"THEY SAID IT" ARCHIVES
July, 2004

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7/30 We have added and are testing a new feature for our website. In an effort to allow real-time distribution of emergency incident information, we have added a new information forum called the "Hot List Forum". This forum allows our users to post, update, or view information on new and evolving incidents. Information is published as soon as it is submitted, without editing. It should only be used for posting or viewing current emergency incident information. General discussion or information requests should remain in They Said It or the WLF Chat Room.

In an effort to keep out the riff-raff, porn merchants, and other spammers we are forced to require a very short registration form (name and email address) to be submitted before access is granted. There is no charge to register or use the forum.

We will maintain the forum as long there is enough interest or use. We encourage everyone (especially dispatchers) to use the new area to help keep us all updated on Initial Attacks, other new incidents, or where we might be going next. Your comments or suggestions regarding the new forum may be addressed to wlf-forum@wildlandfire.com

Use this link for the Policy and Registration Page

7/30 Time to act

I penned the 52 Club, and submitted it to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, The Idea was not mine alone but a collaborative process that was acted on. It was cleaned up by a few different people before it took its final form. My main thought was to put the Foundation in a position of not always asking for donations. They have more important things to do than fund raise. I listen to National public Radio at times and when the pledge drive starts I usually turn the station. When the firefighting community interacts with the WFF I did not want to see all those people "turning the station" .

As a long-time firefighter I know fire season is the best time to get on-the-line firefighters to donate. I used August first as the date to which I would ask all I know to donate as it is a time of highest income here in the Northwest and the reality of what the Foundation is here for is largely in the forefront of our thinking. For many it has been a slow fire season and many have not seen big fire checks. BUT August 1st is a few days out and it is time to act. The list is growing for the 52 Club, but nowhere as long as it should be. I see something like 1% of fire fighters represented currently. Log on to the WFF web site and look at the 52 club list. How many read this site? What would it look like if 1/2 or 3/4 or 90% of YOU signed up in the next few days? .... you do care right! You all have your 2 cents to put in... put them together and sign up.

It is time to take this to the next level by sharing this info and getting those you know to kick in. Ask your crews to sign up, Ask your local forest Fire Staff to sign up, Ask your boss to sign up ( who is probably unknowingly paying you to read this site) Ask those under you . .... ask your mom ( I did) Don't wait until you have a bad first hand experience to see the importance of this Foundation.

Don't just sit there and read SIGN UP or at least go back to work. ;-) www.wffoundation.org/

DH
7/30 We've received the Cabin Creek Fire After Action Review. It's a word document. Email Ab if you'd like us to send it to you. Has map and photos. Ab.
7/30 Ab,
Just wanted to let you know that I have posted some information on the
Sims fire on the NorCal Team 1 website. There is a map of the fire and a
press release from this morning. There is also a link to the incident page.

As of this morning the fire was 3,820 acres and 50% contained. There is no
cell phone coverage there and they are a very limited number of phones at
camp. (hopefully more lines today)

-Cara
7/30 Here's a collage of new photos of the Wildland Firefighter Foundation trailer with its new paint job and the statues going to the Storm King families. Rowdy Muir's Team (Great Basin Incident Management Team) was the first to get everyone signed up for the 52 Club. They look happy. They should be! Way to go, folks! Kudos, also, to the Logan, Klamath and Cedar City IHCs!

Also rising to the challenge are a number of other teams and crews. We're willing to post photos of those teams and crews that have at least 75% of their members joining up. Send in your photos.

The individual 52 Club list and 52 Gold organizational lists are growing. To those who haven't joined, log on, sign up. It's easy with a credit card. To the rest, tell your friends. Keep up the good work of spreading the challenge. Teams and crews, challenge your members! Challenge other teams and crews!

The POWER OF ONE adds up to the POWER OF MANY and protects our families when they are most vulnerable and hurting. All who step up and contribute are providing the cushion for our fire families in their time of need.

Ab
.

7/30 In ref. to the fire cost discussion...

I was told by a co-worker who is on a state IMT that auditors from the GAO will be randomly visiting large/Type 1 incidents this year, as the cost of large fires has risen drastically over the last 5 years. (He told me what the percentage of increase was, but I can't recall. I do remember it as being huge)

Anyone know more about that?

~and~

The 80 acres and running I mentioned last week on the WA coast... well, let's use the old fall-back "reduced acreage due to more accurate mapping" and be generous with 20 acres, but steep and nasty, just the same.

BUT... while that fire was getting dispatched, and several other local fires were popping, two of our command repeaters went down. (something about a phone card to a microwave oven to a tin can connected to fishing line) Our dispatch folks did a fan-friggin' tastic job of getting us to fires and getting us the resources we needed. Way to go, Cascade ladies!

and finally...

my evening news tells me that they are getting ready to evacuate (again) in Chelan (probably in the WA-OWF or WA-SES) from the Deep Harbor Fire. More to come, I'm sure.

Choose the difficult right over the easy wrong,

FireBill

Analysis 2 years ago when costs rose sharply showed that it was due largely to the skyrocketing costs of aerial firefighting. Ab.
7/30 Fedfire and Old Fire Guy made excellent comments regarding the way to handle
questioning the safety of higher level personnel in wildland fire
situations. When I was a crew boss with an Army crew in Yellowstone in 1988
my crew was to be given an assignment in a location well away from the rest
of the strike team (for some reason three Army crews formed a strike team
there). We were to be sent into an old clear-cut on the Targhee National
Forest, which had been planted with Lodgepole seedlings some years before.
This location was on the edge of rim of a plateau with light or non-existent
fuels on the canyon slope below. In the canyon bottom and partially up the
slope there was heavy timber. The day before, my strike team was unable to
control a small spot fire on the park boundary and it grew into a 27,000
acre "slopover" that afternoon and night. This slopover was on the
southwest portion of the North Fork fire, the largest in the Yellowstone
Complex, and looked like it could threaten private lands, resorts,
campgrounds, and the town of Island Park.

Our assignment was to control any spot fires on the rim, while the heavy
timber below was burned. The Division Supervisor had not seen the area and
was basing his decision on a ten year old ortho photo. When I looked at the
photo, I could clearly see the signs of a one to two year old plantation in
the clear-cut and also see the late 1970's date on the legend of the ortho
photo. As a forester I had done some graduate work in air photo analysis
and concluded it was very likely that a ten year old plantation had
established itself and that the trees were likely to be 8-12 feet tall in
1988. Additionally I thought if the plantation had been successful, a
pre-commercial thin may have been done in the last couple of years. I noted
that the access to the clear-cut was across several hundred feet of old
growth lodgepole between the road and the clear-cut. Based on what I had
seen the old growth was likely to be heavily "jackstrawed", i.e. filled with
enormous amounts of ground fuel which would be difficult to travel through.

I then asked the Division Sup what the designated safety zone was and he
said the clear-cut itself! I disagreed with his analysis based on the ten
year old photo. He then said it was to be the road junction where we were
standing which was 1/2 mile on the road from the location where we had to
navigate through the old growth to the clear-cut. At that point I tried to
convince him that sending any crew, let alone an inexperienced Army crew,
into that location was inherently unsafe. He rolled up the otrho photo and
ordered me to follow his directions. I politely indicated that I would not
take my crew into the situation. He indicated that they needed to start the
burnout soon, before the height of the burning period, and that his tactics
were necessary to save the threat to the town, resorts, etc. I told him I
would remain at the present location and inform any other crew he send in of
the circumstances. He threatened me with post fire action and called my
strike team leader. The STL responded, looked at what I had concluded and
told the Div Sup that we would go into the assignment area before any burn
out operations began. It took us thirty minutes to negotiate the old growth
of only a few hundred feet. Upon entering the "clear-cut" we found a very
successful plantation with dense lodgepole pine of 12-15 feet height. On
the ground was two year old thinning slash from a 50% thinning which looked
like it had been done two years prior. The slash was deep orange in color,
at the prime for ignition. None of it had been treated by lopping or
piling. Had a spot fire occurred in the "clear-cut" we would have been
trapped. Fire behavior in the old growth had been rather extreme in the
entire Yellowstone ecosystem that year.

The strike team leader and I returned to the Div Sups location and was quite
a bit more aggressive than I had been in turning down the assignment. He
told the Div Sup that we were not going to do as ordered with a firm no, but
"h**l no". The Div Sup was enraged and began yelling. The STL put us back
on the bus and we drove down to join the rest of the strike team.

It was a very hard thing to do for me. The first and only time I ever
refused an assignment. I felt a great deal of pressure to go along with the
tactics. Now there is a formal process on how assignments are to be refused
which was not in place then. I would have felt better if this process was
in place when I had to turn this assignment down. The Div Sup was a Idaho
USFS local and he had not seen this type of fire behavior in the Yellowstone
ecosystem before. He did not have experience on southern California
interface conflagrations as I had. He was very emotional and excited with a
goal of saving the town and outlying private lands and structures. I think
adrenaline had adversely affected his ability to objectively analyze the
data he had in front of him.

At the time of this refusal we were in a quiet portion of the "slopover"
(when your fire is already over 400,000 acres, 27,000 seems small!). I
could have been persuaded to accept the tactics as is, after all nothing
much was happening at the time and in that location. I held fast because
instinct and training raised huge red flags. I was mentally focused on the
adverse potential that the tactics, location, and timing could result in.
Talking over the situation with the Div Sup did not do anything but raise,
rather than lower those flags. I stood my ground. Anyone in a similar
situation should objectively talk over the situation, look at all available
data, apply the 10 and 18, and do what is right for them and their crews. I
say to heck with the post fire situation and evaluation, just make sure you
are safe enough to experience the chance to get to the post fire situation
and any "bad" rating you may get.

FR (Retired USFS R3, R4 & R5)
7/30 All this ruckus because of the an estimated cost for Straylor fire is premature.
If those estimates are considered in the same context as previous acre estimates "due to more accurate mapping", it gets muddy (smokey?). Cost estimates will change as the bills are tallied, including indirect expenses associated with the minutiae of support expense (same as any business owner hopes his contract covers - overhead costs).

Does estimated expense associated with a fire include replacement costs of resources lost? Who knows what those estimates include?

R5PITA
7/29 John

I was assigned to the Tiller fire. Another cost contributor was the amount of heavy yellow metal sitting in staging areas on lowboys ... along with other cobbed together logging equipment turned into fire fighting equipment. They too sat with great patience at the staging areas collecting $$. This staging of never used equipment is not limited to fires such as the Tiller Complex. I suspect we all have seen our fair share of clean equipment sitting in camp and at the staging areas. Someone once said if it's not getting dirty ...send it home! If policy prevents using it why do we stage and pay for it? On the Tiller some dozers were staged for private land protection. In fact not only was it staged it was used! What about the 25 other dozers and various pieces of equipment?

A research student at OSU recently completed a paper on logging equipment conversions for fire fighting purposes. He identified the effective slope these machines should operate on and the need to assign a common identifier to the equipment.

His example on the naming of equipment came from a resource order for a feller buncher. The person placing the order had a track based felling machine in mind. Instead he/she received a three wheeled felling machine designed for gentle slopes and small diameter wood. Needless to say it couldn't do the work but was paid the appropriate $$$ for transportation to the fire.

If I can find the web link to his research I will post it.

PS...don't take offense to the technical term "Cobbed together" ...A lot of modern day wild fire suppression equipment came from innovations from the logging industry.

Oliver
7/29 As of around 1930 tonight, there are over 75 folks registering for the new Hot List Forum. I'm happy and proud to say that not one of the viewers has given in to the urge to try posting even one "Test" message! Not that I'd expect anything less from our regular visitors.

There have been a few registrants whose email has bounced back to me for one reason or another.. Your email reply should arrive within 5 minutes or so, if it doesn't show up within 30 minutes, just email me direct wlf-forum@wildlandfire.com and ask for the info.

Thanks, Original Ab.
7/29 Great idea on the Hot List Forum Abs! Especially useful here in California
where it seems that nothing has happened in South Ops in the last 11 days...
at least not according to the News and Notes page. Looks like someone's
dropping the ball on this valuable resource. I'm glad the Abs are picking
it up and running with it.

JF
7/29 Hello everyone,
I am sure that most have seen the R3 web page, and with myself being in R6 its kind of sad really that we and others don’t have web pages like the R3 web page to keep us up to date on whats going on the fires. Could we call this a safety issue? Reason a safety issue, because if your going outside your area, you could see what the fire has done, and other issues going on with weather. I wonder if they could hire the webmaster in R3 for the rest of the regions.
Stay Safe,
RR

I've heard that all the GACCs are going to that format in the not-too-distant future, but not this season. Ab.
7/29 Abs
A media peice on Evergreen's 747 super pooper:
Critics question use of 747 to fight wildfires
www.azcentral.com
SITL
7/29 Ab -
I've been following the discussion about the cost of the Straylor Fire on your site. Unfortunately, it has become another green army versus red army issue. We all know there are differences between the agencies and between individual fires. However, I think the main question that most people have is why THIS particular fire cost so much. By all accounts, a 3,400 acre fire in the middle of nowhere that costs nearly 10-million bucks to suppress should raise concerns and questions from EVERYBODY, no matter who you work for. I don't know the details of this fire and I won't speculate or question anybody's (or any agency's) integrity without that knowledge. However, having grown up just 40 miles from there, I know the physical area well and am simply amazed at the cost and amount of resources devoted to it (generally gentle terrain, no urban interface, no critical habitat, no major infrastructure threatened, etc...) Clearly, I must be missing something here. I think we - the public, the fire community, and the resource management community - need to do a better job of seeking accountability to determine if we can do better. Maybe the cost was justified in this case, but I'd like to hear why from somebody who knows. If anybody has information - without the rhetoric - let me know. Thanks for your forum.
-caf

It may not be green vs red, but some unhappy camper (and friends?) stirring the pot. I just don't know. As I said before, most high cost fires are evaluated at the end of the season. Ab.
7/29 We have added and are testing a new feature for our website. In an effort to allow real-time distribution of emergency incident information, we have added a new information forum called the "Hot List Forum". This forum allows our users to post, update, or view information on new and evolving incidents. Information is published as soon as it is submitted, without editing. It should only be used for posting or viewing current emergency incident information. General discussion or information requests should remain in They Said It or the WLF Chat Room.

In an effort to keep out the riff-raff, porn merchants, and other spammers we are forced to require a very short registration form (name and email address) to be submitted before access is granted. There is no charge to register or use the forum.

We will maintain the forum as long there is enough interest or use. We encourage everyone (especially dispatchers) to use the new area to help keep us all updated on Initial Attacks, other new incidents, or where we might be going next. Your comments or suggestions regarding the new forum may be addressed to wlf-forum@wildlandfire.com

Use this link for the Policy and Registration Page

7/29 What me.

The numbers I quoted were taken from the National Sit reports, so if they were inflated it was not done by me.

Also what does "We do more than you think like medical aids, which I'm guessing your contract doesn't cover or how about the structure fire maybe the drowning of some person or the hazmat or the vehicle fire or the repairing the DR's office and all that other stuff I reckon your contract doesn't cover that" have anything to do with the current topic of wildland fire cost per acre? My "contract" (technically an EERA since we are not "guaranteed" any work or payments of financial gain) is strictly related to wildland firefighting.

Yes, I have fought fires in R-5 many times, I have also covered FS stations on assignments in the Shasta Trinity NF as one of their initial attack engines for several weeks at times, during which times I have responded to motor vehicle accidents and car fires under the "contract", along with fuels reduction, and trails and other project work while waiting for a fire call. But no I have never been ordered down to S Zone to fight a fire.

I believe most of the 2002 fires that I had listed were N Zone fires anyways if I'm not mistaken, which means the interface areas should be very similar to what is common in R-6. I realize there are a lot of details that aren't revealed in the Sit Reports, that could have a significant effect on the expenses bottom line, but the post I was replying to, was asking about costs listed in the same reports.

John
7/29 Fedfire really hits a lot of the key points in expressing concern about the
safety of an assignment. Well said!

I try to share the following with my folks:
  1. Try to express your concerns in a "non-confrontational" manner. Ask
    the supervisor for a moment in private. Present your concerns clearly,
    articulate which of the 10 or 18 you are uneasy about. Ask
    directly....."how have we mitigated or complied with.....?"
  2. If you have a solution in mind, don't be afraid to "suggest" it. If
    not, ask if you can delay implementing the instructions until a solution is
    found.
  3. If it becomes clear that the job is "safe" despite your earlier
    concerns, then accept the assignment, and move on.
  4. Do not move forward with a plan that is in clear violation of the 10.
    Stand firm (but polite), fill out the report, walk off the line if need be.

Your focus should be on the "job" and not on your "career". You know the
job needs to be done safely. Resolution of the conflict between doing the
right thing and promoting your "career" should be a no-brainer. If need
be remind yourself "hey, I was looking for a job when I took this one".....

Tough to do, I know.....

Old Fire Guy

7/29 CRH,
I don't know if you are a whiner or a concerned firefighter. I've noticed most who disagree with a safety concern label the person pointing out the issue as inexperienced and / or a bad firefighter. If they are serious about safety they will explain the how and why safety is being addressed. PYG this is not directed at you, yours is a legitimate concern, what did the rest of the crew think?

I had a similar issue with a crew when I was on a crewboss trainee assignment, my alleged trainer got into a pissing match with other crews on the division and decided he wasn't going to talk to them anymore, not discuss the assignment, not assign work according to crew capabilities (saws) not pass on the briefing from the DIVS. Besides the real communications issues this would have caused these other crews were not really favorably prepared for working in big timber, no saws and they were from Oklahoma a flat grass covered state. It ended when I was prepared to walk off the line and go to safety, he threatened with my task book, I didn't care and proceeded to list the 10 and 18 and LCES he was breaking with his attitude, he relented with several choice words for me and disparaging comments about my worth as a firefighter and basically ended my running of the crew that day, throughout day at least half the crew came up to me and thanked me for standing my ground, apparently this had been going on for a couple of days before I arrived and it had been bothering the crew but they were afraid to speak up to him since most were ADs. I was also talked to by the DIVS who apparently saw part of it (this guy must have been a ninja in a past life he would just appear and disappear, pretty good for a guy who looked older than dirt) and also thanked me for dealing with it as I did, he knew there was a problem between the crews but didn't know what was going on. The assignment continued on for a few more days, I had a great time with the crew but needless to say I didn't get my ticket punched on that trip. There are good firefighters and petty ones out there. It was kind of amusing to arrive at my district with a bad eval from my trainer and a good one from the DIVS specifically naming me as part of the reason the crew got a good rating. All you can do is keep yourself safe and do what you know is right. If you can document why you refused an assignment there shouldn't be a problem but I think everybody knows there is a risk associated with bucking the system. Good luck

FC180,
the cloudy trail behind a jet at altitude is a contrail, I believe the joke refers to CDF hoselays being followed up with a freeway built by inmates (A Con Trail).

Just Wondering,
I understand peoples confusion when looking at the cost of a fire, but there are too many factors to evaluate it just on an expense report, I recall several years ago working a USFS fire that burned 70,000+ acres, its cost was slightly less than a 3000 acre BLM, CDF fire nearby, the difference was the USFS fire was in wilderness and there were several fires burning at the same time which took most of the resources (wilderness has a lower priority), the CDF fire started a few days later when many of the other fires were in mop up, plus it was initial attack (gained priority over going fires) and was in a more settled area so had structures threatened, it also used more cooperators (city firefighters) with much higher salaries than the typical USFS employee. There are many reasons a fires cost can go up besides mismanagement.

Something that disturbs me with many of these kinds of questions are those relating to crew comfort, whether its snacks, steaks for dinner, motels or air conditioned tents. I don't know why many seem to think fire crews don't deserve decent treatment when they are at a fire. Just because we like the work why should we be treated badly, would these same people support cutting the troops in Iraq to MREs, water and pup tents? Then why do they think that is appropriate for crews on wildland fires?

While I never expected anything better than a patch of dirt to pitch my tent on and something warm to eat I did enjoy getting better treatment from time to time and I do work better on a full stomach, a decent 6 hours of sleep and the feeling that somebody actually thinks about the living conditions of the fire crews.

Fedfire

Thanks for the good comments and story FedFire. "Do what you know is right." Excellent maxim. Ab.
7/29 I find the cost per acre discussion interesting, but doubt if it really has
anything to do, with whether or not contractor's are used. CDF fires are
typically more expensive, because they pay they're people more, plus portal
to portal pay. The cost of motels and other fringe beny's are
insignificant. It only makes sense to utilize your own folks rather than
contractor's, if you have them available.

Here's a break down of R-5 Forest Service fire cost per acre, by size
class/forest/province/region, averaged over 10 years. I don't think the
2003 fires were included in this.

(See attached file: Region 5 Cost Per Acre.doc)

TC

I can email that to anyone interested, It's a word doc. Ab.
7/29 Just Wondering,

Wow haven't seen such a slandering post in awhile.

I have come away with many questions regarding "Federal Fires". Yet I try not to stir the Red vs. Green operating policy controversy in a effort to maintain peace amongst our agencies. We recognize that CDF and the USFS are very different organizations and operate in very different capacities. Both have strengths and short comings.

I would hope that this forum Ab could be used for productive information sharing and not stirring up the us versus them mentality.

I can only surmise that Just Wondering is a contractor and is pissed because he or she is not being used. CDF has limited use for contracting with private companies for many good reasons. Most of which are economics.

As far as the motel shot across the bow that has always been a point of contention between CDF and the USFS. One, the motel policy is a negotiated MOU item between the union and the department. CDF Firefighters gave up salary and benefits for this bargaining item. Two if you were to do a cost comparison motels when available are more economical than bringing in sleepers, tents, and showers. Three. The rest gained in a clean bed, shower, etc has many safety benefits that are obvious. i.e. (helicopters flying over your tent.)

I will close with the fact that CDF does use the closest resource concept period! Lets try not to go down the road of a pissing contest. Bottom line is we all eat some dirt and smoke in one way or another. Please try to keep the posts civil and respectful of other agencies. I frankly didn't believe one of the posters would have to say this but I will.

CDF Jake
7/29 Just Wondering,

> last I heard, inmate crews are not part of the CDF tool box this season. maybe a CDFer can explain further or correct my "hearing".

> last I heard, CDF or CA OES runs the show on any state lands fires. Although there are mutual aid agreements between the state, feds & local gov't to fight wildland fires, last I heard, no contractors can be employed by state gov't until CA has a ratified/legislatively chaptered budget in place for this current fiscal year that began 0001 7/1/04.

Complaints about red engines parked at local motels is nothing new; for many yrs that has been guaranteed by CDF's union contract. (> grins at your new term, but "con-trails" is not PC in today's PC climate; thought they slept in tents when not ground pounding - not sure where their guards slept).

< personal aside, kudos to the CC kids who became WFFs and responsible citizens.

FC180, "WE HAVE OUR OWN AIRTANKERS and we are not afraid to use them and we can get as many as we want." as many tankers as you want? Surely, you jest!

CRH, based on your version of that incident, seems you and the rest of your crew should have spoken up sooner. a gut feeling often saves lives; bravado can be an additional hazard.

Please, everyone, remember things are not same in every terrain, region, state, county, or situation. As others have said many times, work smart, recognize your abilities & liabilities as you support your crewmembers.

@ 0200, SW wind in lower elevations, a cooling summer breeze from the delta heading into the foothills. yesterday Reno was 98; so new fires in northzone are anyone's guess.

Come home safe everyone,

R5PITA
7/29 John,

I think your figures are alittle jacked up as well as biased. The reason is because you mentioned R6 as a low cost firefighting state, have you ever fought fire in R5? You talked about some fires in R5 and threw out some dollar totals however you don't take into account the city and county that get involved and all the crap that they require like hotels and all that sissy crap. Your argument in R5 holds no water and when you compare it to other regions its like comparing apples to oranges. R5 south so. zone is full of urban interface and when you talk about contract Fire Fighting in South Zone you better be walking on water or you will be eaten alive. We do more than you think like medical aids, which I'm guessing your contract doesn't cover or how about the structure fire maybe the drowning of some person or the hazmat or the vehicle fire or the repairing the DR's office and all that other stuff I reckon your contract doesn't cover that, however we do this stuff because it's our call to duty and it's what the public expects of us. Bottom line is government firefighters will never go away.

What me--

John didn't say govt firefighters should go away. He was just contributing to the discussion on fire costs with some numbers. But as some have said (see above), numbers don't tell the whole story. Much research on fire costs goes on after the season is over. At that time all factors are taken into account to see if there are any financial lessons to be learned. Ab.
7/28 Update on the Sims Fire, on Grouse Creek NW of Hyampom:

No longer just 50 acres, it's 2,000 acres as of 5 PM.
Szczepanik's Team is coming on board.
Something like 14 Type 1 crews and 3 Type 2 crews are on it.

I heard it's burning real good. Some of the youngsters in the Five Waters
extended family got worried by the thick smoke and called even though
it's still pretty far away.

I just hope it's not another Big Bar Complex.

Steep country, lots of snags, take care of each other. LCES!!!!
Mellie

7/28 Ab, Could you please post the trailing/bottom message.
Thank You
RT

The Lassen NF Memorial page
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Two years ago on July 28, 2002, we lost 3 Lassen firefighters in the Engine
11 accident on the Stanza fire on the Klamath National Forest.

Please take a moment today to remember the loss of Steve Oustad, Heather
DePaolo-Johnny, and John Self.

It has been said that the greatest tribute we can pay to fallen
firefighters is to learn from their tragedy and not let it happen again.
Take the opportunity as you are reading this to reflect on your personal
commitment to safety as a core value.

On the brighter side, the two survivors of the accident, Alex Glover and
Ryan Smith are back working on Almanor engine crews again this year. Their
strength and dedication is inspiring.

******************************
Larry Hood
Fire Planning Specialist
Pacific Southwest Region
******************************

Thanks RT and Larry Hood for the reminder.

I did think of that tragedy this morning. The accident happened in my neck'o'the woods more or less. I had met Steve and Heather in passing, it's a small fire community in Northern California and they were nice people. Several R5 Division Chief Meetings ago ago, Heather's dad -- Tony -- gave the most memorable talk. Heather would have been so proud of him -- as proud as he was of her. I feel richer for being able to picture them together. I also feel Heather's loss more keenly for having met her dad. My best wishes to families and friends of Heather, Steve and John.

Firefighters, love and appreciate your families every chance you get. Be safe. Come home safe. Ab.

7/28 PYG's response highlights the difficulty of speaking up in these situations. If CRH had walked off the line that day, he would have been seen as a whiner or an idiot, or lazy, fill in the blanks, since nothing went wrong on the shift. He'd (she'd?) just be the jerk who took the day off because he was scared.

PYG says, "One thing that I would like to say is that your crew boss got his briefing from his superiors and I really don't think they're going to put your life or their divisions in jeopardy."

Our superiors certainly never wish harm on anyone when they issue orders. It's not like war where you know that some soldiers are going to die; fire orders are not issued knowing that some firefighters won't make it back. But sometimes bad orders are issued. No one at Storm King or the Cramer fire intended harm to the firefighters that ended up dead. PYG, I don't think your argument holds up here.

Maybe you're right about how CRH was perceived by the rest of the crew; you and I don't know this person. (On the other hand, how many whiners get 7 years in? They're often gone after one season.) But isn't it at least as likely that it was the complaint that resulted in his being sent down the road?

SR
7/28 The Puget Sound region is capped by mid-to high level smoke drifting
in from the north this morning. Since chances are implausible to ridiculously
implausible it's from widespread eradication activities by the Mounties, I
would surmise that our 'buds in B.C. are experiencing significant forest
fire activity.

S.R. Sparky
7/28 Some info from today from the Straylor. Looks pretty good to me. More like 95% contained.

www.fs.fed.us/r5/lassen/news/newsreleases/2004/7-28-04-straylor.pdf

SoCal CDF

7/28 FC180; what is the difference between using contract helos, dozers,
showers, clerical, even AT pilots, but not crews? Please dont say that
they're more expensive than the other listed contractors. I am not sure
why you told me to get over myself but you didnt answer any of my
questions, they were pointed yes but not venom. If your statement
regarding aircraft is true why all the other resources, motels and air
conditioning? Dont forget CDF is the biggest contractor in the state.
Ab's< I understand the budget thing, but to me if I dont have a budget
all the perks are stopped.
Oh Yeah maybe i shoulda put a hyphen in con-trail

Thanks but still wondering
7/28 Hello.

FYI:
In our local newspaper is a weekly national magazine insert called "American
Profile." The cover article this week is "Smoke Jumpers" by Stephen
Stuebner. The online version can be reached at
www.americanprofile.com/issues/20040725/20040725_4060.asp, but it
doesn't have the pictures that the print version does.

To FC180
Did 'Just Wondering' mean "CONvict TRAIL"?

Tree
7/28 Took a look at http://www.fire.ca.gov/cdf/incidents/Straylor%20Fire_146/incident_info.phpl
Did not see any airtankers. Where would we find how many air tankers are being used? Maybe ODF should show CDF how to manage cost. The contractors are brought back because of the work they do, not be cause of a union.

stay safe K R
7/28 Just Wondering,

I agree the costs seem to be out of proportion for the Straylor fire, but I also noticed that the Freezeout Fire in WA, so far has cost right around $230 more per acre to just monitor with occasional work with a single type 3 Helo and 13 overhead personnel. The Icicle Fire which has the Trinity Fire added to it, has cost $4,003/acre, nearly $2,000/acre more than Straylor so far. I did some searching, and compared costs/acre with the 2002 fire season in both OR and CA. (I picked 2002 because OR didn't really have many fires in 2003).

Here in Oregon, the most expensive fire/acre I found was $656.39/acre on the Tiller Complex, the cheapest was the Toolbox Complex at $155.72/acre. In OR 5 major complexes burned 768,756 acres, averaging $310.24/acre.

In CA in 2002 the Wolf Fire was the most expensive per acre at $706.86, McNally was cheapest at $303/acre, and the 5 large fires I found info for burned a combined total of 292,982 acres averaging $378/acre.

I think it is interesting to note that most of the fires in OR always have a large amount of private contractors, yet the costs are lower. The Tiller Complex cost taxpayers more per acre, due to local district policies that prevented fighting the fires aggressively due to lack of safety zones which firefighters were told they were not allowed to construct, and also District guidelines that forbid using dozers to construct firelines.. This led to a much longer commitment than would otherwise have been necessary.

John
7/28 TC

Fire is on Grouse Creek on the Lower Trinity RD of the Six Rivers.
It's 50 acres so far, lower 1/3 of a steep slope, veg is a tangle from an earlier fire.
NorCal Team II under Deputy IC Jim Giachino is going to manage it.
(John Wendt (IC) has a son getting married and promised to be at the wedding.
Congrats to all! <smooches> all around!)

Be Safe All, it's really dry here.
Mellie
7/28 I understand there's a new fire on the Six /Rivers N.F. activating a type
2 Team. Anyone have any other info on whats happening there?

TC
7/28 FYI
BLMgirl

This is a Memo that was sent out by Peter Tolosano, R5 Fire Operations Safety Officer.
At the bottom are the links to the 3 reports of the close calls he describes. Ab.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In the past two weeks we have had three similar unexpected Fire Behavior
related close calls in this Region. CDF has had similar occurrences on
their incidents also. All three cases were in light flashy fuels. Two
involved engine placement and one involved doing a mobile attack. I am
forwarding the written reports of these incident in hopes that you will
share this information widely with your troopers. The message here is that
we are way ahead of the normal drying trend in this region. Live fuels are
at critical levels from North to South. ERCs are at record levels. Fire
behavior is escalating unexpectedly with extreme intensities.

The good news is that the crews involved in these three incidents
demonstrated that they were following established Safety Protocols. LCES
was established in all cases. Please take time to review these reports and
brief incoming resources on the condition of our fuels and the Expected
Fire Behavior. This is not a fire season to let your guard down. Please
remind our firefighters to:
  • Post lookouts whenever you are engaged.
  • Pay attention to basics.
  • Follow the Ten Standard Fire Fighting Orders.
  • Mitigate the 18 Situations that Shout Watchout!
  • Take time to do the job safely.
  • Ensure you have solid communication established before engaging.
  • Drive defensively and Safely.
  • Remember our goal that every firefighter is entitled to a safe fire assignment.
  • And at the end of the incident everyone goes home safely.
  • "Be Careful Out There!"

Pine Fire Incident
Citrus Fire Safety Alert
Mataguay Fire Incident

Another appended "Heads Up"

As stated above, it is extremely dry all over California and fire behavior
has been extreme. 1000 hr fuels are in the single digits, 7 to 8. Some
fires are being fuel driven and the 1000 hr fuels are being completely
consumed. It is the end of July and we have conditions that are 4 to 6
weeks ahead of normal drying conditions. Keep your head up, be aware and
be safe.

Doug W.

7/28 To Just Wondering

Whew take it easy. Your venom is very unpersuasive. The reason for no contractors as Ab alludes to is we have no way to pay contractors until there is a state budget, and as I write this on the 28th past noon, there still is no budget. As for your tired invective about hotels and inmates, get over yourself. Maybe the reason this fire was fairly expensive is that WE HAVE OUR OWN AIRTANKERS and we are not afraid to use them and we can get as many as we want. You’ll notice the fire went out as well.

As for your attempted joke about handline, I don’t get it.

FC180

7/28 Yes, I was labeled a complainer, whistle blower,
scared...all of that. It was surprising to me that
after all of the training I went through and but one
year after Thirtymile, that this sort of thing would
still happen.

Whenever we engage a fire, whether it be a large
incident or a 1/4 acre on district, there are things
that must happen. It doesn't feel right when one of
those things is missing, in this case LCES. You're not
running on all cylinders and you can feel it.

The fact that 'nothing happened' doesn't make me feel
any better. I would rather ride on LCES and the Fire
Orders than 'nothing happened'.

I really did feel like a chicken with it's head cut
off. I was talking to the Crwb, Squad Bosses and crew
members. None of them seemed at all concerned. To this
day, none of them can answer this simple question:
What was our LCES?

Taking notes is considered a legal document and can be
used in court. I continue to take notes to this day
and advise others to do the same. It not only helps
remember sequence of events but also makes safety
concerns legitimate.

For those who continue to practice 'cowboy'
firefighting, I think your days are numbered.
Thanks for all the responses, good and bad. It's
helped me to lay this thing to rest.

Special thanks to 'chick on the fireline', your words
were wise...

CRH
7/28 I recently took a tour of the straylor fire in N CA and came away with a few questions.

One, This fire is really remote and managed by a CDF team, why is it that after reviewing the sit report and doing a cost comparison of all the other fires listed (even the ones with known contractors on them) why is this fire the most expensive fire per acre in the country? Is it because of the cost of the massive air conditioned tent city used by the non-law abiding citizens? Or is it because of the cost of every motel between redding and alturas being filled up by red trucks?

Two, Why would there be a standing order of NO CONTRACTORS for this fire when there are dozers and helos contracted to be on the line? Is closest available resource just some nice sounding empty words? I am sure IA was really slow while they waited for the paddy wagons to traverse the state en route. After talking w/the fed folks the comments were "its always been that way", " yes it's hard to see smoke and to be waiting for an hour until all the red army is ordered, then when you are ordered you go sit in staging and let folks who dont really know the area aimlessly look for road access that isn't there" and my favorite " its a f&#%ed up deal for us but it benefits them so it'll never change". I wonder if the bean counters at the state level are ever going to figure this out. Oh I forgot they are probably part of the same union.

I did hear a good one, What does a CDF handline and a jet have in common? A contrail.

Just Wondering

Don't know if lack of a CA budget plays into it, but I heard that Arnold made a handshake agreement on state budget yesterday. Maybe hiring contractors will change as a result of having something to pay them. Ab.

7/28 SUEBEE
a couple more resources. the two larger contract associations both
have listings of Washington based companies.

www.nwsa.net/
and WCFAfirefighters.org are good places with lots of info.

eric at PW

NWSA has a link on the Classifieds page for future reference. Ab.
7/28 Now lets hear the other side of the story from someone
who was there with you. I want you to get someone off
your old crew to tell us their side of the story. To
me your looking for sympathy because your no longer in
the service fighting fire. One thing that I would
like to say is that your crew boss got his briefing
from his superiors and I really don't think they're
going to put your life or their divisions in jeopardy.
And secondly you said that your crew boss kept doing
other jobs and that your squad bosses and the DIVS
complained, that just doesn't add up. Why would the
DIVS complain and not do something about it. I
personally think you didn't get along with whom ever
and they got rid of you. From my experience people
that usually keep records of everything are usually
the biggest pains in the arsses. Sounds to me like
you were a complainer, thats why you weren't listened
to.

Thanks for the site Ab
PYG
7/27 Killer,
Yes the lead plane in the picture is L-88........But it is still a good picture even though it's not Mike and me ;)

Aberdeen.....I think what Killer was getting at is that it was a single drop of a large amount of retardant from a good tank system....i.e. not a SEAT and not a helicopter and not MAFFS. The fact that there is no 150 ft. flames in the picture doesn't mean anything, except that maybe it would be a more "exciting" photograph. I think that that is one of the problems that plays into the hands of those that do not want large airtankers in the system. We are asked and expected to stop these high intensity runs...and when they don't stop, the tankers are represented as being ineffective. When they are used in low to moderate intensity areas (as in this picture.....and remember there may be more just to the right of the edge of the screen) the retardant does exactly what it is designed to do...not put the fire out, but "retard" it. And in this case be much more effective than straight water.

That is all....KCP
7/27 To all ICT3’s:

Have you noticed this change in the new fireline handbook?

On page 110 of Extended Attack; (Of course, read the entire page to see how this relates primarily to ICT3’s)

“The incident may be divided into divisions, but would not meet the Division/Group Supervisor complexity.”

Hmmm.

This was apparently done because under current USFS training specifications, the 3 routes to Division Supervisor are to first be an ICT3, or Task Force Leader or Strike Team Leader (twice). How can any logical supervisory system have an Incident Commander in charge of a group of supervisory employees that he/she is not as qualified as, (has a supervisor), by definition?

This handbook change was necessary, because in some court case in our collective future, management had to build in a CYA.

The catch, were you taught at this last winters ICT3 refresher, (or at any other time), that the Division Supervisors who are assigned by you on a Type III incident, must be less in complexity than regular Division Sups? And just exactly what are the limits of this almost a DIVS?

Suggestion 1: To counter this from both fireline competency and a legal standpoint. ICT3’s should assign their line managers as STL’s, (working on the west and east flanks?), and include in their notes limits of span of control and complexity. {Unless the ICT3 is already a Type II Ops Chief or higher.}

Stronger Suggestion 2: Avoid ICT3 assignments or perhaps the rating itself until after you’ve been at least a Division for a couple years. Just because our system has a few flaws does not mean we each have to accept them.

On an unrelated but it is still driving me nuts issue. Please note that in the US we define the difference between back-fire and burn-out. Not just in an understanding of each but also in who is capable of conducting either. The term back burn is appropriate only in news article quotes by those who deserve to be hit by a borate bomber.

Fuels Guy

www.fire.blm.gov/training/standards/GLOSSARY.PDF (large pdf file)

7/27 Just heard today that the Information Technology (IT) competitive sourcing (outsourcing)
study was awarded in favor of the Forest Service keeping those positions.

What does that have to do with wildland fire you ask? These are the support folks who
keep our computers running and our radios and repeater systems working. They are also
the folks who serve in many valuable positions on our incident management teams.

The big question to all of us is what was the MEO (most efficient organization) that was
awarded.... Can these positions still support fire management activities under the new MEO?

Lobotomy
7/27 A/C Dispatcher,
Thanks for the correction! I forgot Rick was out floating around in one of the FS King Air's.

Aberdeen,
you are correct. Hard to tell what else is going on there...could be a crew trying to get around a hot piece or Air tac trying to hold onto something till the crews get there...Can't tell from the picture. I do know that cooling sections of line ahead of crews, and keeping them cool, is an effective use of retardant whether it be from a fixed wing or rotor wing. Many times if you wait till you have "active flame" it is too late.

What I meant was that this looks like a well placed drop and looks like it will have a definite cooling effect on the hot stuff, which I think is still our objective!

take care!

Killer
7/27 CRH,

Man that sucks when you have too work with people like that! Well atleast you stayed heads up, still spoke out and you didn't let any others pressure you to not speak out. You 1 day will make a good supervisor. Just remember this. I use it or tell myself this when working with the fire handicapped. "now I know what I don't want to be like when I become a supervisor, thanks for the training on how not to be!"

Socal FF
7/27 Killer,

The Lead Plane with T-21 in the Waterfall picture is Lead-88 with Rick Gicla.

A/C Disp
7/27 CRH,

Wow, sounds pretty crazy, that whole situation. Unfortunately, I am sure you are not the only seasonal (or permanent for that matter) that has experienced that situation. IN MY OPINION, this is not surprising. I am somewhat surprised that this is a shock to you. Storm King, Thirty mile, Cramer, these incidents keep repeating themselves, and probably always will. Your documenting the incident is a good idea (as I am sure you are aware), but don't expect it to change things, or make you more right. It's all about the politics, people are afraid to take action, and when it's a seasonal versus a permanent employee, who do you really think is going to come out on top??? I am glad you and your crew were "ok", move on and learn from the past....don't let it become your life, let it be part of your life experience.

Just another chick on the line
7/27 CRH

If firefighters had died as a result of your situation say 2 years earlier ---in 2000, it would
have been your fault 100% for not speaking up. Firefighters got blamed for everything. All
fire deaths have resulted from some violation of the 10 fire orders. But it was like there was
only one acknowledged "HOLE" in the swiss cheese model.

In 2001 Thirtymile started to change some things about where blame was placed OOPS
where lessons could be learned.

In 2003 two people died on the Cramer Fire. There was a USFS investigation and report
with lots of white outs and a second version with less white outs, an OSHA investigation
and report ---and the FS was fined, and also an Inspector General's investigation and report
---that isn't out yet. Soon? (Don't know if all the other investigations besides Fire are good
or bad.)

Should you have walked off, HELL YES, if the situation felt wrong. It's called being an adult
and being accountable! You're the one wouldhave ended up dead.

Today more firefighters that survive are submitting a SAFECOM. My guess, you could still
do that. Anyone know if it's too late?

sign me Not a HOLE!

7/27 Hey all,

Now, I have this issue that I've been trying to lay to rest for two years now. It happened on the Biscuit Fire while I was on a USFS 20 person handcrew. I'll leave the names and whatnot out, but I'd like to have your opinion on it:

This happened on day 10 of a 14 day assignment. We had a crwb that had not taken a crew out for about 10 years (he's usually a strike team leader).

A note: during this entire tour, our crwb would leave to perform other duties: lookout, patrol. Although, the Squad Bosses and Div Sup complained, this behavior continued until the final day. I believed he felt uncomfortable in the role of Crwb and couldn't handle it.

My Issue: We arrived at a DP that had just been cleared by a dozer. Parking was difficult, not to mention the drive up there, it was about 30 minutes off of the main road. We geared up and waited for our briefing from the Crwb. He said we were suppose to follow the dozerline downhill and brush the fireside. There was an SRV crew that was also working the line. He didn't know how far down we were suppose to work. I asked about a SZ down the line because from the map, it appeared to be at least 1/2 mile of dozerline. He stated he heard something about a SZ down the ridge, but wasn't sure. To make myself perfectly clear to him, I said, "so we're working without a SZ?" He said yes. Crwb then stated that the area we were parked in wasn't considered a SZ but, if lucky, a deployment zone. He then laughed and said "our safety zone is to the rigs and drive like hell!"

Now, a Red Flag warning had been issued for high winds over the fire that morning. We had temp's in the upper 90's with RH's in the teens. There had been extreme fire behavior and long range spotting up to two miles. We were on the other side of a canyon from the fire about one mile away.

Our crwb left the crew and went to find a lookout point. Later on that day, our Div Sup informed us that from our Crwb lookout location, he wouldn't be able to see the fire or the crew.

The crew started down the ridge and I was feeling a bit nervous about this whole situation. I keep telling the crew and other Squad Bosses that we shouldn't engage without LCES, Fire Orders in place. They brushed me off. I was the only person on this 20-person crew to say a damn thing!

I broke out my Pocketguide and read over how to refuse an assignment. I was ready to walk off. Luckily, this one Squad Boss whom I yelled at finally walked the line and found our SZ. It was 1/4 away and needed brushing. We were not allowed to brush it due to another Squaddie who was assuming the role of Crwb. We didn't walk our escape route until 6 hours later.

The very next morning, we received a morning briefing from our Div Sup in the exact same area. It was so detailed and refreshing. He covered all the bases and made sure everyone understood him.

When I got back to my district, my boss asked how things went. I mentioned this incident, not to get anybody fired, but, just to find out if I was overreacting. He said by law, he had to report it to headquarters. Well, to make a long story short, headquarters came down and interviewed the Crwb and some crewmembers about what happened. They all stated they felt safe. I have a habit of documenting everything while on fire, so I had notes, the IAP and several maps of the area.

Headquarters and I debated for about an hour over the incident and the outcome was suprising indeed. The final decision was that the Crwb was 50% at fault and I was 50%. I should have said something, headquarters said. What more could I have done besides jumping up and down, screaming my head off and preparing to walk off the line?

My boss told me off the record that because the Crwb was a permanent and I was a seasonal, it would never go farther than it did.

I was not hired back the next season (2003). This season I tried to get on a few other districts and some Shot crews and nothing. I have 7 seasons experience and I am now doing AD work.

What do you think? Was I wrong? Did I overreact? If you need more details to make an opinion, let me know.

CRH
7/27 Killer -

Nice photo of the AT and LP on "Waterfall", but unless my old computer screen is cutting something out, I guess it doesn't show me much except a little smoke in the lower right corner, without any active flames in view. Having flown some as ATGS, I am a believer in using A/T delivered retardant in the right place at the right time, but this photo wouldn't convince me if I had doubts.

Let's hope they all stay flying this year................!

Aberdeen

7/27 Great shot of Jan Riefenberg in the P3 and Lead Bravo 5 with Mike Lynn and
Ken Perry ......Any doubts as to the effectiveness of that retardant?

Lead plane banking left and AT banking right after a drop on the Waterfall Fire.

Killer

Nice photo. Ab.

7/27 Someone asked for info on the location of the CDF Mountain
Home Conservation Camp. It is in Tulare County, east of Porterville,
located, I think in a State Forest.

RB
7/27 Ab, on this anniversary of a very important safety post...
a reintroduction of a very well written post by Hugh Carson
for the readers.

Thanks Hugh for keeping us focused on safety.

www.wildlandfire.com/docs/hcarson.php

Lobotomy
7/27 Hi Folks,

Can anyone tell me what is happening to the old fire shelters that are
being turned in for the "new" style? I'm trying to round up some as
spares to put on my engines.

Are their any readers from Winnemucca BLM that were involved with
the U140L's - if so could you drop me a note via the Able Ab's.

Thanks,
MTMOG
7/27 Ab:

Late last week this statement of concern was realized by a small group
of retirees who finally decided something from the old people needed to
be said about the Biscuit and the future. I am not sure whether or not it is
of interest to your readership, but we thought we should offer it.

For those who have never fought fire in that part of the world, Biscuit
country is not a fun assignment.

Firemark.

Biscuit Fire photos
7/27 Cordial saludo

Hola, mi nombre es Julio Cesar Hurtado Gahon. soy bombero de la ciudad de Cali, Colombia, Suramerica te escribo por que me gusto mucho tu pagina y parace como yo que tu vida gira al rededor de bomberos, espero podernos comunicar ya que me gusta tener rrelacion con personas de otro paises que tienen la misma aficion.

Agradeciendo la atencion prestada.
Br. Julio Cesar Hurtado G.

very roughly translated:
Cordial greeting

Hello, my name is Julio Gahon. I am a fireman of the city of Cali, Colombia, South America. I write you because I really like your website and I see I that your lives revolve around a community of firemen, I'd like to be able to communicate with you since it pleases me to have a relationship with persons from other countries that have the same one firefighting affiliation.

Thanks for the forum.

7/27 Article on the airtanker.com "Posted by concerned (67.0.202.49) on July 23, 2004 at 13:47:29:

"Neptune Aviation decision delayed" news article indicates that the USFS is still delaying the decision to put the P2Vs on for this fire season. Article still has the spin that they terminated contracts because their is no way to guaranteed their airworthiness, but the reason was that the NTSB said any aircraft contracted for by the USFS had liability attributed to the agency for the aircraft. The affected contractors were not related to the prior accidents in 2002.

Ms N
7/27 Suebee,

I you can try checking the engine tender contract data table on the Region 6 Procurement website. www.fs.fed.us/r6/ppm/fire_procurement.phpl That list of engines and tenders shows all the contractors running those pieces of equipment in both WA and OR this year. The agreements just came out in the past few months, so the information should be current. There is also a link for the handcrew contracts lower on the page from 2003. Most of the information there should be fairly current also. Good Luck

John
7/27 could you help me out? i'm looking for a map of conservation camps that
the california department of corrections and the ca. dept. of forestry run.
there is one they call "mountain home". do you know anything about it?

need info
7/26 Straylor Fire

The helo was doing recon. 3 people (pilot & 2 observers)
were hurt in the crash: 2 were were medivaced to Mercy
Medical (Redding); 1 was taken by ambulance Mayer
Memorial (Fall River Mills). A CDF Serious Accident
Investigation Team is investigating.

Icicle Fire

One firefighter was released from the hospital; the other
has a fractured pelvis and is still in the Medical Center.

Socal CDF

Best Wishes for speedy recoveries of all. Thoughts and prayers for all. Be Safe. Ab.
7/26 I heard there was an injury yesterday on the Icicle Fire - 2 firefighters
hit by a boulder. Anyone have an update on their condition?

R6 FF
7/26 Does anyone have info on the 2 incidents which occurred on the Straylor Fire on 07/ 26 / 04.
All I know is that a CWN Helicopter crashed, and a few hours later there was a near miss
on the fire line [ hustle to safety zones, but no shelters.]

No name this time
7/26 fire in warm springs oregon 0 percent containment 2500 acres still rocking

doc brown

Thanks for the update, Doc. Ab.
7/26 More info on Digital radios.

Digital radios consume more power than analog radios
due to the extra microprocessors in the Digital radio.
Even when used in the analog mode Digital radios
consume more power.

Why buy a Digital radio when it will only be used in
analog. Two to 3 times the cost, reduced battery life,
reduced coverage area, radio interference causes
digital transmissions to shut down completely.

Another fact is that Digital radios were designed to
use rechargeable batteries because AA alkaline
batteries cannot supply the needed amperage. The AA
batteries internal resistance restricts the flow of
electrical current.

COMT

http://safenet.nifc.gov/notice.nsf/0/6fef46e71aad456587256ed900735504?OpenDocument

TO :
FROM : National Wildfire Coordinating Group
REPLY TO : NWCG@nifc.gov
DATE : 07/22/2004
SUBJECT : SAFETY ADVISORY : RACAL 25 POWER CONSUMPTION

IMPORTANT COMMUNICATIONS NOTICE

RACAL 25 POWER CONSUMPTION

July 20, 2004

Introduction

Power consumption by the new digital (P25) portable radios has been a major concern, and field issue, ever since their introduction into the fire community. Due to the increased amount of electronics within the radio, and the larger band spread requirements (136 – 174 MHz), a digital radio requires more current than an older analog only radio. Non-rechargeable battery technologies have just not kept up with the increased current demands like rechargeable batteries have. The manufacturer's response to their radio's increased current demands has been to build larger cell count clamshells. This, unfortunately, has not been the solution we all had hoped for.

Thales' Racal 25 Current Draw Issue

The Racal 25 radio has never been known for its battery life when operated on their 10 cell AA battery pack (clamshell). This issue has become even more prevalent with their update to the "503" and later board sets. An apparent loss of "talk time" has prompted a look into the cause, and possible, solution to the issue. The National Interagency Incident Communications Division (NIICD), in conjunction with Thales Communications, Inc., has investigated the situation and has come up with the following.

Brief History

In the early stages of testing the new digital P25 radios, it was discovered that the effective communications range of the Racal 25 could be increased if the supplied "cut-band" antenna was replaced with the full band spread Motorola antenna. This prompted Racal to upgrade the antenna connector on their radios and to offer the Motorola antenna as an option. It has recently been discovered that the combination of the Motorola broad band antenna and the later model board sets (503 and above) has caused a significant increase in transmit current requirements.

Testing

The NIICD Engineering and Development Section and Thales Communications have recently performed numerous tests on the Racal 25 utilizing different antennas. The goal of the testing was to reduce the overall power consumption of the radio while still preserving the communications capabilities of the radios. The NIICD tests were conducted within the Division's engineering lab, on the NIFC voice check station and in the field, both portable-to-portable and through a NIFC repeater, on frequencies ranging from 154 to 174 MHz.

A technical report detailing the tests and their results can soon be found on the NIICD's hotsheet web site at www.fs.fed.us/fire/niicd/Hotsheet/Hotsheet.phpl.

Results and Recommendation

A significant change (reduction) in the Racal 25's transmit current requirements can be achieved by utilizing different antennas on the radio. Within the 162 to 174 MHz frequency range, a reduction of over 50% in transmit current draw can be achieved.

For radio use within the 162 – 174 MHz band, the NIICD recommends the use of a Centurion 495500, EXH-170-SF. The Centurion SXB165SF works almost as well as the Centurion EXH-170-SF. The end-user may not be able to tell any difference between the two antennas. The Centurion wave, spring base, BNC antenna (with adapter) can also be used. When fully extended, the telescoping antenna works well within this band.

PLEASE NOTE: Even though the above antennas are designed (cut) to operate in the 162 – 174 MHZ band, they do operate in the 150 MHz band without a significant reduction in propagation characteristics and increase in current draw.

For the lower end of the spectrum, the Motorola wideband antenna works very well on the radio.

Additional, Future Testing

Life cycle testing of the 10 battery AA clamshell has not been done since the unit was originally accepted on the DOI Digital Radio Contract. Field testing of several prototypes of the new Hybrid Battery (Li-ion rechargeable battery/charging regulator/AA clamshell combination) was accomplished during the last two fire seasons. The prototypes of the new hybrid battery demonstrated a tremendous improvement in battery life, as well as, having the capacity to operate the radio at high wattage settings. Testing of both the AA clamshell and the hybrid battery will continue this field season. The results of the tests will be published as soon as they are completed.

Stephen C. German
Engineering and Development
NIICD / NIFC

7/26 Please help!!
I have been searching and searching for a directory of Contract Firefighter
Companies in the state of Washington. Is there one???

Thanks muchly
Suebee
7/26 Ab;
Impressive picture of Pot Peak's plume on today's 'They Said'. Where
will it go next. with 2 months yet to run..?

I found interesting the comments on contractor-owned engines; having
been a pioneer of their use back in the '60s. I may have invented the
idea, in R-1 & R-6 at least. We had to "re-invent the wheel" on every
fire because no one was used to it yet. We saw a need for it; worked
long hours (day & night) on fires; got paid little; and were
appreciated... about like early retardant pilots in their Stearman
bi-planes in the late '50s.

Here's yet another version of the Pulaski story. A guy by the name of
Joe Halm actually invented the tool. Joe was Wallace Idaho District
Ranger Ed Pulaski's alternate (assistant) when the 1910 Great Idaho
Fires erupted. Joe, like Ed, was credited with saving his crew, several
miles away along the St. Joe River, by burrowing into an island sand
bar, at about the same time Ed herded his men into a mine shaft at
gunpoint to save them.

That next winter, Pulaski asked Halm to come up with a tool that might
work better than a shovel for planting trees. He went to his USFS
Wallace shop, cut one blade off a double-bit ax, welded it crossways to
create the tool.

When his boss, Pulaski, demonstrated the tool at the 1911 regional
ranger's meeting, it was met with little acceptance. Little did he know
that it would later become the famous "pulaski".

[In a letter: 'Joseph B. Halm 1944']
Ray Kresek, author
"Fire Lookouts of the Northwest"
7/26 Cedar Fire Photos: Anyone know who? Looks like at least one San Bernardino firefighter.

These photos were taken off of HWY 79 near Julian and in the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, shot last October, 2003. Sorry I don't have the crew name. There was a strike team from S. Cal, and a CDF team helping a local FD.

AH

7/26 My how the list of the "52" and the "Gold 52" has grown! Word gets out
when there is this type of organization that supports the firefighters'
families. Great to see the number of Hotshot Crews listed.

My heart will always be with the "Ruptured Duck" and hope that crew's name
will soon be listed.

Old Fire Guy

Quack!
7/26 This came in last week. I'm playing catch-up on photos... It's great to get breaking photos. I'm trying to get caught up so I can stay on top of them. Ab.

AB;

Thought you would like this picture I just took out my window of the Pot Peak Complex
Plume. Very impressive tonight!

MH

7/26 For those wondering what the "town" of Chicken Alaska looks like -- the Chicken Fire -- here's a pic sent in by the Original RR. Ab.

Chicken Alaska

7/26 Ab,

For everyones info.

cdfbc

Contra Costa Co engine Rollover on July 1 Kirker Green Sheet 
7/26 Just got my "52 weeks we remember" pin, patch and decal. Vicki
Minor....thank you.

Old Fire Guy

52 Club, good deal. I'll have to watch for mine in the mail.

Wow, just went to the site and there are a number of new members! Doubled in size! And teams and crews on the 52 Gold list. Rowdy Muir and Tom Suwyn, good for your teams. "Volunteers of the Carbondale Rural Fire Protection Dist", CO. Excellent. A number of hotshot and other crews supporting the wildland firefighter community as well. Readers, get your teams and crews to come on board. I just heard that the Wildland Firefighter Foundation trailer is on the move and can visit you. All it takes is an invitation. Ab.

7/25 ab here is a link to the warm springs fire in oregon

Warm Springs wildfire explodes to 1,400 acres

It was "an acre around 3:30 p.m., said Ken Lydy of Warm Springs Fire Management, but had grown to 1,000 acres within three hours."

doc brown

Must have put up quite a column. Ab.

7/25 Hey fellers,

Just got back from the Pot Peak fire and went to
the library to get a book for my kids. I found this
one children's book that's pretty weird.

It's called HOTSHOTS! by Chris L. Demarest and the
story is F'd up! These so called Hotshots (engine crew
members) get a call to go to this fire. When they
arrive, they all jump out, grab drip torches and
immediately start burning out. The wind is going
uphill and their engines are on top. They start
burning downhill with fuel between them and the
engines.

Anyway, they end up deploying and f'ing up big
time. When they get back to their rigs, they have a
bite to eat and prepare for the next fire. All in a
days work it says.

The author makes it look like deploying is part
of the job. Happens all the time, it's actually
expected.

You should check it out and take a gander.

Have fun and be safe !

LOM

Sorry to hear it's not factual. Chris is an illustrator, I believe. This book is listed on our kids fire books page. It had not been finished when I spoke with Chris on the phone a year and a half ago. He said at that time that he would have it reviewed by wildland firefighters for accuracy.
LOM, how many "saws" would you give it? If it doesn't rate two saws , we'll take it off the page, although perhaps we should leave it on without a link and with a candid review. Frankly, I'm more concerned about the safety issues than anything else (like whether hotshots ride on engines). Little kids don't need to view our wildland firefighting profession as an extreme sport. Ab.
7/25 From Firescribe:

An interesting page from NIFC that explains why we might be higher than
average in acres burned, in spite of it seeming like a slow season. And
where can we still expect action?

www.nifc.gov/news/intell_predserv_forms/season_outlook.phpl
7/25 Ab, I noticed on your IMWTK page, that there isn't any info regarding when the Pulaski was first created. Thought some might find this interesting! I happened to meet one of the committee members of the Pulaski Project while stopping in Wallace Idaho this last weekend. Lots of information here.

www.imbris.net/~roizen2/

Jessyka
7/25 The last member of the Entiat/Chellan crew was released from the hospital.

JJ

Good news. Ab.
7/24 Just my input on the Waterfall Fire...........I responded with a multi-district task force of type III engines. Reno Fire was there with several type I's. We were A.I. on the fire up in Kings Canyon. As most A.I. goes, we had alot of communication problems with command and throw in 2 low angle rope rescues and you have yourself a mess. Knowing that this incident will be critiqued by everyone with an opinion, I was there and all the firefighters that were in that canyon did the best anyone could in a bad situation. All of the firefighter's fought bravely and showed alot of professionalism. We got our fellow firefighters off the hill safely and learned some hard lessons. But we got to go home! Be safe.

Just a Firefighter
7/23 Holy Cow.... approx. 80 ac. and moving in the coastal forested area (Pacific
County, DNR managed) of Washington State. If the Asbestos Forest is
burning, what does the rest of the summer have in store?

-FireBill

ps> Just came home from a short severity assignment on the Naches RD in
the Okanogan-Wenatchee. I can't say enough good things about the hosting
by the district's FMO and staff. Thanks gang!
7/23 ab red flag warning for central oregon very dry and dry lightning forecast
I think maybe its our turn hang on. lets see what is behind door #1.

signed
Doc Brown
7/23 Ab, please post this on theysaid. Apps close on Aug 9. Thanks. BLM Girl
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Job announcement BLM Fire

Flying at the GS 9/11/12 level. Open government wide.

State Fire Management Planner
Sacramento CA
7/23 Looks like Rax has/had a situation on his hands: www.uniondemocrat.com

Better not lie on those apps, the law will get you sooner or later. I say fire his a$$.

HT
7/23 Firestorm,

I agree with most of what you have to say. One thing I would be careful of is repeating rumors that seem to grow out of proportion. Unless you were there, well you know the rest. I don't know what your experience is with the Salmon-Challis, but from personal experience I can say you're pretty right on about "organizational climate." Ever since Joe Carvhelo left his FMO job, and the return of the centralized fire program back to the districts, things have rapidly slid downhill. It is unfortunate that continued warnings to FMOs, Line Officers, and the Forest Supt, have been ignored for years. And in some cases those warnings have brought on retaliation. My suggestion to forest leadership would be to track down the dozens of good firefighters that have left the forest and actually listen to their concerns. There is a body of knowledge concerning the program that is going untapped.

Line officer concerns are valid. The lack of concern for the individual firefighter has led to some serious safety violations. The current climate would only be speculation, but I have seen nothing that would indicate that there was anything learned from the past... and not just Cramer Fire. There was a post last year by Heli5 that stated that things were in alignment years before those boys stepped on the line, and they continue to be alignment to this day. There are many who wholeheartedly agree.

Do we need another IC removed, no. We need to look at an issue that is systemic, an issue that involves management in the past and its influences on the present situation, or rather condition of the fire program. This needs to be elevated off the forest and taken care of at the Regional or National level.

Yesterday was the first anniversary of the Cramer Fire, do those of us who knew Jeff and Shane owe it to everyone to keep preaching the right, keep pushing until something is changed.

Goathunter
7/23 Vehicle rollover in Alaska with some crew injured. News Release follows
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
215 Melody LaneWenatchee, WA 98801
Public Affairs Office:(509) 664-9314; Fax (509) 664-9286
Visit our websites at www.fs.fed.us/r6/wenatchee & www.fs.fed.us/r6/okanogan

NEWS RELEASE

Date: July 23, 2004
Subject: Local Firefighters Injured in Alaska
Contact: Vladimir Steblina, 509/664-9319 or Robin DeMario, 509/664-9292

At approximately 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time yesterday, seven members of a 20-person Forest Service firefighting crew from the Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests were injured on the way to a fire assignment on the Boundary Fire near Fairbanks, Alaska, when their transport vehicle tipped over while turning around.

Four crew members were flown to nearby Fairbanks Memorial Hospital. Three others were taken to the hospital via ground transport. The remaining members of the crew were transported back to Fairbanks for rest and debriefing. Most injuries were minor, and none appeared to be life threatening. An emergency medical technician assigned to a hot shot fire crew working in the area was immediately available at the scene to assist in administering first aid.

The injured firefighters are Walter Escobar, Jose Quezada, Adriama Mendez and Rebecca Spies of the Entiat Ranger District and Omar Mendoza, Nestor Blanco, and Miguel Ruvalcaba of the Chelan Ranger District.

The crew, comprised of employees from the Chelan and Entiat Ranger Districts, was being taken cross-country in a military tracked-personnel-transport vehicle when the accident occurred, approximately 1.5 miles past the end of Fairbanks Road. The driver, a member of the Alaska National Guard, was not injured. The vehicle apparently became high-centered on a tree stump while backing up to turn around, and the rig rolled over on its side. Four of the crew members were riding in front with the driver and were not injured.

The accident is now under investigation by personnel from OSHA, the State of Alaska, and the Forest Service.
###
7/23 Goathunter,

If an "Organizational Climate" of unreasonable risk taking exists on the <Cramer Fire> Forest, the current investigation team should get to that. I heard that the Line Officer on the forest at the time of the Cramer had a mindset to never authorize helo pickup of individuals or crews, even once several years ago when there was a borderline medical necessity. <"They"> made them hike out, said no helos in the wilderness, even the seriously struggling (I think dehydrated, overheated) firefighter had to struggle to trek out, taking more than a day, I think. His crew was anxious for him. No fire experience or fire safety awareness on the LO's part, that I'm aware of. Now this kind of overhead attitude creates a climate of a certain type.

I'm not in that region now. I don't know whatswhat today, or last week on that forest, I don't even know if the line officer has been relieved of duty following Cramer, but I hope the investigating team looks into the overhead mindset of non-fire people that could be a hole in the swiss cheese. It may be a stretch to equate helo non-use to downhill line construction with safety zone above and out of touch with lookouts, but who knows...

I'm also not saying that anything was done wrong in this instance on Cabin Creek. When new firefighters come on following deaths, they're edgy. In the old days crew supts sometimes set up scenarios, sometimes on Rx burns where their crew was run out by fire, to give their people the chance to look the dragon in the mouth. Not much "live fire" experience gained on Rx today. Lots of edgy newbies. Few supts with that kind of mindset or experience.

Firestorm

7/23 Anxiously Waiting and Ab - RE CDF hiring:

I have not seen anything formally in writing regarding hiring for the type 1 crews that were supposed to go to Butte and some of the closed Youth Authority Camps. I have heard a rumor that the Department of Finance denied a request that these crews be funded out of the state’s emergency fund. This would mean that money would have to come from somewhere within the existing operating budget. There was also talk that CCC might staff the camps.

I don’t believe there are any line items in the budget to fund the camps, but it could be that someone is waiting to see how things shake out before they start a shell game to fund the crews. Again, this is just rumor and perhaps someone else has better information.

As for the regular Fire Fighter positions (on engines) it is business as usual with the addition of extra Fire Fighters in Southern Ca. These positions are filled, but school will start soon and there will probably be some fill in hiring done.

cdfbc
7/22 Icicle (fire near Leavenworth WA) update from one set of eyes (and tired legs). Good day yesterday, test fire at A/D break went well. WADNR FLE tied in A/B break. Over 17000’ of hose in DIVA.

C64

From another source: "Suppression resources were able to hold the fire within the existing perimeter despite higher temperatures and lower relative humidities." Well done. Ab.
7/22 CDFers

Does anyone know if the holdup on CDF hiring on summer firefighters is CA budget related? If so any ideas if new kids should hang on? Or does the state budget have nothing to do with hiring this far into fire season?

Ab.
7/22 Hey, how about some more discussion about the
happenings on the Salmon-Challis. Is this some kind
of cover up, should we fire this IC, or maybe we
should should actually look at crew dynamics and
training? Something's amiss overthere.....

Goathunter

Investigation is underway. Ab.
7/22 Hey Ab.

Just a note to put on They said--I believe that this
is how its done. We are a bit short on the Willamette
National Forest--McKenzie River Ranger District in
Oregon. We may have a few openings on our 20 person
crew. It would be for student hire only and the
person must already be red carded--we can pack test
and refresh if needed. Again it must be only students
because there would be no time to go through other
hiring sources now. We would start them at any time
and work them through September and possibly October
if funding provides. I am not sure how you do this
with contacts, but I can be reached at
bradoen@yahoo.com, bjoen@fs.fed.us, (541) 822 7248.

Thanks,

Brad
7/22 We're pleased to announce Eagle Gear is now advertising on our Classifieds Page.  Eagle Gear has been providing competitive pricing, excellent customer service and fast delivery since 1990 for wildland fire web gear, packs, and personal protective equipment.  They offer a free catalog, 30 day return policy and lifetime repair or replacement of all their manufactured products.  Their recent merger with Crew Gear will allow one-stop shopping for wildland fire, structure fire, EMS, police, hazmat, and SAR based products.

We appreciate our viewers giving our advertisers the opportunity to assist them with their emergency needs.  Don't forget to tell 'em Ab sent ya!
7/21 Here is a link address to Alaska for fire info.
www.dnr.state.ak.us/forestry/fire/current.php

NA

NA, thanks for the note here, we already have that link on the US Fires, 2004 page under Alaska. We have the BLM link also. Ab.
7/21 Info relating to teams and specific fires: A few days ago, I found a great website maintained by the Joint Information Center for the fires around Fairbanks. I believe it was posted through the Alaska Division of Forestry with daily updates. I can't find it now, but maybe someone using a different search engine will have more success.

Often incident management teams maintain webpages through their regions and will post updates there. This isn't very intuitive for the public, but that's the way it is.

Firefighting in Alaska. You asked for general information about what family members might be experiencing, here it is. For starters, fire camps in the lower-48 begin to seem like the Hilton compared to what's available in Alaska. If ground has been freshly cleared to provide sleeping areas, bugs will be out by the billions. Showers, hot meals etc. are big maybes. That said, I remember some ladies cooking their hearts out for three meals a day (plus fresh cookies every afternoon) at the tanker base in McGrath so you never know what you might find.

As far as firefighting: fuels, weather and everything else can be quite different from most fires in the west. People cannot trust what they're seeing with their eyes if they're interpreting it based on lower-48 experience. Black spruce can burn like crazy while its practically standing in water.

Still Out There as an AD
7/21 http://fire.ak.blm.gov/

In response for links to Alaska's fires. The Bureau of Land Management is running some pages for the individual fires and complexes.

Dan
7/21 Boundary Fire, Fairbanks AK

www.pnw3.com/boundary/index.phpl

: )

DD

Thanks, added it. Ab.

7/21 Oh boy, I know something to contribute.
Here's a list of the hot shot crews on the Alaska fires:
http://fire.ak.blm.gov/docs/misc/type1crewlist.asp

I look here for maps, second from bottom.
http://fire.ak.blm.gov/docs/maps/maps.asp

My brother showed me this site and theysaid and the family site before he left.

Billie

Good brother. Ab.
7/21 COG,

Here are some of the things the down-south crews have gone through since getting up to AK and heading out to fires:

-There are a lot of skeets. Even those who have visited the tropics and think they know something about mosquitoes have discovered there are a lot more in AK than they ever imagined.

-Their feet are wet and stinky. Within 5 minutes of putting on clean socks, guess what? Their feet are wet and stinky.

-It's raining.

-You can put fire out by whacking tundra with a spruce bough. Or a burlap sack.

-That military mosquito repellant in the AK jumpers firepacks? That stuff you've been wiping on your face? Yeah, it works great for starting campfires too. Save some though, you need it for the skeets.

-If you need to answer a call from nature, it's a really good idea to do so under the mosquito netting in the firepacks. I learned this one the hard way. Have I mentioned the skeets?

-That face netting works well for skeets. If only it did anything for no-see-ems.

-They probably want to keep a clean camps. The bears are bigger than skeets.

-It's really hard to walk on tussocks.

-They're probably making fridges for their food by cutting down to permafrost, placing food in a garbage sack, and then putting the tundra plug back in the hole. Instant fridge.

-They're hoping that no one forgets they're out there. Your only commo is usually with the planes that head out and fly to your fire to talk to you.

-If they're by a river, they wish they had fishing tackle.

I'm sure I left something out...

SR
7/21 AB Please post

A Company is looking into the feasibility of providing a Type 1 Helicopter with a 1000 Gallon Fixed Tank removable can be replaced with a 1000 bucket, Equipped with a Medivac Extraction winch with a Medical crew. Could also be crewed with a Rappel crew size undetermined at this time may also have FLE capability. Crew and Aircraft would operate in accordance to IHOG Standards as well as the various directives contained within the Federal Agencies.

Any thoughts of need for this service or additional capabilities are sought from the current fire communities as well as those who have served before you.

Also anybody had any experience with the product THERMO GEL? Thoughts on this product?

FUGLY
7/21 Abs

Maybe this is the fire that Salmon Sally is thinking about:
www.headwatersnews.org/pr.fireinvest.phpl

SITL

Yep, that's it. Ab.
7/21 Ab,

With so many "lower 48" Type I and Type 2 crews now in Alaska, can you provide links to those fires? Also, I'm learning how different fire is in that region! Anybody out there have general information to share with families so we know what the guys and gals are going through? Thank you.

COG

We would link to such individual sites if they existed. I looked a week ago and could find none. Teams usually get incident sites up and running. I think those fighting all the fires in remote areas of Alaska have their hands so full there's no time for web pages. Anybody find any, let us know. Ab.
7/21 Over the weekend there was a fire on a creek which is near Cramer Creek. There were about 20 or so firefighters trapped. Similar scenario to the Cramer Fire. They were above the fire and they had no communication with their spotter. They had to drop their packs and run. Luckily they all made it but were really scared. The powers that be don't want them to talk with anyone about it.

Idaho Salmon Sally

Anyone know more about this? Ab.
7/21 Yesterday (day before) the NDF buried one of their own, Captain Doug Paul (49), a 27 yr veteran of the dept. Doug died in his sleep after calling in sick for his shift on 7-14; his crew got the news during initial attack on the Waterfall Fire outside of Carson City. Several crewmembers left the fire to help with the family. Doug was a great father, a single dad, with 3 children still at home.

Doug was known throughout the Sierra Front for his involvement on an incident 20 yrs ago this summer known as the "Moundhouse Fire", also out of Carson City, at which Doug's type 3 brushtruck was bent into a horseshoe by what was later called an "extremely low retardant drop". Doug's engine was calling in the report of a firefighter running through the flames (that individual later became the fire's fatality) when the drop occurred, resulting in serious injuries to Doug and his firefighter. Doug lived in pain from his injuries for the next 20 yrs., with numerous operations and hospital stays to remove glass from his head and eyes. This incident has been used in wildland training classes internationally.

After getting through the Waterfall Fire, where news of Doug's death spread as quickly as the fire itself, and thinking of some timely anecdotes for possible use at his service, several things really jumped out. IA the first afternoon on the Waterfall incident was nothing shy of incredible, with outstanding efforts by Black Mtn, Logan, and Diamond Mtn Hotshots, the Slide Mtn crew from Incline (lost 2 members to injuries and came back to the line), and the Reno Fire Dept. strike team. These individuals pulled long and hard, and many homes were saved by their efforts. The whole organization went above and beyond... the fire became not only their job, but their emergency. The group effort was one we can all be proud of.

For Doug- go into that long night in peace, old friend, your pain has ended... your memory lives on in those that knew you, with stories to be told over beers and in chow lines for years to come. Yesterday you were carried by eight friends to your final resting place, but somehow I feel that you carried us all through one hellish afternoon in the hills above Carson City, where you lived. As we drove off the line, with eyes fluttering and heads bouncing off doorposts, I swear I heard your voice saying to all the bro's that have gone before, "those poor guys aren't even making overtime, yet."

An account has been set up to help care for Doug's children through Wells Fargo Bank (account #6732217630) with his sister, Teresa Dees, administering the account. NDF firefighters would like to thank both the IAFF and the wildland community for their assistance and support during this difficult time.

Be safe out there...
Willy

Our condolences, and good wishes for his children, his sister, other family and friends. Ab.
7/21 We have a weekly internet radio program, "Firehouse Gourmet" which airs on www.homelanddefenseradio.com.
Could you recommend a firefighter we could interview who could share a recipe? The interview would be by telephone and would take 5 minutes. We can be reached at (703) 894-1097

Marlis Majerus
News Director

Anyone interested, give 'em a call.
I could share Abercrombie's Southwestern White Chili. Oopsie, doesn't meet the criteria: they say it has to have been served in a firehouse. No firehouses in my neck'o' the burning woods. Ab.
7/21 I am posting this link in reference to the Safety Review thread.

Mission Oriented Command:
www.baltdefcol.pims.org/documents/bdcol_auftragstaktik.phpl

It is a bit 'out there' but it speaks to empowering fire managers to reach
the goal with out being encumbered with too many 'checklists'.

It bring with it the responsibility and accountability for IC's/managers to
keep the 'core values' paramount in the attack of fires.

But we should all do that any way.

BB
7/21 Until the CA state budget is passed & ratified, any contractor (vendor) working for a CA state agency will CANNOT be paid for services rendered since 7/1/04; exceptions are rare. If no budget next month, most CDF employees will not have a pay check, nor will the fins/feathers/fur, nor the parkies, etc.

@ 0100, a friend living in so-cal (Lancaster) said they could see Crown fire's glow close on their horizon. many communities with little or no mitigation for defensible space. luckily animal evacuation response volunteers are on scene.

phone ringing......... BE SAFE FOLKS where ever you are!

Northzone5
7/21 CDFers who have info on hiring...

Does anyone know the status of the Butte CDF handcrew hiring? Are they just
waiting for the State budget to pass? Is there a chance that crews won't get hired
because it is getting late in the season for training, or will it be a "go" no matter
when the budget passes? Thanks for any info!

Anxiously Waiting
7/21 Hey -- this is not a theysaid quote. A rollover
happened over a week ago w/ heavy equipment. No
response here........

If its not an engine, no one cares....
Interesting.

AXE

We didn't get a post from you. Sometimes our spam filter gets legitimate emails. Please resend the info. Ab.
7/20 New fire on the Angeles NF ... started about 1:30 this afternoon SE of Acton,,
called the Crown Fire. It's already at 3000 acres. Cable's team transitions in
tomorrow to oversee the Crown and the Foothill Fires,,, the Crown Complex.

www.fs.fed.us/r5/angeles/incident/foothill/index.phpl

Be safe all.

SoCal Sam

Thanks for the link. I added it to the 2004 fires links pages. Ab.

7/20 Thank you TC, for posting the Safety Review! I encourage all here, and all your friends in the Wildland Fire community to read this document. Study it, understand it and send your comments forward. There is resistance (nationally) to some of the recommendations within the report. Some of the higher ups are reluctant to loose the 'checklists'. I liken this to the difference between essay tests and multiple choice tests, essay tests are harder to grade. Managers may be reluctant to set the goals and let us ground pounders get them done without strict controls.

We can change the system! Stand and be heard!

BB
7/20 some of your readers might be interested in this...

2003 safety review resulting from the SoCal Firestorm (261K)

TC

Tahoe Terrie, I think this is the report you were asking about several days ago. Thanks TC. Interesting reading. Look at the picture, was that person reviewing a checklist? Note: This was a word document that I put in html for easier download. Ab.

7/20 "Old (and alive) 'Pounder",

Very well said.... 10/13/LCES ..... keeps us all out of problems and away from abatement items in the future. ABATEMENT ITEMS do not equal firefighter safety. Firefighter SAFETY rests on experience, training, and common sense. All are needed to keep our firefighters safe.

ABATEMENT ITEMS are only a way to cover the agencies' asses when someone makes a mistake or doesn't follow the 10 or LCES, or mitigate the 13's.

BB, thanks for your input here about the review panel. It's a great thing when a FBAN and fire manager are involved in the process for keeping firefighters safer. I hope in the future, if abatement items are addressed, they use the wildland fire professionals in the field to make them valid. This was a flaw in the 30 Mile Abatements..... Washington Office driven with no support from the field.

We all look forward to the report....and reviewing the recommendations on They Said........

Lobotomy
7/20 Jalama fire updates

www.sbcfire.com/JalamaFire/Jalama.php

Michael S. Williams
Training-Communications Officer
San Marcos Pass VFD

I put a link to that on the California Fires '04 page. (CA Fires '04 link also at the top of this page). Ab.

7/20 Wildland BC,

From the folks in the field, THANK YOU for everything you have been involved
with in the past and in the future. Your work with the fallen firefighters
families is to be commended and it is really admired.

It was very touching to see the Forest Service bagpiper last night on the
news during the memorial for a fallen brother firefighter. It makes me very
proud, and increasingly sad, to see our professional Honor Guard and
Chaplain at memorial services. Every lost firefighter is another lost dream.

Special thanks to the WFF for everything it does for the fallen firefighters
and their families.

Lobotomy
7/20 Ab,

CDF is accepting applications for the permanent positions of Firer Apparatus Engineer and Fire Fighter II. These are open to other agencies.. More info at http://www.fire.ca.gov/CDFCareers/openexams.asp

Final filing is July 29. Sorry I did not get this out sooner.

CDFBC
7/20 Reminder: If you are a California Vendor with an EERA or agency contract...

This is a reminder of a general meeting of the NWSA's (National Wildfire Suppression Association) California Chapter meeting on Wednesday, July 21 at the Holiday Inn in Redding, CA at 10:00 am. This will be the groups third general meeting. This is a major effort of California Private Wildland Fire Service Professionals (formerly known as "contractors) to form a organized group to address the needs, training and issues pertinent to our fire industry. We represent one man operations to large corporate held companies equally. Water Tenders, Helicopter, Shower, Foam providers, Infra-red, Engines, Crews, contract providers to the fire industry are welcome. The Board will present the goals and objectives of this newly formed California Chapter, present a survey for participants to fill out and develop the priorities of the Chapter and act as an information exchange. This is a "working meeting" in the morning with CA agency speakers slated for the late afternoon.

If you can't make the meeting, we have set up an e-mail (web site in construction) at nwsaCA@msn.com where information, meeting minutes etc. can be requested. Phone number for the Chapter is (530) 898-8153, Board Officers are Jim Wills, President; Gregg Smith, VP; Cindy Wood, Sec/Treasurer.

CW
7/20 Award with thanks:

On Friday, July 16, at Los Angeles County Fire Sta.117, a statue from the Wildland Firefighter Foundation was presented to the family on behalf of the wildland Firefighter community. The family and relatives along with firefighters, Captains & Chief Officers were very appreciative in the recognition of their loved one & fallen firefighter.

The Foundation does this for every fallen firefighter nationwide on a regular basis along with additional financial support to the family a short time later. The Foundation they would like to see their "52 Club" become part of your fire department/agency in such a way if they have to provide support to your department/agency, you can say YES we are part of the "Wildland Fire Foundation". It may seem like a lot to contribute, however, the results are overwhelming in the smiles you will see on the survivors' faces after they have lost a loved one.
Please don't wait until something happens and wonder where the support is going to come from, for the survivors you know need your help.

"It is better to give than to receive".

Wildland BC

Hear, hear. Ab.
7/20 Checklists:

After several years of working in fire, these lists should become ingrained in our heads. LCES is the best way to cover your bases on an operational level, but it is not meant to cover everything you need to think about. We could add all sorts of letters to LCES, like A for awareness, alertness, and whatever else people have proposed, W for weather, etc. but that misses the point Mr. Gleason was trying to make - Keep it simple, he said so himself. The more checklists we spend our time looking over, the less we see the big picture of the ever-changing fire environment. No checklist can ever replace solid training and experience. They are a great teaching and learning tool, but checklists alone do not make a good, safe firefighter.

Oliver makes some excellent points. I would take Oliver's #4 a step further and say that weather and fire behavior are in LCES, too! What are the lookouts looking for? What are we escaping and being safe from? A major proponent of teaching and learning about fire behavior and fire weather, Mr. Gleason would not leave them out.

Most, if not all, fatalities from burnovers are the result of a long chain of small miscues, errors in judgment, and poor decisions. We can all contribute a link, or choose to break one. Old 'Pounder refers to the best tool we have, our brains. Use it well, break the chain, and keep yourself and each other safe.

R2 localyokel
7/20 Waterfall Fire IA and contractors:

Hi Ab,

I've just read the posts from the last few days and peoples' comments about the Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch Center and thought I would add my two cents. Folks complain about the lack of California resourced not be utilized but its just not true. A Granite Bay, California based engine contractor is still working on the Incident with (9) nine contract engines. In fact, two of their engines (unimogs) are leased to them and operated by another firm from Portland, Oregon. These companies mis-represented to Sierra Front that they were in the Carson City area when the fire started when in fact they were in California and Oregon. Many local resources were never ordered or were demobed early and this California company is still on the incident. Sierra Front and Martin's Team are aware of this contractor's lying but have chosen to do nothing. Vendors like this are a black eye on the industry. If the Sierra Front Center and Martin's Team wants to maintain legitimacy they need to get rid of these pirate contractors as soon as the matter was brought to their attention, instead of rewarding them for their abhorrent behavior and this Contractor needs to be investigated for their greed and dis-barred in both Region 4 and 5. I have to wonder about the training and insurance certifications of firms like this. Perhaps the ROSS system of equipment location could be used to help identify where this Contractor's equipment was located before the Waterfall Incident started. Unfortunately, Sierra Front threw ordering protocol out the window when the fire was hitting the fan and started hiring tenders and other equipment early-on that had chased to the seen. Fortunately, most of this equipment was released early but some have been able to stay on the books at the Incident.

Hard Knocks

Just a reminder, Folks, that the posts you see here are only the posters' opinions.
Uh oh, Original Ab is taking breakfast orders and he's a very good cook, I must run see what he's cooking. Ab.

7/20 My buddy Eddie (who thinks alot about this as he goes to sleep each night) and I were going thru a conference call today when he started blending the 10 standards and the 18 on a piece of paper. It was an interesting trip since we all come from some different experiences. Frankly the 18 fall under the 10's easily as clarification, maybe in not all the same categories depending on your person experience, but they fit. They keep us out of trouble. Learn them and think about them. Be like Eddie.

Wheel
7/19 "Old (an alive) Pounder"

You damn skippy.

Older Leroy
7/19 BB - Point well made about checklists.

Folks - the 10 Standard Fire orders were written in blood. Before you
fight fire aggressively, factor in the first nine and you will stay out of
trouble.

The 13 Situations that Shout Watch Out - now the 18 Watch Out situations -
are exactly that - Watch Out - Look Out! They are the "caution" signs on
the highway, the speed bumps in school zones, the guard rails on canyon
roads, the deer crossing signs in grazing areas - the "no swimming signs"
near foul water pools.

L,C,E,S, is what you use to make it or break it when you decide to gamble
with the 18 Watch out situations.

It does not mean you can not do it - but if you decide to take on the Watch
Out Situations and you do not post look-outs, nor have clear
communications - up, down and sidewise, and if multiple escape route
options are not tested and realistic, and you are truly not sure attainable
multiple safety zones - then don't go into a watch out situation. And
don't break the 10 SFO. The key is having temperance, patience,
controlling emotion and adrenaline. Remember: "Your brain is your
primary firefighting tool. Don't succumb to the "heros welcome...." The
only tool handles you need are proven.

And BB, some of us really took it personally when the "you" was included in
the watch out situations; it was personal then as it should be now. Good
Post!

signed: "Old (and alive) 'Pounder"
7/19 Ab,

I have the info ROSES was looking for in regards to Lonnie Smith from
CDF. You can give that person this address or I can give you the info.
Right now I only have email addresses but I can get other info if
needed. He was my Capt. for a few years back in the 90's
TW

Thanks TW, we'll pass on your email.  Ab.

7/19 Hi all, checking in from the Icicle fire, don’t think it’s quite 1000 Acres yet, ROS on the 15th were phenomenal, WX last 2 days has been kind. Bennet’s team took over today. Been mostly an air show, 2 dozers working DIVB, punching out old logging roads. DIVA ready for hose lay. Lots of happy ‘Shot crews, next couple days will tell.

C64

7/19 Anyone seen the report made concerning the SOCAL FIRESTORM violation
of the strict protocol resulting from 30mile? I'm interested in the considerations
and alternatives they suggested. That should be out soon. How can we follow
all the checklists if we have another going and blowing situation like those fires?
Sounds like the Waterfall Fire is a bit like that. Wonder how often those FF
are in violation?

Tahoe Terrie

I have seen the report, and happen to know (don't ask) that the review team almost immediately understood that your question, "How can we follow all the checklists if we have another going and blowing situation like those fires?" is valid and that, in fact, the concept of 'checklists' is flawed and counter productive. After the report comes out I will be happy to comment further. Suffice it to say, they have a good understanding of how the 'rules' can hamstring firefighters on the ground. They also found that the 10 Standard Fire Orders were not violated!

To viejo: The original 10 Standards were well thought out, seperated into proper categories of 3, and, most importantly, arranged to reflect the fact that you need to take care of the first nine before you can Fight fire aggressively, having provided for safety first. When they were rearranged and reworded to fit a rap song, that was lost.

As to the 18 Watchouts, the original 13 covered every thing (along with the 10 Standards), and when reworded left out the word 'you', which is an important omission IMO. The review team spoke to that issue as well.

BB
7/18 hi ab, browsing through the equip. photos I came across the fire tank is
there any way I can find out what equip. it carries, do you know or is there
some way I can get in touch with Dale Sandberg. thanks for your time,

Ken Hilder. jellat rural fire service (Australia).

p.s. our service also prohibits smoking in Government vehicles but rules
can be bent a little as long as you don't get careless.

Can anyone help Ken out?  Ab.

7/18 My nephew is an engineer with a volunteer fire department on the west
(Calif.) side of Lake Tahoe. His station is in Tahoma. He was called out
the second day of the fire and as far as I know he is still there. There
didn't seem to be any problem on this fire or any others he has worked on
either side of the state line over the past several years.

I worked on both the Toiyabe and the Inyo before retiring. The Sierra Front
Center is in the Western Great Basin GACC and the Toiyabe NF is in Region 4.
When I left the Toiyabe there was a "anti-California" type of attitude in
most of R4 and we used to joke that there was a large black curtain at the
Regional boundary and that things didn't pass back and forth through the
curtain very often. This was definitely the case in recreation management
and in listening to dispatches for initial attack this season it seems as
though the cooperation between the Sierra Front and Inyo dispatch centers is
not as good as it would be if both of the centers were in the same Forest
Service region and GACC. It seems like on initial attack that engines and
patrols don't often cross the boundary very often. That is just an opinion
and may not reflect the actual situation especially since it is just an
impression made by listening between the lines of radio traffic. A dubious
source of information at best. I left the Toiyabe about 15 years ago and my
impression of the "anti-California" attitude has probably changed since
then.

I was on the Cannon fire in 2002 on the Toiyabe as a volunteer for the local
sheriff and it seemed like most of the engines were from both North and
South Ops, which would be the closest resources available, with some from
the BLM in Nevada and some from southern Idaho. It didn't seem to be a
problem then.

Just my observations.

FR (Retired R3, R4, and R5 Forest Service)
7/18 First of all, whoever made the comment that CA EERA's are not honored along
the Sierra Front is absolutely wrong. Secondly, it is obvious that some
folks haven't a clue on how the ordering process works. The Sierra Front
mobilizes resources based upon the "closest resource concept", period! The
resources along the Front are abundant, specifically the areas surrounding
Carson City/Carson Valley, and requests for additional resources will go to
CA once the local resources are at drawdown levels. It was very evident
that there was close coordination with mobilization points in CA and the
Sierra Front, as numerous CA contract resources and agency specific
resources participated in suppressing this fire. By the way, 18 pieces of
CA contract equipment were assigned to the fire. It is evident to me that
some folks are in it just for a buck and don't really care about the rapid,
effective mobilization of resources to protect life and property.

Signed, CM

Thanks for the clarification. There was a Reno dept who wrote in a few days back wondering why the hadn't gotten called. We all want to go. Ab.
7/18 Re the sheep creek rx burn

BC:

Forensic science can be applied to our world too. It is not just blood spatter patterns or the
age of maggots. We can use burn patterns on garments and the individual to accurately
determine what type of heat exposure occurred.
There is a possibility that because "he was in shock at the time" he was unable to come up
with a better story than ash pit. Think time frame for the creation of an ash pit. Perhaps fell
into a single burning safebrush would have been more believable.
Again, to avoid getting burned yourself, do not make eye contact.

Still name withheld by request

7/18 A recap of CDF Team Activations up to date. The CDF Teams have been very active and it is
not even August yet! (Acreage is approximate.)
	May 
	Team 8   Henson     Eagle Fire      RRU   8000 Acres
	Team 9   Kerrigan   Cerrito Fire    RRU 16,000 Acres
	Team 10  Winton     Cottonwood Fire RRU   1800 Acres
	June 
	Team 8   Henson     Gaviota Fire    SBC   7440 Acres
	July 
	Team 9   Kerrigan   Peterson Fire   FKU     73 Acres (oops)
	Team 9   Kerrigan   Melton Fire     RRU   3200 Acres (on going)
Team Member

Check out these stats for wildland acres burned. This year's fire season seemed to start off slowly even with the drought and bug kill across the West, but the rest of the season may be very HOT. Heads Up. Ab.
7/18 Ab, heres a few more for your terms and nicknames page,,,,

Cons in the conifers > Inmate crews
Pine pigs > Forest Service law enforcement
Yogi > Forest Service law enforcement
Tender slugs > Tender operators
Hooters > Little blue houses
Asbestos forest > R6 costal forests

Siskiyou

Thanks, I added them. Ab.
7/18 Thanks Ab for all your work~ This is the best Sit going!!!!!!!

What we have now is a classic case of discrimination ~~~ This comes from SIERRA FRONT !!!!!

They had a big meeting last week & a buddy of mine that works for CDF was there, this WHOO FROM SIERRA FRONT got up & told every one at this meeting that SIERRA FRONT will not hire or honor any ones contract from Calif ????????

They said that if you have CA plates on any of your equipment that they will not let you work on any of their fires !!!!!!!!

I know some very good tenders that are in the area, but on the CA side & they were not allowed to work the Waterfall Fire at all, this fire was mismanaged from the get go and I know, a buddy of mine was there to check on his engines before the big blow up,, well, he had to leave as he could not stand all the B.S. that was going on !!!!!!!!!!!!

We have worked for BLM in Nevada a lot, we are trained & have lots of good help & know what is going on~~ There are lots of good men & gals that could have been there if they had been hired !!!!!

For the most part I think this has been coming from <snip> in the SIERRA FRONT that has their panties in a bunch !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We are in the US OF A & WE ALL PAY OUR TAXES !!!!!! THIS KIND OF DISCRIMINATION WILL NOT BE TOLERATED !!!!! We all need to get this out so that the world knows what was wrong at this fire from the start !!!!!!!!!!!!

That's about all I can say for now & I hope that we can find out what or who started this !!!!

LEFT OUT !!!!!!

Replies? Ab.

7/18 Abs,

Hey, we appreciate all you do. This site must keep you plenty busy. Except for NIFC,
I can't think of another fire site I visit more regularly. Huge thanks!

Still out there as an AD

Huge yer welcomes. It does keep us busy, but the fire community and their families make this site what it is. For new folks out there, all you have to do is send in your email to the abercrombie@wildlandfire.com address and we'll post it. Please add theysaid or familysaid to the subject line to help us out. Ab.

7/18 Beigefoot, thanks for taking time to report in (especially about those boxer briefs....*L*)
joking aside, your post gave readers an idea of how serious IA was on the Waterfall. also
(personal aside) it's nice to see a FF post kudos to another (Diamond) crew member's
effort to save a life.

Sincere condolences to your Captain's family and extended family.

To all on any fire, work smart. give us updates when you can.
come home safe & sound!

R5PITA
7/18 Ab,

The Foothill Fire now has unified command with the LACo Fire Dept. (IMT 1, Tommy Massey)
& the USFS (Jim Hall). Some firefighters from the Pine Fire have been reassigned to the Foothill.
There are evacuations which are mandatory for some and voluntary for others in the Placerita and
Sand Canyon areas.

LACoFD Firefighter

7/17 Melton Fire photos. Someone just sent me these links
SoCal CDF

CDF Helo
Engine
Active burning
Engine
Army helo
Army helo
Ryan Air Attack Info Board
CDF Helo
Army helo
Dipsite
2 helos

7/17 Ab, Two new fires in SoCal. (on top of the Pine Fire -15,584 acres and the Verbinia Fire -3,833 acres)

The Foothill Fire (Newhall area, near the junction of I-5 and Hwy 14, LACoFD) started sometime early afternoon. It was 2100 acres at 730 PM. As I understand it, a Type I Team has been ordered, plus Type I crews and multiple strike teams of engines for structure protection.

The Melton Fire (the Sage area just south of Hemet, Riverside Co, CDF-RRU) started around 2:50 PM and was 2000 acres at 8 PM.1500-2000 people being evacuated. Spotting ahead of the fire 500'. CDF IMT#9 (Kerrigen) will transition in tomorrow. This fire also needs engines and handcrews.

Both fires have lots of interface structures. Both want aerial support.

Be Safe out there. We're facing drawdown.

SoCal CDF

Not much news on the internet yet
Newhall: www.nbc4.tv/news

7/17 Nice write-up by Hugh Carson on the AT issue:

www.idahostatesman.com

Tahoe Terrie

7/17 The Pine Fire has an informational incident website.

Pine Fire

Firescribe

Thanks, I put it on the current fires web pages. Ab.

7/17 Theresa,

I saw a dozer on a flatbed, but the terrain is extreme. We're near Leavenworth WA.

WA FF

7/17 Hey Ab,

Just spent the last three days fighting the Waterfall, today wasn't too bad, higher humidities and a lot less wind, but the first two were a textbook exercise in interface structure protection. The first close call cost local departments a heavy rescue, type 3 brush, ALS ambulance, dozer chase truck, news van, several minor burns, and about 3 dozen boxer brief of varying sizes...then after that, things got very interesting. But if you checked www.rgj.com or other assorted local news papers, you can get the final tally.

I have seen many brave and heroic things on this fire, but my crew has decided that Diamond Mountain IHC crew member Walter <no last names> can be on our crew any time. As Diamond Mountain was starting a burnout operation on the south side of Carson City, Walter saw a local homeless man sit up (after sleeping off his latest bottle) just as the crew was carrying fire up a road. Walter ran through the fire and literally picked him up onto his shoulder and RAN with him downhill to our ALS engine. Then he calmly went back to work. Walter, if you ever read this, my crew would like to buy you a cold one if you ever come back around here.

Well, at last count Waterfall has taken at least 9 homes, 1 commercial building and numerous outbuildings. But so far its been a relativity safe fire with no fatalities. This fire has been a very hard fire for my department because one of our Captains has passed away unexpectedly, leaving 5 children and a department grieving. With the Waterfall blowing up, it has been hard to keep our guys focused, but they are a professional bunch and have managed to keep our friend's passing in a place in their heart that is easy to bring up but far enough away to allow us to focus on the tasks at hand. Godspeed, Doug, We already miss you terribly.

Hold your loved ones and friends close, everyone.

Stay safe out there,

Beigefoot

I've read the rgj articles and I haven't found a tally of lost boxer briefs. None in the 209 either. <chuckle>
On the more serious side, thank you for telling the Walter story. While such incidents are "just part of the job", they should be celebrated. Our condolences for your loss of your Captain. Ab.
7/17 Can anyone tell me if there are any dozers on the icicle fire?
Wondering just how steep the terrain is.

Theresa
7/17 Icicle Fire

In 1994 only the entrance to the Icicle River drainage burned and the fire
then advanced into the wilderness. This years start in near the Johnny
Creek campground - closer to the Victoria Fire of 2001.

Will
7/17 I do recall that awhile back there was a request to see the model T that
Forest Service owns. Well actually it's the San Bernardino Forest that has
it. Here it is along with a request form to use it for your local event.

Model T photo
Model T Request Form

Sign me MAW

Do you know how it was used on the forest? Was it used in any aspect of firefighting? Ab.
7/16 Whatever the wording, I think the agencies would be better off to stop messing around and come up with one version of the 10 standard orders and 18 watchouts, and avoid adding alphabet soup for every other situation that can arise out there. I remember visiting one Forest Service district where the ranger had posted the 10 + 18 everywhere. I mean, if you sat on the can, there they were on the door in front of you. Keep 'em the same, and keep on repeating 'em. There's never been a fire near-miss, injury, or death, that hasn't involved ignoring these rules and guidelines.

Still out there as an AD
7/16 VIEJO

While weather is one of if not the main component of fire planning I don't think it needs to be acronym-ed (?)within LCES. I have listed seven thoughts to support my extremely biased feelings about LCES and why we shouldn't change them.

1. Morning briefings for IA crews and shift briefings for large fire management covers fire weather elements. It is a given ...at least to me and is instilled within my crews... that all incident action plans will be formulated based on the fire danger and expected and observed weather.

2. LCES...to me is a set of safety actions identified for each fire fighter and supported by the Incident Action plan. Weather should have already been considered prior to placing fire fighters on the line. Crews shouldn't be on the line if they can't...or... aren't provided the means to engage LCES fully.

3. Each fire fighter has to constantly validate LCES as the fire situation changes. The changes may be caused by the weather...fire behavior outside of forecasted or expected norms...a failed radio system... or the line work has progressed to an area without natural or constructed safety zones.

4. Weather and Fire behavior are within the 10 standard Orders and the 18 Watch Out Situations.

5. Lookouts ...by the very nature of the assignment are continually observing the weather and communicating changes in humidity, wind speed and direction and temperature.

6. Like everyone else I want fire fighters to be safe...safe from making a wrong decision or working with an IAP that fails to provide for their safety. The simplicity of LCES ...it's like a work of art...would you change Mona Lisa's smile?

7. LCES is measurable...we can hold each other accountable for it's use or lack there of. CLEWS? ... it doesn't work for me personally but I support any fire fighters right to include any words and actions that would help them work safely.

Oliver
7/16 Ab,
I was with El Cariso in 1964 and have the following contributions to the IMWTK questions. I enjoy your site and have more time to read it now as 2003 was my last year to pass the WCT with bad knees and scarred lungs. Forty years was probably enough anyway.

Orange fire shirts?

El Cariso had these in 1964 as well as the other hot shot crews that I remember.
We sewed on the old Forest Service logo with Cleveland National Forest over it. We wore any brand of green jeans.

How about the first fire shelter deployment?

El Cariso deployed in 1964 on the Cozy Dell fire on the San Bernardino at night during downhill fireline construction. Del Rosa Hot Shots were widening the line behind us but were able to make it back up the hill without deploying.

Fire shelters?

El Cariso had the conical shaped shelters with the flap peep hole in 1964. I don't believe that was the first year the crew had them. They were mandatory for us.

TF

Thanks, I'll update the page again. Ab.
7/16 icicle canyon in washington is on fire
-1000 acres, level 2 evacuations this is area where 1994 washington fires were
type 1 team ordered

also the pacific northwest went to level 3 preparedness today
according to the coordination center www.or.blm.gov/nwcc

doc brown
7/16 Today's firefighters are bombarded with safety messages and in many cases all of that information is overwhelming.

I applaud Paul Gleason's attempt at making the 10 standard orders and the 18 situations into an easily remembered format.

In that same vein, I offer the following modification of Paul's thoughts.

CLEWS:
Communications
Lookouts
Escape
Weather
Safety

I include the Weather (actual and predicted) because it should be the deciding factor when planning your actions.

viejo
7/16 The Waterfall fire in Carson City sure seemed to come out of nowhere -- heard from
friends in the area that a news crew actually had footage of firefighters "running for
their lives" and the reporter himself got burnt, his vehicle got burnt over. Sounds like
a near miss to me -- anyone have any info?

Everyone stay safe.

--Winslet

Three or 4 engines burned the first day and another article reported a seasoned fire reporter did get burned. One of the news articles even had pictures. Sounded like a near miss to me at the time. Ab.
7/16 Hey Ab,

The CBS affiliate in Reno is www.ktvn.com -- another good site is the nevada appeal: www.nevadaappeal.com -- newspaper in Carson City.

AS

I added them to the Waterfall fire info on the US Fires page. Some good photos available at the NV Appeal site. Thanks. Ab.
7/16 Re Waterfall Fire:

Thanks firefighters! Here's a map of how close this is!

www.rgj.com/news/files/2004/07/15/48573.jpg.php

A student at the community college

PS Our firebreaks helped: Wider firebreaks helped save WNCC campus
7/16 Thought the Waterfall Fire would lie down overnight, it continued actively burning,
torching to 100 feet and spotting. Causes you to rethink nightime firefighting. I
don't need to emphasize - crew supts be aware for your crews safety.

If fire hits the Tahoe Basin, or maybe "when" fire hits that bug kill and dry fuel, we're
going to have a real incident on our hands.

Strider

7/16 Go with Ruffian. They will build a pack to your specs and the cost is
pretty reasonable. More information is available on their website. Ruffian
specialties.

Joe
7/16 Look at alaska burning

fire.ak.blm.gov/fires/Statewide/Maps

AK FF
7/16 Anyone seen the report made concerning the SOCAL FIRESTORM violation
of the strict protocol resulting from 30mile? I'm interested in the considerations
and alternatives they suggested. That should be out soon. How can we follow
all the checklists if we have another going and blowing situation like those fires?
Sounds like the Waterfall Fire is a bit like that. Wonder how often those FF
are in violation?

Tahoe Terrie
7/16 HEADS UP! all things considered especially weather conditions, the Waterfall fire looks to be a large complex in the making.
R4firenut's update reminded me of something a (too soon retired) OES Fire "Chief" predicted 13+ years ago: if a spark or a fire blows over a hill into Tahoe Basin with all those dead and dying trees, kiss it good-bye.
Last summer enroute to Carson, I drove via Hwy50 across the CA border into NV. noticeable change in scenery: CA had cleaned up their roadside territory; not so for NV>dead trees, yrs of duff & downed trees and lots of new lumber/construction.

looking at the larger picture:
AK fires are @ 3M acres and growing. AKFSS, thanks for your update (hope the troops requested arrive before it becomes level 5 there or in the lower 48)
AZ fires are far from containment.
R5 southzone is burning (again/still).
smaller fires elsewhere.
eastern states are flooding (fire personnel are on scene).

There should be plenty of IA work for all now that available Fed resources become coin of the realm. if anyone is feeling left out of the action, you may be needed to keep your turf safer; fires next month or next season is anyone's educated guess.

R5PITA
7/15 Hello All.

Need some advice. About to buy my first new line gear in at least 10 years. I've been looking at everything available, including being shocked by the prices. Old bones require that comfort and ergonomics be my first criteria. After that features (detachability, able to fit new shelter, hydration sleeve, etc) would be good. I'm cheap and don't want to spend too much. Basically looking for the best pack I can find for the least money. What's good?

Sign me,
GG Fire
7/15 Be SAFE all, and especially Curley and Mo!

Harry (couldn't resist, seeing my name's Harry; thought all 3 Stooges should make a showing on TheySaid.)

<Haw Haw>

7/15 Heard it was Martin's Type I IMT.

Mo

7/15 Anyone know which team's coming in on the Waterfall?

Curley
7/15 Ab,

Just thought i'd write in to update everyone on the Waterfall Fire as since we are having a lightning bust in Central, so my engine has not been sent yet. As of 5:30 pm, 12 more homes have burned in the Timberline area of Carson City, uping the total homes lost to 21 now. Several more outbuildings and 2 commercial buildings have also been lost. Fire is presently about 11,000 acres and they are getting erratic winds again. The head has now moved North and into Washoe Valley and now threatening over 700 homes. It has crested the first Ridge and is making runs towards the Tahoe Basin. Firefighters are preparing to make a stand in the Franktown Rd area of Washoe Valley, multi million dollar homes surrounded by thick, large timber. A type 1 management team is set to take over the fire at 1800 tonight and i'm sure there will be more resource orders coming out. This fire with its current behavior, has the possibility of making a run along the Sierras clear in to Reno, over 30 miles away. It's already about a third of the way there. Forecasts are not looking good either, RH's running in the single digits today and temps in the mid to upper 90's. This is suppost to hold through the weekend with the winds letting up slightly, but the fire has reached a very heavy timber area with limited access that hasn't been on fire for 20 years. I'll keep you updated as I get more info, until then be safe out there and keep your heads up.

R4firenut
7/15 HI Ab and All!!

Has anybody had any recent contact with Lonnie Smith? He used to be a CDF Air Attack and Dispatcher....
Haven't heard from him in a while and was hoping somebody out there might have a way for me and the hubby
to give him a holler and say Hi....

Hope he's ok... He retired, but had gone into private contract work I had heard, but we lost contact with him.....

Thanks,
ROSES
7/15 Dear Ab,

Do you or anyone else have any information regarding the status of the firefighter that was
hit by a snag on the Pot Peak fire? We sure hope that he will be o.k. and our prayers go
out to him.

- PR Fire

I just called the ICP. The firefighter is fine. He was released from the hospital this morning. Although it was an ugly accident (the tree whipped), he came through it fine. Wanted to get back out but they won't let him do that. Anyway, good news on his condition. Ab.
7/15 David Devorkin,

Please email me. International Association of Fire Chiefs is interested in using one of your Deer Point Blowup photos for a brochure.

Ab.

7/15 From Firescribe:

Pine Fire, north of Los Angles www.dailynews.com
Unified command with Hokanson's and Gelobter's teams

Mt Shasta's interagency drill www.mtshastanews.com
Head of R5 Fire, Ray Quintanar was there talking about fire risk and drought.
7/15 BC-

I would first like to say "Thanks" for your input and information. I did not state in prior posts, as I should have, that my information, while second-hand, was from trusted sources who were on the burn. The HS Supe's SafeNet, I felt was as first-hand as you could get, outside of information from the AFMO himself. You were correct in stating that one should not jump to conclusions without all of the information. I did jump to conclusions in some cases, but I also attempted to read between the lines. Based on your first-hand information of the District, some of my inferences were close. I say this not to toot my own horn, but rather to reaffirm my concern about people not being 100% forthcoming, which I agree, should be a priority. Being hush-hush about the incident, rather than being upfront causes many more problems down the road. As you stated, those individuals involved will have to deal with the consequences at some point.

BC, regarding your statement regarding the AFMO should be making a good example of himself at all times, I personally believe that the BEST way to be a good example is to be safe, work hard, to play hard, and to be ethical and responsible, which means admitting your mistakes and helping others learn from them. Being, as you put it, "as quiet as possible without actually lying" does not help anyone involved, especially the younger firefighters who are looking to their superiors as examples.

I do have a question for anyone who would like to chime in: How would you handle being assigned to a fire with this AFMO as the IC now?

A dilemma that his subordinates, superiors, and anyone else assigned needs to seriously consider.

R2 localyokel
7/15 Found this on the web. Thought it worth sharing for what it's worth.

Mrs. Durham, wife of one of the pioneer rangers on what was then known as
the California National Forest, and her friend, Ms. Kloppenburg, were the
first women firefighters in 1915. The California National Forest is now
known as the Mendocino National Forest.

TC

I added that to the IMWTK (Inquiring Minds Want to Know WILDFIRE HISTORY) page.
Hey, Original Ab, ask yer old ranger dad if he knew any women firefighters.
Ab.
7/15 Ab,
Don't know if this is anyone's affiliate, but it has a story: www.thekcrachannel.com

Sage

Thanks, Ab.

7/15 Any update on the Carson City NV fire?

Milo

Check the FireNews page. I just added a 'current events' category. There's a Type I team taking over at 4 this afternoon and hopefully there will be an incident site established. Much less expensive and time consuming to let people "pull" information from a website than to fax or say it over and over on the phone from firecamp...

Here are some local (Reno) network news affiliate tv stations that are covering it. (If there is an online Reno CBS news affiliate you know of, please let us know.)

NBC www.krnv.com (follow the fire article link to see photos of burned engine)
ABC www.kolotv.com

Some good photos here, too. www.rgj.com

Ab.

7/15 Good morning, all! It's that time of year again. The Apprenticeship
Academy
is hiring crew bosses, assistant crew bosses, instructors and staff
to help present six Basic Academies and two Advanced Academies for
winter/spring of 2005. Last season we had 250 applications for 82 slots
with the crew bosses, and we need more instructional cadres this year for
the huge influx of apprentices we anticipate. No culls, sluggards, or
power-trippers wanted! We pride ourselves on the quality of staff we hire
each Academy season, and this year promises to be one of the best ever.
You can learn more or apply via www.wfap.net/recruitment.phpl.

Thanks.
Scott Whitmire
7/15 I understand that most of the contractors who are reading and posting on theysaid are the sort whom everyone would like to see more of. Hard working, well maintained equipment, well trained and professional. So they understandably get upset when those of us in the state/fed arena start "bashing" contractors. What must be understood is the fact that no one from outside contracting woke up one day and said "I'm gonna hate contractors, starting right now". What we see, and want to change (but don't know how) are the examples which have been mentioned, and many more. Drinking, drugs, lack of professionalism, use of illegal immigrants, forged training records, etc.... Are there good contractors out there? YES. I've worked with some excellent contract engines and equipment operators. What we need to figure out is a way to weed out the bad ones. I know there's not alot most of us can do, but there is one s olid approach for any IC's, STL, DIVS out there. Give HONEST ratings at the end of the shift/fire/assignment. If you worked with a professional contractor with good equipment, say so. Likewise if performance, equipment, supervision were unsatisfactory, mark it as such. This should go without saying, but there are far too many of us who don't want to make waves, so we give them a satisfactory rating, then bitch about how horrible this contractor was. And not just contractors. ANY resource that did not perform their job in a satisfactory manner should receive a rating that reflects such.
*steps down of soapbox*
Sorry for the rant, just had to speak my mind.

R1861
7/15 Hey there fellow brothers and sisters heads up when driving! Please, Please becareful just got word that the LACoFD Capt. that died may have fallen asleep while driving too or from the incident which I don't know. But please becareful particularly the operators, we have all done it before-been on a fire all day and night then get relief return to QTR's then head home not getting any sleep-so please becareful can't stress it enough - its not worth being killed for a few hrs sleep in your own bed. Just sleep at the station for a few hrs then drive.

Thanks
SoCalFF
7/15 No end in sight for Alaska

Boy, you can sure tell it's slow down in the lower 48-
a lot of complaining and kicking dead horses going on
in "TheySaid"...

Alaska is still rocking and rolling. We just made the
unprecedented move and ordered up 10 Type 2 crews from
the lower 48. The 73 Alaskan village Type 2 crews we
have up here weren't enough. I believe we also have
15 or 16 hotshot and Type I regional crews working in
AK.

Also, for those of you who are interested, the
CL-215s are working out great...we've even been using
the SEATs quite a bit (who needs the tankers).

With a little under 3,000,000 acres burning it's going
to take a lot of rain to end this season. Hang in
there down south, it will only pick up, and then we'll
all be in Preparedness Level 5.

AKFSS

Be safe, All.
7/15 Does anyone have any information on the Type 1 Incident Management Team
mentoring program in R-5? I've heard it exists but haven't seen any information
on how it works and who gets to participate.

Thanks in advance,

Rogue Rivers
7/15 Raging wildfire on the Sierra Front, Carson City NV

Ab,
It's finally started here. We have the Waterfall Fire that started around 3 am on 7/14. Extreme fire behavior with long range spotting. There were crews that were overrun by the fire at 1 pm on the 14th. Several injuries including second degree burns, a broken leg and injured neck. 4 brush engines were damaged, a city heavy rescue was a total loss and a news van. 5 homes destroyed so far and 400 threatened. Mandatory evacs for most of the Northwest side of Carson City. With the high temps, low rh and winds forecast for tomorrow (today), they fear that the fire is going to make a run into the Tahoe Basin. The fire is human caused and with the weather and record ERC's on the front, they had to pull crews off the fire because of safety issues. I'll keep you updated as much as possible unless i get sent to the fire. Heads up everyone, the season is just getting rolling and the behavior on this fire is the worst seen around here ever. Be safe and say a prayer for those injured and the ones continuing to battle the Waterfall fire.

R4firenut

Thanks for the update. A friend called with info on the injuries and extreme conditions, but it is much better to get a post that can be shared with all. Ab.
7/15 Re "I don't know a firefighter who is "jaded" when it comes to Storm King." :
Having given it much thought, the Ab addendum remains unfathomable since it implies readers would misconstrue my post (7/10) to indicate some who remember Storm King are jaded about that tragedy! maybe a more appropriate comment would have been to suggest readers who may question "fund raisers" take a look at testimonials available for viewing on wildlandfire Foundation links.

Lives lost fighting fire, any fire including Storm King/Mann Gulch/more recent, are tragic. Their individual names are many; yet collectively and individually all whose lives were lost will forever remain in the hearts and minds of family members, friends, co-workers, & a multitude of others outside the WFF community.

offended!

R5PITA
7/15 sheep creek rx burn

There has been some discussion of the AFMO and the facts surrounding his injuries on the sheep creek rx burn. I used to work for that district and know many parties who were on the burn and heard their accounts of what happened. Of course none of them are first hand accounts, as no one was standing right next to him when it happened.

The AFMO was standing between strips one and two watching fire effects, when fire behavior quickly picked up due to a gust of wind. I saw video of this fire behavior which was shot by someone between strips two and three. Judging from what I saw, where the AFMO was standing was a borderline judgment call on his part. I won’t say he shouldn’t have been there, but I have a feeling his situational awareness was not at its best. I think he was paying to much attention to what was in front of him, and not what was behind him. When he realized his predicament, he decided to get out of there, presumably very quickly in a running fashion, tripped on a rock and fell into an ash pit. This was the initial story given by the AFMO to people who were with him directly after it happened. Though, from what I understand he was in shock at the time, I am inclined to believe this is what really happened because he did not have the state of mind to be changing the facts or hiding anything. He did not realize the severity of his injuries or the situation and the repercussions it would have.

From what I understand, the whole event was not treated with the concern and seriousness it deserved from day one. It was blown off as a minor incident. The management mentality of that district is do what is best for PR, not what is best for the land, the district and the people who work to protect it. This mentality starts with the district ranger and radiates down among the ranks in all areas of the district. This is not to say that there aren’t some good people with good intentions in the mix, but the people who make the big decisions don’t like to make waves.

I wouldn’t say there is some kind of full blown cover up going on. I think the fact that something went wrong is clear. The AFMO should have been wearing gloves and he should have known when it was time to get out of there. These facts, among others, cannot be denied. I think he and everyone else around him knows that mistakes were made, but they are not so forthcoming to admit them, because he is, after all, an AFMO and he should be making a good example of himself at all times. I think they are all too embarrassed to own up to what happened for fear of both the AFMO and the district looking bad, and I guarantee they are all being as quiet as possible without actually lying about the whole situation.

I also know the IHC sup who posted the safenet, he is good firefighter and we should all be so lucky to have gained the wisdom he has gained from experience and he was valid and justified in every thing he said in that report. Some people in the district would agree, and some wouldn’t, there is a lot of animosity going on there. The issues stemming from this incident are problems that are in dire need of attention. The lack of communication, the questionability of quals, the “inner circles” of management. They have been problems for many years now and have had the potential to pose safety issues, but every one has managed the escape unharmed. So now what was once general employee grievances have become a big problem and they need to be addressed, and seeing as management is the problem, someone had to go over their heads and maybe safenet was the best way to do that.

I haven’t been around for the last few months and I don’t know exactly what is going on these days, but this is what I do know. Some of it is opinion, and some speculation, but it is all based on ten years of experience with that district, not all of it my own and not just within the fire aspect of it. Just remember, unless you know all of the facts firsthand, then you probably don’t know the whole story, so don’t be so quick to jump to conclusions and pass judgment on a situation.

BC
7/14 New fires in Southwest Oregon today 4-5 starts in the Medford valley heard
30-40 acres ODF ordered retardant. ITS JUST BEGUN!!!

JS
7/14 Ab, why isn't there a one-stop shop that lets Southern CA residents on the interface know what's going on with fires that are burning? It would be so much easier and logical to have something like your CA Fires, 2004 that includes all fires bigger than 300 acres and list closures, watchouts, shows maps, employs GIS fire boundaries and predictions based on flying the fire, etc. News media coverage is spotty and lacking. Cant all the agencies get it together and go hi-tech, satellite, web, etc?

Sam

The day is coming. It will probably be a private site like esri combined with or linked to by residents' associations like the Santa Barbara Wildland Residents Assn. Last season's failure of the web during the SoCal firestorm was a wakeup call. At one point the Sierra residents' assn site that had provided timely info in the San Bernardino-Sierra area went offline for fire info probably because of fines incurred from going over bandwidth, the OES site was down, R5 News and Notes wasn't being updated, and the CA teams didn't have current incident websites because they were so busy fighting fire. Wildlandfire.com called and got updated info at least twice a day and kept the CA Fires, 2003 page updated, but there was an amazing lack of web info for a public wanting to know if they should flee for their lives.

The web is changing. There are many more sites for particular incidents than in 2001 when I did the first CA and OR firelinks page. I understand that in the near future the GACCS will be moving to a format similar to the Southwest GACC site, which has been cutting edge on providing info for wildland firefighters and the public alike. Ab.

7/14 Okay, I’ve been keeping my head down, but I’d like to say something to address the contractor furor, Firejock’s little troll fit, and both Casey Judd’s and Firemom’s excellent posts:

Can we get a big round of applause for everybody out there, in government, on the line, or wherever else they may serve, who have stepped up to the plate to make firefighting what it is today? Lives and property are saved, firefighters earn a living wage and work in comparatively safe conditions. Let’s keep eyes on the prize, ladies and gentlemen; protecting our communities, keeping ourselves and our companions on the line as safe as possible, and fair pay for hard work.

Nerd on the Fireline (with John Phillip Souza playing in the background)
7/14 MH.. I think there are several reasons the agencies have migrated to using crew and engine contracts. The number one reason was to lower Workers Compensation Insurance to the Agencies. Workers Comp rates are tied to accidents (duh). By using contracts the Workers Comp. $$ burden was placed on the contractor as the employer.

The second reason, in my opinion, was the shift in land management activities, specifically the lack of timber harvests. Without the revenue we saw the loss of BD crews and FSR crews. The agencies were employing less fire related positions and more specialist positions as they tried to answer questions about cause and effect of timber harvesting. Many of these specialist have contributed to fire fighting efforts. A number haven't. The result was less people for fire fighting. Contracts were seen as a method to increase the fire fighting workforce.

I personally feel that these two shifts changed the business climate of fire fighting. Balanced budgets came at the expense of fire programs. The programs themselves saw less support by business managers. Very few managers took the time and effort to make investments in the fire fighting culture.

The good news is that I think we are slowly rebuilding a new (?) culture for wild land fire fighting. A culture where the past is considered as we make decisions for the future. And where, in spite of the occasional set backs handed to us by the bureaucrats, the fire fighting community continues to grow stronger and focused on the needs.

Discussions like these on "They Said" ... strengthen this culture. Contractors...Fire Departments...State and Federal agencies might have different missions but the people who work for them have the same objectives. We all want to give a good accounting for our actions and at the end of the day we want to feel like we have contributed to the successful completion of the mission.

Webster defines culture as: the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon man's capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations.

Be a transmitter...pass along your knowledge.

KJC
7/14 Oh great, now we're going to have the San Diego Sheriff's Dept flying
firefighting helicopters. Stay out of their way! And watch out especially
at twilight! Talk about a dysfunctional Board of Supervisors. Bound to
be more deaths when the next fires hit given their band-aid approach
to dealing with fire threat.

www.signonsandiego.com

So Cal CDF
7/14 I agree with Casey Judd's 7/14 general thoughts response to "firejock's"
7/9 post on the politics of fire. I've had my say on that already (7/12)?
I'd just like to add that I've been appalled by the politics of firefighter
pay, where some folks get no overtime (ADs), others get paid 24 hours a
day, feds get paid differently, and even within the fed system, a GS11
firefighter gets paid marked more than a GS5 crewboss. I have no idea
where the sense in all that is. It takes a politician to explain it. Which
makes politics important and less dull every day!

Sedgehead (a.k.a. pH)
7/14 Need Indiana Fire Fighters!!

I have been researching the net for fires that have been in Corn Fields. I have found a few items. There have to be more out there than I am finding. You always hear about wheat and grass. I been all over wild land fire sites. I have found a few. I am a looking for more for a training class that I am trying to put together for our department. Is there any help out there? I have ordered the firewise material they offer. Still, to see it, just not a whole lot out there. I have found some of the health hazards listed in non related sites. Can there be any help out there other than what I am finding, Thanks...

Sincerely Searching for Answers!!!
7/14 Hey, here is a picture from 30,000 feet today (yesterday) of the fire in
Yosemite
. I think the fire is near the Little Yosemite Valley. You
can see El Capitan in the upper left. Enjoy!

MM

Thanks MM. Nice to have a visual. This is the Meadow Fire, being managed for resource benefit. It went from 40 acres yesterday to 800. From what I've been told, they're beginning confinement operations, using natural barriers and recent burned areas to limit fire growth to the N and E to try to mitigate the smoke, which is always a consideration in wildland fire use for resource benefit. Ab.
7/14 Thinking OtB,

Those buggies are built on a semi chassis, true? Maybe those who were planning / making rules in R5 didn't think about projectile issues. What's the old physics law, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction? A head-on accident creates an action equal to the sum of the two speeds, I think. From the picture, that crash was a glancing head-on with main impact behind the driver, but lots of force there. Glad you're thinking out of the box and raising the issue.

Tahoe Terrie

There are Committees in R5 that address Engines and Safety. They report to the BOD. It would be good to bring the issue up with those reps too. Ab.
7/14 Again I am discouraged to see the negative attitude and the divide that is created between agency vs contractor when it fact it take a "Village" to put out a fire and we are all part of that.

I am also saddened to see the lack of knowledge about contracting by the agency people. Do you know that the contract community is held to a much higher standard. We are not exempt from US DOT regulations, crews are regulated in addition by the Migrant Seasonal Worker Protection Act, The Service Contract Act, FARS, OSHA and many others. In addition we train in most geographical areas to a high standard than the 310-1.

Also within some of our ranks are over 842 years of agency experience mixed in with some contractors whom have been in this business since the mid 70's.

No contractor would relish the idea of visiting the family of an employee to bear bad news regarding an injury or a death.

We also have to daily worry about liability insurance, worker's compensation (a very complicated matter when traveling state to state), and these are issues the federal employees do not have to deal with as a business owner.

I personally owned a wildland firefighting company for over 12 years, and I believe that in terms of professionalism, training and quality of employees we could have stood head to head with an agency crew but our experience on the line with the agencies was not a pleasant one, we were treated as substandard personnel and I personally found it disgusting that our employees were treated that way while trying very hard to do the best job possible with very little reward and the only pride the were greeted with was the pride they had in knowing they had done a good job, not because any overhead said they appreciated their help.

The private sector truly wants to be known as a cooperator and wants to provide professional quality personnel to the agencies. Unfortunately due to some of the agreements out there and the lack of accountability by the agencies, alot of substandard equipment and personnel is allowed on the fires and we cannot control that without the agencies help in monitoring and enforcing their own contracts and/or agreements, and most of us would gladly welcome that.

Let's have a little understanding and compassion for each of our roles and try to learn how to work together like big boys and girls.

Firemom
7/14 Abs,
I have found the postings on fire contractors interesting, provocative, infuriating and even profound. One would think we are talking about religion or politics in a bar given the passion of some writers. I'm going to jump in off the high dive. As one who has worked for the Forest Service, dispatches as overhead through a GACC and also has an EERA engine in another region, I feel compelled to make a few observations.

First, given the realities of federal budgets, fire contractors are here to stay. Realists in the agencies know that the chances of Capitol Hill funding armies of Green and Yellow fire trucks and permanently staffing them is pretty slim. Among other things, contractors are highly flexible. And compared with municipal/county engines, strike teams and overhead (who work under collective bargaining agreements created to address their municipal tasks) contractors are a bargain. Last fall in California, my engines' contract rate was roughly the same for six days of service to one day for a Type One municipal engine requiring portal to portal, overtime, backfill, lodging, etc. And who was it who recently wrote that contractors are gouging?

But I digress.

Among other uses, federal project fires are increasingly staffed by contract engines. But there is a love/hate attitude on the part of federal agencies that taints this relationship. There seems to be a reluctance on the part of the feds to create a system of support and accountability--with teeth--to manage contract crews and engines.

Additionally, contractors who run with good equipment, sterling credentials and hard working, experienced staff get thrown into the same dispatch pile with those running sub-par, ill-equipped engines run by unqualified personnel being paid some phony day rate as uninsured 1099 subcontractors. And that's just the engines. I could write another posting on contract crews. Am I pissed? Damn right! The government created this industry, but it seems we're leprous orphans. Who in the agencies wants to stake their reputations and retirements on the thankless job of fixing engine and crew contracting and turning it into the solid resource it could be. Since there doesn't seem to be many takers for the task, it seems anybody with a flatbed truck, trash pump, Poly tank and a couple lengths of hose and a filched FSS nozzle can call himself a contract firefighter. Everybody gripes about it, but it seems little more than Band-aids are ever applied.

In addition to shockingly sub-par equipment, I have I seen crews lacking the most rudimentary training and experience staff contract engines and the contractor get caught dead in the sights of dispatch and the contract officer over it. The contractor gets a pass, perhaps because no one has the "legal" goods on them or the GS fears a lawsuit if the EERA is pulled, or the contractor is "connected" and knows how the play the system. So the contractor gets passed from year to year, fire to fire because no one can or will say "Whoa, Pardner!" Companies who treat their government fire contracts as a public trust watch as buzzing hoards of wannabees swarm the West searching for the next fire to jump. We have run engines for nearly a decade and are often the last to be demob from our assignments. But we sat last year watching these clowns race past our parked top-of-the-line wildland engines as we waited for the system to produce dispatches that never came.

I could go on, but the government will get exactly what it allows and supports. If it wants a vibrant, safe, viable fire contracting community, benign neglect will not create it. Some of us have invested years and countless thousands of dollars of our own money to offer the professional fire services we do. So it comes down to this: either support the contract fire industry or tell it to fold up its tent and go home.

S.R. Sparky

Thanks for your input, Sparky. Ab.
7/14 Dear Mr. Firejock (post of 7-9):

AB and others who read this know I very seldom address those that sit behind their computer screens after a fire or two in their career and display such awesome bravado !! Seldom do I ever offer an opinion after a 24 year career and after having the pleasure of knowing, and now working for, so many who post here, with their YEARS of dedicated service.

But, lucky you, you are one of those rare exceptions. And yes, when you mature, you'll recognize the "seldom" thing is a JOKE.

One day, if you are able to bottle and harness the machismo, and somehow make it through 30 years of firefighting without being taken out by one of our own because of your attitude, you will discover that you get to retire.

When...and if, you retire, you may want to pay attention to all that "political BS" that has brought you the ability to retire under the special retirement provisions for federal firefighters, despite being a "Forestry Technician" (which I'm sure you refer to yourself as every time you try to impress someone). AB, you don't sense any sarcasm here do you??

I suppose in your educated mind, you just assume that you are entitled to such provisions, and such a benefit has been placed there just for you with no effort whatsoever.

Well, welcome to Politics 101. If you are a federal employee (God help us) politics runs your life whether you want to acknowledge it or not. Quite frankly, I am thrilled to death that you enjoy being taken off of the clock by your employer (yea, the would be that government you don't like) on any given 24 hr tour while your "cooperator" friends on the same fire line (obviously real firefighters) are paid for a full 24 hours by your own boss ! That way I don't have to waste my time on Capitol Hill trying to bring you portal to portal pay and the inclusion of your hazardous duty pay in retirement calculations.

If the manner in which you get paid and classified makes sense to you, then I've got some ocean front property in the Mohave for ya!

Many folks who post here and on other sites have differences of opinions on a variety of issues. Perhaps the most "debatable" is the use and cost of contractors and cooperators versus all federal crews. However, within any firefighter community, there is expected to be some semblance of decorum and respect for all those that risk their lives in this business. You have failed to demonstrate the ability to be respectful. As one who left the fire service as an Assistant Chief, like so many other chief officers, I know what it takes, both mentally and physically to get the best out of my crew.

If I were your supervisor and were aware of your posting, I would be greatly concerned for the well-being of the others on my crew. I could care less if you love it so much you could pull out 100' trees from the ground with one hand tied behind your back. In your posting, you simply fail to display ANY of the attributes necessary to be a long-time, "team-oriented" wildland firefighter.

That being said, I would be very careful as to whom you tell that you are the "firejock" on They Said. Ya never know whose going to be commanding a fire and you'll never know if they've read your post.

Come back and visit when you become a real firefighter, not a prima donna. There are too many people on this site and in the wildland fire service who have worked tirelessly, and continue to do so, to bring you the benefits you take for granted. And the next time you go on a fire, leave the only tools you apparently have at home...your mouth and immaturity.

Casey Judd
Business Manager
Federal Wildland Fire Service Association
7/13 Firewars just started on PBS, Pacific time. Ab.
7/13 An afterthought from my last night's posting,

I was in a defensive class a little while back, and
the instructor was totally surprised to find out that
brand new 2003 buggies and 2003 engines on our
district did not have driver-side or passenger side
air bags. He said it was some kind of law, I'm not
sure but probably a good idea.

Thinking outside the box
7/13 Ab, Just got word there was a Line-Of-Duty Death from Los Angeles County Fire Department. I give the family and the department my condolences. - Brian

This was released from LACOFD

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

"It is with deep regret that I announce the line-of-duty death of Fire Captain
Daniel Elkins of Fire Station 117, in Lancaster. Capt. Elkins, who was 47
years old, was enroute to the Antelope Valley from the Pine Incident brush fire
in the Lake Hughes area, when he was involved in a single vehicle accident. He
was transported to Antelope Valley Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

Capt. Elkins, who lived in the Quartz Hill area of Los Angeles County, was a 20-
year veteran of LACoFD. Appointed to the Department in October 1983, he is
survived by his wife, and two adult children."

7/13 Hey, Just heard about a fatality in SoCal. Looking for any available information. Keep your heads up and be safe out there.. Thanks.

Please sign me as: Cawoodsman
7/13 Ab I have never written in before, I'm retired LACOFD with extensive wildland and crew time.
LA County Fire Captain was killed in a traffic accident after being on Pine fire since first call. Suspected he fell asleep..

JPH
LACOFD 1963 to 2001

Welcome to theysaid, JPH. Sorry to hear we lost a fellow firefighter. Ab.
7/13 Some live webcam photos of fire plumes from Mt. Woodson and Mt. Laguna Observatory in socal.

SoCal CDF
7/13 Anyone know where the socal strike teams from MVU and CNF are headed?

SoCal FF

South Ops News and Notes has some info.
Aside from that, take your pick:
The Peterson Fire, Shaver Lake area, Fresno Co (CDF, FKU) was 150 acres at 0600 I heard it was torching, crowning and spotting up to 1/2 mile ahead. Rough terrain, inaccessible, hot, low RHs.
LA County has the Pine Fire (more than 3,000 acres and about 25% contained).
The Verbenia Fire, Riverside, Snow Creek area (CDF, RRU) was more than 5,000 acres and 25% contained at 0600.
The Gatos Fire (W of Coalinga, CDF, FKU ) is holding so far at 800 acres, 80% contained.
Thanks to the local CDF station for the intel.

For other fires around the West, check the large fires map.
Ab.

7/13 Dear Readers:

For your information, the following publication was recently posted ("Slope
Travel Rates Advantage Report") for downloading from the FERIC Wildland Fire
Operations Research Group (WFORG) website (http://fire.feric.ca):

"Travel Rates by Alberta Wildland Firefighters Using Escape Routes on a
Moderately Steep Slope" by Greg Baxter, Marty Alexander and Gary Dakin. FERIC
Advantage Report Vol. 5, No. 25. 15 p. June 2004.

Marty Alexander
Senior Researcher
Wildland Fire Operations Research Group
Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada

Thanks, Marty. Important information. Here's the abstract. Ab.

"When fire behaviour becomes threatening, firefighters disengage the fire and travel along escape routes to reach safety zones to avoid being entrapped or burned over. The Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada (FERIC) studied the travel rates of various types of Alberta fire suppression crews using simulated escape routes. This report focuses on the travel rates of Type I firefighters on a moderately steep slope (26%) in two different fuel complexes—grass on a powerline and a white spruce stand. This report also discusses the influences of using a marked trail or escape route and dropping one’s pack and tool on travel rates, and the effect of slope steepness on fire spread in relation to firefighter travel rates upslope."

7/13 Wow, the responses concerning contract crews has been diverse. I understand that this is an extremely sensitive subject, with many agencies not wanting to loose work as well as the lack of professionalism many contract crews have. As for my perspective I am a contract firefighter, as well as I have also worked for the forest service. With many family members and friends in agencies I have been questioned as to why I have chosen working for a contractor. There are many different reasons as to why, the contract crew that I work for promotes professionalism as well as training, P.T, maintenance of equipment, and progressive fire management procedures. We try to maintain relationships with the forest service, BLM, CDF, and other state agencies to ensure our proficiency and adherence to agency standards. As for pay wage, as a seasonal firefighter I make almost as much as a seasonal engineer in the forest service. Money can be an incentive. The forest service has cracked down on contract crews making sure they adhere to the same federal standards, pack test, 40 hour criticals, task book completions, and R5 equipment inspections. This is crucial for all contract crews to maintain these standards. Understanding that there are many bad apples out there I think that anyone that takes this job seriously would agree to weeding them out. Just because the word contractor leaves a bad taste in some peoples mouths lets not generalize and give all an equal opportunity. In this profession you definitely have to prove yourself so until they prove themselves wrong, dont judge.

Proud to be a FF

Well said. Ab.
7/13 Greetings:
I tracked down these "unable to fill" links that are somewhat currently being updated. Some are hard to find so hopefully this will save someone out there some work.

Eastern www.fs.fed.us/eacc/UTF.phpl
Southwestern www.fs.fed.us/r3/fire/swapredictive/swaintel/daily/swcc_2004_utf_list.pdf
Eastern Great Basin www.blm.gov/utah/egbcc/Reports/UTF.phpl
Southern www.southernregion.fs.fed.us/sacc/Unable%20To%20Fill/Unable%20to%20fill.php
If anyone finds any more being currently updated, please send them in.

Shep

Thanks Shep. Ab.
7/13 I would just like to say we are contractors here in Oregon, we keep our team well trained we pay for all their classes, our own upkeep on vehicles, we have to pass many inspections and even the pack test we have to pay for. We pay to get the red cards, nothing is free when it comes to contracting. Whereas Government employees do not pay for these. We are not out to take away jobs from others we want to help. We always get excellent reviews for our engine bosses, we have not yet had any safety violations. We keep physically fit and we train just as hard as government employees. Last year we only got called once, and our company lost money, yet we are still trying to help. We are not low lives who take away from others; we are in business just like a small store is compared to Wal-mart. So when we get great reviews we are proud of our employees and our company. We do not charge our employees to take classes, or to practice. When we have hard honest working people they should not have to pay 300.00 to get certified. We have been in business for 5 years now and never received negative feedback. We do care and we want to put out the fires also.

MDH
7/13 Last post on this subject. Just read the post about Contractors and again cutting of the contractors is the topic.

First off I do not drink on or off the job! As a Heavy Tender Operator I am required to take Drug and Alcohol Random Tests just to drive my rig. I have to meet DOT Required Inspections of my equipment before getting my DOT Number and each year afterwards. I am subject to Alcohol/Drug Testing in a accident even if it is not my fault and at a lower Levels than other drivers. No way would I risk losing my CDL License over having a Beer at a Tavern after or during work. I am also required to take First Aid Training and get a Physical along with On Road Training to get the License.

I do maintain my equipment and test it often off duty. I also wash my Tender after each day and inspect it for any damage under the hood and underneath it for like cut tires, loose wires, leaking fluids etc. No way would I risk my life and others driving a unsafe Heavy Truck down the roads with other vehicles around me.

I take Training Courses each year and go to fire meetings every month all year long. You should not lump all Contractors into one group because of a few bad apples in the barrel. I could go into the archives and dig up some dirt on Paid Government Fire Fighters and find several things they have done, should I say this is how they do their job?

As far as working on the job the last fire I was on for 6 days I drove allmost 700 miles with my Tender filling Engines and Portable Water Tanks. In that time I must have filled over 100+ Engines and Drafted countless times from Lakes, Ponds and Rivers. Most of my driving time was put on Dozer Trails and narrow roads knocking branches off with parts of my truck going into areas I had very few spots to turn around in. In fact I was sent down a wrong road and had to be walked out backwards for allmost 1/4 mile before I could turn around. Guess who sent me down that road!

The time I spent off the fire during those days was either sleeping or going over my Tender and restocking it. So don't give me this we don't work. I enjoy doing my job and take offence when I hear other Fire Fighters putting it down. Next time your Engine or Portable Tank is out of water and you can't spray water think of that Contract Tender making a run for water to fill it. This is our job we do it well and you would have a hard time doing your job with out us.

MH

Thanks for your contributions MH. We need all the tools in our toolbox when fighting fires. Ab.

7/13 MH

I just gotta know what state you live in. I've been fighting wildland fires for a while now and have never seen a fire being initial/extended attacked by contractors and VFD's with no state or federal resources involved. I've never heard of the Virginia Lakes Complex, but it sounds from your post as though most of the IA in your area is done by contractors. I was just curious as to how this worked. Most places I've seen, IA is handled by the state/feds and if a fire goes beyond that, then the contractors and out of area resources are called in. In fact in some places contractors can't be used for IA, due to lack of sufficient supervision. Are there state/fed resources in your area who IA fires? I'm trying to find out how the system you work in operates. Thanks for any help.

R1861

The Virginia Lake Complex (Okanogan National Forest area, WA) was a bunch of small lightning-started fires that grew to about 75,000 acres all told in Aug 2001. Ab.
7/13 Hello Ab’s

Tonight on Nova the Arrowhead shots will be on the air again, does this mean coffee or ice cream next time we see Brit?

SHOW TITLE: Nova
EPISODE: Fire Wars
CATEGORY:
SYNOPSIS: The Arrowhead Hotshots fight a wildfire during the summer of 2000; fire policy.
CHANNEL: 9 [KCTS] where I am
DATE / TIME: July 13: 8:00PM, July 17: 2:00AM
LENGTH: 120 Minutes

Anyone up for some Xtreme Hacky sack?

RR
7/13 Just got back from an assignment and was surprised to
not see more postings about Bitterroot.

First of all my thought and prayers go out to Rory,
Jay, Ed and their entire crew.

Unfortunately we all roll the dice every-time we get
in a vehicle, but the miles we put on the buggies each
season are staggering. We should look at Buggie
safety a little more closely.

I am a Squad Boss and driver and to be honest I can't
tell if my guys have their seat belt on or not. Yes I
mention every-time we move to buckle up, but you can't
see through the hell hole. But in defense of my guys
they are very good about using the provided netting
for their gear. We also purchased hat racks for the
hardhats that are mounted to the gear racks.

Not sure what the solution is but maybe glow orange
three point safety belts would help. At least we
could see them from the front.

TVs look to be a thing of the past since one of the
Bitterroot crewmembers got crushed by theirs. Yes I
enjoyed watching it in the past but now have to look
at the big picture.

My biggest problem is what to do with all of the extra
stuff we shove in the crew compartment area.

The Cooler
Trash Can
Cases of Water
Cases of Gatorade
Cases of MREs
etc...

Bitterroot and some of the R3 crews have taken the
Right rear seat out and made a cage for all of the
extra stuff, but here in R5, we can't change the
configuration of the buggies.

I hope to stir up some thoughts and maybe this reaches
a safety officer or two on the forest and maybe
regional level. We preach safety on the line, but are
lacking in this one. If you have a crew on your
district or forest peak your head in the back of a
buggie some time and see what I mean. Just hold your
nose because chances are it smell worse than a locker
room.

Thinking outside the box.

Thanks for writing in. Projectiles inside a vehicle can be deadly in a crash. Our best wishes to the Bitterroot crew as well. Ab.
7/13 Beigefoot,

Yes, I don't have a clue about you. And I would bet that you don't have a clue about me.
What I do have is 30 plus years on the line and DON'T look forward to participating in
another medivac of a "firefighter" that goes down because of lack of physical conditioning.

Alas, the ONLY firefighter that I can ensure is in top physical condition is myself, so with
your permission, I'll put my axe away, saving it for a SERIOUS topic.

S.P.
7/13 Fed and contract crews waiting?

Well where do we start on this one? So many people out there with their own views. So heres mine, someone said we cant afford to pay crews just to sit around. First of all we are paid not to sit, we are paid to be ready for the worst, so we are getting paid to pt train and improve our skills. How many contractors hike, pt, work on their rigs, and train everyday? im sure there are a few but on the fires ive been on in the last 6 years not one contractor has stood out for doing a good job. What i have seen, they drive around try and look busy and or they are fixing their rigs, oh or they are in town looking like they work for the usfs drinking while they are in their nomex shirts. Not too professional. and yes there are a few feds who do this but they are dealt with. All i am trying to say is look around at real firefighters and do you see them looking like they just threw together their engines? If you look like a pro you will be treated as a pro. And for who should be doing what when and where, well we all do what we can. But when there is a paid, well trained usfs engine crew of 5 and a not so well trained 3 person con tract engine crew in a staging area waiting for orders for a fire on fed land then the fed engine should get the orders not the contract crew. I can go on with this for hours but i think you get the point.

R5 south zone fed ff

7/12 MH,

Well perhaps I didn't see the post you were responding to and took it out of context. There are certainly plenty of occasions in which we have needed contractors. I am not at all implying that they should be paid minimum wage or mistreated (where did you get that notion??! I didn't say anything like that!) But I do agree that Federal Resources should be dispatched first since, afterall, that's what we pay them to do. And I also think that we should hold contractors to the same standards. Like everyone else I’ve seen/worked with some great contract crews out there and also some very bad ones. In my opinion every member of a contract crew should speak English and be fit to fight fire. If you are in a business where you have to work 20 days before you can feed the family then you are going to suffer in slower years. That's not a nice thing, but it is the fact of the matter. I don't think that we can guarantee contractors work because we can't guarantee what the season is going to be like! If you want to fight fire as a contractor rather than as a Fed. go to it and good on you! I’m not trying to condemn the business. I just think we should use what we got before we start pulling from the outside.

In response to the Thirty Mile Fire thread: I’ve read some other disturbing things about occurrences on that fire too. I believed the breaches of 10 Standard Orders has been discussed here before but there was also the issue with members of the crew meandering about after it had become clear that their drive out had been compromised. People taking pictures, not taking the situation seriously, not paying attention to one of the crew members as he tried to give a briefing, and so when the fire came at them they were caught unprepared. If those reports were true than it was a very sad state of affairs. I recall another incident where it looked like a helitack crew was going to be stuck on top of a mountain and with the fire moving that way their crew boss mobilized his crew to start preparing the area just in case it became necessary for them to deploy. Luckily they were able to get a ship up there to get them off afterall, but there was no doubt in anybodies minds that had things gone south they all would have walked away to fight fire another day because they were prepared for the worst. A few more crew bosses like that might prevent tragedies like Thirty Mile. Before everyone gets all upset about me hurling accusations I am going to say that there are, of course, other factors involved, and I could be misinformed.

OD
7/12 Lucky,

I completely agree with you, unfortunately for the 4 who died on the 30 Mile, not many people knew what they were doing. Have you read the official report? It's an opening read at the very least, and brings up an interesting question, have we become to accustomed to looking out for safety of ourselves that we no longer fight fire aggressively to keep ourselves safe?

When 30 mile was first dispatched, Okonogan N.F. Dispatch sent an IA crew w/ Mark 3 and 1000' of hose, and two type 6 engines. The fire was around 5 acres with 2 spots, right near the river. Soon after the Entiat IHC arrived and sent the engines home!! Are you kidding me? Here you have a fairly large water source, and unlimited one at that, 20 good diggers, and enough hose to hit the head of the fire and contain the 2 spots, while the shots put a handline around it, and you could put in a request for more hose, pump etc. but no, the Entiat Sup. sent the engines home! Moreover the engine crews left quickly as the fire made them "uncomfortable". And ironically 2 to 3 hours after that the Entiat Sup. asked Okonogan Dispatch for roughly the same resources he had already sent home 2 to 3 hours earlier.

I see this sort of comment said on this site time and time again but I'll say it as well. Wildfire is a dangerous business, it cannot and never will be 100% safe, there will always be a risk involved. If you arent with that and cant accept that then you shouldnt be here in the first place. I have no problem with safety, using my PPE, and using the safety procedures that have been developed for me, but when are we going to say enough is enough, and get down to doing what we're hired and trained to do, and that is put the damn fire out?

Firemang
7/12 Both types of Fire Fighters are needed. What I am trying to say if you read
my post is. We can't afford to house enough USFS Fire Fighters and
Equipment everywhere to fight fires with. On the Virgina Lk Complex Fire we
used a lot of USFS, DNR, BIA etc to fight the fire. They set up camp and
brought them in to do this. Problem was by the time they were here to fight
the fires we lost 9 homes all ready. During the first few days of the fire
Local Fire Depts, VFFs & Contractors were fighting the fire. If we had not
had Contractors many more homes would have been lost maybe even lives.

There were Contract Tenders, Engines, Dozers etc on that fire long before any
regular paid fire fighters from state and federal agencies got here. It
takes time to get the other resources set up and briefed to do their job.

My post was about why the bottom line "we don't need contractors" reason?
Yes there are lots of resources in place to fight fires but they are not
everywhere! IA has to be fast to keep fires small and save money for the Tax
Payers that is why I am saying Contractors earn their keep. They are not
over paid and have to maintain their equipment thru the winter and during
the fire season. That includes buildings that equipment is kept in too. By
having them at their homes, the Tax Payers do not need to build more
buildings, heat them, clean them, etc. If you don't use Contractors they will
quit doing it fast and the help will be gone when they are needed.

Paid Government people are not the only ones who put out fires and that is not
hard to understand. So in your opinion OD, what is the place for Contractors?
When and how much should they be worked, if ever? What should their pay scale
be, minimum wage would that be enough? They do a job just like you do - what
is wrong with that? Should the Government be the only group that is allowed
to fight fires and get paid for it? When the season is slow we all don't
work much, but contractors are not being paid then. Maybe we should lay off
all USFS & DNR Fire Fighters till we need them that would save money to but
it does not make sense, you would not have anyone ready or wanting the job.

So lets work together as fire fighters and drop this I'm the Best Fire
Fighter for the Job! It takes both to get the fire out!

MH

7/12 Know someone who stands out as a leader, mentor, or takes consistently
takes the initiative and motivates the crew? Here's your chance to
recognize the individual...

An annual award has been created to honor Paul Gleason, a wildland
firefighter whose career spanned several decades before he succumbed to
cancer in 2003. Gleason is best known for developing the LCES (Lookout,
Communication, Escape Routes, Safety Zones) concept that became part of the
the foundation for wildland firefighter safety. Throughout his career,
Gleason led and mentored firefighters, studied and taught wildland fire,
and worked to improve firefighter safety. The awards highlight Gleason’s
influence on and contribution to wildland fire management, while honoring
those who demonstrate the spirit of leadership for which he was known.
The award is sponsored by the Wildland Fire Leadership Development
Committee under the National Wildfire Coordinating Group, an interagency,
intergovernmental group that works to improve policy, standards and safety
in wildland and prescribed fire management. The Gleason award is based on
three categories: motivation and vision; mentoring and teamwork; and
innovation or initiative. Individuals and groups from federal, state, local
and tribal agencies are eligible for the award.

Nominations are taken throughout the year and selections are made
each January.

Nominations can be submitted online:
www.fireleadership.gov/toolbox/documents/gleason_award.phpl

For more information on the Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program,
please visit: www.fireleadership.gov

Nancy Lull, External Affairs
Bureau of Land Management
National Interagency Fire Center

If you didn't get a chance to meet or know Paul, check out the memorial pages we've worked on and are still gathering information for. Paul's memorial pages. By taking the time to nominate someone worthy of the award, you honor Paul's memory. Ab.
7/12 MH,

I don't follow your logic. We can and do pay engine's, aircraft, Hotshots, and Smokejumpers to be ready to fight fire and since we are paying for them we should use them. If an incident goes into extended attack and we need more there are a number of Type 2 crews that can be assembled in a matter of hours. Don't get me wrong, contractors have their place, but in a slow season Federal resources are going to be sufficient in a lot of scenarios.

OD
7/12 Dear "Name Withheld" (sorry, that's all I have…),

You make some great points. Lucky, I do not work for the AFMO (or even for the agency). As I understand, from an individual who visited said AFMO in the hospital days after the incident, the burns were as stated in the SafeNet. Unfortunately, the involved parties seem to be less than forthcoming about sharing the information. The final follow-up to the SafeNet indicates that the real story lies with the AFMO. What incentive does he have to come clean, if that's the case, other than for integrity's sake?

I give you my word, however, that if I am wrong, not only will I post an apology on this site, I will personally apologize to the AFMO involved.

Just need the proof.
I have no problem admitting my mistakes.
Ab, were you able to access the report Mr. Martinez referred to in the corrective actions for the safenet in question??

R2 localyokel

Contacting Mr. Martinez might be possible if/when we get a break in our busy schedules. Ab.
7/12 If some of you CDFers know what gear and clothing are provided to new recruits and what they should buy, could you jump over to Familysaid and advise a "Soon to be Fire Mom"? Thanks, Ab.
7/12 Firejock, et al.

I once had no use for the politics of fire or anything else. In college, I
wondered why anyone would ever major in "business administration". Yuck!
Who'd be crazy enough to do that. What I've learned since is that nearly
everything is business and politically oriented, including firefighting.
And I should have at least minored in business administration or double
majored with it. There's two sides to every job, getting the job done
(firefighter) and making sure the job gets done (manager). Most folks need
some of both. We learn with time. For example, in 1991 my college friends
were debating how long we'd be in Iraq. 2 months? 3? 6? One even dared
to say 12 months? I'd heard of a place called Nam, and said, "Mark my
words, we will still be in Iraq 10 years from now." We controlled the air
space for 12 years, then returned on the ground. In Iraq, the initial
attack phase went well in 1991, but the fire was left to smolder. The
business and politics of fire was ignored. Business, politics, etc, will
always be a big part of firefighting. Might as well get used to it.

Sedgehead.
7/12 The reason Contractors are needed is because we can't afford to have Crews being paid sitting in all the areas just waiting for a fire to be put out. We only get paid when we fight a fire. I will have to work around 20 full days before I make a true dime being a contractor. But if a fire breaks out in my area I am ready to respond to put it out in a moments time. Because of this the fires do not get as big and money is saved. If you take the investment and time verses money paid it is well worth it to have Contractors in all areas and give them some work to keep them around.

MH
7/12 Jeeze S.P.!

Lightenup!!! You have a serious problem with taking things too seriously!!! You haven't a clue about me or even know me... just took the pack test after a knee injury, so things are a little stiff...but hey, its good to know that there are still people out there like you who constantly have an axe to grind, but again, I am starting to take you too seriously, so now I can really take comfort in my recliner, for tomorrow I continue with the constant training and being "active throughout the year"...so to speak...ahem...sorry Ab...little grumpy...but oh well...I think its the chafing of the knee brace...or the twenty years of doing this...nope...definitely the knee brace...

Stay safe everyone (yes,even you, S.P.:) )

Beigefoot
7/12 Lucky, you are so on target it is spooky. We as a society have been so politically correct to the point that it now gets in the way of doing the very business of what so many of us firefighters want and desire to do. NO WAIT!! HAVE TO DO!!!! We as firefighters may not have been born to the job but it sure is in the blood. Every bit of it: We think safety, we think save lives, we think save the forest, the building, whatever, and we even try to save the enviroment.

I as much as anyone want to do the job, (I do not see any of the politically correct stepping up so quick to the job (ones I know are squeamish when they see blood or call on the cell phone and keep going because they are afraid to get involved)).

We make mistakes, some big ones sometimes, and sometimes we need to have someone hit us up along side of our heads for us to get our attention to the subject at hand. But until the yellers and screamers start stepping up to the plate then they need to at least ask us what we think and how we do business. They might find out that we are doing something they maybe had not thought of.

zimm
7/12 Hi my name is Bob I'm 18 looking for a job. I getting
ready to go to Marine boot camp and I come back in
Jan. I want to become a volunteer fire fighter in MO.
I was just wondering on how I would obtain this
position in MO so I can stay close to family but I
will move back to Texas eventually. I'm in the Reserve
so I have to work one weekend a month and two weeks in
the summer. Also I just want to know where to go and
how to get started and how much it would pay. I'm
looking to do this as a career if thats a good choice.
Ive read a few things about GS-7s and GS-5s and stuff
like that. So if you could help me I would really
appreciate it. Thanks

Bob
7/11 firecaptD,

The truth about the use of contractors boils down to
one simple truth: MONEY. Think about it, why spend
exorbitant fees on contracts and shift tickets when
you are already paying the availability for crews,
helicopters and engines that are part of an existing
federal workforce.

Our helicopter has been sitting on its pad, aside from
small local fires (one or two sticks of rappellers and
not much fire to brag about) even though we have been
available nationally. I know that I can say the same
about engines and type II handcrews in our district.
Why would someone initiate a contract when the
taxpayers are annually paying for these federal crews
for suppression? It makes good sense and you can
expect this to continue as long as the National
Prepardness Level stays at 4 or lower.

Firejock:

Until the politics you claim you ignore affects your
work environment, your wallet, or your winter plans
you will have no idea what this site is for.

AC
7/11 Beigefoot,
" . . .must get bact to the tour de france and my cheetos . . . still recovering from the pack test, god bless the inventors of advil and the reclining chair."

I sure hope that you are being sarcastic with your comment, if not, I find your statement a little scary. If a person needs an extended period to recover from the WCT, what type of shape are they really in? Those of us that stay active year round have no problems with the WCT. Those that look at the WCT as a hurdle to pass before they can take a line assignment, expending the minimum amount of conditioning, may not be in the best of shape on that line. Heaven help them when things go gunny sack.

How about turning off the TV, cut back on the junk food, and get out of your recliner?

S.P.
7/11 R2 localyokel:

If the safenet is accurate regarding:

"ALLEGEDLY, AFMO received severe burns on his neck, face, and hands and received burns through his Nomex clothing requiring skin grafts at a local burn unit."

There is no way that those burn injuries are consistent with a properly PPE'd fire fighter falling into an “ash pit”. Even after taking appropriate personnel action for the AFMO not following the glove thing seriously, there appears to be burn injuries too substantial to be explained by a 2 - 4 second encounter with a hot ash pit. {Just how long was that pit burning anyway?}

The nomex garments, where are they? If the fabric experienced degrading in something approaching a 360 degree pattern, that would indicate an extended "pig roll" in said ash pit or perhaps a flame front doing a wrap around like flames do to the base of a pine tree.

The AFMO providing these garments might be able to clear things up. Unless they have been lost or misplaced.

Indeed, if the burns on the hands are on the palms, indicating a natural reaction by a person falling to keep their body from the ash pits’ heat, That would be significant evidence backing the injured persons' statement. However, if the burns to the hands are mostly on the back of the hands, that would be typical of a non gloved fire fighter protecting an airway or their face/ears in a burnover.

It is unlikely that the hands have been misplaced.

R2 localyokel: cover-up-ish is not currently a word.

"Cover-up by omission" is often an accurate phrase. Redacting as recently been found to be too obvious an omission technique.

Don't go there, personnel action pending and rumor mill phrases are good for management to bring out immediately following any cover-up.

Anticipate a "We need to move on" meeting in one to two weeks and perhaps some job benefits to those that were nearby on the prescribed burn in a discrete 4-5 month time frame. If these last two items occur, suspect that safecoms are not an appropriate tool in this region and have a great going away party for the Shot Sup.

Hint: If the AFMO burns are to the back of the hands and you are his/her employee. Do not make eye contact with the AFMO for the next couple months. They will know that you know and we all know what that means.

Again, if the hand burns are to the palms and the other burns are overstated. I'd suggest a prompt apology posted on this site.

Thanks

Ab: could we get a posting of the report mentioned available from Al Martinez?

(Name withheld by request)

7/11 RR,
Looked for the dirt dart show on National Geo couldn't find it. Was it Pacific time or Eastern time?

ANF

www.nationalgeographic.com/channel/ET/daily/20040711.phpl
Here's today's schedule. Looks like Wed at 8PM Pacific is the next showing. To see eastern time check the ET box and choose the correct date. Ab.
www.nationalgeographic.com/channel/PT/daily/20040714.phpl

7/11 RE: Families of fallen firefighters sue fire shelter company.

It's a terrible thing to lose a child in the prime of their life. We are all deeply sorry for that loss.

That being said, This whole things gotten out of hand. First we got the 30 mile abatement rules. Which accomplished nothing but stalling initial attack and making sure that small fires got a lot bigger.

Now the families of those people are trying to profit from it. Of course they will claim that it is only in the interest of firefighter safety that they are doing this. Hogwash

We work in a business that is emergency by it's very nature. Fires are not planned ahead of time. People in this profession have to make quick decisions based on experience, training, and sound logic. The safety record of federal wildfire agencies is very good. But some times tragedies like this will happen. Because wildland fires are not safe. Fighting fires involves risk. Wildland fire fighting will never be completely safe. I'm not saying that it's acceptable losses. I'm saying that you'll never get 100% on anything.

You could spend your whole life chopping onions. But once in a while you might nick your finger. Does that mean you should sue the knife maker? Or the farmer that grew the onion? How about people suing the contractors that built the world trade center?

I'm going to get a lot of flak for this. But maybe somebody in that chain of events on the 30 mile fire didn't know what the hell they were doing. Perhaps they shouldn't have been out there in the first place because they weren't competent enough to be there. Maybe they should have been in some profession where everyday is exactly the same as the last one, and you have a long time to ponder every decision before it's made.

A lot of people get into this business in the first place because it is exciting. It's exciting because of the risk involved. That risk forces people to challenge themselves to be their best. Maybe that's part of the addiction to some.
I'm afraid the government will go into their typical knee-jerk reaction and make sure their backsides are covered.
Probably a lot more contractors will be used and government crews will be phased out. Because the contractors could accept the blame if something goes wrong.

If that day ever comes, aggressive firefighting, people with some guts and smarts will be a thing of the past.
It will all be in the hands of computer geeks, and non risk takers.

-Lucky-
7/11 Nice commemorative to the fallen of Storm King from R2.

Thanks Wildland Firefighter Foundation for "touring" the statues. Please let us know
where they are in case we get sent to that fire we can look for them. Maybe their
presence could also get posted at the information tent
in firecamp.

Tahoe Terrie
7/11 Firefighters' relatives sue makers of shelters (Scroll halfway down, this is a hodgepodge of local news. Ab.)
here's a bit of the article

YAKIMA — Families of three firefighters who died in the Thirtymile Fire are suing equipment companies, contending emergency shelters issued by the U.S. Forest Service were unsafe and instructions for their use inadequate.

Relatives of Tom Craven, 30; Karen FitzPatrick, 18; and Jessica Johnson, 19, filed their lawsuits Friday, on the eve of the third anniversary of the fire in the Okanogan National Forest north of Winthrop.

--- If you are too busy doing project work for your Refuge manager, or whoever. Stand up to them. – Train like the fire fighter you are supposed to be, especially before your out in the world.

Be Safe,

-WaSeasonal

7/11 firecaptD,

I think you are talking about the Verdi Complex. And during the beginning of the fires, the call for structure protection was handled through Minden dispatch and all of the orders were filled through mutual aid. I'm still trying to figure out why local departments would use contractors that cost a lot when they could use the agencies that have mutual aid with them. I know that there is no cost incurred for the first 12 to 24 hours using the local departments, and I can almost guarantee that your contract department will charge handsomely for the IA. And again, my cheapskate side rears its ugly head when I see contractor departments responding before the local departments that my property taxes pay for....<sigh> ok enough...must go back to the tour de france and my cheetos...still recovering from the pack test...god bless the inventors of advil and the reclining chair...Stay safe everyone

Beigefoot...
7/11 Ab - just returned from the Pot Peak fire in Washington, had a blast
and loved it. I always enjoy the Chelan area, and get up there every
chance i get. Wanted to thank Lohreys Team, professionals in every
way.

Finally caught up on the posts and saw the post that mentioned the
contracted "crap" based in Winnemucca Nevada. As one of the
contractors in the area, we have been trying for years now to clean
house. It amazes me that every year substandard gear makes it, and
is dispatched out time and time again, just to be turned around at a
fire camp inspection.

If the agency folks at the receiving end of the dispatch would call
the regional CO she will do something. She is in this position to
ensure compliance and safety on her agreements. All you have to do
is fill in an evaluation send it in, make a phone call, or even file
an anonymous SafeNet.

Eric
7/10 Hello Abs,

FYI on the smokejumper dangerous jobs airing on National Geographic

Dangerous Jobs
Smoke Jumpers [TV-G]

Sunday, July 11, 2004, at 3P

Also airs:

Wednesday, July 14, 3:00 P
Sunday, July 18, 2:00 P

Anyone up for a good game of lawn darts?

RR

Thanks for the reminder. Ab.
7/10 Hey firecaptd;

I too belong to a contractor here in Reno. Are you talking about the Verdi Complex fire? I was there for one day (Friday). I saw 2 contract tenders there. That was after their type 2 team was ordered thru Minden. The teams are the ones who order contractors 95% of the time. I am also a firefighter here in Reno. That fire was the first big one in the area this year. All others have been under 100 acres. If your contract is national, you should go to Alaska. I know of alot contractors that jump fires, especially from Grass Valley area. But that's for another day to discuss.

I hope everyone has a safe summer.
Stay cool Ab and thanks for the great job with these pages. God Bless

Northern Nevada FF
7/10 FirecaptD,

I don't know how the Eastern Great Basin handles status reporting opn private contractors, but here in the Northwest region we have to status our private equipment and crews in the ROSS system ourselves. If your area isn't having contractors status themselves on ROSS, they are most likely still using the card system, and the only option may be to call your local dispatch office and make sure they have you marked as available.

Not much work here in SE Oregon yet this year either, hopefully it's just going to be a slow start, hopefully soon we will all be busy. I think the reason for such little work for contractors so far, is the fires that have broken out in Nevada have been caught relatively quickly by agency personnel, and when the fires broke out near Reno, they had a lot of structure engines available locally to handle the fire under their mutual response agreements.

John
7/10 First, Firejock:

Get a clue, you are the one that sounds like a whiner. Come back after you have seen and been through what many of us here have. I think that 20 + years of being 'in the trenches' qualifies me as a 'true firefighter', and I find this site valuable.

Enough about some putz that has no clue.

Next, firecaptD:

While I have seen some quality contract engines and crews, they are, by a very wide margin, out weighed by the sub par contractors I have dealt with. This goes back almost 20 years. Many of us are reluctant to use resources that have proven to be not as reliable as the federal and other agency resources available to us.

Again, this is not a dig on ALL contract resources. But, even you should be able to see that there are alot of 'fly by nights' out there. I, for one, would prefer that they are not on my fires. My suggestion is that your industry put pressure on the bad apples to clean up the image of contractors in general.

Waboo
7/10 Hey ab

Just wondering if you have heard a reason why not to many contractors are getting called this year. I run a station out of the Reno area. there have been plenty of fire this year in the local area. and still no call. On one afternoon my crew and myself were only a block from the ICP and they were calling for engines for structure protection. so i was looking for some suggestions on how to get the agencies to know we're there to help. and staffed.

any info would help
thanks,
firecaptD
7/10 ANNOUNCEMENT:

The winning bid for the belt buckle auction to benefit Matt Taylor and his family was $1,000. The buckle goes to Doug Kastner and Tony Duprey. Thanks to Tony and Doug and all who participated.

Ab.

7/10 chiming in here:

EVERYONE: if you haven't already done so, read Vickie's Wildland FF Foundation post and seriously consider what it doesn't say! I wholeheartedly applaud and commend the still grieving WFF families' collective decision to forestall receipt of those statues. Families want to ensure their true meaning can be witnessed by those who may have become jaded (and maybe more importantly), by those firefighters too young to comprehend the loss.

To those who miss the point about this forum, it is SHARING OF INFORMATION. No one lives in a safe cocoon, nor in the same R zone = terrain/conditions/experience/training/breadth of knowledge on any fire related topic. Of course technology & policy evolve; fire is fire & many times it becomes YOU & NATURE!

R5PITA

I don't know a firefighter who is "jaded" when it comes to Storm King. Rather, I think most families know how close the fire community is and would welcome the collective "hug" (as Mellie would say). Ab.
7/10 Re helicopter crashes in fading daylight:

W Bulger on July 09, 2004 at 17:59:46 on the AT pilots message board
responded to SoCal CDF's request for infor wanted on helicopter crashes
in the fading daylight...

 "Yes, I personally know of one that I investigated in Charleston,
SC about 3 years ago. Might want to go to the National Safety
Office of the FS."

Ms N

7/9 Firejock,

Since I know noone takes a pot-shot like yours and then signs off, I can safely assume you are still reading this site and happily anticipating all the sh!t you might have stirred up. So here goes a small reply, not just for you but for a few other crabby readers:

All things are not suited for all people. Somewhere on this great web surely there is some content more suited to your tastes. (my eight year old likes cartoon network's site, check it out if it seems too complicated just try to sound out the words.)
So if you have browsed and find this site lacking, shove off and leave it to those of us who want to swap stories, ideas, and info from the global firefighting community.

I don't know if I meet your criteria of a real firefighter, hmmmm dont care much either, but I do have a nifty nomex outfit, and I do dig all the chicks, money, and glory that this career provides.
(he he he)

So anyway go away. and if you are a "real firefighter" I wish nothing but safe days and restful nights for yah.

Flash
7/9 firejock, (Ab, don't post if it's too harsh, but the 'youngster' needs some schooling)

I wish I was so new to wildland firefighting to think that politics and internal agency discussion (squabling) didn't exist or were not needed. It only took me a few years to understand that we, as firefighters, were at the bottom of a very big food chain.

firejock, if you plan on making a career of wildland firefighting, I hope you learn that open discussion isn't bitching. Open discussion KEEPS YOU FROM GETTING KILLED. Wildland firefighting is all about open discussion of the issues.

People at all levels of the wildland firefighter organization are instrumental in making change. People from their first fire season to the national office and corporate levels post here and express their opinions and advice.

firejock, IF YOU CONTINUE to keep your head down and swing your tool aimlessly, I hope you eventually LOOK UP, LOOK DOWN, LOOK AROUND.

You might just learn something. Many of us here could still probably out hike, out work, and out smart you on any fire, even though we are twice or three times your age. I hope you learn something and continue to visit this site. If not, see ya..... suck your thumb.

Lobotomy
7/9 ken h.....

LOL........a little too late for me to find another job.....this is year 31 fighting fire with one of the fed agencies.....bueno suerte with your cancer sticks..

yactak
7/9 Hi all. I'm new here. Getting a lot of insight. I felt like I needed to address Beigefoot's post on 6/30.

I just resigned my post as Company Officer for a small VFD. I now work for a private contractor. Because of my love of wild land fire suppression I chose to pay for all my own training through Engb., and several other courses not required for more knowledge. This made me the most qualified wild land firefighter in my department. It also placed me at the top of the list for a majority of the paid departments in our region. (Structure Firefighters are only required to take the 190 and 130) and that’s paid by the department. Anything else is out of pocket. So what does that tell you and the rest of the highly trained very experienced folks here? I will tell you a horror story. A few years ago as a FFT2 with only a few small local grass and brush fires under my belt, my chief came to me and asked me to take an engine to stand by on severity. I thought sure what the hell, makes money for the department. After I got there they sent me out of district to stand by. I was then sent on a small strike which now would of taken me an hour to put to sleep cold. Took me and another VFD engine three hours. (They by the way were the Chief and his captain.) After wrapping that up and being pretty worn out we were sent to a 2 acre fire. I got on scene at 2300 and the IC looked at my truck and gave me the fastest brief I ever had and said see ya tomorrow at 0900. I ICd that fire, I was never relieved. Now. Do you still think that you, as a tax payer, are getting your monies worth.? Do you think this kind of thing is rare? I am lucky I did not get anyone killed. I am only an ICT4 now and I learned never assume because they have a Red Fire Truck they are qualified for the job. That said, if I have offended any structure folks out there I apologize.

This is a great site and I learn a lot here. I will now keep quiet and go back to reading.

Thanks, Magoo
7/9 Hey firejock...turn the jock around...it doesn't pinch as much if you wear it right.
Might give you a brighter outlook on life. Personally I wear the new boxer brief
and find I can get all of the support I need.

However when I need more support or perhaps to educate myself on issues not
glossed over by professional bureaucrats, I visit They Said...enough Said.

Life's a b*st*rd until the first real call out of the season isn't it?

KJC
7/9 I don't know where all the real firefighters are, but they sure aren't writing to here. Most of the stuff that you all talk about is a bunch of political bulsh*t, I don't like the government side of things, but I put up with because I love the job. Seems like all you guy's do is just bitch, I would hate to have some of you on my crew. I am in because I love it, I don't want any recognition, a banner that says I'm a hero, It's a job, do it well and get it done, no bitchn.

firejock

Ho hum, another summertime firefighting jock that hasn't been able to read past the "Greetings heroes, we're glad you found us, take yer boots off and 'take five'." on the index page. Now where's Original Ab to kick his a$$ 3 or 4 times? Hmmm... Ab.
7/9 hi ab, this to yactak 7/9

if cigarette smoke annoys them in a vehicle what do they do in a bad smoke situation in a wildfire? no one has a clue whats burning in bushland. how many wildland firefighters enjoy a smoke when they come off the line? if he don't like it find a different job.

thanks ab..
ken h, aussie fire fighter.

Bottom line, in the US, it's against the law to smoke in a govt rig. Ab.
7/9 Military pilots can't fight local fires yet

Article tells the tale of the training in and outs for the military aircraft to fly on fire fighing missions...and how it is not yet organized. It would be nice if the USFS could changed the heavy air tanker decision and let the aircraft fly. You must remember that the NTSB report never said terminate any aircraft nor did it say it must be "Now" for any action - the action was a management decision....Ms N
7/9 Not getting much time lately to check in but a quick note to let RR know there
are a number of firefighter belt buckles to be found through the Western
Heritage Company. Their website is westernheritage.com. They have some pretty
nice agency related stuff. Hope this helps.

FirenWater
7/9 RE: the cigarette butt and smoking in a govt vehicle

It SHOULD also be illegal to use ANY tobacco products, INCLUDING chewing
tobacco in any govt work environment, including vehicles.

That is if the agencies truly cared about the health of their employees........

Yactak

Visit www.fireleadership.gov
7/9 Ab,

Here is a picture of the statues that are going to the families of Storm King. They are 12 inch bronzed.

We were encouraged to mail them to the families, instead of presenting them at the anniversary in Glenwood Springs CO.

I personally feel like the Firefighting Community was left out of the Storm King 10 Year Anniversary by the organizers. I shared with one organizer that Storm King didn't just affect Glenwood Springs and the families of the fallen, it affected all of us in the wildland firefighting community -- all of us in the larger fire family. Storm King was our Wildland Firefighters' September11th, in the way that September11 was not simply a tragedy for New York City, but rather a tragedy for the whole nation. Storm King's tears were not limited to families of the firefighters who died or to the local community who could see the flames, but rather was a tragedy for all of us in fire.

Instead of just mailing the statues out right away, we decided to take these statues on the road to fires with us this summer. We want to share them with groundpounders, with hotshots and type 2 crews, engine crews, overhead teams, helitack, smokejumpers, contract crews, camp crews, dozer, skidgeon and water tender drivers -- with old dogs and firefighters too young to comprehend the loss. We want for ALL to have a chance to pay their respects in some way, if they desire. After the statues have completed this 10th anniversary fire season, then we'll present them to the families -- from ALL OF US IN OUR FIRE COMMUNITY -- hopefully with the smell of smoke, a layer of dust, and many, many fingerprints on them.

We are producing a Storm King 10 year remembrance t-shirt. They will be a limited edition. The money will go to pay for the cost of the statues, and help families. They will be for sale at fires (with our logo on them) and on the our web site in two weeks.

Thank you, Jack Kirkendall. You said it well. As a result of the changes in training and fire culture that have taken place since Storm King, many lives have been saved -- how many is a statistic we will never know. Along with those operational changes has come the monument at NIFC, erected in honor of past, present and future firefighters. The Monument commemorates all firefighters, even back to the earliest marker from the 1910 fires. One other gain for this fire community that came out of the horrible losses of Storm King is the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. It has and will continue to care for families of the fallen and firefighters who are injured, as long as funds are available.

If you want to help and don't know how, join the 52 Club www.wffoundation.org

Vicki Minor
Wildland Firefighter Foundation

Terrific idea!
Ab addition: Levi Brinkley's parents are at the Foundation as I talked with Vicki before posting this -- on their way home from Storm King. Word is that they love the idea of the statues going on fires this summer. Levi's dad, Ken, says he hopes they come back stinkin' of smoke, soot, dirt, and he hopes every firefighter that sees 'em will touch 'em, and think about what happened.

7/9 R2 localyokel,
Thanks for the research.
SoCal CDF
7/9 Arlo: Thanks for the info on the ICT3 recert.

Startree
7/9 SoCal CDF - Searched Safecoms, didn't find any accidents due to daylight issues, mainly policy
deviations (breaking pumpkin hour for one reason or another).

R2 localyokel
7/9 RAB

The watchdog group suing the FS is the Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics.
Executive Director Andy Stahl says the government has always filed an accident report
following a fire death. This is the first time in its history the Forest Service deleted the names
of the employees directly involved.

MT ff
7/9 R2 localyokel or anyone who might know...

Have there been any helo crashes on fires that have had fading daylight as a cause?

SoCal CDF
7/9 The Elite honorific

Damn I thought it was a dropped syllable, as in 'elite (he lit) both sides of the fire line
(minimum qual. for a hotshot/rappeller ??)

As for Expert, well that breaks down to be Ex as in non existent and Spurt as in drip
under pressure

Professional, will leave that one alone

Yes very tongue in cheek and said in jest, I prefer to be called a Fire Fighter, No
gender (cause it doesn't matter) and it takes all of us to do the job.

Basque
7/9 SoCal CDF-

The extra hour may not be critical, but why not have the CDF rules be in line with the IHOG? Seems to make sense to me, instead of having different rules for different agencies regarding air ops (although we have different rules all over the wildland arena). If the IHOG "pumpkin times" (see IHOG section 6-3, IV, A) had posed problems in the past (they haven't as far as I am aware), I would think the Fire Aviation folks would look at a rewrite of that section of the IHOG.

R2 localyokel
7/9 re: fs info officer smoking in vehicle

It IS against regulations to smoke in a government vehicle. She should be fired.

Quake
7/9 From FEMA

This is a message from the Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Fire Administration.
You may submit your comments or request additional information by contacting USFA
through our web site at: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/applications/feedback/
------------------

Release Date: July 7, 2004

FEMA ANNOUNCES NEW FIRE ADMINISTRATION WEB PAGE TO ENHANCE WILDLAND FIRE
PREPAREDNESS

WASHINGTON, D.C. - As the nation braces for what is predicted to be a
severe wildfire season, the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is announcing a new “2004 Wildland
Update” Web page to help firefighters and community leaders locate
important and up-to-date wildland fire information. This new Web page, at
www.usfa.fema.gov/fire-service/wildfire/update_2004.shtm, features a
collection of links to critical wildland Web sites, as well as weather
predictions, current aviations strategy, community programs, and a daily
“Six Minute Safety Briefing.” <etc>

Can't be that informative a site. Our link's not there. Ab.
7/9 Hi Ab!

Has anyone heard about this lawsuit involving the Cramer Fire? Looks
like an unidentified watchgroup (I'm curious which one) has filed a
lawsuit to get the names of those involved released.

www.kpvi.com

RAB
7/9 Anyone have a comment on this?

Firefighting copters get extra hour flight time

How critical is that last half hour? What about flying after dark, if only to go home?
Are political pressures creating an unsafe new regulation?

SoCal CDF

7/9 KJC (theysaid July 8) helps define the term "elite firefighter".

I think we should all be careful about such words. My favorite is
"professional". I've heard it used to belittle people in teaching,
nursing, the US Forest Service, and firefighting. The "professionals"
received bonuses as teachers, while the teacher aides, kitchen staff, and
bus drivers received nothing. Nurses were "professionals" and held
meetings for professionals while the REAL pros (lab techs, xray techs, and
aides) held down the fort. The Forest Service has "professional series"
like biologists, foresters, etc, and "technicians" and can stick it to the
techs with the best of them. In my book, if you work for an organization
and get a paycheck, you ARE a professional. Some of the most professional
people I know are bus drivers, kitchen workers, and crewmembers. You can
have the loftiest title in the world, and still not be professional.
Several presidents have shown that recently. Others have not only been
presidential, but have held themselves to professional standards.

The key is attitude. I strictly avoid terms like "elite" and
"professional". If I must use them for clarity, I qualify them. For
example, I call it the 'so-called' professional series, and will often
explain what I mean by that. "Professional" as in they get paid extra but
may do less "real work".

One thing I enjoy about firefighters is that the idea of professionalism,
as commonly used, is considered a requirement for everyone. It takes the
whole gang to fight the fire, including the portapotty pros. Most
firefighters would be willing to do any job at hand; I've seen them do it.
To me, that's the most professional you can get.

Sedgehead
7/9 Zimm,

The test covers different scenarios and sand box exercises to make sure the decisions
you make as the scenario changes will be safe and proper for all individuals on your
fire. The test is for the IC only as I understand it. I have several friends who have
taken the test. They say it gets a little intense...

All take care & stay safe,
later Arlo
7/8 Well I never in my wildest dreams would have thought that the buckle auction would raise so much money for Matt Taylor and and his family.

It is great to see two people join forces for a good cause like Tony and Doug have, good form boys.

There are a few more hours left on the auction and I have to think that someone is out there lurking and waiting for the last minute to raise the bar.

Thanks Ab and Wildlandfire.com for the venue.

God Bless all who have and are yet to support the Matt Taylors among us who need our help.

Remember the Wildland Firefighter Foundation as well. www.wffoundation.org

Be safe.
Dan Fiorito, Union IHC

Thanks to all participants for making this a success. Ab.
7/8 A Jumper, a Hotshot and a Rappeller were stranded on a desert island. With no food
and little drinking water, they were beginning to lose heart.

Suddenly, a bottle floated into the shore and a beautiful genie popped out. She said
"I have three wishes to grant. Each of you can make one wish come true."

The Jumper got excited. He said "I wish I was in Vegas with dice in one hand and
a beer in the other, surrounded by music, food, and beautiful women." Instantly
he was gone, his wish granted.

The Hotshot smiled and said, "I wish I was back home right now with my wonderful
second wife and both our children, at our log cabin in the woods sitting in front of
the fire and singing Christmas carols together." Just like that, he disappeared.

The genie asked the Rappeller, "And what do you wish for?"

He answered, "I wish I had my buddies back to help me decide..."

Meanwhile the Engine guy hiding behind the rocks thought to himself, "At least I've
got entertainment".

Fuels Guy
7/8 What is the test and does it include everyone that is on a T3 or just certain members.
After taking 420 I think I had the brain drain of a lifetime. Wouldn't that be
enough + any incidents and evals.

Zimm
7/8 re: fs info officer smoking in vehicle

The The Payson Roundup article (link is below)

"Fire Information Officer caught tossing lit cigarette"

speaks for itself.

And there I was

7/8 The corrective action for the Safenet on the Sheep Creek Rx Burn has just been released today
(07/08/04), if you are so inclined. I can't say I'm surprised…

R2 localyokel

To view the most recent corrective action statement, scroll to the bottom of the Safenet page and click on the last Supplemental Corrective Action that begins with 6. Ab.
7/8 Mop -Up Article 122...Do names matter?

What is an "elite crew?" or for that matter an "elite" firefighter? Elite people use words like elite. Webster's defines elite as ... a socially superior group...a powerful minority group or a typewriter type providing 12 characters to the linear inch.
Hmmm... Hotshot crews are often referred to as elite crews. A socially superior group? I don't know about you but some of my friends that did time on an IHC crew lacked any and all social graces. The only thing they were superior at was looking down their noses at mop-up assignments and making gobbling noises as they arrived in their crew vans at fire camp or drop points on the fire line.
Incident management Teams are also reported by the media as an elite fire management group. A powerful minority group? Nah...mostly white males or at the very least ethnic and culturally blended males with a European breeding base.
Are fire investigators elite? Engine crews? What about lookouts? Where should we draw the divisive line between elite firefighters and the run of the mill firefighter?
I'm glad you asked...I would add firefighters over the age of 50 to the elite list of firefighters. They deserve to be called elite because they are the only group that can come close to meeting Webster's definition of being Socially Superior.
By age fifty the drinking, cussing and sexist humor have been replaced with green tea, discussions on IRA's and jokes with no punch lines. We use words like thank you...please....and your welcome. Just the other day I used all three words over the radio when asked for a size up on a fire I was on.
My reply was...Thank you for sending out the new crew but would you please recall them and finish their training? I would welcome it ...just once...if you would ask my permission before turning one of my fires into a school for wayward youth!
Another group I would add to the elite category are those crazy ba*tards that provide protection to structures threatened by a fire in the urban interface. Everyone has seen the training videos and news clips...fire sweeping down or up the hill towards a moderately priced 4 bedroom ranch style home surrounded by fuel having the characteristic of being soaked in kerosene. Engine crews buffeted by fire induced winds...embers stenciling freckles on exposed skin.
For crying out loud! Run...drive away...it's only a fricking house!

Oliver Moore...every fire fighter is elite in my book...Be Safe
Copyright Oliver Moore Inc.

KJC
7/8 AB,

Our Fire Dept. puts on a week long wildland training each year in February and we have firefighters come from all over the USA. It is called the Sierra Blanca Wildland Fire Academy and we offers 200 and 300 level classes open to agencies, FD's, and all individuals interested in broadening their wildland training. If you would please put us on your training page. We are not interested in getting much bigger in size but we would like to make this available to everyone. The next academy will be February 7-11, 2005 in Ruidoso, NM. If you have any questions or comments please contact us.
ruidosofire@zianet.com
(505) 257-4116

Thank you very much,
JB

Lots of good skiing after class? Ab.
7/8 Just got this from a friend. What was this person thinking? I wish our folks could use a
little more common sense when we are driving in gov rigs. And is there not a no smoking
policy when in a Gov rig?

Fire Information Officer caught tossing lit cigarette

JL

Thanks JL, finally found the story online. Readers, the Payson Roundup has some more good stories about the New Mexico fires. Ab.
7/8 There was an article on fire in the Parade insert in the Sunday paper. My mother-in-law
told me about it. Does anyone know if it's online?

Tahoe Terrie

archive.parade.com Ab.
7/8 The National Geographic channel has Smokejumpers as the subject in their "Dangerous Jobs" show this week. Scheduled times are Wed July 7 8:00 and 11:00 PM Eastern and Sunday July 11 at 3:00 PM Eastern. www.nationalgeographic.com/channel/ET/daily/20040707.phpl

Shep

Shep, sorry I overlooked your email yesterday. Darn. Must have been in a hurry. Readers, check this out on Sunday (or the schedule also says Wed the 14th). I plan to. Ab.
7/8 Read the NFIC/MNAC message about safety concerns for Narrowband vs. Wideband
radio freq.'s. (NFIC Safety site) We're changing technology at what cost?
History taught us some valuable lessons about communications. What are we
really trying to do?

KRR

Hi KRR and those interested in communication issues. This is the same link and letter sent in by COMT on 7/7. I posted the message then. Ab.
7/8 Is Anybody out there aware of a PTB for Terra Torch Operator,
Or Does anybody have an agency specific one. Any Information
About this would be very helpful!

Sam
7/8 Hey Ab:

Found this front page article in the Rocky Mountain News, it matches perfectly what I have seen first-hand in R2 and on one forest in particular. Maybe someone else here already posted it and I missed it.

In the line of fire: Reports question crews' safety, allege drug use at blazes

It also reminds me of another issue involving someone (temporary employee) who had a legitimate concern regarding an unsafe situation, unfortunately the person was talked down from filing the SAFENET by a higher authority. In my opinion we are all to blame for this backing down. By not doing more to ensure our own safety through support of such a good system (SAFENET) we allow many unsafe situations to be kept silent.

From what I have seen in 21 seasons, the discussions that take place here are far superior to what I am seeing in the wildland firefighter workplace! And despite the fact that we can all do more to make things safer, we can also congratulate ourselves for adding to this network of firefighters.

Don't mean to get mushy, but this article really hits home for this region and it lit a fire in me!

R2FFR
7/8 Startee,

All ICT-3 individuals will be required to recertify annually. Recertification to
start in 2004.Probably a good idea for type 1,2 and 3 ICs. Just my take on
the safety side of things...Stay Safe, see you out there...

Arlo
7/8 Information pertaining to this season's hiring process, illegal under CA law?

PLF Wins Jury Trial Victory in San Francisco’s Race Discrimination Case

Noname

7/8 Ab, here's an interesting website with lots of information on the SoCal fires of last year. This information is both for firefighters and residents living in the wildland urban interface area.

It provides a pretty varied look at the fires, the fire / flood cycle, and preparation for future disasters. It also has some good info for managers in other areas on how to prepare for these events in their local jurisdictions.

http://lang.sbsun.com/projects/fireflood/

Lobotomy
7/7 I'm spending this summer away from the lines working on a dude ranch.
Need to get a big belt buckle for the tourists. Anyone know where I
can find a wildland fire belt buckle? Every place I've tried only has
structural fire buckles.

Thanks,
RR

Check this commemorative Union Hotshot buckle being auctioned to benefit Matt Taylor in his fight against cancer. Only 2 days left in the auction! Ab.
7/7 To FR:
In my 25 career I've never had to personally extinguish a fire that was caused by a legal camp fire. I'm only aware of rare occurrence where legal, recreational, fires got out of control and started a wildfire in my area. In fact my agency is slow to impose restrictions because the consensus is that legitimate campers are safe, and why harass people who don't cause fires. On the other hand illegal fires are a real headache. Two of our last major fires originated, in party spots, from unattended camp fires.

On another note, I heard that USFS had all their ICT3s take some sort of certification test. Does any one have any info. on this.

Thanks,
Startree
7/7 Hi Ab,
I thought of theysaid when I read the comments below from Jack Kirkendall, Bitterroot NF, and thought each of us might find a little pearl among the words.... Thanks, Jack.

NorCal Tom

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I am somewhat surprised that not more is being officially made of the South
Canyon Fire on this day (yesterday).

Today marks 10 years from the day we firefighters across the nation were first informed of the tragedy that occurred on the South Canyon Fire. For those of us in the business at the time I'm sure we all remember where we were and the initial feelings associated with hearing the news. Many of us in the wildland fire suppression community immediately began to ask the question, "why, how could this happen?"; we clambered by radio or phone to sort through the rumors; and all the while we waited to hear the official word on who would not be coming back. When the names of those lost to us were made official our fears were realized and the reality of the situation sliced through us to our core.

Since South Canyon we have done much within the wildland fire community to bolster our ability to act and react on the fire ground in a forthright manner. Our training requirements have increased; interagency cooperation has been heightened; roles, responsibilities are better understood; new policies and procedures are being universally applied, and we have a better collective sense of the role human factors play in getting the job done; but natural forces are dynamic and indifferent, and (given the chance) those forces will punish arrogance and inattention. Most recently 30-Mile and Cramer remind us of that.

The lessons learned from South Canyon are formally taught and we are reminded of them along with those same lessons from Cramer, 30-Mile, Mann Gulch, Dude, and a whole list of other incidents everytime we read through another fatality or near miss report, personally glance through the IPRG, or fill out a fire size-up card. The wildland fire community has spent significant money and effort to reduce firefighter risk, with measurable success, by institutionalizing formal processes and procedures from these lessons learned. This web site contains a recently published independent summary on 10 years worth of interagency work to address issues and solutions identified in South Canyon follow-up actions and reports - www.wildfirelessons.net/Index.php. You will find it interesting.

The wildland fire environment we work in is complex, dynamic and unemotional. It's an environment that is free to behave as it might. Given that, your ability to produce results safely is dependent on strict adherence to formalized processes and Rules of Engagement, your training, and your experience. It seems that all that should be enough to keep you and your fellow firefighters out of trouble, but after South Canyon and every other near miss or entrapment fatality the question we all ask is, "what were they thinking"? As Gonzales states in his book Deep Survival, "there is a dark and twisty road from experience and perception to correct action". So how do you - no matter your skill and knowledge level - assure that the actions taken by you an others are the correct ones, that you're able to personally adapt to the reality of the current situation, and navigate that dark and twisty road that leads to the correct action?

Here are a few things to consider:

Things that never happened before happen all the time: Successful firefighters don't impose preexisting patterns or conditions on new information, but rather he/she allows the new information to reshape his/her mental model. This can be an advantage for more inexperienced firefighters - their mental models ( fire slides) are limited and they are open to what the world around them is telling them. Leaders need to listen to them.

Accidents just don't happen:
Recall the Swiss Cheese Model from L-380? - in an environment that has high standards of performance, and known and unknown hazards the longer it takes to dislodge the imagined world in favor of the real one the greater the risks and consequences of failure. Successful firefighters don't loiter around a challenge or obstacle - they address it, solve it, and move on. They deal with the moment and recognize that each act is in a long continuum of acts and judgments that lead up to and thru each singular event. They know that the first decision needs to be the right decision.

Fight as you train - Train as you fight:
Preparation for its ownsake is a priority. Successful firefighters are physically and mentally prepared. They know their strengths and limitations, the strengths and limitations of their fellow firefighters. and maintain SA through both formal briefings and informal dialog. Successful firefighters know that safety is an illusion. They have a frank relationship with the inherent risks of the job and plan accordingly by continually assessing the real world, communicating intent, soliciting feedback, acting decisively, developing trigger points for future actions, and developing contingencies.

Core Values define the culture of the unit:
Leaders are the caretakers of the culture through their consistent implementation of the unit's core values. Common values play a critical role in unit cohesion. From these core values comes a unit's operating principles, operating procedures and standards of performance. Successful firefighters hold themselves and others accountable to the values, operating principles, and performance of the unit.

These are some of my thoughts today as I remember the events of 10 years ago. I'm not the one who invented them. People much smarter than me helped me pull them together. Maybe you have some of your own that your could share with those you work with on your District or office? The important thing to do is to not forget the past or how you got here. Discuss our Vision, Shared Values and Operating Principles. WE have all learned much about our wildland fire culture and ourselves over the last 10 years. How you apply that knowledge and wisdom is up to you. Take the time to revisit the events of South Canyon and share your knowledge with others who you will be depending on. Gonzales sums it all up pretty well in talking about survival under extremely stressful situations, "it's about what you know that you don't know you know that you better not think you know." So the more you know............................

Jack Kirkendall
Bitterroot NF
7/7 Message for FBI:

Made contact all is fine, did have some storm damage, but nothing major, and mother said you had better call.

Hilbille
7/7 Hi everyone,

I have a quick question regarding schooling. Three years I ago I started working for a contract crew doing wildland fire fighting. I first started the job as a temporary job, to earn money. Since my first year, I have since changed my mind, and wish to make it a career. This year I almost landed a job with the Forest Service, but didn't quite meet the experience level needed. My question is this. What types of college courses, if any, would help me on my path to making this a career? I live in Utah, but most of the Universities, etc., don't seem to offer much. Any help, or tips would be great.

-Kris
7/7 Green Valley Lake Community Chipper Day!
Currently scheduled for July 17th - 10am to 4pm.

We will only accept & dispose the following types of slash and ladder fuel:
Branches, 6 inches in diameter or less;
Lumber and fence posts, 6 inches in diameter or less.

MORE DETAILS TO COME! WATCH FOR UPDATES:
Your U.S. Mail Box, Your Local Newspaper, Bulletin Board in the Post Office, WildLandFire.com / THEY SAID IT
GVL Citizens for Disaster Preparedness: http://home.earthlink.net/~gvlcdp/.

Sponsored by the: GVL Citizens for Disaster Preparedness, Inc. (GVLCDP) and Mountain Rim Fire Safe Council, Inc. (MRSFC)
For additional information please call MRFSC 337-6844.

Upcoming Event:
Green Valley Lake Citizens for Disaster Preparedness
Community Meeting July 10th 10 a.m., 2nd Saturday of Month
Where: GVL Fire Station 129, 33596
Green Valley Lake Road, Green Valley Lake, CA
Website: http://home.earthlink.net/~gvlcdp/
Insert: "GVLCDP" in your search engine.
Please join us!

THANK YOU AB FOR THIS POSTING IN "THEY SAID IT"!
Sincerely,
Char Johnson: Web Manager
GVL Citizens for Disaster Preparedness
7/7 DOD dude,

You have some interesting questions. As far as PPE goes, check out the Interagency Standards for Fire and Aviation Operations 2004 (the Red Book), specifically Chapter 6 - Safety:
www.fire.blm.gov/Standards/redbook.php

There's a PPE compendium Chapter 6, and those are the interagency wildland fire standards. For line packs and hydration, check out some of the advertisers here on this site. Comfy line packs and a gallon or so of water (depending on locale, shift length, resupply options, etc) are a Good Things. And yeah, it better fit well.

And an organizational nit-pick - you aren't part of Region 3, that's a Forest Service designation. Though the "Region" designations are widely used 'colloquially', it's much more accurate to say that you are in the Southwest Geographic Area. The SW Geo. Area includes Region 3 of the USFS as well as BLM, Park Service, BIA, Fish & Wildlife Service, and State Forestry organizations - none of those latter are Region 3 (because that's a USFS organization), they are in their own region or state designation.Check this out:
www.nifc.gov/news/gaccs_map.phpl

Now, on to radios, etc. Unless you're on initial attack, in which case your mutual aid agreement should cover radios and frequencies, then handheld radios would normally be provided by the incident. If you have a programmable mobile in your rig, then that will help. The incident commo officer or the shift plan will have the commo and frequency plan on it.

You should look to see if your OES mutual aid agreement covers the national interagency wildland fire coordination system. If it's just an agreement between your department and OES, then you'll probably need to get involved with your local (SW Geo. Area) wildland fire dispatching system there in Arizona. They will dispatch you to off-unit, non mutual-aid incidents. Contact your local Forest Service, BLM, BIA, Fish & Wildlife Service or State Forestry fire manager to get the info you need here.

If you're deployed to a federal wildland incident, the land-owning agency will have the top-line authority, but the incident command is likely to be an interagency deal - the IC may be USFS, or BLM, or State Forestry, or etc. etc., and same for the others there.

BLM Bob
7/7 DOD Firefighter here again,

We are to receive Wildland Training soon. I am the Union Steward and want to make sure that our guys are getting the correct training and equipment if we are to get into to this line of firefighting. We had a Fire Shelter class the other day. My question is in regards to the proper PPE for the Wildland Urban Interface. I understand that we can be on the line for up to 14 hrs. This is something as Structural Firefighters we are not use to, and our station footwear does not seem like it would be appropriate. And I need to find out exactly what gear we are required to have. From head to toe, Helmet, Goggles, Gloves, Shirts, Pants, Boots, Line Pack, Hydration etc. I have found some information in the NFPA manuals but not everything. Also I gather that each firefighter should have properly fitted equipment as well? Another question is the proper requirement for radios, handheld and mobile? Thanks for your help! Oh yeah, we belong to Region 3 (Arizona) for Wildland fires, but our department has a mutual aid agreement with OES California and we fall under Region 6 of that type of agreement, not Region 5 for Wildland. I assume that if we are deployed to a wildland fire under any situation, we will be under the authority of whatever agency is running the fire ie. USFS, BLM, BIA, NPS etc. Is this correct?

DOD Firefighter ( Arizona )
7/7 Ab and Y'all,

During a recent prescribed fire, the Sheep Creek Rx burn, 3/22/04 (see the SafeNet, if you are interested), a district AFMO was burned. The first story out was that he was not wearing gloves, tripped, fell into a stump hole and was burned. Ok, someone not wearing gloves on the fireline, most of us have been there. Come to find out he did not just fall in to a stump hole, if at all, but he was between two burners, behind them in fact, and got burned over. Burns to his neck, forearms, hands, and so on. The original investigation (official) stuck with the stump hole story, as did the individual himself (denial, maybe). Then, one of the individuals on the burn, a HS Supe., had the balls and the info to write the SafeNet. Now, the region seems to be conducting a second investigation into the burn and the initial investigation. Nothing out yet. Sounds a bit cover-up-ish (if that's a word), don't it? I am disappointed that the individual and his supervisors chose not to "cowboy up," admit an AFMO screwed up (we all make mistakes), and get the real info out. Naw, let's protect everyone instead, and not let anyone learn from someone's mistakes. This bulls**t has to stop! Please, for everyone's sake, if you make a mistake, no matter how bad, don't duck and cover. Stand up! Let everyone learn. We should not all have to make our own mistakes to learn. And a final note, the Forest FMO has been promoted recently, out of fire, hmmmmm….

R2 localyokel
7/7 GOOD INFO - explains the scope of WUI.
JG

Forest Service and University of Wisconsin Develop New Tools Identifying
Wildland Urban Interface: Where Forests, Homes and Wildfires Meet

Washington, July 1, 2004--The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service and the University of Wisconsin (Madison) today released new scientific maps depicting the communities and lands within the wildland urban interface (WUI) across the lower 48 states. This is the first consistent nationwide representation of the WUI as defined in the Federal Register (Volume 66:751, 2001) and makes possible mapping and analysis at national, state and local levels.

In all, 42 million homes or 37 percent of the nation’s total are in the WUI. These lands comprise 273,000 square miles or nine percent of the 48 states. The WUI, where houses meet or intermingle with wildland vegetation, is not only a high-value environment for users, but also a focal area for human-environment conflicts, such as wildland fires, habitat fragmentation, invasive species and biodiversity decline.

While this research delineates the WUI, it does not depict wildland fuel conditions or wildland fire risk or define communities at risk. The risk of fire varies widely across WUI areas.

“These findings clearly depict the potentially extensive scope of wildland fire issues confronting communities across the nation,” said Dr. Ann Bartuska, Forest Service deputy chief of research and development. “This information will help land managers focus on these critical areas and develop preventative measures as we continue to implement the Healthy Forests Initiative.”

Using geographic information systems, Forest Service and university researchers integrated U.S. Census Bureau housing data and U.S. Geological Survey National Land Cover data, to map the WUI based on housing data. While California leads the nation with more than five million homes within the WUI, North Carolina has the greatest area at more than 12 million acres. In 20 states, 50 percent or more of all homes are in the WUI.

“Our analysis, which integrates demographic and satellite information, is quite unique,” said Dr. Roger Hammer, assistant professor and researcher at the University of Wisconsin’s Applied Population Laboratory, Madison. “Our research provides the most current data on shifting population patterns and gives us the ability to analyze the growth and size of the WUI.”

The findings include analysis of how WUI areas burned during previous fire seasons. For example, while the devastating 2003 California wildfires affected 533 square kilometers (132,000 acres) of WUI areas and burned more than 3,600 structures, it represented only about five percent of southern California’s total interface area. Analysis of the Cedar Firein San Diego County showed nearly the entire periphery of the fire was along the WUI.

This collaborative research was accomplished using National Fire Plan dollars.
The maps are available at http://silvis.forest.wisc.edu/Library/WUILibrary.asp

7/7 More on radio problems.

It would have been better if they would have mentioned the problem is the way the new Digital radios deal with too much analog transmit volume. If the repeater was just narrowband and not Digital there would not be as bad of a problem, just sound bad.
http://safenet.nifc.gov

COMT
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

National Interagency Fire Center
3838 S. Development Avenue
Boise, Idaho 83705
July 2, 2004

To: Geographic Area Coordination Groups
From: National Multi Agency Coordination Group
Subject: Frequency Incompatibility – Narrowband / Wideband Issues

All Federal Wildfire Agencies have begun the required transition from wideband to narrowband with communications equipment and operations. As narrowband implementation progresses, a number of problems have been brought to our attention that have the potential to adversely affect firefighter safety and performance, specifically in the initial and extended action environment.

Communication between narrowband and wideband radios does work. We know that transmissions from wideband to narrowband in a high noise environment (yelling into the mike or loud background noise) may cause the narrowband radio received signal to be garbled or cut out completely, particularly when communications go through a narrow band repeater. Evidence received through several SAFENETs and SAFECOMs suggests these issues are hampering safe and effective fire operations.

We believe the issue is primarily composed of three elements:
  1. The radio operators lack sufficient knowledge or capability to manage the radio in a dual-band environment.
  2. There is a lack of local pre-planning and training in frequency and radio management.
  3. Firefighters remain engaged in fire operations even when communications are compromised.

Because of the safety implications associated with this issue, the National Multi Agency Coordinating Group (NMAC) recommends the following:

  • Firefighters and aerial resources must withdraw from fire operations activities if positive communication with their forces, supervisor, or adjoining forces are compromised.
  • Ensure local frequency management plans are in place and understood to support initial and extended action activities, and include contingencies for cooperator and aviation resources.
  • If communication problems become an issue, the fall back position is to revert to wideband mode. Ensure your firefighters and fireline leadership understand how to make these adjustments.
  • Report any problems, with specific details, through the SAFENET or SAFECOM reporting systems.

The importance of good, positive communications cannot be overstated. Please ensure that all of your firefighters understand the potential for this problem, and what they can do if they encounter it.

/s/ Don Artley
Chair, NMAC

7/7 stumped, re: hardhats,

Red = Crewboss: Yes, or more accurately, 'Module leader', in most cases.
Yellow = Crewmember: Yes, usually.
White = Division and above. Actually, Battalion and above, normally.
Some Hotshot Crews have different colored hard hats that may confuse this.

I am sorry that I am unable to post a link to any policy at this time.

R-5 has complied with the 'rank consciousness' that our cooperators seem to hold so dear and generally hold to the color scheme.

BB
7/7 For Stumped,

As of about two years ago, when I last got my hands on an R5 Mobilization
Guide, there was a standard. White for overhead, yellow for firefighter,
red for captain, blue for blue card crews, etc. I don't remember all the
colors and the assignments. IHC's don't follow a color code as far as I
know, other than to all have the same. North and South Ops, CA is the only
Geographical Area, except for the Southern Area that doesn't put their Mob
Guide on the Internet. Not sure why. Alaska's is not really a Mob Guide
but the Alaska Fire Plan is posted on the Alaska Fire Service website
maintained by the BLM. Does anyone know why R5 takes this approach. I've
emailed them and gotten no answer to this question.

So I've given a partial answer and asked another question. No I'm not an
attorney.

On another topic:
Here is a question I don't know if anyone can answer. How many major fires
have resulted from an escaped campfire built within the fire grille provided
in a developed recreation site? I began my USFS career in fire prevention
and have never heard of this occurrence, however, what I've heard and what
I've seen is limited like anyone else's experience. I don't know if this
can be officially stated as fire stats are usually compiled by cause and to
answer this question would probably take a review of the individual fire
reports, which is a mind boggling thought.

The local paper in my town put a fictional scenario of a fire starting in a
campground and burning into the town. The rest of the scenario as written
contained a number of large errors. I planning on writing a column in the
paper so readers won't be misled. The article leaned toward a "Bambi" sort
of view of fire. Will we ever be free of that? Probably not, however, I
just can't let this one go without trying to provide better information.

Thanks to anyone who has heard of this type of a major fire cause.

FR
Retired USFS (R3, R4, and R5)
7/7 Stumped, It's been awhile since I've been on an engine. There is a region policy, I just don't know where. I do remember this of the policy.

Yellow=Firefighter
Yellow w/red stripes=AFEO (Asst. Fire Engine Operator)
Red w/white stripes=FEO (Fire Engine Operator)
Red=Captain
White=Chief (BC, Div)
Orange=Inmate

Most hotshots have their own crew colors and don't typically follow the above, especially the orange.

An R5 DirtMiner
7/7 stumped,

The information you are requesting used to be in the R-5 Mobilization Guide. I haven't seen one in the last few years to know if it was still exists. There was an exception for individual crew helmet colors for Hotshot crews.

The standard as I remember it was:

White: Line Officers, Forest Fire Staff, District Fire Management
Red: Captains and other supervisors
Red with a white stripe: Engineers
Red with a blue stripe: FPT's
Yellow with a red stripe: AFEO's
Yellow: Firefighters and water tender operators.

Hope that helps....

Lobotomy
7/6 Hi my name is Gina; recently I was in Grand Junction, CO and met one of your crew members who assisted in the aid of my friend. His name was Garette, about 21 years of age. He just flew in from Texas; He was a great big help in that situation; and I wanted to Thank him. If there is any way you know whom I might be speaking about, can you please send him my info and have him get in touch with me. If it werent for him my friend could have died! It is very important to me that at least I tried to make the attempt to say Thanks. I sure do appreciate your help.

Thank you,
Gina M. Flores

Ab will pass any message on but, Gina, he's likely on the line somewhere, pounding line and without computer hookup.
7/6 -MJ,

I heard back from a person who researched your rollover question. The Santa Fe NF says there was no engine rollover, but there was an unoccupied engine parked on a hill that escaped its chocks, ran downhill and crashed. The driver who ran after it had some minor thing happen to their leg, but no one went to the hospital.

Still no info on the reported engine rollover in Idaho. If anyone from that area has more intel, please let us know.

Thanks, researcher, for making some calls on the NM question.
Ab.
7/6 Need a little help on the region 5 policy on hard hats
for the fireline. #1 is there one? If so, where can I
get a copy of it. In particular what I am looking for,
is there a standard set for the colors? Red =
Crewboss, Yellow = Crewmember, White = Division and
above. I thought there was something in the decade
pass, but for the life of me I can't remember where I
read it. Any help would be appreciated.
Abe can you forward any responses to me or have them
respond to dripptorch@yahoo.com

Thanks for your help

Sign me stumped
7/6 Ab,

I looked back through the Theysaid archives and couldn't find anything about the "Wildland Firefighter Safety Act of 2004", a bill that Senator Cantwell from the state of Washington introduced in May. Below is the full text of the bill. This is the link http://thomas.loc.gov/ (and copy and enter S. 2410 in the search box) to her remarks on the Senate floor, including the full text of a Seattle Times article that's now part of the Congressional Record.

vfd cap'n
7/6 I updated the Jobs page and federal wildland firefighter job series 0462 and 0455. Ab.
7/6 72-hour Briefing -- Bitterroot Hotshots Vehicle Accident

File Code: 6730 Date: July 3, 2004
Subject: Expanded (72-hour) Briefing
Location of Accident: U.S. Highway 60 West of Magdalena, NM
Date of Accident: June 30, 2004

To: Regional Forester

The Following Information is Preliminary and Subject to Change

Names of Injured: Bitterroot Hotshot crew members Mike King, Lisa Kurtzhals, Jared Bohrmon, Nicole Lustig, Bill McMaster, Skylar Brown and Richard Griffin

Name of Deceased: Timothy J. Shultz, private citizen

Preliminary Findings: On Wednesday, June 30th, a Bitterroot Hotshot crew carrier collided head-on with a private recreational vehicle on U.S. Highway 60 approximately 20 miles west of Magdalena, New Mexico. The driver of the RV died at the scene. Seven members of the hotshot crew were injured. The most seriously injured crew member was immediately transported by helicopter from the accident site to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque. All other occupants of the crew carrier were transported by ambulance to Socorro General Hospital, approximately 45 miles east of the accident site. One crew member with more serious potential injuries was flown from Socorro General Hospital to the same Albuquerque hospital. One crew member with an arm laceration was kept overnight in Socorro for observation and released the following day. The four remaining crew members with minor injuries were treated and released soon after from Socorro General Hospital.

Narrative: The Bitterroot Hotshots were assigned to the Davenport Incident (fire) on the Magdalena Ranger District, Cibola NF, at the time of this accident. This crew was ordered June 15th and arrived in Albuquerque on June 17th. They had worked several other small fires on the Cibola prior to being assigned to the Davenport fire. They spent the previous night (June 29th) at a motel in Socorro, NM; traveled to the Magdalena RD office for a morning briefing; and were enroute west-bound to the Davenport fire when the collision occurred at approximately 8:50 a.m. The hotshot crew was traveling in three vehicles - the superintendent's pickup and two crew carriers - with the pickup in the lead. The RV crossed the centerline of the highway, narrowly missed the first crew carrier and collided with the second crew carrier (#8248).

Immediately following the collision, the first two hotshot crew vehicles turned around, returned to the accident site, called for assistance, and began administering first aid to the injured crew members.

Critical Incident Stress Debriefing was offered to the hotshot crew and occurred on July 2nd. Two crew members remain hospitalized; family members are working with Cibola NF and Region 3 staff to make arrangements for their return home. The rest of the crew returned today to their duty station in Darby, Montana.

The accident is being investigated by New Mexico State Police and Forest Service (Cibola NF and Regional Office) law enforcement officers.

/s/ Michael R. Williams
MICHAEL R. WILLIAMS
Team Leader

Ab Note to those just hearing about this accident: If you read back through the threads and links, all news articles say this accident resulted from either a "mechanical" problem with the RV or a blowout of a front RV tire. Nicole Lustig and Jared Bohrman were the hotshots that were lifeflighted. Past posts indicate that Jared was released to his dad and Nicole is still in the hospital. Our prayers and best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery to them, their families and friends.
7/6 Hey Nerd on the Fireline
You also forgot to mention that they turn up 5 to 10 minutes after the page out, and complain that they didn't get to go.

As for the link to Siskiyou Daily News on the Thunderstorms hitting Siskiyou County, well the paper got it right (for once) usually there is a picture of an engine with the depts name down the side and caption reads a different dept. or the one I love to tease the CDF engine crews about, crew wearing orange with the caption... "CDF engine crew blah blah blah......" the engine crews get really miffed when you ask " According to the News Paper, aren't you supposed to be wearing orange??" Though last week they showed a picture of the CDF firefighters wearing yellow and green.

Enough
Basque

For those that don't know, the inmate hand crews wear orange. Ab.
7/6 Hi, my name is Andrea Lorusso. I’am the webmaster for the FVRS (Federazione Volontari Radio Soccorso) (Italy).

My English isn’t good. I want to ask if you can add our site on the link list on wildlandfire.com.

The address is www.fvrs.it

Andrea Lorusso
Thank you

Gli italiani, il benvenuto al nostro theysaid. OK the rest will have to be in English. Andrea, we only have a working wildland firefighter's links page, but I'll post your link here. Ab.
7/6 For you fire lookout buffs out there:

Hi;

We now have a website www.firelookouts.com for my book "Fire
Lookouts of the Northwest" which you feature on your website. We would
appreciate your adding this link where appropriate.

Thanks. Ray Kresek, author
7/6 FUMA

The decision to suspend Fire Use in R5 was just a Forest Service decision,
does not effect the other agencies. It was done by a short message from RF
Blackwell, and effective 7/2 at midnight. There should be an official
letter coming out shortly.

TC
7/6 MJ and others driving large vehicles subject to rollover, I found this Scratchline article the other day when doing research on another subject. Following analysis of recent accidents it lays out causes and mitigations.

Common Denominators of Serious Wildland Fire Related Vehicle Accidents by Mark T Bailey

It's a pdf file, but well worth the read. Would be valuable for a discussion at briefing, too. Here's a preview of the factors:

Human Factors:

  • Perceptual Errors
  • Inattention
  • Alcohol Use
  • Fatigue
  • Inexperience
  • Lack of Seatbelt Use

Vehicle Characteristics that are Different from Regular Automobiles:

  • Higher Center of Gravity
  • Braking System
  • "Surge" or Shifting Water in a Tank

Mellie

PS, to AC - thanks for the reply. I understand what you're saying and will clarify what I mean when I get a chance, hopefully soon.

7/6 Just heard about an engine roll-over somewhere in Idaho. Anyone have
details?

Old Fire Guy
7/6 AXE-

For an all volunteer department, it’s not as simple as just setting an hour to do the pack test…I’d love it if it was. The mentality we fight is that wildland fire is hard work (it is) and that it really doesn’t matter if we local folks train for it or not, we just have to keep it away from structures, then the feds will come it, take all the glory, take all the money, and order us off. So why show up for a pack test? The only folks we seem to be able to get through the test consistently are folks who want to go out AD or with another crew, or rookies who just want to see if they can do it. So, when the fit hits the shan as it were, the folks who wanted to go out AD are already out, and the rookies usually don’t hear the page.

Nerd on the Fireline
7/6 Ab,
On this July 6th, on the 10 year anniversary of Storm King, there's a timely
article appearing in the Missoulian...

www.missoulian.com

Kicks
7/6 Ab, I'm here in New Mexico on a severity preposition <snip details>, assigned to the NM State forestry office, and the initial report of the rollover on the radio here was that it was one of the engines assigned to me, After conducting a head count, we knew it wasn't ours, and the only info was that it was an USFS engine, and it happened near Cuba, NM, with the 2 injured folks. The IA load here has been slow, but the thunderstorms are getting closer everyday. We have RH's below 6% with 90 degree temps, and 10-15 mph winds. It's just a waiting contest to see if the monsoons get here before the Fires do!! -

Everybody stay safe out there and remember to hydrate in hot weather.
-MJ
7/6 Check the AT thread from Hanson "What's This?"

Nancy, wife of a heavy airtanker pilot
7/5 Ab,

A USFS engine from the Carson N.F., Cuba R.D. rolled over on July 4th, and
2 FFs were injured. Can you find out more about their status for us?

Thanks,
-MJ

I think the Cuba RD is on the Santa Fe NF. Anyone have info on a rollover? Ab.
7/5 FUMA,

Do you know where I can get written information on the decision to suspend fire use in R5?
Does it only involve the Forest Service, or are other agencies involved?

SB
7/5 Mellie:

In response to your response to seldom seens post it
occurred to me and subsequently kept me up at night
thinking; if everyone is at the stage where they
should have deployed, might deploy, have deployed or
will deploy then everyone has reached a milestone:

NAMELY A NUMBER OF CRITICAL ERRORS AND MISTAKES THAT
CAN BE CHRONOLOGICALLY TRACED BACK FROM A FATALITY (or
fatalities) OR OTHER SERIOUS INJURIES OR AN INCIDENT
OF SUCH A SERIOUS NATURE, ALL OF WHICH LED UP TO THE
ACT OF DEPLOYMENT.

If we arrive at this juncture where deployment is in
question whatsoever then this is not only a serious
and life threatening decisive process but so many
errors have been made to reach this point that this
would be the last of a deployees worries. In simpler
terms, most of the 10 and 18 as well as the LCES
checklist have been violated along the way.

C,mon people we're talking about an action of last
ditch nature something akin to involuntary Russian
Roulette and we are thinking about how to motivate
these people to deploy in the face of what others
think?!?!??!?!?!

How about starting with all of the mistakes made from
the get go and mitigating those first and foremost so
that someone won't have to deploy or most likely
wouldnt be in that situation to begin with? After all
a safety zone and a deployment zone are two entirely
different places. Everyone in my district is aware
that a safety zone is basically a spot where you can
effectively sit back and watch the fire with a Mai Tai
in hand while reclining in a chaise lounge chair. This
should be well established before hand and if the crew
moves to another area, they should spend the time
establishing these zones before they begin head down
elbows up work that is necessary to construct line
(our type I crew once spent close to 9 hours
constructing an escape route while dozers constructed
our final destination. Sounds time consuming? SO WHAT.
Anyone who has reached the quandry of whether they
should deploy or not has made so many mistakes that
should I dare say they've reached the crux of the
Darwinian theory?

AC
7/5 Stories relating to the 10 yr Storm King tragedy:

South Canyon 10 Year Review 199K pdf file

Brutal lessons from a wildfire

Out of the ashes

7/5 Link sent in by Randy
Fact Sheet on the shelter deployment on Oltrogghe's IMT website on the Nuttall Complex

Thanks for the info. Ab.
7/5 A wonderful 4th of JULY

Does anyone have any action shots of AT 25. It is due in the 5th at Moses Lake,
Washington, thought I would get new background for my computer desktop.

Zimm
7/4


~\***/~~\***/~~\***/~~\***/~~\***/~~\***/~~\***/~~\***/~

*-Happy Independence Day-**-Happy Independence Day-**-Happy 4th!-*

~/***\~~/***\~~/***\~~/***\~~/***\~~/***\~~/***\~~/***/~

from the Abs

7/4 Good Morning All, and happy Independence Day!

Seldom Seen,
I woke up in the night thinking about your post. At one level I completely agree that to be in a situation where you have to deploy a fireshelter is somehow "out of kilter" with being safe. But I think there's more to consider here.

I think the wildland fire mindsets that we have to guard against include the following:
"We never deploy shelters" or
"If we deploy shelters we'll be the butt of lots of joking" or
"Hotshots are tuff: who can imagine a hotshot deploying a shelter" or
"If we deploy shelters there'll be an investigation".
Even the firmly held belief "We only deploy shelters as a last resort" could make you wait one beat too long. How does a squad boss or crew member decide "last resort" is here? Is my "last resort" the same as your "last resort"?

Here's a forinstance: What do you do when embers and flaming chunks are flying overhead, the hair on the back of your neck is thinking about standing up (or for some is already up and singing the Hallelujah Chorus), you're in a safety zone and think "fire shelter" to protect yourself or your crew from the flaming flying crap? Do you hold your fireshelter overhead like some did (for a while) at thirtymile? Or do you just get in?

Remember theysaid had a thread just 3-4 weeks ago on how "safety zones" may not be all that safe when fire behavior goes gunnysack? And how do you know how big to make it? We need to trust that people on the ground will make the right choices when confronted with more extreme fire conditions even if it means deploying as a "preventative" measure every once in a while. Maintaining situational awareness is key. ...And all this is speculation on my part, just a forinstance.

Should there be an investigation? Sure -- or maybe not? Someone has to look if there are any "Swiss cheese holes" that put the crew on that fire riding out those extreme fire conditions in that "safety zone". Maybe there aren't any. No real lessons to be learned, just a fire moment in a summer of unreported fire moments. If there are lessons to be learned, I'd be as interested in human factors and situational awareness. Leadership?

hmmmm, and on the other side of the decision to deploy, I wonder if the leader had the thought: "If anyone is hurt or killed if we have failed to deploy, I could face criminal charges from the DoJ..."

Some things to ponder... and I was in the middle of the night. Had to post this. I usually sleep very soundly...

Please BE SAFE my friends
10 fire orders, 13 watchouts, critical eye on fire behavior and how it might change...
Avoid situations where you MIGHT need to deploy, but if you find yourself in that deployment moment even if it might just be precautionary, DO IT! Trust yourself.

Mellie

7/4 Islander:

Wow.. Again, it is wonderful that a VFD or "Professional" FD can circle the pack test
because they are arive on incident w/in the first 1-2 hours....

my question is........

WHY NOT MAKE YOUR DEPARTMENT SPEND THE 1 HOUR ANNUALLY
TO PASS THE WCT????????????????????????

Every department quotes their hours of annual training. It takes less than 2 hours (if prepared
less than 1 hour) to pass the WCT.

Just do it. If contractors stated:

"We have developed an adequate test tha equals the WCT, and therefore the WCT doesn't
apply w/ in the first 1-2 hours of response..."

Everyone would go insane. It would not be allowed, and is a stupid suggestion.

So, my question is: Why don't you make all of your employees do the WCT?
What other rules are you allowed to violate?

-AXE
7/3 NO NEED TO PANIC: I must not understand what we have taught all these years. If it was
PRECAUTIONARY why bring it up or did someone mess up. FOLKS when you go into fire
shelters I would assume that someone or somebody made a big MISTAKE. The idea is that
Fire Shelters are an item of last resort and if we consider them to be our SAFETY ZONE
GOD help you all.

Seldom Seen and not seen on this one.
7/3 Condition of the Fire Fighters injured in the vehicle accident in NM

Just to let you all know that the injured fire fighters from last week
accident are doing well. Jared is going home with his father today and
other than needing some follow-up surgery he is doing remarkably well.
Krystal has been moved from icu into another room. Her recovery is going
to take more time. She is getting a little better each day.

The people working at SWCC as well as the RF and the AFM director in the
Southwestern region have been to visit them. We want them to know that we
are all praying for their speedy recovery.

Friend at SWCC
7/3 Fire Use in northern CA -educating the public- from Firescribe:

From last Tuesday Afternoon thunderstorm hammers Siskiyou County
Update from Thursday Klamath National Forest announces fire-use plan
Wildland Fire Use from the Klamath National Forest website
Wildland Fire Use from the FS FAM web

Interagency Fire Use Management Teams (Ab note: you can always access this and Type I and II Team and Area Command sites via the Links page under Federal.)
7/3 Looks like R-5 has suspended all Wildland Fire Use as of the 2nd. Sounds like
there are a lot of very disappointed folks out there with this decision.

It has been great to see many of the Forests come on board with WFU, thats what
we should all be doing where appropriate. I think there is a big
mis-understanding in the "more mature" folks in the Forest Service in that they
think that Fire Use fires are just "Monitored"...meaning that someone watches
the fire until it blows out and is converted to a suppression fire. All of the
tools used to manage a suppression fire are available to manage WFU. That means
that we have folks constructing line, doing structure protection, large burn-out
operations, as well as all the other tools and tactics involved in fire.

I really think that these blanket statement policies have not been thought
through thoroughly enough. In order to manage fire these days, we need all of
the tools in the toolbox. I really think the folks that made this knee-jerk
decision need to re-think their justifications, and re-read the National Fire
Policy which all agencies signed off on.

FUMA
7/3 Shelter deployment was precautionary. No need to panic.
www.fs.fed.us/r3/fire/swainfo/swainfo.php

L

Scroll down to Nuttall Complex. Ab.
7/3 an Arizona News Station is reporting that 10 shelters were deployed yesterday on one of the fires on the NUTTALL COMPLEX in southeastern AZ.

NUTTALL COMPLEX is composed of two fires. the GIBSON FIRE and the NUTTALL FIRE.

BP

It occurred on the Nuttall Fire. All 10 firefighters who deployed are fine. More info will be available soon.
BE SAFE, ALL. Ab.
7/3 From Firescribe:

Storm King 10 years later with photo

Arizona, West welcome air-tanker news

Summary of articles on the Rodeo Chedeski Fire from azcentral.com

7/3 I just had a quick thought on the whole volunteer vs contractor vs state vs feds issue. I've seen volunteer engine bosses with no wildland experience, contract engine bosses with 2/3 of a season of experience, and state engine bosses with 1 season under their belt before they became engine bosses. Anyone with the feds get their engine boss task book signed off 2 months after guard school? Just curious

R1861
7/3 FANTASTIC regarding the ATs:
"The decision is the result of a safety analysis performed on eight aircraft, and inspections are continuing on the other three." Aero Union personnel have had no pay checks for far too long! Finally the airworthiness of Aero's aircraft has been confirmed via maintenance & performance records, etc. Other contract tankers may soon be certified and available and we will collectively sigh a big sigh of relief. Unfortunately, it's a stop gap effort until newer & better suited/specifically designed aircraft are a reality.

Braking Wind - with a few exceptions, gov't is usually mandated to hire the lowest bidder if contractor meets criteria. BUDGET CONSTRAINTS. Of course getting no contract impacts the economy, yours, and therefore satellite businesses in your community.

Huge cache of illegal fireworks confiscated in foothill community today; no doubt other idiots made it under the cops radar. Checker-board rain in the highlands but it's dry in our foothills and valleys - the volleys, city/county crews and CDF will be busy.

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!

As we at home go about our July 4th celebrations with parades & parties, we need to remember our ArmedForces brothers & sisters who have been deployed and their sacrifices to hopefully keep us as safe as possible in our homeland.

FFs: have a safe extended holiday weekend

Northzone5
7/2 Return of P3's

Thanks to everybody on TheySaid who wrote congressmen, talked to the public we serve, and displayed green ribbons to get our SAFE airtankers back into service. We will see how this unfolds over the next several days/weeks but we can only hope enough happens soon to help us get back to the initial attack success that we have had for many years. We are here to protect both our nation's resources and our personal and public infrastructure and lives. We need a full and SAFE toolbox.

The reinstatement of the P3's is not a minute too soon in the Southwest where we are really heating up again for the next several days.

Happy Independence Day to all!

NMAirBear

7/2 Everyone be safe over the holiday weekend. Come home safe to your families.

Johnny
7/2 Looks like at least some of the air tankers are making it back into the
air this season. Here is a link to the NIFC announcement. It's a PDF
link. www.nifc.gov/nr_airtankers_7-2-04.pdf

RAB

Thanks, RAB. We got the text of this earlier. Readers, scroll down two posts to read it if you're on a slow computer and you don't want to wait for the pdf file to download. Ab.
7/2 Are you aware of any fire pins that were developed for the Montana fires from last summer?? Could you direct me where I might look??

Thank you, Walt
7/2 My thoughts and prayers go out to the members of the Bitterroot Hotshots and
to the family of Tim Schultz from Datil. I was stationed on the Magdalena
Ranger District from 1978 to 1981 and know the area quite well. I was an
EMT/Firefighter for the Magdalena Fire Department and worked a few accidents
on U.S. 60. If I remember correctly there were no air ambulances in New
Mexico when I was there. I saw a few trauma victims who were in the "golden
hour" and were being transported to Albuquerque by ground with paramedics
from the Socorro FD. I am glad things have changed and that the Bitterroot
crew members who needed air transport had it available to them.

Retired R3, R4, R5 fire dog and recreation forester.
7/2 <snip on headers and shields> (This was posted later to the NIFC site as a pdf file: www.nifc.gov/nr_airtankers_7-2-04.pdf)

LIMITED NUMBER OF LARGE AIRTANKERS RECALLED TO SERVICE

BOISE, IDAHO, July 2, 2004 - U.S.D.A. Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth and U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management Director Kathleen Clarke today announced five airtankers would return to firefighting service, possibly as early as next week. The decision is the result of a safety analysis performed on eight aircraft, and inspections are continuing on the other three. The ex-Navy P-3 Orion aircraft are owned by Aero Union Corporation in Chico, California.

"DynCorp Technical Services provided the expert analysis, and has worked to research the operations and maintenance records of these aircraft, and performed a thorough site visit to examine them," Bosworth said. "With better information, and a precedent set for more thorough inspections by the contractors, we believe we can operate this equipment safely this fire season."

"The safety of our firefighters, aviators and the communities we serve is our first priority, Clarke said. "Being able to bring these assets back into the fire managers' toolbox is a real benefit. The return to service of these aircraft will assist the on-the-ground firefighters to safely stop wildfires." The Forest Service and the Department of the Interior in May had terminated the contracts for 33 large airtankers to be used in firefighting missions due to concerns over the airworthiness of the aircraft, and firefighter and public safety. The decision was based on safety recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued April 23, 2004 at the conclusion of their investigation into three fatal airtanker crashes related to in-flight structural failures.

On June 9th, 2004, the Forest Service signed an agreement with Fort Worth-Texas based DynCorp Technical Services to provide the expertise in analyzing the airworthiness documentation provided by contractors for the heavy airtankers. DynCorp was selected because they have the facility and personnel to respond immediately to the analysis needed, and because of their extensive experience with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection in maintaining, and repairing the CDF firefighting aircraft and equipment. DynCorp also has extensive experience with Army and Navy aircraft programs, which aids in examining these aging former military aircraft.

The aircraft and pilots will be re-certified with a check pilot, and a new contract negotiated and implemented allowing them to begin flying as soon as possible. The potential for new wildland fire activity will guide the decisions on where to initially assign the large airtankers since they are an initial attack tool in firefighting.

Since the decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis for each aircraft and DynCorp is continuing to analyze documentation on additional large airtankers, it is unknown how many other, if any, aircraft will be returned to firefighting work. DynCorp is currently examining the data packages from five other contractors, and will submit each report to the Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth as they are completed.

For further information contact Rose Davis or Anne Jeffery, Public Affairs at the National Interagency Fire Center at (208) 387-5437 or (208) 387-5458.

7/2 Axe;

First off, the fact that I know what the laws are in Washington does not mean that I speak for the State of Washington. If you would like to review those laws, they are found in the Revised Code of Washington, Chapter 296-305.

Secondly, you are incorrect in your statement that “the 310-1 guide does not allow for this exception. The requirement is the pack test, no exception.” If you would refer to the 2004 Clarification Document of PMS 310-1, as issued by NWCG:

The 310-1 qualification/certification standards are mandatory only for national mobilization of wildland fire fighting resources.

- During initial action, all agencies (federal, state, local and tribal) accept each other’s standards. Once jurisdiction is clearly established, then the standards of the agency(s) with jurisdiction prevail.

- Prior to the fire season, federal agencies should meet with their state, local and tribal agency partners and jointly determine the qualification/certification standards that will apply to the use of local, non-federal firefighters during initial action on fires on lands under the jurisdiction of a federal agency.

- The Geographic Area Coordinating Group should determine the application of 310-1 qualification/certification standards for mobilization within the geographic area.

- On fire where a non-federal agency is also an agency with legal jurisdiction, the standards of that agency apply.

You would see that GACC’s can set their own certification requirements within the GACC, as can states, tribes or local agencies.

Please don’t assume that my statements are anti-contractor. My statements were intended to clarify what the roles of local engines vs. contract engines are. Contract engines were not intended to replace local engines, nor vice-versa. Arguments that contract engines should be replacing local engines on initial attack just don’t fly.

Thank you for your suggestion to get into contracting, however, I am quite happy with my current situation.

Islander

7/2 I have to weigh in on the issue regarding the use of city or VFD engines on wildland fires. I don't claim to know how other states or areas do things and I'm not going to speculate. I am simply going to state how the department that I work for does things and maybe throw in an opinion or two.

I have been in the fire service for 18 years. Unfortunately, life didn't allow me the ability to travel all season and follow the fires. So, I took a job with a municipal department and do most of my wildland work either with a state crew or as part-time work for a contractor. I still love the wildland work and wish I could do it all year.

My municipal dept does require a fitness test in order to proceed through our hiring process. After one is hired though, it becomes more of a strong suggestion to remain in shape rather than a requirement. We are expected to be jacks-of-all-trades and masters of a few, structural fire, emergency medical, haz-mat, high level rescue, just to name a few. Wildland training unfortunately takes a back burner. My dept has a special team set aside to deal with wildland fire. The team consists of 10 members per shift. These 10 members are relatively well trained. Most have S-130/190, some have a little more in depth training. The WCT is not required of our team members at this time. Wildland PPE is something of a sore spot. The dept provides nomex pants and a shirt, possibly a line pack, and our shelters are handed out to who is going on the fire then turned back in. Boots are a near impossibility to get and are usually bought out of pocket. The dept as a whole does not provide wildland PPE to those not on the team. Our guys have to fight wildland fires in structural gear or nothing if not on the team.
Finally, the mentality is "it can't happen to us" our city is loaded with UI areas and in my opinion is a ticking time bomb. Our fuel types and weather usually don't lend themselves to erratic fire behavior and long flame lengths. However, just a couple of percentage points humidity or a little breeze can change things dramatically. I would think that after the Florida fires of 1998 the importance of stressing wildland fire to all fire service personnel would be obvious. I worked side by side with several structural depts during the '98 fires. Some better than others, but we all had a common goal. I just think that today's requirements on VFD and municipal services dictate that wildland not be a priority. That is until several houses are lost and the community in question wants to know who dropped the ball. Should "pavement queens" be out on brush fires? Sure. Can they be effective? Yes. Are there better resources available for the purpose? Not always in the beginning but they can get there. If I pull up to IA a fire that is covering some ground real quick, I'll take any help that I can get!

Bowhntr
7/2 HI Ab and All,

The Allen Wyatt decision is great and it is good that his family finally has some closure and perhaps some financial peace-of-mind. Additionally, my thoughts and prayers go out to the Bitterroot crew down in New Mexico.

Beigefoot and Islander: your thoughts and ideas are well expressed and I do agree that fire depts. are needed and a valuable asset for the communities they protect. My only real disagreement with them (I've been a volunteer for many years) is that those departments that send equipment and crews to Federal incidents; the local fire districts have paid for protection in their area but are often many miles out of their service area, making money for their departments. Often, the departments are paid by the Feds or their State, after the Incident, and the monies go straight into the department and not into a general fund or back to the people that originally paid for the Equipment. This is Empire Building and not some sort mutual-aid driven cooperation.

People talk about how Contract Companies are hurt in a slow season; but it is not just the Companies' owners that are hurt but also their employees, their vendors and the employee's families. Engine, Crew and Tender companies have invested thousands of dollars in pre-season training, insurances, and on a million other things prior to ever turning a wheel because there is an implied agreement that they will get work. The contract fire suppression industry is real, employs thousands of people with families and other dependents. This industry did not come about out of thin air; it came about over many years because of resource shortages, it is an industry "created" by the government. Now that the Feds are growing their Empire again, is the Private sector fire companies just supposed to go away? The State and Federal should not easily dismiss the Private Sector wildland firefighter as under-trained and under-equipped. The standards are higher now than ever, the equipment often is better than public-owned and the crews are as professional as ever. Private contract firefighter associations have also raised the Professional bar and will continue to do so. The private sector is also made up of many retired, passed over Federal employees that are contributing their expertise to make the private fire industry a more professional entity. Yes, it seems that the industry is over-built but maybe this wouldn't be the case if the Feds weren't Empire building also. As for poor equipment that makes it to the line; if outfits like the Winemucca, NV BLM would quit signing-up sub-standard equipment, this would not even be a discussion.

Everyone have a Safe Holidaze and if you are a private resource that can't find work then continue to talk to your Dispatch Center, politicians and higher-ups in your region, to plead for your right to work.

Braking Wind
7/2 So how many fire fighters does it take to change a light bulb??

None; no need for light, because information takes so long to filter down to us, were used to running around in the dark :-)

To dip my toe in the VFD versus Contract:

There are good crews and bad crews, be it VFD, State, Feds or Contract. Enough said....

As for training. Our dept (100% VFD) racked up 308 hours of training last month (and not just bookwork) divided amongst our 15 person dept, but we have fire dept's & instructors in the county that are willing to teach and learn, as well as reasonably priced courses ($18 per unit) out of the local college that puts classes on weekends and also has a world class burn tower.

Basque

P.S. Siskiyou, I like the nickname........................great place to be
7/2 Congratulations, Leigh Ann. And all our best wishes to the Bitterroot folks.

Nerd on the Fireline
7/2 Leigh Ann,

Thank you for your persistence and tireless efforts on your mom's behalf.
There are no honors in the life or death of a firefighter to match a
daughter's love.

vfd cap'n
7/2 Siskiyou & others,

Yeah, I was being a little whiny there with my last post, wasn't I? Sorry about that. It's just that I trained so hard & put so much energy into becoming a hotshot that I was feeling really frustrated with still being penniless @ this time of year. And then I hear about other crews being sent all over tarnation & talk of this supposedly new dispatching system- and man, I get frustrated.

Now, I'd like to emphasize that I am a low man on the totem pole here- one not privy to too much special information, documentation, briefings, etc. And yes, one very much subject to the rumor mill. (Sorry RR, no documentation.) Furthermore, I do not pretend or wish to be the spokesman for anything or anybody but myself, and even that I do anonymously.

Also, what i said about retention- what I meant was that if you end up with a consistent pattern (which would happen gradually, over a period of time) of fire assignment & overtime inequity among crews based upon nothing other than their geographic location & a new dispatching policy- you'll end up with a pecking order among crews in the region. Theoretically, crews in the south would consistently work more hours & make more $$ than crews in the north. And that won't be a good thing for the northern crews because their people will know that they could fight more fire & make more money if they head south- and logically some would head that way. But that's assuming that such a pattern develops.

Ok, enough clarifying & feeling embarrassed about letting my feeling pissed off slip into my post.

I understand that some seasons are slow & some are busy- that's the nature of this job. But if the system is rigged so that some crews automatically get more work than others- I think I have reason to be upset. Anyway, I've said my piece and now things are starting to look on the up & up in my neck of the woods- so who knows, I might not starve this winter after all.

I hope the Bitterroot folk are doing okay. If I was a prayin' man, I'd say my prayers are with you. I hope everyone pulls through alright.

Nomad

We're prayin' for the Bitterroot shots, too. Ab.
7/2 Islander:

You use the process of quoting, and so will I:

Your Quote:

"In Washington, all firefighters are required to have S130/190 if assigned for more than one hour for a wildfire. In our case, the training far exceeds that, especially in interface operations. Also consider that 2 of the 16 type 1 IMTs are headed by personnel from Fire Districts. In fact, the number of fire service personnel on type 1 and type 2 teams is growing."

I therefore must assume that you have the authority to speak for the State of Washington, as you seemed to state in the first line of your statement.

Your Quote:

"Now you have. We require WCT of all personnel, as do the other districts in our county. It is true that many departments do not use the WCT, but in many cases the physical agility testing they use is considerably more stringent."

It is wonderful that many of your "DISTRICTS" have physical agility tests excveeding the pack test. Unfortunately, the 310-1 guide does not allow for this exception. The requirement is the pack test, no exception. However, again, I'm now concerned that you are speaking of districts in a county, whereas in the above comments you were speaking of the state of Washington..........

Your Quote:

"If you are referring to the use of “city” departments, as in type 1 engines brought in from the concrete jungle, you are probably right. However, that practice has been virtually eliminated, at least in this state. On the other hand, would you doubt that Fire Districts in Spokane County or Kern County have seen less fire or had less training than a private contractor? I can assure you that there are very few contractors who could match them fire for fire."

Again, you are speaking for the State...Let's not forget a significant number of "Private Contractors" are owned and operated by ex-agency (many of which are retired) personnel.

Your Quote:

"I have seen good contract engines and bad contract engines. I have also seen good fire service engines and bad fire service engines. I certainly can’t say that I have seen a preponderance of better “quality” in either the equipment or work performed by contractors."

I could go on with this one...BUT let's compare the quality of agency dozers w/ contract dozers.....or agency showers w/ contract showers...Or how about your dept's catering w/ private catering, or how about your class C fallers w/ contract pro-loggers???

Fire is a team effort, and, unfortunately, as an ex-agency employee, and now contractor, this will be a game that we all play together.

Finally, if your dept. is so-well qualified, I highly recommend you get into the Contracting business. You should have no problem bidding the Ntl Engine Contract.

AXE

7/2 Leigh Ann Wyatt Evans, thank you for taking time to report your good news. Sincere best wishes to you and your family.
BitterRoot Hotshots, HEAL well and quickly! Dalton crew, chime in soon.

SoCal CDF, thanks for posting a better explanation of CDF's air resource plan than what was previously available.

The(trained poodle)Squirrel or others who may have recently applied for a position with CA local or state government: 7/1 is often the beginning of a new fiscal year; therefore no new hires until a current fiscal year budget is a done deal - until their budget is enacted, no new hires; unlikely they can order toilet paper if supplies are depleted..

Ab, it seems there is little specific information filtering to the lower 48 from Alaska, can anyone offer more than what's available on the links?

Northzone5

Alaska is burning. Ab.
7/2 As the wife of a heavy airtanker pilot, I would like to ask for your support to restore the “terminated” contract heavy airtankers. He was a tanker pilot before I married him and he is a professional in approaching his role in the fighting of wildland fires. He, as were the 7 companies and all the pilots, mechanics, and support personnel, taken by complete surprise by the decision to “terminate” the contracts.

Since the termination of the contracts, many supporters, including governors and congress members have investigated why and how the decision was made. Based on their inquiries, the USFS has engaged the contractor who flies and maintains the California Department of Forestry airtanker fleet, to review the terminated aircraft and their company procedures/records. There is hope that some of the 33 heavies will return to service this year…..But what of the future of this industry.

My plea here is, if you have an opinion of the usefulness of the heavy airtanker in fighting wildland fires, they need your support this year and for the future years. The industry is in danger of disappearing. Your support, as I see it, is needed in a grass roots campaign to say “Yes, the heavy airtankers are needed for wildland fires”… and to realize that the helicopters and single engine SEATS are also needed. Each aircraft plays a role assisting the guys/gals on the ground and they all need to work together to support each other.

I ask each one who has an opinion to email, write or fax your congress representatives and let them know of your experiences. Tell them what you perceive the need is for the heavy airtankers.

Of course the real problem is my tanker pilot is happy doing what he has been doing for most of his adult life!He has too much experience in fighting wildfires from the air too not continue doing this. And, if he felt there was a safety issue, he would say so!

Nancy

Readers, to find the contact info for your congressional reps, click the Links page undef Federal. the info is 4th from the bottom. Welcome Nancy. Ab.

7/1 Ab,

I just wanted to let you and the interested parties on They Said know that
the original PSOB decision on firefighter Alan Wyatt who died July 2, 2002,
on the Missionary Ridge Fire in Durango, CO, was just overturned. After 17
long months of the appeal process, the Dept. of Justice reversed their
original decision based on "new evidence presented during the appeal" and
recognized his death as a line-of-duty death. I wanted to express my
thanks to all the interested parties on They Said that gave me suggestions
and advice on how to pursue this issue. It is a huge day for my family and
hopefully this decision will help smooth the way for future families having
to file PSOB claims during a very rough personal time. Thank you for
providing a forum for this issue.

Sincerely,
Leigh Ann Wyatt Evans

You're welcome. Best wishes to you and your family. Ab.
7/1 Abs and the wildland community,

I wanted to let you know that Alan Wyatt's family was finally approved to get PSOB. Alan was a faller who worked as an AD for the Forest Service. His family was denied PSOB even though he was working as a firefighter faller alongside fellow firefighters when he died in 2002. This decision, in addition to helping his family, sets a precedent for PSOB to be awarded to other families of AD fallers who might die "in the line of duty".

I want to say thank you to theysaid. Without you the floodgate of resources and support to the Wyatt family would not have occurred. I also want to thank everyone who picked up the phone or emailed, everyone that took the time to track down info and wrote the powers-that-be to clarify the issue and support the family. Thanks to all of you -- agency employees and contractors alike -- who felt the compassion and acted on the feeling. There were more than just a few of you. You did the right thing.

Vicki Minor
Wildland Firefighter Foundation

7/1 Ab, here's information on the CDF air resources policy for this year:

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF) will continue to staff its nine state helicopters, 13 air tactical ships and 22 airtankers this fire season. USFS Region 5 has advised the CDF that they will have a helitanker located at Hemet, San Bernardino, and Van Nuys this season, and that they have asked for severity funding for seven more Type 1 helicopters. The Department of Interior has requested three SEATs (Single Engine Air Tanker) to be located Susanville, Bishop and Apple Valley.

Attached are several CDF policies regarding the use of aircraft. To best manage the use of air resources and to best ensure that aircraft are available for initial attack incidents, the below strategy for California air resource use shall be followed:

a. The most advantageous and efficient use of firefighting aircraft is the initial attack of new fires.

b. The closest/fastest air resources will be dispatched to a new fire. Helitankers will be treated as airtankers and will be considered in the initial dispatch if they are the closest resource and water source is available near the incident. Helitankers will be released each day the same as airtankers.

c. Region/GACC management will endeavor to maintain appropriate aircraft are available for initial attack statewide. When 4 airtankers and/or helitankers are assigned to an incident, the CDF Region Duty Chief shall notify the Headquarters Duty Chief. More than 4 airtankers/helitankers will require Headquarters Duty Chief consultation.

Consistent with the concept of primary use of aircraft is for initial attack, CDF aircraft will be diverted to new fires whenever their proximity is closer/faster from the extended/major fire to the new initial attack fire than other like uncommitted aircraft. Policies regarding the diversion of aircraft should be reviewed and well understood by all administrators, incident commanders, and cooperating agencies. When an incident commander recognizes critical fire advances, and has urgent need for continued air support for the direct and immediate threat to life of a firefighter or a civilian by the approaching fire front, the incident commander shall immediately contact the ECC and request "NO DIVERT" of a specified number of aircraft. The Region/GACC will immediately be notified of a “No Divert.” When the critical phase has passed, the incident commander shall immediately advise the ECC.

The “NO DIVERT” status will be reevaluated after 30 minutes and then every 30 minutes thereafter, for its appropriateness based on direct contact between the administrative unit and the CDF Region Duty Chief and/or GACC Coordinator. A “No Divert” shall be used for genuine emergencies only. A hot, running fire is not, in itself, enough justification to request, "NO DIVERT".”

d. All CDF airtankers will return to their home bases if they are within 45 minutes flight time of the incident airbase or when pilot change must be made for the next day.

e. Units will release all airtankers daily. Policy that all airtanker requests for the following day are to be placed to the GACC/Region by 1900 hours will be strictly enforced to allow strategic placement of aircraft for initial attack.

f. CDF aircraft may be dispatched to an initial attack response after official cut off time within the base Zone of Influence response area. This will be agreed upon by the ATGS or helitack captain and the pilots involved. They will take into consideration flight safety of the pilot and public, distance to incident, weather, ambient light conditions, familiarity with hazards and overall safety conditions of response. All assigned aircraft shall cease incident operations and return to base no later than 30 minutes after sunset.

g. The bases will report to the ECC(s) all aircraft on base at the close of business each day.

SoCal CDF
7/1 Latest update from the Cibola NF:

Bitterroot Hotshots Vehicle Accident Update Release #2

Cibola National Forest, NM – July 1, 2004 – Three members of the Bitterroot Hot Shot Crew remain hospitalized today as a result of a fatal vehicle accident. At nine o’clock June 30th, a recreational vehicle collided with a Forest Service Crew Carrier on Hwy 60, 15 miles west of the town of Magdalena, New Mexico. The New Mexico State Police reported that a blown front tire on the RV precipitated the accident. The driver of the recreational vehicle, Tim Schultz from Datil New Mexico, was killed. Nine other people were injured.

Bitterroot Hot Shot Nicole Lustig is listed in critical condition with head injuries, and Jared Bohrman is listed in guarded condition with chest injuries. Both were airlifted to UNM Hospital. Seven others were brought to Socorro Hospital. All but one has been released. Firefighter Mike King remains in the hospital for observation. This morning, he was listed in good condition at the Socorro General Hospital. Crew members – Jay Wood, Jude Waerig, Bill McMaster, Skylar Brown, Richard Griffin, and Lisa Kurtzhals have been released from the hospital. Families of individuals involved in the accident have been notified. Travel arrangements for the rest of the crew are being made to return to Darby, MT.

In a statement by Forest Supervisors Dave Bull of the Bitterroot National Forest, and Liz Agpaoa of the Cibola National Forest, they said, “It was a terrible accident. Our deepest sympathies go out to the family of the driver of the RV, Tim Schultz. We are hoping for a full recovery of all of our firefighters and our thoughts are with their families.” .

For more information contact contact
Dixie Dies, Bitterroot National Forest Information Center, (406) 546-8788.
or Karen Takai, Cibola National Forest (505) 401-1025.

7/1 From Tahoe Terrie,
another account from the Missoulan

...two members of the Bitterroot Hot Shots were taken by Life Flight to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque...

Two other Hot Shots remained in the hospital in Socorro with less serious injuries, and five firefighters were treated and released from the hospital Wednesday afternoon.

7/1 John;

“I have found that most of the city/rural fire departments (at least in my county), have no more than the basic S-130/190 if even that for wildland fire training.”

In Washington, all firefighters are required to have S130/190 if assigned for more than one hour for a wildfire. In our case, the training far exceeds that, especially in interface operations. Also consider that 2 of the 16 type 1 IMTs are headed by personnel from Fire Districts. In fact, the number of fire service personnel on type 1 and type 2 teams is growing.

“I have never heard of a city/rural department that has adopted the packtest as a minimum standard, before sending their people out on an assignment.”

Now you have. We require WCT of all personnel, as do the other districts in our county. It is true that many departments do not use the WCT, but in many cases the physical agility testing they use is considerably more stringent.

“When I look at the wildland fire training and experience between a city department engine's personnel, and a private contractor's engine personnel, I believe that the private contractor is more qualified to be on the line.”

If you are referring to the use of “city” departments, as in type 1 engines brought in from the concrete jungle, you are probably right. However, that practice has been virtually eliminated, at least in this state. On the other hand, would you doubt that Fire Districts in Spokane County or Kern County have seen less fire or had less training than a private contractor? I can assure you that there are very few contractors who could match them fire for fire.

“A small rural fire department's resources may be less expensive on a Daily basis, but if you figure in the quality of work performed, and in many cases the quality of the equipment, I think it would even out, considering a good contract hand crew or engine crew (yes there are a few around) could most likely accomplish much more work in a day than a typical small town rural fire department's crew.”

I have seen good contract engines and bad contract engines. I have also seen good fire service engines and bad fire service engines. I certainly can’t say that I have seen a preponderance of better “quality” in either the equipment or work performed by contractors.

Islander

7/1 For those of you who interviewed with LA County.

I called on 06-30-04 to get the status and the response was:

"We have not sent out result letters, and we do not know when they will be sent out."

I'm not sure if calling them every week will do anything, but I'm going to do it anyway.

What is up with the hiring process in EVERY dept, crew in this state. It is jump through this hoop then jump through this one, then sit. Maybe folks who have any influence can help to cut out the B.S. and give us the common courtesy of letting us know one way or the other.

The(trained poodle)Squirrel
7/1 Note: we got this in yesterday's snail mail. Burk has been on the road and the Wildland Firefighter Foundation has been moving to its new home and has been without phone, fax or email. They're set up now. Any typos or misspelled names are mine. Ab.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
They Said Readers - Wildland Fire Community,

Just a few words to talk about the compassion I found at the Colorado Wildfire Academy in Carbondale, Colorado on the "eve" of the 10 year anniversary of the Storm King tragedy. The support for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation was definitely there. Donations came from all around the town from regular working folks. It was incredible.

While I was there, I hiked Storm King Mountain with our Foundation's Bronze statues. True North donated the pack I carried the statues in. While I was hiking and the sweat started pouring, I found myself gaining a new respect for wildland firefighters. By the time I reached the top, I was overwhelmed with what had happened 10 years ago on this mountain. I was lucky enough to meet with Eric Hipke and got some pictures of him holding our statues.

Above and beyond all that, I want to thank everybody who touched the Foundation. With all of your support for the 52 Club, the Foundation can maintain its exposure on the road, which I think is very important for the wildland community, and firefighter families in need can be served.

So please, if you haven't joined the 52 Club yet, the membership list is waiting for you. By joining the 52 Club, when you hear of a fatality or injury this summer, you will know you have done your part and, rest assured, we will be doing ours.

Burk Minor
Wildland Firefighter Foundation

Burk, when you get your photos back, send us a pic. Thanks for what you do and the time you take off from your "real" job to serve us in this way.

Readers, here are 6 photos of Storm King, Christmas day 1999 for those who haven't seen or hiked the steep terrain. Ab.

7/1 Update on the accident. It was the Bitterroot Crew and 2 shots are in critical condition.

Hotshot Crew Involved in Car Accident

Tahoe Terrie

Thanks for the link, Terrie. Thanks also to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Ab.

 
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