August, 2004

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8/31 To any that can answer this:
I'm looking for information on what each different region considers when ordering a crew that should be self sufficient. Is there a difference in ordering a self sufficient crew that is striclty Forest Service personnel vs a crew made up of All non federal employees or a mix of federal employees?

Do you expect the crew to use pcms or travel cards to take care of their own lodging and meals if the assignment is a severity detail or do you have BPA's set up to take care of the personnel's needs? Do you treat a single resource or small engine module differently from a handcrew in regards to feeding and housing during a two week detail?

I'm a bit confused on this subject, as it appears the interpretations from region to region are different. This has caused undue conflict on crew dispatches. When a resource order comes in for a type 2 or type 2IA crew that is self sufficient, what do you expect?

Anything will help,

8/31 backburnfs

The exposure wouldn't be deemed an accident. The resulting rash... if medical treatment is needed... would cause it to be an accident.... hmmm you are right... knuckleheaded thinking. lol

So...the question is how does your agency treat poison oak incidents if you have to visit a Doctor for medication...shots...or steroids? Do they fill out the paperwork... identify it as an accident and cover your medical bills?

8/31 Yep, it has been a slow fire season and the "animosity" has come out here and there on TheySaid. Good points EVERYONE, regarding PPE, management, etc., but back to what we do.......

Friends, I may be wrong but it really does look like a major catastrophe is about to take place in the Southeast United States. Hurricane Frances has dead aim on South Florida right now, not to mention what it is already doing to Puerto Rico and is about to do to the Bahamas area (Tuesday afternoon).

Remembering that we wildland firefighters are a caring and all-risk community we need to be ready to respond to this apparently imminent situation. I, for one, have my bags packed for a no-frills-at-all adventure that will likely be much like that of Hurricane Andrew over a decade ago. 

There will likely be a load of human misery this time that firefighters need also to prepare for. 


8/31 Oliver, you have some real knuckleheads running you safety program if they
say poison oak exposure is a preventable accident. What do they say about
Bee stings? I have never heard of anyone getting dinged for safety
because of either of those hazards. I learned something new today so I
guess I can go home.

8/31 Please post on TheySaid. Gracias! Dick


International Association of Wildland Fire
Call for Papers

Due: November 1, 2004

10th Anniversary Conference
Wildland Firefighter's Human Factors Workshop (1995)

University of Montana
Missoula, Montana USA

April 25-28, 2005

Suggested Topics for Papers:

* Lessons Learned * Leadership
* Human Factors in Aviation * Risk Management
* 10 Years of Progress * The Fire Culture

Please send your abstract of 500 words or less to Dr. Bret Butler at the 
Missoula Fire Science Lab NLT November 1, 2004.

Email: bwbutler@fs.fed.us
Questions? Call 406-329-4801

8/31 Pulaski, I see you don't call your self Combi, guess some things don't need
to change. I was in a middle management position for 8 years and tried
like hell to get things, mostly small things changed. Things like getting
engine foremen up grades from 5 to 6 in the PNW and even get them PSE
appointments since they were all mostly temps then. Even though 20 miles
south in the almighty R-5 they were all 7's and 8's and PFT's. Things like
working with the private contractors to help them improve their crews and
engines. I have been in the battle 29 years so I guess I have experienced
my fair share of red tape and stupidity and maybe even earned some b**ching
rights. So don't spew the old "if you're not part of the solution you're
part of the problem" junk at me.

I went back to herding crews around after South Canyon because that is
where I thought I could be a bigger part of the solution, actually feel a
sense of accomplishment, sleep at night and be able to look at myself in
the signal mirror and not puke. Besides that is where my heart is.

I have nothing against those WITH EXPERIENCE who want to move up in the
organization, God knows we have plenty of clueless fast trackers out there
who are in positions with decision making authority. I just know that I
personnaly cannot deal with burro-crats, political appointees and the rest
of that ilk on a daily basis and keep from going postal on someone. So it
is safer for everyone that I stay out of the office if you get my drift.

If you can deal with all that and keep your sanity then by all means" STEP
UP" as the Ghostdude says.

I will continue to exercise my right to b**ch and make what ever small
contribution I can, to make things better from the ground up, because that
is where the people that matter most to me are.

Most of this jive about pants and MTDC is only a symptom of bigger problems
with management but it is a safe subject that we can discuss without really
getting depressed.

Mellie, thanks for the support as always kid. God Bless.

8/31 My my, feelings seem to have been running high as of late. Came back to find all this animosity! This is what comes of a slow season I suppose. Though interesting points have been brought up.

I think this is an excellent time to point out a thing or two. When I am out in the field I inevitably hear disgruntled comments in reference to those of us who play desk jockey in the business side of things. Many comments are much like those I see here about how they “don’t know how things really work on the ground!” The truth of the matter is that the people working higher up in fire ARE ex-groundpounders. People who were on, and in many cases ran, Hotshot crews, engines, helicopter modules, etc. They were there, many of them still go out, frequently as IMT members and know exactly what’s going on. When bogus policies come down the pipe they aren’t coming from them. They are coming from other places like the Office of Personnel Management or the National Transportation Board, and the like. The folks at the regional and national levels are TRYING to do what they can for the guys and gals on the line within the constraints (and there are MANY) of the budget and policy handed down to them. Most of them fight the good fight. When they get defeated and try to make the best of what they have been handed they get flack from the field. Despite the fact that it can be a thankless job they keep at it. So keep that in mind next time you go off on them. They aren’t usually the mindless bureaucrats.

8/31 To Pulaski -

Thank you. Your comment meant a lot.

"Wisdom tells one where to stand when squirrley winds surround you."

Thanks Pulaski for the support. - (Ghostload II)
8/31 I'm curious to learn how other agencies handle poison oak infections as personal injury accidents. My agency determines the accident to be non-preventable if a pre-treatment such as Tecnu or Oak and Ivy is used prior to the exposure and the person develops a poison oak rash and has to seek medical help for the treatment.

If a pre-treatment wasn't applied, the poison oak occurrence is considered a preventable accident if the person had to seek medical treatment. This can lead to loss of safety credits and disciplinary actions.


1. Is the above determination of preventable and non-preventable accidents consistent with your agency's policy or direction?

2. On large fires, with an influx of FF's from non-infested points of the country, do you feel we do an adequate job at the briefings of describing prevention mitigations with regard to poison oak, ivy...sumac?

3. A large part of the population has natural immunities to poison oak. Is there an allergy or medical test that individuals can take to help them develop a personal safety plan they can use when dispatched to or working in areas with a high likely hood of poison oak exposure?

I personally don't suffer from the effects of exposure to poison oak. My early childhood was spent in Southern Oregon wrestling in the scratch and itch plants with cousins and building forts from old growth poison oak. My son on the other hand can get poison oak from an internet picture of this vile plant.

The importance to me is to help my crews develop prevention and mitigation standards for anything that affects their health and safety. And as important ...I think I need to make sure they aren't charged with a preventable accident as the result of working in and around poison oak considering their own susceptibility to the toxins.

Any thoughts or suggestions will be appreciated


Poison oak is a real problem in norcal. On the Sims Fire near Hyampom at one time 8 shot crews had it, well more than 100 firefighters. It mimics other local vegetation in leaf type and climbing or bushy growth habit. Sometimes you don't know you've been in it until the rash breaks out, even if you know the evil weed. If you do recognize it, you often have to work in it anyway to build line. Ab.
8/31 Abs, and all:

This is one of those times when my military experience comes into play.

I've been in the military for just about 11 years. If you've even been on a big Army or Marine Corps base, you've seen all the cool nifty stores just outside the gate just ready to sell Joe all the cool nifty gizmos and gadgets he needs to fight a war, but Uncle Sam didn't issue to him. There are cool new rucksacks, better boots, socks, lighter weight helmets and hats......if someone can use it in combat, a store sells it. And soldiers buy it. Everything from uniforms, to boots, to holsters and rifle cleaning kits. Soldiers have been buying the stuff for years. Why you ask??? Because most of it works better than what was issued or just isn't available through the military supply system.

After many many years of this, the Army and Marine Corps have finally paid attention to what soldiers and Marines wear and use on combat. The US Army Natick Soldier Center (NSC), www.natick.army.mil, is the facility that develops new equipment and clothing for the Army and Marine Corps. They are the people that brought you those MREs you all have come to love.

During Operation Iraqi Freedom the NSC deployed teams to see exactly what equipment soldiers were using in battle. This lead to what the Army calls the Rapid Fielding Initiative, RFI. The RFI takes commercially available, off-the-shelf equipment and puts it in the supply system and rushes it to the troops. That doesn't mean someone walks into Wal-Mart with a credit card and buys all out the Garmin GPSes on hand. The equipment is tested and proven, but through an accelerated process.

If MTDC and GSA could take these lessons learned from the military, some of us may actually have less to gripe about. Take the pants for example. If GSA could guarantee one of the current kevlar pants manufacturers a large enough contract, which would be accomplished by canceling any more production of the current "BDU Nomex", within 18 months we could probably have enough kevlar pants to outfit all federal wildland firefighters with 2 pair of pants. I don't work in the textile industry, so no one quote my production figures. After another 12 months we could be stocking the stuff in the caches.

For this to work however, a few things must happen. The product, pants in this case, must still be manufactured by who ever makes them now. Don't just buy the concept and finder a cheaper manufacturer. That defeats the purpose. Keep the stuff made commercially and the quality will keep up too. Also, we must be proactive in our efforts. Send honest suggestions to MTDC and GSA. Provide quality feedback.

That's enough on this topic for now.

But remember one of Murphy's laws of Combat, "The side with the simplest uniforms usually wins."

8/31 JT great post,

Well you also left out gloves, when you turn them inside out you can toss brush for hours.

The shirts are great! I even wear them when going to the local watering hole, hunting, and if you leave a few buttons un-done its great on the dance floor!

Did MTDC design the flagging tape? And the smokejumper canteens are great, they fit into the packs good, and you can hall quite a few of them in your pack, but what I want to know is MTDC going to design a spout where you can pour water from the cube boxes?

Maybe the reason why MTDC grounded all of the planes is because they are designing their own plane for fire use?

But with Leslie A at the helm, this might be a good turn, someone new in office, so maybe the pants will get better? If not we always know we can get them from National Firefighter.

What is up with this season, AK is still going, don’t they normally have rain by now?
And the jumpers are down in the lower 48 by now, so they must have some good xtream hackysack going on.
Oh wait yes that is what MTDC needs to design is a good MDTC approved hackysack!

Stay Safe,

All tongue in cheek I assume. MTDC had nothing to do with grounding ATs and there is no plan for designing their own plane. Ab.
8/31 Old Fire Guy, 

This little snippet addresses what the USFS requires for wildland fire clothing, GSA procured or personal purchases........ FYI, It's from a safety advisory from Ed H. posted on the NIFC Safety site (07/08/2002). I'm not sure if there are any other policies out there, but what we've been told in the field is.... "If you wan't something special, go buy it yourself"...... But it must meet the below standard.....

Forest Service policy requires for all fire line duties that flame-resistant clothing must meet the minimum protection requirements specified in the National Fire Protection Association Standard NFPA-1977, Standard on Protective Clothing and Equipment for Wildland Fire Fighting. To be NFPA-1977 compliant, garments and equipment are required to be certified by a third party. Two companies do third party certification to NFPA 1977, Safety Equipment Inc (SEI) and Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL). Currently SEI certifies gloves procured through GSA. Underwriters Labs performs the majority of the certifications for NFPA 1977. The UL Classification Mark for these products includes the UL symbol , the word "CLASSIFIED" above the UL symbol, and the following additional information:
NFPA 1977-(issue date)
(Control No.)
The labeling information may be abbreviated as follows:
IN ACCORDANCE WITH NFPA 1977-(issue date)
(Control No.).

Rogue Rivers

8/31 Dick Mangan:

Thank you. I don't know you, don't even know if I i've ever run into you while up in Region 1.
MTDC has done a lot right. The Missoula engine, model 52 style, while it does have some design quirks with access to bolts and such, its a versatile engine that can easily be adapted to different needs and regions.
I've never heard of any person complain about his or her fire shirt. They fit, they're offered in a variety of sizes, and they hold up (unlike the cargo pants).
The redpack is also a great design. It can get a bit cramped, but all in all it holds 2 weeks worth of gear.

There are many items that should be left up to the public sector: Headlamps, line gear, hard hats, boots, socks, underwear, sleeping bags, tents, off road/4wd frames and base vehicles.


Hmmm..are you taking the easy way out? or do you just want to maintain b*ing rights by keeping everything like it is. Yup, the GSA pants pretty much suck, although I have never seen the seams coming apart problem that folks have posted about (granted the years when I spent my fire time looking in the dirt they were probably still using horse hide thread). But the quality of GSA stuff is not the point in my thread.

Its your comment "Don't go over to the dark side, Ghostload is full of it. All the talk about the "Higher Calling" is a smoke screen...." that has brought me out of my recent lurker mode. *long pause in composition here as I wonder why I even bother* 

I dont think I can begin to comprehend all the hassles, red tape & hoops management folks go through, but if one was to take your advise there wouldnt be any decision makers who have spent a lick of time on the line. I dunno, maybe we are closer to that now than I comprehend. But what I will say is that if you are not willing to be part of the solution, there is a good chance you are part of the problem or one of those who just wants to sit back and complain.

There come a day soon when I have the opportunity or necessity to move on out of fireline operations and into a decision maker type of position. Will I take it? Your flippin A Im going to take it. Why? Because there are things that can and should be better and Id rather be one trying to improve things than...well, that other type.

OK, back in the early 80's there were several different types of new nomex pants out for evaluation. I never got to try any, but I know some who did and there were a couple of types that folks really liked but I never saw any change until the recent brush pants came out. Anyone have any ideas? Dick?

Later all...and play it safe out there on the line.

8/31 Redbeard,

No apologies to me. I just call it like I see it. Oh, the harsh criticisms, I've dished out my share of them too, chances are sometimes to the wrong person. But Dick can take care of himself from what I've observed.

(<psst> Redbeard, when apologizing even to Dick, watch out putting a capital "H" on the "Him". Sometimes those scientists, ya know, can let that stuff go to their head ... um, clearly not Dick, but some other non-fire scientists I've known expect to show up in the bible before eternity's over...)

Ghostdude <lmao, Dude>, ya gotta admit that take on your moniker is sooooo good!

I appreciate those who step up to higher management and I'm glad enough do. I looked once and most of the FMOs in R5 were former hotshots. Incredible work ethic, cando attitude, funnier than all get out, think outside the box. It's not easy to work in the bureaucracy. Few probably understand what fire management does and with what effort -- to take care of our people. Pressures from the top and pressures from the bottom... But you "Apparel Approver" management types, how about try the tight crotch pants yourself over a season of fighting fire? If the pants don't hold up and aren't roomy enough, just reject them. You "Tool Approver" management types, if the pulaski heads fall off, approve and cache a better quality brand. Good grief. We can't have the groundpounders fighting fire with only the crooked handle! What's with the agency attitude that we can always just barrrreeeeely make do, even when it's more economical longterm and safer if we don't make do that way??? 

You leaders of the groundpounders, you're remarkable! Whether you move on to higher management or continue to share the WISDOM in your current leadership role, thanks for your contributions to the young of this profession. Thanks for hanging in there for all our sakes. Public Service. All who follow their calling embody it.

JUSTSAYNOTOGSA, I'm with you! We definitely need a few more good fires!!


ps Joatmon, your pulaski handle comment last week was too funny!!! (I've been wondering, is your moniker really J.O.A.T. <slight pause> M.O.N.?) If so, good for you! Time will change the N to All! And if I guessed wrong, none of this will make sense to you anyway! (what's she been smokin?)
8/31 They say if we dont like the gsa pants then fill out the complaint card. Well we dont need to, all gsa needs to do is look around and they will see all the ways they can make it better. so zone fire
8/31 all quiet on the western front. with cooler temps in most states lots of seasonals went home or back to college with less change in their bank account than expected.
but, it ain't over until it's over! Sept in R5 is state fair time (northzone), one year it may rain, next it will be 114. southzone has yet to pay heed to anyone's calendar!

OLIVER, your humorous & thought provoking dissertations are always a welcome read! now, about Nomex 14 days wear & WFF apparel: please explain to the less informed how important it was to insure those old Nomex were laundered appropriately to retain their fire retardant properties. I forget, with or without fabric softener added to the rinse cycle> < wink, wink, ;)
question: any info about cleaning those bulky "suits" the sky jocks wear?

have a happy and safe Labor Day, all!

8/30 Fire pants for 14 days? Hell yeah! I wouldn't trade them in for a pair that had been washed in cold water with some cheap GSA soap. Wouldn't want the boys playing with that crowd! Besides it keeps people from sitting at my table at breakfast and dinner wanting to talk nonsense about the piss poor briefings or being assigned to a demented DIVS.

When I'm elected grand poo-pah I will turn the design and construction of PPE clothing over to Carhart or maybe even to the people who sew that fricking little monkey to all of their garment lines. Double layered at the front...gusseted crotch... deep pockets with a side pouch for my saw wrench. (insert Tim Allen Grunts here)

Also I think the perfect pair of fire pants should have padding for the buttock area. This would add some protection when I tell someone to kiss my arse. Protection for who is another topic.

Remember when we didn't have Nomex? Everyone wore uniforms of polyester blends. Green Loden jeans from JC Penney. Wranglers and Levi's and the preppie's wore Lee jeans? Metal hard hats...dented and scratched. The only thing we had in common was our boots. Whites...West Coast and Danners. 

Drinking from shared one gallon canteens...refilling from a stream. Can you spell girja...girahedar...Beaver Fever? 

Original MRE'S ...C-Rats. Every key chain had a can opener to open the cans of beans and weenies leftover from World War II.

Ahhh...the good old days. <snort> I wonder what the fire fighter of the future will wear and use? Probably indestructible garments made from fibers found on Mars. Escape Routes would be obsolete. Everyone would have their own quantum mechanics strings identified and programmed into transporters like Captain Kirk used. No need for a safety zone. Just call Incident base and ask to be beamed out. Hopefully someone will be monitoring the communicators. AAR'S would investigate preemptive transports to the shower or chow lines. 

No more poison oak! Transporters would scan and eliminate alien life forms like poison oak.


Until the future gets here I think it's healthy and productive to be pressing the issues of form , comfort and function of the gear and garments issued to each FF. Experimentation leads to better products. I can't think of a better group, than the ground pounding... dirt flinging... brush cutting... tree falling... and flame fighting fire fighters to product test every new gadget and garment that shows up in the profession. We do this everyday of every fire season. However I do think fire fighters need protection from liability and injury as they try out new gear and garments developed outside of the normal GSA and Federal testing center pathways. How to provide this protection, if it can be provided, will take more brain power than I possess. 

As for feed back to GSA/MTDC ...Maybe a blind draw of names representing every FF position would produce different ideas and solutions at meetings sponsored by MTDC. Blind draws would provide the diversity of thought and representation. Kind of like mixing the insane with the sane and not knowing who's who. Could result in less representation from those that want to get along and more voice to those that want to get it on and get'er done.

The money will be there... Maybe fewer ATV's in camp to deliver cold bottled water and supplemental snacks to the camp slugs could pay for upgrades to FF'S needs? (couldn't help it...my apology's to the many fine camp slugs I've met over the years.)

8/30 Hi Folks,
Based on the content of the board it REALLY MUST BE A SLOW SEASON to be hashin' out trousers...But bashin' Dick Mangan - that is uncalled for - period. As a lowly R1 contractor I had the privilege of attending Dick's S-270 class and chatting with him in Reno at the IAWF conference. As with most classes you learn as much or more from the conversations held in between course work items as from the course work - in that case it was certainly true. Dick continues to help improve everyones experience on the fireline - and he certainly has free Moose Drool in Whitefish if I'm standin' at the bar.
8/30 I wanted to apologize about the crude and highly inappropriate comments to Dick Mangan, and you're right Mellie my apologies to you too, I was way out of line, Dick Mangan has done more in one day for fire and firefighters, than I could do in a lifetime and is a great person from what I know of him, his retirement was a great loss to the Forest Service and I'm still glad he puts his two cents worth in, I highly respect Him, Leslie Anderson and her crew for their relentless and thankless work. Its true I have no Idea the magnitude of what goes on at MTDC just of what I experience on the ground, the red tape must be beyond comprehension. Ghostdude you're correct I shouldn't have carved Mr. Mangan up as a management Model, I most definitely would have used you instead If I had only known where you're coming from, but I think you did a pretty good job of that yourself without my help.

Please forgive, I am just frustrated as many of us are, it seems like all we have time to do anymore is fight battles, our support system has turned into a police action, no time to supervise or put the fire out any more just fight battles, we will get through this one way or another. see you all on the big one, keep fighting, never quit!

8/30 Apprentice Hours:

One can only say that "joatmon" is right on the money, with their post. As, thank heavens, a former "unit coordinator of apprentices", Joatmon is right. Apprentices get the BASIC training at the academy and then Units need to provide the additional 300 hours of related and supplemental training before conversion. Gee the Modoc does not have a helicopter -- where do they get the experience then?

One can only ask -- if we require these apprentices to pay back for the training they received at whatever cost, how come the money spent to train TONY KERN as a SES employee who is leaving the agency after getting rid of the airtankers does not? HMMMM something different for the higher ups??? 

Seldom Seen
8/30 GHOSTLOAD: WHATEVER, DUDE! You need to get back in the dirt and see how
the lowly ones have to work around the stupidity of the "NEW FOREST SERVICE"
and still get the job done like we always have.

Maybe the govt. should buy us our boots, on second thought they would have
to be GSA issue and we would all be in the Med Unit with crippled up feet.

REDBEARD: WHAT YOU SAID! Except for the part about Dick Mangan, he's OK,
like Mellie says.

Don't go over to the dark side, Ghostload is full of it. All the talk
about the "Higher Calling" is a smoke screen. There is no higher calling
than being there to take care of the crews and keep the Commisars off their
back and out of their pants. Hang in there till your knees fall off and
then retire and go AD. We need you on the line not sitting at some desk
bagging on the firefighters and putting up road blocks every time a rocket
surgeon at MTDC comes up with a "new and improved" widget to try to justify
their existence. I NEED A FIRE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

8/30 Okay......reality check:
Ed H. or Dick M. please jump in here and clarify if I am mistaken (that's happened before).
My understanding is that the Nomex clothing tested and approved by MTDC is the only clothing that is approved for fireline wear. Hence, whether or not you are willing to pay personal $ for non-GSA items (better fit, comfort, style.... whatever), you may not do so.

I've also been told the same applies to the MTDC approved fire shelter (both old and new model).......one can not purchase a "different" model for fireline use.

Hardhats?: As long as it meets the national standard.
Boots?: Even more flexibility.....
Bottom line? Fire shelters and clothing must be that approved by MTDC!
Am I wrong?

Old Fire Guy
8/30 Redbeard:

Read your comments, thought about them, and then tried to figure best how
to offer some solutions.

Regarding pants and feeling comfortable: We have to buy our own boots and
they are investments - pay the price and you'll get quality.

Want professional, up to standard ppe and clothing: quit whining about
what 10,000 to 15,000 other firefighters have to wear because fortunately
you have been exposed to a higher order.

And frankly, a person of your talent, skill, experience would do better to
set a more mindful tone as a leader instead of a whiner for the forum.
Given your experience, we can use people who can think in management - why
not give it a shot.

The challenge of management is working within a system that needs the very
brightest and broadest of thinkers.

I think its quite an affront to Dick Mangan to carve him up as your
management model. If you knew half of what the man did to make your life
better on the fireline - perhaps you will rethink how you direct your
positive improvement philosophy, or even show your knowledge by submitting
an MTDC study proposal.

At some point, veteran firefighters pass thru the portal from which they
can feel inside that they've eaten enough smoke, dirt, soot and ash - and
can meet a higher calling for the betterment of more people by taking over
programs of significance and their management.

Are you big and bad enough to make the journey, or is the edge of the rut
the only horizon you see? This is a new Forest Service. If you have
positive information, scientifically based, and can offer solutions - (all
things considered within what an agency had to deal with) -- then STEP UP.

- Ghostload
8/30 Ponil Complex:

Lohrey's Northwest IMT was first up on this fire and I sure would think
somebody got some pictures. You can contact them through their website.
The NM Team had mopup and might also be a source of pix at the mopup

8/30 JT -- pants thread

It looks like they didn't go far enough when they came up with the 'new'
pants. I guess they just looked at the military's 20 year old BDU design
and just speced them in Nomex and went on.

The easiest fix would be to keep everything the same but change the sewing
thread to Kevlar instead of the Nomex. This would help keep the seams from
coming apart. The next change would be to change the material to a ripstop
weave, something the military has used for years.

A design change would have to get through the bureaucracy, but adding
additional pockets and adding a gusset into the crotch would make them more
ergonomically better. Did they ever check with the military's design
laboratory to see what improvements are currently being considered?

To paraphrase Norman MacLean's quote: "The fire didn't have organizational

"The fire doesn't care what you look like."

Function first, fashion last.


This quote (www.wildlandfire.com/docs/quotes.php) may also apply:
General George Patton "No good decision was ever made in a swivel chair."
8/30 kevlar pant and wfap threads:

In response to the concerns of dirty kevlar pants spreading disease or oak due to supply being unwilling to trade kevlar for kevlar, I don't know many f.f.'s who count on supply being their laundry service. And most large incidents do provide a laundry service for individuals to have their clothes cleaned. With 14 day tours being the norm it is easy to pack a red bag or use the laundry service provided to stave off the health concerns pertaining to dirty GSA, or kevlar pants for that matter.
As a WFAP in R-5, I think joatman might be a bit high with the 9 year service agreement , however I do feel that most apprentices are unaware that a significant time commitment is required after the conversion. My question is, have the Feds actually billed an individual the $10,000.00 for not completing the apprenticeship or service requirements, or is it a hollow statement? I have heard both and it would be interesting to know.

Thanks Ab for the service you provide, during the slow times They Said is much more interesting than the sit report.


<snort> we have so much more to offer than the sit report. New more comprehensive breaking News page coming soon. Ab.
8/29 MJ-

My short answer to you is Yes, I'm going to wear the same pair of pants for 14 days. I'm also packing a spare pair of GSA Cargo crap pants that I'll wear traveling home (gotta travel clean). I've worn the old disco pants, the straight leg, butt huggers that some genious came up with in the 80's, the GSA Cargo pants, the Crew Boss Cargo pants and the Nomex Crew Boss cargo pants. My 2 cents worth:

GSA Cargo pants: Great for office personnel and fireline personnel that are not wearing them every day. As a hotshot, these pants would last me anywhere from 3 days (pockets ripped off, crotch ripped out) to 14 days (burn spots around cuffs weaken the material much faster than any of the older styles or the Crew Boss style, causing major tears and rips up the inside legs seams). Cargo pockets allow some stuff to be stored, but when you throw all of the little guides, IA size up sheets, knife, wallet, keys, pager, cell phone, lighter, pens, etc...the pockets don't expand and the pants become tight in the legs and crotch.

Crew Boss Cargo Pants: Wore a pair for 3 months before they developed a tear around the cuffs. Roomy cut, very comfortable. Elastic waist Medium size was VERY comfortable. The only problem is the weave of the material seems looser than the GSA...the tear ran up the leg pretty quickly in one shift.

Nomex pants: Hotter and heavier than GSA. I need more time in these to determine real world ruggedness in regards to rips/tears. Crotch is much roomier and easier to hike in than GSA.

As for your Hygiene concern....I'm a lot cleaner spiked out for two weeks eating MRE's and sack lunches than I am sitting in the cesspool that forms around large fire camps. Less contact with masses of people who don't always practice proper hygiene is the best way to go.


I go back and forth daily on the apprenticeship program. Why hire candidates for this program who have no or only one season's experience? Why make them sign a contract that "obligates" them for 3-6 years in government service?

> From the apprentices I've worked with in 3 different regions (none of them being in Region 5), there is a wide variety of output and quality of firefighter produced through this program. A lot of this is a direct reflection of the district that hosts the apprentice. A low fire district does not provide the amount of fire experience that is required to have a person up to a Crewboss Trainee level in 2-4 seasons. If that district does not fully support the apprenticeship program, the entire ideal behind the program is failed. Lack of assignments, lack of leadership roles, and lack of a basic fire background harm the apprentice's experience.

I have never attended the Apprentice Academy or have taken part in the apprenticeship program. I have six seasons of experience in with the Forest Service: Two on an Engine/IA Squad, Three on a Hotshot crew, and I'm finishing my sixth up as an Engine Supervisor. The majority of training I have received has been on my own doing... traveling around the country, driving for a day or two just to take a class... almost all on my own dime. When I was looking for my first permanent appointment, I had the offer of an apprentice position on my plate. Looking at my previous experience, there is no reason why i should commit myself to 6 years of service and be forced to retake the majority of courses I have already taken and paid for with my own money. It would have been a step backward in my career to go the apprentice route.

I understand that the apprentice program has its place in fulfilling a need of training firefighters for a career. I also now understand that the motivated and flexible individual wildland firefighter can exceed the training and experience gained from the apprenticeship program in a shorter time frame while exposing him/herself to a greater variety of fuel types and overhead management styles.

I've probably used up more than my 2 cents, but it's been on my mind.

8/30 Now don't you guys be beatin' up on my friend Dick Mangan. He is on the firefighters'
side. He also retired last year (? or the year before). I understand he does some good
teaching, is the pres of IAWF, has a classified on the Classifieds page. Rumor has it he
sometimes enjoys a mug of moose drool, whatever that really is, and the company of
his family and his good dog when forced back into his log cabin in Montana over the
long cold winter. <snicker> Dick-a-poo, we love you! Thanks for your contributions to
wildland firefighting safety!

Also glad to be hearing from the troops on the ground! Pant comfort and durability are
critical issues when you live in them. O'course I wouldn't know 'bout men's pant comfort,
maybe the scientists should get some men to wear their product in the field for a while
before putting it out there.


8/29 reality check from the ground:

A few comments for the record, from someone who's been on the line for 30 years 25 on Hotshots the rest engines and Helishots.

#1- Pay issue. If in fact we value the future and the lives of future firefighters, we still have to keep fighting, and supporting thehe association for equitable pay. Things are different nowdays, we are at the point where unemployment benefits are more than a GS-4 base pay. Americans, smart people and people with families like and need money, and to retain a quality workforce, we must move ahead and all of us support the pay issue.

#2- POSH training (prevention of sexual harassment training). This is more of a red flag for future priorities being other than fire suppression. Crews including my own have been made unavailable for fire response to attend this outdated and high priced example of government waste. What would the public say when they find out that national resources were being held while their houses burned? Write your congressmen on this one. This hovers on the verge of the twilight zone and anyone who supports a travesty of this magnitude needs help and needs to be held accountable.

#3-Fire Clothes and equip. etc. Shame on you Dick Mangan, I thought you were on the firefighters side. I think with the pants issue you and the rest of the heartless bean counters have found a way to successfully win the "Nickel and dime" war against the groundpounders, try saving money by cutting out the useless, $8,000,0000 a day FIREWATCH program or the ill timed 20,000 dollar a session "POSH training, or maybe back out on the the 280 acres that the Tahoe management Basin bought for 10,000,000. if you want to save a couple of dollars. The stuff from the cache is garbage, that's a known fact, you must know that because I know you are a smart person. Why should we have to tell you that the junk that they are trying to make us wear isn't even close to the quality that we can get ourselves from private industry, you know that . Up until recently we were able to buy the quality stuff and not worry about using that tripe, but now it's sounding like we have to and that's why we are making comments. (And that's why you have received very little input to make things better, we have never had to till now.) My crew spent nearly 120 days on fire over a six month period last year, that's time away from home, living in those pants, not to mention in station and on project. Sometimes day and night. Of course we want the best for them, their lives and well being depend on it, we can't pay them properly, they don't rate a few measly benefits if they are temporary, we lay them off without moment's notice, and we expect them to do one of the most dangerous and demanding jobs in the world in the cheapest, worst fitting, crap that we can dole out in mass, when we all know there is good stuff available, yes and that includes those pathetic excuses for fire shelters that you tried to peddle on us. (Instead of shake and bake we can now call them shake and tear and then fry!!)

How's this for a suggestion to those at MTDC: you quit the FS, open up a fire clothing business, close down MTDC and we buy good stuff on our own with our government purchase cards. Cause we know good stuff from bad stuff, being firefighters and all. (Best of luck, but if you plan on using the cache stuff you'll go out of business in a couple of weeks)

(Dick, we really have appreciated most of all you have done, over the years, we are just very frustrated right now as you can tell.) 

This might make sense to the bean counters if the rest doesn't, concerning the fire equip.

* It might be the same as you having to start using the old DG again with no colors instead of a new Dell computer, or someone installing a swamp cooler instead of AC in your office to save ten dollars, going to a counselor with an AA in psychology instead of a psychiatrist, or even sitting in an oak chair instead of a cushioned one, something like that.

#4- Fire shelters- What in the? First of all, we did put in our input for new shelters way back in 1994, remember after several of the South Canyon folks burned to death under shelters? I put in four pages myself after nearly dying under those pathetic excuses for modern technology. Jim Roth worked for nine years on a product that would have worked really well, but we had to settle on the "New generation fire shelter" cheap, cheap ,cheap" mass produced by several unknown companies. First time we opened one it ripped, causing a nation wide recall, do we have the new ones back yet? No, even though it was mentioned several times that they are far superior to the old ones even with the defects. Ten long years, I guess it will always be in the back of our minds, would the four young, forestry techs, who were burn't to death on the thirty mile have stood a better chance if they had a decent shelter?? If someone dies under the old ones this year, will someone else be held accountable besides the first year crewmember who broke a fireorder???

That's it for now. One thing Dick, you did have enough courage to put your name down and that is quite honorable. I don't, 'cause I have family and know that the Forest Service internal affairs people will find a way to wreck my/our lives. I'd call you but that might cost three or four bucks and I know how we are trying to save $$$$$$$.


8/29 I am trying to get photos of the Philmont fires in 2002.  Especially photos
which were taken at the French Henry camp of the cabin and the stove. 
We were on staff there that summer.  I found them earlier on this site, but
my antiquated computer wouldn't load them.  Are any of these still available? 

Thank you! 
Linda Cummings  
Philmont Staff 2000-2004

The fire that burned on the Philmont Scout Ranch, near Cimmaron NM in 2002 was the Ponil Complex. We never posted those photos, although I think I remember the one you describe. (Philmont was one of those memorable experiences in my youth.) The only Ponil photo links I could find are PNW Team 3 archives, the Taos Zone FS site, one photo on our Wallpaper page, and Ponil Firewhirl on Fire 14 photo page. Does anyone know how Linda might find that photo? Hey, Lasagna, you reading? Ab.

8/29 MJ,

If you’re on a shot crew then 14 days, could very easily be done with one pair of pants, and 4 pairs of under-roos, (the turn inside out factor).

Most shot crews will have 3 pairs of pants with them on a 14 day run. Maybe with the cache in fire camps they are for the type II hand crews or contractors, but if contractors are going to be on fires, why not have them with the same standards as the shot crews, make each person carry 3 pairs of pants, carry enough food and water to support themselves for a day on the line with out support

And in reply to the GSA pants and equipment, how much money do we (being tax payers) spend each year with GSA?And then how much stuff is sitting in a cache, that will never get used. Like at the Utah Wildfire academy, GSA was handing packs out like water to everyone, so is this the best way to spend tax dollars? I rather see that money goto the FWFSA, or the WFF.

Stay Safe,
8/29 In 24 days how many times do you change your pants? I have never been sick because of someone's nomex. And we all know it is a must to have enough pants for 14 days, and most of the fires i've been on there is someone there to wash the dirty ones. It seems like you are worrying about the petty things. there are alot more important issues out there. So lets focus on those. And for your question, yes i do have enough pants for 21 days if need be, so if you're worried about catching cold or oak you are free to sit anywhere you want. Im more worried about the guy who has filthy hands and reaches in the drink cooler lol.

someone who knows when to change my pants (smile everyone we will soon have more fires so we can all get dirty)
so ca fire
8/29 Ab, I'm going to rake the muck here.
No one has answered my concerns about the Kevlar pants wearers hygiene issue. How do you guys change into clean nomex when you can't turn them into Supply unit for clean ones? Do you just keep wearing them the whole fire, or do you have enough pairs with you to last 14 days? The people I've seen just wear filthy ones, and don't turn them in. This can be a health issue, especially in Poison Oak areas. Even if you don't get it, the guy sitting next to you in the food tent might, or even catch a cold from your dirty nomex, because you want the "Best, comfortable" pants. How are they more comfortable when they're filthy? You know, since the teams have made people wash their hands before meals, the occurrence of upper respiratory "camp crud" illnesses has dropped off considerably. Also, studies have shown that wearing clean nomex is not only more flame retardant and breathes better, but also reduces the spread of camp illnesses. So don't give me that stuff about you being concerned about your crew unless you have considered everybody else around you in the food line, shower trailer, and food tents.


8/29 sharp-

here is a dose of  USFS apprentice reality.....

it's not a three year contract, it's a hell of a lot more than that! let me explain... new apprentices are accredited with past fire experience of 1-hour to 1-hour. many apprentices from before academy 20 were only accredited with a 3 to 1 ratio. no more than 2000 hours can be given for past experience. these hours are deducted from a 4000 hour total called "work process hours" which are the hours you work during fire season while assigned to a module. they are divided up into categories (like handcrew, engine, and helitack related work, etc.) in which the apprentice records and keeps track of his or her progress towards conversion to a grand and glorious GS-5 position! the basic and advanced academies which apprentices attend are technically not included in these hours. after completion of the work process hours, which takes approximately 2-3 seasons, the apprentice also has to show documented completion of the "supplemental training" which seems to change from year to year but includes things like S-211, S-215, and now includes S-230 ( which used to be in the advanced academy...but i'll explain that later...) sooooo...after the work process hours are completed and the supplemental training is signed off, (this next process can legally take up to 120 days before you convert...) the apprentice sends their materials off to the academy for approval. the academy then sends it on to the department of labor who, in the end, gives the apprentice a certificate which states they have completed the requirements of the "wildland firefighter specialist" apprentice standards (even though you're not going to be converted into that title, you'll be a forestry-tech like everyone else!).....AND NOW THE "SERVICE AGREEMENT" STARTS!!

the "service agreement" states that you will stay in federal employment THREE TIMES THE LENGTH OF THE WORK PROCESS HOURS. so if you need the full 4000 hours ( like most of the new apprentices...) your service agreement is yep, you guessed it, 12,000 HOURS. now lets see... hmmmm, a seasonal works 1039 hours which is 6 months of base hours. add say, an average of 500 hours of OT and you're at 1539, plus a few more pay periods since you're now an apprentice, and 2000 hours is a realistic average per season. yeah, yeah... you could get more but lets stay with an average. SO NOW...the newbie apprentice spends 2 to 3 seasons to complete the work process hours and then waits up to 4 months to be converted and then spends the next SIX SEASONS to satisfy the service agreement (or will be subject to pay back the expense of their training at almost $10,000! ) and TAH-DAH!! yer lookin' at about NINE YEARS. whew! what a deal to be the lowest paid firefighters in the field!

the academies have also removed courses and instead added them to the supplemental training list. they were keeping students for much longer than eight hours per day and when confronted with the fact that they were going to have to pay over-time, they instead cut courses. this puts more burden on home units and makes it damn hard for apprentices from "less motivated" districts to get the training needed to convert in a timely manner (S-230 is only one example...)

apprentices are also subject to the "mobility agreement" in which they can end up getting converted to a GS-5 somewhere in their region that they don't want to be. i've never met anyone that this has happened to, but with the massive "spanish settlement agreement" hiring in R-5......it could start.

anyway, as for the retention problem of the new apprentices, i think nobody really explained to them what they were getting themselves into! hmmm...i wonder why?

my mother once told me, "you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar."

8/29 The Texas Canyon Hotshots will be celebrating 50 years of tradition on December
3rd and 4th. If you're an alumni or know one, please contact us at (661)
296-8418 or email us at tcsup3@aol.com.

This is posted on the Classifieds page, so any and all who need to find it again may do so. Ab.
8/29 Sharp,

The reason people join the program is for the training. You are guaranteed 4000 hours of work experience, with one season on an engine, one season on a Handcrew, and one season on a helitack crew, as well as all of the 5109.17 classes to become a Crew Boss trainee. You come out of the program as a GS-5, true, but a highly qualified one. If I'm hiring, I look for varied experience, not just engine or crew. I went through the program in 1994, and now I'm a GS-9 ADFMO, so I know the program helps careers.


8/29 Sharp,

Apprentice hiring is just the tip of the iceberg in retention issues. It was ill conceived, badly executed and just plain irresponsible. We actually had folks that got hired that way and turned down the apprenticeship for a seasonal job because even with no experience they intuitively realized that is the way it should be. These are likely to become the good ones (that we will lose to other departments), many of the ones that gladly accepted have or will wash out, or become a thorn in our sides (and they are supposed to be future module leaders?).

Worse than that I just spoke with one of our strong young firefighters that will apply, and take if offered, a job with a small municipal department (much like Lobotomy's example) even though he loves his job. He explained to me that the bottom line is his family, and retirement.

I urged him to write Q, he does not think it will do any good. I urged him to do it anyway, even though I feel it will not do much good either. Q has kept his head in the sand about pretension issues, and will likely be retired when we can no longer field an effective and SAFE firefighting force.

I am so disgusted with the whole issue that I am also looking for another job, after 20+ years in the Forest Service, and it breaks my heart because I happen to bleed green!

8/28 apprentice hiring

From what i've seen, the USFS is having problems retaining apprentices. I understand the desire to outfit with full time permanents, but something that has caused me pause. As well as others i know. Is the whole contract deal... Why would someone want to sign a 3 year contract? It's not the military. And with this whole hispanic settlement agreement, people are being picked up with no fire experience at all.

Why not make it more like the state FF1 academy. I would have gone to the academy a couple of years ago had i been able to pay my own way, and not had a contract. It would not be hard to do. And most vets still have their GI bill which would be an easy way to do it. I have never received a comprehensive answer why this is so. If there's anyone out there who can explain this to me i'd appreciate it.


8/28 Here is the address for Rios' SCIIMT Type II Ca.


Thanks, Ab.

8/28 Was visiting your web site looking for information on IMT's from the
East Region for someone assigned here at the Fischer Fire (from Indiana),
and found your web site listings.

Our IMT recently built a web site. If you could add a link to it for us,
we would appreciate it.


Bob Ladd
Resource Unit Leader

I put it on the Type II Teams Page. If anyone knows of other new websites, please let us know. Ab.
8/28 A note to add to the discussion about stress and cancer: Wag Dodge, the Mann Gulch foreman, died of Hodgkins Disease in 1955, six years after the fire. He was under continual heavy stress following the fire. Three times fellow firefighters took him aloft in jump gear to get him back in the game and three times he came back to the base with his parachute still in its pack, though he continued to call himself a "smokejumper foreman." Eventually he was offered the job of dispatcher on the Powell Ranger District, but he turned it down at first insisting that he should be allowed to carry on as a jumper foreman, never mind that he couldn't jump out of an airplane. His wife, Patsy, eventually talked him into taking the job. Bud Moore, then ranger on the Powell district, befriended Dodge and was in the room with him at St. Pat's hospital in Missoula when he died. But Moore says Dodge never reconciled to being a desk man, never gave up thinking of himself as a jumper.

Patsy, Dodge's widow, says Wag never got over Mann Gulch. "Wag died that day," she told me a few years ago. Dodge's cancer was not diagnosed until a few years after Mann Gulch. Who knows what caused it, but the constant stress of his life following the fire surely weakened his resistance and probably speeded the progress of the disease.

8/27 On August 20, NIFC distributed an e-mail message to LSCs, COTRs, and FDULs.
A portion of that message was sent in by "Been There" and was posted on
August 23rd. I received a copy of the complete message as it was sent on
August 20th. Here it is, complete with the missing parts:
"Message from Melinda Draper regarding the National Mobile Food Service Contract program.

Memo for Log Chiefs, FDUL's, FACL's and COTR's

Here is a quick update on the National Mobile Food Program.

There are no National Contracts at this time. All of the contracts that were awarded in July have been reassigned to Melinda Draper. All of these contracts have been terminated. The Contractor's received their termination letters yesterday. The terminations were due to some protests that were received. Due to some unusual circumstances surrounding the procurement the Agency decided we would terminate and re-solicit after fire season to have new National Contracts in place for next fire season. Any questions, comments or concerns regarding the new contract should be directed to Melinda Draper.

John Venaglia is not leaving for military duty. He will continue to be the Contracting Officer for the current 2004 EERA's that we are using this summer. Any questions regarding the 2004 EERA's should be directed to John Venaglia."

The version of this message previously posted by "Been There" could lead
people to believe that there will be no food guys at firecamps in

I have been assured that this will not be the case and that there are
currently plenty of food guys to go around.

- Batchmaster
8/27 Insulin and fire

I also have a type 1 child and, being a Fire Captain that has worked both in the wildland on a Helitack crew and on a engine, The thought of having a firefighter with Diabetes would be a bit unnerving but not impossible. We have several Type 1's in our unit and they do just fine, but the one limitation is they can not be a driver so this limits the potential for future advancement.

CDF Riverside
8/27 EMT_MB,

I think that Keep Out signs have always been too negative.
Try this approach, much more positive than Skull in Helmet.
(See attached file: keep-out.jpg)

- Batchmaster

Ab doesn't have time to deal with posting the photo, but it's cute, it's a doughboy with a keepout sign and a smile. I'll send it to you EMT_MB if you'd like it.

8/27 The Jobs page has been updated as well as the Wildland Firefighter Series 0462 & Series 0455. Ab.
8/26 This came in at 1730.

At this time a 200 acre + fire in Lake County California. News says structures
threatened, 100+ firefighters on the line with air tankers, & helos.

Red flag warnings tonight and tomorrow.

Retired L.A.V.E
8/26 Tanker 48 for Andrew Fire at Minden

8/26 Hey Ab,

How about helping out a Brother? I am a 10 year wildland FF, Structure FF, EMT in FL. Been out West several times, red carded in several positions. Been a Fl Div of Forestry FF for last 8 years. Just want to move out of FL, been here since birth, gotta move out, too many Yankees! hee hee.

I want a full time-permanent position in a good Western location. If you post this on your board, I'm sure some FMO's or AFMO's will be interested. Maybe some of the folks I've worked with will see this and give me a call?

Thanks tons,
Darrin Dodson

I'll pass on any messages. Ab.

8/26 I am apologizing for my lack of professionalism on my post on 8/21 the fire
in the DFPA area of Canyonville. I was quick to criticize our cooperators
and their superiors. I was told the fire grew large very quickly and that a
proper ICS structure was place with the proper channels for ordering
resources. Aircraft was ordered quickly and wind event was what took the
fire to a large acreage.

My apologies
8/26 FC180 mentioned a possible link between stress and cancer. I concur. I
called 1994 "The Summer from H***". And I rarely use words which require
asterisks. That year several things went sour, including a close relative
with a stroke, taking my two kids through the loss of their mother to
cancer, followed within days by loss of a friend on Storm King and related
stress from two more deaths of those close to co-workers. I thought I was
stressed out, and a skin cancer popped up on my face (removed and cured by
removal). I think its widely understood in the medical community that
stress kills. For example, when I worked in intensive care, we knew that
critically ill patients can be killed by the simple stress of being put on
a bed scale and weighed. I know, because I saw it happen. You might not
think a little stress like that could kill someone, but having seen it
happen, and knowing it happens every day in ICUs somewhere in the country,
confirms the suspicion. So, these days, I limit stress whenever possible.

8/26 Yellowjacket:

Thanks for putting the credit where it belongs regarding the establishment of the
Shane/Jeff Hwy. 93 memorial. I will be sure to go to the Broken Arrow Restaurant
the next time I am over in Gibbonsville.

8/26 I was struck by the facts of Paul's cancer occurring so shortly after it was
described "how deeply Cerro Grande affected Paul". This brought to mind the
fate of Wagner Dodge and the Mann Gulch disaster. He also died of cancer a
short time after the incident. We know the mind-body connection is strong
and stress has been identified as a big factor in cancer. Although the
connection is tenuous at best, this is an area that has had little
discussion or research dedicated to it in terms of post traumatic stress
disorder and cancer. We have a pretty good handle on the physiological
affects of PTSD and when counseled (as I have been a few times) on PTSD
issues we are always advised of those warning signs and short term effects.
I wonder if we should also be on the watch for the long term health affects
of PTSD. Anyone else know of any similar connections involving the health
of individuals after a traumatic incident?

8/26 Kelly;

There was a guy on my crew with Type I diabetes. One thing he did in case of emergency was carry a pre-filled syringe of glucagon ( . That’s kind of a scary med, if you haven’t heard of it; it converts the reserve glycogen in the body’s liver to available glucose in the bloodstream. We were all made aware that he carried it, where it was, and how (and when) to administer it. That said, we never had a problem, but the potential was always there. Please do realize that well-regulated sugar is one thing in the urban environment, and quite another in the field; I’ve been on incidents where it took better than thirty hours to get food to the line. On the flip side, I don’t think diabetes should get in the way at all in emergency medicine or structural fire fighting; that might be a good direction to focus your son’s energy. My chief is diabetic; aside from getting testy when we ask “Hey chief, have you eaten?”, it doesn’t slow him down any.

Nerd on the Fireline
8/26 firewall,

hey man, EMT-B is a great thing to have in your pocket no matter what. different states do have some different guidelines, however, when you go to your first class ask the instructor if you will be able to test for the "national registry." this is a more in depth (not really..) final exam which will allow you to be recognized through out the nation.

as for a class which is more specific to the typical injuries sustained on the fireline, your EMT-B class or first responder should pretty well cover the bases. maybe pay a little more attention to....... ah hell, it's all pertinent. there are alot of weird injuries that happen out there. trauma, lot's of heat related illness, bee-stings and allergic reaction to stuff, vehicle accidents, helicopter crashes, dude... the list goes on. EMT is simply good to know for whatever reason bro, and if you stay in this game... you'll end up using it...and always when you least expect it.

i'm not sure what your rules are up there in R6, but in cali, you don't need a "physician advisor" or be part of a recognized first responder company in order for your EMT-B to be valid. in fact, whatever the criteria is for the national registry will work up there and here too, so i would question JW's reply to your query. maybe he was a paramedic on a stagecoach.

now the engine boss trainee/FFT-2 thing.... uuhhh yeeaaahhh. oh, hey, CW i think you meant to type S-230, cause i sure hope a fella has 130 before 131.

8/26 To JW-
Thanks for the info. you have been helpful.

To CW-
Thanks also, I have completed S-130, S-131, S-190, S-290, I-100 and S-230. I am with a very good contractor but as you probably know it's been a tough season for the business and I ain't quit'n my day job as they say. Though I've completed the course work, the record shows I'm just lacking experience. If education gets me the experience...I'm all over it.

Appreciate the input. Stay safe,

8/25 Heres a little update on the Andrews Fire:

Currently the fire is 2000+ acres, 7 homes destroyed or damaged, fire is pushing into a heavy stand of PJ and mandatory evacuations are in effect for Virgina Highlands. Martins Type 1 team has been ordered. This area is in red flag conditions, winds are gusting up to 35 mph. Extreme fire behavior with spotting is occuring. Here are some good links for some up to date fire info:


Careful out there everyone, lets not get complacent, Reno just had a rash of rain storms the last week and as you can see from this fire, fire season is still far from over.

8/25 Dear Ab

My son, who is 16, has known that he is going to be a firefighter/EMT for a number of years. He has done numerous ride-alongs, an internship at a local fire station, and follows calls on his radio.
He is smart, an exceptional athlete, and very focused.

He also has Type I diabetes. He has had it since he was 12. He maintains excellent control-- His dream is to be a firefighter--and I just need to know, as he is looking at various schools that offer fire science programs (that is how I found this website!) -- that he will not be discriminated against because of his disease. We live in Sedona, AZ-- and have asked a Captain here who checked on it, and said he does not believe it would be a problem.

Being a mom, just want more info to "be sure!"
If you have any knowledge of this, or where I may get a definitive answer, I would appreciate it.
Thanks for the website!


Kelly, it probably will be a problem with getting a job in wildland firefighting. Read the Endocrine and Metabolic System section of the document below. I don't need to tell you that sugar is the basic fuel for the cells in the body; insulin takes the sugar from the blood into the cells. (Type 1 diabetics do not produce insulin.) It's easier to track insulin/sugar levels these days with the new technologies, but sometimes difficult to keep the right balances given the hard work wildland firefighters do and their irregular mealtimes. Low blood glucose - which in early stages causes fuzzy thinking - can happen even when a diabetic is doing all they can to manage their glucose levels. It's easier to loose situational awareness with insulin/glucose imbalances. If anyone knows any different, please chime in here. Ab.

Medical Standards03.php

8/25 Fire near Reno -- Check the Hot List Forum.
8/25 Firewall,

First of all if you are a FFT-2 you should not be an Engine boss trainee. IF you have the proper fire experience the most you should be is a FFT-1 trainee. That is as long as you have had your S-131. When that is all signed off (task book) and done and you have passed other courses like S-130 and S-290. then you can be a Engine boss trainee.

As to the EMT-B.... Yes it is an advantage to your employer and what ever crew or engine you are on. If you are working for a good contractor there should be a pay increase to go with your new card (when you get it)

8/25 Ab,

In regards to the section of Highway 93 along the Salmon River adopted in memory of Shane and Jeff: the true thanks should go to the owner of the Broken Arrow Restaurant in Gibbonsville, Idaho. She is the one that worked with the highway department to add the tribute and is the person responsible for maintaining that section of highway. She's also an awesome cook and loves all wildland firefighters. Anyone with an appetite for great Mexican food that will be passing through the area should plan on stopping.

8/25 Stubbs -

Appreciate the fine words about Paul - especially for all the duress he was
put thru over Cerro Grande.

One thing I've noticed with almost 30 years in with the fire group -

Management always seems to come down with some way to burn its enlightened
heroes and its true teachers of the day.

Been There
8/25 Abs:

I just spent the better part of two weeks driving daily between the Bear Springs Fire camp (near North Fork ID) and the Salmon ID airport. A very fitting tribute to Shane Heath and Jeff Allen has been established along Highway 93 south of North Fork in the form of 3 miles of the highway being adopted by Indianola Helitack. It is replete with pictures, wreaths, helicopter caricatures, etc., and it is a really beautiful section of highway along the Salmon River.

I was moved to tears one morning at sunrise as I stopped to take pictures and realized we must do everything we can to prevent this from happening again.

Major thanks to Keith Talley, Bret Thomas, and Indianola Helitack for doing this.


Here's a photo sent in by CW. Memorial Highway Ab.
8/25 Firewall,

I used to be a paramedic in Oregon. I am not familiar with other states, but I am pretty sure that the song remains the same where ever you go.

In order to operate as an EMT, you need to be certified in that state. So, if you go out of state, you are not recognized. Also, you need to have a physician advisor to operate as an EMT. Also, the state has to recognize that your company as a first responder

So, unless your boss is going to hire a PA for you, buy a big bag with all the EMS supplies you need, and go through all the other hoops with the state, You are kinda spinning your wheels. And, I don't think your boss is going to want to go through all that with out being paid for it.

Don't get me wrong. I don't want to discourage you from the training. You will learn many great things and who knows, maybe you'll catch the bug and want to go on in the field. Just don't get your hopes up about using EMT skills on the fire line

Stay safe\

8/25 Ab, the following has probably been discussed in this forum but it doesn't hurt to
give it another go.

Below is an answer to a question posed to DuPont... makers of both Nomex
and the repellant DEET. The question asked was "does DEET change the self
extinguishing properties of Nomex"?

>From DuPont:

"The short answer to your question is 'Yes'. DEET does have an adverse effect
on garments made of Nomex®. The thermal properties of Nomex® are
'compromised' if DEET is applied directly to the garment."


8/25 Aberdeen and any one else who supports the govt. making equipment and then selling it to us should take a look at the junk that comes out of MTDC before you say it is saving the tax payers money. GSA and MTDC have been shoving their version of what the properly dressed firefighter should wear down our throats for 50 years.

So many of the products they come up with are crap. Look at the new fire shelter it was recalled as soon as it was issued because of poor quality manufacturing and, the thing is one and a half times as big as the current one we carry and weighs a whole lot more.

The whole yellow pack scam of the 80’s is still with us, the Ames hand tool heads and handles are far inferior to when True Temper made the tools. The cargo nomex pants are a joke they fall apart in ½ a season. I still have nomex pants form the 70’s and 80’s that are fully functional and they were not office pants either.

If you want to save the Govt. money, fire all the GS 11-16’s crackheads at MTDC and San Dimas and let private industry do what it does best, build quality packs, tents, pants, hats, tools, engines and crew carriers. Get the Government busy bodies and bean counters out of the loop and we will all be better equipped and safer. Give us a budget that supports being able to purchase the things we need to use and punish those who abuse the system with having to wear GSA crap.

Remember these are the folks who gave us the line flail 3 times since 1942. What a freaking joke!

As far as complaining to them and filling our their stupid cards, every annual meeting I go to for my in my Region this subject is brought up and every time the reps from the national cache system an equipment comities are give the feedback and what we would like to do to fix the problems but nothing ever changes.

I wonder what a MTDC chain saw would weigh and cost? Thank God for Mr. Stihl and his gang.

8/25 Frustrated, What you say probably is true, " for your crew ".
However, I have personally witnessed type 2 regs all of the way to an
entire national forest waste money.

For example. Anyone hear of that hotshot crew, name not said, who
decided to use the "fires money" under false pretenses of which they
said they needed some operational equipment for the crew, ie a tent or
a pair of boots. Now, it is fully understandable if someones tent got
ripped on spike and your able to replace it, then replace it.
Unfortunately this crew took the IC's teams good manner a little to far.
When one person got a tent, well, all 20 needed the same tent, when one
person got a pair of boots, they all had to have the same boots. After,
I believe roughly a 20k bill later, I do believe the ripple from that
hit a senators desk.

Another example. I went to Kentucky one year for some IA or so they
called it. We had a couple of calls here and there nothing major. God
knows it was about 20 degrees in the mornings. During the slow parts,
staging, you try to keep busy and earn your pay. This forest decided to
put in a " Staging Area"!! Mind you this forest was pretty open and to
tell the truth, there was PLENTY of parking elsewhere close. After the
third day of doing this "Staging Area " I finally noticed what they
were doing. They were using fire money to have crews put together a
recreation parking lot. All in all this doesnt sound too bad, until you
consider the two national type 2 hand crews being billed out at 10k a
day each. Lets add this up, 10k X 2= 20k X 3= $60,000 just in labor and
thats only from contractors not counting the 3 FS engines, 1 TFL, all
the gas for everyone, not to mention the grass seed, dump truck rental
ect ect.

Does THIS sound like good money management? As only a taxpayer now, I
could have quite a few choice words for the FS in Washington. Not that
they would listen anyway considering Bush's order to downsize and
outsource and the FS laughing at him.

Anyway, sorry to rant, but after 10 years in the business it really
bothers me to hear the same old song and dance. Fact, all government
agencies have a budget. Fact when the budge has a year end surplus,
they loose that budget for the next year. Last fact, so why not burn it
even if it is LITERALLY burning money.

Unfortunately, 2 gov agencies dont see eye to eye. Fuel management and
suppression. Thank you for the space, sorry it took so much.

Done with the game...
8/25 Frustrated - you obviously disagree with "Aberdeen's" ideas about GSA fire clothing and gear, and have some pretty strong opinions about the performance and prices. If it's based on sound technical facts, I'd suggest that you contact the Fire Program Leader at MTDC (Leslie Anderson) who's responsible for the equipment development, and also fill out the Quality Deficiency Reports in the back of the GSA catalogs. Schedule a meeting, or better yet, take a 2-3 month detail to MTDC during the winter to help make improvements. While I was there in Leslie's role from 1989-2000, we always welcomed folks like you to come in to MTDC and make thing better. So, looks like the ball is back in your court: put up, or .............................!

Dick Mangan
8/25 Frustrated Again:

If you consider all levels of government, as you are reading this, more money will be stolen from the tax payers by criminals and than we'll ever get to spend on our crews. If you managed to outfit your folks with those expensive yet comfortable pants that's a real good thing.

I'm sure, just like me, there are agency finance people who make sure that we stay within our budgets but ours is to run fire organizations. A great way show people they're important is to provide them with excellent equipment.

Take care,
8/25 Old Fire Guy,

Here is a comparison of pay under the current system and under the proposed H.R. 2963.


1) GS-0462-04 Step 1
2) Locality Pay Table 2004-Sacramento Area
3) 14 day fire assignment - Full Pay Period
4) Tour of duty is Monday Through Friday.
5) Shift Length is either 12, 14, or 16 Hours (Below)

Constant: Hourly Rate - $11.88, Overtime Rate - $17.82, Hazard Pay - $2.97
Current System - 16 Hour Day Calculation
80 Hrs. Base Time = $950.40
144 Hrs. Overtime = $2566.08
224 Hrs of Hazard Pay = $665.28

Total Gross = $4181.76
Current System - 14 Hour Day Calculation
80 Hrs. Base Time = $950.40
116 Hrs. Overtime = $2067.12
196 Hrs. of Hazard Pay = $582.12

Total Gross = $3599.62
Current System - 12 Hour Day Calculation
80 Hrs. of Base Time = $950.40
88 Hrs. of Overtime = $1568.16
168 Hrs. of Hazard Pay = $498.96

Total Gross = $3017.52

Proposed Changes Under H.R. 2963 (Covers All Hrs. Worked)
80 Hrs. Base Time = $950.40
112 Hrs. of Overtime = $1995.84
80 Hrs. of Additional Base Time = $950.40
336 Hrs. of Hazard Pay = $997.92

Total Gross = $4894.56

Total Difference: 12 Hour Workday - $1877.04
14 Hour Workday - $1294.94
16 Hour Workday - $712.80
** And All HP Counts Towards Retirement

8/25 Gleason Page Contribution

I met Paul back in the mid-80's when he was with the Zig-Zag shots and I was a squab of some 15 years experience. I was a trainee Fire Behavior Analyst and, for the first time in my firefighting life, trying to step up to something other than chain saw and pulaski operation.

Paul in the 80's already wore on his sleeve his concept of being a "Student of Fire". He influenced many of us. We took our understanding of wildland fire to a different level. Paul never lost sight of the best reason to be a "Student of Fire": FIREFIGHTER SAFETY!!. Then Paul's simple concept of LCES. How many lives have been saved by LCES?

He was a great teacher with simple, pure motivation and a greatly educating, entertaining, inspiring manner. His S490 Advanced Fire Behavior course influenced many firefighters into further pursuit as "Students' of Fire". In Paul's memory, several of us who helped Paul instruct S490 are trying to resurrect Paul's cadre. This will be tough without Paul but Paul would have wanted it that way.

And, oh yeah, a Paul story:

A whole bunch of us, including Paul, converged on Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas, in about November, 1999 to complete a several thousand acre broadcast prescribed fire in timber. The premise was simple: lots of ping pong balls and nobody on the ground for maximum acreage and minimum exposure. There were basically no values at risk.

Well it turns out that we put a few too many ignitions in the wrong place as black smoke was coming up in "The Bowl" one morning and with winds that were about 50 MPH, too high for helo use. Park management wanted us to go deal with it. Paul and I, and several other 50-somethings, put on our gear and headed for the 6-mile-3000-feet-straight-up trail to get us up to the burn. Paul beat all of us up there and about 6 of us busted hump for about the next 12 hours and late into the night to wrassle down our bonus acres. I will never forget sitting down with Paul and the rest of the group at about 2300 that night in the fading light and heat of our fire. Paul was as alert and alive and introspective as he ever was despite an entire day of kick-ass firefighting. The rest of us were just plain frickin tired.

I believe this may have been the next to the last time that Paul went mano-a-mano with wildland fire. It certainly was his last time that he had fun doing it. His last time was the following year at Bandelier National Park--the Cerro Grande debacle. Many of us know how deeply Cerro Grande affected Paul. Paul should never have been put to the duress he was subjected to by the National Park Service over Cerro Grande. He was just there trying to help, trying to keep folks safe.

Paul is deeply missed by all of us who worked with him in so many different capacities. His intellect, his humor, his mere presence is irreplaceable. His legacy will be how well we can now carry on the many concepts that Paul espoused, all of those which lead to the same place: FIREFIGHTER SAFETY. We will struggle along now without him.

Tim Stubbs

Thanks Tim, I added it. Ab.

8/25 Hey- need some advice,

I'm with a contractor in Region 6. I just enrolled in a EMT-B course and wonder if it is really worth it.
Personally I'm not into blood and guts but feel if it is an advantage for my contractor to have me on board as a FFT2/engine boss trainee (my primary interest) AND an EMT, I will complete the course and provide EMT care (God forbid) if necessary. I used to be a First Responder in Calif. and have experience in medical treatment.

What's the world like out there?? Does anybody in the contracting business see it as a big advantage to have an EMT or two on their roster???

I have not found any classes (perhaps less intense) that are specific to treatment of injuries related to the fireline and am curious if there are any.

I know (pretty sure) there are contractors with EMTs on their crews, does it effect their insurance policies? Liabilities? Do different states have different guidelines?

I think I'm too old to try and make this a career, just want to be a strong team player.

I need to talk to my boss as of yet but any comments from you experienced folks??

Thanks everyone,
8/25 Am looking for a John Franklin Hancock.. born in 1949, worked for USFS, I think.
His father, same name, went to college in Colorado, then in Corvallis, Or., for forestry
major. Pretty sure the son was a hotshot, but info might be confused and it might have
been the dad.

Would appreciate any help.
Thank you.
He is my 1/2 brother, and his full younger brother and I are looking for him.

8/24 Wasting taxpayers money? As overhead on a Hotshot
Crew we are given a budget each year for supplies. Is
it wrong for us to buy quality equipment with that

For instance the Kevlar pants last about 3-4 times the
life of the GSA Cargo pants. At the GSA Price of
$163.60 per pants vs the $188.19 - $250.92 for 3-4
pairs of pants. Savings of $24.59 - $87.32

Next let's look at Packs. The GSA Version of field
pack new in the 2004 catalog might last one or two
rolls (14 day assignments). With our packs lasting 2-3
seasons. Savings FSS pack $99.33 ours 168.00.
Savings of $30. If not more....

I can go on and on....Tents, Sleeping bags, headlamps,
specialty tools, etc.

When you use the equipment like we do, and lets be
honest the GSA catalog does not carry the best quality
equipment. It almost boils down to safety if our
gear breaks down on the line, or our pants are
shredded a few miles from the nearest road on division
blah blah blah digging line all day.

I'm not asking for more money in our budget. I'm just
saying let us spend it the most efficient way we see
fit to run our crew.

Frustrated Once Again
8/24 Heads up everyone. The National Weather service has just released this weather update for R5-Northern CA.



8/24 Gleason's memorial pages:


I believe there is a slide show that was put together by the Mt. Hood,
Zigzag Ranger District at Paul’s Memorial there. I haven’t been able to
track it down, maybe you could.


Anyone have a copy? Ab.

8/24 Reply: Bland Mt. Fire

There were several severity resources with in a 2
hour drive in the southwest Oregon area that could have been utilized, I
know for sure a 20 person crew and a task force of 4 BLM engines w/ tender.
I also know the airtankers weren't dispatched as soon as they probably
could of been.

Also I am not stating that less acres would have been burned but it is
possible that homes could have been saved "I don't know I wasn't there".
I am stating from experience elsewhere that when resources are needed, we
send them, may be they weren't ordered. I know the fire grew rapidly and I
am sure the IC and their dispatch center were overwhelmed. I am just
commenting as an armchair quarterback.

JS Firehog

I just got done with Human Factors or L-180 and the whole time they mention
wildland firefighters, I had a new person say I am a forest tech? just
another comment in the hat.

8/24 Fire Season: it ain't over yet!

We had about 0.25 inch rain over the last few days on the norcal coast. I read
somewhere that the first 0.4 of precip doesn't even get to the duff under the
trees. Well, it's sunny and hot again today. Isn't taking long to dry out. I don't
think the fire season is over. We may not get winter rains until late October
or early November.


8/24 Some nice fire and tool photos from Alaska are up on this page from the
Alaska FS and BLM. A click on the 2004 photos takes you to some more
photos of the fire. There are pictures of swatter tools, and sprinklers in tree


8/24 Ab:

Regarding the question of “when did the drip torch make its debut?”.

During some late night reading, I ran across an article in “Fire Management Today” (Volume 63, No. 3, Summer 2003) titled “Lessons from Large Fires on National Forests in 1938”. This article appears to be a compilation of early AAR’s. Within the discussion of the Arrowhead Fire on the San Bernardino Forest was the following comment.

“All line constructed and lost was uncompleted line. All backfire work that was done was held although it slopped over in places. Orchard torches were used. No acreage was burned through backfiring which would not have been lost by the fire anyway.”

This is the earliest documented use of orchard torches (our current drip torches predecessor) that I have run across. The link to all of the Fire Management Today issues is www.fs.fed.us/fire/fmt/articles_index.phpl.


8/24 Government screw up on sawyer qualifications

I was just thinking about the S-212 saw class that I set through many years ago. Now a new and improved version is out on the street. My supervisor thought it would be good if we all attended. After setting through the first day I happen to agree. I no longer want to be a sawyer. The old class set well defined limitations on its sawyers, A's 0-8 dbh, b's 8-24, c's 24 and up. Now the Agencies have decided not to accept any liability. The only deciding factor is complexity that is not spelled out. Your skill and comfort level is how you decide if you have the ability to fell trees now. This leads me to believe that if you are injured while felling trees, you will have to prove that you had the ability and the skill. I understand that the BLM will have task books for its employees, but as usual the USFS will not.

The newest Tree Hugger

After deaths from car accidents, faller deaths rank second if I remember correctly. I wonder what the stats are for injuries. Ab.

8/24 Cabin Fire

A crewmember from my forest just introduced me to this site and the discussion about the Cabin Fire. I spent the after noon reading comments as I did with the Safe Nets after reading Doane’s observations. Since I know many of the participants in this incident I thought it appropriate to offer some observations.

First, I don't think we can judge Doane’s observations. That is his observation/interpretation of what happened. It was analyzed and filtered through his experience bank. The report eloquently states what he thought went on. Please accept it as another opinion and integrate it into your individual list of lessons learned.

Secondly, every single one of us that fight fires was inexperienced at one time. It is a bitter pill to swallow to realize that you don’t know everything and have not experienced all there is to experience in fire. That is why it is so important to ask questions and glean the benefit of others that have a few more “tricks” in the bag. Ask a Jumper, ask a Hotshot; these firefighters spend their summers traveling all over the country, in all the different fuel models, on all the large fires, where all the initial attack activity is happening. Most of them love to tell you what they have seen and experienced.

Third, there is a wealth of experience and lessons to take from this close call. Look at the Cabin Fire as a gift that will do more to keep you safe as a firefighter the rest of your career than a hundred fires where nothing happened. I wager that the folks on that crew will make sure on every future fire assignment that they will know where all safety zone options are, they will evaluate the integrity of the safety zone and personally approve it, they won’t hesitate to ask the right questions; all of them, and when they become supervisors they will make sure all their crews working for them know what they need to know to stay safe.

Have a safe rest of the fire season and make it a point to learn something on every fire.

Please sign me,
8/24 jerseyboy,

you mean...you don't like the GSA pulaski?! how can you not like a tool that comes right outta the box with such a bitchin' cutting edge? yeah.. yeah..  head may be on a little crooked, or have a handle that's bowed like you could shoot an arrow with it, but look at how beautiful it is with all the shiny lacquer on it! i'm mean, these are tools that just scream, "YEAH BABY...WORK IT!!" they are top-notch jerseyboy, so don't be such a wimp about it when you lose the head. a REAL firefighter would be proud to attack a fire with only a handle.


8/24 Fatality fires article that highlights Cramer.

8/23 For those of you picking on frustrated...
If GSA is the only legitimate source of purchase with a credit card and all the equipment sold through GSA is top notch can you explain to me why I've never seen a FS regular crew that issues GSA webgear? I guess every hot shot crew and 99% of the other crews out there are guilty of waste fraud and abuse. GSA sells engines too but many government purchased engines come through other sources.

GSA is great for many items (chain saws come to mind) but there are some out there that the gear is not up to the needs of the users in the field (line packs, that white crummy synthetic hose etc). As a government purchase card holder we are allowed to buy from other sources and I have found better bargains than GSA in many cases. I'm not a fan of the Kevlar myself but I recall 1999 or 2000 they were all the rage with Smoke Jumpers and Helitack, I never heard any issue with them until the regular ground pounders started buying them, guess the lowly engine slugs and brush monkeys don't rate top of the line gear.

I'm curious if GSA is carrying fire equipment but the Feds can't buy it, who is it for?

Green Gestapo,
keep it up, the region obviously still has its head in the sand, I left the USFS as a GS7 dropped to a GS5 and nearly doubled my salary when I came over to the DoD, USFS spent 6 years training me now the DoD gets the benefit and all because they do a little better job of taking care of their employees (not much but at least I know I'm going to eat well in the winter). If the wildland side ever get its house in order I'll be back so fast people will think there are Santa Ana's blowing in No.California. Getting the GS5's and 6's up to full time is a nice move (although the wording sounded pretty non-committal to me) but how are you going to keep the experience of the supervisors when they can get a job paying much more and have no responsibility? There is a big difference between keeping jobs filled with a warm body and keeping them filled with experienced quality individuals.

Hugh (and other FWFSA nay sayers),
You may think FWFSA is too slow but can you tell me who else is going to drag the Wildland side of the Feds into the 21st century? Don't hold your breath for NFFE. IAFF has done a pretty good job for the DoD side but that's because there are a lot of us paying dues even though there are quite a few more Fed wildland firefighters out there. If more wildland firefighters would cough up the cash to join FWFSA then maybe they could get things going faster, but with only 200-300 people paying (nearly all in the USFS and in California) for the other 8000 or so wildland firefighters working for the Feds you are lucky they've got anything done at all.

Take a look at CDF, don't think the State of California is more generous than the Feds, the IAFF and CPF have helped to get CDF's firefighters alot further than the Feds because CDF's firefighters pay to have someone speak for their interests. That's great that you think everything is fine, but if you really do think there is nothing wrong that kind of scares me, just some of the things that have already happened this year makes me wonder who let the inmates out to run the asylum. Grounding the tankers may or may not have been a good idea, saying the loss of the Large ATs is not a reason to be concerned is a clear case of stupidity or out right lying, trying to put a large number of inexperienced firefighters into leadership positions just based on race but it is not a concern or a safety issue, again, stupidity or lying and this latest issue, that it doesn't matter that the USFS is having a hard time retaining its experienced core? So you are either lucky enough to work in some remote corner of the globe where these things truly are not important or you are not paying attention.

8/23 my inseem is 40 but what i said is gsa only makes a 34
so i do order outside of gsa for the national 36
hope that clears things up for you

fellow tax payer
8/23 hi ab-

with all the comments about the GSA, it brought up
something i encountered this year while on a large
project fire in southern utah.

i traded in a laser pulaski to the cache, and was
given one with a loose head and crooked handle. i
attempted to give it back, but the manager claimed it
was a perfectly good tool - right out of the box.

sure enough, two swings on mop up popped the head
right off. the next day, we traded again - and again
i was given a tool with crooked handle and a head,
that while on solidly, was placed incorrectly on the
handle (if was a bit tilted). again, i popped the
head off and walked around with a stick for most of
the day.

kind of distressing the the national contract allows
this sort of stuff to happen. (as for breaking the
heads off - its not as if i'm a big guy (6' 150 lbs)
and it was mop up in the desert, not digging bear

in all my years in fire i've never broken a tool until
now. anyone else notice problems recently with the
new tools?


Families pay tribute to First Strike firefighters


8/23 Ab,

Don’t know if someone has sent this to you or not, but it’s good review for off-road engine operators.
GreenSheet: Kirker Pass Fire Engine Rollover


I did post the text portion of this earlier, but figured out how to add the diagram.
Many thanks to those who send in Green Sheets, AARs, and other Reviews/Reports. Ab.
8/23 fellow tax payer......:

I'm 6' 7" and wear a 36in inseam. You say you wear a 40in? I've never seen
any fire pants sold with an inseam longer than 36. In most cases a 36 is either
listed as XX long or is special order. I'm calling BS on the 40 inch inseam.

Big pants to fill
8/23 JS Firehog,
Re: Bland MTN 2

Just curious... what severity resources didn't get used on this fire that you think should have? Are you saying the fire would have burned less acres under an interagency dispatch center? It sounds like there is some history between you and Southern Oregon. What specific actions should have taken place? From what I know the protection agency used its severity resources, helicopters, crews and Air Tankers along with an interagency IA response which included engines, dozers and overhead.

8/23 Ab,

I know that portal-to-portal pay is an important issue to those individual
federal firefighters who aren't getting it now. But that legislation pales
in comparison to what Senate bill S. 2410 would accomplish for the whole
wildland community.

The "Wildland Firefighter Safety Act of 2004" as introduced by Sen.
Cantwell in May would accomplish two things:

#1. It would require the Dept. of Interior and Agriculture agencies to have
a budget line item and track annual expenditures on firefighter safety and
training. They would also have to jointly make an annual report to Congress
about "the implementation and efficacy of wildland firefighter safety and
training programs and activities."

#2. It would also mandate that all private entities comply with NWCG
training standards (310-1, etc.) to be eligible for contracts with federal
agencies for "wildland firefighting services."

Has FWFSA or NWSA taken a stance on this bill?

vfd cap'n
8/23 Has anyone else seen this?
Memo for Log Chiefs, FDUL's, FACL's and COTR's

Here is a quick update on the National Mobile Food Program.

There are no National Contracts at this time. All of the contracts that
were awarded in July have been reassigned to Melinda Draper. All of these
contracts have been terminated. The Contractors received their
termination letters yesterday. The terminations were due to some protests
that were received. Due to some unusual circumstances surrounding the
procurement, the Agency decided we would terminate and re-solicit after fire
season to have new National Contracts in place for next fire season. Any
questions, comments or concerns regarding the new contract should be
directed to Melinda Draper.
Been There
8/23 A great web page! I never tire of looking at aerial tanker photos. I thought you might be
interested in one of my web pages. See my sig.

Bob Ingraham
Vancouver, BC
When I was 19 years old, and more foolish than now, I voluntarily climbed into a U.S. Forest
Service T-34 "bird dog" aircraft so I could photograph an aerial attack on a small forest fire.
The short flight ended in disaster. Read about it at  www.ingraham.ca/bob/crash.php.
8/23 Aberdeen,

Well i understand your point on gsa vrs us buying other products with a gov credit card. Well let me say this something gsa has not figured out is we the firefighters come in difrent sizes than what they offer, Im talking about the pants. National sells pant in the sizes that that fit. And fit matters. pants that are to long just drag or rip, ya they dont last long that way. In my case they are too short they only sell 34 L in the gsa. Im a 40in inseem yah big diffrence if you ask me. are the nationals better well in this case they are. Should they be paid for on the gove credit card? yes, why for me to do my job i need the right gear and that gear is provided by the gov in which tax me the same as you. Queastion for do you truthfully wear gsa saftey goggles or saftey glasses or buy the cleaning supplies from gsa do you ever go down to the local hardware store and buy things fo projects. Im sure you dont because gsa has everthing you need when you need it. So the next time you want to complain look around at the people you work with a see if there needs fit the gsa needs.

fellow tax payer just getting the job done efficently as i can

Was Aberdeen complaining? Ab.

8/23 US Citizen:

A few definitions:
FEO....Fire Engine Operator. Usually a supervisory or assistant supervisory position that is a GS-5 or GS-6 pay level.

CDL....Commercial Drivers License. Class B Driver's license are required for Engine Operators (drivers) on vehicles that weigh more than 25,000 lbs. *this may differ from state to state, but generally all large engines require an operator with a CDL.

The $10,000 referred to by poor and frustrated is a typical income for a seasonal firefighter. I'm only in my 6th season as a firefighter, and have already figured out that if it rains during a typical fire season, my budget for the rest of the year is going to be extremely tight.

The yearly income for a federal wildland firefighter is directly related to the number of overtime hours you are able to accrue on the fireline during fire season.

For a GS-4, working a typical 5-6 month season, to make an income in the mid to high 20's to almost $30,000, he or she would need to work approximately 1000 hours of overtime in those 5 months. That's like jamming a years worth of work into 5 months. Wildland Firefighters must forfeit a "normal" life during the summer months. Whether you are on a Hotshot crew traveling around the nation, or on an initial attack engine or squad tied to a specific district, you are committed to your resource.

To top it all off, when you get laid off in the fall (maybe even earlier this year), finding a reasonable paying job for the remainder of the year proves difficult. Many employers don't really want to hire a workforce that is only going to stick around a few months.

For more information on base General Schedule (GS) pay rates, check out the OPM website:

8/22 Folks, how much a firefighter should be paid is a legitimate debate. Firefighters want something "fair", and the taxpayer wants to be "fair".....now we just have to have a good discussion and agree on what "fair" is.
Support or oppose a position, but Casey is right in that it is unfair to challenge the sincerity of the FWFSA.

Casey, can you help all of us in better understanding the pending legislation? Link us to a paper that shows something like:
What will a seasonal GS-4 (step 1) in California make if they get 4 months work with 400 hours OT (all "H") under current pay regs?
Same scenario under the proposed legislation?
Alternatives considered?

And thanks for the work you have done to date, and your continuing efforts.

Old Fire Guy
8/22 Frustrated Once Again - the issue of Nomex pants has been coming up for years, as has the issue of GSA vs. Bullard hardhats. The idea of having a purchasing group like GSA buy stuff that meets the MTDC & NFPA standards is that it save us - you and me as American taxpayers - lots of $$. Personally, I have no problem if you want to spend YOUR $$ to buy pants, hardhats, gloves, packs or any other fire items that you like better than the MTDC/GSA item. I DO have a problem when you spend MY taxpayer $$, especially when it specifically against the current USFS/USDI policy to do so.
All the GSA equipment meets recognized safety standards. The folks at GSA put a complaint card in the back of each catalog every year, and most years less than 10 are returned. What is your technically based reason for violating the purchase regs to get the "Best, most comfortable" pants at about double the cost from GSA.

No one ever said we were going to buy the "Best" for the government: most of the USFS Green Fleet cars (in fact, nearly all Fed/State/County) are Fords or Chevy's, not Volvos: "The Safest Car on the Road". Do you drive a Volvo as your personal car, regardless of expense? Or, are you just willing to have the US taxpayers buy you "the best" ?

Last time I talked to the folks at MTDC about PPE, they were open to comments and critiques, but still had to follow the federal procurement regs. Have you contacted them? I'm sure they'd also like documented failures of the GSA products on entrapments/burnovers. I can't remember reading anything about pants or hardhats failing in any of the Investigation reports.

Still feel that you need the Kevlar pants or a Bullard 911H hardhat instead of the GSA product? Feel free to buy them with your own personal credit card, not the one I help pay off with my tax dollars.

8/22 Hugh, if you feel the FWFSA isn't working behind the scenes for you AND ALL WILDLAND FIREFIGHTERS.... here's the reality check..... Ask Casey or any FWFSA Officer or Director if you have any questions.

Title: To amend title 5, United States Code, to provide for portal-to-portal compensation for wildland firefighters, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Pombo, Richard W. [CA-11] (introduced 7/25/2003) Cosponsors (26)
Latest Major Action: 8/25/2003 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Civil Service and Agency Organization. COSPONSORS (26)

Rep Doolittle, John T. [CA-4] - 7/25/2003
Rep Filner, Bob [CA-51] - 7/25/2003
Rep Honda, Michael M. [CA-15] - 7/25/2003
Rep DeFazio, Peter A. [OR-4] - 7/25/2003
Rep Udall, Mark [CO-2] - 7/25/2003
Rep Ose, Doug [CA-3] - 7/25/2003
Rep Cunningham, Randy (Duke) [CA-50] - 7/25/2003
Rep Gibbons, Jim [NV-2] - 7/25/2003
Rep Farr, Sam [CA-17] - 7/25/2003
Rep Otter, C. L. (Butch) [ID-1] - 7/25/2003
Rep Simpson, Michael K. [ID-2] - 7/25/2003
Rep McInnis, Scott [CO-3] - 7/25/2003
Rep Lipinski, William O. [IL-3] - 9/23/2003
Rep Weldon, Curt [PA-7] - 9/23/2003
Rep Renzi, Rick [AZ-1] - 9/23/2003
Rep Capps, Lois [CA-23] - 10/15/2003
Rep Hayworth, J. D. [AZ-5] - 10/20/2003
Rep Lofgren, Zoe [CA-16] - 11/18/2003
Rep Bordallo, Madeleine Z. [GU] - 11/18/2003
Rep Blumenauer, Earl [OR-3] - 11/18/2003
Rep Baca, Joe [CA-43] - 2/11/2004
Rep Michaud, Michael H. [ME-2] - 3/17/2004
Rep Woolsey, Lynn C. [CA-6] - 3/17/2004
Rep Cardoza, Dennis A. [CA-18] - 5/20/2004
Rep Napolitano, Grace F. [CA-38] - 6/2/2004
Rep Gallegly, Elton [CA-24] - 7/7/200

Hugh, did you notice it has bi-partisan, nationwide support from Maine to California? Sometimes, legislative action takes some time to get through Congress. It's all about education and support of the issue.

If your Congresswoman or Congressman isn't on the list, contact them and let the FWFSA know why they haven't signed up yet as co-sponsors. Legislation is a long process, sometimes a very long process when the nation is under attack and at war. Each wildland firefighter should KNOW and BE in contact with their local Congressional Representatives.

8/22 For "Frustrated once again",

GSA has lots of stuff on contract that we can't buy. For example, they have firearms, such as pistols and rifles, for LE agencies to buy, but the USFS can't buy. there are buildings, airplanes, explosives, etc. all on GSA contracts. This doesn't mean we can order any of it, it just means that somewhere, the Government negotiated a price if they ever need this stuff. I agree, the kevlar pants are good, but the USFS at least has never approved any other color than green. The reason GSA exists is so all Gov agencies can get the same quality of equipment, and be standardized, to keep costs down. Why should some places get to buy the kevlar pants when others can't afford them? What about cleaning them? On fires, you won't trade your kevlar pants in to supply for clean ones, so your crews have to wear dirty nomex until they get home. This can be a health hazard not to just your crew, but to the people that have to sit next to you in the food tent. So, either buy these out of your own pocket for your self, or quit whining.


8/22 Dear "Green Gestapo":

Thanks for your question about membership.

The FWFSA was formed about a dozen years ago by about a dozen folks. The purpose of the FWFSA is strictly legislative/political. That is, to make every effort to achieve the political/legislative goals and objectives set forth by the membership.

The FWFSA is not a union. Most, if not all federal wildland firefighters are contractually covered by NFFE, the National Federation of Federal Employees regardless of whether they work for the Forest Service, BLM, etc.

The FWFSA is primarily an employee association. However we do have associate members. With respect to "voting," the issues we are currently working on have been the same issues proposed years and years ago. Heck, even the agencies have been tossing the idea of portal to portal around for over 20 years. It has taken this long to finally develop the relationships in DC to get things going.

Primarily, we are currently focused on H.R. 2963, the Federal Wildland Firefighter Emergency Response Compensation Act which would provide federal wildland firefighters portal to portal pay while on emergency incidents. It would also incorporate hazardous duty pay in retirement calculations.

At the same time, we are working with members of congress to seek support for working/communicating with the Agencies and OPM to address classification issues. Already we have had the 4th ranking republican in the House of Representatives communicate his support to both the Forest Service and OPM and broker meetings between OPM and FWFSA on the subject.

Now for the "no cost" option you suggested. The basic reality of life is that politics cost money. It costs money to travel to DC. It costs money to attend fund-raisers to develop relationships which result in congressional support. It takes time and money to provide members with "goodies" such as decals, pins, and soon, membership cards and to reach out to new members.

We couldn't possibly have developed the relationships we have on Capitol Hill without the revenue necessary to get there. We couldn't possibly have provided as much congressional testimony before House committees as we have without revenue. And the sad fact of the matter is that money, as well as meritorious issues and an ability to sell those issues is paramount to getting things done in Congress.

Keep in mind there are over 400 members of the House of Representatives from all over the country. Many of those members don't have a clue what a federal wildland firefighter is, much less what they do. As far as I know, the FWFSA is the ONLY organization that has spent years developing relationships on the Hill and educating members on what you do. Our success at that has culminated in the bill currently before congress. This is important because in Congress, one member can derail a bill regardless of the support it has.

The FWFSA already can deal directly with the Forest Service. In fact we recently met with Region 5 Forester Blackwell and your friend Ray in Vallejo. Blackwell was a bit stunned that the FWFSA had the ability to get the 4th ranking republican in congress to broker/set up the meeting. Once we were done, I think both Ray and Jack clearly understood that we were here to stay and clearly understood our issues and strategies. In fact, by the end of the meeting, Blackwell was asking for the help of FWFSA on housing and other issues.

We have also met with the Washington office and I spoke with Chief Bosworth in Lake Arrowhead last fall. Thus, the FS knows who we are, what we are doing and, most importantly, knows we have the relationships on Capitol Hill to get things done.

As important as it may be to deal with the FS, the bottom line is Congress gives Interior and Agriculture its money. Time and time again, members of congress have complained that Bosworth has failed to seek adequate funding for all FS programs, especially suppression. Our efforts have been to educate congress on the issues facing all of you without the rhetorical, bureaucratic BS they get from the Agencies and to suggest that the Agencies "re-prioritize" their spending by properly compensating its own employees. They are listening.

Increasing membership is certainly very important. Slowly but surely we are getting our message out to folks outside of region 5 and I've been asked to travel this fall to the other regions to offer our message. However increasing membership for the sake of increasing membership doesn't make fiscal sense. We would still be responsible for communicating with all members and that itself costs money.

I'm not sure whom you would include by stating "all firefighters." I'll go on record as saying the FWFSA wouldn't reject any application from anyone. However, I firmly believe that those inclined to join, whether they be federal wildland firefighters, municipal firefighters, etc., join for the reason of advocating and achieving our goals and know this costs money.

There are a number of municipal and state firefighters who are supportive of our efforts to gain portal to portal pay. If they want to join and help us in that endeavor, by all means. If a grandmother of a federal wildland firefighter wants to join because she thinks it important for her grandchild to be compensated properly, then I would suspect she'd readily pay the $20.00 or so bucks a month.

Perhaps just as important is the fact that our revenue allows us to take federal wildland firefighters back to DC with us. There are a number of passionate members out there whose experience and expertise are critical to educating Congress and the Agencies. Perhaps you'd like the opportunity to travel with us and reap the rewards of educating folks on the issues that affect you, your family, your coworkers, and the taxpayers of this country.

Please feel free to contact me at FWFSAlobby@aol.com or (916) 515-1224.


Casey Judd
Business Manager
8/22 Here is a copy of a letter just sent to my crew in
regards to us wearing the Khaki Kevlar Pants. Now
that we have over 20 pairs on our crew and have spent
thousands of dollars outfitting our crew with the best
most comfortable gear available, someone is saying

Since this issue was resolved a few years ago with the
pants saying that they had to meet NFPA 1970 standards
someone is changing the Specs again. If we cant' buy
them, why does National Firefighter have them on GSA
contract? We only buy the pants that are on GSA
contract so the left hand does not know what the right
is doing.

Frustrated Once Again
Neither GSA nor the Forest Service has ever bought, or authorized to be bought, any of the brown or gray fire pants regardless of the materials they are made from. Just so you are clear on it, GSA cannot approve of anything, they are the procurement agency that purchases our equipment for us.

The pants that GSA supplies are bought using Forest Service Specification 5100-92, maintained by this office, they are the only pants MTDC has ever approved for use. Prior to 1999 these were the lighter green, jeans style pants, and are still approved for use. Since 1999 the pants have been the darker green, BDU style pants with the thigh cargo pockets. These pants will have a label on the inside that looks something like this:


Manufacturer's name
Manufacturer's address
Country of origin
Manufacturer's garment identification number, lot
number, or serial number
SIZE: [waist size range in inches x inseam in inches]
****** CONTRACT NUMBER: [GS-07F-? ]
NSN: [8415-01-464-? ]

a. Machine wash hot. NO BLEACH.
b. Wash separately from flammable, lint-producing fabrics.
c. Rinse thoroughly. Soap or detergent residues will burn.
d. DO NOT STARCH. Starch will burn.
e. Tumble dry medium. Remove garment promptly.

While any pair of pants may have most of the information, only GSA bought pants will have the Contract Number in them (*****). If you have any question, please let me know.

I Deleted His Name and Contact Info.....
8/22 Concerned Firefighter,

In norcali the season's not over til it's over. We often see cooler temps and a bit of ppt, like we're having in the Asbestos Forests and inland today --- only to have some days of north winds, a bunch of lightning busts and large fires like the Onion/Megram and Kirk that run until November rains. Only difference this year is that there are enough resources right now to keep em relatively small. On the other hand, we could be in trouble if lightning fires start on the Sierra Front and east etc, that commandeer resources. O'course R5 hopefully will be holding on to enough resources to stay ready.


8/22 Ab & poor and frustrated

I don't understand what the $10,000 covers. Is that income for the year or just for August? What is a FEO? CDL?

US Citizen

$10,000 is total seasonal income up until the end of August. Seasonal firefighters work only during fire season. Someone want to fill Mr. Citizen in on more of the income and expenses and what OT (overtime) might provide for a family in a good year? Ab.
8/22 ahhh....the fwfsa. well hugh, if you are happy after 20 years of being a federal firefighter with the way things are, then more power to you. as for you casey, you can have my dimes. i'm not happy. the only problem is that i really don't make enough of them to give ya! i recently got your info on joining and my wife said, "are you nuts?!","that's like twenty-two dollars a month!" guess that classifies me as poor huh? it's a good thing MR. "Q" is on top of things though, i'm sure he'll step up and get me some more money so's i can join the association! what a great leader. if anybody see's him, ask him if a net income of $10,000 in the end of august with only 6% going into a TSP account is what he calls "desirable". but i guess i should be proud of the fact that i'm a GS-4 with a CDL doing a FEO's job description. we do it for the glory right? yeah, tell it to my kids. money talks and BS walks. (or we walk because of the BS...) well, as MR "Q" loves to say," AAHHmm ... AuuHHMM!!...if you don't like it...DON'T CASH THE CHECK!" sorry MR "Q" there ain't much there to cash anyway so you're crazy if you think i'm not gonna swoop on a cooperator's job offer!

P.S. thanks for the training.
-poor and frustrated.
8/22 Just wonder how anybody else sees this?

Heres some food for thought!

Just found out that on 8/20/04 that AZ released all their aircraft for the season. Also in NV, the BLM is already laying off seasonals as of 8/21/04 and there are more layoffs coming from other districts in 2 weeks. Contract Helos have been sent home for the season and on Monday, it's looking like most, if not all SEATs in NV will be released for the season.

Is it just me or does this seem to be a little premature in getting rid of resources for the season already? I know it hasn't been a stellar season, but if this follows suit around the nation, possibly a push from the Washington Office, doesn't it seem to be that they are possibly setting themselves up for disaster? Talking to other folks, there are still some very dry, drought prone areas and if September ends up being dry and we get somewhat of an Indian Summer, what will happen then? All these resources laid off or released for the season and as we all know, things can still blow up in Sept. given the right conditions. It just seems really disheartening to think that maybe some of the higher ups are jumping the gun too soon to save some money because of a rather slow season in the West, but if this follows suit around the nation and things do start to go crazy, now you have jeopardized and put at more risk the firefighters that are still on and the public themselves.

Anybody else from other States heard of anything going on like this in their area? Seems to me like we shouldn't be getting too complacent this early, there are still areas that can have catastrophic fires and to be doing this so early just makes me wonder.

Concerned Firefighter
8/22 Old R'5er,

Firing with the General appeared in Wildland Fire Magazine, at least I believe that
was the name for the publication of the International Association of Wildland Fire
Fighters. It was about 1997. It was a great article and it is too bad we can't get it
posted here. I lost my copy of the magazine and have been looking for it ever since.


Old R5'er or some other friend of Keller or Rax, get them to ask the author to allow it to be posted on wildlandfire.com. The author of an article usually retains the copyright and can allow publication online with a citation to the original printed version. At least that's my experience. Ab.
8/22 Old R5'er,

I remember that story being published in Wildland  Firefirefighter Magazine a few
years ago. You might want to go through their archives at the website. That was a
great story.


You can't access their archives. Ab.
8/21 FWFSA, how about the organization allows all firefighters to join at no cost, and
only paying members will vote.  This will boost FWFSA membership up so that
we can deal directly with the Forest Service, Ray Q., Director of Fire and Aviation.

Green Gestapo
8/21 Dear "Hugh":

Given the fact that I now manage the FWFSA membership database, it appears we are not currently receiving any of your "dimes" in the first place. We have no "Hugh" in our membership. Therefore, it would be safe to say that we wouldn't miss what we aren't already receiving from you.

Since being hired as the FWFSA's Business Manager in July 2003, our "updates" have been just that; a status check of where we are with an issue that affects all federal wildland firefighters, members or not. Last I checked, our organization is the only one working the Halls of Congress to achieve the goals and objectives of all federal wildland firefighters. I have simply been straightforward in chronicling our efforts to improve pay and benefits for all of you.

Let's face it, if the FWFSA didn't exist, there wouldn't even be a bill before congress on portal to portal pay. Do you have any idea what it takes to get a member of Congress (no less the Chairman of the House Resources Committee) to author and introduce a bill on an organization's behalf? Do you have any idea how many years, how many meetings, how many phone calls and trips to DC it has taken simply to get such a bill introduced? Apparently not. Ask Kent Swartzlander on the Six Rivers how many drafts of the bill he had to send through the Legislative Counsel's office in DC to ensure it was written properly.

Perhaps we can ask you how much time you've taken away from your family to testify before congressional committees on the issues facing all of you so as to educate those in a position to effect change for you. Hmmm, maybe I didn't notice you with us on the occasions Kent and I have testified...on your behalf. I would be delighted to offer you a course on federal politics 101 at your convenience!

If the FWFSA had not established it's credibility on Capitol Hill over many years, we wouldn't have been able to secure the bipartisan support for the bill as evidenced by the cosponsor list.

As far as producing results, I don't recall you being one of the many dedicated federal wildland firefighters to leave their families and travel to Washington, DC to advocate on behalf of your brothers and sisters in the service. Perhaps a fair question would be, what have you done to improve pay and benefits for federal wildland firefighters? How many members of congress have you educated on the issues?

In 2000, the FWFSA was able to eliminate the overtime pay cap for federal wildland firefighters...the result of a bill again by Rep. Pombo on our behalf. No less than 7 other federal government agencies sought the same elimination of the overtime pay cap for their employees that same session of Congress. We were the only group successful in achieving that benefit for our employees. The reason? According to the Civil Service Subcommittee Staff Director, the FWFSA was the only organization to provide adequate data to Congress and prove the need for the change in law.

A brief history lesson. We had attempted to do a 3-issue bill that year with the portal to portal being among the issues. Unfortunately politics got in the way and we could only get the one-issue bill introduced. We got the one issue passed in record time and vowed to continue working on the others. The portal to portal bill would have been introduced in the 107th Congress but was "derailed" by the events of 9-11-01. As a result, Rep. Pombo issued a letter to me detailing his commitment to the issues of portal to portal pay and the inclusion of hazardous duty pay in retirement calculations as well as his overall commitment to our Nation's federal wildland firefighters. I would be delighted to send you a copy of that letter.

I trust our members know that when we provide an update, we are simply passing along the status of our efforts. While fine-tuning our membership database over the last month or so, I've contacted many members who have expressed their sincere gratitude for what we are trying to do. And, although this may come as a surprise to you, our membership is steadily growing.

My job is to communicate with our members. I will tell them the good as well as the bad. They deserve no less. Congress is an incredibly complex arena to navigate and it isn't for the faint of heart. The ONLY promise I've made to our members is my commitment to them that while they are on the fire lines, I'll have their back in Washington, DC and will continue to work tirelessly on their behalf.

So Hugh, keep your dime. We don't need it. On the other hand, if you'd like to be part of the solution rather than the problem, I'd be happy to chat with you. My e-mail address is FWSFAlobby@aol.com and my phone number is (916) 515-1224. Ironically, I have offered such information to a handful of naysayers on They Said in the past. Want to know how many have had the "you-know-whats" to call me and talk rather than hiding behind a computer screen??? NONE.

Do not EVER question FWFSA's affection for, or commitment to, our Nation's federal wildland firefighters, FWFSA members or not.

Casey Judd
Business Manager
8/21 Fire at the Olympic Games

Talk about your close calls. On Friday afternoon disaster nearly struck
the Olympics, when a fire broke out at the Mount Parnitha mountain-bike
venue, tearing through a kilometer of the 6.1km course.

photo of the column


8/21 FirenWater, we are underfunded by many millions we need as identified by
MEL. I didn't mean to imply that lack of money should hold us back from
pursuing special salary, increasing tours, or providing incentives. I do think
our leaders should ask for enough to adequately fund a professional wildland
firefighting force and keep federal firefighters from jumping to other organizations.

Thanks for the support, Green Gestapo. I am a person with some opinions.
I thought your letter was well written. I hit the send button on my last post
before adding that point.

The thing that's good about this forum is you can write in to clarify or add
more to the discussion. Thanks Ab.

NorCal Tom

8/21 yet another excuse for fwfsa and portal to portal you will never see a dime of my money anymore until you produce results. I'm tired of your rambling on on how close we are and what is coming up yada yada yada. and just for note I have 20 years in the business and I.m happy, but for you guys to keep getting the hopes up of people is down right wrong PRODUCE OR QUIT GIVING US THESE B.S. UPDATES!


hugh, like FWFSA got people's hopes up about the Overtime Pay Cap?
The same legislator (cultivated by FWFSA) who is pushing portal-to-portal was instrumental in getting the OT Pay Cap bill passed into law. All federal firefighters benefit from that work by FWFSA. Fact is, legislation takes time. I hope we continue getting updates.

Call Casey Judd (916-515-1224), the FWFSA Business Manager or email him (FWFSAlobby@aol.com) if you have any questions, including questions about the process of turning an idea into law. Ab.

8/21 NorCalTom Said, "Can we see the statistics, analysis and the report, please?"

and Green Gestapo says,
"Ya! Because Without Data You're Just Another Person with an Opinion!!!

Green Gestapo
8/21 NorCal Tom:

Couldn't agree with your assessment more. Another detail to consider:
Region 5 was underfunded in presupression by several millions of $$$ this
year. So it seems a little hollow to me for Blackwell to offer the option
of upgrading tours of our GS 5 & 6's as a solution to their barely
survivable salary.

The agency talks a nice line of you know what about how important the
employees are, but hot air doesn't go too far when you're trying to pay the

8/21 I dont understand Southern Oregon and its cooperators, a large fire takes
off and alot of IA severity resources are just sittin? in many other places
some sort of mob would have been initiated rather than waiting for dispatch
centers to order up resources that still have to assemble or trouble
getting people to send immediately to the incident. I think it's time to
get into the 20th century and play like real firefighters and all work
together thru consolidating dispatch centers for true interagency and
better working relationships locally. LCES we still need to work on the
Just my two cents on the way I see it?


From the Hot List forum: www.kgw.com
More info www.or.blm.gov

8/21 OES claims CDF will have to adopt CICCS.

No Name!?!?
8/21 EMT, Molly's boy, etc.

So, are we required to quite using any image that anybody might find offensive?
Or is there some sort of 'standard of reasonableness' that could be applied here?

8/20 Mollysboy,

I recognize the cultural concerns over the sticker. I'm not using it
for training, just making a keep out sign for my cache. :)

8/20 EMT_MB

Better watch out not to offend yourself! I think it's pretty kewl.

Hickman sent that skull hardhat sticker to me when I finished
my firefighter training. I scanned it for Ab for the logos page and
put it on my wall. If you want me to scan again at higher resolution,
just give a holler.


8/20 Mollysboy, is that true?

A helmet sticker was offensive? I guess everything could be offensive to someone or some group just about anytime.

I'd like to hear more about why this was so offensive...and why the FS removed it..... and why the Skull hasn't been removed from poison labels and container placards across the country by other Federal, State, and Local Agencies if the display of a skull was so offensive to the Native American people. It was meant to enforce safety, not offend anyone.

Rogue Rivers
8/20 EMT_MB - if I remember correctly, the "Skull in a hard hat" sticker
was discontinued because it was offensive to many Native American
firefighters, based on religious or cultural issues.

8/20 The FWFSA website is back up. Check out the news at www.FWFSA.org

8/20 For those of you who have been around for a bit............

Does anyone know where I can get the Standards For Survival logo (skull wearing a helmet)? ".jpg, .bmp, or .gif" would be great.

Also, a big thanks to the folks at a certain volcanic park in NorCal. I had a great time on my detail there. You are a very professional organization and I am privileged to have climbed my a** off at your park.


logo3.php bottom left. Ab.

8/20 Hi Abs! Thanks once again for the great site. I am trying to find an article written by Greg Keller called "Firing Highway 33 with the General". I believe he wrote it back in '97 and I think it was posted somewhere on your website last year, though I did not have a chance to read it. I asked Greg for a copy but he hasn't been able to locate one to send me.

Greg is a wonderful man and an incredible fireman. His career spans four decades and it will be a huge loss to the fire community when he will soon be forced to hang up his Whites due to mandatory retirement. He began his career on the Cleveland NF, was one of the driving forces behind certification of the Eldorado Hotshots back in the early 80's, and remained with the crew first as a Foreman and then as Superintendent until the mid 90's. He opted for an AFMO job on the Boise NF but just couldn't get the "Hotshot" out of his system. He returned to California once again as a Superintendent and successfully took up the major task of turning the Modoc crew into the Modoc Hotshots. "The General" in the article is Greg "Rax" Overacker, Superintendent of the Stanislaus Hotshots and a life long friend of Greg Keller. It was amazing watching those two work together when the fire was going over the hill and private property was in peril. One of the greatest memories I have occurred on a fire outside Wildwood, CA in the early 90's. Keller and I arrived at the top of the hill overlooking town to find Rax with his cell phone stuck between his ear and his shoulder and a radio in each hand. The assigned Division Supervisor was no where to be found and Rax had assumed command. The Stanislaus Hotshots were putting on a major firing show in the middle of the afternoon while a fleet of dozers punched line and tankers pre-treated the ridgetop. The Eldorado Hotshots showed up just in time with extra drip torch fuel and enough people to accomplish Rax's tactical plans. The flawless teamwork between the two crews under the supervision of those two great firemen ensured Wildwood survived with no losses. I am very interested in reading about other exploits "the Gregs" participated in. I spent a bunch of time today searching your site for the Highway 33 article and can't find it. Any ideas?


Old R5'er

I don't remember the article being posted here. Perhaps someone will. Ab.

8/20 A few quick comments on retention of wildland firefighters, including minority groups:

Blackwells letter posted 8/16 stated that R5 wouldn't request a new salary rate at this time. Instead he recommended forests
"increase the guaranteed season for our permanent GS-05 and GS-06 fire positions from 13/13 to 18/8 seasons, if they have funding and sufficient work and/or training to support the longer season."

Increased tours might help retention, but only of the GS5 and GS6 firefighters. Those firefighters would benefit from stable employment and ability to have year round health care for their families. The Agency would benefit in that costs for longer tours would be offset by not having to pay unemployment and it would have firefighters for fuel reduction. This is good on both sides, presuming Forests actually "have the funding". BUT the benefits are limited to GS5 and GS6. Might we simply have a bit longer to train them up and provide them some experience and THEN we loose them to agencies with higher pay, benefits, and portal-to-portal?

Special salary would help firefighters at all levels. Some forests need such an incentive because they're so remote and otherwise undesirable that no one wants to live and work there. I can think of some in NorCal. Other forests in the middle and southern part of the state (aside from the Southern Province) are surrounded by very high cost real estate. Firefighters can't afford to live there with their families. Special salary would help attract and retain firefighters. Unfortunately, special salary would probably cost mega-millions a year -- too much effort to go after it?

What about the so-called special incentives -- the "Recruitment and Relocation Bonuses, Retention Allowances, etc." that Blackwell mentions? Special incentives are a smoke screen. The FS is not making it easy to use them... Just try that route - you'll quickly discover the truth.

Regarding the comment

"The anecdotal evidence indicated we had significant attrition of permanent Fire employees to other fire organizations outside the Federal Government because of the availability of higher salaries, etc. While there was some such attrition, it was not dramatic."

Can we see the statistics, analyses and the report, please?

Finally, the following statement from Blackwell's letter,

"Current State and local government budget problems further reduce the immediate competition for our Fire employees, and that is not expected to change soon."

I find to be in EXTREMELY POOR TASTE, and probably untrue as Lobotomy's post pointed out.

What I think is true is that R5 is not sharing with the Washington Office and the WO is not sharing with Congress the true costs of maintaining and RETAINING a professional firefighting force. We should be using all three avenues to attract and RETAIN excellent professional firefighters. What makes the situation so BOGUS is that the Agency is willing to pay cooperators an arm and a leg for suppression, but unwilling to ask for the $$ it takes to attract and RETAIN a professional, diverse fire force that can be available year-round.

NorCal Tom

8/20 Hey Driptorch, with regard to the interagency cooperation on the Early
Incident between STF, TCU, and MMU, I would expect nothing less. You are
fortunate to have a veteran bunch in all three Command Centers that have
been working together for years. Keep up the excellent interagency
communication as the entire Red and Green force will benefit from it.

That's all.........

8/20 Ab,

Speaking of Steven Rucker and memorials...here is a link to a nice article about a long overdue memorial to the only other wildland firefighter to lose his life on a fire in San Diego County.

Three decades after young firefighter's death, a memorial will honor him.

Appreciative in SD

8/20 The Jobs page has been updated as well as the Wildland Firefighter Series 0462 & Series 0455.

Josh OConnor from Florida, if you're reading, please get in touch with Ab about obtaining a high resolution version of one of your photos ASAP. Thanks.

8/20 Ab-

On October 9, 2004 at the California Firefighters Memorial will be the
Annual Ceremony in Sacramento, CA.

The family of Steve Rucker (Cedar Fire) will be attending to see his name
added to the wall. I am just writing to let the wildland community know
that this is coming up soon so we can express our support.

8/20 TC, I wondered that myself. If CDF merges with OES,
and it's an OES reg, maybe they'll have to.

FirenWater, thanks for the info on the imaging helo.

Tahoe Terrie

8/20 Question, is CDF going to use CICCS or is it just local departments?

8/20 I've been on fires in California where people start flowing into incidents without NWCG training and it ain't a pretty sight. I am convinced that some California agencies believe that if a person has made a certain rank in their department/agency, then that person is automatically qualified to take their pick of assignments for large fires. When you are in a supervisory situation with people who aren't qualified to be there, you face a tough situation. Coordinated training and terminology is critical for safe and effective firefighting and support.

Still Out There as an AD
8/20 Aberdeen,

Notwithstanding your disparaging comments about California's program, PMS 310-1 itself on page 2 endorses the approach of other quals systems like CICCS:

"PMS 310-1 recognizes the ability of cooperating agencies at the local level to jointly define certification and qualification standards. Agencies dealing with other than wildland and prescribed fire incidents may want to consider using PMS 310-1 guidelines as the framework for establishing certification and qualifications."
"Personnel who have learned skills from sources other than actual performance on wildland and prescribed fires or NWCG curricula, such as agency specific training programs (structural fire, law enforcement, search and rescue, etc.), may not be required to complete specific courses in order to qualify in an NWCG position."

I wish Colorado had California's cooperation on the state level. As it is, the Colorado Division of Fire Safety (that coordinates NFPA certification) and the Colorado State Forest Service (that coordinates NWCG training and quals) seem to live in two separate worlds, although they both work with the same local fire departments.

vfd cap'n

8/20 KJC <snicker > maybe cause granny gear isn't park.
Green Gestapo - pay disparity is rampant, not only in R5.
Contract County Guy - re a CA Public Safety and Homeland Security megaAgency possibility (wondering how the folk at OES will shake out), it may be under consideration in other states too considering the present "war" atmosphere.

dang! when will an AK WFF add their 3 cents to this ongoing armchair debate about a specific fire? <gins

cooler temps in northzone, erratic weather elsewhere. be safe!


Readers. This post does not make sense and is not signed with a moniker. It's an example of some of the cr*p, er junk, that we get from some people in the middle of the night.

MOST Contributors, I want to THANK YOU for all the great posts -- and the discussion!

--, your comment to KJC does NOT MAKE SENSE. For your information, Green Gestapo's letter is in response to the R5 Forester's letter. R5 Forester directed firefighters to send comments to Ray Quintanar, chief of R5 Fire, And you must'a had one too many
<gins when you wrote your post. Shape up or ship out!!! Ab.

8/19 NV is having 4,500 to 5,000 strikes per hour tonight.
Check the lightning sites:
www.lightningstorm.com or

8/19 CICCS IS 310-1!

Here are the docs that say so:


8/19 Did anyone else out there catch the news article about the 2 firefighters
from Stanislaus, CA FPD that nearly got caught in a wildfire burnover

Long story made short, they ran "......thinking there was a safety zone
ahead. There wasn't."

Both received minor burns, and minor damage to the engine.

Now, the scary part!!

"We laughed about it later, of course. We do all the book
learning about fire, but when it happens it's amazing how
fast fire moves."

Wonder where they stacked up on their CICCS Oral Board reviews??


8/19 The FWFSA web site will be down temporarily while Earthlink updates
their servers. When it comes back up look for some new info on Portal
to Portal!

Thanks for your support

Please let us know when it's back up. Ab.
8/19 Tahoe Terri

The Firewatch Helo you are asking about is assigned to the Shasta Trinity.
It is a FS owned Cobra that is used as an air attack platform most of the
time, but it can also be used for state of the art recon. It is quite
decked out with real time transmission of IR and/or video directly to the
ground resources via computer, and a bunch of other cool stuff. When it is
in recon mode it is called Firewatch 14. It is experimental this year but
the FS is talking about acquiring others (military surplus for not much
moola). I think the Tahoe NF is slated to have one some time this summer

Lest the private air force get worked up, this ship does not do fireline
work, like buckets and slings.

That is all.

8/19 To All Federal Firefighters:
I'm seeking input for this rough draft of a form letter. Please reply to: green_gestapo@yahoo.com
August 15, 2004

Mr. Ray Quintanar
Director, Fire & Aviation Management
USDA Forest Service
Pacific Southwest Region
1323 Club Drive
Vallejo, California 94592

Dear Mr. Quintanar;

Region 5 federal firefighters are writing to you in support of Group Retention Pay for California. OPM’s website states Group Retention Allowances are recommended if there is a high risk that a significant number of employees in the group are likely to leave. It may be based on extreme labor market conditions, high private sector demand, significant pay disparities, etc.

Extreme Labor Market Conditions. Young men and women that exhibit leadership skills, excel at problem solving, have a desire to learn, and physical endurance are candidates for future fire managers. These individuals are becoming harder for us to employ and retain. There are too many other opportunities out there for them.. Group Retention Pay can attract and retain qualified individuals at entry-level permanent positions.

High Private Sector Demand. The Forest Service is losing firefighters to county and city fire agencies because we offer experienced firefighters with wildland, structure, and vehicle fire; vehicle accident and execration; search and rescue; river rescue; and hazmat certificates, training, and experience. The attractions are a higher salary, a work schedule of 10 days a month, portal-to-portal pay including overtime, and better retirement benefits.

Significant Pay Disparities. There is a significant pay difference between federal firefighters and other Californian cooperating fire agencies. Other than significant salary differences, our cooperators receive salary incentives for completing certified trainings, portal-to-portal pay, and better retirement benefits. Region 5 Forest Service firefighters are expected by the taxpayers and are being responded to the same incidents as city and county fire departments including structure and vehicle fires, medicals and vehicle accidents.

Retention pay for California was approved by OPM and is awaiting Region 5’s Fire Management to put it into effect. As a federal firefighter, I am asking for your support for Group Retention Pay. Thank you for your time.

Green Gestapo
8/19 2004 National Fallen Firefighters Candlelight and Memorial Services To Be Broadcast Live October 2-3

Emmitsburg, MD - The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) announced today that two of the major events taking place during the 2004 Memorial Weekend (October 2-3) will be available for broadcast live via satellite, for easy downlink.

Satellite coordinates for the Candlelight Service (October 2) and the National Memorial Service (October 3) are provided on the next page. The Memorial Weekend will honor 107 firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2003, and three firefighters who died in previous years.

<big snip>

Saturday, October 2 - Candlelight Service

The Foundation will broadcast the Candlelight Service live from the Basilica of the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton on Saturday, October 2, 2004. The feed begins at 5:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) and the Candlelight Service will last from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. (EDT).

The Foundation will broadcast the National Memorial Service live from the National Fire Academy campus on Sunday, October 3, 2004. The satellite test period will begin at 9:00 a.m. (EDT) and the service will start at 10:00 a.m. (EDT)

For more information on the 2004 Memorial Weekend, and a list of firefighters from your state who will be honored, visit www.firehero.org
8/19 As I have read the They Said web site, a GREAT WEB Site, I notice that there seems to be some confusion when it comes to wildland fire qualifications. Because of this confusion, I must throw in my 2cents.

PMS 310-1

"Personnel mobilized beyond their geographic area must meet the established qualification standards in this guide. Any organization or agency providing resources to fill national interagency request for incidents or multi-agency prescribed fires of moderate or higher complexity will be expected to meet the minimum national requirements described in this guide." (PMS 310-1, page 1-2, January 2000 edition)

All the Department of Interior agencies, including BLM + NPS + BIA + FWS, have accepted this standard as their minimum standard for wildland fire qualification. Some of these agencies have also added some additional requirements which maybe found in the Interagency Standards for Fire and fire Aviation Operations 2004 (NFES 2724) or the "Red Book".

The US Forest Service has accepted the PMS 310-1 as their minimum standard and they have added additional requirements for wildland fire qualifications. The FSH5109.17 (rev. 5/18/2004) Fire and Aviation Management Qualifications Handbook contains the PMS 310-1 and additional requirements. This is the national standard for ALL Forest Service employees. The Regional Forester can only add to these standards if it is based on local or state laws.

It is my understanding that the California Office of Emergency Services (OES) has accepted the PMS 310-1 as their minimum wildland fire qualification standard.

For the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF), their standard for wildland fire qualifications is contained in their 4000 Training Handbook, Section 4039 (rev. February, 2001) Incident Command System Employee Development Guide. After you have read this document, you can debate all they want whether this handbook meets the minimum requirements in the PMS 310-1.

Computer Applications

IQS (Incident Qualifications System) was developed by the National Assoc. of State Foresters (NASF) and approved by NWCG. This system is currently be used by many state agencies, like Montana and Florida to name two. This computer application has the PMS 310-1 requirement built into the program.

CICCS (California Incident Command Certification System) is basically the same as the IQS computer program. This program has been approved by OES and by the California State Fire Marshal's Office and is currently being used by OES. This computer application has the PMS 310-1 requirement built into the program.

IQCS (Incident Qualification and Certification System) is a brand new computer application that is used by all federal wildland fire agencies (USFS+BLM+FWS+BIA+NPS). This program applies each agency's standard to only their employees. (This program replaces the Interior's SACS and the USFS RedCard programs).

ERD (Emergency Resource Directory) is a Microsoft access program that the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection use for their qualification listing of personnel and their qualifications.

Prepared by Hippy Mike, Forest Fire Qualification Coordinator

8/19 Green Gestapo...you're so right! I used to wear green and hold those days close to my heart! Still a ranger somewhere deep inside me here.... I left years ago but sadly the reasons were the same then as people leave for today. Pay, hours, quality of life, etc. Most of the people I know in municipal/County service with wildland quals. and interests did time as a fed. or with CDF or both!

Regarding CDF and OES consolidation, it hasn't happened yet but the Governator has proposed it in his state services reorganization study. The proposal would place cops and fire into one agency called Public Safety and Homeland Security. The fire side of that would have CDF, OES, State Fire Marshal, and Water Resources flood people. Alot of State folks are concerned that cops would rule the roost and are concerned.

Contract County Guy
8/19 Aberdeen,

My biggest concern about using 310-1 is the cost to the states to manage it now and in the future . The inevitable changes that follow are discussed at interagency meetings and assigned groups but rarely do the changes satisfy all of the policy and decision makers at the state levels. One could argue from the my dad can beat your dad standpoint forever. However, I personally don't think the small skirmishes and turf battles represents a toe the line battle for the supremacy of each others qual system as much as it represents a group think on both sides that they are loyal to the quals system used by their agency.

I can recount numerous blended assignments where representation from each agency was marred by the lack of experience. The individuals were qualified under the separate systems but not competent due to lack of experience.

This may cause a lot of rebuttals but in my opinion it doesn't matter which quals system you use. It's more important that you keep the end result in mind. I think the end result is that we all want a highly trained and motivated workforce that can engage themselves safely and aggressively in achieving the agencies mission and objectives. Coordination and cooperation is one of these objectives.

Whichever system qualifies a person the bottom line is that if you order a DIVS, ENGB or ICT3 it's the sending agencies responsibility to send not only a qualified person but a competent person as well. To the best of my knowledge the standards for evaluating the resource is the one thing most of us all have in common. Before you feel an urge to write back to say that evaluations are not being completed properly or consistently across the board...we will all need to hold up a mirror and ask why. Why do we accept not receiving an evaluation? Why don't we complete an eval.? Why do we allow the same crew or individual to continue to receive fire assignments without correcting the problems identified in an eval.?

I can't speak for my agency (still connected to the field operation side) but I would guess, that if the documented failures were brought forward in the countless coordinating group meetings, there would be a positive reaction to fix the problems.

I think it's fair to say that both sides of the fence have problems in achieving the end result completely. However, not withstanding the loss of life and injury, each agency is highly successful. Fire fighters with knowledge, drive and personal commitments are the reasons for this success. Can we do better? Of course we can. The commitment to do better is illustrated in forums like this and on the fire lines each year.

Tongue in Cheek addition - I think a bigger problem is why can't newbies drive a stick shift?

8/19 whew! thanks MJ, i'm absolutely astonished that so many folks out there
don't seem to know what a friggin' advanced firefighter is.

....i got tears from laughing too hard...

8/19 Can anyone tell us about the FS FireWatch helicopter being used on
the French Gulch Fire? Is this the same helo & program that was used
last year on the Codfish Fire?

Tahoe Terrie
8/19 Thanks everyone for the info on NWCG-310-1 and CICCS.

I didn't expect such complicated answers. I thought my lack of clarity about Eureka FD's certs was probably a function of the Eureka Times (sub)Standard journalism. I agree with Aberdeen that there should be one "standard" that all firefighters must achieve to fight wildland fire. I hope that we're on the path to achieving that goal. I think taskbooks and experience on the wildland fireground are critical training requirements.

I'll have to look at the 310-1 regs for positions requiring S-211 (Wildfire Pumps and Water Use) and S-212 (Wildfire Power saws) and maybe have a chat with MJ <chuckle>.

8/19 WOW! lots of verbage, many topics and discussions to read and assimilate
after having been on the road for weeks.... especially the first hand accounts
vs AARs.

Question: did CA OES & CDF merge into one state agency?


8/18 Here's a funny thought about the situation, with a twist that includes retention pay.
The majority of the people who are getting NWCG qualifications under county
and city agencies were probably former Fed Firefighters who left for better pay,
retirement, and the days off.

Green Gestapo
8/18 It seems to me that an awful lot of California folks are expending a lot of "finger energy" to type in comments about how CICCS is as good as NWCG 310-1. So, a question: why not just use 301-1 standards, and eliminate all the confusion amongst all of us non-Californians about your quals system, especially if you want to leave the "Golden State" on wildfire assignments? Works for most of us in the other 49 States.


I am really sorry to see this topic is sliding into the “who is better than who” argument again. Yes there are “national standards” (NWCG), and California is following them. However, having taught in the California Fire Marshals FF1 and 2 program, attended and taught at the CDF Academy, and having been evaluated and “qualed” by federal employees, I am not convinced that any one agency has the monopoly on the best training or qualification standards.

I too am a California Contract County Guy, and you will see that my ICS 500 level qual taskbook is signed by a BLM employee. I too had to go thru the rigorous process of gathering all my assignments and evaluations, along with taskbooks and other materials to convince the Review Board that I was worth “grandfathering” in. The entire process for “grandfathering” my redcard, which lists 9 qualifications, took 5 months.

None of that makes me a better (or worse) firefighter than anybody else, no matter who signs my paychecks.

8/18 greetings

My name is Erin, I am currently attending flight school, learning to fly helicopters. I have a lot of interest in flying in the fire fighting environment. I know it takes hard work and experience. That is why i would like to request any help you could give, on certifications needed or any additional training that is required of a pilot. If there are any links that could take me to the information i request, your assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time and help.

Erin R
8/18 Ab,

Regarding the Eureka FD, Remember, Advanced FF is just Squad Boss certification, that is all. Don't get the word Advanced confused, What they did is certify a few Captains as Strike Team Leader, Engine; Certify a few Captains and Engineers as Engine Boss; and certify some Firefighters as Squad Boss (advanced FF). This will enable them to send Engines to wildland fires as part of a Strike Team, where before they just could do structure protection, like VFDs. They have complied with the 310-1 standards, and finished task books, just like anyone else.

8/18 In case anyone is confused out there:

Type 1 or Hotshot crews are not considered Type 1 because composed of Type 1 firefighters. They care composed of a combination of Type 1 and 2 firefighters just like any crew. The difference lies in the standards that are met by the crew as a whole. Fore example, a higher percentage of crew members must have prior fire experience on a Type 1 crew than on a Type 2. You can have a rookie fresh out of the box on a Hotshot crew. You just can't have a whole bunch of them. Then, of course, there are the more obvious differences like the fact that they come outfitted or that they run with the same crew members (more or less) for the whole season, etc.

Any further questions on the specific differences between Type 1 and 2 crews can be found in Chapter 60 (section 2) of the National Mob Guide which is under "Reference Materials" at www.nifc.gov/news/nicc.phpl

8/18 Mellie,

The basic premise of recognition for non-NWCG entities is that quals are only recognized where written agreements are in place. For local fire departments, that usually means some sort of MOU or annual operating plan with the state forestry agency.

Typically, the fire chief vouches for the training and evaluation of the individual (with or without the use of taskbooks) for positions of single resource boss or below. There may be an inter-agency committee like the Eureka article mentioned.

Arizona uses the following guidelines (small .pdf file) www.peoriaaz.com which appear to exceed 310-1 for actual wildland experience. The Wyoming standards are here www.wyomingfire.org/redcard.php, with the required training hours reduced roughly by half from 310-1.

The May NWCG meeting touched on the issue of equivalency of qualifications. Under item 31 of their meeting notes www.nwcg.gov/general/minutes/90-final.php, it appears that NWCG is closer to establishing equivalency with Australia and New Zealand, than with American structural firefighters. The "closest available resource" concept sometimes prefers folks half a world away over the crew next door.

The "rural fire report" being studied by the ad hoc group is the June, 2003 NASF report to Congress, and is available on the www.coloradofirecamp.com website along with the December, 2003 NAPA report, "Utilizing Local Firefighting Forces."

vfd cap'n
8/18 About California's CICCS (California Incident Command Qualification System) process:

For those of you with questions about CICCS, this is a VERY demanding process which requires extensive documentation for the grand father process, and will use the same task books others use and demand skill for future qualification. As an example for how demanding the process is, three of California's "Contract County Departments" (CDF agents) in Southern California had their ICS rosters diminished by over half through this review.

The CICCS process was undertaken following the burnover of 6 firefighters on the Calabasas Fire in Malibu in 1996. During this fire, experience and qualification of crews, line leadership, and command were all found to be deficient and contributing factors to the accident. California Chiefs decided a strong tool was needed to ensure the quality and experience of fire officers responding to wildland fires. People of strong reputation and character like Pat Cooney were assigned the responsibility to design the system.

The CICCS process replaces what some thought was a "good old boy" system with a process that includes all NWCG, 310-1 requirements and adds other new criteria. It includes all the experience requirements of the federal system. And...to get any qualification at the command and general staff level you have to be reviewed by a panel composed of multi-agency (including federal) representatives. Its a demanding process..and it should be.

My personal experience was to retain Operations and Planning Section Chief, and Operations Branch Director qualification, (by the way I have had these qualifications for 12 years) I had to submit three books about a half inch thick, documenting my fire experience, including appraisals of my performance. The documentation had to include how I had served in all the prerequisite jobs to get these qualifications, and that I had served in Type 1 and 2 capacities on multiple occasions in recent years. Even then, the review panel had questions which they asked for additional info on. Each candidate is discussed individually in this panel process by the way. Division Supervisor and Strike Team Leader qualification is decided at a county level, but still by new and more demanding requirements.

My personal view was this was long overdue and welcome. Even though it was a pain in the ass to dig through the house and find all that documentation, and sit through a process you thought you qualified for a dozen years ago, it's more than worth it if it allows firefighters to know their fireground leaders will be well qualified to do their job and able to keep them safe!

Contract County Guy
8/18 I have a couple things to bring up in regards to (just concerned...) First off, I believe that what just concerned is seeing is an issue between resource typing and red card qualifications. Hotshot crews have type one status. Do all members of a hotshot crew have FFT1 on their red card. No. Take a look in the Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation Operations guide to see requirements for shots, jumpers, engine crews, etc.. The determination is made on minimum standards within the crew. On my district, we supply our engine personnel to assist with the shot crew when needed. Because we supply engine folks to the shot crew, they do not lose their Type 1 status, nor should they. Our engine folks see very complex fires in an urban interface area. Many of our engine crew members have FFT1 on there red card. The FFT1 qual is important to have to get higher qualifications, and because of that we ensure that each individual who has a FFT1 taskbook is getting solid training assignments.

I believe the issue is Task Books. Those of us on the federal side are required to complete task books for qualifications on the Red Card. Many local/rural fire departments do not have access to the red card system that the federal side used. To me, some system needs to be put in place to document the experience and training of the locals so we can more effectively use them on the federally managed urban interface fires we will continue to see in the west. We have all seen individuals with quals that they shouldn't have. More needs to be done to ensure that quals are not just handed out, but rather earned from time on the fireline.

8/18 Fire Fighting at its best

Take advantage of a Union!


8/18 Kim Leete (Air Tanker Base Tech. @ Redding) recently lost her home and
belongings during the Bear Fire. If you wish to donate please send all
money donations to: Kim Leete Fire Fund, North Valley Bank,
9334 Deschutes Rd., Palo Cedro, Ca. 96073 Attn: Kay

8/18 Something is a amiss with this article.

First of all it says they are certified as "advanced" firefighters (not
type 1 wildland firefighters).

Type 1 wildland firefighters in the federal agencies are either Hot-shot,
smokejumper, helitattack level qualified with experience. A type 1
firefighting crew is comprised all type 1 firefighters / could be 10
smokejumpers and 10 hot-shots put together in late September to operate as
a type 1 crew.

I can not see where the Eureka firefighters, and it appears they are engine
/ structural type local resources could /would ever be sent out as a Type 1
wildland firefighting crew. Something is either wrong with the article
writer, the commentator, or the local Chief not understanding how Type 1
ground crews are qualified for wildland firefighting - up to and including
NWCG standards. If they don't meet NWCG standards as type 1 firefighters,
then they are not going around the country as Type 1 wildland firefighting

Advanced does not necessarily mean Type 1.

Can someone from NWCG fall-in on this issue please - the way it is presented
sends some clearly confusing messages. Maybe a state board qualified them
as advanced to facilitate their dispatch to Type 1 wildfires - but it would
assume that they would go a task force of engines - and not a 20 person
type 1 groundcrew.

Can we kill this rumor with some clarity by someone who can better report
back to the wildland fire community other than the media.

Thanks Ab -

(Just concerned.....)
8/18 Hey, Bluezebra - thanks for the clarification about the California OES CICCS program for meeting NWCG standards for wildland fire quals. Makes about as much sense as the old book "Animal Farm": all animals are created equal, but some are more equal than others!

Excuse me, but does anyone else out there think that this is a bunch of b**sh**?

Do we, or do we not, have National Standards, otherwise known as ICS 310-1?

Will the folks in California accept the barefooted, bib-overalled folks from eastern West Virginia who come West as FFT1 or SLT-E because their "State OES CICCS" (what does "CICCS" stand for?) says "they are one"? I have to doubt it! Yet, the rest of us in the other 49 States are supposed to accept folks from the Eureka Fire Department based on CA OES CICCS standards?

Boys & Girls: is this any way to run a National, interagency fire program?


CICCS = California Incident Command Certification System; Pat Cooney was instrumental in setting it up.
California Fire Chiefs Assn on CICCS
Colorado Firecamp Appendix addressing changing roles & needs of fire depts on the WUI

8/17 Mellie:

I forgot to answer all of your questions.

In the CICCS system, the local agency head can certify 100 and 200 level quals for his/her employees. Operational Areas (usually counties) have committees to certify 300 level quals. And the OES Regions have committees to certify 400 and 500 level quals.

There was a "grandfathering" process for documented experience and related assignments and training. However, after May of this year, the only way to qualify is to take the class(es) and do the trainee assignments and taskbooks, as described in NWCG.

8/17 Eureka, I have found it!

Mellie - an interesting article about the Eureka, CA firefighters all making FFT1.
After "too many" experiences with the media, I seldom take their writings at face value, and so must ask:
* Are they NWCG 310-1 qualified, or is some other standard being used?
* Were all their instructors qualified at the appropriate levels under NWCG;
* Did they take S-211 (Wildfire Pumps and Water Use) and S-212 (Wildfire Power saws), or did they just get credit for pumping from a structural engine and cutting holes in roofs of burning buildings;
* Did they demonstrate the concepts and techniques taught in the old S-281;
* What was the ICS "Red Card" rating of the person that initialed off on the tasks in their Task Books;
* How many days/operational periods/different fires did it take to complete their Task Books;
*Have the Eureka FD Strike Team Leaders working on the "Bear Fire" met the NWCG standards of training and required experience at the FFT1 and Single Resource Boss levels?

If the folks at Eureka FD meet all the NWCG standards for the positions they are red-carded to fill, I welcome them with open arms, and commend their Department and Chief for making the commitment to get them to meet national standards for fire assignments ".....anywhere in the country." If, however, the folks at the Eureka FD didn't conform to all the NWCG criteria, I trust that the "powers that be" at North Zone dispatch will keep them on CDF fires, and not place them, and the rest of us, in a position of liability from having unqualified folks on our incidents.


8/17 The article in the Eureka paper refers to the State OES CICCS program.
This is the State's requirement for all government agencies to meet the
NWCG standards for overhead and other qualifications. It was announced
in early 2003, and is supposed to be complied with by Aug 1 2004.

My Agency qualified all it's personnel before the start of last fire season.

8/17 Ab(s),

I know you folks are busy but I need a little help getting the word out about a degree program for wildland fire fighters.

Columbia College in Sonora Ca. in conjunction with CDF's Tuolumne Calaveras Unit and the Stanislaus NF, has a created a Wildland Urban Interface Associate of Science Degree Program. Unlike a traditional fire science degree there are few fire science courses in the program, instead it is made up nearly entirely of courses that are transferable to a four year college. The courses are standard college courses, but were selected as much as possible for applicability in the wildland fire fighting world (unfortunately, some courses such as History of Art could not be ignored).

What really sets the program apart is that the fall semester begins at the end of October and the spring semester ends in late April, thus the western seasonal fire fighter can attend two full semesters and only miss a small portion of the fire season. The classes are scheduled so that the degree can be achieved in four to five semesters (two to two and a half years). Once completed, the student can transfer to either a natural resource, fire science, or public administration program at a four year college.

We really want to reach employed seasonal fire fighters looking for promotion with this program. If enough students register, classes will be limited to fire fighters only, creating a "cohort" that will go through the program together. Work experience credits are also given during the summer. In addition to the regular curriculum, State Fire Marshal and NWCG courses are offered locally by the college and forest agencies as well.

Columbia has on dorms located on the main campus, about 30 minutes form the Calaveras Center where most of the classes will be offered. There may also be very limited housing in local fire district fire stations as part of a FF residency program.

I am attaching a copy of the fall class offerings as well as a listing of the projected classes.

For enrollment information contact Alicia Kolstad at (209) 588-5333
For other program information contact Craig Konklin (209) 532-8182

Thank you,

Craig Konklin
Battalion Chief/Training Director, CDF

Craig, you should create a web site we can link to. There's lots of information here. Readers, I'll be happy to forward emails on. Ab.
8/17 Re: The Regional Office Letter

Once again, the bureaucrats in the Regional Office are counting beans and not counting the losses of valuable talent at all levels of the organization. When you can't recruit or retain talent, it's an accident waiting to happen. The agencies are losing good folks who bleed green and yellow.

While I agree that increasing tours is good for the employee and employer, it does not make up for the fact that Federal Wildland Firefighters are paid much less, have a very weak benefits package, and a pretty poor retirement system.

"Current State and local government budget problems further reduce the immediate competition for our Fire employees, and that is not expected to change soon." ..... Au contraire, my dear bureaucrat........ WHEN STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT ARE IN FINANCIAL CRISIS>>>> THEY PREY UPON THE FEDERAL WILDLAND FIREFIGHTERS. We provide the puppy mill of trained firefighters for their selection of best of the breed. We'd do the same if we offered competitive wages, working conditions, and benefits. It's pretty hard to recruit and retain a highly skilled, diverse workforce when the competing agencies are trying to do the same... by offering better pay and benefits.

We recently lost an engine captain from our Forest who accepted an entry level job as a firefighter with a small local city department. He makes more as a firefighter than he did as GS-8 Engine Captain with us. He was qualified at the Division Supervisor level and was serving his second year on an incident management team.

Once again, the Forest Service is saying OPM wouldn't approve if it was presented. When I met with OPM folks last year, they stated that they work FOR the agencies and support them. If an agency says they have a recruitment and retention problem (and can provide documentation) and has agency support, OPM WILL APPROVE IT. The fact of the matter is that OPM doesn't have AGENCY support.... Anybody who deals with data knows how it can be "manipulated".

Please note: Here are the requirements for a special salary rate (IT LOOKS ALOT LIKE THE JOB OF A WILDLAND FIREFIGHTER)
  1. Rates of pay offered by non-Federal employers are significantly
    higher than those payable by the Government within the area, location,
    occupational group, or other class of positions under the pay system
  2. The remoteness of the area or location involved;
  3. The undesirability of the working conditions or the nature of
    the work involved (including exposure to toxic substances or other
    occupational hazards); or
  4. Any other circumstances OPM considers appropriate.

Sorry for the ramble...


OPM Supporting info

8/17 Just returned from the Early Fire on the
Stanislaus where this happened- A young engine
crewman from the Sequoia left his boots under the
chair outside of the showers (like most everyone
does), when he came out, they were gone. He was
new and these were his only boots. He was taken
to town where he was able to charge some new
boots. That night the Operations Chief went to
the rest of the team members and collected over
$300 and gave it to the F/F the next morning
along with the following poem:


A pair of boots are not very pretty
They don't even smell so great at times,
But to a firefighter, well fitting leather
is more than devine!

In days of old when a man's horse was stolen,
there was but one cry...
"Hang the bastard", was the cry
of that you could be sure.

But in a kinder and gentler time,
such phrases should not be said.
But a DIRTBAG who steals a firefighter"s boots,
is clearly missing something in their head.

They may be smart and they might be clever,
and they even could be strong.
But rest assured and let me be clear
Of the Brotherhood and Sisterhood,
they will never belong.

Early Firefighters, August 2004

And the young man walked away with tears in his

8/17 Question about redcarding and the differences among agencies.

I just read an article Eureka firefighters federally certified and wonder how certification works for city firefighters or strike teams of structure engines. I assume "advanced firefighter" is Firefighter 1 and above. As far as Engine Boss (ENGB) and Strike Team Leader (STEN), they each have to complete a task book, right?

What is meant by "all other certifications come before a panel made up of representatives from local departments." I guess locally that would be Arcata FD, Fortuna FD, CDF... Do they review assignments or task books or both? Who's to say if the certifiers are certified? Seems you can only certify to your own level of understanding.

With the WUI and interagency response to last year's fires in SoCal, I'm just trying to make sure I have up-to-date knowledge of the wildland training and certification process of city firefighters in a context I understand.

BTW, the Eureka Chief is an excellent instructor. He was one of my instructors for FF2 several years ago, along with several instructors from CDF (in a 5 month HROP course).


8/17 NCR Fire

I know of two companies that build ccv's in So Cal.
Phoenix Truck Body in Pomona has the gsa contract on the 8 person box used by FS.
Master Truck Body in South Gate www.masterbody.com builds a 13 and a 17 person box used by CDF, LACO, Ventura Co. and Nevada DF.

Hope this helps.


8/17 For the IMWTK crowd:

The earliest drip torch I ever saw was one recovered by a Forest Service archeologist from a 1920's/1930's era railroad logging camp site in central Oregon. It consisted of a softball-sized piece of pumice rock with a groove cut into and around the rock (pummy rock is very soft and porous), a length of baling wire wrapped around the rock in the groove, and extending out into a long (2-foot) handle with a loop in the end of it for a handle. With it was an empty coffee can with holes punched in the sides and another piece of wire threaded through the holes to be used as a carrying handle. Local old-timer logging lore said that the railroad loggers used to burn their slash every fall, and the way it was done was to put kerosene or lamp oil in the coffee can and ignite it, then walk through the woods dunking the pummy rock "drip torch" into the burning kerosene or lamp oil and dripping fire around the woods..........the last time I saw this artifact was in a display case at the Chemult Ranger District office in Chemult, OR (Winema NF), a number of years ago.


Interesting, if anyone has access to that artifact, please send a photo. Ab.
8/17 The Jobs page has been updated as well as the Wildland Firefighter Series 0462 & Series 0455. Ab.
8/17 Driptorch,

Thank you for the positive comment towards South Ops, but I will not take the credit by myself. The job well done should go to all the permanent CDF and USFS staff here at South Ops, as well as all the Expanded Dispatchers from CDF and USFS and our Local Government Cooperators. Everyone has been working very hard to meet the needs of all the incidents in California. Resources were thin, and our expanded and the local Unit/Forest ECC”s did a great job of finding the resources and filling the requests that were coming in. And lets not forget to thank the folks at the National Interagency Coordination Center for the all the support they have provided South Ops.

South Ops Eddie
8/17 Hi,

Thought I'd ask everyones opinion on a matter they may have an
interest in.

I'm involved in research into using technology to aid first responders
at the Institute for Security and Technology Studies at Dartmouth
College. You can visit our web site here:


While much of the group's work is concerned with monitoring the
medical condition of first responders, I'm working on ways in
which tiny battery powered sensor systems could be used to
gather information in emergency situations:


These sensors currently cost $50 to $500 each, but are soon projected
to cost about $1 each as they are implemented directly in silicon.
In that case, throwing large quantities of them across
a forest might be feasible for monitoring forest fires. We have
developed some algorithms for sensor deployment using flying
robots---computer controlled model helicopters. See the videos
labeled "Autonomous Mote Deployment" on this page:


I'd like to know what everyone thinks about using widely distributed
sensors as an aid to fighting forest fires. In particular, what
data would firefighters be most interested in seeing?
The temperature distribution? The ground level wind speed and
direction across the area? The oxygen levels? Smoke detection?
What element of the environment would be most useful to
firefighters (or their commander) to know about? What sensed
parameters would be most useful in predicting the directions a
fire spreads?

While we are mostly interested in the robotics and network
protocol aspects of the sensor systems, we would like our
experiments to reflect a useful integration of sensors into
the forest fire fighting problem domain.

8/16 I cant find my link to 'how to file a ground operations safenet', anybody know how to do this??

Take a look on the Links Page under Safety. The link is there at the bottom in capital letters. Ab.
8/16 New Kid

I wouldn't change my choice of careers. In between the adaptations to the changes over the past three decades my job has had many awarding moments. We all joke about the money or lack thereof.

Oliver Moore's story about choices seems appropriate. Caution to readers...read with tongue in cheek.
MOP-UP Article 103...Jobs

Sometimes...and more often as you get older... a person starts questioning past decisions. My latest question is why... why did I think it more prudent to have a job that I liked instead of a job that pays well? What was I thinking? Friends from school went for the money. Sure they complain constantly about their jobs... even over the noise of the 100 horsepower motors on their new ski boats you can hear them voicing their complaints.

On a three day mini vacation, to a destination resort, a friend of mine was complaining about his job while I was picking up pop and beer cans alongside of the road leading in and out of the resort. I was trying to earn enough money to pay for my green fees later that afternoon. Ron, my friend, was complaining about a change his company had recently made. Under this change Ron's expense account wouldn't cover golfing fees or happy hour costs unless it was a planned company event.

Wanting to feel his pain I told him that my agency had made a similar change in our per diem practices. Imagine his horror when I told him my agency would no longer reimburse us for Taxi rides less than 4 miles to our destination if our luggage weighed forty five pounds or less!

" Darn Oliver...that's rough...but hey you still have full HMO medical coverage don't you?" Ron stated . "Sure, I answered...why only last week I went in to get a growth removed and my primary health physician told me that once the growth became too large to see out of my right eye he would remove it. Also, my insurance would pick up sixty percent of the cost after my five hundred dollar deductible was met."

" That reminds me Ron...how is the wife doing after her latest round of saline and botox makeover?" I asked. His reply was "Cripes don't remind me Oliver... my insurance only paid ninety percent of her surgery bill... they said it was elective surgery. Obviously they overlooked the mental health reasons for the make-over and it took two weeks and a stern letter before they covered it at one hundred percent."

I interrupted our conversation to pick up an empty soda can. I was hoping the break would allow for a change of subject. It did... "Hey Oliver how long before you retire?" Ron asked. I told him that it would be another ten years because our retirement board changed the actuarial tables and I wouldn't break even with this change unless I worked until I was 67 and lived to be 98.

He said that sucks for me and then complained about his retirement package..." My stock options and my investments only earned 32% this last year. At this rate I will have to work another year if I want to retire at 200% of my salary." I told him that sucks for him.

After picking up enough cans to pay for my green fees we turned around and hiked back to the resort. Ron offered to call a taxi on his cell phone but I told him I was used to walking four miles and besides the soda can bag weighed less than 45 pounds.

I was met at the entrance to the resort by a Highway Patrol Officer . He asked me if I was Oliver Moore. After my affirmative reply he told me that my Incident Management team had been activated and I was to head immediately to the airport to secure transportation to Missoula Montana.

I asked the officer how far the airport was..."It's just a little under four miles ..why?" Never mind I told him....four miles gives a person time to think. I thought about fuel types... and if there would there be enough resources to actually fight the fire. I thought about my life as an under paid vagabond. The smile returned to my face as I thought about Ron's problems and I remembered giving a word of thanks around mile marker three for the job I had chosen.

Oliver Moore... Everyone has a place in this world of ours...Be Safe
8/16 AB please post the following question:

"Does anybody know of the manufacturer of crew buggies? Internet address(es)?"

NCR Fire
8/16 Ab Note: An engine rollover rumor has been circulating. It is not true.

There was a rumor about Lassen E-15 rolling over on Hwy 36 East of Mineral. The rumor first got to us about 1300 and a question was posted on the Hot List Forum. More than one person heard the information over the scanner (Shasta County CA).

I just talked with Lassen Dispatch who also had gotten queries. The dispatch center says it's a rumor, LASSEN Engine 15 is fine. The crew is fine. They talked with them. The engine has nary a scratch. No accident.


8/16 Red Army vs Green Army. Let me tell you, on the Early
we were just one big damn army that hit it hard,
worked together and stopped a fire that had enormous
potential. My hat is off to TCU and MMU. They
augmented our initial attack with everything we asked
for. We would probably still be fighting that fire if
it wasn’t for them and Eddy at South Ops getting us as
much aircraft as he could lay his hands on. Between
the overhead team, buying team, the dispatch team and
our local cooperators, they made this fire run very
smooth. My last comment about this fire is, red ,
green, brown, blue, white or yellow, no matter what
your agency color is, thank you very much, you all did
a hell of a job.

8/16 I have come home to find that I was not the only one who had a problem with the way things were being done on Cabin Creek.  The night there were mudslides there were 5 crews spiked out on the line and they CLOSED the Communications Unit for the night.  You don't leave people out on the line and trundle off to bed.  I would have filed a SafeCom but I got back too late I think . . .

8/16 This has come in from several R5 posters.

Date: August 12, 2004
Subject: Fire Special Salary Rate Study
To: Forest Supervisors and Directors

As you may know, we conducted a Fire Special Salary Rate Study on Fire positions outside the Southern California Province. We have decided not to request a new special salary rate(s) at this time. Instead we are encouraging Forests to increase the guaranteed season for our permanent GS-05 and GS-06 fire positions from 13/13 to 18/8 seasons, if they have funding and sufficient work and/or training to support the longer season.

Many of these employees are working longer than 13/13 seasons now, especially with the increase in fuels funding. Longer seasons will also reduce significant unemployment insurance costs. Our study found the greatest number of fire employees leaving the agency at these grade levels. The extended season would aid us in our efforts to recruit and retain these fire employees, and perform needed project work, training, etc.

Southern California Forests have had a special salary rate for positions in the GS-0462, Forestry Technician Series, since the late 1980s due to recruitment and retention issues. There was anecdotal evidence that similar problems existed for fire positions on the other Forests in the Region. In the later half of 2002 we collected data on Fire positions outside Southern California to assess the magnitude of these problems.

The anecdotal evidence indicated we had significant attrition of permanent Fire employees to other fire organizations outside the Federal Government because of the availability of higher salaries, etc. While there was some such attrition, it was not dramatic. This attrition was significantly higher proportionately in Southern California, even with their special salary rates. Current State and local government budget problems further reduce the immediate competition for our Fire employees, and that is not expected to change soon.

The substantial increase in funding Fire positions in the last few years has created significant internal turnover, and some increase in attrition out of agency positions. With many peers moving on to other positions/locations, we would expect higher than normal attrition during this period. Significant progress in staffing up to these higher staff levels is being made each year. The principal limiting factor in reaching these staff levels is the time it takes us to train our Fire employees to qualify to compete for higher graded positions.

It is unclear that we will have above normal attrition in Fire positions once our workforce stabilizes at funded levels. Nor is it clear that recruitment and retention problems for Fire positions would then necessarily be greater than other Forest positions in the same locations.

Office of Personnel Management (OPM) expects to see significant use of other recruitment and retention incentives, such as Recruitment and Relocation Bonuses, Retention Allowances, etc., before they approve new special salary rates. This is because special salary rates are more costly than most other incentives. Very few such incentives have been requested for Fire employees. OPM would question as to why a special salary rate would resolve our recruitment and retention issues particularly since the Fire community has infrequently requested use of these recruitment and retention incentives.

Please share this information with your employees. If you have any questions, please contact Ray Quintanar at (707) 562-8927 (rquintanar@fs.fed.us), or Christina Hendricks at (707) 562-8750 (chendricks@fs.fed.us).

/s/ Vicki A. Jackson (for)
Regional Forester

8/16 Ab:

Minor correction to FC180’s post; CDF Team #7 (Heil) is a South Ops team and was assigned to the Calaveras Complex. CDF Team #1 (Durden) was assigned to the Stevens Incident in NYP. Both teams have been released.


Thanks, I corrected his post below and the CA fires, 2004 page. I pull info off the CDF site for the fires 2004 page and I had Team 1 down for the Stevens Fire. I assumed that team had rotated out and been replaced by Team 7. Usually I only provide the team number of the team at time of first posting. Ab.
8/16 Current CDF Team Deployments
Team 1   Durden    Stevens Fire   Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit 
Team 2   Chuchel   Bear Fire      Shasta-Trinity Unit
Team 3   Lutts     French Fire    Shasta-Trinity Unit

I've filled in the info on the CA Fires, 2004 page. Thanks.
8/16 Retired Forester and KJC,

You both have some interesting views and ideas. I'd like to hear more. I'm considering staying in wildland fire and would like to hear both sides (especially yours since you are agreeing and debating the true issues at hand for the new folks). If wildland fire isn't the ticket, I'd like to know early enough to get out and pursue a real career where I can promote from the bottom to the top with education and experience provided by the employer..... thanks

New Kid
8/15 Eastern Area Type 2IA crews are being mobilized for N. Cal. The
current plan is for them to fly to Redding Tues. morning.

8/15 French Fire has grown to 7,600 acres.

Redding FF
8/15 Re Cabin Creek Fire discussion:

Believe it or not, we were not all "inexperienced Pulaski swingers"
who were on the Cabin Creek Fire. There were 2 first years and
one second year. The rest had three or more years in fire. A couple
have close to twenty if not more. Regardless of experience, what
happened flat out shouldn't have.

8/15 From Italy






+39 055 9502042





Thanks Max. Here are some Italian wildland fire photos www.gaib.it/aib_ponte.php from their website. I will post his engine photo when time allows. Ab.

8/15 From France:

Congratulation about your beautiful web site, especially for your album
which is very well documented... Except that you don't have any photo
from the "Office National des Forêts" firefighters (the equivalent of your
USDA - Forest Service).

Fortunately, I work as a Forest Captain in this country, so I can send you
some if you wish I have about 200 crew under my order, so no problem...

See you soon,

Welcome Laurent. I'm working on the photos. Ab.

8/14 Cache Queen, the Porter Fire blew up to  3,617 acres today.
The little bit of rain this afternoon helped slow it down

R4 Firefighter
8/14 Re the many fires in norcal
If it requires registration, www.bugmenot.com can provide a generic one.

I hope all goes well.


8/14 In regard to the new N. CA fires, hearing a lot of teams heading out of Butte up to help......

They've done a heckuva job here, hope they can turn the tide!


Register for the Hot List Forum to stay abreast of what firefighters are saying. Hot List Forum Registration You get your username and password returned immediately to your email address. Ab.

8/14 Ab,

New fires. 200 acres + in French Gulch, near Whiskeytown Lake, the town is being evacuated, this one is going to get big. Also, a new fire near Hyampom (near the Sims fire) 5 acres plus, high rate of spread, it is still in IA, if it continues up South Fork mountain, potential for 20,000 acres or more. SHF has their hands full, and SRF is stripped trying to help catch these. Also HUU CDF had a fire today on Hwy. 36 near Bridgeville, contained at 1 acre. The wind is whipping in the river valleys, today will be touch and go for a while


Be Safe All. Ab.
8/14 Still working on photos. This came in several weeks ago. Ab.

Hey Ab,

I stumbled onto something the other day at a fire that made me think of a question from the IMWTK section. The question was asked of when the drip torch made its first debut and although I don't have a date for it I do have a picture and some information that would seem to back up what Zimm said about the drip torch having been around for some time and being used in orchards first. This photo was taken at a fire that butted up to a plum orchard (I think they were plums as I recall) and as you can see its looking pretty aged. Hope this helps in tracking down the history of wildfire.


Orchard Driptorches
8/14 Retired Forester

You sound as old or young as I am. I wasn't putting down ologists. I even have ologists as friends believe it or not! The BD crews had great experience and contributed this experience in the fire program along with others like your self.

However, things have changed on some forests since the good old days. I don't believe there are as many ologists/fire fighter/overhead people like you that are making themselves available to the fire programs. Couple this with the missing BD crews and it's hard for Forests to put together 20 person FSR crews. Just my opinion based on observations these past 32 years..

Fire as a career ladder? Kind of short ladder at times depending on the agency or forest.

I hope to sign off one of these days soon ... as retired also.

8/14 KJC, (in ref to post on 8/11)

Being one of those "ologists" (actually a rec and lands forester) I would like to share some perspective on the BD crew issue. I was an FPT equipped with a type VI engine (I wasn't aware of any "typing for engines at the time however we had Model 50s, 60s, and 70s) for the first four years of my career. The district had one other Type VI which had a larger tank, three people assigned, and more room to carry lots more hose. I was the permanent "lead FPT" and had temporaries to supervise. The fact that I began as a seasonal in the summer between my junior and senior years of college and that I was a graduate forester later did not influence how I got that position. I worked in BD in the winter and early spring. I worked very hard on the ground all of those years and did a fair amount of fence building, range management improvement maintenance and contraction, and built all the workbenches, storage rooms, fire cache, and shelving in a new ranger station shop one winter.

I was getting nowhere as far as my fire career went, I had only firefighter listed on my red card. When the other resources on the district left for large fires (FMO, AFMO, helicopter, engine, dozers) they would leave the FPTs in place and give me two ADs and I was supposed to be the district's IA engine. A formal procedure for duty officer designation did not exist but the DR would always say if much of the fire organization was gone I could always be left behind as I "was a good man with a good head" and that in these circumstances he didn't have to worry about fire.

It wasn't until I left fire management, when I transferred and converted from the tech series, and took a forester position that my fire career began to be built. I retired with 6 qualifications on my red card including crew boss and strike team leader- crew (T). I ran a lot of crews including an Army crew in Yellowstone,1988 and a crew obtained from the unemployment roles on the Klamath in 1987. I worked on 108 fires, 85% of them in ops, and ten or so as IC (we didn't have sub Type II team designations at the time). My last and best job was as a field supervisor in frontcountry recreation with 60% of my time year round in the field. I was first responder on fires, search and rescues, vehicle accidents, suicides, drowning, medical, and all sorts of other "all risk" situations. I was the IC on many of these. The district's batt chief called me a "consummate fireman". I spent more time on large fires as an "ologist" than when I was an FPT.

Picking up a scattering of small crews of BD or smokechaser crews (they were regulars organized into squads of 6 and most BD crews were ten, and sometimes just three people in one pickup with hand tools and lots of full backpack pumps in the bed) was a good experience. These smokechasers had all sorts of work when not on fires including fence building, fire station maintenance, road and fire prevention sign maintenance, and all sorts of other work much of which isn't getting done anymore. Another good source were the seasonal recreation crews. Most of these folks were encouraged to qualify as firefighters and had been on the district more than one year. Before "concessionaire campgrounds" caused us to lose most of our seasonal workforce in recreation, these folks could build signs, dig holes for signs, place barricades, paint, weld, dig ditches for waterlines, and had a fair amount of fire experience. My last district was a large recreation district and we had about 60% of the recreation workforce trained with one or more years of fire experience. Because I was in recreation and was crew boss qualified, when a crew was needed, I would put together 20 person crews, tools, and pickups from the recreation organization. Everyone in recreation that was fire qualified was ready for this at all times with their IA packs ready at a moment's notice. Many of my recreation seasonals went on into fire and eventually got permanent appointments there. I was always rewarded when one of these people came back to me and told me I ran those recreation fire crews professionally and safely and that it made a difference in them setting a goal to pursue a career in fire. One often quoted statement of mine when first briefing a crew was "there is no room for ego in fire", applying this to myself and every crewmember.

My point for KJC is that a lot of "ologists" started their careers cleaning toilets, being on BD crews, with a drip torch in their hands and are not worthless overeducated people with no "ground sense". My last fire assignment was with a crew mixed with regulars and AD's, with a GS-11 wildlife biologist crew boss trainee. He was interested in fire ecology from a wildlife habitat improvement standpoint. He wanted to be a burn boss so he could plan and execute prescribed fires and not just be a person who would recommend prescribed fire projects and write the EA for them, but be heavily involved in every step of the process. He was very good and had a good head in the dirt, shall we say. He had devoted many years as a crew member on fire crews assembled and used on the district and for those sent off forest as well. Don't downplay the importance of "ologists" for the fire militia. Don't underestimate the great deal of interest that many "ologists" have in fire ecology and their interest in learning it from a very basic or dirt level on up. Fire ecology is probably the most important and critical issue in the history of North American land and resource management. My initial interest, and those of many of my fellow "ologists", in pursuing a career in natural resource management was due to fire ecology.

Two factors have greatly reduced the ability to put together these crews from the regular workforce. BD crews were funded mainly with timber money and specifically from KV funds (stands for Knutson-Vandenberg Act which allowed the federal agencies to hold some of the revenue from timber sale receipts and accomplish improvements within the sale area, much of which related to fuel reduction). With reduced timber cutting (thank goodness), the source of funding caused many BD crews to be abolished. With reduced and very inadequate funding for recreation and turning the campgrounds over to concessionaires, we have lost the bottom rungs of the career ladder in our organization, a place where so many people started and obtained their "field or dirt sense".

On the local forest I retired from and still live within, two fuels crews are funded by the National Fire Plan. So all is not lost, we still have "BD" crews. The good old days are partially gone, but these new crews are very similar. Look at the number of permanently established Type II crews on so many Forests, Parks, and BLM districts where there weren't any before the National Plan. Look too at the number of fire resources developed and professionalized in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency which ranks last in number of employees per acre for any federal natural resource agency. They have been a great source for prescribed burning, however, as they were allowed to do more of it than all the other agencies during 1950-1990. I hope to see an interagency hotshot crew established in that agency sometime in the future.

The days of getting seasonals from every resource function and building a good Type II IA crew are gone. Until those "outsourcers" in D.C. figure out that seasonals cleaning toilets and other "lowly" work are doing "work which is inherently governmental" we won't have the chance to groom "ologists" and others on the ground. They don't realize the savings we used to incur from having these GS-3's and 4's around or that this experience for an "ologist" working their way through college or on their first job with the agency cannot be gained any other way. The loss of these positions is overwhelming and not just in the area of putting together fire crews, but to career development, and work needed in other resource functions.

Retired Forester (Militia member in R3, R4, and R5 and in that order believe it or not!)

8/14 South Central Idaho Interagency Fire Center:

Modoc Command Center:

Got these links off of the WildCAD Home Page: www.wildcad.net

You're doing a GREAT job! LOVE the new Hotlist. Just what we needed; you should be proud!

AH Cook.

Proud, sure, and this Ab is especially proud and appreciative of the Ab who created it! We think it provides useful info in a very timely fashion. The need for it was evidenced by the growing number of firefighters writing in to theysaid with breaking fire info.

We'll get those new wildweb sites added to the HotLinks site soon. Thanks everyone, this website is a COMMUNITY affair.

For those wanting to sign up for the Hot List, go to the registration link at the top of theysaid. It's easy. Ab.

8/14 New WildWeb link:

Tahoe National Forest:


8/14 Re: What Did We Learn This Week?

There didn't appear to be much trust in the people on their own crew much
less trusting people outside the crew. Compound that with the lack of
situational awareness and you have the tragedy. As for Mr.Doanes account of
the Cabin Creek Incident, I have to agree with FireBill. Sounds like a
typical day on a midslope fire in the Salmon Breaks. Good thing those folks
didn't really have to do a long pull out of there like some of us have in
the past.


8/14 Sorry should have read all the posts that Karen submitted. For her
information and others.

Air tankers known as Scoopers or North of the 49th as Ducks. They land on a
lake, river, or other suitable water source yes even the ocean. They conduct
a procedure known as "on the step" which is cruise across the water's
surface at speeds of 90 to 105 knots. The crew selects probes down, which
are the 4"x4" tubes that lower into the water and as the cross the water's
surface the water is forced into the aircrafts body into internal tanks for
the CL series of aircraft and into the floats of the Twin Otters.

There are gauges that show the flight crews that the tanks are full. At that
time the flight crew can select a foam setting of zero to 1% of the water
load. It is a Class"A" fire fighting foam good for paper wood etc.

This procedures the water loading tales anywhere from 10 to 15 seconds.
We work on a gallons per hour concept v.s the one strike concept of the
retardant bombers.

In actual fact we drown the fire with water and foam.

Hope this helps.
Ontario Birdog
8/14 Yellowjacket,

After re reading your post I came across your suggestion that
there was a hidden agenda, could you elaborate a little more
on that.

8/14 Hi Cache Queen, youre something of a legend...

I don't know the inside "inside story" but here are some
stats on the Porter. It was started by lightning on 7/17.
It was being managed as fire use by Idaho SCF.

1/4  7/17 in the rocks
0     7/26 declared out
200 8/11 (Wed) fire growth from spotting. A lot of passive and active crowning.
450 8/12 (Th)
600 yesterday

Gary Cones' FUMT took the fire at 1800 yesterday.

R4 Firefighter

8/14 GIMMEE GIMMEE GIMMEE a break.....what's up with the SCF Porter Creek Fire? The news media seems to be buying in to the party line of "oh, a couple hundred acres increase a day." But then there's the rest of us idiots being smoked out and seeing the whole horizon filled with an AWESOME smoke column taking up the whole horizon -- miles away from the ignition......... of course, who am I to ask..... last time the media asked me anything, it came out that I was slopping out 300 lunches a day for the firefighters (came out of retirement to do it as well as a good deed -- HAH == guess I won't be going to heaven on THAT good deed -- 300 lunches, my rear.) -- SOOO, will someone PLEASE clue us in as to the real story -- the sit report doesn't seem to do it either, and for some reason, people keep calling this old washed up has been for info.......and I want the REAL SCOOP.

Please just sign me as "desperate in Garden Valley"

Cache Queen

Photo? Ab.

8/14 After reading both Dustin Doane's statement and the Cabin Creek AAR, I have drawn some conclusions of my own. Having not been on the incident, I'll keep most of them to myself.

However, I find individual perspective to be interesting. What is a moderate uphill pace to a smokejumper probably seems like an all-out sprint to an office-based individual on a type 2 crew, especially going uphill in the notorious Salmon Breaks. Likewise the increased afternoon fire behavior is probably everyday business for the jumpers and the local rap crews, but sheer terror to the inexperienced pulaski operator on a Type 2.

Either way, the differences in the two documents are interesting and thought provoking. The AAR looks to be clear and concise, though it seems to have the typical head office varnish tinting the pages. Dustin's prose is logical and well thought-out documentation of the incident, from his point of view. It certainly doesn't compel me to cry slander or libel.

The bottom line is everyone walked out in one piece and a little wiser, and we're all grateful for that.

The BD crews... have they been replaced by chipper operators?

oh yeah... the cautious art of managing stressed-out people in stressful situations, while being stressed out yourself. Remember Fire Order # 10 (old/new orders) slash #6 (new/old orders) Be/Stay alert, keep calm, think clearly, act decisively". Any votes for this being the most important fire order?

It reminds me of a piece of a poem on several graduation cards I received (long ago) "... when you can keep your head while all about you have lost theirs... ...you'll be a man, my son." (works for the gals, too)

Everyone have a good safe weekend, at home or on the line.

8/14 AT news:

Thursday: 2 MAFFS national guard aircraft arrived in Chico today with lots of personnel compared to the 1 and 2 man crewed private airtankers.

Wednesday: An A26 Invader aborted take off in High Level Alberta yesterday and ran off the end of R/W 31. The pilot has been flown south with a pretty bad leg injury and a hand injury but is otherwise OK. The Invader is an airtanker operated by Airspray Ltd under contract to the government of Alberta.


To keep up with the AT discussions, you can go to their message board, AAP. Ab.

8/13 What did we learn this week?

End of discussion:

This issue of "don't trust anyone outside your crew" - baffles me.

Did not the Thirtymile Fire indicate that four people died because they
did not trust someone outside their crew?

I think the key point that was missed on this whole theysaid debate is the human
factors element. At what costs do we suffer trauma when we don't get the
time to know or understand why one firefighter takes actions that others cannot

All egos aside, it's not just experience with fire, but experience with managing
the human side of people under stress
- this is really what prevented a bad
situation from occurring again. Does anyone realize what may have happened
if the groups had split and done their own "things".

If you can not have trust on the fireline, and respect for experience - find
another job, because no one should ever die at the cost of another's ego.

This incident serves to indicate to me that we are still suffering from recent
losses, and the losses color our perception, interpretation and choices at a
human factors level.

The best comment all week was "Bring back the BD crews."

BD work was like working the fire from a deja vu standpoint; the plan was
known, the lines were in, the map was drawn, conditions that were for success
were predefined as well as the triggers for adapting strategy. How many
BD'ers out there were line-holders? Remember how much you learned just
by observing? Almost to the point that when things were going well, it
seemed like there was little to do except "watch and hold", "watch and hold"
"follow the weather patterns, observe the wind direction, stay out of the
smoke". And a good day was measured by everyone going home - a little
smarter, and a whole lot wiser.

We lost a generation and a half of good fire militia type 2 people when BD
went away. Those times you could throw together pick-up crews from the BD
ranks, and half the battle was already won on the fireground because the
nature of the beast had been tested, as well as tasted.

Today we replace our depleted ranks with people trained to basic minimums
with no real "smoke" history - they are thrown to the lines with their
heads down watching the long-line of the pulaski dance - often unknowingly
up against the critical edge of unforeseen and, critically, unchallenged
fuel conditions.

This is not the way to do things.

On South Canyon there was gobs of experience. Yet the human factors, under
increasing stress, broke down to simplistically going about the only shared
common objective - which was not focused on survival at the time when it should
have been - but remained "complete the line." Human beings were reduced to the
lowest shared common denominator and why did the trust levels dissipate into the
lowest level of commonalities? Maybe what should have occurred was the
dynamic argument, the questioning, the survival instinct to call each other
out - not just on the fireground but in the support community as well?

The comments that emerged this week were founded on human factors. And
until we get there with training, mutual respect, experience and shared
mindfulness - trust will be hard to find when things go from gray to haze
to "in the black". But don't let ego or righteousness taint opinions on
who to trust.

Remember, if it ain't shared - it's not trust.

Bring back the BD crews, for wherefore did they go?

-- (no name submitted)

8/13 The Deep fire on the Sequoia National Forest in California is really growing
today. It started at 4 pm Thursday. It was at 1100 acres with spotting this morning.
At 1 pm it developed this huge mushroom cloud (see DEEP photo). Very rugged
terrain and 100+ temperatures. At least 25-30 CDF engines have passed by the
house this morning and bluecard crews, tenders etc. They are fighting hard to
get control and not have another McNally Fire. Wish them luck-- with the temps
and terrain, they really need it.

Red Army Wife

Thanks. Ab.
8/13 Yellowjacket

I would really like to thank you for coming on the
site and giving your side of what happened. I think
it will give people alot to think about. I really
liked and learned some things from your last few
paragraphs and I hope others have too. I hope the
rest of your season goes well and please continue to
post on this site. Again thanks for giving your side
of the story I think it cleared up a lot of questions.

8/13 There's a new listing on the Jobs Page -- for the city of Flagstaff - Fuel Management Crewboss.

It closes on August 27, so apply NOW if you're interested.


8/13 Yellow Jacket

It sounds like you learned some valuable lessons. I like the one where you take responsibility for yourself and your crew. Never leave your personal safety up to someone you don't know or trust. This will hopefully stick with you the rest of your career. Situations like this wouldn't happen if you had that valuable nugget of truth before the crew hiked into the fire.

Crewbosses and squad leaders of put together type II crews are always at a disadvantage because you never know what you'll get, but that's why the overhead on these crews has to be extra careful. Find and time those safety zones, make sure your escape routes are progressing with your line construction....this stuff is basic. If the black isn't good, what are you and your crew going to do? That was the one question that should haunt you about this one. I'm am glad you leaned something from this on the tactical level, and glad noone got hurt. Pride and ego play a large role in our profession, but don't let pride and ego replace confidence and capability. Stay safe.

8/13 Hi Ab,

I am an Air Attack officer in Ontario Canada. You can advise Karen that
there also Twin Otters on amphibian floats that scoop water and the CL 215
piston machine and the CL 215T which is a turbine driven converted CL 215
there are also the AT 802 on amphibian floats.

Also advise Karen and her husband the probes (the inlet area for the
scooping of the water load) is only 4"x4" in the CL series of scoopers.
Therefore the people would have to be very small.

Just for your information.
Bird Dog 7 Ontario

Welcome, and thanks for the input. Ab.

8/13 Karen, urban myth. but there are two airtankers that scoop water
from a lake - the Martin Mars and the Superscooper. Ab, could
you put links to a picture of those?


Martin Mars & Superscooper
Martin Mars & Superscooper at bottom

8/13 Karen
Tis true! Well, at least according to the website.
www.firediving.com Check it out, its good for a chuckle.

8/13 Karen

Another Urban Myth. An explanation can be found at:
For a critique of the CSI episode "Scuba Dooba Doo", check out:
www.facts-1.com/hollywood.php (scroll halfway down)

"Scuba divers are repeatedly asked about this tall tale. Their ongoing
annoyance with this question -- How many times can one say "No, it never
happened" without losing patience? -- inspired one to invent the
tongue-in-cheek sport of "Fire Diving". Those unfamiliar with the pastime
will want to visit his Fire Diving page."



Aw shucks, Tree, I thought we had one we could reel in.
(psst, Karen, Tree got his moniker as the result of a prank in which he perched in the top of a tree in his scuba gear until he was discovered. I think the urban myth began at that time.) Ab.
8/12 Hello, my name is Karen. My husband and I were wondering if you could answer a question to resolve a disagreement we are having. It all started when I asked him this riddle.

A man wearing scuba gear was found dead in a soaking wet tree. How did he get there?
The answer: He was scuba diving when he was sucked up out of the lake and dropped over a forest fire by an air tanker.

Now you would think that we would be arguing whether it would be possible for a man to get sucked out of the lake, but we are disagreeing about how the air tanker can take on water. I believe the tanker can be filled by flying over the water of a lake. My husband, narrow mindedly, thinks that the tanker must land and be filled with hoses just like the firetrucks.

Please help me by answering how the air tanker takes on water to drop over the fires.

Thank you
8/12 Ab, something kinda different, if you go to www.redding.com, and click on county scanner, you can listen to the fires' Command net live!! If you have speakers hooked up, it's just like being there. As of 1800, 5000 ac. ,65 houses destroyed, still 40% contained, with lots of spotting. North Ops has all resources on until 2000 tonight, single digit rh and 100 degree heat, along with fuel stick readings of 3-5, aren't helping. -MJ
8/12 I really don't know what is wrong with me--defending my previous statements to nameless, faceless people staring at the illuminated boxes on your desks, but here goes. I'm not going to attach my five page account of events of the Cabin Creek Fire. First off, it contains names, and I would never use someone else's name in a forum like this without their permission (something Mr. Doane and the Abs will do). Secondly, I didn't write it for the nameless/faceless. But here are a few points I will make:

It was a twenty-two person pick-up crew put together at 0800 that morning. I hadn't even met half of them before. I doubt there was anyone who knew everyone. For two individuals, it was their first fire. There were people on the crew with a good deal of fire experience (from other Agencies/Forests/Regions, too).

Various people on the crew in leadership roles expressed concern to the SOF3 about the spot fire below us and the viability of the understory-burned black as a safety zone. These concerns were essentially blown-off. The spot where we eventually rode-out the fire was never identified as a safety zone. The smokejumpers and DIVS were out ahead of the crew working in that area. Maybe they should have communicated this "secondary safety-zone" to the crew before we needed to move there.

When the DIVS called us down to the anchor point, I thought we were leaving the fire. In hindsight, I have no idea why he called us down there.

Mr. Doane was not with the crew when the DIVS screamed to the crewboss to "Get your F_cking crew lined out!" How is that not supposed to freak people out? Why would anyone be expected to walk at a casual pace after that?

Mr. Doane may not realize that it is much easier to move two firefighters than it is to move 22 firefighters. He also was not at the back of the line with 100 foot trees torching 100 yards behind him.

Nobody was without a fire shelter. One of the EMTs set his shelter down while helping another crewmember suffering from dehydration. This was in the "safety zone." It took him about 20 seconds to find it after he asked if anyone saw an extra shelter lying around.

Dislike for moving the crew to the south flank was expressed by crew leaders because other crew members were exhausted at this point and nobody was willing to trust that there was a better place to go.

Here's why I feel Mr. Doane's accout is slanderous: The last page is full of opinions on what other people should or should not have done. Mr. Doane does not know the crew or crewboss. He only worked with one squad for a short time previously that day. He doesn't know what we did or did not do or say previous to the crew meeting the smokejumpers while retreating up the line. Finally, he certainly hasn't had the sack to say to the crewbosses face, or anyone else, what they supposedly did wrong. He has, however, written a hero's account of an event that, had it been a different Forest or a different time, none of you would have even known about. He has faxed his report to every IA base and SO fax machine on the Forest; and posted it on the internet for the experts dissection. Oh, and did I mention that Ab wasn't too worried about the names?

Now, for my Lesson's Learned: Number one I should have figured out after Cramer: don't trust anyone outside your crew. Number two: ask more questions. Number three: some people have hidden motivations and agendas. Number four: there's something to fires up here named after creeks starting with the letter "C," beginning in 2000 (Clear Creek, Cramer, Cabin Creek).

I hope that this answers some questions and that we can finally move on.

Glad you're "illuminating" us, the nameless, faceless people staring at the illuminated boxes on our desks. Hopefully we can all learn something.
8/12 Two "P2s" back to work???

Well, the USFS is adding 2 heavy airtankers to the fleet, but for the life of ? I do not understand
why they can't all be put back to work. One aircraft cannot support a company....



Some fine AT shots:
From Zimm, on the Elk Heights Fire near Thorp WA a week or so ago.
Tanker 27
Red Haze

From BN, on the Early Fire, 16 mi ENE of Groveland CA, 3 days ago.
Red Mountain

And while I'm at it, a fine engine shot from YM.
E-24 on the el-d

8/12 BP ......

You were asking for information on the Sawtooth Prescribed Burn Fatality
Report that involved Rick Lupe. That report can be found in the Wildland
fire Lessons Learned Center. The web address to the report itself is:

You'll need to scroll down the page to 2003 incidents. Rick was a friend
of mine. Just a really great person.


Thanks very much. Ab.
8/12 Helo Photos

Here are mark b's helo pics from the copper fire a few days ago. It's great to get photos of IA.

I've also posted 2 photos from RR, one of a distant helo working on the Fischer Fire near Leavenworth WA and the other of Mike Ward's helo that went down on 8/10 (last photo on the page). Our heartfelt condolences to Mike's family and to his co-workers. If anyone would like to write in a bit in his memory, we'll post it on theysaid and add it to the photo description of his bird.

Thanks to photo contributors. I'm working on more. Ab.
8/12 Re the Cabin Creek Fire, remember the Old Fire Dog's line:

"Experience is knowledge you gain, right after you need it."

Sign me: One of the old dogs with some compassion for the young pups
8/12 Ab, this came in to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation and I'd like to share it.
I've recently returned from a deployment as a Type I Safety Officer at
Lonesome Lake, British Columbia, Canada where we had the Mount Taylor,
Smokey Bear, Santa Fe, Sacramento, Gila and an Alaskan (can't remember
which one and can't find it in my notes, sorry about that) Hotshot Crews. I
was very impressed by their excellent work ethic and professionalism.

I didn't get a chance to say thanks properly. Certainly if they hadn't been
there we would've had to deal with quite a few more problems.

As my way of saying thanks I'd like to join the 52 Club.
Tell those guys thanks for an excellent job, SAFELY DONE.

PS- Ask them about the Santa Fe Trail, Crazy Bear Lake and the Crazy Bear
Trail. Have some wobbly pop available.

Jack Miles, British Columbia, Canada

Nice one, Jack. Your thanks goes out to those crews.
52 Club
Money is going out to help families of the fallen, let's make sure it keeps coming in! Ab.
8/12 I am glad that Dustin Doane gave his account of what happened on Cabin Creek that day. But 90% of you have to remember that you will probably never read the other 24 statements that have been written. It was interesting to read how differently Dustin saw the experience than I personally did.

I disagree with some of the statements, and agree with others. However I do know that we did what had to be done up there that day. We stuck together and when it counted the most we did the very best that we could with the little information we had. My personal opinion is that the gear that was dropped wasn't because firefighters couldn't carry it any further, but because they did not know how far the "secondary safety zone" was and how fast the fire was moving behind them. Better safe than sorry.

No one has fought fire until they've been in the Salmon River Breaks, it is a whole different world of fire there. Different perceptions and different experiences...lets not forget that while one person saw one thing, 24 others saw perhaps a extremely different situation. Hopefully this experience can be used to teach others so that it doesn't happen again. But by trivializing the fear and desperation that was felt by many that day, no one ever will ever be able to learn from it.


Thanks for sharing your perception, JA. And thanks for your contributions here in the past. Yellowjacket, thanks for writing in and for your contributions to theysaid in the past. We know this dialog is beyond hard for many of you and want to acknowledge that. Ab.
8/12 Yellowjacket

O.K. well here's your chance to set the record
straight. Everyone here would like to hear your side
of the story because we all know there always two
sides. I personally would like to know your version,
and not to tear it apart. One of the problems I see
is that people will get on this sight and complain but
they won't hang it out and put it in writing like
Doane did. So now's your chance if you please would.

Later, PYG

Yellowjacket, Oh one more thing, how in the hell did
someone forget their shelter? and what actions were
taken to remedy that situation.

Doane's account said someone had a spare shelter. Ab.
8/12 Dick,

No one could have said it better. Thanks.

Old Fire Guy
8/12 To Dick Mangan:

I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to thank you for all the important work that you have done in the area of accident investigation and the training that was developed resulting from your work.

I realize that a lot of other people have also done a lot good work also, but I see you write in here occasionally.

My own state had a tragedy some years back. (Bass River). Over the years we’ve been able to pull some knowledge out of it, but it’s been tough. The scene was disturbed before investigators could arrive, key interviews were never made and the vehicle was destroyed before a documented investigation was performed. Good information never was hard to get, but rumors surrounding the tragedy still fly around today.

Bass River involved over confident, aggressive fire fighters and supervisors who gave them an assignment and forgot about them. Combine that with accelerated fire behavior, shifting winds and a probable vehicle and radio malfunction and you had an accident. I was/am acquainted with many of them and found the personally, or by reputation, to have been dedicated firefighters and decent human beings. I believe we honor them by learning from their mistakes.

I believe if Bass River occurred today, because of the groundwork you and others have made, a more complete investigation would have been made and my agency (friends & family) would be safer for it. Thanks for your input on Cabin Creek.

8/12 could you please give me the email address to DICK MANGAN
or if you have a link to the "SAWTOOTH" burnover of RICK LUPE.
please provide


Anyone have a link to that report? We posted it back when it came out, I just don't have time to look. Ab.
8/12 abes,

just love the hot list, been using it every day since signing up.
can see flames from the oregon fire from my front deck here in loma
rica, listening to the guys on tac nets, this one's playing games with
them. might have to see if i can join them.

8/12 From a FEMA mailing list.......


The U.S. Fire Administration has received notice of the following
firefighter fatalities:

Name: Mike McAdams
Rank: Firefighter
Age: 69
Gender: Male
Status: Volunteer
Years of Service: 12
Date of Incident: 08/03/2004
Time of Incident: 2100hrs
Date of Death: 08/04/2004
Fire Department Name: Sapello-Rociada Volunteer Fire Company
Fire Department Address: Sapello, NM 87745
Fire Department Phone: (877) 425-7133
Fire Department Chief: Bill Gamel
Cause of Death: Firefighter McAdams died at home from a cause to be
determined several hours after responding with his fire company to the
scene of a vehicle accident.
Memorial Fund Contact and Address: In memory of Firefighter Mike
McAdams, C/o Sapello-Rociada VFC, PO Box 8, Sapello, NM 87745
Name: Barbara Bordenkircher
Rank: Firefighter
Age: 52
Gender: Female
Status: Volunteer
Years of Service: 1
Date of Incident: 08/10/2004
Time of Incident: 1730hrs
Date of Death: 08/10/2004
Fire Department Name: Wickliffe Rural Fire Department
Fire Department Address: 247 3rd St., Wickliffe, KY 42087
Fire Department Phone: (270) 335-3685
Fire Department Chief: Michael Bryant
Cause of Death: Firefighter Bordenkircher was operating a piece of fire
apparatus in response to a reported grass fire when, for a cause still to
be determined, the vehicle left the roadway and struck a tree, killing
Bordenkircher and seriously injuring another firefighter (William Stanton)
who was riding in the vehicle.
Wake/Viewing: Pending
Funeral Arrangements: Pending
Memorial Fund Contact and Address: Pending
Name: Michael J. Bliss
Rank: Rescue Crew Member
Age: 46
Gender: Male
Status: Career
Years of Service: 12
Date of Incident: 08/06/2004
Time of Incident: 1740hrs
Date of Death: 08/06/2004
Fire Department Name: Speedway Safety Services
Fire Department Address: One Lincoln Heights, Claremont, NH 03743
Fire Department Phone: 603-542-6660
Fire Department Chief: Administrator Dale Gerard
Cause of Death: A second practice session on the Twin State Speedway had
just started when a large piece of debris, either a wheel or axle bearing,
was spotted on the track. Rescue Crew Member Bliss was asked to go out
onto the track to retrieve the debris, where he was struck and killed by
one of the race cars.
Funeral Arrangements: 08/11/2004 @ 1200hrs at St. Augustine’s Church,
Barre St. in Montpelier.
Memorial Fund Contact and Address: In memory of Assistant Chief Michael
J. Bliss, C/o East Montpelier Volunteer Fire Department, 365 Templeton
Rd., East Montpelier, VT 05651-0146

Tribute is being paid to Firefighter McAdams, Firefighter Bordenkircher
and Rescue Crew Member Bliss at:

Additional information on firefighter fatalities may be found on the USFA
web site at:

To date, 66 firefighter fatalities have been reported to USFA in 2004.

8/12 Hi Ab, It has been real nice of the Region 6 engine and crew contractors to offer their help to us here in California. They actually have a better chance of working here in California than California based firms. The USFS's Region 5's <snip>. is so anti-private sector that we have no chance of working in our home state. His anti-private sector agenda is not just hurting the Firms from California but also their employees- students and famlies. We should have the right to work before inmates or under-trained minorities. But we don't and we won't work in California until <snip> and his cronies are gone. <snip> needs to wake-up and realize that this is the 21st century and that Congress and the President has passed laws to employee the private sector. This is a brave new world, unfortunately <snip> doesn't know it or his he just ignoring Federal Law? I would encourage all firms that are located in California to call <snip>'s office, and <snip>'s office and their local USFS Forest Fire Staff and prevale upon them to put you to work. I wonder what the Press would do with this story andwhat the Residents of California would do if the word were to get out that the State and Federal governments are letting homes burn when there are hundreds of resident firefighters sitting at home? Thanks for letting me vent, the Beave
8/11 Bear Fire update (Redding CA, Jones Valley area)

If it requires registration, www.bugmenot.com can provide a generic one.
Two photos attached.
from elaine
Redding, CA

Bear Fire1
Bear Fire2

Thanks, elaine. As of this evening, 40 structures had burned. Also links to photos of the Oregon Fire near Oroville (Butte Co.) on the Hot Links page. Ab.

8/11 Regarding the posting of Dustin Doane's version of the Cabin Creek event, and Yellowjacket's classification of it as "slander": since 1990, I've been on more than 20 fire shelter deployment investigations while Fire Program Leader at MTDC, way more than anyone should ever have to do in one career. Even got to author 2 Tech Reports on how to conduct them.

I learned a lot from Dr. Jon Driessen, a University of Montana Prof who worked with us at MTDC. He said that everybody involved on a burnover/deployment/fatality has their own version of what really happened, and that as investigators we needed to sit patiently, listen to them until they were "talked out", and then ask questions to clarify differences between the stories we heard.

Seems like that still good advice: Dustin saw what happened on Cabin Creek thru his eyes, and nobody can or should try to tell him that he was wrong.

A good Investigation/AAR team has the responsibility to give everyone involved a platform to tell their story, and then base their report on the FACTS as best as they can determine them.

Last year, I served as Chief Investigator on the "Sawtooth" burnover on the Fort Apache Res in Arizona where Rick Lupe was burned over and ultimately died after 5 weeks in a coma: our investigation team was, and remains, frustrated that we were never able to hear Rick's version of what happened that day. I'm positive that at least 1 critical "lesson learned" was missed because Rick was not able to talk with us about his perception of what happened.

Do we want to lose important lessons learned on Cabin Creek by branding Dustin Doane's comments as "slanderous", and not spending the effort to check his version out? I hope not!

Dick Mangan

8/11 Ab:

I found it both interesting and perplexing reading the Cabin Creek AAR and Dustin Doanes account of the incident. I’d like to make some observations. I’m also left with some questions.

Doane’s account was very well written and as one writer stated he was not afraid to put his name on it. It was also clear who was on the review team that wrote the AAR. The review team also included two out of region people. In my mind this lessens the probability of an intentional cover up.

The AAR only seems to mention the jumpers were on the fire and helped provide a positive force in leading other personnel to safety. Did the review team personally interview Doane? If he was, why was his assessment not included?
Doane’s statement appears to have been written after the AAR was published. To whom was the statement initially addressed?

I’ve never had to perform a formal AAR. In the case of a situation like this (no fatalities or serious injuries) how extensive is the investigation? Would everyone on the incident necessarily been interviewed?

With the distinct differences between Dustin Doane and the official version of incident I’m just curious what exactly went wrong.


8/11 Hey Yellowjacket

I was there too, only several years before the Cabin
Creek and Cramer. I know first hand what Dustin is
talking about. There is no slander, there is no
defamation. Maybe the truth does hurt, but the truth
is coming from within not from outside perceptions.
Be careful of following blindly your forest's reaction
to criticism. You work in a dangerous place with a
significant lack of leadership. That's truth and not
slander. Don't get caught up in the denial that is
making everyone feel better. Be careful out there and
remember to think for yourself. Take a deep breath
and honest look inward. Good luck and stay safe.

the goat
8/11 This came in at 1600.


I posted this on the hot list, but for those not signed up, there is a new fire (about 1400) in the Jones Valley area , 20 miles N of Redding, Ca. I eyeballed it at 1530 and estimate it to be 450 to 500 acres of grassy woodland, burning with the wind and slope. Mandatory evacuations are in effect for the Elk Trail East, Argonaut and Backbone roads.


CalTrans Cam of the Bear Fire near Redding.


Posted on the HotList page.

8/11 Ab,

You hit the nail on the head. BD crews! It would seem with all of the money floating around for fuels reduction projects that we could turn back the hands of time. It would be nice to know how much of a work force we lost from the 70's on in terms of BD crews. Not to mention the valuable years of combined experience. Remember when even the smaller Forests could put together two or three- 20 person FSR crews and the make-up of the crew was mainly BD crew members? Didn't even have to bother the ologists to fill crew orders.

I lived through the best of times and didn't fully appreciate it.


8/11 Ahh, the coarseness of the human spirit. You can find it here on this website. Just jump on the person who writes something contrary to what you want to believe; but I'm still sticking with what I said previously. And, I'll stick with the word "slander." The definition of "slander," for those who don't know, is "a false report maliciously uttered and tending to injure the reputation of another." Or, if you prefer, "defamation, oral or written." Oh, by the way, some of you are making an assumption that I wasn't there. My opinion, which apparently isn't worth half as much as a Smokejumper's, is that the Agency's AAR is fairly close to the truth. But all you experts out there can believe whatever you want.

8/11 MS, I can drive the rig to the fire with my endorsement, but if we put
out the fire, I can't drive back to the station? Gotta go with fyrcapt on
this. It has to be valid in non-emergencies. We have to fuel up rigs and
get our needed hours of stick time each year.


8/11 Dustin Doane tells it well. A good read..... and seems to be the part we rarely hear. Closer to the true cause than the official reports. It still surprises me the amount of people that are inexperienced and ineffective in management roles out there. As well as how much BS makes the final report. If it is hard on a Forest, District, Station or Company. Too bad..... Try on how hard it is to tell a parent their kid is gone!

8/11 So Zone Fire,

In your comments about different types of equipment for different areas, after
saying type 6 engines don't work well in R5, you said "my type 3 engine would
not be much help say in steep windy mountains but a type 6 would."

I grew up in So Cal, and unless my memory is failing me, your statement
seemed to describe a lot of the terrain covered in the Angeles NF. So wouldn't it
be feasible that the added maneuverability of type-6's could be a benefit in
certain areas on the Angeles? I just think if people were more open to
investigating the full capabilities of ALL the tools in the toolbox, the type 6 4x4's
and type 3's working together in the terrains that showcase their individual
strengths. it would make the overall firefighting effort somewhat more
effective. I know the type 6's can't pump long hoselays with extreme vertical rises,
and aren't very effective on fully involved structure fires, but I also know
most type 3's can't drive the steep rough dozerline or jeep trails around the
fire to get up to a ridge and mop up using their hose reels either. There's a
place for everything.


8/11 We had one fatality and one injury in Ballard Co., KY yesterday. An
engine rolled over on the Hip Hop Fire. I don't have the names. I'll try
to find out.


Please give folks there our condolences, Sam. Ab.

8/11 This just came in.
Press release on the helicopter crash from the Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests:

8/11 Yellow Jacket

I guess you must figure that the Agency always tells the truth, and that
their reports always get to the reasons why something went wrong. ie it
wouldn't have happened if they had only had pocket cards. I read Doane's
account and find it very concise and believable. I find it interesting that
you think that someone who would question an Agency report's accuracy is
committing slander and defaming the Agency when the Agency turns out such
fine mitigations to solve the problems of an inherently dangerous job.
Maybe if you had one more check list or abatement plan or annual training
or sand table exercise, no I've got it an annual fact report training
course so that the information that forty people on an incident give to an
investigation team will all be the same. ...JEB

AB, love your site, it good to have a site that allows for many different
views. I've been in the Agencies for 18 years and have seen good people get
screwed over too many times and bad people skate by......


Readers, let's please keep theysaid posts to the issues and to pursuing lessons learned; we might learn more. My experience is that the Agency tries to tell the truth and usually succeeds in producing very good investigative reports. I also think individuals try to make the best choices when confronted with a new or extreme situation. Perceptions are usually based on prior experience and you don't have that experience until you somehow get it. No blame.

Bring back the BD crews. What a wealth of experience they provided. Ab.
8/11 Saw this out on the web but hadn't seen anything out on theysaid yet so
I thought I would drop everyone a line. Looks like a helicopter crashed
killing the pilot while working a wildfire near Leavenworth Washington I
believe. Here is the link to the article...


8/11 News reports are coming in on a fatal helicopter crash on IA on a
ten acre fire near Leavenworth, several miles from the Fischer Fire.

Helicopter Crashes While Fighting Wildfire Near Leavenworth (same article as above)


8/11 Yellowjacket - I'd recommend you call Attorney General John Ashcroft ASAP: Dustin Doane's audacity to challenge the validity of a report by the Great American Tree Harvesting Company (aka USFS) is at least a blatant violation of the Patriot's Act that all red-blooded Americans know and love!! Maybe the new, re-invented CIA can find the truth about Cabin Creek??

Besides, he can't really be a McCall Smokejumper: has anyone EVER met a smokejumper who can write as well as the alleged "Dustin Doane" did on his write-up?

AH.........a terrorist plot on the Salmon River!

8/11 FYI..a Helo just went down in Leavenworth.

CHELAN COUNTY - A helicopter carrying equipment to a
forest fire crashed in remote terrain about 20 miles northwest
of Leavenworth Wednesday, killing the pilot.


RR and Zimm and the 2 people who called me: We didn't post these two messages right away, but thanks for the info. We try to balance info published on the internet with considerations for the family. My condolences to them and the pilot's friends. As a famous author once said "No man is an Island..." We are diminished by every death and injury. Ab.

8/11 Just got a little blip, more to follow from Northwest /cable
News website about a firefighting helicopter that crashed.
Probably on the Fisher Fire near there.

8/11 Reading the Smokejumpers first hand account of the Cabin Creek fire, the SAFENET postings of the account and the AAR findings leaves me more than a little worried about the role perception plays in safety issues.
A related thread to the diverse perceptions is in the accounting of the Cabin Fire as it relates to training/experience and communication.

Also there is more than just a hint that there might have been a trust issue that could have played a role in how communications flowed and whether the listener and speakers ever connected at the levels needed to have understanding and support.

Are the investigations dealing with the perception issues? I'm not downplaying the importance of a persons safety perceptions. If I perceive that I'm in an unsafe situation I will take the actions necessary to rid myself of this perception or mitigate the concerns causing the perception. My point is that my perception of safety might not be the same as another's perception of the same situation if our training or experience levels are vastly different.

Safety is such an important issue for fire fighters yet we continue to struggle with the same issues. These issues place fire firefighters against agencies... FF's against supervisors and vice versa. In some cases it causes a rift between FF's.

Safety zones, thresholds and other rules of engagement shouldn't be approached in a subjective manner. In my opinion our experience and training has to be maintained at levels that would allow for objective approaches to mitigate risk so aggressive suppression actions can still be a viable option.

I wasn't at Cabin Creek... I don't know all of the facts surrounding the decisions made on the fire line. I do however feel that the Smokejumper's account was well written and provided a good back drop to the SAFENETs.

These thoughts are my opinion. They are not given as a means to find fault or pin blame on any of the fire fighters involved with the Cabin Fire.

8/11 Yellowjacket

I would rather hear info from someone who was there
than from someone who wasn't. As an old saying goes,
Sometimes the truth hurts. Hopefully we can all learn
something from Doane's statements and the AAR, but the
statement definitely wasn't slander.

And to AB, keep up the good work, not all will approve
of everything but what can you do.

8/11 You did the right thing by posting Mr. Doane's account. All sides
of the incident need to be examined if we are to learn from our
mistakes. His account clarifies many things that were only alluded
to in the official account.

Heli Pilot
8/11 For FF Mom

Depending on where he lives, he may be able to get on as a volunteer with a structure company and pick up some training and contacts that way (the fire community is tight: it they know you and like you, you've got a better shot). A backdoor way to get into wildland (that I haven't seen discussed much here) sometimes trail crews and other seasonal employees get out on "regular crews." Another route: I got started with the Forest Service as a volunteer out checking trails to make sure contracted work had been done, and received a first round of fire training (but no experience). I eventually came on as a temp, then permanent.

Still Out There as an AD

8/11 As promised here earlier, we've been exploring options to allow our viewers the ability to be automatically notified when pages on our site (or any other site) are updated. Among the various methods available, we think we've found an option that is short, sweet, and simple. We've had a few volunteers do a beta test for us without any problems. One of them yesterday said, "I had no problem loading the program, set up was a snap......it's fire captain proof! My computer skills hover between intermediate and hopeless,. . ." Our thanks to those willing to offer their time to help us out!

Since the instructions show how to setup and monitor the Hot List Forum, the link to the instructions page is only available on the Welcome page inside the Hot List protected web. You will need to register to gain access, those already registered, and there are approaching 500 of you, simply login and view the Welcome page. The link is at the bottom of the page. We look forward to your comments.

Thanks again to those who helped us test this! Ab.
8/11 Well Ab,

So much for confidentiality. By posting Doane's account of the Cabin Creek incident, you are essentially promoting slander and further defaming the Salmon-Challis National Forest, Region 4, and the U.S. Forest Service. Anyone can write whatever they want about an incident or a person, but that doesn't make it accurate. Now this whole thing is turning into a he-said/she-said spitting match, and that certainly isn't productive.


Theysaid is a forum wherein issues get discussed. We walk a fine line between irresponsible and responsible posting. In this case, we think there is merit to post Doan's account. Dustin Doane is not anonymous. He acknowledges that he has his own viewpoint. That's what it is, one perspective, one person's account. We invite other perspectives. The Abs.
8/11 Here's Smokejumper Dustin Doan's account of the Cabin Creek incident.

Thanks for the forum.


Ab Note: Map is in this report
Cabin Creek After Action Review html version

8/11 What a great site!
Can anyone answer this question? What would be more helpful for my 18 year old son to get a job with USFS or CDF next year.... Taking a 260 hour ROP fire class which will get him his VOLUNTEER FF1 cert. or taking a bunch of classes like Low Angle Rescue, Auto Extrication, Swift Water Rescue, etc. (he already has EMT Basic, Haz. Mat., Confined Space Awareness, S-130 and S-190)
Thanks for any thoughts.

(Soon to be?) Fire Fighter Mom
8/11 A FF restricted license only lets you operate fire suppression
equipment. Many support vehicles require a type B license
such as stake side trucks or any non firefighting equipment
over 26,000gvw.

8/11 fyrcapt

With all due respect, there is no regulation in the VC code book of 15250.5B there is however a regulation 15250.6B. Maybe a wrong key.

You are correct in the first part of your quote of 15250.6B. Here is the complete sentence "the restricted license shall be valid only for operating (1) firefighting equipment within this state, or in another state during during a response under a mutual aid pact, or (2) any vehicle for which a class C license is required."

Here is 15250.6G " Firefighting Equipment means a motor vehicle used to travel to and from the scene of any emergency situation, or to transport equipment used in the control of any emergency." the rest is agency ownership. Additionally 4015 of the VC covers the pvt fire equipment.

This limits the use of firefighting equipment to emergencies only. And the firefighter exempt license is only valid for firefighting equipment during emergencies.

I don't believe the FF exempted license is valid during non emergencies. What is the firefighting equipment classification if it is being used in a parade or show and tell at a school?

Anyway no argument, just wanted to point something out that might bear watching out for.


8/10 I think there is a bit of confusion here regarding the Commercial Driver
License requirements. First, there is no class 1 cdl. There is a Class A
or a Class B cdl, both with or without firefighter exemptions. The only
difference in a firefighter exemption cdl is the lack of a physician
administered physical. With the ff exempt, the requirement is waived and a
health questionnaire is filed. The reasoning is the feeling that
firefighters receive "regular" physicals.

Class A cdl is required for operating a vehicle with a trailer basically.
(for firefighting this is usually tractor drawn aerial equip, but there are
of course other fd vehicles which may fall into this category, very large
water tenders for example).

Class B cdl is required for operating straight vehicles over 26000 gvw.

As far as the comment about the license only being valid for operating to
and from emergencies, you are misreading the vehicle code. VC 15250.5 (g)
states: "Firefighting equipment" means a motor vehicle used to travel to
and from emergencies, etc.....

This is to define what type of vehicle a FF restricted license is valid for
not to restrict the use of the vehicle.

15250.5 (b) states that a FF license may be used to operate a valid vehicle
within the state, or in another state......

Hope this clears up this question.

I am the DMV examiner for my organization and believe me we went over and
over and over and over this in the class.


Thanks for the clarification. I was thinking Class 1 and it is indeed Class A. Ab.
8/10 I think reason a cdl is required for engines that fit the cdl criteria is that they cannot be driven with the firefighter exempt license to and from non emergency work. The FS engines along with the other agency equipment including the volunteer apparatus was being operated with the firefighter exempt license simply because these engines were emergency vehicles according to the vehicle code.

According to VC15250.6G the FF exempt license is valid only to and from emergencies and transporting equipment used in the control of emergencies.

So when the local FD decides to go to town for lunch in the emergency rig they ought to have the proper license. I also believe firefighter exempt license is also not valid when the local or volunteer fd goes from mutual aid on a fire to the EERA. Once the equipment goes "for hire" from "reimbursement" they loose the exemption for the license and need to follow all the same regulations the contractors are required to follow. I suppose the non profit exemption is lost as well.

Of course the local and volunteer FDs are reporting the income from the EERA to the IRS. An interesting note is that Govt. drivers don't even need a DL according to the VC but the Govt. is not taking the exemption.

8/10 From Firescribe:

Controversy flies around grounded firefighting tankers

Report hits San Diego's lack of readiness for major blazes, cites task ahead

And you told each other about some of these on IA on the WLF Hot List. (Registration link is above. Ab.)

Calaveras Wildfire (CA)

Mud Lake Fire in Washington (Chelan Co.)

Central evacuates (Central, Alaska)

Blaze scorches Mount Hamilton (near San Jose CA)

Residents flee (Stevens) fire (CA)

Wildfire (Springs Fire) burns near Wrightwood (CA)

8/10 i'm still curious about the CDL. specifically in r5. what exactly is a "class 1" status CDL? a type 3 engine in Cali' requires a class-B license due to the gvw, however, there is a specific "firefighter exempt" class-B license available for firefighters both professional and volunteer. as far as a CDL class-B goes, USFS type-3 engines don't seem to fit the criteria set forth by D.O.T....so, what am i missing? there must be some legitimate reason...i hope..

-still wondering
8/10 Ab:

does anybody have a copy of Dustin Doane's statement
concerning the Cabin Creek Fire? Doane was one of the
jumpers on the fire, and his account and
interpretation of the events differ quite
significantly from in official AAR (which as Doane
notes in his statement, was written by folks who were
not on the incident.)

Hate to give a whole forest a bad name, but the past
few years on the Salmon-Challis has made me more than
just a bit concerned about the way the fire program is
run there.

8/10 All USFS Regions must comply with state and federal vehicle driver's license requirements. Depending on the GVWR of the vehicle, the appropriate class of license is required. Also required are the appropriate endorsements such as tank, air brakes, passengers, and hazmat. I'm sure the State of Idaho is curious as to why Ab thinks the USFS does not do this.


Idaho does not require a CA drivers license. At least I'd be very surprised if they did. There must be a communication problem here... Hmmm, I get it, CDL. To Californians, CDL most commonly means California Drivers License first and Commercial Drivers License second. The Abs are all from CA and none of us thought Commercial when we saw CDL. Ab.

8/10 So Zone Fire:

What would be objectionable about asserting that Type III and Type VI engines have different capabilities? That’s why we have different engine types. I’m not sure I agree with the generalization that Type VI engines are useless in R5. I’m in R3, but I grew up in R5, and I can think of any number of spots where a Type III would be like feathers on a motor…more hazard than benefit. I wouldn’t take a Type III to a structure fire, I wouldn’t take a Type VI to a high-intensity grass fire, and I wouldn’t take a Type I onto a steep, winding two-track. It makes a good case for preferential hiring of more local contractors…they’ve got better adapted equipment for the terrain. I’ve been thinking a lot about the contractor issue lately (as a vollie, I’m maybe a little more divorced from the issue than most on the forum), and this is what I’ve come up with (and yes, maybe I’m kicking a dead horse): Contractors are here. Mutate or die. It’s like the early stages of capitalism. Before the market rationalizes, you get uneven quality and worse ethics. Once the market rationalizes, the incentive is to conduct business ethically and quality, rather than competitive tactics, gets rewarded. Right now, what needs to happen is that quality (training, equipment maintenance and design, good work, ethics, and safety) need to get consciously encouraged, and I-hate-contractors, divisionist, reactionary rhetoric needs to get…out grown.

Nerd on the Fireline
8/10 Todd,

I wonder what Graham would say about the Cabin Creek incident that follows on the heels of the Cramer tragedy. There are some lessons to be learned. Given the way fire behavior ramps up to stand-replacing runs, one lesson might be to get off the mountain just about noon?

Folks, read the report! When people get home there should be some discussion.

NorCal Tom

8/10 just out of curiosity, does anyone know specifically why the USFS requires a CDL license for their engines?


This question is a little non-specific. The USFS in Idaho certainly doesn't require a CDL. But Region 5 requires all drivers to posses a valid State license for driving any vehicle. Any vehicle which is over a specific GVW must have the appropriate Class Type added to their license. Since the USFS Type 3 engines started getting so big, they've been requiring a Class 1 status to the CDL. It's been quite a few years. There was a time period when R5 dropped the CDL requirement, but it's been back in place for many years also.
I suspect all regions require a valid state license for their specific area. Ab.
8/10 Here's a pic taken yesterday from the Stanislaus NF of the Early Fire. As you can see it's burning in brush and timber in steep terrain.

I'm told it's more than 500 acres and 5% contained. The Hetch Hetchy dam power grid is shut down. If anyone has newer info or more pics, please post info to the Hot List page and send photos in to Ab.


8/9 Not to put anybody down, but type 6 engines do not work very well in r5 very extreme fire conditions and they do not have the pump rating of the type three engines. I know this will make some people mad but hey if needed by way izone and all the resources we have here in the state of ca theres not much action for the out of region contractors but there is where there is a smaller amount of resources. wildfires vary from state to state and so does the equipment. my type 3 engine would not be much help say in steep windy mountains but a type 6 would. I hope this is understandable.

so zone fire
8/9 Very well written article on the plight of the heavy airtanker
industry from Missoulian.com - I tried their email to send
you this article. Some of the "smaller" airtanker companies
are already trying to sell their assets.

Forest Service in wrong area of expertise

Ms N

8/9 Hi Ab.,

I think the new Hot List Forum is the most exciting thing available anywhere for wildland firefighters! It looks like there are more people inputting "live" fire info every day. I do have a request though, is there a way for us to know when the Hot List has been updated? I can't spend all day sitting here refreshing the screen to see if there are new postings. But if I don't, I'm afraid I'll miss something.


Funny you should ask, we wanted the same thing as we're darn near living in the Forum now ourselves. Original Ab and Bear are currently working with a program that will do as you asked. They promise a solution that will not only show how you can be notified of when the hot list changes, but also the WildWeb sites, SIT report, local fire weather forecasts, and any other web page you want to monitor.

Stay tuned! I've just run through a test demo of the Help/Instruction file myself. It works as Bear said. . . and it is COOL! Ab.

8/9 Ab, this was posted yesterday on the Hot List. Stuff can happen with helicopters.

A Type 1 Sky Crane Off the Mendo had to set down due to hydro problems.
They thought they lost the tail rotor at first. Everybody on board was OK.
I Dont know how hard the landing was. The ship was brand new and had
low flight time hours.

When things go wrong with helicopters we need to have some sense of what to do. Gordon Graham who talks about safety often says Predictable Is Preventable. With rare unpredictable events (low frequency, high risk events) we don't have a chance to practice.

In my opinion, it would be good to review the CDF Green Sheet helicopter accident report with CWN Managers, crew personnel and those others who could benefit.

Sounds like some excellent work was done by the Yuba-Sutter Strike Team, CDF firefighters, Lassen NF crews, dispatchers, other helicopter crews. I'm glad the safety zone proved to be large enough. I heard it was 300' across.

CDF Reader and CD, thanks for sending in this report and Ab, nice job on getting the map posted too.


Heh, I learned something new on that, html format is so much better than pdf. Ab.

8/9 This one came in about as I was posting the report below. Readers, we really appreciate getting excellent information so quickly from BLM and from CDF. Keep it up. Great community we have here. Ab.


Here ya go, the Straylor Incident Green Sheet. Fire season is certainly on today in California!

Be safe.

A CDF Reader.
8/9 Here's the Green Sheet on Straylor in pdf.

Straylor Helicopter Crash


Ab put it in html, even the map. Many thanks CD.

8/9 John,

>From your post on 8/7 it sounds like you have a source to see how many private engines are in available status and how many are working in R6. Do you have a public source for that that you could share? It would be useful.

Another available contractor
8/9 Straylor Fire Close Call (costs $ to register)

The injured were taken 250 yards up a steep hill to a 300-foot-diameter
"safe zone" where the CDF earlier had cleared of trees. Meanwhile, a
previously undetected "spot fire" was advancing up the hill, consuming the
helicopter and destroying a CDF truck. The fire roared around the edges of
the safe zone, Miles (strike team leader and division chief of the Yuba City


Another old article (6/27) has bare-bones info on the helicopter crash but not the close call. www.siskiyoudaily.com
Another member of the Yuba-Sutter strike team, Batt Chief John Limas, is reported to have said that flames were as high as 75' around the safety zone and it sounded like a freight train.
Readers, please send in the Green Sheet when it comes out. Thanks, Ab.

8/9 JK, danfromord and Norcal Tom,

Wow, thanks for the info! Sometimes I can't believe how widely read theysaid is and how willing people are to provide info.

Chuckles on your list of terms and phrases, Joatmon.

I wonder how Jack Ward Thomas would handle the current class action litigation against R5. Thanks for the comment Mollysboy. I think I was contacted personally back in my early days of writing in to theysaid as Mellie from Five Waters by "someone", a female of course trolling the fire women for "dissatisfied customers". I probably still have the printout of the email. Seems like a pattern. Trolls...

Speaking of patterns and litigation... Did any of the rest of you see that some 40,000+ acres were added to the Kalmiopsis Wilderness (Biscuit Fire, OR)? Now that's a good thing probably, I really like wilderness. What I don't like is the rumor I'm hearing here in Norcali: that a wilderness group or groups brought litigation against the FS to have a bargaining chip to get them to give up the land in trade for dropping or modifying their litigation in other areas. IF TRUE, that sucks! I'm trying to get more info on this, but IF TRUE, shame on the wilderness group and shame on the agency that rolled over!

Take a look at the 52 Club Wildland Firefighter Foundation list. Nice to see all the Greyback folks there! Keep on signing up. THE POWER OF ONE, each one, is needed to help our families!

Carry on. Be safe. Nice job on the Hot List, Original Ab. Nice job on the WildWeb linkies, Abs!!


8/9 For those of you that wear "green underwear", used to wear "green underwear", or fall into the class of folks loosely defined as "wannabee green underwear wearers", I recommend in the strongest possible terms that you get and read former USFS Chief Jack Ward Thomas' s new book "The Journals of a Forest Service Chief". It's great!!

Jack kept a journal since 1990 (3+ years before being named Chief), and wrote that it ".....will be a journal of 'random thoughts.' My purpose in this journal is unknown to me.............. perhaps it will be a tickler of memory for the book I intend to write, but of course never will."

JWT doesn't pull any punches in his daily writings, never expecting that they will be out there for all of us to read in the 21st Century. This is NOT a "Kiss and Tell" book written after the fact like some that we see in the political arena these days!

A few examples: regarding the Senate hearings on the Spotted Owl where Senators Wallop (Wyoming) and McClure (Idaho) attacked the witnesses before they had a chance to speak, and then both left the hearing, Jack says that "....I have never seen such a tasteless, overbearing and bullying performance in my life."

Regarding the USDA approach to paying off anyone with a Civil Rights complaint, the former Chief talks about the "Civil Rights Mafia" in the USDA, and states that "..... a system that rewards bad performers, troublemakers and scofflaws because it is cheaper and easier than doing right can produce nothing good over the long run. Not to stand up to such a circumstance is a dereliction of duty."

I haven't gotten into his personal reflections on the South Canyon fatalities, but know that it affected him deeply, and look forward to seeing his thoughts.

If you're looking for a good read, I'd highly recommend it, based on the first 90+ pages! Nice to have had a Chief that really "walked the walk" when he was a Leader! Remember Jack's 3 Rules as Chief: Tell the truth; obey the Law; take care of the Land!

8/9 Slang, jargon terminology:

"the blue kiss" ......this is received when you release a "load of jumpers" in a freshly pumped blue-room without laying in the appropriate, "TP-LZ".

"TP-LZ"....about half a roll of "john wayne paper" spun down into the bottom of a freshly pumped blue-room.

"john wayne paper".....the TP supplied in the blue-rooms. it's tough as nails and don't take sh_t from nothin'.

"KENNEL-UP!!".....get in the buggy.

"ghosting".......when a crew (or crew members...) simply disappear for a while during a shift.

"fell-ette"......what a fella calls a female on the crew.

"MRE-good"......a lower standard of taste.

"baggers"......contract crews.


"Blagg-reflex"........similar to a gag-reflex.

"nineteenth watch-out situation".....CDF + fire =

want more ....?

Sure, and that last one, the "nineteenth watch-out situation".....CDF + fire = ...
I've heard CDFers say "nineteenth watch-out situation".....USFS + fire =
the whole list of funny fire terms. Ab.

8/9 Ross:

Several units over multiple agencies do not have access to ROSS, faxing a zone or area dispatcher your availibility leaves bandwidth and server speed for regional dispatchers to access a program which already is housed on a substandard server which was not spec'd for the amount of users that would like to use ROSS. As much as those who manage the servers that house ROSS ect would like funding is tight for everyone in a war-time economy - simply put the servers that house ROSS are not upto letting everyone use them and ROSS is in its infancy technically. Not being able to use ROSS is a blessing, just fax an R3 dispatcher your availibility it'll updated appropriately.

Fed but not allowed to touch Ross.
(Thank God)
8/9 Unstatus'd,

When the new ROSS program came out last month, the private contractors in R-6 couldn't access the system either, when we tried to log in, it let us log in, then said we had "no resources assigned" to us. They got the problem fixed (at least for the R-6 contractors), but I have no idea if that was a nationwide fix, or just for R-6 thru Portland.

Good luck, at least make sure your local Dispatch knows you are available, even if ROSS doesn't agree.

8/8 Sally and all,

I completely agree that this Class Action Suit is another step in the wrong
direction for the Forest Service and especially for Region 5. I am appalled
that nine women are being allowed to speak for all of us. I am one of the
638 Region 5 Female employees, and I resent being named (again) as a part
of this travesty! While I do feel that some of the women who have chosen to
pursue this avenue have legitimate complaints, there are other ways to take
care of those complaints. What bothers me most is that <snip> and
her gang, through these nine women, have once again chosen to involve me
(and the entire region) in their issues. They are not my issues!! I have
been in fire for almost thirteen years and have lived through the results
of the last two consent decrees. Very little, if anything good has come
from either previous decree; and the resentment and hard feelings took
years to work through. I work hard and do my job, and I expect the people
around me to do the same. I don't need to spend another 13 years wondering
if the guy I'm working next to is worried that if he says or does something
that he thinks might offend me, that I will file a grievance. How can he
trust me with his safety, if he is worried about things like that? We
preach crew cohesion, but do we truly live it? There are enough truly
legitimate things on the fireline to be concerned about, without having to
add that additional stress.

When the last class action was filed on my behalf, I called the law office
handling the suit and requested that my name be removed from the suit. I
will do this again for this suit as well. The majority of the women in
Region 5 need to stand up and very clearly say to these people that we are
NOT a party to this, and do not wish to participate! I am mad as heck and I
don't mind saying so.

You can sign me Disgusted-
Socal Dispatcher

I snipped a name above. The person is named prominently at the top of the first link below. Ab's friend Sally the Salamander (not Sally named as a "contact") sent in the links and the heads up last week. I'm reposting these for those who haven't seen them. Ab.
8/8 We are being told by the Region 3 Dispatch Center, that we (contractors)
cannot access the ROSS Self-Status, under the current ROSS program.
Help! Help! Does anyone know if this is valid, or why it is this way?

Thanks................ Unstatus'd
8/8 Here we go Nor-Cal, 3 new starts that may get our attention.
Stevens Inc in Colfax, Fire in the Hayward hills, and a fire east
of Bella Vista (Redding). And for that lurker out there that
knows me, don't you wish you were here? Redding forecast
to reach near 110 degrees.


8/8 The AAR for the Cabin Creek Incident on the Salmon/Challis National
Forest is out. Please take it seriously and share it with anyone involved
in fire. Hopefully someone can learn something from what happened to
us that day.

www.fs.fed.us/r4/sc/fire/2004/cabincrkaar.doc (Downloadable doc file)


Thanks JA. We coded and posted this in html format on July 31. I think the only reason that there has not been much discussion is that many are out fighting fire. Ab.

Cabin Creek After Action Review (AAR) html version

8/8 Mellie,

Norcal Team II was called in on the Town Fire as danfromord said.
Howard Carlson was the IC. After wrapping up the Town, they went
on to the Franklin Fire. I think that's where I met you at the helibase.
You were taking pictures.

NorCal Tom

8/8 Mellie,

The Town fire on the Mendo started on March 31st during an escaped
control burn. We were dispatched that afternoon. We were scheduled
to be released on the 2nd of April but due to the other fires they held
on to us for another day or two. We are the Local gov type 3 strike
team out of Genn Co. XGL-3050-C. I can't help you with who the
IMT was?

8/7 On airtanker.com "Still Hope" (Posted by Jeff ( on August 07, 2004 at 15:18:13:) article says USFS is going to pay for the Lockheed data from many years ago, and a decision may come soon...

I noted several questions on heavy airtankers, and thought these sites would be helpful to your following.

This website will provide aircraft that is contracted, past and present, if the USFS keeps it updated.


This site provides the Wildland Fire Accidents by year. It shows that thru last year, airtankers had 27, and also lists all accidents by type including other aircraft. If you look at the dates of the airtanker accidents starting in 1960, thou each one is one too many, there were 14 accidents accounting for the 27!


This site provides current fire information; it looks like central CA foothills have 3 fires today, 10% contained....


To address the high cost of aircraft you should look at the higher costs for helicopters vs the heavy airtankers.

I attached a file containing the costs of aircraft resources... Heavy airtankers, only P3s, I believe are receiving less that $6,000 per day for contract availability!! Then another $5-6K per hour flown....not counting the hours it takes to taxi out or load the airplane with retardant!

Type 1 helicopters, exclusive use, are averaging $12,000 per day and 3,500 a flight hour.

Ms N

8/7 "Forestry Department Terminates Fire Crew Contractors
For Falsifying Training Records, Dispatch Locations"

Tell me it ain't so Ab!

Oh the humanity!

Us feds are having trouble scrounging up a few qualified engine bosses on a
good day....

I'm sure our contract brethern are just swimming in qualified people!

And for $50.00 I could have a PHD as a brain surgeon.

Brain surgery (I hear that's where the big bucks are..)

It's a shame -I know some good contractors who ARE fully qualified.

Race Bannon
8/7 To folks having problems with receiving a reply to your registration to the Hot List Forum:

We've had 24 rejected registration replies. They all appear to be the result of folks mis-spelling their email address. Registrants, check your email addy twice, so you actually get registered.


8/7 This one is for NMAirbear and any other rotor head.

After asking for your help to find the PTT connectors for the flight
helmets back in April, and getting multiple sources from the board, my FMO
MISPLACED the information I forwarded on to him. (I KNEW I should have
kept a copy of the suppliers.)

Once again, I come with hat in hand asking "where do I find the adapters
for PTT equipment for flight helmets?" Thank you all for your patience. I
promise I'll keep a copy of it this time.

8/7 Mellie, glad to help out.

The Kate's Basin Fire was near Thermopolis WY under Wind River Agency,
BIA jurisdiction, and the Rock Springs Fire was near Rock Springs WY
under Rock Springs Field Office, BLM jurisdiction.

Don't know about the CA or MT fires.

Wait-I think you might mean the Schley Fire in MT. That one was under
the Jurisdiction of the Fort Hall Agency BIA, and it was near Arlee MT in
Aug 2000.


8/7 Doing some research... and need info from someone on the Mendocino
NF (CA) fighting fire in March/April, 2000 AND from folks fighting fire in
Wyoming and Montana in August 2000.

Anyone remember the fire on the Mendocino NF in 2000 that preceded
the Cabbage and Franklin Fires on April Fool's Day? I think NorCal II
IMT might have been assigned to it.

Wasn't the Town Fire the third one in that little collection of early fires?
Any before those that used IMTs?

Heck, while I'm at it... how about the NF locations of the Kate’s Basin
and the Sheep Mountain Fire in Wyoming and the Schlei Fire in
Montana (near Arlee) -- all in August 2000, that crazy fire year!


8/7 Good Saturday Morning to you, Readers.

We added a new feature to the Hot List Forum page. (For info on registration to the forum, see the Announcement below.) Clicking on a WildWeb link at the top of the Hot List Forum gives you a map of the US that has red dots. The red dots are hot buttons to WildWeb sites that list new fires. If anyone knows of new WildWeb sites as they are developed, please let us know.

CUDOS to Original Ab for creation of the Hot List Forum and the WildWeb links page. Lots of IA fire posts yesterday afternoon and last night.


PS. It helps when you report new incidents that you name the state after the fire name.

8/7 ANNOUNCEMENT (which will stay toward the top for a few days): Hot List Forum Registration

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 your 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

8/7 I noticed these posted in the hit list forum

"Sheep Ranch, Mineral Mountain Estates, Calaveras Co. In order of priority need the following resources: Crews, Aircraft, Engines; fire is at 1000+ acres, 10% contained."

"Near Copperopolis, Calaveras Co, CA; 2,500 acres, 10% contained; resources needed in order of priority Type 3 4X4 engines, crews, rested personnel."

Just thought I'd let people know that in R-6 right now, there are approximately 200 of the 319 private contract type-6 4x4 engines, that have fully rested crews ready to go to work, since most have had very little or no assignments so far this year. If type-6's could possibly help in any way, we'd love to lend a hand. I'm not sure exactly where these fires are, but it sounds like it would be a 6 or 7 hour drive for resources in the south end of R-6, as it takes approximately 5 hours to reach Sacramento from the state line in an engine. Keep safe down there, it sounds like those fires have a lot of potential.


8/6 Here's a good one, Ab.

Wildfire Tankers Save the Day

Anybody get any AT pics?

Oregon FF

8/6 Hello Abs,

With the election season upon us, I thought this might be of some fun/interest to the folks out there. Please help Smokey win, unless you really want the Koolaid boy on Fifth Avenue!

I copied this link from R6 newsletter. Thought it would be good to share to others. If the link doesn't work, you can find it at http://promotions.yahoo.com/advertisingweek_2004/static/iconpoll.phpl

(Smokey Bear's 60th birthday is this month!)

The link above takes you to a website for voting for "your favorite icons and slogans." Smokey Bear, as you probably know, comes from the Ad Council, which has a volunteer mission of working for positive social change. Fifty-two icons are in the running for the award. The top five vote getters will be engraved in "Advertising Walk of Fame" sidewalk on the corner of 50th Street and Madison Avenue in NYC. The winners will be unveiled during Advertising Week in September. Smokey Bear is among the 52 icons and slogans nominated. Voting (at the link above) is open until September 3.

Sign Me -
An Election We Can Win!
8/6 Nerd,

You're absolutely right, I just did not want to get that detailed in my
post. As for the choir, I have been singing for over 20 years (all three
sides of the fence).

8/6 Hey Ab(s),

I must congratulate your efforts on the Hot List Forum! I thought it was a
good idea when you started it, but when I saw a post on They Said from
NICC, I was even more impressed. You should be proud of the multitude
of folks keeping an eye on this site, even if they are just lurking. Ever thought
about a visit counter for s**ts and grins?

R2 localyokel

This Ab will let the Original think about a "s&g" counter for that page.
8/6 For those interested in Fritz's fire prediction for the Los Padres NF and surrounding area (and interesting stats for CA on water and drought): Michael sent in a link. The file is a 13 page pdf file.

JS, thanks for the breaking news yesterday on the Redwood Highway Fire near Cave Junction OR and the Sam Brown Fires on the Galice Ranger District. I was away and the info didn't get posted. As I understand it, all 3 fires are contained, but this is the kind of info that would be very valuable for the Hot List forum. JS, for info like the summary you sent, it's fine to copy and paste it to the window. Say hi to TL from me if you see him.

Folks, sign up for the Hot List (see below) so when the fire breaks, you can log on and fill us in. You can practice using the test section. It was even a new process for this Ab the first time I did it. Don't fear making a fool of yerself on the List. You are anonymous to readers. You can sign your post with your moniker or not. As OriginalAb says, you'll need to bookmark the forum once you've signed up and gotten your username and password, but if you forgot to do that, write in and we'll remind you of the url. We are trying to avoid spam.

For those wanting to send breaking info and you haven't yet signed up, you can still send it here to the regular Abercrombie account. Most of the time an Ab could get it posted to one forum or another.


8/6 ANNOUNCEMENT (which will stay toward the top for a few days): Hot List Forum Registration

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 your 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

8/6 From Australia, Fire Hazard:

Hi Ab,

Not to good in the South-East N.S.W. biggest drought for years and
boy is there some fuel on the deck, one idiot and its on in a big way and I
don't think we will be able to stop it, we can only hope and pray. All the
best to your guys over there, they have been having tough.

All the best, Snow
(Down Under)

8/6 Re: EWS post on 8/4

If at all poss. get involved with a local volunteer dept. I started 18 1/2 years ago
at age 50, now 68 and still active. Certified as FF1 at 63, red carded at 64 and
still carry a current red card. We could use some people like EWS as we are a
little short of responders during the day.

Old Man of the Dept

8/5 Siskiyou;

You might want to re-read my post; what I'm calling 'call jumping' is
showing up to an incident you were not requested for, period, whoever
does it. Mutual and automatic aid is another issue entirely; I've
drafted my share of mutual and automatic aid agreements. Mutual aid is a
written, formal agreements about when two or more responding agencies
will respond to each other's territories, per the request of the home
agency. Automatic aid usually specifies certain trigger points on which
one agency is expected to assist another without being specifically
dispatched; in effect, an automatic aid agreement 'pre-dispatches'
multiple agencies given certain conditions. Agencies with mutual and
automatic aid agreements can still jump each other's calls, by either
responding as mutual aid when not requested or by responding as
automatic aid when the automatic aid conditions are not met. Not knowing
your background, I may be preaching to the choir, so please bear with
me. Contractors are distinct in that I've never heard of them being
included in automatic aid agreements (for both availability and cost
reasons). Your definition of call jumping is probably viewed by the
perpetrating contractors as simply aggressively pursuing business; I
agree with you that it's bad practice and builds bad relationships, not
just between contractor and agency, but between contractors as well. In
terms of laissez-faire capitalism, it makes good sense, but the
dog-eat-dog world has no place in fire. Mutate or die, maybe, but not

Nerd on the Fireline
8/5 Dumb Question...Is there any significance to the color of wildland fire helmets?

There was just a discussion on this subject a short while back. Check last month's archive. OriginalAb.

8/5 Are you going to put a link up for the new forum? Noticed that there is
low contribution, perhaps just because things are slow. Good idea. We'll
keep watching.

We most likely will not have a link to the Hot List Forum anywhere on this site. Due to it being a live, un-moderated web page, we require folks to register to receive the location via email. This won't stop unwanted attention by abusers of the forum, but it should slow 'em down a bit. OriginalAb.

8/5 I agree completely with Nerd on the Fire line about “co-operation and mutual respect between agencies” being a solution to the call jumping problem. Relationships need to be built well before there’s smoke in the air. My organization is the lead agency, in our state, for wildland fire protection on state and private ground. I have six VFDs in my section. I try to include them whenever possible (training, RXB, fire suppression), even going the extra mile by keeping making courtesy calls to keep them in the loop with our activities (RXB, permitted fires, etc.). They, in turn, know what I expect on the fire ground and work to maintain our standards. They know their limits, but if things get more complex they know to back off and assume their role as structure protection and support. Many times I get stuck with the mop up and patrol of a fire that they knocked down. But that’s what the pay check is for.

It’s up to leaders in the agencies to maintain discipline in order keep their people in line so they’re not tuning up their co-operators. Early in my career I was stationed on the edge of our service area. There was a good deal of fire activity just out of our jurisdiction and I was always trying to think of ways to get my supervisors to let me slip over there. I was usually denied. “If they need you they’ll call.” My bosses had a bigger picture in mind. I was in place to protect a particular area. If I was out freelancing, roaming the countryside, chasing fires I wasn’t able to do what I was supposed to do. Beside that they had better things to do than handle calls from ticked off fire chiefs when the State showed up uninvited.

I’m happy to handle my responsibilities now and wait until asked in order respond to other emergencies out side of my realm. I’d like to think it’s because of maturity, but it’s probably because I’m getting old.

On another subject, to WLF, our state retires our full timers at 65 (pension rules) and we let our part timers stay, as fire fighters, till 70. We keep some of our part time folks busy past 70 doing pre-suppression and prevention work. I find my older part time employees invaluable. I hope you find some thing in your area.

8/5 Hey Ab,

Here are some pics of the Log Springs Fire on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. Let me know if you need further captions.


I'm just tossing a couple of these up for readers to see. I'll put them on their pages soon. Ab.
night firing
CopperRiver & LonePeak shots

8/5 Good Morning!
I'm submitting the attached AT photo to be posted on your site.
This is from the Wolf Creek Fire in Alaska, NE of Fairbanks. July 18, 2004.
Dropping a retardant line prior to a large burnout ops. Burnout was a success.

New Jersey Forest Fire Service

Nice AT shot. Ab.
8/5 Acro-Tamara-

there is a good list of acronyms used in incidents (and elsewhere...), in the back of
the NWCG interagency incident business management hand book (NFES 3139).

8/4 Lobotomy,

Thank you for reminding me of that! One of my employees attended that event, and I admit, I thought it was a sham. But, others told me of what you just reminded us of and I had some hope that it may make a difference. Alas, just like many other 'initiatives, though provoking ideas and programs' that have merit and make sense, it seems this one also died on the vine.

What seems to prevail is finger pointing, name calling and vindictiveness. Personal responsibility (What a concept!) has given way to the litigious bent that many seem to take to get their way, right or wrong!

Let us all hope that someone steps up as a strong leader and puts us back on track!

8/4 Nerd

Re; Call jumping
What your describing is not call jumping but "Auto aid' or 'Mutual aid'.
Generally call jumping is 'fire chasing' or 'just showing up' without a
requisition or dispatch. There are a significant number of engines and
equipment that still do this to the detriment of all the legitimate
contractors that play by the rules. The bad part is that resources in fire
camp still hires these people even though there have been directives not to
do so.

8/4 to help your local, CDF, or other public-safety agency?

I'm up in Butte Co, they just declined again to put an eartagged sales tax
raise on the ballot, and PS agencies are screaming--and so is the public.

Why can't the agencies (here, of course, I speak of fire) promote good
old DONATIONS? Yep, the 'walk right in and stick your money HERE'

Just wondering--people keep acting like legislative assistance is the only

8/4 Acronyms, Acronyms, Acronyms

Wow, what a bevy of info...
I am going crazzzzzzzy trying to decipher the acronyms associated with all the
government entitles. Do you know of any comprehensive lists?
Thanks for your help.

I have seen lists. Readers, know of any online? Ab.

8/4 In November of 1998, the Pacific Southwest Region of the Forest Service held
an "Employee Event" in Sacramento, California. It was attended by nearly 700
employees, if I remember correctly. Congressman Herger had a hayday with the
event, but it got alot of employees thinking they could actually make a
change for the better in R-5. It got folks fired up to make the Forest
Service the employer of choice... but the flame went away shortly after Lynn
Sprague and Joe Cruz left.

I have two comments/questions:

Question / Comment #1:
As part of the conference, Mr. Byron Kunisawa was a keynote speaker. Mr.
Kunisawa spoke volumes about the problems with the Forest Service's civil
rights program and how there would be continued problems as long as the
agencies continue to use the exclusion and separation model.... ie- Special
Emphasis Programs.

Mr. Kunisawa, made a pretty compelling point that you can't teach diversity
and inclusion as long as you foster separation and exclusion of any group
through special programs. He talked alot about his previous work with other
federal agencies and how our program was severely flawed. He also gave many
suggestions on how to improve the system. I saw lots of the CR old school
cringing at the presentation..... but the entire diverse crowd was on the
edge of their seats..... This still sticks in my mind. Never before has a
crowd been so engaged and excited about diversity and equal employment
opportunity and how we could turn the Forest Service Family back into a
family. But something went askew.... Mr. Kunisawas presentation was seen as
an attack, not a valued outside observation as it was.

Prior to his presentation, we were all told that a video was being made of
his keynote address. The video was to go to all field stations in Region 5.
After the conference, the video never went out as far as I know.

Does anyone have a copy of this video?

Question / Comment #2
Did anything lasting ever come out of the conference or was it just a waste
of money? Congressman Herger thought at the time it was a waste of money....
I guess six years later, I'm also thinking it was a waste of money. Did
anyone else ever see any benefits or changes? Is any Forest still using the

8/4 HB;

I've seen a certain amount of call-jumping; it's a thorny and frequently
a nasty issue. In our area, it gets compounded by three issues. First,
we (vollies) don't share a common frequency with the agency folks. We
both have each other's frequencies, but we don't regularly monitor each
other because they don't want to hear our med calls and we don't want to
hear their patrols. Frequently in the rush nobody remembers to switch
their scan, so they don't know if we're responding or not and they don't
know if we're responding or not. Dispatch is frequently unhelpful in
this too; they're over worked enough as it is. Second issue is the fact
that most of our vollies don't LIKE wildland fire, and several
departments have reputations for sandbagging to wildland calls on the
expectation that the agency folks will jump the call anyway, so why not
just let them take it? On a certain level, they're right...why do hard
work you're not going to get any community recognition or pay for, when
the folks who are getting paid for it are just a little ways out. Third
issue comes down to resources and response time. We can generally be
doing damage control on anything but agency land in about twelve
minutes; it frequently takes agency resources forty-five to mobilize,
let alone hit the scene. When we do hit the scene, however, our usual MO
is structure-based... we establish a water source and proceed to soak
everything in sight. Our agency cooperators feel that this is amateurish
and unprofessional looking, so call-jumping is justified under the guise
of "getting the job done right". Another issue is that our MO,
especially in high-risk situations, is to dispatch everything and cancel
what we don't need. Working across three frequencies and two dispatch
centers, however, frequently the resource cancellations don't get passed
on down, so when supposedly canceled resources show up on scene,
sometimes they get accused of call-jumping.

Once in a while, however, we wind up pretty happy that a call got
jumped... we had an agency engine on patrol stop to watch as we fought a
structure fire, and man, were we glad it was there when the structure
fire started spotting into a riparian area. I think what it really comes
down to is mutual respect and cooperation... we've never resented extra
help if it's courteously offered and respectfully led. A caveat on that
is medical calls; we've had agency line EMTs try to provide patient care
on ambulance calls, and that just doesn't work.

Nerd on the Fireline
8/4 Call-jumping

Is there anyone out there who can actually justify call-jumping (self-dispatching, poaching, etc.)? I work in an organization in which it's become SOP for some personnel, and I just can't comprehend it. From the management side of things, it's destroying relationships with the cooperators. From the operational side, it's incredibly unsafe, both for the personnel that are doing it, as well as the other incoming resources that are actually assigned to the incident. To make matters worse, there have actually been reports that those unassigned resources have been trying to direct their agency resources in operations. Yes, unassigned to the incident, with no contact with assigned ops personnel who actually have the authority to be there and the responsibility to act, no freq info, no briefing, no......well, you get the picture. On the positive side, at least one cooperator recently stood up and "just said no" and ordered them off the fireground. But that shouldn't have to be the job of the cooperators. They have enough to worry about, and our personnel should be helping them (as assigned) and not hurting. Upper management is apparently condoning it, so I'm assuming they're getting told that it's an acceptable practice or being told that it's our agency's responsibility to be there. If we have land on fire, and the run card calls for a AREP, then an AREP should be assigned to the incident, via the local comm center, just like any other resource, so that they're then working within the chain of command, and within the duties and responsibilities of that position. But for personnel to just respond, even when they're told that there is NO agency land involved, then to start trying to direct ground ops outside the established incident organization is just unreal to me. The liability for all parties involved seems immense. Feedback?

8/4 Sally

Salamander Tech tips:

The salamander is a symbol of enduring faith, or courage, that cannot be destroyed

Isidore of Seville- "The Salamander is so called because it is strong against fire; and amid all poisons its power is the greatest. For other {poisonous animals} strike individuals; this slays very many at the same time; for if it crawls up a tree, it infects all the fruit with poison and slays those who eat it...It fights against fires, and alone among living things, extinguishes them. For it lives in the midst of flames without pain and without being consumed, and not only is it not burned, but it puts the fire out." (Brehaut, 1912)

In the Dark ages people thought that Salamanders were born by fire. Seeing Salamanders emerge from burned logs gave credence to this thought.

8/4 I am 58 yrs old .....I can pass the "arduous" (3mi/45lbs/45min) test and
then some.

I know the back country well (afoot and horseback X50 yrs) and I desperately
hate to see it burn.

In a year I will be retiring after 25 yrs as a VA Staff Psychologist.
Is there any way this old guy can train for and fight wildfires?

8/3 OMG!!!!!!! Not another class complaint in R5?? Nine women? After 28 years as a female firefighter, 15 of which were in R5, I can't believe it is about to happen again! There is NOT widespread discrimination in this region against women. There are definitely butt head supervisors out there, but that does NOT make it widespread or pointed at women specifically.

I can tell you these women don't represent ME or any women on my forest. Someone tell us who the judge is so we can write in and protest being "represented" by those who can't see that their situation belongs to THEM, not the rest of us.

I can't WAIT to see what the Regional Forester dreams up to punish ALL of us for this one.

Dying of Suspense
8/3 Oneliners:

If computers are making fire fighting easier why am I still digging hand lines?

Should you worry if the Food unit leader loses weight?


8/3 Ab, There have been 11 lightning fires on the Mad River District of
the Six Rivers in the last 2 days!! Biggest one is 1 1/2 acre, many 1/4
acre or less. Lots of resources, and I hear the Klamath has many, many
new starts today.

Fire season is here in North Zone!

8/3 Any of those "thunder clouds" peeking up over the coastal range a lightning-caused fire in disguise?
After the lightning busts the other evening and with the Sims winding down, I'm a little on edge.

Ab, Re the kick yer butt emails. Goes with the territory and lack of personal knowledge of posters
on the internet. My opinion, of course. Frogs in nomex can be pretty cute! Er, toads, OK, them too!


See the next post. Ab.

8/3 Ab, thanks for asking me to write in again, I understand you're taking some incoming "creek detritus" for making a comment about the effects of fire on salamanders - in their habitat of course.

To those lobbing the sticks into the creek at Ab, STOP IT! I know Ab personally. I have worked on salamanders and I felt included by Ab's personal comment regardless of your interpretation. Thought it was kinda funny, too. Thought I might offer some scientific observations. Guess not.

Sorry you got slammed Ab. This is a great forum, IMHO. Thanks.

Sally the Salamander (I'll send in a photo of my favorite creature, the aquatic neonate if you'd like - but I don't see a page for it.)

Sorry, no pages for amphibians unless they fight fire.
You know Sally, sometimes I wonder why I do this job. I sure don't get paid for it! Glad you wrote in. Hope you get some answers or at least raise awareness. And I best not offer my opinion, or some cranky firefighter will kick my "tail end" again. I think I was told that when I go thru paedomorphosis it will shrink a bit and present a smaller less kickable target, or is that only if I were a tadpole going to toad? Gawd, think I'll be a toad in nomex with no tail when I grow up? Ab.

8/3 Sally the Salamander,

Unfortunately the actions of a few bad apples with an axe to grind will affect us all.

It is all part of the state of our society, no personal responsibility.

If you even look at the news articles regarding this case, you may find some interesting inconsistencies.

Sign me,

8/3 DEA, you need to contact the closest forest dispatch center to your home,
as you'll probably be in their area of influence, and let them know you're
interested, and what your qualifications are, also what positions are you
really interested in filling...

Actually getting called will be another story. You'll most likely be low
person on the totem pole when it comes to getting assignments.

8/3 CDF Riverside maybe going county fire! The County board of supervisors has asked for an independent cost survey and wishes to go Co. Fire so they're no longer handcuffed by the state's problems. Also the governor is for the County going to its own fire dept. Due to the lack of funds in the state making it not feasible to the state to stay in Riverside. Riverside has only 9 state funded stations out of 94 stations. The county expects to be at 101 stations by 2005. The state no longer has any business being in Riverside with a budget of 24 million for Riverside Co. Fire! Just FYI for any future career possibilities in Riverside!

8/3 I'm looking for brief stories of wildland FF that survived close calls
either by having a good safety zone planned or by using their fire
shelter. Thanks.


8/3 Moondoggie,

You might check out E-Bay for those lost radios and equipment. I am amazed
at how much equipment (even marked F.S.) is being sold on that site.


8/3 August 2, 2004
National Wildfire Suppression Association
Debbie Miley, Executive Director
Website: www.nwsa.net
E-mail: sonny@wvi.com

Oregon Department of Forestry Commended for Enforcing Firefighting Contracts

The National Wildfire Suppression Association (NWSA and its affiliates OFCA and NCFA commend the efforts of the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) for its recent action against two private wildland firefighting contractors.

NWSA is a professional association whose mission is to provide services to its membership of over 246 private sector contract wildfire companies in 16 different states and to raise the standards in our industry.

We have met with the agencies and with our local politicians numerous times in the past, most recently last week with some of the members of the Oregon House Interim Agriculture and Natural Resource Committees, asking that the agencies be accountable for enforcement of their agreement with the private sector wildland firefighting contractors. There has been explosive growth in the industry since 1998 and this has created significant concerns about safety and costs among those in the industry due to the lack of enforcement by the agency in the past.

“We believe it is in the best interest of the public, agencies and the private sector to move toward the use of a best value contract, rather than the cheapest, closest resources agreement currently in use. This would ensure that quality contractors are used and that the best, most cost effective resources are on the fire lines. Safety must be the first call of order for all of us” said Debbie Miley, Executive Secretary for the NWSA.

For more information on NWSA, visit www.nwsa.net or e-mail sonny@wvi.com.
8/3 Ab,

This is to anyone who can give me any information on AD casual hire (Single Resource). I am recently resigned from the Federal Fire Service R-5 for personal reasons and until I can get back to Federal Service I am looking to work AD for the remainder of the season and maybe next season. I know some of the IN's and outs but not all and I need all I can get. I have 20 years of fire experience and qualified in Operations & RX positions. So anybody with any advice, information or suggestions please let me know.


Check with the ADFA for a starter. Ab.

8/3 Is CDF changing to digital, if so when will they?

8/3 Anyone know if more of the Airtankers will be approved to fly?


The answer was NO, NOT YET. Yesterday the FS gave the word to the P2s owners: the FS inspectors need more info from the company that made the planes- information that relates to airframe (wing structure) so the inspectors can assess fatigue life limit. It's complicated by the fact that the info is proprietary to the company that manufactured the planes and unavailable to outsiders, including the companies that have the planes now and the inspectors. For more info, try this post at the AAP site. It's titled Crap, but the opinion of this Ab is that it really just lays out the complexity of the new "inspection process" the FS is involved in -- as a result of the NTSB applying the thumbscrews. Other opinions there as well. Ab.
8/3 Thanks for the info Pita, I hadn't caught that or realized how much
that would add up to.

Tahoe Terrie
8/3 regards to r5pita,

the 35.00 rural fire fighting fee. back in 1992 we locally voted a self
imposed fee on our parcels to keep station 61 open year around. we have
been paying that fee since then, every year included with our property
taxes. i am against the thought of us in our jurisdiction being double
taxed, as then we would be paying double where the rest of the state
only pays the 35.00

8/3 Sally the Salamanderer.....

There is alot going on behind the scenes with these nine folks..... Hopefully the merits of EACH case will be heard and settled before the USDA battles them as a class action. Nine employees with personal agenda claims DOESN'T EQUAL A CLASS COMPLAINT. Some may have merit.... some may not.... Each is an individual case and should NOT be confused with a class of people who don't want any part of a class complaint.

The O. v. Veneman side has no merit..... Federal nepotism laws have the high ground and continued favor by the court.

If there are perceived or/are actual problems in the USDA Forest Service programs, I'm sure they can be brought forward and settled with the current USDA Civil Rights and grievance processes....

Rogue Rivers

P.s. - What about an attorney who isn't registered with the California bar association? and representing a "class" of employees? Whats up Sally? Maybe he can't pass the bar exam?
8/3 Don't worry about us r5pita, CDF will be just fine this year. Next year? Who knows? I too live in a rural area of Calif., work for CDF and was not all that happy about the "fee" being proposed. I understood that the agency did not approve of the "fee," it was being proposed by the misers..... bean counters.... finance people without much input from CDF . True ? I don't know, that's way above my pay grade.

Abs, I've enclosed photos of AA430 and the Stockton Army Guard helio at Fresno Air Base, the helio and crew had recently returned from Iraq.

Captain Emmett

I'm workin' on the photos... Ab.
8/2 I had a Mountain Forestry crew work for me last season. They had a
good crew boss and worked real hard. It's a shame their company
thought they could break important rules.

8/2 Someone sent me these links.... I was set back twenty
years in my career and thinking about how bad the
original consent decree damaged Region 5, both for
women and men.... Are these allegations true or just
people trying to get the free ride to the top and $$.

Is there merit or just Donnelly v. Glickman just
trying to keep the claim going after the judge said
there was no contempt of court and the original
settlement agreement should continue?

9 Firefighters try to represent themselves as the
"class" for ALL women firefighters (288 perms and 350
temps) in Region 5 of the USFS?... and the EEOC
accepts it? Maybe they (and the court) should ask how
all of us feel before certifying a class action. Many
of us would not like to be part of this class action
and are offended by another round of settlements that
benefit the few and hurt the many.



It's time to talk this one out before it hits the
courts.... I for one... think we need to address this
case head on so it doesn't hurt all of us... female or
male ... in the future....

Sally the Salamander
8/2 Regarding the recent Private handcrew contracts that were cancelled.

As a private contractor in R-6, I am glad to see somebody is finally cracking down on the irresponsible companies out there that give all contractors a bad name. I know the R-6 engine/tender agreements involved more scrutiny in regards to equipment and training inspections this year compared to past seasons, along with mandatory monitoring of all pack tests that were given. In the past the contractor just called the local dispatch center and informed them of the time and location that they were going to be pack testing, then it was up to the dispatch center to decide whether or not they wanted to monitor it, so needless to say many tests were accepted without official confirmation. Hopefully sometime in the near future the FS will do some investigating to ensure that their EERA engines are actually located where the contractor claims they are. I know of one contractor that shows as local on our dispatcher's list, but had tried to turn in for 4 hours travel time to get to a fire that was right in the center of town within 5 minutes of their claimed address. Even though the contractor has rented an office space or PO box locally, neither the equipment or the personel to operate it are in the area to my knowledge. I feel these contractors from out of town, underbid the local contractors, and cost us work in slow seasons, and also have extended response times to local incidents that are a serious hazard to operational planning. Hopefully ODF's handling of these situations with their private crews, will carry over to similar actions from the FS regurding their EERA equipment, if so it will be a huge benefit to both the honest contractors, and the local agencies.


8/2 Ab,
Just wanted to let everyone know that some pictures from the Sims fire
are posted on the NorCal Team 1's website.

There are also some pictures of the Cobra helicopter, IAP's, and maps.


All very nice. Good map, etc. Interesting to see a red and white cobra with the FS shield on the side. To give the LATs equal time, here's Hugh's letter to the ID Statesman. Ab.
8/2 Thanks for the info on the fire near Hyampom. I just got a phone call
from near there and found out that the property I was interested in was
safe, even tho it had been evacuated previously. Property next to it went
down, but fire did not jump the road.

God bless all.
8/2 Oregon Dept. of Forestry disseminated the following news release today.

For Immediate Release Major Media Distribution
Aug. 2, 2004 John Boro, (503) 945-7434
04-57 Don Moritz, (503) 945-7491

Forestry Department Terminates Fire Crew Contractors
For Falsifying Training Records, Dispatch Locations

The Oregon Department of Forestry has terminated its agreement with firefighting crew contractors Mountain Forestry and Westwood Resources, Inc., due to contract violations.

Independence-based Mountain Forestry was terminated for material breach of agreement. An inspection of the company's training records by a department compliance officer discovered falsified and undocumented training records. Westwood Resources, with crews offered in Klamath Falls, was terminated for not having authorized dispatch locations.

The termination letters prohibit all 16 of Mountain Forestry's 20-person firefighting crews and both of Westwood Resources' crews from participating in the 2004 Interagency Fire Crew Agreement, administered by Oregon Department of Forestry for the states of Oregon and Washington and five federal agencies.

Loss of the 18 crews is not expected to affect Oregon's firefighting preparedness. The department has approximately 269 other fire crews under agreement for the season.

Fire Contract Services Manager Don Moritz said the administrative action is an important step to assure the safety of Oregon's wildland firefighters.

"This investigation prevents inadequately trained firefighters from being put in harm's way," Moritz said. "The Contract Services Unit has set training record inspection and dispatch location monitoring as a priority for ongoing investigations and future administrative actions."

The compliance officer investigating Westwood Resources interviewed landowners, who provided a statement that the company was not authorized to use their property. The agreement prohibits dispatch locations from being changed once the bid solicitation closes. Verified dispatch locations ensure that firefighters meet performance and work/rest standards including traveling safely under conditions of the agreement.

The Department of Forestry initiated the first crew agreement in 1988 to provide fire crews for dispatch within Oregon. Eventually, the contract was expanded to include other fire agencies, and in 1998 the Interagency Contract Committee was recognized by the Pacific Northwest Coordination Group.

The onset of intense fire seasons in the West in the late 1990s created a strong demand for firefighters. Oregon contract companies proliferated, and the roster of crews under the agreement grew, jumping from 106 crews in 2000 to 300 last year.

With only two staff assigned to monitor crew performance and contract compliance for the 2003 Crew Agreement, the Department of Forestry faced a daunting challenge to keep up with this rapid growth.

"Recently, we were able to add two full-time positions to the Contract Services Unit, and that is enabling us to expand our compliance monitoring," Moritz said.

Under the Interagency Fire Crew Agreement, contract firefighters must complete a nationally standardized course that includes training in fire behavior, firefighting tools and techniques, and safety. Contractors are required to maintain records on the training and certification of all firefighters in their employ.

In its investigation, the department found that Mountain Forestry had falsified the training records and identifications of some of its crewmembers. Termination of all of the company's crews for the remainder of the 2004 agreement, with consideration for the safety risk to unqualified crewmembers, is an appropriate response for a material breach under the terms of the agreement, Moritz said.
8/2 Oneliner:

"Experience is knowledge you gain, right after you need it."

8/2 Oneliner:

Heard in the chow tent when the gnats are bad...."I hate it when the pepper


8/2 Stolen radios

Heads up! While on an assignment in Riverside County ( Melton Fire ) our
strike team had 7 portable radios and a brush jacket stolen out of the
engines. The radios consisted of 6-800 MHz and 1 king. The equipment was
taken sometime after we had bedded down in " Fire Camp". Security guards
were in camp to patrol the staging area. CDF had neglected to warn crews
about a similar theft in May at the same location where radios were stolen
from engines while crews were asleep in those engines. After all the paper
work was done, we then found out that our " missing radios and misc.
equipment " was the third incident that CDF had experienced this fire
season! The radios were quickly disabled through our com. center. So the
idiots that stole them have a worthless piece of equipment. So heads up and
make sure you secure your gear.


8/2 Oneliner:

Managing fire is not about how much line you can pound or your
pack test time, but how well you make the bureaucratic end run.

Tahoe Terrie

8/2 Oneliner:
Please, Please don't make me stack sticks for another fourteen days!

8/2 anyone remember last years rural CA residents' worries? here's topic of interest in yesterday's news

The CA Legislature repealed the $35 rural firefighting fee -- Under pressure from farmers, ranchers, and rural homeowners the state Legislature voted to repeal a fire protection fee that was supposed to be imposed on rural property owners in November. The $35 fee, which would have been placed on 1.5 million parcels statewide, officially died when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the budget.


How's the budget look for CDF? Didn't CDF need the $$ (52 million) to stay up and running? Wonder where that's coming from? Ab.

8/1 dry lightning storm just went through area to many fire calls to handle. here we go several new starts


8/1 Oneliner:

Filling in the blank.....
"The best stories are lived, not made up."

Old Fire Guy

8/1 Does any one have info re fires north of Hyampom in the area of Big
Slid Creek or Monroe Creek? Please let me know, no tele communicatio to

Thanks. Lois

Lois, best info on the Sims Fire at these 2 websites including maps, press releases and photos:
NorCal Team 1
SimsFire Summary

Fires that have websites are listed on the US Fires, 2004 Fire Links page. Ab.

8/1 Hi Ab

More fun in Southwestern Utah- Westside Complex Fires. Lightning sparked 3 fires near Enterprise Utah Wednesday night. The decision was made to manage them as Fire Use fires due to their locations in/near the Dixie National Forest. That plan didn't last long as fire suppression began Friday morning when strong winds caused it to roar past the trigger points and the fire got within a mile and a half of Enterprise threatening homes. The Pine Park fire (the 3rd fire on this complex) is still being watched and managed as a Fire Use fire. A Type I management team is scheduled to take over tonight and according to the press release as of friday there were 2 heavy airtankers, 5 helicopters, 5 engines and 4 fire crews. No structures have been lost so far. That area up there has seen its share of fire this year.

I noticed a column of smoke to our south this afternoon, am guessing somewhere nearby on the Arizona strip. No official report on that but will check it in the morning to see if there are specifics.

I've had a good view of the smoke from my window and the other night the moon was such a lovely shade of orange... but alas haven't gotten any calls to go play... probably won't unless they need a bunch of structures protected.

8/1 One liners:

One "ah shit" erases "all ataboys" !


I added it. ScratchLines. Ab.

8/1 Ab

I see that the Cabin Creek ARR is out for everyone to review, from someone
who has been through the Cramer investigation and now Cabin Creek I want to
say don't believe everything you read, There is information in both reports
that was not correct. I won't go into the Cramer Fire but in the Cabin Fire
ARR there is information that is not exactly right. One example would be
that the BI that day was not at the 90% but at the 77%, we pointed this
out to the review team, I would like to know where they get their
information. When you read things that come out in a report that should be
factual and you know that it's not correct, it makes you wonder maybe
there are other things they did not get right. I just think that if these
reports are going to be done, lets get it right. I know there are people out
there who can relate.


Please forgive my english.
8/1 More on Digital Radios:

The issue of battery consumption of digital radios remains a concern, but will probably be brought within a reasonable parameter as better engineering is undertaken,

What remains at issue is that any digital radio must remain operable as an analog radio as well. BLM and USFS are compelled to move to digital by 2007,

How will their cooperators, particularly in CA, communicate with federal resources when these cooperators are not compelled to convert to analog narrowband (let alone digital) for another 10 years?

This is just another inoperability issue such as those identified from the major SoCal fires in 2003 where both UHF and 800 MHz systems didn't interface with the typical VHF highband analog systems used by the majority of wildland ff agencies.

The solution appears to be a second VHF radio for every portable and mobile radio user.


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