where they are
from, and each of the 11 bases and 70+ IHC crews does have a reflective
personality. There is always 1-2 in the group that are a "a little twangy"
at times. However, the Base Mgrs. and Crew Superintendents and "Squaddies"
set the tone for the bases - and they are all highly trained, experienced
and well mentored individuals. The best we can grow and find.

What may be seen as "embolden" egotism on fires is their innate
professionalism unknown to others, that includes of their personal
closeness to each other and the love these people have and depend on from
each other. This is often mistaken for "pompous bravado." Let's not
forget that while in the air falling from the sky in a remote area, or
coyote camped - these people are dependent on each other for their lives,
welfare, as well as having the kinship where they often help each other
with outside personal concerns.

They depend on each other for survival - that's not bravado - that's
dedication, trust, respect - AND professionalism. "Esprit de corps" - why
not? Machines break down, but they don't cry -- and often - they can not
shout "Watch out" or maintain situational awareness - acutely needed to the
nth degree on wildfires. What's the problem. If you don't understand
them - join them if you can.

My take.
06/05 A quick thought on Competitive Sourcing: I've received 2 packages over the past 2 days, 1 from the USFS and 1 from the BLM at NIFC. The USFS package came by UPS and the BLM stuff came via FEDEX. The US Postal Service was not the carrier-of-choice by either of these Federal agencies.

How can the Federal Agencies expect their pleas about the "excellence of the Federal Service" to stand up to the scrutiny of the Competitive Sourcing studies when their own actions show a bias to the private sector over Government provided service?

06/05 Regarding the inquiry as to whether the "Water Handling Guide" NFES 1275 is
available on line......yes and no. It is available on the FS intra-net --
so Forest Service personnel can access it. It's in PDF format -- 180
pages, and am not sure how fast the download is -- but here's the address:


Cache Queen

Well, that doesn't do our little buddie Pinkie any good, but maybe we'll have someone look at it. Thanks, Cache Queen. Say is that pronounced Cash Queen or Cah-shay Queen? An' I won't even ask about gender...;-) (Ain't the internet grand!) Ab.
06/05 Don't forget this coming up on Sunday night:

CNN Presents will premiere the television documentary they produced last summer with the Sawtooth Hot Shots and the Southwest Incident Management Teams that tackled the Biscuit Fire in Oregon.

It's called Summer of Fire.

Airdates: Sunday, June 8 at 8 pm ET, 5 pm PT.... 11 pm ET, 8 pm PT
And later that night at 2:00 a.m. ET, 11:00 pm PT
The show will repeat the following Saturday, June 14th.

06/05 Another GACC Web suggestion:

EVERYTHING that is in Adobe Acrobat should be clearly labeled "PDF". This format should be a last resort if there is no way to enter the information simply as text on a webpage. PDF files are large, slow to impossible to load, difficult to read without printing and wasting paper, and often lock up the computer.

06/05 Dear Ab,

Well, its official. R6 Forest Service has scrapped the first ever faller solicitation in history... Awarding contracts under this solicitation would have been one step - although a very small one - closer to establishing some sort of standard for hazard tree fallers working on the fireline. The reason? Seems the regional contracting officer assigned to the solicitation project "just doesn't have enough time" to work with the bidders (19) to become responsive to the solicitation. Perhaps we didn't use the right font on our solicitation bids in box 34a. But we won't know until the officer "has time" to list our inadequacies.

This solicitation has been two years in the making. Currently, fallers are hired AD via an EERA to work on the fireline. The regional contract would have provided an alternative. Functionally, the EERA program is a joke but seems to work for the feds. EERAs are handed out like hall passes to anyone who can walk into a contracting officers office and convince them they're a faller. Virtually no background checks are performed. (Can you IMAGINE the time it would take for background/training verification?? Heaven forbid!) A 45 minute video and shake of a fire shelter is all it takes, and the "faller" is ready to hit the fireline and rake in those huge fire bucks.

Skilled Professional Fallers who do make it to the fireline end up doing the lion's share of the work as unskilled "fallers" are identified and sent to staging to await demob...that is IF they are demobbed. Seems the feds are pretty leery of getting rid of unqualified fallers because of litigation. Cutters who've figured it out just threaten to sue...and they spend an extra few days sitting in the shade, collecting extra fire pay.

There are currently NO national standards for hazard tree faller qualifications, training and certification. The "C-Faller" designation is inadequate to cover the activities a hazard tree faller performs on fires. Focusing on the diameter of a tree in terms of cutting ability does not take into account the the skill necessary to cut challenging timber (regardless of size)...which includes the fire compromised wood of a hazard tree.

Next, putting the power of hiring "fallers" into the hands of a contracting officer who probably has never started a saw in their life is ludicrous. After a thorough search of the nation's Forest Service Faller EERAs, I have over 600 sitting on my desk in front of me. And a scarier stack of crap I have NEVER seen.

Private contractors need to work closely with the agencies to establish an NWCG sanctioned training and certification path for hazard tree fallers. Stated faller background AND training also need to be verified...yes VERIFIED.

Example: We are a fire contractor which deals exclusively with professional timber fallers working as hazard tree fallers on fires. Last year I assisted approximately 20 fallers to navigate the EERA process. I interacted with dozens of contracting officers...either at their Forest level office or at fire incidents. NOT ONCE was the information I provided to the contracting officers followed up on. Fortunately, we do verify faller background (a costly and time consuming process). But what if we were unscrupulous? What if the desire to attain that juicy fire money were enough to prompt us to provide fraudulent information in the EERA "contract"? (Yea.. that NEVER happens right?)

So, we took the concept of a hazard tree faller contract to the regional level. Searching for a way to raise the bar of proficiency, professionalism, and most importantly SAFETY on the fireline led us to propose a very basic, minimum standard for hazard tree fallers working under the contract. Yet, no public meeting was every held. Still hasn't been. The solicitation was released, amended twice and closed (www.eps.gov go to solicitation # R6-03-007). No contracts were awarded. Responding bidders were directed back to their home Forests to sign up on an EERA.

These issues need attention and there needs to be progress made to establish a national standard NOW.

We are hosting the 2003 Timber Faller Roundtable in Grants Pass, Oregon Saturday, Nov. 1. (www.nwtimberfallers.com see link "Faller Roundtable") If you're interested in improving the quality of contract hazard tree fallers working on fires, please consider attending. The Roundtable is open to fallers, faller contractors, agency power saw representatives, contracting officers (yea...check it out ...those very people who SHOULD be interested in setting standards for training, qualifications and certification). The Roundtable is open to folks in all regions interested in furthering these issues. The objective is to make meaningful progress on standards, as well as establish a plan of action to get them implemented.

It's time to make some changes.

Our fallers just call me FIRE MOMMA.

Your organization should consider having a link on our classifieds page. Ab.
06/04 My first reaction to the 60 Minutes firestarter segment is not quite so negative as Bob's. But I wish it could have been a whole lot clearer. If Dan Rather had given some comparative statistics, it would have been much more accurate and informative. What is the incidence of firestarting among firefighters compared with other groups or compared with the general population? Probably not too much higher I would guess.

It painted volunteers in the most negative light.

It is easy to overestimate incidence of an event if you link low frequency but high profile categories like number of fires and number of firefighter arsonists and then add the emotional and danger-filled feeling that goes with peoples' perception of fire.

I bet some years from now many who saw the piece will remember that many firefighters start fires. Was that the60 minute goal?

I did think it sounded like a good idea to do background checks and ask would-be firefighters, they said volunteers, "Who are you? Why do you want to fight fire? Are you trustworthy?"

Wow, there was a good stat on firefighters in North Carolina. NC just quit hiring those with a criminal record and the number of firefighter arson convictions went from 33 one year down to 3 the next. Well, duh, the 30 not hired probably still lit fires, they just weren't in the firefighter category!

Kind of a stupid piece now that I think more about it. Not clean and clear, mostly a hash. With impressions that will enhance the distrust of the public for firefighters.

Tahoe Terrie

PS Ab, if 20/20 had done it, they would have presented a much more balanced and accurate accounting.

06/04 I just watched the most unbalanced, biased, narrow-minded portrayal of the firefighting community I have ever seen. 60 Minutes on Wednesday aired a tabloid portrayal of firefighters as the most wanted and despised firesetters around! It was not discriminating in terms of the nature of firefighting, i.e. wildland, aerial, urban etc., but painted the entire community with the same brush.

I would submit that the firefighting community was done a massive dis-service, and that CBS ought to hear from us; told the hard truths about what the aerial firefighting community in particular, and the wildland firefighting community in general sacrifices for the good of their fellow citizens.

Sorry to rant, but what I saw on TV was absolutely appalling. Perhaps that will explain the misspellings and typo's.

Bob N

Too Close To The Fire CBS 60 Minutes
06/04 Hi Ab,
Regarding engine books, try:
Water Handling Equipment Guide- March 1994
Prepared by: NWCG Fire Equipment Working Team
PMS 447-1
NFES 1275
Back to work,

Is that online? Ab.
06/04 Dear Ab's,

Reference Pinkie's post on books on wildland engines. There
is a recent book out that covers these. It is "Wildland Fire Apparatus" by
John H. Rieth. Excellent book!!! Three and one half Pulaksi's. (No color

Ya'll stay safe,

Wildland Fire Apparatus 1940-2001: Photo Gallery

Thanks, I'll add it to the Books page. Ab.

06/04 Man pleads guilty to the largest fire last summer in the "Garden State":


06/04 Ecc1:
Nice link! Good for those of us who need to vicariously live through what is going on elsewhere! Got any more links like that?? This is about the closest thing we have to something like that: http://workplan.org/forestry/FireReport/Public/Reports/WDNR-Fire_Report.asp.
It just shows the fire danger across the state. If you click on the individual dispatch area you will go to their page and can link to the previous days activity (if it has been updated). Be forewarned, we are pretty much done until fall so there wont be much change until then.

Regarding your reply to CDFjake, I was (on a shot crew) for longer than most and I would have to agree with CDFjake about the ego. In hindsight, I now realize it was exactly when the ego/machismo/bravado attitude infected my crew's overhead that it stopped being fun. Don’t get me wrong, its not every crew and don’t lose the confidence, work attitude and aggressiveness and esprit de corps, but the ego…. guess I just don’t have the patience for that crap. Granted, my shot days are ancient history, but I have seen nothing in my experiences the last few years to alter my feelings or opinion.

06/04 We've updated the Jobs Page, wildland firefighter Series 462 and Series 455. Check out the Classifieds Page also. Photos coming later... Ab.
06/04 Thanks for your comments and honesty. Sorry I grouped all jumpers into one
class, that wasn't my intentions, just venting on the situation I'm in now.
Also I'd like to say I think the program was stronger in the 70's than it
is today, and the word primadonna fits the people I work with to a T. I
think the guys that weren't good at jumping are the ones that are screwing
it up for the rest of the group, because they're definitely not worth a
darn as supervisors either. I know a few FMOs that have stated they would
never hire a jumper into their organization. Well that's all have a good
season and I hope to see some of your comments later.

06/04 Hello,

As some of you might already know, our office provides a daily satellite-based analysis of fires and smoke across the contiguous United States and Alaska. We hope you may find the analysis we produce to be useful.

The Fire Program at the Satellite Services Division (SSD) is continuing to develop better ways to produce and quality control our fire analyses. Improvements made during the past year include the following:

• We now update the analysis more frequently throughout the day as new data becomes available. A final update of the previous day’s analysis is performed during the morning or early afternoon using data from late at night.
• We also now scan the NOAA-16 AVHRR afternoon passes as well as afternoon data from the MODIS instrument aboard the NASA Aqua Satellite for possible fire points.
• The Internet page where our analysis can be viewed in the most detail now has more data layers which can be overlaid on the analysis such as the daily Fire Potential Outlook issued by the Storm Prediction Center. There are also thin black outlines on the map delineating the geographic areas included in the fire and smoke analysis. The Internet address of this page is: http://nhis7.wwb.noaa.gov/website/SSDFire/viewer.php
• An archive of past analyses is now available through the following Internet page: http://gp16.wwb.noaa.gov/FIRE/fire.phpl. The quality controlled fire and smoke analysis and the automated layers that went into it can be downloaded directly here. Users can find the products in ascii text, GIS, or graphical formats.
• The sectorized Real Time Satellite Imagery Link which currently shows the latest data from various GOES channels updated every half hour, now has sectors focusing on 3 different locations at the following addresses:
Florida... www.ssd.noaa.gov/PS/FIRE/fires-fl.phpl
The Southwest... www.ssd.noaa.gov/PS/FIRE/fires-sw.phpl
The Northwest... www.ssd.noaa.gov/PS/FIRE/fires-nw.phpl
However, sectors showing other portions of the country may be added or moved to a more active region on request.
• Another new feature this year is the ability of the analyst to select particularly significant smoke producing fires for inclusion in a smoke trajectory forecast model known as the Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory Model (HYSPLIT). Information concerning this trajectory model can be found through the following Internet link: www.arl.noaa.gov/smoke/forecast.phpl

The current fire analysis product utilizes several satellite data sources including the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES), the Polar Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellites (POES), and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the NASA Terra Satellite. Automated fire detection algorithms use these data sources and the resulting detections are quality controlled by an analyst and integrated into the Hazard Mapping System (HMS) fire analysis. The fire analysts can delete the automated points which they feel are not actual fires and they can also add fire points that the automated algorithms have not detected. A more detailed explanation of the data sources and a link to a graphic of the most recent analysis can
be found at the following Internet address: www.ssd.noaa.gov/PS/FIRE/hms.phpl

Please be aware that fires and smoke are difficult if not impossible to analyze in areas of thick cloudiness. We may not detect every fire that is occurring, nor be able to detect the smaller smoke plumes. All smoke depicted is added by the analyst. There is no automated algorithm for smoke detection used. It is known that false fire detections can occur due to certain characteristics of the sensor systems. Development is ongoing to minimize these false detections.

We hope that you will find the information on our Websites useful. If so, please feel free to link to our webpages from yours and to provide feedback to us at: SSDFireTeam@noaa.gov.

Thank You,
the Satellite Services Division (SSD) Fire Team
National Environmental Satellite Date and Information Service (NESDIS)
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Readers, feedback? Ab.
06/04 Info on Rick Lupe, who was burned on a prescribed burn at Whiteriver, AZ in

Dick Mangan


[Whiteriver, AZ]—Rick Lupe, Fort Apache Agency Fuels Specialist, remains in stable but critical condition at the Arizona Burn Unit in Phoenix. Mr. Lupe was seriously burned in a prescribed fire burnover on May 14, near Whiteriver on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. He has undergone three successful skin graft surgeries on his hands, arms and legs but remains in a drug-induced coma.

A benefit cookout was held in Show Low City Park on May 31 to raise funds for Rick that will be used for his medical and recovery expenses. Evelyn Lupe, Rick’s wife, expressed her sincere appreciation and gratitude to all of those who participated and shared in the prayers for his quick recovery.

Donations may be made for the Lupe family at any Wells Fargo Bank in the WMAT-Rick Lupe Donation Fund, account #3828332563.

06/04 PYG,

In response to your 06/02 post asking for comments on medical costs we pay out each year for the jump program:

I jumped from 73-77. Most of us stayed in pretty good physical condition; but, would venture to guess the average smokejumper today is in better physical condition due to increased knowledge of diet and physical conditioning,

Not sure what you are getting at or what you mean by "a lot of jumpers and ex jumpers who have spent time on medical leave because of injuries from augering in". I recall we had many more injuries from volleyball PT, playing on the smokejumper softball team, and pack outs after the fire was over than we ever had from "augering in". We probably averaged less than two "auger" accidents per jump season and those people did not spend much time on medical leave. Even with a cast they were put to work in the parachute loft, warehouse, dispatch, driving supplies to fire camps, etc... Even though you could not go out the plane door, you were expected to contribute as best you could till completely healed. Very few people ever requested, or were placed on medical leave when working on The GOBI. There were many more jumpers going out the door with injuries than ever were on medical leave.

"The attitude that they're the best gets old fast" Could not agree more. Like all facets of our society, there are primadonna's in every group and you may have run into some of them from the jumper ranks. They are rare but nonetheless they are among us. Don't believe any one group of firefighters is the best because each type has a place in the system. I can tell you from 30 years of wildland firefighting that jumpers and todays SW Oregon ODF engine crews are second to none on IA just as hotshots are second to none on the long haul project fires.

Was a supervisor for 21 of my last 22 years with the FS and don't recall hiring one ex jumper in all that time. In fact there were only two of us that I am aware of that worked the forest the 19 years I was here and the other guy never hired any ex jumpers either. Just because your station did it does not make it so across the board, nor does it necessarily make it a bad thing. Did you stop to think maybe the folks were fully qualified to fill the positions. Many jumpers were on engine crews, shots or raps before they became jumpers. Which makes them pretty well rounded and usually highly qualified in my book.

I never made a big deal out of my jumper past because that was not a thing that was done on The GOBI. But, one thing I noticed over the years were quite a few people that had a burr under their saddle for jumpers because they had been turned down in the past or knew they did not have what it took to become a jumper!

"Frat" fits me to a "T" and I am very proud of belonging to the smokejumper fraternity. Don't know of any ex jumper that is not proud of the "Frat" title. There are probably alot more jumper "Wannabe's" out there than ex jumpers if the truth be known.

Ya asked for comments and ya got 'em.

06/03 Re: FFB looking for fires on the CHP web site.

We jumped on 'er Bob. I believe that smoke the CHP referred to would be the smoke check we received at 0700 on the 31st of last month. You can also view summaries of incident reports here if you enjoy reading about incidents on the Plumas.

Like da CHP has all the toys. . .heh, heh. Heh, heh, heh.

Seriously though, I also find it interesting to see what other ECCs are doing at any given time and would like to know what other ECCs are using WildCAD and WildWeb. I know some others from R5, but would like to know about others across the states. Maybe if the readers here could send in the urls of any they know about, Ab could add a list of 'em somewhere so's we could all point 'n click?

06/03 CDF Jake.... Good post....

Maybe there should be the many different typings of crews as proposed by the national group.

06/03 To CDF Jake,

You said to the Hotshot crews to loose the ego.... Have you ever been on a Hotshot crew? Just asking...

06/03 We have been having a back and forth with Pinkie on wildland fire engines (trucks). We need some information. Readers, I promise not to do this too often, but there's not much on engine crews and engines and my button got pushed. Here are Pinkie's last two e-mails and my replies.

Pinkie: <Do you guys have any books on every fire trucks used for forest fires?>

Ab: There are no such books. Check the books page for all the books on wildland fires. Haven't ever seen one on wildland engines.

Pinkie: <Do you guys know where I could go to find forest fire trucks that
show pictures of all of them?>

Ab: There are no "all of them". New wildland firefighting engines (trucks) are created every year following certain specifications for size and weight, how much water it carries, etc. Look at all the variety of engines on the engines photo pages at wildlandfire.com. There are federal engines [Forest Service (green), Bureau of Land Management (yellow), National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs] and engines from states (often red), from counties within states, from cities, from contractors (business) and volunteers.

All engines are classified by "types". Everyone who fights wildland fires agrees there are 6 types: Types I, II, III, IV, V, VI. There are specifications for each type of engine - how much it weighs, how much water it carries, how many firefighters are in the crew, etc.

Engines are also classified by "model", but these vary a lot even within a federal agency like the Forest Service. One of our engine guys, FedFire sent in this post on different models last January:

Regarding Forest Service Engine Models, note that the engine cabs vary depending on which batch they came from, you will find the same models built on Fords, Internationals, GMC etc, also may be 2 or 4 wheel drive.

Model 42 - recognition factors, much smaller than the others, 3 person crew. Hose reel mounted top center. PTO pump.

Model 51 - recognition factors, crew cab, build up sits on a flat bed, unlike the 60 which is built onto the vehicle chassis. Gasoline powered pump mounted in the rear, not PTO.

Model 60 - crew cab, build up part of the frame, 2 hose reels (one each side), looks very similar to the 62B but is older and does not have the aluminum batwing hose covers on top.

Model 61 - regular cab, crew sits in the front of the box like build up, two hose reels (1 each side mounted lower than the model 62A.Rear crew area is smaller than the 62A and has 1 1/2" intakes.

Model 62A - regular cab, looks very similar to the 6 but the hose reels are mounted higher, the crew area is larger and it has a 2 1/2" intake.

Model 62B - crew cab, looks very much like the 60 but newer, large batwing aluminum hose covers, 2 hose reels, large square compartment doors instead of long rectangular doors. Rear compartment has a double door arrangement.

Model 62C - crew cab, looks similar to the 62B but only has one hose reel mounted in a roll up door at the rear, the aluminum hose covers are flat and lower, unlike the 62B's which rise up about 6-8".

Readers, does anyone have a link for a website or pdf file that describes the engine "types"? I know I have seen that posted here before.

We could also use a list of engine type examples of photos here at wildlandfire.com. Like FedFire did for model numbers. I know there's a lot more variation, but a list would be helpful, especially if paired with specifications for "types".

Pinkie is not the first young person writing in here to ask about photos of engines (or trucks) but there is precious little out there that talks about engines or engine crews. The Forest Service People page has no information on Engine Crews. The BLM Fact Sheet has nothing on Engine Crews and the FAQ has very little on Engine Crews. The National Park Service People page also gives short shrift to Engine Crews.

Let's hear it for ENGINE CREWS! Why should hotshots, rappers, smokejumpers and airtankers get all the webspace? OK, I'm done. Ab.

06/03 Sting, C & Rotor2fire,
Thank you very much for the stuff on helitacks,rapellers and helicopters. My report was popular. All the boys and some girls want to do that when they get bigger. Maybe someone should make a summer camp for extreme rappelling. {They liked your names, too. C, they think you should change yours to C-span since you go from a helicopter to the ground. or C-more since you can seemore from up there.}
06/03 Ab could you please post the link to this workshop announcement?

Improvement and Management of Sagebrush Communities in Wyoming with an emphasis on fire.

06/03 If the state of California would take some of the Calif. Department of Corrections officers that sit in camp and drink coffee and watch the crews eat, sleep, and hang around camp, and get their butts out of the lawn chairs, then they could have a second supervisor on the crew. Yes, I know that they don't have fire experience but they should after being in the camps for so long and they should have SOME because they WORK in fire camps and around FIRE.

All I have seen the C.D.C. people do is drive around, drink coffee, sit in lawn chairs in the shade, or sit in the C.D.C. truck with the windows up and the air conditioning on. Once in a while they might actually get up and walk around, usually to go the to food unit or the port'o'pot. If you think I am down on the C.D.C. yes I am to a certain extent, lots of man power and mostly no work to show for it. I think it is a waste of tax dollars. Yes, I also know that there needs to be a C.D.C. presence with these crews but let's get some bang for the buck, not let these folks go for a camp out in the smoke. I have been in fire camps off and on for years and very rarely have I seen a C.D.C. person on the line or even in P.P.E.'s. I have seen quite an assortment of lawn chairs over the years.

Retired L.A.V.E.
06/03 Hey Quincy CA,


Best hop right on that!

Firefighter Bob

Ab asked about the report. Here's where it came from... http://cad.chp.ca.gov/ Do a quick search on fire. FFB
06/03 Ab,

NFFE filed a grievance sometime ago asking the FS to stop arbitrary A-76 studies. The FS denied the grievance, and is in fact one of the few agencies that expects to meet its 15% “competitive sourcing” quota. I’ve been away for awhile, so I don’t know if this has made it to this forum. If not and folks are interested, I could forward the grievance and the FS’s answer. Let me know.

The union’s opposition to this program does not in any way, shape or form mean that we have anything against the hard-working contractors that come in through the front door. The FS would be lost without these folks. What we’re against here is the FS being forced to fire its own hard-working and dedicated employees just to satisfy quotas for the bean-counters in Washington. This program is not based on the FS needing contract help and going out and getting the best firm for the job. The whole thing’s run by the bureaucrats, and the winners are the guys that play the A-76 game the best.

What’s really sad is that the FS has done no analysis whatsoever as to the effect their forced outsourcing program will have on the fire militia. A-76 studies have already started that will outsource away the jobs of FS IT and various maintenance employees. Many of these good folks have fire collateral duties, but the FS doesn’t even know how many. I’ve attached NFFE’s request for information on this point. The FS response, dated May 20: “Regarding employees with fire duties in positions subject to study…, we don't yet have this information.” Guess they’ll find out when the call goes out and they don’t show up.

We’ve been talking to Senators and Representatives about this issue, and there is concern and interest. Any insights that folks could give on potential impacts to the militia and fire suppression capabilities in general would help us get the word out.

-- Union guy
06/03 Rick Lupe, the BIA fire manager burned over during an
Rx burn remains in stable but critical condition in

He was supposed to have a third skin graft operation
last week, but came down with an infection. The
operation was postponed until this week, and it went
off fine.

06/03 Class action law suit, anyone interested ? New wildland firefighter physical requirements. This could put and ending to you as a firefighter.( not to mention income, family, career) They want to pick us off one at a time while we are disorganized..

If you have been doing the job with some form of disability, ie: hearing loss (regardless if job related) , the use of glasses to see, color blindness, or any visual problems. Knee problems, loss of limbs, or change of function in a limb, but still doing the job safely..

Park Service Rangers have already had to fight to keep their jobs, and won.,
we can do the same,, if you have a disability please send your e-mail address so
lets start a database now, please send your e-mail address and your disability
so you can be included, please do not send your name, just your e-mail address
so you can be kept informed !

T. Jefferson
06/02 Okay Mike.

Sorry to burst you bubble about CDF Fire Crews but I have to respectfully take the USFS side on this no matter how bitter the pill is. First on crew discipline. I will grant you some crews are very disciplined and are competent in their suppression actions. It has been my experience (20 seasons now) (4 running inmate crews) that these types of crews are few and far between. We have such a turn over in CDF Crew Captains now that most leave the program just as they are beginning to learn inmate crew dynamics. A second issue in the CDF Camp Program is most Assistant Chiefs in charge of camps have ZERO crew experience! Shocking USFS folks? Well reality. I would very roughly estimate that less than 50% of Camp Chiefs have crew experience. Is this an issue? Some would say no. However how can you competently run a program, lead your troops, and support the captain when they bring a disciplinary issue to you without any experience to fallback on. I have found that some camps run two fulltime Captains per crew and others (the ones with little experience) use one Captain and a relief Captain. Sorry folks inmates love this. Nothing like jacking up the relief Captain when your fulltime supervisor is on days off. This doesn't happen as often with two fulltime Captains because the standard is set and enforced universally. Continuity is the key with inmate crews.

Off that soap box and on to communications and splitting the crew.

Yes Mike you can split your crew but you better have visual communication/accountability on the crew or you know as well as I do that you're violating some serious safety and custody policies. The ability to split the crew is what makes the Shots more versatile than CDF crews. Sorry, just a fact. CDF Fire Crews have one supervisor and that's it. It would have been nice to have the Lieutenants they talked about a few years ago. This extra supervision would have been an excellent addition to the crew organization and would have given us the ability, like the shots, to split the crew and assign them to sections of line without visual parameters such as firing, cold trailing, etc. An experienced Engineer would be a good addition to CDF crews for the experience to the Engineer and the supervision it would lend you on an incident.

The radios are an issue as well. Most crews have two. If you have three then your Unit is far ahead of most. Some crew even have 800Mhz radios in CDF but that is only when working with local government who use that system. A dangerous trend I am seeing is the family service radios being broken out again on fires. We (CDF) will have to nip that one. As for Shot crews. One piece of advice. Be team players, loose the ego, strive to deliver a good product to your Division Supervisor just like a business, and last, stay off the F#$@^&# secret squirrel channel and stay on the right Tac net.

CDF Jake
06/02 jerseyboy

I think a lot of they points you make are right on the nose. But one thing
I'd like to hear someone comment on is the medical cost we pay out each
year for the jump program. I see a lot of jumpers and ex jumpers who have
spent time on medical leave because of injuries from augering in. But the
one thing that I think hurts jumper reps more than anything is, if you hire
one in a supervisory role then all's they want to hire is more jumpers.
This attitude that they're the best gets old fast, and believe me I know, I
have two bosses who are ex sj and an asst. at my station. So I think the
word frat fits.

06/02 Abs:

Not sure if you have seen this........NMAirBear

06/02 CDFMike from Arroyo Grande,

LOL!!! I do admire your audacity! Your post or 06/01 MUST be meant solely to stir the pot!

Inmate crews more disciplined and experienced than Shots,,,LOL, LOL, LOL

USFSTony from Santa Maria
06/01 Here are some key messages for the Pacific Northwest 2003 Fire Season.

06/01 Sunil-

maybe i haven't made myself clear, or you're reading my posts in the wrong way.

i am not for the elimination of sj's or the rappel program. the article in "outside" magazine suggested that the sj program was too expensive for the services they provide. i tried to point out some alternatives for the jump program.

OOFG's post hit the nail on the head when he mentioned a rappel crew's versatility. in my limited experience in fire the most important asset in a rapidly changing fire environment is versatility and adaptability.

this is not to say that the jumpers aren't these things, but IF it were feasible to have jumpers who also had the capabilities of a rappel crew, wouldn't you want to have that same sort of flexibility? put another way, if you had a crew of your own, wouldn't you want them to be the most qualified possible, so that you wouldn't have to worry about completing your job is some highly skilled person were unable to do their job for some reason?

i brought up the Russian jumper program as a point about versatility. granted, my knowledge of the program is based on a few articles i have read, but one of the things that impressed me was the versatility and resourcefulness of their program. since money is very tight, they are forced to use what they have to the best of their abilities. this includes having their jumpers rappel qualified. one of the things about the u.s. program is that money is plentiful, and we can afford to have dual programs (even if they may be redundant or even fiscally wasteful).

i don't pretend to make jumping or rappelling easy jobs, and i understand that each jump is different and difficult and potentially very dangerous. but we are also extremely willing to send rookies out of planes with only 6 weeks of training - and expect them to have mastered the skill to a point where they can safely perform their jobs. i realize that training continues after that - but if we are satisfied that 6 weeks of training is sufficient enough, then it would seem that other skills might be picked up as well. you claim that rappel training would compromise safety due to a lack of practice - yet there is a organization that apparently thinks otherwise (the Russian program). is it simply a matter of the Russian's disregard for safety? or is it something else?

i think the nub of the question that i am trying to ask is why isn't there a full-time fire profession? there is plenty of time in the non-burning season to go through many, many hours of training, and to get as much practice as deemed necessary.

i have benefited greatly from the seasonal work (due to school), but i think its a vastly inefficient way of organizing a program. i think a full time professional firefighting organization makes the most sense - both from a safety and a financial aspect.

as for contract jumpers - it started as a joke on a mop-up shift, but surely i can't be the only one to have thought of this. i can only think of cost as the prohibiting factor as to why someone hasn't tried the idea. but, if an accounting of all the money spent on the jump program was done - and given to a contractor, i'm sure they could find a way to do it cheaper. (whether this is desirable is another question) remember that under the new tax plan, small businesses can write off up to $100,000 in capital investments per year. and if a contractor started charging the government similar cost for fuel, etc. they could eventually in come close to matching the governments price by paying lower labor wages and benefits.

i have no desire to see the jumpers, or most government jobs be privatized - in fact if you read my earlier posts, i am staunchly against privatization because i believe that that management of federal lands is an inherently governmental job. but i am also aware that the current legislation makes it not only possible, but probable, that the landscape of the fire community is going to shift dramatically in the next few years. and this might, however unlikely it may seem right now, also include the jump program.

06/01 Fedfire

I've been lurking here for a long time not wanting to poke my nose into the
WCT issue, but you hit on a personal note about the older guys, prevention
folks, etc. One of the best ICT3, OSC, FINV's on our forest is sitting at
the tanker base after two knee replacements, no better friend he backed me
up many times but can't pass arduous anymore. I was sitting here thinking
about filling out my retirement forms when I read your post. After 31
seasons it isn't easy walking away from a type 1 team commitment, bringing
new MEL engines on district, or friends and co-workers. But, I don't need
shots in my knees or a rocking chair for the rest of my life. I'm young
enough to want to live and work a whole lot longer. But, BC's are required
to meet arduous and duty officer requires DIVS and ICT3. Even after passing
at the moderate level and keeping my OSC2, SOFR, ATGS current, I've been
given the three options. I can remember only two occasions in the last 8
years after becoming a BC where I scratched line before the rest of the
folks got there. I might not be the first guy in line going on a division
but I still get there and still was walking my division every shift. When I
was chinking line for a living as a hotshot, jumper, helitacker, and even
as an engine captain, I needed to be able to stay up front and double shift
building line with the puppies. When I started feeling my knees I looked at
moving into a job where my back wasn't my primary skill. I'm not in danger
of a heart attack, nor likely to be a danger to any other firefighter
needing to pack me out. But the rules be the rules. I wonder when this
generation hits 40+ how many more knee and back problems there will be? And
I wonder how many more BC's and prevention folks are in the same spot....

06/01 Do you know Rick Lupe's current condition? Our prayers are with him
and his family.

06/01 To JerseryBoy for 5/30

About Russia using dual assignments for smj's and Rap's, Russia has a much
more vast area to cover. Fixed wing is much less expensive per mile most
anywhere. Due to the vastness of the area would require many more helo
spots/bases and more infrastructure to service same, refueling a big
bugaboo. Helo's would have to preposition fuel staging areas. Don't think
they could afford it or wouldn't be cost effective. So use copters for close
in dispatch, would be my guess. Infrastructure is their big problem, due to
short summers. Don't think their growing season is 90 days even, and bad
weather, the rest of the time, perma frost probably don't thaw much down
past 3 feet I'de guess. Some of their cities are serviced only by rail
twice a year. No roads. Plus their forest is 3,000 square miles of doghaired
thickets, so even Alaska is small in comparison.

I remember a few years ago Readers Digest, or I thot it was RD, did an
article on their smj program. Pretty rustic, as they pretty much survive on
their own on the ground as appeared to me. Also safety not as ingrained
either. I think the US has started some kind of an exchange program with
them. Course there maybe other factors I'm not aware of too.

I'de even say, they would put Minnesota to shame for mosquitoes and other
flyin bugs. I've heard stories of wildlife goin wild tryin to flee them. In
comparing the two programs, there are good reasons for both as each fills a
different niche in the system. There have been instances when smj's have
been jumped in to assist rapps or crews already on the fire. When your
hangin on by your finger tips, take anything you can get. Ya know any old
port in a storm and either one look pretty good!!! Another thing tho, I just
thot of, if you get Raps they CAN cut a helispot to take you all out when
the war is over. Ya'no each takes care of their own. I can relate a
warstory over a particular incident when I was reinforced by a full load of
jumpers on the best way out. Will have to relate it to ya sometime. Course,
not on "theysaid", could entail bodily harm. Ha!

06/01 Did I really read "FirenWater" right: A Class Action suit like the Consent Decree that the USFS in California has been involved in for more than 20 years has them on "the right road" and that the Pacific Northwest Region of the USFS is out of step and need their own personalized Class Action suit to get "right" like California?

Me, I'm a big supporter of "roadless areas", but if it took the Consent Decree to get the California USFS on "the right road", I'll take the wrong road/left road every time.

But having never lived under the CD, maybe I missed seeing all its benefits! Does it really take a CD Class Action suit to have a Red Card Committee in California USFS? I had one on my Forest in the 1980's in USFS R-6 without a Class Action suit, court appointed monitors, or all the other situations that evolved from that legal action. We screened every candidate for each ICS position, and made the tough calls to deny quals, or require further assignments, as needed.

06/01 Hello All,

Does anyone know the secret, the key to viewing the r5 north and south sit reports? I remember this was a big issue discussed here last year, and I thought it would all be taken care of by now, unless I'm using the wrong addresses. They were working at the end of last season....Here's what I'm trying:

http://www.fire.r5.fs.fed.us/scsc/sitreport.phpl (south)
http://www.fire.r5.fs.fed.us/scsc/sitreport.phpl (north)

Thanks for any info

Arrowhead Cook

Arrowhead Cook, our Links page is up to date as are our Team pages and other pages accessible from Links. You can always find the best information on teams and GACCs via our Links page. Take a look at GACC's sitreps under news and reports. There are valid links to the north and south zone sit reports there but the websites are not optimum. North zone's site is a mess and South zone, which has more information in a more user friendly arrangement, is still on a "temporary site".

Having an all-in-one GACC page for each region is critical, especially as we face conditions like we have in the Arrowhead (south zone) area. Some oldsters in fire who didn't grow up with computers and the web don't get it: letting fire people and the public pull information off a website takes way less effort and time and allows for greater safety than answering phone calls, e-mails and faxes when the sh*t hits the fan. R5 is still trying to get it together. From what I hear there's some political north and south zone bs going on. Seems to me R5 should go with the highest standard, but that doesn't seem to be so with the R5 GACC sites. We'll probably pay the price for it this summer.

Could someone please let us know when the Eastern Great Basin sit report comes online. Their GACC site is shaping up nicely. Good work.

06/01 Fellow Firefighters:

In the wake of Storm King Mountain at the NWCG Firefighter Safety Workshop in 1995 (Salt Lake City, Snowbird, attended by at least 500 of us) there were a number of things we all agreed on (and I paraphrase):

-Firefighter safety begins in our fire management planning processes.

-Fire managers must have extensive on-the-ground wildland fire experience.

-There will be no fast-tracking of wildland fire personnel, particularly in the operations and command functions.

-Every firefighter is responsible for their own safety and has the right to say NO!

Attendees left that workshop thinking we had solved the problems of our profession. Most of the resolutions we came up with became policy in the 1995 Federal Wildland Fire Policy. Now I question how well we are following our own policy.

I ask you to consider these questions:

-What is the state of your unit's fire management planning? Is it tied up in a long train of NEPA/ESA/NHPA stuff that puts firefighter safety in the caboose? Same question regarding that neighbor unit you may respond to? It is a known fact that many federal units (i.e. the National Park Service) will miss the 09/04 congressional deadline for FMP completion because of compliance and other internal issues. Are you still stuck in a full suppression mentality in wilderness because of resource and political concerns?

-Who are you working for? Do the NEPA/ESA/NHPA folks and other management who have absolutely no wildland fire experience call the shots in your fire planning processes and WFSA's. Worse, do they place their concerns higher than firefighter safety? Is the FMO a fire person concerned about firefighter safety and does he/she have anything to say about it?

-Am I on a fire where operational folks (ICT5,4,3,OSC, DIVS, etc.) have gone through an extensive task book regimen and understand the gravity of their job as it relates to the safety of firefighters? Or?

-Do I truly have the right to refuse an assignment that is clearly not safe? Do I have any recourse with persons asking me to do things that are stupid/i.e. unsafe?

Those of us who have been burned over because of dum$h!^ decisions and who have dealt with the aftermath of that hold these questions close at all times. With an impending busy and potentially dangerous fire year, all firefighters should have serious concerns about what we might be asked to do by whom and why.


Sign me this time: TCS

And thanks Abs!!
06/01 Lobotomy's belief that CDF Crews cannot be broken up into separate squads is a common misperception. This is a gray area not explicitly covered by any known regulation regarding inmate Crews. Much depends on both the confidence of the Captain, the confidence the Captain has in his or her more experienced Crew members and the current and expected fire situation.

I commonly put my Swamper in charge of squads for special assignments out of immediate visual or aural contact, and, if we had three standard radios (which I think is about to become more common) three squads would not be unusual. I fail to see much real need to break a cohesive Crew up into more segments than that with any regularity. One difference in our operations is that most of the CDF Fire Crew members are VERY disciplined and know that they have to behave......... Though I have a great deal of respect for the Shots, my personal experience with them is that they would be hard-pressed to find 8 or even 6 members with both the experience AND discipline to be peeled off for independent assignments except under the most benign conditions. Our full Crew strength is 18 counting the Captain, and three radios puts each and every Crew member in close contact with tac and Command traffic.

CDFMike from Arroyo Grande
06/01 Flameboy...

just mine, and a lot of others, opinion....which are like the proverbial south end of a north facing mule....everyone has one...

be safe,
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